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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.

Supergrass’ North American Road To Rouen tour starts off right here in Toronto on February 6 at the Kool Haus, tickets $23.50. Full dates and thoughts from Gaz at Billboard.

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.

Torontoist week in shows – featuring The Hidden Cameras!

np – Interpol / Turn On The Bright Lights

By : Frank Yang at 8:47 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Ryan Catbird says:

    I think someone with mathematical knowledge should be able to figure out the whole judging-point system based on my pick of Yeltsin as #1 translating to an overall list position of #29. Is that information to go on? Like for an x=y over z thing? ‘Cause, don’t ask me man, Algebra II was like 17 years ago for me.

  2. Chris says:

    Sorry, this has absolutely nothing to do with today’s entry, but I found this artist and I think everyone who reads chromewaves would really enjoy him..lets just say that if you have ever pondered "what would rod stewart have looked like as a stormtrooper?" or "What ever happened to that giant squid that Micheal Landon was taking care of?", then this cat has all the answers. (Also featuring Christopher Walken building a robot and Bea Arthur wrestling a raptor…I kid you not).

    http://…/

  3. suckingalemon says:

    I got an email from a music blogger who is doing a similar thing but with canadian artists.

    that list is pretty good.

    im glad out hud and antony are on there. however it is missing my favorite american band of ’05 (akron/family).

    cheers

  4. Joe says:

    sorry, had to kill the spoon tracks, merge came a callin….

  5. Frank says:

    I figured they would. I just wanted to use the McEnroe line.

  6. jeremyw says:

    I feel totally out of the loop. How is it that I’ve never even *heard* of the National? I know the other bands…

  7. chris says:

    I hear ya on that McEnroe call. But Spoon 10? You cannot be serious!

  8. Coolfer-and-Pitchfork-are-evil says:

    let me make a big SHOCKING prediction: Sufjan Stevens will be in about 80% of all lists you read online. my powers of prediction are amazing.

    b o r i ng. lots of lemmings out there.

  9. thomaus says:

    What’s up with that list? Frank — don’t you speak blurb? You didn’t get quoted on anything. Is is Canadian discrimination?

    I have to second Green Day, because this year my kids went from liking Kelly Clarkson to loving Green Day. That is proof they are worthy.

    The BSS video. Proof that the video is a dead art form?

  10. Frank says:

    Chris – Spoon at 10 too high or too low? What can I say, I liked Gimme Fiction but not as much as the last two records, and one of the two shows I saw this year was really great, the other just okay. I stand by my 10.

    Lemmings schmemmings – there is no collusion in list-making. I liked what I liked. There’s a helluva lot of stuff that is equally hyped that I have zero interest in.

    I don’t do blurb. I barely got that list together.

  11. chris says:

    well, Spoon somewhat broke out, then made us all think Prince, plus their sheer amount of touring, I would give them a single digit. i hear you on the okay show, but i saw the best show of my life by sigur ros a while ago but i wouldn’t put them in the top 10, cause i didn’t like the album that much.

  12. Willy B says:

    I’m with Coolfer… – I don’t get the Sufjan Stevens hype. I mean he’s okay…

    Of course people were saying that about the Decemberists two years ago, and I adored them…

  13. chris says:

    I’ve intentionally avoided both Sufjan and the Decemberists and I will continue to do so until one of them covers Yanni

  14. Willy B says:

    Yanni! Ha!

    I once watched one of his concerts on PBS and was magically enthralled. Couldn’t change the channel. I felt excited and ashamed at the same time.

    It was exhilarating.

  15. Dave says:

    good work with the National. Nice to see them so high in the overall list, too.