010906: 111 2005 Albums that are better than Coldplay’s (Part 2)
originally aired 2-4am January 10, 2006 on CFMU
The second part of our tiny little downcounting of musical albumens.
87: Menomena – Under an Hour (Flour)
A set of three extended tracks created for a dance performance. Repeating arrangements weave in and out, build, denoue, and make for great listening
86: Kate Bush – Aerial (Somewhere in Between)
Kate’s first album in 12 years is a double one, though it could fit on one CD. Exhibits the fanciful, lush, dark atmosphere of her best work, but more restrained and not quite as sharp.
85: Ladytron – Witching Hour (Destroy Everything You Touch)
Hard-hitting, brooding electro, a little bit gothy. Gets a bit repetitive after a while, but a very worthy effort.
84: Roots Manuva – Awfully Deep (colossal insight)
One of hip-hop’s best and most distinctive voices comes out with a pessimistic, worried album tinged with techy elements of the booming UK garage scene.
83: Gang Gang Dance – God’s Money (Egowar)
Pygmy children locate whistles, helium, and a variety of drums and crunchy things. The result is somehow very appealing (at least to these ears). Psychedelic, insane and a little bit spastic.
82: Busdriver – Fear Of A Black Tangent (Reheated Pop!)
Extra-speedy rapper Busdriver delivers a disc of cynical rhymes backed with loopy, chirpy production. If you can decipher what he’s saying there’s good stuff in there!
81: The Kills – No Wow (No Wow)
Grimy guitar rock with male and female lead voices. A little reminiscent of Damon-favourite PJ Harvey.
80: Out Hud – Let Us Never Speak of it Again (How Long)
Sharing some members with !!! (and that’s what you get when you capitalize the number of albums in this here countdown), Out Hud delivers an album of whacky indie disco psych techno riddled with some excellent songnames.
79: Serena Maneesh – Serena Maneesh (Selina’s Melodie Fountain)
Murky guitar rock that drones at times and sometimes learns to fly—in an anthemic, epic sort of way. M83 for those who like to rawk? No. But I just name-dropped, so I am elite.
78: Matias Aguayo – Are You Really Lost (De Papel featuring Max Turner)
Some goshdarn excellent micro-house. Subtle in its way, it creeps along with a steady rhythm and buries itself inside you.
77: Kelley Polar – Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens (Here in the Night)
The Junior Boys have already spawned an Imitator! Monsieur Kelley, though delivers great variety on this disc, expertly crafted productions back succulent and surprisingly complex pop cherries, crooned over with a sweet voice.
76: Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine (Extraordinary Machine)
Caused a little bit of controversy when Fiona abandoned producer Jon Brion for . No one can definitively decide which version is better, but they’re both good. It sounds a little bit out of its time but it all fits together quite beautifully.
75: The Drones – Wait Long By The River And The Bodies Of Your Enemies Will Float By (Baby²)
Australian band delivers longest album title of countdown! One of best also! Manly, dense and dirty rock and roll. Grrr.
74: Richard Hawley – Coles Corner (Just Like The Rain)
Some lovely and warm tunes involving lush instruments and melodies, with Richard’s pleasant croon to make you smile. This is an album you can play for your parents. Good, old fashioned songcraft.
73: Cage – Hell’s Winter (Stripes)
Chris Palko’s troubled life gets the focus on his album. Cage explores how his abusive, heroin-addicted father, violent upbringing, and time in a mental institution (etc) made him who he is. Dark stuff, finely produced by Def Jux regulars like Blockhead. And Eminem thought he had it bad…
72: Buck 65 – This Right Here is (Bandits)
Canadian rapper’s big label debut collects some of his previous tracks and some new ones and re-jigs them for a theoretically larger audience. That audience includes me, so I won’t complain about any of that selling out crap. He could almost come from the south, probably the most un-urban hiphop I’ve run into.
71: esem – scateren (dispehrse)
A free web-release that breaks from traditional albumic conventions. Beautiful electronic ambient music of various types.
70: Blackalicious – The Craft (Ego Sonic Wardrums)
Independent hip-hop’s flagship (Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel) delivers their third album, and it’s a much more polished affair. More consistent in sound than previous offerings and therefore less noticeable, but expertly put together and there’s some delicious offerings within.
69: Devendra Banhart – Cripple Crow (Chinese Children)
Sad-voiced Devendra delivers another long, dusty album of folky songs, sometimes Mexicanally affected, sometimes straight ahead strum. He knows how to write some fine lyrics and tunes.
68: Thee Silver Mt. ZionMemorial Orchestra& Tra-La-La Band – Horses in the Sky (Mountains Made of Steam)
The ex-Godspeed You Black Emperor side project (too big to be a side project now, i’faith) delivers number 4. Unfortunately a step down from other albums, but brilliant, moving and honest nonetheless, if you can get used to Efrim’s voice (cause oh boy does he like to sing now!) Still no substitute for their mindboggling live show.
67: Castanets – First Light’s Freeze (A Song is Not The Song Of The World)
Unique spare electronic indie folk rock… or something. Clackety beats, building atmospheres of organic sounding synths create the bed for dramaric dual-voiced lyrics.
66: John Vanderslice – Pixel Revolt (trance manual)
Following up Cellar Door with another album of pleasantly catchy often beautiful melodies, a variety of narrative lyrics and extremely eclectic instrumentation.
65: Okkervil River – Black Sheep Boy (For Real)
Ragged voiced folk-rock. I don’t want to say emo, but this guy doesn’t sound happy. He still manages for some excellent lyrics and a true emotional punch now and then. It often gets pretty intense.
64: Caribou – The Milk Of Human Kindness (Yeti)
Formerly Manitoba, Dan Snaith (a Dundas native!) doesn’t let Handsome Dick cramp his style, delivering a superb set of wild and psychedelic songs that stretch the mind with sounds you’ve never heard before.
63: Iron & Wine – Woman King EP (In My Lady’s House)
Sam Beam presents a collection of 6 songs backed by his unique and utterly wondful voice. The arrangements are much expanded from the simple palette of his sparser previous offerings, now offering various layers of rattling and dinging, but still in that dusty back forty sort of way.
..to be continued..