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1.31.2005 | Review: Valley Of The Giants

Valley of the Giants - Valley of the Giants: Finally, proof that not everything a Broken Social Scene member touches is gold. Stream / Buy

1.30.2005 | Review: Rock Against Bush, Vol. 1

Various - Rock Against Bush, Vol. 1: Such an amazing concept (too bad it didn't work out), but what's more amazing is how well this whole thing flows despite it large roster of bands, styles and nuance. Stream / Buy

1.29.2005 | Review: Garden State OST

Various - Garden State OST: The epitome of a good soundtrack; a well thought-out mixtape of songs that come from and make you think of the movie. Stream / Download (Clips only) / Buy

1.28.2005 | Review: Twelve Girls Band

Twelve Girls Band - Eastern Energy: Pretty interesting the first time through, but I doubt it'll hold up. Stream / Download (Clips only) / Buy

1.27.2005 | Review: Thee Silver Mountain Reveries

Thee Silver Mountain Reveries - Pretty Little Lightning Paw: Talk about an acquired taste. The sad part is that I'm starting to acquire it. Buy

1.26.2005 | Review: Taking Back Sunday

Taking Back Sunday - Where You Want To Be: I never gave this band any credit before listening to them. Looks like I don't have to start. Stream / Buy

1.25.2005 | Review: Slowdive

Slowdive - Catch The Breeze (2 Disc): It's slow. It's post-rock. It's not as good as Low. It's still worth at least one listen. Stream / Buy

1.24.2005 | Review(s): Shots Fired

Shots Fired - Shots Fired: Erring on the side of generic, there are a few good songs, but not enough for this screamo/emo band. Download / Buy

1.23.2005 | Review(s): Bloc Party

Bloc Party - Bloc Party EP: Every song feels like it could fall apart at any given time. This is why I listened to it so intently. And this is why I'll listen to it over and over again. Stream / Download / Buy

1.22.2005 | Review(s): Secret Machines

Secret Machines - Now Here Is Nowhere: Now here is an album that I fell in love with Upon First Listen. Stream / Buy

1.21.2005 | Review(s): Saves The Day

Saves The Day - Ups And Downs: Early Recordings and B-Sides: I've had most of these tracks for years (oddly, different versions) so I knew what to expect. What I don't get is why not fill the whole CD. This is supposed to catalog all of their early years, yet they only use a fraction of the alotted space on a CD while a ton of music goes unheard (all of the Sefler stuff, a bunch of B-sides, outtakes and covers). Just make your own compilation, I did. Download / Buy

1.20.2005 | Review(s): Omar A. Rodriguez-Lopez

Omar A. Rodriguez-Lopez: A Manual Dexterity: Soundtrack, Volume 1: No substitute for a new Mars Volta album. Download / Buy

1.19.2005 | Review(s): Nirvana

Nirvana - With The Lights Out (3 Disc): Historically significant, but only for those diehard fans. Casual fans will enjoy some of the tracks but find most of it redundant. Stream / Buy

1.18.2005 | Review(s): Sondre Lerche

Sondre Lerche - Two-Way Monologue: Gone is the inhibition found on his debut and a more confident Sondre makes for a much better album. Stream / Buy

1.17.2005 | Review(s): Ben Kweller

Ben Kweller - On My Way: Gone is the naivete associated with Sha Sha. What's left is a better indie-rock record, but inferior pop record and a more mature Kweller. Stream / Download / Buy

1.16.2005 | Review(s): FC Five

FC Five - Final Countdown Five: Despite not being able to hear what is being said, this is some awesome hardcore. Stream / Download / Buy

1.15.2005 | Review(s): Joanna Newsom

Joanna Newsom - Milk-Eyed Mender: More indie folk-pop that's just nice to listen to, at least once you get past the 12-year old vocals. Stream / Download / Buy

1.14.2005 | Feature: Top 88 of '04

I apologize for this being so late, but had I released this list at the end of last year or even the beginning of this year, it would have been a radically different list (what with most of the top 15 not being there). As a side note, I did a Top 11 of '03 list last year and struggled to come up with 11 of them, but this year, I can honestly say that the top 40 or so will be in some kind of rotation.

1. Green Day - American Idiot: More than I ever expected from a Green Day album, but less than I expect out of a truely amazing album. It is very solid and I will be purchasing it and I will be listening to it again.
2. Piebald - All Ears, All Eyes, All The Time: I must recuse myself from this review due to my undying love for Piebald.
3. The Futureheads - The Futureheads: This quirky acapella-pop record is the best record I've heard this year.
4. The Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat: It feels so complete, even after just a solitary listen. I can't think of a reason why it needs to exit my CD player.
5. Brian Wilson - SMiLE: Everything you'd want and wouldn't want in an album that took 35 years to complete. Far too many layers of texture to adequately judge on a single listen.
6. Feist - Let It Die: I had no idea Leslie Feist had this in her. It's just so good on so many levels. I may never enjoy it like I do Broken Social Scene, but it may be just as good
7. Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous: Make no mistake, this is definetly Rilo Kiley, but it's a slicker, more mature, (dare I say it...?) more adventurous Rilo Kiley. If you liked the previous albums, you'll like this, perhaps not as much though.
8. Bloc Party - Bloc Party EP: Every song feels like it could fall apart at any given time. This is why I listened to it so intently. And this is why I'll listen to it over and over again.
9. Sondre Lerche - Two-Way Monologue: Gone is the inhibition found on his debut and a more confident Sondre makes for a much better album.
10. Secret Machines - Now Here Is Nowhere: Now here is an album that I fell in love with Upon First Listen.
11. The Go! Team - Thunder Lightning Strike: Such a fun indie-rock record.
12. Loretta Lynn - Van Lear Rose: A fabulous album, but at times can be bogged down by too much White influence.
13. The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives: Did you like Veni, Vidi, Vicious? (yes) Do you like The Clash? (yes) You'll like this. (I do)
14. Interpol - Antics: I've tasted love's second culinary creation only to find parts of it stale and other parts not sweet enough.
15. the pAper chAse - god bless your blAck heArt: It just doesn't feel like an album, which is a shame.
16. Jens Lekman - When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog: All I could think of was the episode of Rocko's Modern Life where Philbert wanted to be a lounge singer. That aside, this is a very good pop album with some very good lyrics.
17. The Citizens - Are We There Yet?: If an awesome laid-back pop record with tons of Beatles influence is considered 'there', then yes.
18. The Music - Welcome To The North: It just doesn't rock like their self-titled album did, but it sure as hell is catchy.
19. Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series, Vol. 6: Live 1964: Concert at Philharmoic Hall: The odds of winning the lottery: 1:135,145,920 Odds of this being bad: 0:135,145,920
20. Ben Kweller - On My Way: Gone is the naivete associated with Sha Sha. What's left is a better indie-rock record, but inferior pop record and a more mature Kweller.
21. Elbow - Cast Of Thousands: Elbow (and the Bunnymen).
22. Walking Concert - Run To Be Born: Just about everything Walter Schriefels touches (Gorilla Biscuits, Moondog, World's Fastest Car, Quicksand, Rival Schools) is gold. This is silver, but still a damn fine album.
23. Keane - Hopes And Fears: They sound like (insert modern-era Britpop act). In other words, they're good, but not great.
24. Sufjan Stevens - Seven Swans: I'm really, really starting to like Sufjan Stevens. I look forward to hearing more.
25. Ben Folds - Super D: Worth it for the cover of Darkness' "Get Your Hands Off My Woman," but if you like Ben Folds, you'll also really like the rest of it.
26. Wilco - A Ghost Is Born: I thought previous albums were okay, but didn't get the hoopla. That aside, I really got into this album (despite the high pitched noise towards the end).
27. Wovenhand - Consider The Birds: I love it. Empty and dark without being boring, pretentious or fake.
28. The Delays - Faded Seaside Glamour: Better-than-average Brit-pop, even if the singer does sound like a girl.
29. The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free: Part of the allure of his first disc was the in-your-face attitude. Yeah, about that, gone
30. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand: Pitchfork is losing its credibility.
31. Saves The Day - Ups And Downs: Early Recordings and B-Sides: I've had most of these tracks for years (oddly, different versions) so I knew what to expect. What I don't get is why not fill the whole CD. This is supposed to catalog all of their early years, yet they only use a fraction of the alotted space on a CD while a ton of music goes unheard (all of the Sefler stuff, a bunch of B-sides, outtakes and covers). Just make your own compilation, I did.
32. Sparta - Porcelain: Still not as good as The Mars Volta.
33. the pAper chAse - whAt big teeth you hAve: Chasing after a more melodic vocal doesn't seem to fully work for the pAper chAse, but it's not bad. Not until after did I find out that two of the songs are covers - they were that convincing.
34. The Elected - Me First: It's obvious who wears the pants in Rilo Kiley. (Hint: It's not Blake)
35. The Plastic Constellations - Mazatlan: It's good, but not nearly as good as the Futureheads or even the Unicorns.
36. Thee Silver Mountain Reveries - Pretty Little Lightning Paw: Talk about an acquired taste. The sad part is that I'm starting to acquire it.
37. Arcade Fire - Funeral: I have difficulty distinguishing the good from the bad when it comes to downtempo rock. This is no exception, but with so many people saying how good it is, I have no choice but to at least listen to it again. And again.
38. Xiu Xiu - Fabulous Muscles: It's good, but I don't really know why. Nor can I decide if I want to listen again, but I will.
39. Animal Collective - Sung Tongs: The Books done well.
40. Emperor X - Tectonic Membrane/Thin Strip On An Edgeless Platform: Somebody give this guy a producer and a recording budget.
41. Fly Pan Am - N'ecoutez Pas: By far the best Fly Pan Am album, but it's still not enough to be considered good.
42. Joanna Newsom - Milk-Eyed Mender: More indie folk-pop that's just nice to listen to, at least once you get past the 12-year old vocals.
43. Devendra Banhart - Rejoicing In The Hands: The indie-folk revoluting is being blogged about.
44. Killswitch Engage - The End Of Heartache: Now this can be a genre standard.
45. Leonard Cohen - Dear Heather: One part gospel album, one part Creator Talking Over Music From A Barren Landscape is a little slow moving, but worth at least one listen.
46. MC Lars - Radio Pet Fencing/Laptop EP: He's a total geek, he's white and he's rapping. Yet somehow, it manages to work, just don't ask me to explain it. (Props for the Piebald sample too)
47. DJ Kno/Kno vs Hov - The White Albulum: Far better than Danger Mouse's fiasco and even better than the original.
48. Sex Positions - Sex Positions: A better follow-up to American Nightmare's Background Music than their actual follow-up. With a little refinement, it could have surpassed the original.
49. 90 Day Men - Panda Park: I'm so confused. This was either genius or rubbish.
50. Patti Smith - Trampin': Having no frame of reference, this is a pretty decent, yet unappealing record.
51. R 'n' R - Infamous and Notorious: Hardcore-styled, and poorly yelled, vocals don't match up with the traditionally-styled rock instrumentation making for a frustrating listen.
52. Madvillain – Madvillainy: Avant-Garde Rap? I don't get it, but keep trying to push the genre forward, it really needs it.
53. The Album Leaf - In A Safe Place: Broken Social Scene (Feel Good Lost-era) meets Sigur Ros. Emphasis on the Sigur Ros.
54. The Whole Nine - Take What You Get: Seeing as how I'm an acquaintance of a member of this band, I'm going to take some extra space for its review. Bottom line is that it is too busy. Too much going on and the vocals get lost (poor production/mixing?). Additionally, none of the music stands out. It's all the same emo/pop punk whiny repetition (as are the vocals). The songwriting is not the strongest either. That being said, this band has the potential to fill the void left by Reach the Sky, which was a band that was "emo for the hardcore kids, and hardcore for the emo kids." Now all they need to do is work on that.
55. Various - Garden State OST: The epitome of a good soundtrack; a well thought-out mixtape of songs that come from and make you think of the movie.
56. Twelve Girls Band - Eastern Energy: Pretty interesting the first time through, but I doubt it'll hold up.
57. Saul Williams - Saul Williams: Not as innovative as Amethyst Rock Star, but it's more accessible and just plain better.
58. Bjork - Medulla: My first ever Bjork album is decent, but not as revolutionary as Bjork-fanatics have led me to believe.
59. FC Five - Final Countdown Five: Despite not being able to hear what is being said, this is some awesome hardcore.
60. Nirvana - With The Lights Out (3 Disc): Historically significant, but only for those diehard fans. Casual fans will enjoy some of the tracks but find most of it redundant.
61. Ratatat - Ratatat: There are a lot of aspects of this band that I like, but it lacks something. Most noticably, words.
62. TV On The Radio - Desperate Youths, Blood Thirsty Babes: If the goal of this record was to make me feel indifferent, then mission accomplished.
63. Omar A. Rodriguez-Lopez: A Manual Dexterity: Soundtrack, Volume 1: No substitute for a new Mars Volta album.
64. Mare - Mare: Doesn't match the instensity or the vision that that City of Caterpillar, but it certainly is brewing.
65. The Whole Nine - Falling Out and Falling In: "Until the day I die..."
66. Various - Rock Against Bush, Vol. 1: Such an amazing concept (too bad it didn't work out), but what's more amazing is how well this whole thing flows despite it large roster of bands, styles and nuance.
67. Various - the pAper chAse meets red worms' farm: Both of these bands compliment each other well and are a good introduction into each. The real gem, though is the remixed "Out Come The Knives" which is better described as an acoustic version.
68. Redneck Manifesto - I Am Brazil: As is the case with most post-rock it seems as though all of these songs are rough demos that need to be fleshed out with direction.
69. Liars - They Were Wrong, So We Drowned: Talk about ruining a band's potential.
70. Danger Mouse - The Grey Album: In what was easily the most promising and anticipated album of the year (and perhaps the last few years) I find the sum of the whole to be inferior to both pieces of the puzzle.
71. Califone - Heron King Blues: If I hadn't expected it to be mind-blowing, I'd probably have enjoyed it.
72. Converge - You Fail Me: I'm not even not a Converge fan, but even I realize that this outing is far insuperior to Jane Doe.
73. Blood For Blood - Serenity: Owing more to side-project Sinners and Saints than to side-project Ramallah, it's just a bad album for Blood for Blood.
74. Hot Water Music - The New What Next: Too polished, too slick, too much effort. Just break up already, before you really jump the shark.
75. Slowdive - Catch The Breeze (2 Disc): It's slow. It's post-rock. It's not as good as Low. It's still worth at least one listen.
76. The Get Up Kids - Guilt Show: Sacrificing musical maturity for the sake of record sales is something I cannot get behind if I didn't like you before you matured.
77. Talib Kweli - The Beautiful Struggle: I really hope that all the hype for his previous works holds up, because this is certainly not great.
78. The Pixies - Wave Of Mutilation: The Best Of The Pixies: I really don't see the huge allure to the Pixies. It's not that I'm unimpressed, just not impressed.
79. Shots Fired - Shots Fired: Erring on the side of generic, there are a few good songs, but not enough for this screamo/emo band.
80. Circle Takes The Square - As The Roots Undo: When trying to do more than the guy next to you, do it. Don't pussyfoot around.
81. Taking Back Sunday - Where You Want To Be: I never gave this band any credit before listening to them. Looks like I don't have to start.
82. Valley of the Giants - Valley of the Giants: Finally, proof that not everything a Broken Social Scene member touches is gold.
83. Apostle of Hustle - Apostle of Hustle: Too inconsistent, ranging from the terrible to the tolerable.
84. The Killers - Hot Fuss: Killer single, shitty album.
85. Charalambides - Joy Shapes: Absolutely riveting (compared to anything by The Azusa Plane).
86. Eric Clapton - Me and Mr. Johnson: Robert Johnson is good. Eric Clapton is good. Eric Clapton covering Robert Johnson? Not so much.
87. Ghost - Hypnotic Underworld: You'll be bored before you find anything rewarding.
88. Faithless - No Roots: I hate this album with much of my being, but I love the single (well, the single edit version).

Review(s): Rilo Kiley

Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous: Make no mistake, this is definetly Rilo Kiley, but it's a slicker, more mature, (dare I say it...?) more adventurous Rilo Kiley. If you liked the previous albums, you'll like this, perhaps not as much though. Stream / Buy

1.13.2005 | Review(s): Redneck Manifesto

Redneck Manifesto - I Am Brazil: As is the case with most post-rock it seems as though all of these songs are rough demos that need to be fleshed out with direction. Buy

1.12.2005 | News: Top 85 of '04 Coming Friday

I've finally finished listening to all of the albums I wanted to listen to from last year (at least for the purpose of this list) and will post a Top 85 of '04 on Friday. It will be missing entries (you will see a number, but no album) and that's because I have yet to post a review for that album. As I post the reviews of that album I will update the list.

Review(s): MC Lars

MC Lars - Radio Pet Fencing/Laptop EP: He's a total geek, he's white and he's rapping. Yet somehow, it manages to work, just don't ask me to explain it. (Props for the Piebald sample too) Download / Buy Laptop EP / Buy Radio Pet Fencing

1.11.2005 | Review(s): Mare

Mare - Mare: Doesn't match the instensity or the vision that City of Caterpillar had, but it certainly is brewing. Download / Buy

1.10.2005 | Review(s): Jens Lekman

Jens Lekman - When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog: I couldn't help but think of the Rocko's Modern Life epsiode when Philbert wanted to be a lounge singer while listening. You won't be able to get the songs out of your head. Stream / Download / Buy

1.09.2005 | Review(s): Fly Pan Am

Fly Pan Am - N'ecoutez Pas: By far the best Fly Pan Am album, but it's still not enough to be considered good. Stream / Buy

1.08.2005 | Review(s): Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli - The Beautiful Struggle: I really hope that all the hype for his previous works holds up, because this is certainly not great. Stream / Buy

1.07.2005 | Review(s): Hot Water Music

Hot Water Music - The New What Next: Too polished, too slick, too much effort. Just break up already, before you really jump the shark. Stream / Download / Buy

1.06.2005 | Review(s): Ben Folds

Ben Folds - Super D: Worth it for the cover of Darkness' "Get Your Hands Off My Woman," but if you like Ben Folds, you'll also really like the rest of it. Stream / Buy

1.05.2005 | Review(s): Feist

Feist - Let It Die: I had no idea Leslie Feist had this in her. It's just so good on so many levels. I may never enjoy it like I do Broken Social Scene, but it may be just as good. Stream / Buy

1.04.2005 | Review(s): Converge

Converge - You Fail Me: I'm not even not a Converge fan, but even I realize that this outing is far insuperior to Jane Doe. Stream / Download / Buy

1.03.2005 | Review(s): Emperor X

Emperor X - Tectonic Membrane/Thin Strip On An Edgeless Platform: Somebody give this guy a producer and a recording budget. Download / Buy

1.02.2005 | Review(s): The Delays

The Delays - Faded Seaside Glamour: Better-than-average Brit-pop, even if the singer does sound like a girl. Stream / Download / Buy

1.01.2005 | Review(s): Blood for Blood, The Citizens, Leonard Cohen

Blood For Blood - Serenity: Owing more to side-project Sinners and Saints than to side-project Ramallah, it's just a bad album for Blood for Blood. Download / Buy

The Citizens - Are We There Yet?: If an awesome laid-back pop record with tons of Beatles influence is considered 'there', then yes. Download / Buy

Leonard Cohen - Dear Heather: One part gospel album, one part Creator Talking Over Music From A Barren Landscape is a little slow moving, but worth at least one listen. Stream / Buy

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