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 Up – We 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 Heads – The 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 1979 – You’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 Keys – Rubber 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 Radio – Desperate 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. Interpol – Antics
While this follow-up to their debut doesn’t top their debut for me, it is still a great record.
4. Iron & Wine – Our 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 Clash – London 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 Youth – Sonic 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 Fire – Funeral
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.