Thursday, November 17th, 2005
Season Of Lists
If there’s one thing the end of the year means, it’s lists. Lists lists lists. Everyone loves em, hates em, loves to hate em. They’ll be coming fast and furious for the next couple of months to be sure, and while most will be of the “albums of the year” variety, there’ll be some interesting exceptions. Information Leafblower has, for the third year, polled a range of music bloggers for their nominations for the Top 40 Bands in America, 2005. I interpreted this criteria as simply what American bands have I enjoyed the most in 2005? This isn’t an all-time thing, just a past 300 days or so thing. My list was as follows (and knocked off very quickly since I completely forgot about the deadline till the last minute), and their overall rank in the ILB poll in brackets:
1. The National (2)
2. Okkervil River (24)
3. Wilco (36)
4. Crooked Fingers (20)
5. The Mountain Goats (11)
6. My Morning Jacket (12)
7. Sufjan Stevens (1)
8. The Decemberists (9)
9. Explosions In The Sky (40)
10. Spoon (10)
There shouldn’t be any surprises there. The final tally over at ILB does raise some eyebrows (if you’re the eyebrow raising type). I didn’t expect Sufjan to be ranked so high, I figured that there’d been plenty of time for the media saturation backlash to kick in and maybe take him down a few notches. And Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin at 29? Been stuffing the ballot box, Ryan? Naturally, there’s some good-natured debate in the comments section about the “long-term importance” versus “what have you done lately?” angle, but I favour the latter (which, incidentally, is what Kyle asked for in the first place) because it makes for a more varied and interesting list. And if you open it up to career achievements, then you can argue where is Nirvana? Or CCR? Or The Monkees? No, I think keeping it to the here and now not only gives some newer artists a shot at some exposure, but it’s also in keeping with the capricious and ADD-addled nature of most music bloggers… Ooh, shiny new buzz band! Gimme! The comments are also amusing for demonstrating that some people simply have no concept of geography, and what is and is not part of America. If you like a good old fashioned bitch session, check out the respective sites of each of the contributers, whom Leafblower has graciously linked in the post. Most have blogged their nominations (as I have), and their own follow-up comments are just as entertaining.
One Billboard scribe ponders the pressures of the music writer’s year-end list. I empathize. My own process is as follows, I keep a running list of everything I get for a calendar year, and every few months when I’m bored, I’ll take a look at the list and identify what have been my favourite records of the year to that point, knowing full well that in a couple months I could totally be burned out on it. And so by this point in the year, when most of the albums I plan on get this year have been released, it’s usually pretty obvious what my top records are. I’ve avoided ranking records in the past because that seems like a silly thing to try and quantify, but I’m thinking about it if just to properly highlight my absolute favourites – after the first three or four, however, it becomes pretty much an even playing field. I’m aiming to have it all done and wrapped up by mid-December, though you don’t have to be a MENSA member to look at my list above and figure what my album list is going to look like.
And speaking of year-end kudos, Billboard reports that this year’s Shortlist Of Music prize will not be awarded, but a Shortlist-alike prize called the New Pantheon based on similar criteria will be happening sometime soon. Pitchfork has details on the new award for bands that don’t sell many records.
NME directs us this Coca-Cola promotional site to hear a new Flaming Lips from their upcoming album At War With The Mystics. It’s not really the whole song, just an exerpt that’s used to soundtrack some cool animation of a robot party. But everyone likes a robot party.
EachNoteSecure has the b-sides from Spoon’s Sister Jack single – every time I see “John McEntire remix”, I think “John McEnroe remix”. Don’t tell me you wouldn’t want to hear that. Also, the West Coast gives spoon some media love – The East Bay Express and San Diego City Beat both have features.
Panda Canoe has the video for “Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)”, the first video from Broken Social Scene’s new album. Kevin Drew in tighty-whities was not something I *ever* needed to see. And now that innocence is gone. Alas. Also, JAM! talks to Brendan Canning.
np – Interpol / Turn On The Bright Lights