Saturday, January 01, 2005

Best of 2004 - the countdown!

25. Giant Sand - Is All Over ...the Map
It's Howe Gelb and he plays piano and sings like Howe Gelb. There is life without Calexico. phew.

24. Castanets - Cathedral
What the Fuck? Here's the fuck: Dark Brooding yet Bouncy then some crazy dance beat makes you shake yr ass then it's all cruelly snatched away from you.

23. Animal Collective - Sung Tongs
I'm cheating with this, I've only heard songs here and there, whilst waiting for the vinyl to appear. But what I've heard is that.... imagine that the beach boys recorded some stuff today and really did a lot cooler drugs than they did the first time around. and didn't give a crap about the beach.

22. Matthew Sweet - Living Things
No, I'm not going to put that damn new SMiLE on my list, I'm going to put the better SMiLE rip off on here. I would not count this among Matthew's best, but it has its moments and charms, and the songs sound great LIVE with a GODDAMMED ELECTRIC GUITAR!

21. Elliott Smith - Basement on a Hill
I'd probably rate it higher if it didn't make me too sad to listen.

20. Elvis Costello - Delivery Man
It's a good Elvis album. Some memorable stuff.

19. AC Newman - Slow Wonder
Sounds kinda New Pornos-y. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

18. Mission of Burma - onOFFon
The "Are you psyched, are you high?" song is worth $12.99 alone.

17. Tom Waits - Real Gone
Why is this album getting such polarized reviews? I really really dig it. At least he's not doing the same ol same ol after so many years.

16. Carolyn Mark - Pros and Cons of Collaboration
A near perfect lil' masterpiece of an album. Clever lyrics that don't annoy you, a powerful voice, and a song about a friend of mine. hmm.

15. Sloan - Action Pact
I know I complained about the last one being an arena rock album, but this one totally is, and I'm not complaining about it. They're making better Kiss songs that Kiss do now.

14. TV on the Radio - Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes
hurrah, a new band doing something different.

13. Richard Buckner - Dents and Shells
I just want to give Richard Buckner a hug, but he'd probably punch me.

12. Iron and Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days
sigh, production. still a good album.

11. Sonic Youth - Sonic Nurse
ROCK. GUITARS. ROCK. they aren't really youth anymore, but they still make great records.

10. Two Cow Garage - Wall Against Our Backs
The best young indie band in america right now. Three guys who know how to ROCK, and mean it.

9. Finn Brothers - Everyone is Here
Go ahead and laugh. The first Finn Bros. record is not one I go back to very often, but they finally match the work they did together on Crowded House's Woodface with this one. A very solid beautiful pop record.

8. Ted Leo - Shake the Sheets
Ahhh Ted Leo, rock with a conscience. If Green Day can crack many people's top ten, why the hell didn't they give this a chance?

7. the Sadies - Favourite Colours
I've always liked the Sadies, but I think they FINALLY made the perfect lil' record with this one. It flows!

6. Loretta Lynn - Van Lear Rose
This is a no brainer. I was certainly skeptical of a Jack White produced album from the Coal Miner's Daughter, but I'll be damned if they didn't make a really amazing country album. It's inspiring that she's still writing these wonderful gems of songs. She nails the rocker (Portland, Oregon) the ballad (Miss Being Mrs.) and everything inbetween. Even the spoken word goofiness.

5. Califone - Heron King Blues
The next 3 (starting with this one) on my list are by artists who placed in my top 10 in recent memory, but i don't like these albums AS much... that said, I probably don't like this one as much as QS/CS but it certainly is good. I love the disco-funk of Two Sisters, so I think that alone made this one rise to #5. You can listen to something here.

4. Bobby Bare Jr. - From the End of Your Leash
i think i HATED this one on first listen. Almost didn't give it another chance, but then again I think I hated "YCSL" at first too. His music infects you or something. Music City has the cutest lyrics ever. Man, I'm not doing a good job of pushing this, am I. You can listen to a couple songs through the Bloodshot site.

3. Wilco - A Ghost is Born
You're shocked that's it not number 1, aren't you. I feel like a traitor placing this so low, but there's just something about it that doesn't gel for me. I truly feel that YHF was such the perfect album with amazing pacing, and this one has too many stops and starts. HOWEVER it is a great singles album. I really adore Theologians, Late Greats, Hummingbird, I'm a Wheel, Handshake Drugs... I just don't love the rest as much as I think I should.

2. Joanna Newsom - Milk-Eyed Mender
Man, this was a tough call. Joanna almost made it to #1, but one thing kept her down, frickin' Will Oldham. The second to last song is just a STINKER (she didn't write it to her defense) but OMG the rest is a beautiful fluffy cloud that you were taken to on the back of a unicorn spewing glitter and daisies. Imagine Bjork gone totally primal, playing a harp, but cooler than that even!! I listen to this record in my room with the lights off and feel okay! Watch her video here.

1. Sufjan Stevens - 7 Swans
Why oh why did I not jump on the Sufjan wagon last year when MI came out? What a thing of beauty this album is, and Sufjan is!! swoon, okay no really. A lot is said about "oh he's all into god and stuff" but I don't feel like any dogma is being crammed down my throat. On the contrary, I think it paints a positive picture of Xtianity. If Jesus can inspire something this beautiful then maybe he's okay. Don't get me wrong, I'm not being born again or anything... but the god thing is not a deterrent. He's got his own kind of mellow sound going, and there's not a single stinker on the album. For example, this song. Congrats Sufjan, YOU ARE NUMBER ONE!