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Sunday, July 3rd, 2005

This Year's Model

With 2005 officially half over, I’m going to do the music blogger clip-episode equivalent and get on the “favourite albums of 2005 so far” bandwagon. Will these albums necessarily be on the year-end list? Maybe, maybe not. There could end up being ten spectacular records that come out between now and December that push these ones into runner-up position, or I could just get really sick of these. Who really knows? But for now, these are the five records released this year that have worked themselves into my playlist and cranium the most. I’m keeping it brief, though. Alphabetical order, not ranked.

The Decemberists / Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars) – Like a new work from a favourite author, Picaresque doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the Decemberists’ table, but more of the same from Meloy & co. will suit me just fine.

Doves / Some Cities (EMI) – If this list were ranked, this would be number five. Not as consistent top to bottom as I’d like, but when it hits, it’s magnificent. Songs like “Black & White Town”, “Snowden” and “Ambition”, for starters, are enough to elevate any album to at least some degree of greatness.

Low / The Great Destroyer (SubPop) – A change of scenery does Duluth’s finest some good. A new label, a new producer, and a new direction that revitalizes the band without abandoning any of the traits that made them special in the first place.

The Mountain Goats / The Sunset Tree (4AD) – (Too) much has been written about the autobiographicalness of John Darneille’s latest opus. All that matters is that whether it’s informed by memory or imagination, he makes you feel it. Truly a heartbreaking work of staggering genius (what, is that phrase played out?) and maybe his best work yet. And that’s saying something.

The Wedding Present / Take Fountain (Manifesto) – Dave Gedge has always been at his best writing tales of lovers jilted, jilting or just getting randy, so how does he find inspiration for the first album under the Wedding Present moniker in some eight years? By drawing on the dissolution of his relationship with longtime girlfriend Sally Murrell to create one of the Weddoes’ best records of any era, and certainly the most personal and heartfelt.

And since I’ve only had it a few days, it’s not really fair to include it in the list proper, but Sufjan Stevens’ Illinois will almost certainly be a shoo-in for the final list in December (check out You Ain’t No Picasso’s interview with Sufjan). I’m sure there’s other stuff that came out in the past six months that would have made the list if I’d only gotten around to getting a copy before now, I will try to have a reasonably comprehensive sample group by year’s end, which usually means a shopping frenzy of some sort in late November/early December.

Hall Monitor is the new hangout of Paul from The Rub, and his inaugural post is his half-year review of 2005.

Being There also plays the list game with their 10 best music movies ever. We’re talking non-fiction, so there is no This Is Spinal Tap, much to Liam Gallagher’s confusion.

So Live 8 was a success? Everyone happy? Awareness heightened? Good, I’m glad for you. Really I am. I somehow managed to sleep through the whole thing. All 20 hours of it. Yeah. Okay, I actually saw the very very end with everyone onstage singing “Oh Canada” – please tell me Motley Crue took part. Please please please.

Thanks to everyone who entered my Doves contest – I will try to contact the winners in the next day or two, as soon as I figure out how to randomly select winners. Things learned from this contest – next time, database the entrants so that it’s easier to sort through.

np – Brakes / Give Blood

By : Frank Yang at 9:02 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. RC says:

    Hey Frank,

    as for releases from this year that you may not have "gotten around to," would Okkervil River’s "Black Sheep Boy" be on that list? Because that is one amazing recording. If a bigger band had recorded it, it would be deemed a classic.

  2. caley says:

    I have 3 of your Best Of… list on my Top Ten (4 if you count Sufjan), and I’d say Low and Doves probably clock in somewhere in the Top 20. Nice list!

  3. The New Spirit says:

    If you haven’t already, I would suggest you check out Bloc Party with their Silent Alarm album… in my opinion, the *best* album of the year! Brilliant.

  4. Frank says:

    Okkervil River is on my to-get list. I’ve been loving the Shearwater disc I got last month, so I have high hopes for Okkervil. I wasn’t able to get into the snippets I’d heard in the past but I’m sure that’s my issue and not theirs.

    I have the Bloc Party record. It’s good, but it didn’t change my world or anything.

  5. Lenny says:

    I don’t have any of your best of, or the other guy’s either.

    Not that anyone especially cares, but the best of 2005 to me so far sounds a lot like:

    The Fevers – Love Always Wins

    King Khan & BBQ Show

    BBQ – Tie Your Noose

    Demon’s Claws

    The Ponys – Celebration Castle

  6. Thierry says:

    I haven’t made a top 5 or top 10 of the first half of 2005 yet, but one of the surprises of this first half for me has been the Youth Group’s Skeleton Jar – great melodies, surprisingly clever arrangements and a ton of hooks that sneak into your brain on multiple listens. Think of Tim Booth fronting Death Cab, and you’re halfway there.

  7. orlando in texas says:

    mine would be so far,,,

    the spinto band – nice and niely done

    the magic numbers

    maximo park – a certin trigger

    vitalic – ok cowboy

  8. Glenn says:

    i posted my five faves yesterday. overall i’d say it’s a slow year for music. lots of good albums but very few great ones. hopefully the second half of 2005 will be better.

    my five:

    brazilian girls: brazilian girls

    kings of leon: aha shake heartbreak

    the white stripes: get behind me satan

    bloc party: silent alarm

    bona roba: reach in and get her

    special nods to two albums that aren’t yet on the shelves: royksopp’s the understanding (really fantastic album) and bob mould’s body of song. i really like fischerspooner’s new one as well though not enough to place it in the top five.

  9. Frank says:

    yeah, as much as I like the albums I mentioned, they’re most definitely relative to this year. I don’t know that I’ve heard anything that I would consider a candidate "for the ages" or a classic… Also sort of disappointed that they’re all from veteran bands that I already have an affinity for. Whether that says more about new bands or about me becoming an old man, I do not know.

  10. kilgore says:

    I agree. Nothing classic this year.

    But I did enjoy:

    1) Caribou – Milk of Human Kindness

    2) Beck – Guero

    3) M.I.A. – Arular

    4) British Sea Power – Open Season

    5) I heard the new Buck65 this weekend. This could make the list.

  11. David says:

    Nice list, my top 10 probably skews a bit more uptempo, but that’s the ADD in me.

    1.Architecture in Helsinki- In Case We Die

    2.Andrew Bird- Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs

    3.The National- Alligator

    4.Bloc Party- Silent Alarm

    5.LCD Soundsystem- LCD Soundsystem

    6.The Magic Numbers- The Magic Numbers

    7.Thunderbirds Are Now- Justamustasche

    8.Aqueduct- I Sold Gold

    9.Supersystem- Always Never Again

    10.The Deathray Davies- The Kick and the Snare