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Sunday, December 11th, 2005

At Least That's What You Said (Remix)

No Sunday cleaning today – instead, consider this a warm-up to the proper year-end list, coming tomorrow (barring catastrophe). I’m revisiting my year-end list for 2004 and while I’m not going to revise it – I’m happy to report that every one of those records still holds up as a favourite a year later – I do want to make an addendum to account for the 2004 albums that I only discovered this past year. It’s inevitable that a lot of good stuff would be missed over the course of a year, and a goodly amount of ’05 time has been spent playing catch-up. So, in the interests of giving these excellent records their due respect, I’ve compiled an appendix of records released last year that have been keeping me company this year. And in proper clips episode fashion, I’ll just recap what I wrote about them earlier this year when I blogged about ’em. Be sure to come back tomorrow for my proper ’05 retrospective… assuming I get my shit together in time.

Explosions In The Sky
The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place
Temporary Residence

MP3: “The Only Moment We’re Alone” (Peel Session via With Tired Eyes)

“I was finally exposed to EITS a couple months ago when a friend lent me a copy of The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place and it’s still blowing my mind. I actually had to force myself to return the album as quickly as possible and buy my own so as to not wear it out. Yes, they’re an instrumental “post-rock” guitar band but while the aforementioned surly Scots prefer the more visceral, “kick you in the head and bludgeon you while you’re down” dynamic to get their musical point across, I find Explosions to be more compelling and involving, musically – it’s more orchestrated, refined and overall sophisticated. Different bands for different moods, see? They even got a thumbs up from Austin symphony composer Peter Bay for their modern classicist leanings. It boggles my mind that this music comes from just four individuals. It’s just beautiful.” (Original post)

January
Motion Sickness
Must Destroy Music

MP3: “Someone”

“It was last March I made a random query about whatever became of January… they recorded a follow-up in 2002, but the band imploded and the sophomore release, Motion Sickness, remained shelved until last year. Which is a damn shame because it’s as good as the first record, continuing to blend space rock-approved sonics with a healthy dollop of country twang. Both albums are even structured similarly, each featuring a massive-sounding centrepiece (“Falling In” on the debut, “Sandwood” on the second album) that more than quench my thirst for all things epic, surrounded by quieter, textured pieces of shoegazey-folk…They didn’t get loud very often, but when they did it was amazing.” (Original post)

The Oktober People
The Oktober People
independent

MP3: “Blue Collar Butterfly”

“Now let’s be honest – usually when someone hands you a free CD, the odds of it actually impressing are pretty slim. So when I finally popped it into my CD player at the airport on Sunday, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself very impressed with what I was hearing. Musically, their serpentine, echoed guitar lines and loping bass melodies recall Mogwai and Explosions In The Sky, and while the loud-quiet dynamic is present, it’s not the punchline. There’s also some Verve-like atmospherics enevloping everything and many of the songs have vocals that keep them fairly grounded in more conventional song structures rather than multi-movement compositions (though some do approach epic-length). The quality of those vocals – somewhat frail and spidery, like Deserters Songs-era Mercury Rev – work perfectly with the music. There’s nothing blazingly original in the ingredients that The Oktober People work with, but the end result is quite stunning nonetheless. If you couldn’t tell, I’m quite taken with their work.” (Original post)

The Radio Dept.
Lesser Matters
Labrador

MP3: “Why Won’t You Talk About It?”

“I owe Mystery & Misery a big heapum thanks for introducing me to The Radio Dept (XL Recordings artist page). I was hankering for something new and his post on these Swedes was just what the doctor ordered. To my ears, they’re the perfect mix of Belle & Sebastian folksy tweeness, eclectic Boo Radleys-ish pop, the gentle electronic flourishes of Trembling Blue Stars and a healthy dollop of Jesus & Mary Chain-approved fuzztones – a perfect mix of grit and delicacy. It’s like being wrapped in a warm, static-y blanket with soft boy-girl vocals… Despite being wonderfully poppy, it took a little time for it to properly sink into my consciousness but now it’s definitely in heavy rotation – highly recommended.” (Original post)

Shearwater
Winged Life
Misra

MP3: “The World In 1984”

“All I knew about Austin’s Shearwater was that they share some members with Okkervil River, an act about whom I know about as much as I do about Shearwater… I was, however, immediately taken in by their hauntingly fragile country-pop. Some random reference points would be Misra label-mates Centro-Matic and Sparklehorse with a dash of recent Wilco thrown in for good measure – not much surprise then, that I liked them a lot. The sonic cacaphony that closed out their set sounded very Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, and while it sounded a little out of place with the delicacy of the rest of their set, I applaud the effort to bring a little more to the table. I picked up a copy of their latest full-length, Winged Life, and hope it measures up to the live show.” (Original post and follow-up)

np – Billy Bragg / Reaching To The Converted

By : Frank Yang at 10:00 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Five Seventeen says:

    You failed to point to your six-month ago list for hints on this years list. http://www.chromewaves.net/

    I, too, had real problems with creating my year end list. I’m very interested to see yours…