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Monthly Archives: January 2005

Johnny Carson

For those of you who even still bother to watch television, it was hard to escape the attention the death of Johnny Carson received all over the networks. It seriously rivaled the attention Ronald Reagan’s death received last year. And what did he do again….oh yeah, hosted a friggin late night television program that probably about a half a million people stayed up watching every night. I don’t mean any disrespect to the man, but the attention his death was getting on all of the “news” programs was outrageous. We’re in the middle of a war where hundreds of our troops are dying, and we have to spend a week memorializing this guy like he was an American hero?

I never really followed the history of Carson, but it was interesting to see the “darker side” of him revealed this week also, with a number of sites bringing attention to some very racist work Carson did over the years. A good recap of this can be found here.

A final look back at 2004

I’ve gone and decided for the rest of the world that the deadline for anything related to looking back at the prior year is January 31st of the following year. So, just prior to the deadline, I’d like to throw in my two cents and look back at my favorite records of the past year:

10. Chin Up Chin UpWe Should Have Never Lived Like We Were Skyscrapers

The debut LP from this Chicago band adds a new, fresh sound to a very stale rock landscape in 2004.

9. Talking HeadsThe Name of this Band is Talking Heads

I know, it’s not really new. But this previously vinyl-only release was reissued this year with about double the music, and to call it an excellent collection is an understatement.

8. Death from Above 1979You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine

Another great debut that introduces a new metal-esque electronic dance record that makes you want to bang your head….while dancing.

7. Black KeysRubber Factory

Another solid release from this Akron, OH blues duo that you can listen to over and over and over again.

6. TV on the RadioDesperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes

The debut full length from this Brooklyn trio mixes soul, funk, blues and rock in a way that would make Prince jealous. A great album, though seeing them live is where it’s at.

5. InterpolAntics

While this follow-up to their debut doesn’t top their debut for me, it is still a great record.

4. Iron & WineOur Endless Numbered Days

Another great release from the brilliant Sam Beam. While many might be turned off by the simple style, one cannot deny the great lyrics and melodies of this release. He furthered his sound with some extra pieces added to the mix, but it’s still essentially all about the man, his guitar, and that haunting voice.

3. The ClashLondon Calling (25th Anniversary Legacy Edition)

Ok, I cheated again with a not-so-new release, but c’mon. One of the greatest albums of all time, given a much-needed deluxe reissue with the infamous “Vanilla Tapes” session, some DVD footage, and of course a remasted edition of the classic album. This is what you’ve waited for.

2. Sonic YouthSonic Nurse

I’ll spare you the “fine wine” comparison, but Sonic Youth continues to surprise both fans and critics with their ability to remain near the top of their game for over 20 years. I’ve seen them twice in the past few years, and they still rock it better than ever, and this record shows they can still make great new music instead of having to rely on old material. Definitely one of my favorite SY records.

1. The Arcade FireFuneral

I know, everyone and their cousin has put this at or near the top of their lists this past year, but damn if it’s not the best record of the year. I listened to this so many times this year I felt like I could be a backup member of the band. I’ve also been told that it was the best live show of the year, which I unfortunately chose to not take in….a decision that continues to haunt me.

Well, that’s the best, now here are some of the rest which were conisdered, but missed the cut:

– Franz Ferdinand

– A.C. Newman – The Slow Wonder

– Sufjan Stevens – Seven Swans

– A Day in Black and White – My Heroes Have Always Killed Cowboys

– Elliot Smith – From a Basement on the Hill

– Prince Po – The Slickness

– Hoobastank….err, wait….wrong list.

And, the best live show I went to this year was seeing The Natural History open for Ted Leo. An awesome band, which I would best compare to a very rockin and catchy young Elvis Costello. Interestingly enough, their set was followed by my least favorite live act of the year, The Tossers (yes, they’re even worse than that website). They are essentially the bastard child of Flogging Molly and the Dropkick Murphys, sans any sort of talent. I love you Ted Leo, but I’m still kind of pissed that you had me waste an hour of my life sitting through that shit in order to see you play.