Top 2004 Music
2004 Top 10 Albums
10. Grabass Charlestons (The Greatest Story Ever Hula’d)
This fine bunch of Florida guys belts out some most excellent punk rock. It’s a fun album that’s fast, but not in a snotty, annoying way. And the coolest part is that they do a cover of Tom Waits’ “Cold, Cold Ground.”
9. Tom Waits (Real Gone)
Speaking of Tom Waits…he put out a new album this year. And like a good chunk of his catalog, it features tribal beats, unique instrumentation and a whole lot of soul and grit. Hi wife Kathleen Brennan is back writing with him, while his son joins in on some songs, too. I hope he tours the US in 2005.
8. Four Tet (Rounds)
I’m definitely NOT a fan of electronic music, but this one’s different. “Rounds” is not the pulsing-ambient noise I usually associate with electronic music. There’s some serious traditional instrumentation going on here, and the songs have less of a dance-kind of structure. Very, very cool music to groove to on a long drive.
7. TV On The Radio (Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes)
These guys from Brooklyn have a very unique thing going here. Part dance, part rock, part jazz, part falsetto, part hip-hop. Sounds fun, huh? It is. This album is sometimes haunting, but at other times hits you with a hooking groove that won’t let go.
6. Johnny Cash (Unearthed Box Set)
Do I even need to explain myself here?
5. Rocket From The Crypt (Circa: Now! Reissue)
The song “Ditch Digger” is one of the best songs ever made. The rest of the album is good, too. I think this might be my favorite album by RFTC. If you like them, you really ought to have this one.
4. Jawbreaker (Dear You Reissue)
This is the album that supposedly broke up the band. The music here is a bit less punk and raw than their previous albums, and I didn’t like it when it was released almost 10 years ago. But upon fresh listens, this album shows just how great this band was.
3. Hot Snakes (Audit in Progress)
John Reis, who is also in Rocket From the Crypt had a band back in the early 1990's called Drive Like Jehu. They played a truly unique kind of punk rock. The blazing guitars, urgent vocals, downright jamming and tribal beats laid the groundwork for many of today's "post-punk" outfits. They only released two albums, and basically broke up. Hot Snakes is the reincarnation of that band. Two of the members here remain from DLJ, and the music is very similar. But gone are the extended breakdowns. The songs here are more structured, but still retain that totally unique sound.
2. Ted Leo + Pharmacists (Shake the Sheets)
Pop punk filled with hooks and politics and life. It may sound like a bit much to deal with, but Ted Leo crafts his songs so well that it takes a few listens for you to realize your humming and singing along to his clever observations.
1. Roy (Big City Sin and Small Town Redemption)
Some of the members of Roy are also in Botch, one of the most brutal and pummeling hardcore bands around. But this album couldn’t be farther from that. Roy cleverly creates a country-tinged rock album that is catchy, introspective and fun without any elements of cheese or annoying country & rock clichés. References to Uncle Tupelo don't apply because Roy are more catchy and way less depressed. And how could you go wrong with an album title like this one?
2004 Biggest Let Down Albums
There were some albums I was totally stoked to hear, but ended up being complete duds:
Wilco (Story of the Ghost)
The fact that so many music critics loved this album proves to me that these idiot writers don’t know what they’re talking about. It also proves that Jay Bennett was a major part of this band, and that his departure definitely left a mark. Ouch. And then Jeff Tweedy releases a book of his poetry? Come on.
Modest Mouse (Good News....)
I don’t know. Maybe this album will grow on me like The Moon and Antarctica did. There is definitely a strong, strong Tom Waits influence, and I dig the Bukowski song, but this album would be great if it were only about 5 songs. The rest are total throwaways or radio fluff. The edge and groove I love so much in their earlier albums just isn’t there with this release.
Top 2 Albums of All Time
Wow...tough one, but here goes.
2. Fugazi (Repeater)
1. The Beatles (Abbey Road)
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