= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
                                questions/comments/concerns-email thomas.magnum at

                                                          all contents copyright Jake Thomas

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =         
                                              Movie Reviews

Photo Archive:       +++People+++       +++Places+++       +++Bands+++       +++Mouse!+++

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
                                       Message Board                                          Photo Journal
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

***December Twenty 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 of “
        Don’t Fall in Love with Everyone You See”, but I was not prepared for them to step it up so much for their
        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 "Black").

        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 - 

2. 13+ 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 it
        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 tough one
        to pick a favorite from…but if push came to shove I would probably pick “Afterclap”, and that’s why it got
        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 follow-up “Shine
        a Light”, it’s still a damn fine listen and features my second favorite song of the year “Soon Enough”, which
        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.  Grab
        "Love in Fear" over at Subpop, along with some older material, and try the aforementioned "Soon Enough"
         - Soon Enough -

4. M83 - Before the Dawn Heals Us
        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 are so
        unbelievably good that any negatives are washed away like bum piss on a rainy day in San Francisco. You
        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 some
        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 to date. 
        “Saeglopur” would probably figure as my favorite track, sounding almost Mogwai-like, but I’m uploading my
        second-favorite “Hoppipolla” instead as it’s a more manageable file-size (and, um, cause I have it sitting right
        here in front of me ready to go).   You can also check out their website for tons of older songs.
         - Hoppipolla - 

6. Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary
        This is one that the “hype machine” got right - Wolf Parade put out a brilliant album in 2005.  The popular touch-
        stones that everyone compares them to are there, namely Modest Mouse and The Talking Heads, but you’d be
        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 Good
        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 and I get to be lazy and
        not upload them.

8. A-Frames - 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 Black Wings
        Simply put, High on Fire are the best metal band in existence today.  The only band that comes close is
        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 direction.
        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 - Z
        This falls in the same category as the Constantines - not my favorite release by the group, but still much better
        than what most groups consider their best output.  I do appreciate their attempt at doing something different,
        even if it is at the expense of what made the band so great in my book - Jim James and his soaring vocals.  
        There are still enough great tracks on this to round out my top ten, and below is one of my favorites.  
         - Anytime -

***December Eighth Two Thousand and Five***

Hey, look what I found in a photoshop contest over at!  I don't care for that dog though.

Experimental Dental School

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 interesting.


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 Great Destroyer
        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 believe me?
        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 - Twelve Rooms
        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 the
        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 Goes
        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 more into
        the high-quality pop music these days.  See the Eenie Meenie Records site for a couple of tracks from
        this release.

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.  They haven't
        put out anything that blew me away since "The Fashion Focus", but everything they put out is of a very high
        quality.  Insound 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 - Man-Made
        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 Fanclub will
        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 Healthy Distrust
        Like 13+ God, Sage Francis combines indie rock-based music and intelligent hip-hop to create a hybrid
        that really gooses my gander.  The second track on this album, Sea Lion (linked below) is one of my top 5
        favorite songs of the year; even if the rest of the album sucked, this song is so great it would probably
        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 show
        and it ruled with a fierceness.  Next entry hopefully.

19. Silver Jews - Tanglewood Numbers
        This Silver Jews album didn’t win me over instantly has David Berman’s previous releases have…but once
        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 assumed sound. 
        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 in sweaters
        walking around that brick-laden campus with my headphones acting as earmuffs, on my way to class.  Fuck,
        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 Enough
        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 the track "Disco" over on their label's site, Absolutely

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 them
        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 Concious -

23. The 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 Morning Hymns
        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 is rather a rootsy
        rock outing with some slight folk and country leanings.  This site has three 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, and I've uploaded
        my favorite track below.
         - Stiltwalker's Local no. 119 -


Archive - November 2005         October 2005              September 2005
                  August 2005               July 2005                     June 2005                 May 2005                 
                  April 2005                    March 2005                 February 2005         January 2005         
                  December 2004         November 2004         October 2004           September 2004