Welcome back to my recap of my favorite songs from 2005. If you missed parts One or Two, click away. I'll follow up this post later this week with a brief discussion of my favorite albums of the year.

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 Three

Dead Meadow - "Let's Jump In"

Feathers is far more layered and trippy than anything Dead Meadow has released so far. The addition of a second guitarist gave the band "more surface area," singer/guitarist Jason Simon told me in an interview last year. Indeed, more emphasis has been placed on melody this time out, and the results are quite interesting. I think Dead Meadow have opened doors to new audiences by heading in this direction, and done so in a manner that hardly seems to sacrifice much of their muscle. "We always considered ourselves to be a heavy pop band that maybe leaned to the harder sound early on as a way of protecting ourselves while playing out," bassist Steve Kille told me. "What a better way for three skinny guys to create art than to hide behind loud guitar and heavy drums?" They aren't hiding any more. Hawkwind is still a heavy influence, but so too is British shoegazer. Me likes.

Shipwreck - "Cavern"

Not the Shipwreck from Albuquerque; rather, these dudes are from my hometown of Champaign, and formed from the ruins of The Buzzards, who may just be the best band to ever cover Gram Parsons' "Kiss the Children". Shipwreck is much more of a traditional "rock" band than their predecessor, but their range of influences still venture from Will Oldham to Ummagumma. Their debut record, Origin, shows great promise. Now if they can only get themselves inked to a record deal.

My Morning Jacket - "Anytime"

Yes, I know that I'm in the minority when it comes to not being all that impressed by Z. The songs on Jim James' newest just don't stack up to his previous two releases. The less-claustrophobic sonic atmosphere may make MMJ more approachable, but it doesn't necessarily make them better. I think the critics missed the boat on this one, but regardless I really dig this song.

Okkervil River - "Black"

This song reminds me of Bruce Springsteen in a big way, and I love love love it. It's got that same reckless, driving energy that made Born to Run so essential.

The Mountain Goats - "This Year"

I'm glad that John Darnielle finally struck a brilliant chord after so many near-perfect songs.

Sufjan Stevens
- "Chicago"

Stevens has received enough hype this year. But I'm partial to Illinois because I've lived in the state nearly all of my life. And while he does come across a bit too fey (too often) on the whole, he sure does know his way around a melody. I don't know if this album will hold up over time, but this song in particular stands a good chance.

Antony and the Johnsons - "Hope There's Someone"

If anyone received more hype than Sufjan over the past year, it was probably Antony. There isn't much room for grey area here; you either love him or hate him. What makes Antony's music more than camp -- more than simply style -- is the anger that breathes right under the surface of his best songs (see the second half of this song, for example). Once I accepted his unique voice, I was hooked.

Devendra Banhart
- "Cripple Crow"

Sure, he's a modern hippie. But I can't fault him for his eccentricities, especially when his music is attempting to reach outward without regard for the inevitable smirks, slaps, and shallow disdain for something striving for honesty. Not enough songwriters are expressing thoughts like this in the year 2005: "Our pain dissolves with believing / that peace comes." And this song is a great example of Banhart growing out of his T. Rex shell into a pretty little butterfly.

The Drones - "Shark Fin Blues"

If Richard Thompson fronted Drive Like Jehu, we'd all have a new favorite band. And if The Drones could pull that off over the course of an entire album, they would be my new favorite band. Sadly, they struck out on Wait Long By the River & the Bodies
of Your Enemies Will Float By
. But misses aside, "Shark Fin Blues" is still my favorite guitar rock anthem of '05.

Andrew Bird - "A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left"

Andrew Bird's attempt to mimic The Shins-gone-country. What can I say? I'm a sucka.

Jens Lekman
- "I Saw Her in the Anti War Demonstration"

This was released first on a Secretly Canadian EP in 2004, and then re-released in November 2005 on a compilation full-length titled Oh You're So Silent Jens. I include it here only because it is a fabulous song and it's sadly quite possible that you've yet to meet the truly wonderful Jens Lekman.

Cass McCombs - "City of Brotherly Love"

Welly welly well, maybe you'll find this one a bit too melancholy and downtempo. But I find it to be quite splendid, and since it's M's favorite song of '05, I just had to include it.

The Hospitals - "Happy Jack"

I broke two of my own rules to include this song. For starters, I don't own the source recording; I downloaded it. For seconds, this is a cover that surely has Keith Moon rolling over in his grave. Since The Hospitals make this song their own with their bizarre rape of the original recording, I don't feel much guilt about including this. Such disregard for legends should receive applause. This was released on a limited-edition 12-inch by a German (I think) label and is way out of print. Enjoy. (And if anyone knows where I can track down a copy, please let me know.)

Nagisa Ni Te
- "Anxiety"

Japanese folk-rock duo Nagisa Ni Te (which translates to "on the beach") rock out on their four-song EP, Dream Sounds. I love the jangly Velvets rumble, the slightly off-key vocals, and the occasionally jumpy bass line. A surprise find for me, and highly recommended if you're into older Yo La Tengo.

The Clientele - "Since K Got Over Me"

Finally, we reach my favorite song from 2005. How can a song with a wink to Phil Spector -- listen for it at the one-minute mark -- not find its way on to my Best of 2005 list? But what separates this song from others is that it was written by Alasdair MacLean, quite possibly the greatest guitar player that no one ever talks about. MacLean's biting lyrics and exquisite use of melody have always been his band's calling card, but never has he sounded this confident, as if he's fully aware that this pop song will utterly crush his ex's heart.

Shout Out Louds - "Oh, Sweetheart"

I found the Shout Out Louds' 2005 major-label U.S. debut to be a bit of a bore -- a cautious, more rockin' attempt at overseas success for the Swedes. Howl Howl Gaff Gaff simply repackaged many of the band's earlier releases, like this tune from a 2004 EP that I fell in love with. Since that EP was only scarcely available as an import, I include it here.

The Kills - "Love Is a Deserter"

If there is a "last place" song on my Best of 2005 mixes, then this is it. I was totally disappointed in The Kills' sophomore album, No Wow, especially given how much I enjoyed their debut. Honestly, listening to this song now, I wish I would have left it off the mix. It's not bad, for sure, but it's not that great, either.

Spoon - "I Summon You"

At least we end on a high note. Every Spoon album has that one sentimental song that gets you weak in the knees, and Britt Daniel has written none better than "I Summon You". On a side note, I want to marry Jim Eno, just so he can play the drums for me 24 hours a day. Anyone else feel the same way?

Thanks for reading my Best of 2005 entries. I had a lot of fun putting the mixes together on my stereo (note: NOT COMPUTER). All in all, I probably spent 20 or so hours ranking songs and fretting over what would not make the list. Hopefully, you found a few new faves in the process. And please, share your lists with me as well.


Blogger Jerimee Bloemeke said...

this is a great list. 20 hours (!) well spent.

2/20/2006 9:16 PM  

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