POST NO. 50: BEST OF 2005, PART TWO

Welcome to week two, mix two, of my Best of 2005 recap. For week one, click here. The same disclaimer holds true for this volume.

Songs are listed in no particular order, other than the order in which they appeared on the mix. All songs are from records that I purchased -- no iTunes downloads, no mp3s cribbed from blogs, no feeling guilty over not owning the album's actual artwork. Barring a few reissues of recently recorded music, all songs appeared on albums whose original release was in 2005.

The Noiseboy's Best of 2005, Volume Two




Silver Jews - "Punks in the Beerlight"

David Berman has never recorded a more direct, rocking tune than this dark ode to his days as a drunk. In some parallel universe, this song was a Top 40 radio hit and scores of kids rallied around the Silver Jews and their T-shirts popped up in Hot Topics the world round. How can you go wrong with this: "So wanna build an altar on a summer night. You wanna smoke the gel off a fentanyl patch." And of course, the anthemic chorus: "Punks in the beerlight, burnouts in love!" Man, this song is like a tribute to the Swingin' Seventies CBGB's scene. And I love it! (Postscript: If you haven't watched the brilliant video for this song, get on it now!)



Spoon - "Sister Jack"

Speaking of bands with an obviously ignored radio hit on their hands, how about this one? Many of my friends wondered how "I Turn My Camera On" could be left off my Best of 2005 list. And I responded with this question: How can the best-sounding "classic" Spoon song ever penned not make it on your Best of 2005 list? Plus, I love the fist-pumping lyric: "I was in a drop-D metal band we called Requiem."



Devendra Banhart - "I Feel Just Like a Child"

If you don't "get" this song, then you don't "get" Devendra Banhart. I thought Cripple Crow was weaker than either of last year's offerings -- mostly because it was just too fat around the edges -- but this song is just Devendra doing his own beautiful thing. Never has he channeled Marc Bolan with such success.



Smog - "The Well"

Bill Callahan wisely dropped the parenthesis from his band name for his newest release, A River Ain't Too Much To Love. But on the record, he also foregoes electric guitars in favor of a back-porch acoustic album. The songs are solid, but overall the record lacks the immediacy of some of his best work of recent. My choice from this record was a toss-up from the album's strongest pair of songs, "Say Valley Maker" and "The Well". Ultimately, Jim White's drumming on "The Well" won the coin toss. He sure is a swell drummer.



Six Organs of Admittance
- "Home"

I went with the "pretty" Ben Chasney song for my mix not because it was necessarily the best on an album that fluctuates between longish dirges and short and sweet John Fahey-inspired blues, but because I couldn't justify taking up 10+ minutes with School of the Flower's title track.



The Magic Numbers - "Love Me Like You"

There are two things that I like about this band: 1) the fact that they don't mesh with the standard "look" for a major label artist (they are what they are); and 2) this song. The rest of their self-titled album didn't do much for me, but this tune belongs amongst pop's royalty.



Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
- "In This Home on Ice"

Upon swallowing Pitchfork's hype and purchasing this record, I spent a good week loving it. On first listen, I heard a pleasant throwback to the days when Unrest ruled the school. But the album quickly faded in my rear view mirror. This song, however, stayed in the backseat a bit longer. I love the energetic Rocketship-esque keyboards and the melodrama, proving that I am still just as much a sucker for indie pop at age 30 as I was at age 20.



Suburban Kids with Biblical Names - "Funeral Face"

These Swedes are hopping on the coattails of Jens Lekman in an oh-so-obvious way, but who fucking cares? I was so stoked for their full length, No. 3 (released on Labrador Records), and it let me down in a big way. But this single is a very nice consolation prize. Hopefully they'll fare better with their next album, as the promise of their debut EP, No. 1, has yet to be realized.



The Fiery Furnaces - "Here Comes the Summer"

I'm not the biggest fan of this dude and dudette. But this song just floored me. If every song they wrote was this direct, then Matt and Eleanor would be King and Queen of the world. It sort of frustrates me that they can't harness their ambition for just one record and give us a collection of pop songs this good.



Animal Collective - "Grass"

The chug-chug-chug of electric guitars buried underneath thumping toms; the primal yelps coupled with woo-ooo-ooo's; obscure melodies squeezed of their last breath; the urgency with which the lyrics are delivered; the far-out-to-sea-on-a-lazy- boat-in-the-midst-of-a-big-storm feel of the entire song; all makes for one engaging, brilliantly-skewed song from Avey Tare, Panda Bear, and company.



Oneida - "Did I Die"

Speaking of daring NYC ensembles, how about Oneida and their latest, The Wedding? Don't even try to tell me that you heard anything like "Did I Die" in 2005. This one strokes my psych-rock side while also satisfying my occasional craving for the obtuse, difficult indie rock of my youth. Song-of-the-year as far as I'm concerned.



Dungen - "Panda"

Technically, this song has no business on my mix, as Ta Det Lugnt ended up No. 2 on my Best of 2004 list. But since so many of my friends had yet to hear Dungen as of late 2005 -- apparently still scared off by their Swedish tongue -- and since the album saw its re-release domestically in '05, I had to include "Panda" here. Plus, Dungen put on the best live show I've ever seen from a rock band when I caught them at the Empty Bottle in October. They are not to be missed, folks.



Witchcraft - "Chylde of Fire"

Everyone's got a little Sabbath itch to scratch from time to time, no? These Swedes sing in English and channel Ozzy and Roky in equal doses. I know it's more tribute than original, but I got a sweet tooth so lemme have it.



Bonnie "Prince" Billy and Matt Sweeney - "My Home Is the Sea"

It's possible that Will Oldham is too prolific for his own good. But I for one think that his 2005 collaboration with former Chavez gunslinger Sweeney gave ole Bonnie a breath of fresh air. Sure, not many of the songs on Superwolf rank among his best, but this one sure does, with Matt playing Ned's role to great results. I really dig the psychedelic ending, which I'm guessing is all Matt's doing.



Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice - "Dogpaddlin' Home to Live with My Lord"

I didn't get to hear James Toth's other 2005 album, Harem of the Sundrum & the Witness Figg, before I made up my Best of '05 list. But I think I like this song from The Flood better than anything on his other release, despite the fact that I like the other record more as a whole. The mood and lyrics of this song remind me of Richard Davies for some reason.



Akron/Family - "Shoes"

There sure is a lot of NYC on this mix. Akron/Family were among my favorite new discoveries last year, and thinking about them now reminds me to pick up their album with Young God Records' founder Michael Gira, aka Angels of Light. Anyone heard it?



Sigur Ros - "Saeglopur"

I enjoyed Sigur Ros' breakthrough 1999 album Agaetis Byrjun, but I don't listen to it very often. In fact, I think it had been at least a couple years since I'd last listened to it when I ran it through the headphones this fall. I was attempting to decide if I wanted to order Takk, their 2005 release that was receiving lots of praise. I reinvested in the band after remembering why I fell in love with them in the first place, and I'm glad I did. Takk is exceptional at times, and while I'm sure I won't listen to it all that often either, it's great to have around when the mood strikes.



The Clientele - "E.M.P.T.Y."

It's good to see The Clientele return to the form that won them my musical heart in 1999. Strange Geometry is a sadly overlooked gem from the past year. Any self-respecting fan of Felt and The Left Banke needs to rush ye to a record emporium in a hurry and pick this up.


That concludes volume two of my Best of 2005 mixes. Next week: the third and final offering.

3 Comments:

Blogger Jerimee Bloemeke said...

the akron/family / angels of light split is fucking amazing. truly.

2/12/2006 9:36 PM  
Blogger Don Gerard said...

Andrew Bird's attempt to mimic The Shins-gone-country.

Who the f*ck are the Shins? I was thinking Beatles "White Album" & Tim Buckley when I heard it.

Hey, ever notice how indie-rock critics (sic) always love bands which do not look like rock stars, but more like four indie rock critics? Huh.

Yo - What is it gonna take to get you to donate a ten-spot to the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics? How about you do and I'll burn you a CD bootleg of the Bowery Boys' "George Jones Vs. Godzilla" (plus a whole bunch of unreleased demos & live tracks)?

2/26/2006 12:50 PM  
Blogger ken said...

Don,
I was just searching the net for any signs of Bowery Boys George Jones Vs Godzilla... is there anyway I could get a copy of that I would donate a ten spot to a good cause.
Ken

1/15/2007 4:29 AM  

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