Monday, December 19, 2005

Year-End Liszt

Franz Liszt, one of the greatest piano virtusuos who ever lived, did not survive long enough to hear Spoon's "Gimme Fiction", or The Decemberists' "Picaresque"

Last night, I spent about three hours on-line reading various MP3 blogs' Top 10 year-end wrap-ups. I have to say that it was an incredibly frustrating experience that confirmed what I have been thinking to myself lately: 2005 was a bad year for rock and roll. For electronic, rap, and R&B artists, it seems to have been a high-watermark year, although I'm questioning that, as well. Albums like M.I.A.'s "Arular", Lady Sovereign's "Vertically Challenged", and R. Kelly's "TP3: Reloaded" generated that weird, pants-wetting blogger frenzy thing when they first started circulating on-line, and I bought it. I genuinely love all three of those albums. But they're already gathering dust on the CD shelves. I have only played the Lady Sov album once, which is admittedly due to the fact that most of the tracks on her EP, though awesome, had been out for the better part of a year before Chocolate Industries released the album.

Anyway, I was just thinking how it seems to have been the worst kind of year for people like me, who like their rock and roll with some teeth, some punch, some urine stains. The consensus seems to be that the following bands, who are very in touch with their emotions, are the best that 2005 had to offer:

The Arcade Fire*
Sufjan Stevens*
The Decemberists*
Death Cab For Cutie
Antony & The Johnsons*
*denotes that I have never sat through this band's new album in completion, not because they are bad albums, but because I have a short attention span that requires the presence of 808 bass drums in order to maintain my interest

So, here's a brief lunch-break list of some albums that actually rocked me in the rocking way in 2005.

Cantankerous - "Self-Titled EP"
Their song "Flesh Roast" is a high-speed, guitar, drums machine, and distortion-fueled rampage through the old South. The lead singer lures Klan members into the woods with promises of sex, whereupon she and her friends murder them and burn their bodies. And it's very danceable, with easily the catchiest hook in a long, long time.

Senor Coconut - Coconut FM: Legendary Latin Club Jams
The BPM never drops below 185 or so, all while Spanish versions of L'Trimm shout chants in a language that I don't understand. Horns are cut up in weird ways, crazy voices come out of nowhere and shout "Baile!", the drums have the tempo of a stampede, it's awesome. This is the music that makes me wish I was not too neurotic to dance.

Milemarker - Ominosity
I do miss the old Milemarker, but I can still enjoy this one. Two drummers, synthesizers, Al and Dave shouting lyrics that sound like notes made by a grad student in the margins of Kafka's "The Trial". You know the drill by now. It really is not the same without Roby, but I still find myself rocking out to it. Oh, and you can get it for free on their website, or you can buy it - whichever you choose. God bless 'em and their idealism.

Lucero - Nobody's Darlings
Highly recommended for fans of The Replacements. Also guaranteed to please fans of Magnolia Electric Company's more up-tempo, guitar-driven moments, and anyone who likes rootsy American rock and roll without any pretension, but with plenty of Southern twang. I love this album.

Say Hi To Your Mom - Discosadness
When you get tired of waiting on Pedro The Lion to make another album like "Control", buy some SHTYM. Awful name aside, this band rolls everything I like about Self and Pedro The Lion up into one big, distorted, moogy ball. And I know it's emotional as hell, but it still has some smarm. Eric's website has lots of free MP3s.

Self - The B-Sides That Were Never Released
Self was supposed to put out an album called "Ornament & Crime" earlier this year, but the label shelved it, and the MP3's ended up on labeled as "Porno, Mint & Grime", along with literally every other b-side they have ever recorded, or any song that has never been released. Believe that this ate up a chunk of my hard drive.


Blogger Sammy said...

haha, that lucero album got some of the worst reviews i've ever read. but i still love that scruffy voice of his. and have you listened to the fantomas album that came out this year? i figured you might be into that.

9:04 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I know, they were hard on that lucero album. But I loved it. I actually haven't heard the fantomas, it was like $21 at Best Buy. I mean, c'mon Mike Patton, Digipack packaging is cool and all, but help me out here I make very little dividends.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Sammy said...

yeah, when i went to see em, tickets were over $20, and then they were charging $20 for the CD because it had just come out. i was like, thank you, but i'll take one of the old albums for $10.

1:07 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Were they any good?

8:33 AM  
Blogger Sammy said...

it was THE best show i've ever seen. mike patton knows how to old the attention of the i had king buzzo's hair to stare at.

6:45 AM  

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