So many albums I haven't heard, more than 20 good albums out in year, mea culpa, that said...The 20 Albums Of 2005 I Haven't Chucked Yet.
1. Mountain Goats, The Sunset Tree
Color me corny, but this is the first album that’s ever made me want to be a better person. It also makes me want to be more diligent about self-editing my work (admittedly, these blurbs show little proof of this). That one of my least favorite tracks (by default) is “Dance Music” keeps me from worrying about whether or not I’ve got some know-the-guy bias (though yeah, it did help me past that initial “ew, TMBG, ew!” reaction to Tallahassee). I don’t like “Small Arms Traffic Blues” much either, who the heck keeps deciding what the ‘hits’ are? My pick is “Love Love Love.” I’ve never been so grateful to see someone risk cliché.
2. Electric Six, Senor Smoke
I’m this close to trying to figure out that bit torrent jive or buying the import. I need to have this on CD! I’ve been playing Fire on my discman for two years - more Electric Six...just out of reach! I've never walked to work listening to "Be My Dark Angel" or "Future Boys" and its an experience I crave. Electric Six are one of the few bands who make me wish I was their merch person (them and the Donnas, I think that's it). "Mr. President, make a little money sending people you don't know to Iraq! Mr. President, I don't like you! You don't know how to rock!" is smarter, funnier and more powerful than any other anti-Bush track I've heard and its just one couplet surrounded by insurgencies, emergencies, ties & pies. Senor Smoke is full of an apocalyptic absurdity the likes of which we haven't heard since 1999. WARNER BROS, MY BLOOD IS BOILING!!! RELEASE THIS ABLUM POST-HASTE.
3. Louis XIV, The Best Little Secrets Are Kept
“I might swipe your identity, take your love and turn it into obscenity.” “Well I'm a portal into blue collar human psychology. I need a fix, I don't need no apology.” “I want all the self conscious girls who try to hide who they are with makeup. You know it’s the girl with a frown with the tight pants I really want to shake up.” “She said ‘you son of a bitch, you little bitch, I ain't gonna show you my love without a hitch’.” “I know I ain't correct, but politics are so much better when there's sex.” “She said ‘oh, come on, boy aren't you tired of talking about sex?’ I said “little girl, what do you really expect?’” “She says ‘head case, head case, turn that thing around. Let's play a game when you hear me make a sound. Just go quite a bit faster, pretend that I'm gagged and bound.” “God save the Kinks.” “If you want clean fun, go fly a kite.”
4. Queens Of The Stone Age, Lullabies To Paralyze
You know what I want to check out sometime? That Buck Dharma solo album. I always thought he had more soul than Eric Bloom, I’d dig hearing an album where he does the vocals on every track. Should be some eccentric genre exercises on there. Anyhow, I don’t really mind the two long dirges on the second half cuz they’re preceded by “In My Head,” “Little Sister” and “I Never Came,” my favorite 1-2-3 on any album I’ve heard this year. And they’re followed by “Skin On Skin,” “Broken Box,” “Killer Scene” and “Long Slow Goodbye” which might be my favorite 1-2-3-4. Or maybe my favorite 1-2-3-4 is “Burn The Witch,” “In My Head,” “Little Sister” and “I Never Came.” Originally I told people this album was more consistent than Deaf but didn’t have any big hits. I’m realizing that’s really not the case, this album’s jam-packed with standards. Blue Oyster Cult’s a pretty awesome band to try and improve on – weirdass badass with pretty hits!
5. Spoon, Gimme Fiction
I love how I feel no desire to think hard about the lyrical content – the voice, melodies and beats are just too pleasurable on a mere (haha, mere) musical level. I realize some people are bummed that the band has focused on groove this time, but I think that’s what they’re good for anyhow. Keep in mind that Crazy Rhythms and Reckoning were my godhead in high school.
6. Fischerspooner, Odyssey
This is what Welcome To The Monkey House would have sounded like if it didn’t suck. I hear these guys are pretentious assholes, but these days its rare a good album makes me want to learn more about the band – interviews introduce intentions and all sorts of jazz that only gets in the way. Therefore, I remain blissfully ignorant of what these guys represent in NY (they wear funny clothes, right?).
7. Kelly Osbourne, Sleeping In The Nothing
Yeah, but you all UNDERrated Shut Up! so now we're even.
8. Emperor X, Central Hug/Friend Army/Fractal Dunes
I don’t know how you can make an energetic, intriguing lo-fi indie album in 2005. Is this guy really trying to one-up Clown Prince Of The Menthol Trailer? Is Up Records back in action? Are they still printing issues of Tape Op? Is Clinton in office? I mean, what the fuck? And how the hell does this sound so fresh? Most people who can write a good song just don’t bother with this sound anymore. If you miss this era, get this album
9. Stephen Malkmus, Face The Truth
This still stands.
10. Eels, Blinking Lights And Other Revelations
He’s said it all before, but he’s never said it so clearly or so humbly. Rather than any of the other standard traumas that usually get the credit for these evolutions, I have to assume its getting dropped by Dreamworks. They kept that guy on payroll for a long time, makes sense he’d feel the urge to get it all out while he still can.
Album I love that qualifies for Pazz'n'Jop 2005 even if the 2004 copywright means I won't include it on this list: The Mind Of Mannie Fresh
Good albums I heard today that also would have made this list a shade less indie: TP3.Reloaded, U.S.A. (The United States Of Atlanta)