Second Two Thousand and Five***
Happy Holidaze! As a special present, you don't have to look at
any of my photos as I've been too busy (or
too lazy, depending on how you want to present it) to scan in my latest
batch. So instead, download some
WKRP Presents! Year-End "Best of" List Extravaganza!!!
Continuing with the list, here's my top ten records...
1. Okkervil River
- Black Sheep Boy
This has been one of my favorite
bands over the last couple of years, and I’ve nearly worn out my copy
Don’t Fall in Love with Everyone
You See”, but I was not prepared for them to step it up so much for
newest full length “Black Sheep
Boy”. It not only gets my nod for best record of the year, but
the track “The
Latest Toughs” would be my
choice for best song of the year as well - I’m pretty sure I’ve had it
on here in
the past but I uploaded it
again for shits and giggles, see below. In addition, you can
download a number
of great songs by them here on their website,
both old and new (notably featuring the two other best tracks
from this album, "For Real" and
Also, let it be noted that
this choice was highly influenced by the band’s live show as well - I
saw them twice
this year and left the venue
dumbfounded with the awesomeness I had witnessed.
- The Latest Toughs -
God - S/T
This record was only a hair-shy
of taking the top spot itself. Everything the Notwist has touched
over the last
few years has come out golden;
teaming them with local underground hip-hoppers Themselves only makes
more rad... super golden…
platinum maybe? I saw these two groups tour together and they
finished the set
with some Transformers-style
conjoined super group that knocked my socks off, but I never would have
guessed they would create such a
magnificent album from that idea. This record is a particularly
to pick a favorite from…but if
push came to shove I would probably pick “Afterclap”, and that’s why it
uploaded below. Another
great track "Men of Station" is available on their label website Anticon, just click
on the "Media" tab.
- Afterclap -
3. Constantines -
Tournament of Hearts
Let it be said that while this
record isn’t as good as their self-titled debut or the sophomore
a Light”, it’s still a damn fine
listen and features my second favorite song of the year “Soon Enough”,
finds the group at their most
introspective (and most Bruce Springsteen as well). Without a
doubt, even a
subpar Constantines record
is better than 99.9% of the other music that gets released every year.
"Love in Fear" over at Subpop,
along with some older material, and try the aforementioned "Soon
- Soon Enough -
4. M83 - Before the Dawn
It’s pretty interesting that this
album not only made my list, but so high up on it. I received
this to review for
Shredding Paper, and I didn’t
much like it at all, and I think my review reflected that. Then I
listened to it a
couple of more times, and it was
a little better but still very “meh”. Then, maybe a month later,
I got the urge
to listen to it again, and
it hit me like a bolt of lightening, the glory that is M83. the
record as a whole is rather
uneven and might have been
the reason it took me so long to come around, but the positive parts
unbelievably good that any
negatives are washed away like bum piss on a rainy day in San
can listen to the entire album on
their website, but here is my favorite track in a downloadble form.
- Asterick -
5. Sigur Ros - Takk
Yeah, you still have no idea what
the fuck the singer is talking about but goddam if they don’t write
pretty music. Where “()”
started drifting off into an almost ambient territory, “Takk” does a
u-turn right back
to the more rock-styled leanings
of “Agaetis Byrjun” with what is probably their most accessible work
“Saeglopur” would probably
figure as my favorite track, sounding almost Mogwai-like, but I’m
instead as it’s a more manageable file-size (and, um, cause I have it
here in front of me ready to go).
You can also check out their website for tons of older
- Hoppipolla -
Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary
This is one that the “hype
machine” got right - Wolf Parade put out a brilliant album in
The popular touch-
stones that everyone compares
them to are there, namely Modest Mouse and The Talking Heads, but you’d
hardpressed to prove that they
actually sound like these bands. Young, talented and Canadian,
they might as
well have a golden ticket to the
Wonka factory cause they are set. There are a couple of tracks to
grab over at Subpop
and my favorite is below.
- I'll Believe in Anything
7. The Rosebuds - Birds
Make Good Neighbors
Admittedly, I’m probably biased
with this choice since they are good friends of mine, but “Birds Make
Neighbors” is a fantastic pop
album anyway you slice it. They’ve taken the genre of “friend
rock” to a whole
new level in my world. This
album is much more mature and the songwriting is the strongest it’s
ever been - I
see big and bright things in the
future for Ivan & Kelly. I would upload my two favorite
songs “Leaves Do Fall”
and “Bluebird” but it just
so happens you can download them from the band’s website
get to be lazy and
not upload them.
- Black Forest
I’m going to be honest - I
haven’t listened to this album a ton lately. But for the first
half of this year, I couldn’t
get enough of it. I’ve
liked everything the A-Frames have released, but this is the best so
far, or at least the
catchiest, and I like music with
hooks. “Death Train” is such a fantastic departure for them, and
another of my
very favorite songs to come out
this year. You can listen to it below if you don’t believe me.
Also, the Subpop
site has a couple of other tracks
from the album, "Galena" and "Experiment".
- Death Train -
9. High on Fire - Blessed
Simply put, High on Fire are the
best metal band in existence today. The only band that comes
Mastodon and they didn’t put out
a record this year. Is it even possible that this group is
better than Matt Pike’s
legendary group, Sleep? I
propose it is definitely possible, and this album is a big step in that
There are a number of older mp3s
downloadable from website, and I've put the second track here.
- The Face of Oblivion -
10. My Morning Jacket
This falls in the same category
as the Constantines - not my favorite release by the group, but still
than what most groups consider
their best output. I do appreciate their attempt at doing
even if it is at the expense of
what made the band so great in my book - Jim James and his soaring
There are still enough great
tracks on this to round out my top ten, and below is one of my
- Anytime -
***December Eighth Two Thousand and Five***
Hey, look what I found in a photoshop contest over at Fark.com! I
don't care for that dog though.
These guys rock. Oakland-based trio that are full of squawky
goodness, go see them live if you ever get a
chance. These pics are from a matinee show they played with
Condor (see previous entry) a few months
back. You can take a listen to them at their website.
Also: I found this
photo portfolio to be extremely fascinating - the topic of
inner-cty youth and "council estates"
in London has always held my attention. Make sure you view with
the sound up - it has a dialogue by the
photographer that tracks along with the slideshow that's well
WKRP Presents! Year-End "Best of" List Extravaganza!!!
I recently put together a list of my top 25 favorite records on the
year...first up: the 11-25 picks, or the "honorable
mentions" to the top 10 list that will be put up next entry.
11. Low - The
This is not my favorite
Low album - that prize would go to 1996's "The Curtain Hits the Cast"
- but it is a very
good album. It's a more
"rocking" version of Low, but still very distinctively what you expect
from this trio
(now duo since Zak Sally recently
resigned from the group). Visit their Subpop
site to grab a couple of
MP3s and check out some
videos. There is also some older materials on the band's website.
12. M.O.T.O. - Raw Power
M.O.T.O. are proof positive that
most of the time, the simpler a song is the better it is. Don't
Download the song I uploaded, or
more importantly, download "Dance Dance Dance Dance Dance to the
Radio" and all of the other older
tracks from their website.
- 2-4-6-8 Rock'n Roll -
13. Palaxy Tracks -
I've seen very little press about
this Austin group, which is a shame because both this album and their
earlier release "Cederland" are
gorgeous affairs, filled with mellow pop hooks that remind me of
Czars and I like to be eminded of
the Czars. Insound
has both a track from this album as well as one
from "Cederland", and I've also
uploaded my favorite song as well.
- The Wasp -
14. Oranger - New Comes and
Seems like I've written
this a thousand times in a as many differnet places, but I never
thought much of
Oranger until this album.
But this record is so good it's got me reconsidering that I was
either too high or
not high enough to appreciate
what this SF-based act brought to the table. Or maybe I'm just
the high-quality pop music these
days. See the Eenie
Meenie Records site for a couple of tracks from
15. Starflyer 59 - Talking
Voice vs. Singing Voice
Starflyer 59 are like an old
friend - always steady, always there for you when you need them.
put out anything that blew me
away since "The Fashion Focus", but everything they put out is of a
has a download of the track "Good Sons", the most
commercially-accessible track they've
put out in a while, and
I've also included my fave of the album.
- The Contest Completed -
16. Teenage Fanclub -
You can pretty much repeat what I
said about Starflyer 59 here, only replace "The Fashion Focus" with
"Tales from Northern Britain" and
know that that album is probably in my top 5 of all time. The
always be one of my very
favoritest bands. The Merge
website will let you stream three tracks, and I've
added a download of my favorite
below. Also see the bands website for some classic Fanclub action.
- Time Stops -
17. Sage Francis - A
Like 13+ God, Sage Francis
combines indie rock-based music and intelligent hip-hop to create a
that really gooses my
gander. The second track on this album, Sea Lion (linked below)
is one of my
favorite songs of the year; even
if the rest of the album sucked, this song is so great it would
warrant a listing in my top 25.
- Sea Lion -
18. BBQ - Tie Your Noose
This Montreal-based one-man band
packs more rock and hooks into his songs than 2 dozen NME-backed
hipster one-hit wonders.
This album is so wonderfully lo-fi you’d think it was a relic from the
turn of the last
century, recorded by Alan Lomax
when he was on his field recording binges. Go to the MP3 page of his
website for tons of downloads
from this album and others.
Also: there will be photos of the
King Khan & BBQ Show posted soon, as I recently caught their live
and it ruled with a fierceness.
Next entry hopefully.
Jews - Tanglewood Numbers
This Silver Jews album didn’t win
me over instantly has David Berman’s previous releases have…but
I gave it a fair shake it proved
to hold a wealth of enjoyable listens within. That Berman has a
way with words
that most songwriters would give
an arm or a leg or a nut for, assuming they had a nut to give. Or
an arm. Or
a leg. The song “Sometimes a Pony Gets
Depressed” still makes me smile every time I hear it, and I've in-
cluded it below. You can
also check out this site
for some older downloads.
- Sometimes a Pony Gets Depressed -
20. Acid House Kings
- Sing Along with Acid House Kings
This album was so instantly
catchy and obviously Swedish it would be hard not to like it. I
put off listening to
this band for ages based
solely on their name - for some reason bad club/rave music was my
But no! it is catchy
Cardigans-meets-Belle and Sebastian twee pop that makes me long for
my college days
when I used to drown in this sort
of music; the cool winter air of North Carolina, all bundled up
walking around that brick-laden
campus with my headphones acting as earmuffs, on my way to class.
that sounds like a Gap
commercial, you can go ahead and shoot me now.
The "downloads" tab of the band's
website has some songs for grabbing...I would upload my favorite track,
"Do What You Wanna Do", but it's
already there on their website.
21. Moggs - The White Belt Is
Not only one of my favorite
records of the year, but super nice folks as well. They've gotten
a lot of compar-
isons to Sonic Youth and
Unwound, and I'd be hard pressed to argue with that. This album
almost feels like
"classic" indie rock of the
mid-90s, but still feels fresh and current at the same time. You
can stream some
of their tracks at their
MySpace page, and download
track "Disco" over on their label's site, Absolutely Kosher.
22. Say Hi To Your
Mom - Ferocious Mopes
I've had a couple of SHTYM's
records for a while, but they never struck a chord with me until I saw
perform live earlier this year.
It's fuzzy pop music, plain and simple, and quite enjoyable.
What more can
you say? There's a
few songs for download on their website, and I've put my favorite below.
- Poor Pete Is a Bit Self
Bellakun - Bendicion Maldita
These Texican dudes win my award
for "Best Unknown Band That Sounds Like Three Mile Pilot". Cause
they do. And that's ok with
me, cause they do it well. Their label website has three
tracks from this album
and even some from their
EP that came out earlier, also a good release.
24. Old Canes - Early
Another artist that has
gotten surprisingly little press that I've seen - Old Canes is a side
project of the singer
of the Appleseed Cast,
Christopher Crisci. It doesn't sound much like his main act, but
rock outing with some slight folk
and country leanings. This site has
songs to download, and the
official site has my favorite
song for free, "Face It"
- another nominee for best song of the year.
25. The Bloodthirsty
Lovers - The Delicate Seam
On their second album this indie rock supergroup
(members of The Grifters, Big Ass Truck, The Dambuilders
and a guest spot from Katie of
Young People) finally came into their own, and boy does it sound good.
They have one of those instantly
recognizable sounds, sorta like the Secret Machines - 70's bombast and
glam in a modern package.
You can rab a couple of tracks from their label French Kiss,
my favorite track below.
- Stiltwalker's Local no.