Friday, December 30, 2005

you know what? i went back and actually put a lot of thought into my list. so here are my top 25 records of 2005. it's a manageable number, i think, and not ridiculous. so here goes.

1. sufjan stevens - illinois
2. kanye west - late registration
3. the decemberists - picaresque
4. devendra banhart - cripple crow
5. fiona apple - extraordinary machine
6. the mountain goats - the sunset tree
7. broken social scene - s/t
8. akron/family - s/t
9. animal collective - feels
10. franz ferdinand - you could have it so much better
11. iron & wine - woman king
12. the white stripes - get behind me satan
13. nine inch nails - with teeth
14. common - be
15. daft punk - human after all
16. four tet - everything ecstatic
17. the books - lost and safe
18. quasimoto - the further adventures of lord quas
19. lcd soundsystem - s/t
20. blackalicious - the craft
21. feist - let it die
22. wolf parade - apologies to the queen mary
23. lightning bolt - hypermagic mountain
24. gorillaz - demon days
25. lemon jelly - 64 - 95

now tear me a new one.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

If you talked to me since this summer, you've likely heard me either praise or recommend jamie lidell's 2005 release "Multiply." While Jamie is signed to warp records, a predominately electronic label with such heavyweights as Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin, and Squarepusher, his album is comprised of melodious R&B singles with a retro flare. I think this album is for everyone.

also notable:

Sleater-Kinney The Woods
Akron/Family S/T
Broadcast Tender Buttons
Ladytron The Witching Hour
M83 Before the Dawn Heals Us

I'm pretty sure every other album I've liked has been mentioned. And although I haven't listened to Common's newest album "Be," I must say that I love his single "Testify."


we like birdland.

Best Reissue:
Patti Smith – Horses (30th Anniversary)

Poetry, poetry, rock and roll, and poetry, not to mention an inspiration to female musicians forever etc. To be fair, I chose this mostly because it is my favorite album of all time anyway (uh, weighty statement).

Patti Smith - Gloria

There have been so many comprehensive and well-thought out lists on here... I don’t think anyone wants a top five/ten/681 albums list from me.
That's my excuse for not having one. But I really liked these:

Broken Social Scene – s/t
Kanye West – Late Registration
Sigur Rós - Takk...
Fiery Furnaces – Rehearsing My Choir. There are so many mixed reviews on this one… but I love it because it got my attention. I always thought The Fiery Furnaces were good and cool and nice and everything, but I never felt compelled to listen to any of their albums all the way through. Now I do, because the sheer originality of “Rehearsing My Choir” intrigued me so damn much. I love it when that happens.

This is in honor of Clinton who didn’t have time to put it up, because I’m not sleepy at 5 AM and thus have all the time in the world:

The Fiery Furnaces - Seven Silver Curses

-sarah n.

press again

From (9/9/05):

"Amidst the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, many mainstream journalists seemed to display a skepticism towards official statements and government spinning that has been absent for much of the last five years. While a press corps that openly challenges the political elite would be a positive development, readers and viewers should question why reporters who are demonstrably angry and are covering this story aggressively have been so rarely moved by other events. What if there was widespread media outrage about White House fabrications about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction? What if reporters were similarly outraged by the destruction of Iraqi cities like Fallujah, where civilians who survived the siege had to live without power and drinking water?"

Full article

-sarah n.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

But really, th' best

I don't much care for Wolf Parade, nor for Britney Spears' famous uterine expulsion. My only opinion on such ordinary lucre is that it deserves no opinion. For the rest of 2005's musical litter, I have many thoughts which I plan to make very public very soon, arrid humor in tow. For now, I will say that the KRLX "best of..." show would be remiss not to include in their programme such bands as the Boredoms, who's masterpiece Seadrum/House of Sun has finally been made available to the continental buyer, and Six Organs of Admittance, who hath given us much in the way of haunting noise and dusky, mindful folk. Don't forget Dinosaur Jr--awesome live, and their reissue of You're Living All Over Me is ballsy, brother, ballsy stuff. Furthermore: the Wilderness, the conspicuous Gang Gang Dance, and the peculiar new Battles release. I hope this tides you 'til more focused days. Au revoire.


two grand and five

one more elvis costello reissue (thank you rhino), gang of four reissue, dinosaur jr. reissues, and kate bush's return. alright. this year saw the return of rhino working their way through the elvis costello catalogue, rereleasing his favorite album at last, king of america. another big moment was Aerial, Kate Bush's first album in 13 years and a double album at that. it's got a lot of the great, crazy shit we've grown to expect from her.

a huge thank you goes to the fiery furnaces, who kept us listening with crazy tales, factual and fictional, about grandma furnace on rehearsing my choir. plus. they started the year with a great, but less coherent effort, EP. if you're looking to get a taste of rehearsing my choir check out seven silver curses. i wish i had the time to put it up here for the sampling. keep your ears open for bitter tea sometime in the beginning of 2006.

the best show i saw this year was definitely coachella. the highlights being gang of four, fiery furnaces, and arcade fire. i liked the futureheads too.

other albums i liked from 2005 include:
super furry animals: love kraft
my morning jacket: z

~Clinton N Peterson

adam carr part one

as i can't sit still long enough to listen to two tracks in a row from a music group, i don't feel as if i'm qualified to really write anything about albums or full lengths or eps or anything like that. however, i can throw my weight behind some singles from this past year without feeling too much guilt.

electronic and dance

hot chip: "over and over-" although this song is but a 2005 babe- being ripped from its family's arms at the beginning of december with a mouthful of sweet mother's milk- it's actually the best song ever. really. it's the best song in the history of human existence. you might be skeptical. you shouldn't be. they start by putting down one of those ramshackle rhythm sections that seems to be so popular these days. alright. then they introduce one of those dissonant, widdling keyboard lines. it makes you wonder where these kids could possibly be headed. where you ask? to a bass line that somehow rips everything to shreds and puts it back together again. they turns on the funk, they turns on the hip, and they spills out four onto the floor. in this really excellent manner, they continue for a bit. they're even pretty good singers. eventually, they let you rest your calf muscles while they rest their musical instruments for a short interval. then, they pick up their tools and crank a guitar solo that makes you wonder how they could have saved it for the last two fifths of the song. you're not mad at them though. in fact, you now know you're in love with your place in human history.

lindstrom: "i feel space-" the constant hand-holders lindstrom and prins thomas didn't manage a shining star on their recent album but lindstrom had no trouble at all with this track. you might wonder whether if he intended this song for humans. it's rare that a song has so little to do with the species it belongs to. any life form for that matter. the title, "i feel space," is perfect. he carries the space disco torch of giorgio morroder and cerrone without apology. he not only spearheads their aesthetic, but he pushes it. everything's here. the hard beats, rolling electronics, pulsating melodies, and funky martian bongos. there's something so detached and cold about it all, but it still manages to grab.

vitalic: "poney, pt. 1" and "poney, pt. 2-" i don't think you have to know anything about techno, house music, or hard drugs to truly appreciate how good these songs are. there's that unapologetically straight forward beat, the swirling keyboard lines, the grinding basslines, the distorted voices. something makes me want to curl my lip up and throw a hand through my hair, if nobody were looking of course. although you can't see here, the album's cover perfectly encapsulates where these songs belong- in a shadowy amusement park, filled with old twisting rides, odd silhouettes, hard faces, and carnival tents. really mysterious tents at that. while these tracks are strong enough to be popular dance anthems, they are probably a bit too high strung and demanding for the average dancer. at least for me. it's okay though- if i can't make it sociology, i'd just as soon make it anthropology through headphones.

minotaur shock: "vigo bay-" i cannot lie. i love minotaur shock's new album, especially this song, because it reminds me of my younger days sitting in front of the sega genesis, playing sonic the hedgehog. actually, i was probably sitting next to the genesis, in front of the tv, watching a friend or my brother play sega genesis, as i've always had stubby thumbs and thick reflexes. however, this music is perfectly suited to dr. robotnik's pixelated coast towns with water that never gets you wet for too long. there's an old-world charm to the song, as if there might be a rollicking sailor's jig to accompany the song. but at the same time, it's so electronic. it's even hard to tell whether the melody is played by real clarinets or if that's a real jug holding down the bassline.

jori hulkkonen: "low fiction-" i initially ran into this song on an itunes imix with a name like "more music for huge postal service fans!" that is a way uncool way to find music, but i can't help curiousity. i'm sorry. despite my lameness, this song is really cool, in a big way. a sad robot sings a heartbreak ballad over simple drum machines, solvent-esque fuzz, and melancholy guitar. i can totally relate.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Hella 'Band of Year'

Perfect Sound Forever editor and personal hero Jason Gross says this: "Lemme say one more time... anybody who cries about how there's isn't any good music anymore has their ears closed or is pitifully stuck in the past." Mr. Gross' point seems to me to be that, if you look hard enough, you will find good music (music you like) from any year of any decade, unless your mind is hopelessly closed off. This seems to me to be a reasonable proposition; I, however, would like to add to Mr. Gross observation this a corollary: it can be said that it was a good year for music based on how hard you had to look for good music (music you like). On this count, I found 2005 to be mediocre at best. Most of the big, well-hyped albums from the indie underground blew chunks (I didn't like them; I'm thinking of M83, The Go! Team, Bloc Party, Sufjan Stevens). Though I did not have time to listen to every entry to every critic's top ten list, I can tell you this: I think that, based on what I've heard and what I've read, that the indie rock of the 2000's, as whole, has not produced anything that I can really, solidly say is [1] mine and [2] awesome. The indie rock world seems to be just re-hashing post-punk from 1979, or other obscure record collector genre sounds (like psychedelic folk). Of the records that did smack of some originality, most seemed to me to just be adding some "cute" gimmick (like being based around the 50 states, or being cheerleaders) or some other assorted ironic bullshit to appeal to some escapist bourgeois daydream (animal consumes, rather cliché songs about chimney sweeps). The Gang of Four reformation this year, I think expressed one of the problems exactly; there's a lot of corpse fucking going on, and screwing somebody's leftovers is not as fun as going outside and getting some real love for yourself. I don't see that happening with The Decemberists, or LCD Soundsystem.

In terms of journalism, general thought and theory, indie rock flagship publication Pitchfork has really checked out in terms of being relevant or interesting and has become, at best, mildly amusing -- and Pitchfork's new music section is now taken as the de facto indie rock canon (Insound even gives discounts based on Pitchfork's numbers). I find this disturbing; especially when records that I really like (Fiery Furnaces' new one, fresh Anticon records &etc) get overlooked for records that are really boring (The Decemberists, Wilderness, M83). True, other lights shine: Tiny Mix Tapes and Dusted are good, but TMT mainly just does news with 400 word reviews as an afterthought, and Dusted lacks a coherent voice. Maybe I'm just getting more jaded as I get older, or maybe I'm listening to too much jazz. Whatever the thorn in my side is, I will probebly remember 2005 as having much to be desired.

Enough complaining; here's the stuff that's the exception to all that mumbo-jumbo I just spewed out all over the internet; the stuff I'll be listening to in another 5 years; the stuff I want to hear on the radio:

Anthony & The Johnsons -- I Am A Bird Now
Art Brut -- Art Brut
Boredoms -- Seadrum/House of Sun
Broadcast -- Tender Bottons
Dangerdoom -- The Mouse & The Mask
Deerhoof -- The Runners Four
The Fall -- Fall Heads Roll
Hella -- Church Gone Wild/Chirpin' Hard/Homeboy/Concentration Face
Hockey Night -- Keep Guessin'
Kanye West -- Late Registration
Lightning Bolt -- Hypermagic Mountan
Odd Nosdam -- Burner
Royksopp -- The Understanding
Spoon -- Gimmie Fiction
Why? -- Elephant Eyelash

My favorite would be Seadrum/House of Sun (it was technically recorded in 1998, and only released in the USA in 2005), but Hella was unquestionably Band of the Year, with a spectacular double album experience plus an amazing DVD/EP set. Their math-rock/almost free jazz fury and black-magic live show destoryed all comers, in my mind. I also thoroughly enjoyed both Kanye's new record, and his TV off script ad-libbing.

- nick

and then my year end list turned itself inside out

here's my favorite albums of the year.

20. andrew bird - and the mysterious production of eggs
19. kings of leon - aha shake heartbreak
18. ed harcourt - strangers
17. common - be
16. the white stripes - get behind me satan
15. beck - guero
14. franz ferdinand - you could have it so much better
13. my morning jacket - z
12. broken social scene - s/t
11. gorillaz - demon days
10. stars - set yourself on fire
9. sufjan stevens - illinois
8. kanye west - late registration
7. architecture in helsinki - in case we die
6. eels - blinking lights and other revelations
5. wolf parade - apologies to the queen mary
4. the new pornographers - twin cinema
3. bloc party - silent alarm
2. clap your hands say yeah - s/t
1. m.i.a. - arular

there you have it. there weren't none better. fact. best song? i don't know. probably 'feel good inc.' by gorillaz. and if it's not that it might be 'don't stop' by brazilian girls. or 'blue orchid' by the white stripes. and i really like 'oh lately it's so quiet' by ok go. i don't know if that was a single though. ah what the heck. here's a list of the other great tracks in 05, but without order.

hey scenesters by the cribs
pioneers by bloc party
galang by m.i.a.
saeglopur by sigur ros
do you want to by franz ferdinand
black and white town by doves
gold digger by kanye west
sister jack by spoon
daft punk is playing at my house by lcd soundsystem
the bucket by kings of leon

the end.
tom schmidt.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

oh hay friends! 2005 was great!

in the interest of brevity, merely my top ten:

1. SUFJAN STEVENS, ILLINOIS (in all caps for a reason)
2. the decemberists, picaresque
3. devendra banhart, cripple crow
4. the mountain goats, the sunset tree
5. kanye west, late registration
6. franz ferdinand, you could have it so much better
7. broken social scene, s/t
8. animal collective, feels
9. common, be
10. daft punk, human after all

feel free to fight me, but not on sufjan. i'm not budging an inch on that album, which has produced one of the only perfect songs in my eyes, 'john wayne gacy, jr.' you can't beat that. and closer to the real end of the year, i'll be posting in my own blog ( what a shameless plug) my top 20 with better explanations.


2005 News Year in Review: Who's Who

George W. Bush: with the fresh "mandate" awarded him by a slim margin in the popular vote, sets about finding the most expeditious route to the lowest approval rating for any incumbent president since Nixon. Calls the Consitution "just a goddamned piece of paper" in a staff meeting and alienates Congress trying to prove his point.

Dick Cheney: not to be outdone by the President, manages to bottom out in his approval ratings at a healthy, unprecedented 19% after his chief of staff is indicted. Continues to delight photographers by sneering malevolently behind President Bush at most public appearances.

Valerie Plame: the first woman since Monica Lewinsky to earn the dubious honor of having a major Washington scandal named after her continues to influence national affairs without anybody ever talking to her.

Robert Novak: having outed Valerie Plame, mysteriously avoids any serious trouble while a New York Times reporter is thrown in jail--but gets booted off CNN for saying "bullshit" to a co-host who accuses him of having "no backbone."

Tom DeLay: smiles for a mugshot after being robbed of both his dignity and his role as Majority Leader, having been charged by a Grand Jury with criminal conspiracy. The Gallup Organization adds further shame when it reports that, in DeLay's staunchly Republican home district, 49% of voters would vote for an "unnammed Democrat" over Mr. Delay.

Tom Cruise: goes bat-crazy on Oprah, calls psychiatry a "pseudoscience," marries and impregnates a girl fourteen years his junior, but nevertheless enjoys massive box office success, proving definitively that there is no such thing as negative publicity.

Mike "Brownie" Brown: having gone from Arabian Horse adjudicator to head of FEMA in a few short years, resigns in shame after orchestrating the greatest federal cock-up of a relief effort yet witnessed in modern history. Though possibly the scapegoat for wider federal failure, his fate is sealed by the publication of damning email quotes such as "Can I quit now?," "I'm trapped now, please rescue me," and, on the day Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, "I am a fashion god."

Michael Jackson: moves to the Persian Gulf kingdom of Bahrain after being acquitted of molesting a boy at his Neverland Ranch in California. May or may not tan in the sun.

John Roberts: becomes Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court after Democrats and liberal action groups find disturbingly little to criticize about him.

Harriet Miers: remains Chief Counsel for the White House, withdrawing her nomination for the Supreme Court after Republicans and conservative action groups find disturbingly little to praise about her.

W. Mark Felt: reveals, at the age of 91, that he was the source for the revelations in the Washington Post that eventually led to Richard Nixon's resignation. Name also can be rearranged into statements about two lovers named "Mark" and "W."

Pat Robertson: overestimating his influence on world politics, calls for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Chavez warns that invading troops will be "soundly defeated," while President Bush and thousands of news pundits publicly condemn Robertson's suggestion.

Terri Schiavo: becomes unwitting pawn in a Congressional "right-to-die" debate in which Tom DeLay diagnoses her via videotape to be still capable of rational thought. A later autopsy of Schiavo after her death in March reveals that DeLay is full of it.

John Bolton: as a gesture of respect and in a new spirit of international collaboration, is appointed U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, having said "if the U.N. building in New York lost 10 stories, it wouldn't make a bit of difference."

Lance Armstrong: wins his seventh consecutive Tour de France victory. Dismisses accusations of drugging by other riders as a classic example of "sour grapes," or in his case, "sour grape."


- Martin

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Media's The Story

One of the largest stories - or revelations - of 2005 was the media's immasculation in regards to real issues and speaking truth to power. As Sarah noted in her initial e-mail, hurricane Katrina literally and metaphorically blew open previously taboo issues such as race, poverty, and the pervasive social injustice.

Being the largest and costliest natural disaster in the history of the United States as well as the impetus for a significant shift in the way the media has covered issues this year, I believe we would be remiss to not cover the awakening of the American media. As members of the media, it's especially important to remember why the 4th estate was silent on these issues in the first place and recognize what is necessary to prevent this in the future.

- Cameron N.
Britney Spears giving birth was historic, however, it was very icht don't think so. Why I'm saying this: horrible paparazzi phtotos, a dead-beat father... whoa. I was trying to remember some word that I thought would be a good band name, and that word was "deadbeat." I was thinking "The Deadbeasts," or "Deadbeats." The interesting thing is that it doesn't need to change the "beat" part in the way the Beatles did. Maybe I could do "The Deadbeets."

Moving on, my 5 most favourite albums of this year (in ascending order):

1) The Fiery Furnaces: E.P. (I really like Rehearsing my Choir too)

2) Broadcast: Tender Buttons

3) Friends of Dean Martinez: Lost Horizon

4) M83: Before the Dawn Heals Us

5) Deerhoof: The Runners Four

Runner up:

1) The Deadbeets: Deadbeet

... the Gang of Four reissue of Entertainment! was pretty important, albeit, expensive, more expensive--usually--than the imported verion. Same shit, different day. The Talking Heads boxed set (Brick) is also noteable, as well as T. Rex: Slider, and No New York.

Full House: Season 2, very choice.

I haven't seen many shows over the past year; of the ones I've seen, Deerhoof (@ Triple Rock)and John Vaderslice (@ 7th Street Entry) were great.

my favorite: any Neckbeard show.


P.S. This year's ins & outs:

IN: AIDS/Bird Flu; Out: Hepatitis B

IN: Ugg/Slut boots; Out: Chucks

IN: Anorexia; Out: Manorexia

IN: Celebrity Babies/Divorces; Out: PPD-based homicides

IN: 0g Trans Fat; Out: Atkins

New music coming out of Carleton

I'd like to say that seeing torn anus (and the asshole ghost) play a few times this term was a pretty awesome part of carleton music 05, i'd say the best. the only way to feel music is if it hurts you, and still hurts! my foot! n..o.., not really, but those shows were a much needed portion of crazy during the term. Um...more please?...please?

tom kracauer

i wish this was a limerick

in spirit of andy's choice for album of the year, broken social scene, here's a track from the bonus EP that accompanied it. sooooo catchy, it's almost sick. but i don't mind. in an interview with pitchfork, the band admits that they made conscious efforts to be anti-radio friendly with the latest record, but whatever. they still made this song.

Broken Social Scene - Major Label Debut (Fast)

it makes me happy when i don't want to be.
furthermore, the concert these guys put on at first avenue in minneapolis was definitely one of the year's best (for me, anyway).

what else was good this year? too much. i can't even make a list. but more thoughts later, when i feel inspired.

-sarah n.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

AHH! 2005!


So I'm going to go ahead and play the "I wish I was a music critic!" game and post my end of the year end lists. Sweet! Ranking is rough and fairly meaningless as I am very fond of everything here and it is all worth checking out. Here goes...

Favorite Albums of 2005

It seems it was an excellent year for self-titling, Canada and...Scandinavians?

1. Broken Social Scene-s/t
2. Wolf Parade-Apologies to the Queen Mary
3. Jens Lekman-Oh You’re So Silent Jens
4. Serena Maneesh-s/t
5. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah-s/t
6. The Joggers-With a Cape and a Cane
7. Vashti Bunyan-Lookaftering
8. Deerhoof-The Runners Four
9. Antony and the Johnsons-I Am a Bird Now
10. Stephen Malkmus-Face the Truth
11. Common-Be
12. The Clientele-Strange Geometry
13. LCD Soundsystem-s/t
14. Animal Collective-Feels
15. The Boy Least Like To-The Best Party Ever
16. Kanye West-Late Registration
17. Clor-s/t
18. Stars-Set Yourself on Fire
19. Blood on the Wall-Awesomer
20. Feist-Let It Die
21. Sufjan Stevens-Illinois
22. Test Icicles-For Screening Purposes Only
23. Doveman-The Acrobat
24. The Rosebuds-Birds Make Good Neightbors
25. Danger Doom-The Mouse and the Mask

Runners Up (listed alphabetically by artist)

Amadou & Mariam-Dimanche a Bamako
Art Brut-Bang Bang Rock and Roll
Edan-Beauty and the Beat
Hank-How To Cope in the Coming Bad Years
Jamie Lidell-Multiply
Jana Hunter-Black Unstaring Heirs of Doom
The Juan Maclean-Less Than Human
M. Ward-Transistor Radio
New Pornographers-Twin Cinema
Out Hud-Let Us Never Speak of It Again
Sleater-Kinney-The Woods
The Robot Ate Me-Carousel Waltz
The Spinto Band-Nice and Nicely Done
Tom Vek-We Have Sound

Notable Reissues

1. Orange Juice-The Glasgow School
2. Belle & Sebastian-Push Barman to Open Old Wounds

Favorite Songs of 2005

1. Jens Lekman-Maple Leaves
2. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah-In This Home on Ice
3. M. Ward-Paul’s Song
4. Wolf Parade-Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts
5. The Robot Ate Me-This Love Is Waiting

Best Live Show: Les Savy Fav at Intonation Fest this summer. Really all of Intonation. But holy shit. Time Harrington. Wow.

Anyway, I clearly have far too much time on my hands this break; thank you for indulging me. I'd love to hear what anyone else thinks about any of the above lists and I'd love to see some more recommendations posted here soon on what I should be checking out.


Keepin it real,
Andy Lauer

Deflowering Limerick

This virgin blog doth beckon
to be defiled, I reckon.
This humble host
will make first post
to prompt, perhaps, a second.

- M