January 14, 2005

Top Spins 2004

No no, not politically motivated lies about Kos and MyDD. Just albums I listened to a lot in this year (the year of being a part of the first full-length pro studio album with 3 guys who let me be in their band and one guy who liked to record us).

Anyway, I don't do "reviews" anymore- I've found it to be silly now that my own music is out there in the world for everyone to judge. I'm just mentioning what I listened to. So, lots of these albums were from 2003- I always tend to get into things a lot slower than when they actually happen but here goes:

January- Played Josh Homme's latest "Desert Sessions" album quite a bit this month while doing some tech writing work for Demarc in Goleta. Homme's voice is one of my favorite tones in a singer in a long, long time. Bought this CD solely because of how much I liked the Queens' "No One Knows" and I wasn't disappointed. I like how he releases demos like these to test whatever waters he's about to cannonball into. Oh, and PJ Harvey's on it, moaning away like she loves to do (and oh how I lover her for that).

February/March- I actually tuned out for a while here. Caught up with a lot of other things and knuckled under to do some work on Honey White material, so I guess I listened to my own band's stuff for most of this time. Kinda embarassing actually. It was good, though, promise.

April- I can't believe no one told me about Explosions In The Sky until now. My life was literally incomplete. 2003's "The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place" is one of my very favorite albums. How much so? It made me re-think my whole recent crusty opposition to long, suitelike, instrumental rock music. Once Brian found out he knew he had won.

May- Another 2003 holdover that I can't stop listening to is "One Bedroom" by The Sea And Cake. Great sunny, funky pop. Sam Prekop's voice is the perfect thing to go on top of it. I liked their other albums, especially their 1994 debut, but their latest is far and away their best. For some reason it always conjures up images of Isla Vista/Goleta, in the same way that Mermen albums always make me think of Dana Point/San Clemente. No idea why- I just enjoy that it happens.

June- Have I said how much I love PJ Harvey? Have I? Well, she gave me another reason with "Uh Huh Her". "Stories From The City" really won't be topped for me, but this one was a great stab at it. Also, Wilco made a good follow up of their own with "A Ghost Is Born". "Spiders" might be one of the best krautrock ripoffs to drive to in ages.

July- Gina Villalobos finally released her "Rock N Roll Pony" album (long backstory, sorry) and it was really worth the wait. Perfect soundtrack for the drive moving from I.V. to Ventura.

August- Picked up Snow Patrol's "Final Straw" since they're rumored to be opening for U2's 2005 tour. Not bad, but not the next Coldplay (as if that's worth anything). Both bands really, really need to work on their lyricism. Oops- that's an uncalled for opinion.

September- Oceansize's Effloresce ruled over all others this month, thanks to the supreme crush and release of "Women Who Love Men Who Love Drugs". In fact, I can't think of anything else that I listened to.

October- Snagged a lot of fall releases here- REM ("Around The Sun": ho-hum), Costello ("Delivery Man", better than '02's "When I Was Cruel" but not by much), Bjork (still relatively unlistened to), Cake (ditto), and Camper Van Beethoven (woulda been a killer 12-song disc but is bloated at 20). All were subsumed by Elliott Smith's posthumous "From A Basement On A Hill". What a kick in the teeth that disc is, man.

November- This month became unhinged once I found online copies of the new U2 album. Oh, and by the terrible election results. "Atomic Bomb" isn't the second coming, but it's head and shoulders above the overrrated "All That You Can't Leave Behind". I still went out and bought it and listened to it frequently. Oh, and Emily and I saw Wilco in LA. Fantastic show.

December- I belatedly take up Bryn's offer of a Secret Machines copy, which totally swallows up most of my vacation time. We listened to this a lot driving up and down California. That and my better-late-than-never appreciation of the meaty middle of Built To Spill's "Ancient Melodies Of The Future". Oh, and the Mark Sandman box set of noir-effluvia wasn't bad either.

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