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2006-01-13 - 9:35 p.m.

My Top Ten Recordings for 2005!

But first, some ado:

A note to my musical friends: I learned my lesson years ago about ranking friends' CDs, and I've limited myself here to stuff put out by people I don't know.

But it's worth mentioning here that the world is a much happier place for the arrival of 2005 releases by (in chronological order) The Larch, Rebecca Turner, and Liza & the Wonder Wheels!


The Top:

Ben Lee - Awake is the New Sleep

The sunniest break-up album ever. Fourteen songs of loss, lust, love, and ultimately, spiritual renewal. I love that he thanks his guru in the liner notes, that's so un-punk.

Kaiser Chiefs - Employment

Groundbreaking? Hardly, but they do the new wave retread thing with wit, hooks, and goofy charisma.

Spoon - Gimme Fiction

The best songs of their career.

Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine

This is how you turn angst to art

Boubacar Traore - Kongo Magni

This Malian guitar virtuoso writes songs that manage to be lilting and bluesy at once.

Frank Black - Honeycomb

Even with the all-star Nashville backing band, he still sounds like Frank Black, only better. His most inspired solo album since Teenager of the Year.

Heartless Bastards - Stairs & Elevators

Powerful guitar-rock from the heartland that sidesteps bombast, featuring Erika Wennerstrom's authoritative vocals

The National - Alligator

The indie world is full of kids, but National leader Matt Berninger sings and writes like an adult. I was gonna say "like a man," but I couldn't say that with a straight face.

Brendan Benson - Alternative to Love

Because someone needs to keep the tradition alive--the rootsy singer-songwriter with punk leanings, pop instincts, and a gorgeous, supple voice

My Morning Jacket - Z

Much more exciting and eclectic than I was expecting it to be.


Not quite eligible but I still loved 'em

The Fame - Get on the Beat e.p.

Yellow Pills compilation

Greenhornes - Sewed Soles comp.


Honorable Mention

50 Foot Wave - Golden Ocean

Anthony Hamilton - Ain't Nobody Worryin'

Brian Eno  - Another Day on Earth

BRMC - Howl

Chocolate Genius - Black Yankee Rock

Deadly Snakes - Porcella

Fripp/Eno - Equatorial Stars

Go! Team - Thunder Lightning Strike

Hold Steady - Separation Sunday

John Vanderslice - Pixel Revolution

Jolie Holland - Escondida

Kate Bush - Aerial

LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem

M.I.A. - Arular 

The Magic Numbers - The Magic Numbers

Manual -Azure Vista

Paul Motian - I Have the Room Above Her

Randy Travis - Glory Train

Raveonettes - Pretty in Black

Rogue Wave - Descended Like Vultures

Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

Vashti Bunyan - Lookaftering


Songs I Listened to Eleventy Billion Times

Ben Lee - "Gamble Everything for Love"

Kaiser Chiefs - "I Predict a Riot"

BRMC - "Shuffle Your Feet"
 
LCD Soundsystem - "Daft Punk is Playing at my House"

Sinead O'Connor - "Untold Stories"
 
Kate Bush - "Pi"

The Raveonettes - "Love in a Trash Can"

The Go! Team - "Panther Dash"

My Morning Jacket - "Gideon"

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