Season’s Greetings! Hope everyone has a good [the holiday that you celebrate goes here]!
This year, I was all about different sounds. 2005 might as well go down as the year that UK indie bands that sound like the 80’s Brit Invasion bands (XTC, Squeeze, Talk Talk, Joy Division, etc) took over. I wasn’t really into it since I heard it all before in the basement of my cousin’s when I was a little scamp. Instead, I gravitated towards bands with different and sometimes eclectic sounds. So here it is; the annual list of my favourite albums of the past year. Enjoy and discuss!
AFX – Analord 9, 10 and 11
AFX, Aphex Twin, Richard D. James – which ever name you prefer – put out a collection of analog recordings this year; no computers. Volumes 9, 10 and 11 are my favourites. “Fenix Funk 5”, “Xmd5a”, “W32.Aphex@mm” and “VBS.Redlof.B” are outstanding.
And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Worlds Apart
Not your typical AYWKUBTTOD album with plenty of screaming and feedback. I hate to use the term “mature” but it is a more mature album for them. Mind you, “Caterwaul” is like the best rock song I’ve heard in a very long time.
Boards Of Canada – The Campfire Headphase
Moody and airy, but now featuring some cool processed guitar sounds. The perfect album for when you’re staring out the window, wishing you were outside.
Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
I didn’t follow the latest trend of UK indie bands sounding like XTC and Joy Division; I heard all of that in my cousins’ basement when I was a kid. But these guys are way above the latest crop of those bands with fast melodies and crazy-swift drum fills at seemingly random times.
Broken Social Scene – Broken Social Scene
You Forgot It In People was a great album that was a breath of fresh air in the indie rock world and anything else would pale in comparison. I like this self-titled release much better; it’s more fleshed out with hardly any filler. And “It’s All Gonna Break” is the cherry on the cake.
Caribou – The Milk Of Human Kindness
The best way to describe The Milk Of Human Kindness is to refer to it as – and these are not gospel but simply my own words – a history lesson in contemporary music. Within a span of eleven tracks, Dan Snaith manages to cover chamber music, 70’s stoner rock, hip-hop, folk, shoegazing and electro pop. The eighth track, “Brahminy Kite”, is my idea of marching band music that actually sounds good.
Death Cab For Cutie – Plans
If Dena can put “Soul Meets Body” on her iPod, this must be a pretty accessible album. This harks back to DCFC‘s pre- Photo Album and Transatlanticism era and the change is good.
Fantômas – Suspended Animation
It can only be described as the result of combining Saturday morning cartoons with cheap drugs. Play this album when you don’t want to be disturbed by people. Anybody who hears you listening to this will think you’re a schizophrenic with Tourette’s and will wisely leave you alone.
Idelwild – Warnings/Promises
Another “mature” album full of tight melodies and an excellent album closer in “Goodnight”.
M83 – Before The Dawn Heals Us
I totally have an affinity for shoegazers and M83 fit the bill niceley. Dense soundscapes and easy beats are this album’s bread ‘n’ butter. There is a little bit of danger in Before The Dawn Heals Us – Dena woke up from a nap to hear “Car Chase Terror” and she hasn’t been the same since 😉
Mogwai – Government Commissions (BBC Sessions 1996-2003)
There aren’t any new songs on this, but John Peel recorded perfectly captured Mogwai in these amazing live sets. All of the songs have more punch; especially “Like Herod”. And the songs from Ten Rapid sound even more beautiful.
Nada Surf – The Weight Is A Gift
Let Go was good, but The Weight Is A Gift is much better and more consistant. Pure guitar pop bliss.
New Pornographers – Twin Cinema
This is my vote for Album of the Year. 5 stars. 10 out of 10. Many thumbs. Whatever. It’s perfect.
Queens Of The Stone Age – Lullabies To Paralyze
This is heady rock music for those disciples of Allan Cross who would kick ass on Rock And Roll Jeopardy. There isn’t a lot culled from recent Desert Sessions, except for “In My Head”. But there is plenty of punk, skronk, funk and more to keep rock nerds happy.
Sigur Rós – Takk
Their last album, ( ), would be the perfect soundtrack for the Apocalypse. The world hasn’t ended yet, so Sigur Rós put out an album that’s uplifting and actually rocks at times; see “Glósóli”, “Hoppípolla”, “Meo Blódnasir”, “Seaglopur” and “Gong”.
Silversun Pickups – Pikul EP
This EP shows that the Los Angeles quartet will be a promising new band when they release their debut LP next year. They have the sounds that give me the warm ‘n’ fuzzies. Check out an interview I did with them on Earlyfish sometime in early 2006.
Stephen Malkmus – Face The Truth
S.M.‘s gone back to his style on Wowee Zowee when he was in Pavement and it’s refreshing to hear. BTW, hey Matador! It’s 2005; where’s the Wowee Zowee 10-year anniversary re-release?
White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan
With the exception of two songs, there isn’t any of Jack White’s trademark big guitar work to be found. Essentially, every instrument except for the guitar is represented on this album, and it works.
Wolf Parade – Apologies To The Queen Mary
Many may think this is a Modest Mouse sound-alike (Isaac Brock did produce this album) but there’s much more to Wolf Parade. They meld raucous melodies with ambient keyboards and plenty of lyrics about ghosts, which makes for erie yet hard-driving rock music.
Bring on 2K6!
I’m very accessable. Actually, Dena and I are quite accessable. We can be reached by phone at home and at our respective work places. We can be faxed at our work offices. Dena has an email address. I have three email addresses; home, work and a Gmail overflow one (for all those forms on the Web to be filled out). Instant messaging is convenient and we can be contacted on the ICQ, AIM, MSN Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger protocols. I use Trillian to consolodate all of those instant messaging apps because installing all of them would be a complete waste of time and resources. VoIP is not a problem either, as we always have Skype running. I’ve even installed Gizmo and Google Talk; I don’t use them yet, but they’re ready.
Now we finally have cellular phones!
I have been putting off getting a mobile phone forever. Having a radiating device that allows anyone to call me regardless where I am always seemed like a big invasion of privacy to me. Call it change that perhaps comes with age or something, the benefits of having a cell phone seemed to finally crush my concern for privacy.
So as our Christmas present to each other, Dena and I went with the Couples Plan from Rogers. We each have Java-based Samsung SGH-P207 phones. We are able to save 10% on our monthly bills by bundling it with our existing Internet and digital cable services from Rogers. I looked at the other wireless providers in the area. I didn’t even consider Bell. I have many beefs with Bell; enough to fill 2 or 3 blog entires – I’ll save it for another time. From word-of-mouth experience, Fido‘s coverage isn’t strong in the boonies which would make it useless when we travel. Virgin seems flight-y. The choice came down to Telus and Rogers. I’ve only heard positive things about Telus and Dena loves their advertising (bunnies, lizards and the like). But I’ve never had trouble with Rogers‘s other services and the bundle savings sealed the deal.
Happy Birthday to me! 😀
Thanks to all of the well-wishers who’ve mailed, emailed, IM‘d and VoIP‘d birthday greetings to me today.