January 25, 2006
Greg's Music Forum 2005: Aggregation and analysis of 75 "Best Albums of 2005" lists from around the world
Ok, people, this is important. Our friend Greg has once again compiled every "Top 10 Albums of the Year" list he could find. He's aggregated the results and, using a custom ranking system, carefully calculated the 75 most critically acclaimed albums of 2005. He collected and analyzed 75 lists from around the world (a big jump from last year's list). Below, he presents the combined rankings, provides the individual lists in their entirety, weighs in with his own "top 20" list, and offers a short commentary on dozens of other albums from 2005. So here's Greg...
Hi everyone and happy new year. It's a long post so I've included a table of contents to help you navigate (i.e. skip the bullshit).
The T of C
I. Shout-Outs and Explanation of Collated List
II. 2005: The Year in Music
III. The Collated List (Top 75)
IV. My List (Top 20)
V. My pithy comments on over 70 other albums released this year
VI. The Raw Data (75 top ten lists from 14 countries)
I. What the fuck is this?
Last year I compiled 60 end-of-the-year best albums lists from a variety of music publications from North America, Europe and Australia.
A bunch of people asked me to do this again, so I did them a great favor (yeah, like I wouldn't have done it anyway), only I upped the ante to 75 lists. Here's the distribution of the lists by country:
- Belgium - 1
- Canada - 3
- Denmark - 1
- France – 2
- Germany - 4
- Iceland - 1
- Italy - 4
- Netherlands - 2
- Norway – 4
- Poland - 2
- Spain - 5
- Sweden - 3
- United Kingdom - 16
- United States – 27
Since I am no statistician, my method for aggregating the data was simple and not very scientific: 1 “point” for each 10th place listing, 2 points for each 9th place mention and so on up to 10 points for each 1st place mention. Unranked lists were excluded, as were lists by individual critics and bloggers. The result, for whatever it's worth, is some kind of estimate of international critical consensus. Use it as a list of music to seek out, or as a list of stuff to avoid, or just as what it is – a reflection of what kind of music music critics, who are not your average music listeners, like (there are several professional music critics among you – whatup Pitchfork, whatup NME). The individual lists are included at the end for a closer comparison of American vs. European critical taste, or for finding a publication that suits your taste, or to check my math. Enjoy!
Most of these lists were sourced from several pages on the web:
- First and foremost, Henrik Franzon's incredible website: http://www.acclaimedmusic.net
- DJ Martian's comprehensive but virtually unintelligible website: http://djmartian.blogspot.com
And Rex Sorgatz's awesome listophilic website:
Thanks guys. Keep up the good work. Maybe next year I'll have a website like you guys.
II. 2005: The Year in Music (overly pessimistic discussion prompts)
Another year in music gone by. What does it all mean? Or as Madonna asks on her new album, “Will any of this matter?” If you love music it does. An analysis of the year in music might as well start here with Billboard's Top 200 sellers of 2005.
As this project demonstrates, the music press has an unprecedented reach and influence on music. This is new in the history of popular music and is mainly attributable, like most things these days, to the juggernaut-like growth of the internet. But despite the proliferation of music websites, webzines and blogs, as the data reveals, there is a surprising unanimity of taste among these sources. This is primarily because nearly all focus on the same style of music (generally speaking, alt-rock, for lack of a better label) and are written by and for the same demographic. Not that some of these aren't excellent resources, but many do suffer from a severe narrowness of focus. Thus it seems to me like the more established and traditional magazines (Mojo, Uncut, Record Collector, Rolling Stone) talk the most sense and are least susceptible to passing trends (though I'm not arguing that all passing trends are necessarily bad). More than ever, bands read music publications and are aware of what constitutes good music (to these publications), so you have bands tailoring their sound to the whims of the critics. Naturally, this merging of art and media creates an increasingly insular, cannibalistic music community. And we wonder why independent music in North America continues to choke on the sputum of its own self-importance while some psychotic hype abroad sent another wave of neo-post bands surging across the Atlantic to wash up a tangle of flotsam and jetsam on our continent. Is there an egress from the cycle of madness? Apart from a few exceptional artists, the mainstream doesn't seem to hold much hope, although perhaps the most welcome explosion of the year was that of southern rap, which had always had an influence on the mainstream, but this year became it. Although it might be a futile and delusional enterprise, for my part, I constantly seek out music that strikes me as the least studied and the most genuine, to put it rather imprecisely. And with that I conclude my rant. On with the lists.
III. The Collated List (# of points in parentheses; ties settled by AllMusic ratings):
75. Junior Senior - My My Hey Hey Yo Yo (Crunchy Frog)
74. Neil Young - Prairie Wind (Reprise) (10)
73. Avenged Sevenfold - City of Evil (Warner Bros.) (10)
72. Little Brother - The Minstrel Show (Atlantic) (10)
71. Trivium - Ascendancy (Roadrunner) (10)
70. The Rakes - Capture/Release (V2 International) (10)
69. Eels - Blinking Lights and Other Revelations (Vagrant) (10)
68. Smog - A River Ain't Too Much to Love (Drag City) (11)
67. Nine Inch Nails - With Teeth (I Nothing) (11)
66. Hakan Hellstrom - Ett kolikbarns bekannelser (12)
65. The Mitchell Brothers - Breath of Fresh Attire (Wea/Beats) (12)
64. DJ Muggs vs. GZA - Grandmasters (Angeles) (12)
63. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl (Red Ink) (12)
62. Tocotronic - Pure Vernunft Darf Niemals Siegen (13)
61. Metric - Live It Out (Last Gang) (13)
60. Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti - Worn Copy (Paw Tracks) (13)
59. Akron/Family - Akron/Family (Young God) (13)
58. Jesu - Jesu (Hydra Head) (13)
57. Bruce Springsteen - Devils & Dust (Columbia) (13)
56. Elbow - Leaders of the Free World (V2) (14)
55. Madonna - Confessions on a Dance Floor (Warner Bros.) (14)
54. Doves - Some Cities (Capitol) (14)
53. Common - Be (Geffen) (14)
52. Rufus Wainwright - Want Two (Geffen) (16)
51. Dalek - Absence (Ipecac) (16)
50. Paul Weller - As Is Now (Yep Roc) (16)
49. Queens of the Stone Age - Lullabies to Paralyze (Interscope) (16)
48. Devendra Banhart - Cripple Crow (XL) (18)
47. The Mountain Goats - The Sunset Tree (4AD) (18)
46. Coldplay - X & Y (Capitol) (19)
45. Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine (Epic/Clean Slate) (19)
44. Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy (Jagjaguwar) (20)
43. ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead - Worlds Apart (Interscope) (20)
42. Konono No. 1 - Congotronics (Crammed Discs) (20)
41. Amadou & Mariam - Dimanche a Bamako (Nonesuch) (21)
40. The Decemberists - Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars) (22)
39. Beck - Guero (Interscope) (22)
38. Gang Gang Dance - God's Money (The Social Registry) (23)
37. Robyn - Robyn (23)
36. Edan - Beauty and The Beat (Lewis) (24)
35. Death Cab for Cutie - Plans (Atlantic) (25)
34. Isolee - We Are Monster (Playhouse) (25)
33. Sigur Ros - Takk... (Geffen) (27)
32. The Rolling Stones - A Bigger Bang (Virgin) (28)
31. Deerhoof - The Runners Four (Kill Rock Stars) (30)
30. The Magic Numbers - The Magic Numbers (34)
29. The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute (Universal) (34)
28. The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday (French Kiss) (35)
27. Ry Cooder - Chavez Ravine (Nonesuch) (41)
26. Spoon - Gimme Fiction (Merge) (42)
25. Broken Social Scene - s/t (Arts & Crafts) (42)
24. System of a Down - Mesmerize (American (47)
23. Maximo Park - A Certain Trigger (Warp) (47)
22. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (48)
21. Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll (Banana/Fierce Panda) (49)
20. Kaiser Chiefs - Employment (Universal) (52)
19. Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production of Eggs (Righteous Babe) (52)
18. The National - Alligator (Beggars Banquet) (53)
17. Kate Bush - Aerial (Columbia) (53)
16. Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary (Sub Pop) (60)
15. Sleater-Kinney - The Woods (Sub Pop) (62)
14. The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan (V2) (63)
13. My Morning Jacket - Z (Badman) (79)
12. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema (Matador) (79)
11. Gorillaz - Demon Days (Virgin) (80)
10. Animal Collective - Feels (Fat Cat) (84)
9. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (Saddle Creek) (95)
8. Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better (Sony) (119)
7. Kanye West - Late Registration (Roc-A-Fella) (127)
6. LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem (DFA/EMI) (138)
5. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (Vice) (140)
4. M.I.A. - Arular (XL) (192)
3. Arcade Fire - Funeral (Merge) (200)*
2. Antony and the Johnsons - I Am a Bird Now (Secretly Canadian) (243)
1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (Asmathic Kitty) (307)
*Although released in the States last year, Funeral was considered a 2005 release by most European publications, hence its inclusion here. The fact that it still collected more votes than all but 2 artists -- in spite of being ineligible for 27 lists -- shows how well it was received overseas.
IV. My List (let the hyperbole begin):
20. The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday (French Kiss)
Best Track: “Your Little Hoodrat Friend”
“Yeah, damn right you'll rise again”
Separation Sunday is to Midwestern-bent indie rock what The Drive-By Truckers' Southern Rock Opera was to Southern-bent indie rock – a character-driven story evoking the people, places and music of the region, set to some driving, nuts-out music. The Hold Steady recalls not only a time when indie rock actually rocked (remember Superchunk?) but also the late '70s, when classic rock was giving way to punk. There are nods to Thin Lizzy, Springsteen, AC/DC and, possibly the strangest and greatest of Midwestern bands, Cheap Trick. Craig Finn's mostly spoken (in a snarly Mark E. Smith kind of way) vocals will either take some warming up to or they'll start to gall your ears after a few listens, but this was still some of the most muscular and honest rock and roll to be found in 2005.
19. Brian Eno - Another Day on Earth (Hannibal)
BT: "And Then So Clear"
"As the snow across the tundra / And the rain across the skies"
Eno's unexpectedly structured ambient-pop record is a model of understatement -- everything's carefully placed, expertly modulated. The sonic array is broad enough that none of the tracks sound the same, though the mood is consistent enough that the album never sounds choppy. Some of the songs are so delicate and weightless they're hardly there, while on others, like "Passing Over," the sense of dread is so present that it makes my bowels go lax. Eno often references his best album, Another Green World, not only with the title but with certain words and synth patches, though generally the songs here are more fully formed, which means that while there's not a dull moment on Another Green World, there are a few dull stretches here. But aside from that and a few tracks that sound like some Laurie Anderson shit, this is a powerful recording.
18. The National - Alligator (Beggars Banquet)
BT: "Daughters of the SoHo Riots"
"Out among the missing sons and daughters of the SoHo riots"
"Sometimes I feel like I'm carrying the whole of hip-hop by myself," Kanye either boasted or lamented a while back, but he actually had some help this year. The National, on the other hand, seem to be carrying the indie rock torch all by themselves. Jimmy's right, they sound like Archers of Loaf, and they blend their British and American influences as deftly as the Archers and their other indie rock forebears, Pavement and Guided by Voices. Matt Berninger's lyrics are funny and desperate, confident and self-deprecating in the best spirit of the genre. “I'm the great white hope,” he jokes on “Mr. November,” but it sounds oddly convincing.
17. Paul Wall - The People's Champ (Swishahouse)
BT: "Sippin' the Barre"
"I'm iced out like frozen food / Sippin' on the ski taste"
Houston might be the worst city in the country but its nascent Swishahouse scene, where everything gets screwed and chopped for the torpid sizzurp slurpers, is really something unique. And Mike Jones might've sold more records this year but it's Paul Wall that we're least likely to forget. He's certainly not the most dexterous or versatile MC (he raps about the same stock topics over and over – his grill, his city, the purple stuff, switching lanes, etc.), but his jumpy, canted flow is instantly recognizable and immediately endearing. “Internet Going Nutz” is about picking up bitches on the computer, which is groundbreakingly (un)cool, and “Just Paul Wall” is an unusually humble autobiographical rap and introduction to the oafishly lovable “Paw Waw, baby.” What it do.
16. The Go-Betweens – Oceans Apart (Yep Roc)
BT: “Born to a Family”
“Born to a family / Of honest workers”
Australians Robert Forster and Grant McLennan are master songwriters – acute, direct, controlled – and The Go-Betweens were one of the most consistent bands of the '80s. They're also one of the most unsung. Probably what prevented them from finding the substantial fanbases and critical plaudits that their American and British contemporaries (R.E.M. and The Smiths) enojoyed was that they didn't have a vocalist/frontman with as much charisma (gayness) and as unique a voice as either Morrissey or Stipe. But the quality of their songwriting really isn't that far behind that of R.E.M. or The Smiths (which, in my book, is saying a lot). And I guess their low-profile status is part of their charm. Oceans Apart is an excellent record, but if you're new to The Go-Betweens you might be better off starting with the back catalog. Any of their albums from the '80s. Seriously, they're all good. Wait, not Send Me a Lullaby. But any of the other ones.
15. John Hiatt - Master of Disaster (New West)
"There's a burial ground / beneath a cattle herd"
Hiatt's nasal delivery is about as unaffected a voice as you're likely to find in this day and age of exaggerated vocal stylization. His stories are told in a homey language with a wisdom, a melancholy and a wit all akin to John Prine's. Backed by The North Mississippi Allstars, who sound like a loose but solid L.A. bar band here, Hiatt managed to cut the only truly convincing piece of Americana I heard this year.
14. Beanie Sigel - The B. Coming (Roc-A-Fella)
BT: "I Can't Go On This Way"
"I still pray along, forgive me for my actions / Cuz I still spit gangsta think Muslim and act Catholic"
We sort of know what it sounds like when an artist records an album having just been released from prison. It sounds pretty much what you think it'd sound like - free, self-starting, a roar of release (see Steve Earle's Train-a-Comin' or Cormega's The Realness). But what does it sound like when an artist records an album in a hurry right before he leaves the world to serve a year-long prison sentence? Apparently it sounds like this. Sigel's album is many things: a defense of his actions, a plea for forgiveness and understanding, a document of his life and the elements of his social situation, presented as possible catalysts for his crime in a Native Son kind of way. The track titles are pretty indicative of the album's tenor: “I Can't Go On This Way,” “Lord Have Mercy,” “Flatline,” “Look at Me Now.” It's not without its digressions, though – guess what “Purple Rain” is about? The production is thick and ornamented and there lots of guest verses, most notably his pal Jay-Z and Twista. Overall an excellent rap album, made all the more poignant by the circumstances surrounding it, something like when Warren Zevon sang “Knockin' on Heaven's Door” and “Keep Me in Your Heart” while terminally ill.
13. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema (Matador)
BT: "Streets of Fire"
"Lick my lips, twist my hips / But Contessa...I already did"
The New Pornographers can overdo it – a song needs one good hook, maybe two or three, but certainly not five or six. And the bastards make it sound so easy - I don't know if any band since The Attractions has played such tight, catchy pop/rock so effortlessly. Let's cut this one short with a little music critic rhapsody that goes like this - The New Pornographers are the best indie rock band of the 21st century and this is their best album.
12. Gorillaz – Demon Days (Virgin)
BT: “Feel Good Inc.”
“City breakin' down on a camel's back”
A fiendish concoction from Damon Albarn and Danger Mouse. Apocalyptic parables, ghoulish laughter, lethargic beats, anachronistic synth melodies, all swathed in Mr. Albarn's broken-hearted refrains. Butler and Cocker were the obvious heirs to Bowie's legacy in the '90s, but it's Albarn who's proved to be the most Bowie-like in the long run – experimental, restless, hiding behind his creations and always finally elusive. It's an eclectic album and things don't always jell, but Albarn's still all by himself in this territory.
11. Kanye West - Late Registration (Roc-A-Fella)
BT: "Heard 'Em Say"
"The devil is alive, I feel him breathin"
I don't think an artist has enjoyed such an overwhelming union of popular success and critical favor since Nirvana. And like Cobain, Kanye's personality threatens to overshadow his music. Unlike Cobain, however, Kanye has been more than willing to accept his role as spokesperson for a populace. The thing is, he's a damn good one (see “Crack Music”). Courting controversy and fueling his own iconic status, Kanye has earned his share of detractors, but keep in mind that ego has a different valence in America's black community. But the music.... Late Registration is every bit the equal of its predecessor, though it's a somewhat different album. Enlisting the help of studio whiz and soundtrack mangler Jon Brion seemed like a misguided move, but somehow they pulled it off with great panache. Brion's touch is felt but not intrusively so, and Kanye's beats are great, of course. It's his clumsy delivery that's always borne the brunt of the criticism, and it's definitely not his greatest weapon, but it really does make him seem less like a rapper and more like a...friend! Isn't that nice?!
10. M83 - Before the Dawn Heals Us (Mute U.S.)
BT: "Teen Angst"
"How fast we burn / How fast we die"
If Albarn's vision of the end was a burning monkey's head preceded by a grand danse macabre, a burlesque of human folly and cruelty, Anthony Gonzalez's vision is less political, more of a great melting into pure sound, everything drowning in cosmic washes of synth. It's a synesthetic experience, intensely visual and emotional – think Sigur Ros set to driving beats and seraphic choirs. If the album title doesn't give you enough of an idea, consider song titles like “Don't Save Us from the Flames,” “Let Men Burn Stars,” and the album's stunning coda “Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun.” Clearly not for the jaded or stoic.
9. The Game - The Documentary (Aftermath/G
BT: "Westside Story"
"The West Coast never fell off, I was asleep in Compton"
Has it really been almost ten years since Tupac turned his toes up? It seemed like such a surprise that someone from L.A. finally offered a contribution to the rap dialogue between New York and the South that Jayceon Taylor's debut practically comes across as a gimmick. It doesn't help his case that he drops names with what must be a groundbreaking frequency. But it's not ostentatious - more of a personal history of hip-hop listening, a grateful acknowledgement of influences and inspirations. The album's pretty much a showcase of hip-hop's best producers – Dre, Timbaland, Kanye, Hi-Tek – and the list of guest MC's isn't bad either – Eminem, 50, Nate Dogg, Busta Rhymes. Taylor's delivery is tough and gruff, his rhymes terse and clipped. What else can I say? It's the best piece of gangsta since 50's debut.
8. The Darkness - One Way Ticket to Hell...and Back
BT: "Dinner Lady Arms"
"I know I'll never be your Mr. Right / But I'm happy to be your Mr. That'll Do for Tonight”
The hardest thing to understand or accept about The Darkness is that they're not a novelty act or even a very derivative band but a profoundly original one. The irony issue is beside the question; The Darkness, more so than almost any of their contemporaries, encapsulate some of the qualities essential to the spirit of rock and roll (whether we're defining that as Elvis, Hendrix or Kiss) – theatricality, passion and FUN. One Way Ticket isn't as consistently awesome as Permission to Land, which was the freshest sounding thing since Andrew W.K. Here it seems like they responded to the criticism that they were a facile Queen rehash by recording several tracks that actually do sound like Queen, which are the album's only missteps. Otherwise the riffs are just as perfect and the power ballads just as soaring.
7. Billy Corgan - The Future Embrace (Warner Bros.)
BT: "Mina Loy (M.O.H.)"
"The siren calls outside / They want to kill us all”
In the popular music of the early/mid-'90s (when I was in high school) there was a pretty solid consortium of Gen-Xers – Billy Corgan, Kurt Cobain, Trent Reznor, Beck, Billie Joe Armstrong, Courtney Love and Eddie Vedder – and each had carved out his/her own little niche in the Gen-X market: Billy was lovesick, Kurt was angry, Trent battled his personal demons, Beck was a funny freak, Billie Joe was apathetic, Courtney was crazy and Eddie was...actually, I don't know what the hell Eddie was. Kurt's critical barometer has fluctuated the least, and then probably Beck's; arguably Billy's has aged the worst, probably because he was the only one who wrote pretty love songs. But this is what always set him apart from his contemporaries. His lyrics could be as elliptical as Cobain's or Vedder's, but his music was always the most unapologetically beautiful and mellon collie. His ear for melody was undeniably brilliant, and it still is. The Future Embrace is a step back from the bright, lofty rock of Zwan (a remarkable album that was critically ignored); rather, it plays like a more stripped down version of MACHINA, Corgan's last album with the Pumpkins (also a remarkable album). Heavily processed guitars, programmed beats, a thudding synth bass and Billy's caterwaul – that's about it. The cover suggests that Billy still has something of a messiah complex, but as long as he keeps making great records, I don't care who he thinks he is.
6. Bob Mould - Body of Song (Yep Roc)
BT: "Underneath Days"
"Fucked under these days"
Along with The Edge, Peter Buck and Johnny Marr, Bob Mould was the most influential rock guitarist of the '80s. His signature distorted open chords were as ubiuitous in '90s alt-rock as Buck's open high string picking. His solo albums have always lacked the immediacy of Husker Du's dynamic pop-punk attack, and Body of Song is no exception. It's a fairly straightforward album, though not without a few curiosities (apparently some people were pretty miffed by the vocoder). But it's also an incredibly sure-footed set of songs, resonant with depth and maturity. Nothing innovative here, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. It's a satisfying return to form dressed up effectively with modern flourishes.
5. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Cold Roses (Lost
BT: "When Will You Come Back Home"
"Shivers in the sheets and the blankets of snow"
Cold Roses sounds like a summary of Adams' career thus far, showcasing everything from the alt-country rockers of his Whiskeytown days up through the sappy singer/songwriter ballads of Love is Hell. But he also channels something new here, and it's the spirit of a band whose influence on alt-country has been largely underappreciated. As you might have guessed from the title and album cover, it's The Grateful Dead. The Cardinals are the ideal backing band for Adams, and it's their guitarist, J.P. Bowersock, who summons the ghost of Garcia (circa 1968 - “Wharf Rat,” “China Cat,” etc.) with his winding but tasteful solos. Alt-country has proved to be a pretty durable genre, and ever since Tweedy jumped ship a few years back, Adams has, willingly or not, and lousy attitude notwithstanding, proved to be one of its true stalwarts and most genuinely gifted songwriters.
4. Ry Cooder - Chavez Ravine (Nonesuch)
BT: "Soy Luz Y Sombra"
"Soy luz y sombra, el sol brilliante"
An absolute virtuoso effort from Cooder, who pulls out every last stop in telling the true story of Chavez Ravine, an Hispanic L.A. neighborhood bulldozed in the '50s to make way for Dodger Stadium when the team was making the move from Brooklyn. Soundtracks, not albums, were always Cooder's forte, and that's probably what makes this so successful, although Cooder isn't so much scoring this film-on-record as he is directing it. Sufjan's Illinois is a similar project, another attempt to chronicle a place in song, but his album never really rises above its outsider-looking-in configuration. It's a more subjective experiment and comes across as such – an artist using the names and events of a locality as fodder for his art – and the listener walks away knowing a lot more about Sufjan, but not a hell of a lot more about what Illinois is really like. Cooder's album is more of a sociological study of its subject, though without any of the aridity that such an academic treatment might suggest. On the contrary, Cooder's treatment of the tragic material is compassionate and funny. Cooder really gets inside his story, acts out the parts of some of his characters (a la Tom Waits) and captures the authentic rhythms and sounds of the neighborhood by bringing in several popular Latin singers of the era and including archived clips of radio interviews. It all took place at the height of the Red Scare so Cooder naturally foregrounds the politics of the situation, but fortunately not in a preachy way. All perspectives are considered – characters speak from beyond the grave, there's a song from the bulldozer driver, who explains that he was just doing his job, and a song about a neighborhood baseball fan whose home was displaced. Cooder's arrangements are inspired and forward – listen to his guitars emerge from every corner of the mix on “Muy Fifi.” The scope of the album is nearly unprecedented and its success nearly unqualified – as a moving musical creation and as an American historical document.
3. Antony and the Johnsons - I Am a Bird Now (Secretly
BT: "Bird Gehrl"
"Bird girls can fly"
Apparently I don't need to convince too many people that this is the shit. Though it didn't find the ecstatic reception in the States that it received in Europe, it wasn't exactly panned here. Antony Hegarty arrived as one of the most original artists to come along in years. His voice certainly owes something to Bryan Ferry's patented tremolo, but Antony's is more soulful and aching, quavering over simple arrangements of piano, bass and strings. The imagery is unusual – mythological stories of gender transmutation and metamorphosis. But the themes are about as universal as you can get – the struggle against entrapment and the yearning for release – from the body, from the earth, from the confines of one's gender. The result is something spiritual in its simplicity, enchanting, uplifting and utterly unique.
2. Kate Bush - Aerial (Columbia)
BT: "How to Be Invisible"
"Is that a storm in the swimming pool?"
At the beginning of the '80s when Bowie's music started losing its edge, Kate Bush's music swooped in to fill the vacuum left in Bowie's wake (I mean the sudden absence of clean, arty rock). There was Peter Gabriel and there was Roxy Music in its later incarnations but Kate's music was more radical and compelling than either of theirs. There were other mysterious, dark-haired beauties like Chrissie Hynde and Lydia Lunch, other women who sang sexually charged music that was more than a little aberrant, like Marianne Faithfull, Blondie and Stevie Nicks, but Kate was up to something different. Let's review some of her album covers: the cover of her first album, The Kick Inside, deceptively makes Kate look like a country singer; the cover of her next album, Never for Ever, is one of my favorites – it shows an illustrated Kate giving birth to a swirl of Where the Wild Thing Are-looking creatures; on the cover of The Dreaming she looks like an Elvira gone Jenny Craig; and on the cover of Hounds of Love, well, she's in bed with a couple dogs. Aerial does not have Kate on the cover. Instead, a serene, new-agey looking picture of some water, rocks and sky. And the album's as different as its cover. Her voice isn't as shrill as it once was, there's nothing here as catchy as “Wuthering Heights,” and nothing as unrestrained and feral as “Get Out of My House.” But Aerial is something of a mood piece, as suggested by its title - it's airy, eerie, aerie-like, and Kate's lyrics are still masterful at detecting the magical in the ordinary, her voice and piano compositions still transporting. This is a beautifully crafted record from one of the most pioneering female artists of the past 30 years.
1. Richard Hawley - Cole's Corner (Mute U.S.)
BT: “The Ocean”
“Here comes the wave, down by the ocean”
Hawley's voice is a transmission from the '50s, a rich baritone with echoes of Elvis, Orbison and even Sinatra. And like Sinatra's classic In The Wee Small Hours of the Morning, Cole's Corner is a triumph of atmosphere, sculpting the city's lonely after-hours with images of empty streets, wet and neon-lit, deserted cafes, quiet hotel rooms. The layered, velvety production casts Hawley's dramatic longing in just the right shade of noir and the songs sound so instantly classic it's hard to believe these are original compositions and not covers of crooner pop standards. Absolutely gorgeous.
V. A Guide to Other 2005 Albums
--Anthony Hamilton – Ain't Nobody Worryin' (So So/Def/Zombra/Arista) - Smooth R&B, punctuated by the bounce of funk and reggae, spidery basslines, the devotion of gospel and a story about a corrupt preacher. BT: “Never Love Again”
--Queens of the Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze (Interscope) – The real tragedy is that this could have been so much better if you hadn't kicked out Nick Oliveri, Josh!! BT: “The Blood is Love”
--Martha Wainwright – s/t (Zoe) – A remarkable debut, Martha fleshes out her sad, angry folk with loose, beautiful arrangements, far less conventional than those of label-mate Kathleen Edwards. Meet the new Liz Phair. BT: “Factory”
--Dwight Yoakam – Blame the Vain (New West) – Cutting an album without guitar virtuoso and studio vet Pete Anderson was a bold move, but the outcome is just further proof that Dwight is the best country artist of the past 20 years. BT: “Blame the Vain”
--Madonna – Confessions on a Dance Floor (Warner Bros.) - Kaballah-infused club tracks from Ms. Ciccone. BT: “How High”
--Lil' Wayne – Tha Carter, Vol. 2 (Cash Money) – The best of the southern MC's, Lil' Wayne raps like he just woke up with a hangover and smoked a blunt. He has more range and more surprise than his contemporaries. BT: “Money on My Mind”
--Black Mountain – s/t (Jagjaguwar) - Thanks to QOTSA people are making records like this again – heavy, psychedelic and awesome. BT: “Don't Run Our Hearts Around"
--Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger (Warp) – Easily the best of all the new wave of new wave bands that came out of England this year. Instead of Gang of Four, MP channels The Jam. BT: “Going Missing”
--Robbie Williams – Intensive Care (EMI) - “Here I stand victorious / The only man to make you come” is Robbie's first line on the album. It's a pretty fitting introduction to one of pop music's most idiosyncratic and uncategorizable stars. BT: “Spread Your Wings”
--John Doe – Forever Hasn't Happened Yet (Yep Roc) – Former guitarist/singer/songwriter of X brings 11 bluesy alt-country tunes to life with help from Dave Alvin, Neko Case, Kristen Hersh and Grant Lee Phillips. BT: “Mama Don't”
--Bruce Springsteen – Devils & Dust (Columbia) – The Boss eschews the stirring optimism and vague impressionism of The Rising for this set of dark character studies, rich in detail. BT: “Matamoros Banks”
--The Rolling Stones – A Bigger Bang (Virgin) – Mostly rockers in the vein of Some Girls, but the quieter songs, like the amazing “Let Me Down Slow,” are the real gems. BT: “Let Me Down Slow”
--Pernice Brothers – Discover a Lovelier You (Ashmont) – Typically sharp lyrics and lovely harmonies. BT: “Amazing Glow”
--Young Jeezy - Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101 (Def Jam) - A dark, wicked southern rap symphony that runs out of verve and ideas before it's over. BT: "Talk to 'Em"
--Richard Thompson – Front Parlour Ballads (Cooking Vinyl) – Another strong set from one of folk/rock's greatest guitarists and songwriters. BT: “Miss Patsy”
--Bloc Party – Silent Alarm (Vice) – Eminently listenable. BT: “Compliments”
--Danger Doom – The Mouse and The Mask (Epitaph/ADA) – Did anyone have any doubts about this collaboration? BT: “Basket Case”
--Amadou & Mariam – Dimanche a Bamako (Nonesuch) – This collection of (mostly) Francophone Afro-pop from Mali was touted as the year's best world music album. I don't know, it's the only one I heard. The guitar on “Coulibaly” is crazy!!! BT: “Coulibaly”
--British Sea Power – Open Season (Rough Trade) – One of the better British bands, they combine the accessibility of bands like Coldplay with the sounds of Britpop and later post-punk bands like The Chameleons U.K. BT: “The Land Beyond”
--Oasis – Don't Believe the Truth (Epic) – Surprisingly brisk record from the Gallaghers. BT: “Keep the Dream Alive”
--Mike Jones – Who is Mike Jones? (Swishahouse) – Not as consistent as Paul Wall's album, but has a few standout cuts, like the retro “Flossin”. I wish more artists dropped their phone number in every track. I'd love to drunk dial Tom Waits. BT: “Flossin”
--Neil Young – Prairie Wind (Reprise) – Like Silver & Gold it gives you a weird sense of deja vu – all the songs sound vaguely like other Neil Young songs. BT: “Falling Off the Face of the Earth”
--Laura Cantrell – Humming by the Flowered Vine (Matador) – Cantrell's voice is a little too pure and passionless but these are first-rate songs. BT: “Bees”
--Nine Inch Nails – With Teeth (I Nothing) – The Fragile was Reznor's magnum opus, a collision of his anguish, megalomania and technical wizardry. Needless to say, the stakes on With Teeth, a very accessible record from a very sober Reznor, aren't as high. BT: “Sunspots”
--Stephen Malkmus – Face the Truth (Matador) – No better or worse than his other solo albums. BT: “Freeze the Saints”
--Kathleen Edwards – Back to Me (Zoe) – Doesn't quite live up to the promise of her debut but suggests that she might have some staying power. BT: “In State”
--Paul Weller – As Is Now (Yep Roc) – Solid batch from one of England's most enduring and mercurial songwriters. BT: “Come On/Let's Go”
--Opeth – Ghost Reveries (Roadrunner) – I don't really listen to metal but this one caught my attention. Seemed to be the year's most talked about metal album. Metalheads confirm? BT: “Isolation Years”
--Beck - Guero (Interscope) – A lesser effort from Mr. Hansen, but a welcome reminder of a time when popular music wasn't so sucky. BT: "Que Onda Guero"
--David Banner - Certified (SRC/Universal) - The toughest, crudest, loudest and most philanthropic of southern MC's. His weakness for radio rock guitars, electric and acoustic, was this album's undoing. BT: "Take Your"
--Josh Rouse - Nashville (Rykodisc) - 1972 was one of the best records of the past few years, but this weak follow-up sees Josh going in an unfortunate John Mayer direction. BT: "It's the Nighttime"
--Eels - Blinking Lights and Other Revelations (Vagrant) - He's at his worst when he sounds like Beck but at his best when he sounds like Jeff Tweedy. A long album, but worth picking through. BT: "Ugly Love"
--Ryan Adams - Jacksonville City Nights (Lost Highway) - Adams is a little too prolific for his own good. This release demonstrates that more traditional country is not his strong suit. BT: "The Hardest Part"
--The Raveonettes - Pretty in Black (Columbia/The Orchard) - Sounds like a couple ghosts haunting some old 78's. BT: "Here Comes Mary"
--M.I.A. - Arular (XL) - Not really as groundbreaking as everyone thinks. BT: "Bingo"
--Spoon - Gimme Fiction (Merge) - More levity and less pomp could have made this a dope record. BT: "Sister Jack"
--My Morning Jacket - Z (Badman) - They're capable of great things, but not quite there yet. BT: "Anytime"
--Calexico / Iron & Wine - In the Reins (Overcoat Recordings) - Solid EP. Not sure if a full-length would have been better or worse. BT: "He Lays in the Reins"
--Matt Sweeney & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Superwolf (Drag City) - An interesting collaboration but Oldham's strangeness is starting to wear thin as it becomes more predictable. BT: "Lift Us Up"
--Three 6 Mafia - Most Known Unknown (Sony) - Even for a rap album this is fat with filler and shows that this Tennessee rap group isn't really all that menacing, though mighty hilarious. The beats are uniformly dull, however. BT: "Pussy Got Ya Hooked"
--Mariah Carey - The Emancipation of Mimi (Island) - The Neptunes-produced "Say Somethin" is one of the few highlights. BT: "Say Somethin"
--Pelican - The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw (Hydra Head) - Pretty, instrumental metal. BT: "Aurora Borealis"
Weak (but not without a few redeeming moments)
--Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (Asthmatic Kitty) - Does the New School's creative writing program teach you to write retarded song titles? Sufjan's most vaulting album yet is also his most frustrating and oblique. See my remarks above under Ry Cooder. BT: "John Wayne Gacy, Jr."
--Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll (Banana/Fierce Panda) - On their debut Art Brut successfully recreate the sounds of secondary British punk bands like The Undertones. BT: "Emily Kane"
--Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine (Epic/Clean Slate) - Not bad, but what the hell took so long? BT: "Red Red Red"
--Brendan Benson - The Alternative to Love (V2) - Don't call this power pop. Cheap Trick was power pop.
--The Decemberists - Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars) - Meloy's voice is unabashedly annoying. Total dork. Not in a good way. BT: "The Engine Driver"
--Sigur Ros - Takk... (Geffen) - Like all their albums it's good background music. The prettiness wears off about halfway through. BT: "Andvari"
--Kaiser Chiefs - Employment (Universal) - The single "I Predict a Riot" is fantastic, a vision of what The Buzzcocks would've sounded like if they'd been less lovesick and more political, but the rest of this band's debut is a humdrum affair. BT: "I Predict a Riot"
--Malcolm Middleton - Into the Woods (Chemikal Underground) - Solo album from Arab Strap's musical mastermind is cranky and inconsequential. Admitting that your songs suck isn't irony, it's honesty. BT: "Burst Noel"
--Sleater-Kinney - The Woods (Sub Pop) - Just like classic rock...minus killer hooks and good guitar solos. Their worst album. BT: "Entertain"
--Pinetop Seven - The Night's Bloom (Sky) - Pretentious album title and packaging. BT: "A Page from the Desert"
--Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - s/t - I don't like to malign a band that found such success via the DIY ethic, so I won't. BT: "Over and Over Again (Lost & Found)"
--Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy (Jagjaguwar) - You're right, Jimmy. This is emo.
--The Magic Numbers - s/t – If you need to listen to a British band emulating the sounds of California in the '60s, stick to The Thrills.
--Boards of Canada - The Campfire Headphase (Warp) - Generally boring, but please make more albums. BT: "Chromakey Dreamcoat"
--Daft Punk - Human After All (Virgin) - Biggest disappointment of the year. It's hard to believe the same group made that genius piece of music, Discovery. What a tumble. Human after all. BT: "Make Love"
--Foo Fighters - In Your Honor (RCA) - Not one bad album, but two. "DOA" is a hot single, though. BT: "DOA"
--Vitalic - OK Cowboy (Pias) - Mediocre techno that somehow found it's share of crticial favor. BT: "Repair Machines"
--Animal Collective - Feels (Fat Cat) - I thought the AC was only for snobs and stoners but some of this is mildly enchanting. But I'll be surprised if I listen to it again before next January. BT: "Bees"
--Damian Marley – Welcome to Jamrock (Universal) – A little decent reggae and a lot of silly call to arms shit. BT: “The Master Has Come Back”
--Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary (Sub Pop) - It's sadly telling that they were celebrated as one of the year's great indie rock revelations. BT: "It's a Curse"
--Amy Rigby - Little Fugitive (Signature Sound Recordings) - Occasionally funny and insightful but mostly contrivedly clever. BT: "That's the Time"
--Depeche Mode - Playing the Angel (Surprise/Reprise/Mute) - Was hoping this would be their long-awaited return to form. It's not. BT: "I Want it All"
--Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production of Eggs (Righteous Babe) - Not quirky enough to justify it's pursuit of the eccentric. BT: "Skin Is, My"
--Edan - Beauty and The Beat (Lewis) - Hip-hop's underground had little to offer this year.
--Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better (Sony) - Still bad.
--LCD Soundsystem - s/t (DFA/EMI) - Like most things coming out of Brooklyn these days - so self-consciously cool it's painful. Other bands have ripped off The Fall better. This is shit. (I second that. I'll always like "Daft Punk is Playing in My House", but this was my biggest musical disappointment of 2005. -amy)
--Trey Anastasio - Shine (Sony) - I never thought I'd say this about anybody, but stick to jamming.
--The White Stripes - Get Behind Me Satan (V2) - The most overrated band of the 21st century.
--Gary Allan - Tough All Over (MCA Nashville) - Not sure why I listened to this one. Mainstream country still sucks.
--James Blunt - Back to Bedlam (Atlantic/Custard) - The album cover tricked me into thinking it would be good.
--Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (Saddle Creek) - How anybody gets away with writing lyrics like this is beyond me.
VI. The Individual Lists
Humo (Belgium) 10.Admiral Freebee – Songs 9.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 8.Roisin Murphy – Ruby Blue 7.M.I.A. - Arular 6.The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 5.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 4.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 3.Arcade Fire – Funeral 2.My Morning Jacket – Z 1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois Chart Attack (Canada) 10.Beck – Guero 9.My Morning Jacket – Z 8.Sleater-Kinney – The Woods 7.Metric – Live It Out 6.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 5.The Raveonettes – Pretty in Black 4.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 3.The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema 2.Broken Social Scene – s/t 1. Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better Cokemachineglow (Canada) 10.Akron/Family – s/t 9.The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema 8.DJ Muggs vs. GZA – Grandmasters 7.Spoon – Gimme Fiction 6.Andrew Bird – The Mysterious Production of Eggs 5.Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - s/t 4.Edan – Beauty and The Beat 3.Sleater-Kinney – The Woods 2.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 1. Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary Eye Weekly (Canada) 10.Animal Collective – Feels 9.Vitalic – OK Cowboy 8.Sarah Harmer – I'm a Mountain 7.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 6.Broken Social Scene – s/t 5.Metric – Live It Out 4.Sleater-Kinney – The Woods 3.Kate Bush – Aerial 2.Kanye West – Late Registration 1. M.I.A. - Arular Gaffa (Denmark) 10.Thomas Dybdahl – One Day You'll Cry for Me New York City 9.Bright Eyes – Digital Ash in a Digital Urn 8.System of a Down – Mesmerize 7.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 6.Queens of the Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze 5.Kate Bush – Aerial 4.Gorillaz – Demon Days 3.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 2.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 1. Arcade Fire - Funeral Les Inrockuptibles (France) 10.Queens of the Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze 9.Kanye West – Late Registration 8.Camille – Le Fil 7.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 6.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 5.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 4.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 3.Gorillaz – Demon Days 2.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 1. Arcade Fire - Funeral PopNews (France) 10.The Sugarplastic – Will 9.Animal Collective – Feels 8.Camille – Le Fil 7.Vashti Bunyan – Lookaftering 6.Herman Dune – Not on Top 5.Andrew Bird - The Mysterious Production of Eggs 4.Arcade Fire – Funeral 3.The National – Alligator 2.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois Intro (Germany) 10.Kaiser Chiefs – Employment 9.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 8.Gorillaz – Demon Days 7.Jens Friebe – In Hypnose 6.Arcade Fire – Funeral 5.M.I.A. - Arular 4.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 3.Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll 2.Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger 1. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm Musik Express (Germany) 10.Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll 9.Arcade Fire – Funeral 8.Gorillaz – Demon Days 7.Tocotronic – Pure Vernunft Darf Niemals Siegen 6.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 5.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 4.Kaiser Chiefs – Employment 3.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 2.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 1. Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger Rolling Stone (Germany) 10.Ryan Adams – Cold Roses 9.Element of Crime – Mittelpunkt der Welt 8.John Cale – Black Acetate 7.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 6.The Go-Betweens – Oceans Apart 5.Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll 4.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 3.Paul Weller – As Is Now 2.Tocotronic – Pure Vernunft Darf Niemals Siegen 1. Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now Spex (Germany) 10.The Mitchell Brothers – Breath of Fresh Attire 9.Hard-Fi – Stars of CCTV 8.M.I.A. - Arular 7.Kanye West – Late Registration 6.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 5.Rufus Wainwright – Want Two 4.Bloc Pary – Silent Alarm 3.Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll 2.Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger 1. Arcade Fire - Funeral Morgunbladid (Iceland) 10.Deerhoof – The Runners Four 9.Paul McCartney – Chaos and Creation in the Backyard 8.Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll 7.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 6.Gorillaz – Demon Days 5.Animal Collective – Feels 4.Devendra Banhart – Cripple Crow 3.Architecture in Helsinki – In Case We Die 2.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois Blow Up (Italy) 10.Eels – Blinking Lights and Other Revelations 9.Lightning Bolt – Hypermagic Mountain 8.Matt Elliott – Drinking Songs 7.Kill the Vultures – s/t 6.Orthrelm – OV 5.The Books – Lost and Safe 4.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 3.Dalek – Absence 2.Richard Youngs – The Naïve Shaman 1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois Ondarock (Italy) 10.Murcof – Remembranza 9.Sigur Ros – Takk... 8.Matt Elliott – Drinking Songs 7.B. Stangl & C. Kurzmann – Schnee Live 6.Why? - Elephant Eyelash 5.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 4.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 3.Piano Magic – Disaffected 2.Eels – Blinking Lights and Other Revelations 1. Okkervil River – Black Sheep Boy Rumore (Italy) 10.Jamie Lidell – Multiply 9.Arcade Fire – Funeral 8.Time Flys – Fly 7.The Magic Numbers – s/t 6.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 5.The Mars Volta – Frances the Mute 4.Dirtbombs – If You Don't Already Have a Look 3.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 2.Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger 1. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm XL (Italy) 10.Depeche Mode – Playing the Angel 9.Madonna – Confessions on a Dance Floor 8.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 7.Damian Marley – Welcome to Jamrock 6.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 5.Arcade Fire – Funeral 4.System of a Down – Mesmerize 3.Gorillaz – Demon Days 2.Kanye West – Late Registration 1. Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now Heaven (Netherlands) 10.Bob Dylan – No Direction Home (The Bootleg Series Vol. 7) 9.Mary Gauthier – Mercy Now 8.Kathleen Edwards – Back to Me 7.Nickel Creek – Why Should the Fire Die? 6.Laura Veirs – Year of Meteors 5.Amadou & Mariam – Dimanche a Bamako 4.Death Cab for Cutie – Plans 3.Eliza Gilkyson – Paradise Hotel 2.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 1. Ry Cooder – Chavez Ravine Oor (Netherlands) 10.The Game – The Documentary 9.Editors – The Back Room 8.M.I.A. - Arular 7.Kaiser Chiefs – Employment 6.Kanye West – Late Registration 5.The Magic Numbers – s/t 4.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 3.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 2.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 1. Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now Dagbladet (Norway) 10.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 9.Neil Young – Prairie Wind 8.John Legend – Get Lifted 7.Danger Doom – The Mouse and The Mask 6.Kanye West – Late Registration 5.Kate Bush – Aerial 4.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 3.M.I.A. - Arular 2.Ry Cooder – Chavez Ravine 1. Devendra Banhart – Cripple Crow Dagsavisen (Norway) 10.Devendra Banhart – Cripple Crow 9.Kanye West – Late Registration 8.System of a Down – Mesmerize 7.Richard Hawley – Cole's Corner 6.John Legend – Get Lifted 5.Madonna – Confessions on a Dance Floor 4.M.I.A. - Arular 3.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 2.Arcade Fire – Funeral 1. Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now Natt Og Dag (Norway) 10.System of a Down – Mesmerize 9.Kanye West – Late Registration 8.Rufus Wainwright – Want Two 7.Edan – Beauty and The Beat 6.Babyshambles – s/t 5.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 4.Robyn – s/t 3.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 2.Kate Bush – Aerial 1. LCD Soundsystem – s/t Panorama (Norway) 10.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 9.Nada Surf – The Weight is a Gift 8.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 7.Martha Wainwright – s/t 6....And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – Worlds Apart 5.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 4.The Mars Volta – Frances the Mute 3.Madrugada – The Deep End 2.System of a Down – Mesmerize 1. My Morning Jacket - Z Porcys (Poland) 10.M.I.A. - Arular 9.Edan – Beauty and The Beat 8.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 7.Ris Paul Ric – Purple Blaze 6.Sciflyer – The Age of Lovely Intimate Things 5.Roisin Murphy – Ruby Blue 4.Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti – Worn Copy 3.Gang Gang Dance – God's Money 2.Mount Eerie – No Flashlight 1. Junior Senior – Hey Hey My My Yo Yo Screenagers (Poland) 10.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 9.British Sea Power – Open Season 8.Electrelane – Axes 7.The Decemberists – Picaresque 6.Doves – Some Cities 5.Sleater-Kinney – The Woods 4.The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema 3.Broken Social Scene – s/t 2.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois Go-Mag (Spain) 10.Death Cab for Cutie – Plans 9.The Decemberists – Picaresque 8.Boards of Canada – The Campfire Headphase 7.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 6.Kanye West – Late Registration 5.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 4.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 3.M.I.A. - Arular 2.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 1. Arcade Fire - Funeral Mondosonoro (Spain) 10.M.I.A. - Arular 9.Sigur Ros – Takk... 8.My Morning Jacket – Z 7.System of a Down – Mesmerize 6.Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger 5.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning / Digital Ash in a Digital Urn 4.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 3.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 2.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 1. Arcade Fire - Funeral Rockzone (Spain) 10.Thrice – Vheissu 9.Nine Inch Nails – With Teeth 8.Alkaline Trio – Crimson 7.Dregd – Catch Without Arms 6.Queens of the Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze 5.Motion City Soundtrack – Commit This to Memory 4.Avenged Sevenfold – City of Evil 3.Coheed and Cambria – Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume 1: From Fear Through Madness” 2.System of a Down – Mesmerize 1. The Mars Volta – Frances the Mute Rolling Stone (Spain) 10.Coldplay – X & Y 9.The Magic Numbers – s/t 8.Rufus Wainwright – Want Two 7.Low – The Great Destroyer 6.The Rolling Stones – A Bigger Bang 5.Paul McCartney – Chaos and Creation in the Backyard 4.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 3.Kaiser Chiefs – Employment 2.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 1. Arcade Fire - Funeral Trax (Spain) 10.Richard Davis – Details 9.Inaqui Marin – Klinischtod 8.Vitalic – OK Cowboy 7.Alex Under – Dispositivos de mi granja 6.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 5.Laurent Garnier – The Cloud Making Machine 4.Depeche Mode – Playing the Angel 3.Kraftwerk – Minimum-Maximum 2.Isolee – We Are Monster 1. M.I.A. - Arular Expressen (Sweden) 10.Tunng – Mother's Daughter and Other Songs 9.Richard Swift – The Novelist / Walking Without Effort 8.Royksopp – The Understanding 7.Coldplay – X & Y 6.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 5.Death Cab for Cutie – Plans 4.Hakan Hellstrom – Ett kolikbarns bekannelser 3.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 2.Robyn – s/t 1. Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better Musikbyran (Sweden) 10.Arcade Fire – Funeral 9.The Mitchell Brothers – Breath of Fresh Attire 8.Jenny Wilson – Love and Youth 7.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 6.Hakan Hellstrom – Ett kolikbarns bekannelser 5.The Plant Life – The Return of Jack Splash 4.The Magic Numbers – s/t 3.Josh Rouse – Nashville 2.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 1. M.I.A. - Arular Nojesguiden (Sweden) 10.Daft Punk – Human After All 9.Colleen – The Golden Morning Breaks 8.The Magic Numbers – s/t 7.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 6.Arcade Fire – Funeral 5.Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti – Worn Copy 4.M.I.A. - Arular 3.Animal Collective – Feels 2.Isolee – We Are Monster 1. Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now Drowned in Sound (U.K.) 10.Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll 9.Million Dead – Harmony No Harmony 8....And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – Worlds Apart 7.The Decemberists – Picaresque 6.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 5.My Morning Jacket – Z 4.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 3.Saul Williams – s/t 2.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 1. Arcade Fire - Funeral Gigwise (U.K.) 10.Clor – s/t 9.Sigur Ros – Takk... 8.Test Icicles – For Screening Purpose Only 7.The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 6.Editors – The Back Room 5.Elbow – Leaders of the Free World 4.The Rakes – Capture. Release 3.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 2.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 1. Arcade Fire - Funeral Hip-Hop Connection (U.K.) 10.Cam'ron – Purple Haze 9.Edan – Beauty and The Beat 8.Mike Jones – Who is Mike Jones? 7.Common – Be 6.Geto Boys – Foundation 5.Roots Manuva – Awfully Deep 4.50 Cent – The Massacre 3.Kanye West – Late Registration 2.The Mitchell Brothers – Breath of Fresh Attire 1. Little Brother – Minstrel Show HMV (U.K.) 10.Madeleine Peyroux – Careless Love 9.Paul Anka – Rock Swings 8.Blind Boys of Alabama – Atom Bomb 7.Seu Jorge – Cru 6.Laura Cantrell – Humming by the Flowered Vine 5.Amadou & Mariam – Dimanche a Bamako 4.Richard Thompson – Front Parlour Ballads 3.Toure, Ali Farka: Toumani Diabate – In the Heart of the Moon 2.Seth Lakeman – Kitty Jay 1. Ry Cooder – Chavez Ravine Kerrang! (U.K.) 10.Thrice – Vheissu 9.Foo Fighters – In Your Honor 8.Avenged Sevenfold – City of Evil 7.Bullet for My Valentine – The Poison 6.Alkaline Trio – Crimson 5.High on Fire – Blessed Black Wings 4.The Mars Volta – Frances the Mute 3.System of a Down – Mesmerize 2.Nine Inch Nails – With Teeth 1. Trivium - Ascendancy Mojo (U.K.) 10.Richard Hawley – Cole's Corner 9.Amadou & Mariam – Dimanche a Bamako 8.Malcolm Middleton – Into the Woods 7.The Magic Numbers – s/t 6.Ry Cooder – Chavez Ravine 5.My Morning Jacket – Z 4.Bruce Springsteen – Devils and Dust 3.Kate Bush – Aerial 2.Arcade Fire – Funeral 1. Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now New-Noise (U.K.) 10.Jose Gonzalez – Veneer 9.Thrice – Vheissu 8.System of a Down – Mesmerize 7.Kaiser Chiefs – Employment 6.Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger 5.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 4.We Are Scientists – With Love and Squalor 3.Nine Black Alps – Everything Is 2.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 1. Arcade Fire - Funeral NME (U.K.) 10.Gorillaz – Demon Days 9.Babyshambles – Down in Albion 8.Kanye West – Late Registration 7.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 6.The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 5.Kaiser Chiefs – Employment 4.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 3.Franz Ferdinand – You Can Have It So Much Better 2.Arcade Fire – Funeral 1. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm The Observer (U.K.) 10.Arcade Fire – Funeral 9.Camille – Le Fil 8.Rufus Wainwright – Want Two 7.Kanye West – Late Registration 6.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 5.The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 4.Ry Cooder – Chavez Ravine 3.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 2.Gorrilaz – Demon Days 1. Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now Planet Sound (U.K.) 10.Hard-Fi – Stars of CCTV 9.My Morning Jacket – Z 8.Arcade Fire – Funeral 7.Malcolm Middleton – Into the Woods 6.Rilo Kiley – More Adventurous 5.Elbow – Leaders of the Free World 4.The Wrens – Meadowlands 3.The Magic Numbers – s/t 2.The National – Alligator 1. Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning Playlouder (U.K.) 10.Circulus – A Lick on the Tip of an Envelope Yet to Be Sent 9.Gorillaz – Demon Days 8.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 7.M.I.A. - Arular 6.The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 5.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 4.Patrick Wolf – Wind in the Wires 3.Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll 2.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 1. Arcade Fire - Funeral Q (U.K.) 10.Hard-Fi – Stars of CCTV 9.KT Tunstall – Eye to the Telescope 8.Arcade Fire – Funeral 7.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 6.James Blunt – Back to Bedlam 5.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 4.Oasis – Don't Believe the Truth 3.The Kaiser Chiefs – Employment 2.Gorillaz – Demon Days 1. Coldplay – X & Y Record Collector (U.K.) 10.Bobby Purify – Better to Have It 9.Brian Eno – Another Day on Earth 8.Elvis Costello & The Imposters – Delivery Man 7.British Sea Power – Open Season 6.The Darkness – One Way Ticket to Hell...and Back 5.Madonna – Confessions on a Dance Floor 4.Beck – Guero 3.Paul Weller – As Is Now 2.The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 1. Kate Bush - Aerial SoundsXP (U.K.) 10.Dungen – Ta Det Lugnt..... 9.Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll 8.Rakes – Capture/Release 7.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 6.Envelopes – Demon 5.Brakes – Give Blood 4.The Natitonal – Alligator 3.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 2.Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – s/t 1. Arcade Fire - Funeral Time Out (U.K.) 10.Amadou & Mariam – Dimanche a Bamako 9.Elbow – Leaders of the Free World 8.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 7.The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 6.Acoustic Ladyland – Last Chance Disco 5.Kate Bush – Aerial 4.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 3.Gorillaz – Demon Days 2.M.I.A. - Arular 1. Arcade Fire - Funeral Uncut (U.K.) 10.Rufus Wainwright – Want Two 9.Franz Ferdinand – You Can Have It So Much Better 8.The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 7.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 6.The Rolling Stones – A Bigger Bang 5.The National – Alligator 4.Black Mountain – s/t 3.Bob Dylan – No Direction Home (The Bootleg Series Vol. 7) 2.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 1. Arcade Fire - Funeral Amazon (U.S.) 10.Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine 9.Beck – Guero 8.Bob Dylan – No Direction Home (The Bootleg Series Vol. 7) 7.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 6.Thelonious Monk / John Coltrane – Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall 5.Amadou & Mariam – Dimanche a Bamako 4.My Morning Jacket – Z 3.The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema 2.M.I.A. - Arular 1.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois Aversion (U.S.) 10.Team Sleep – s/t 9.The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday 8.Against Me – Searching for a Former Clarity 7.The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema 6.The Naional – Alligator 5.Spoon – Gimme Fiction 4.Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary 3.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 2.Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – s/t 1. Sleater-Kinney – The Woods Beta Music (U.S.) 10.Animal Collective – Feels 9.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning / Digital Ash in a Digital Urn 8.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 7.Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary 6.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 5.Edan – Beauty and the Beat 4.Isolee – We Are Monster 3.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 2.Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – s/t 1. Smog – A River Ain't Too Much to Love Big Yawn (U.S.) 10.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 9.The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 8.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 7.My Morning Jacket – Z 6.The National – Alligator 5.Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – s/t 4.Andrew Bird – The Mysterious Production of Eggs 3.Sleater-Kinney – The Woods 2.The Decemberists – Picaresque 1. The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema Billboard (U.S.) 10.Spoon – Gimme Fiction 9.Queens of the Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze 8.Theloniuous Monk / John Coltrane – Thelonious Monk Quartet with John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall 7.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 6.Sleater-Kinney – The Woods 5.Common – Be 4.The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema 3.M.I.A. - Arular 2.The Rolling Stones – A Bigger Bang 1. My Morning Jacket - Z Blender (U.S.) 10.Young Jeezy – Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 101 9.The Mars Volta – Frances the Mute 8.Coldplay – X & Y 7.Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll 6.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 5.The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 4.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 3.Kanye West – Late Registration 2.Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine 1. M.I.A. - Arular CD Reviews (U.S.) 10.The Books – Lost & Safe 9.Gorillaz – Demon Days 8.Low – The Great Destroyer 7.High Dials – The War of Awakening Phantoms 6.Broken Social Scene – s/t 5.Foo Fighters – In Your Honor 4.Flotation Toy Warning – Bluffer's Guide to the Flight Deck 3.Neil Young – Prairie Wind 2.Andrew Bird – The Mysterious Production of Eggs 1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois City Paper (U.S.) 10.Celebration – s/t 9.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 8.Beanie Sigel – The B. Coming 7.Common – Be 6.The Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree 5.The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday 4.Animal Collective – Feels 3.Gang Gang Dance – God's Money 2.M.I.A. - Arular 1. Kanye West – Late Registration CMJ (U.S.) 10.Andrew Bird – The Mysterious Production of Eggs 9.The Decemberists – Picaresque 8.Edan – Beauty and the Beat 7.M.I.A. - Arular 6.Deerhoof – The Runners Four 5.Jesu – s/t 4.Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary 3.Dalek – Absence 2.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 1. Animal Collective - Feels E! Online (U.S.) 10.Coldplay – X & Y 9.Laura Veirs – Year of Meteors 8.Gorrilaz – Demon Days 7.My Morning Jacket – Z 6.Kanye West – Late Registration 5.The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 4.Neil Diamond – 12 Songs 3.Beck - Guero 2.M.I.A. - Arular 1. Death Cab for Cutie - Plans eMusic (U.S.) 10.Bettye Lavette – I've Got My Own Hell to Raise 9.Slits – Cut 8.Various Artists – Run the Road 7.Annie – Anniemal 6.The Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree 5.The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday 4.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 3.Animal Collective – Feels 2.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 1. Konono No. 1 - Congotronics Filter (U.S.) 10.Queens of the Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze 9.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 8.Shout Out Louds – Howl Howl Gaff Gaff 7....And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – Worlds Apart 6.Danger Doom – The Mouse and The Mask 5.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 4.Kaiser Chiefs – Employment 3.Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Howl 2.My Morning Jacket – Z 1. Sigur Ros – Takk... Indie Workshop (U.S.) 10.Iron & Wine – Woman King EP 9.The Mars Volta – Frances the Mute 8.Fruit Bats – Spelled in Bones 7.Logh – A Sunset Panorama 6.Sigur Ros – Takk... 5.Akron/Family – s/t 4.Jesu – s/t 3.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 2.Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary 1.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now Junkmedia (U.S.) 10.Smog – A River Ain't Too Much to Love 9.Broadcast – Tender Buttons 8.Colleen – The Golden Morning Breaks 7.South San Gabriel – The Carlton Chronicles 6.Stephen Malkmus – Face the Truth 5.Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary 4.Audion – Suckfish 3.Andrew Bird – The Mysterious Production of Eggs 2.The National – Alligator 1. Spoon – Gimme Fiction Kingblind (U.S.) 10.The High Strung – Moxie Bravo 9.My Morning Jacket – Z 8.Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary 7.Animal Collective – Feels 6.Kanye West – Late Registration 5.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 4.Kaiser Chiefs – Employment 3.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 2.Spoon – Gimme Fiction 1. The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday Lost at Sea (U.S.) 10.Andrew Bird – The Mysterious Production of Eggs 9.M.I.A. - Arular 8.The National – Alligator 7.Sigur Ros – Takk... 6.Broken Social Scene – s/t 5.Spoon – Gimme Fiction 4.Animal Collective – Feels 3.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 2.Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary 1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois Magnet (U.S.) 10.The National – Alligator 9.Queens of the Stone Age – Lullabies to Paralyze 8.M. Ward – Transistor Radio 7.Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Howl 6.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 5.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 4.Stars – Set Yourself on Fire 3....And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead – Worlds Apart 2.The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema 1. Sleater-Kinney – The Woods No Ripcord (U.S.) 10.Caribou – The Milk of Human Kindness 9.Sigur Ros – Takk... 8.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 7.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 6.M.I.A. - Arular 5.M83 – Before the Dawn Heals Us 4.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 3.Animal Collective – Feels 2.Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – s/t 1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois Pitchfork (U.S.) 10.Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary 9.Cam'ron – Purple Haze 8.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 7.Animal Collective – Feels 6.Deerhoof – The Runners Four 5.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Nowhere 4.M.I.A. - Arular 3.Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll 2.Kanye West – Late Registration 1. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois PopMatters (U.S.) 10.The Decemberists – Picaresque 9.Okkervil River – Black Sheep Boy 8.Sleater-Kinney – The Woods 7.The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday 6.Andrew Bird – The Mysterious Production of Eggs 5.Spoon – Gimme Fiction 4.M.I.A. - Arular 3.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 2.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 1. The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema Prefix (U.S.) 10.The Books – Lost and Safe 9.Deerhoof – The Runners Four 8.Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary 7.Animal Collective – Feels 6.The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema 5.Beanie Sigel – The B.Coming 4.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 3.Okkervil River – Black Sheep Boy 2.DJ Muggs vs. GZA – Grandmasters 1. Andrew Bird – The Mysterious Production of Eggs Rolling Stone (U.S.) 10.50 Cent – The Massacre 9.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 8.Bright Eyes – I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning 7.Beck – Guero 6.My Morning Jacket – Z 5.Bruce Springsteen – Devils & Dust 4.Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine 3.The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan 2.The Rolling Stones – A Bigger Bang 1. Kanye West – Late Registration Spin (U.S.) 10.The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday 9.Fiona Apple – Extraordinary Machine 8.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 7.The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema 6.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 5.LCD Soundsystem – s/t 4.Gorrilaz – Demon Days 3.Franz Ferdinand – You Could Have It So Much Better 2.M.I.A. - Arular 1. Kanye West – Late Registration Stylus (U.S.) 10.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 9.Jamie Lidell – Multiply 8.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 7.Animals Collective – Feels 6.Kanye West – Late Registration 5.The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday 4.Robyn – s/t 3.The Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree 2.Bloc Party – Silent Alarm 1. M.I.A. - Arular Tiny Mix Tapes (U.S.) 10.Wolf Parade – Apologies to the Queen Mary 9.Sleater-Kinney – The Woods 8.Xiu Xiu – La Foret 7.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 6.Lightning Bolt – Hypermagic Mountain 5.Akron/Family – s/t 4.Gang Gang Dance – God's Money 3.Antony and the Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now 2.Deerhoof – The Runners Four 1. Animal Collective - Feels Under the Radar (U.S.) 10.Death Cab for Cutie – Plans 9.M.I.A. - Arular 8.Metric – Live It Out 7.Richard Hawley – Cole's Corner 6.Gorillaz – Demon Days 5.Rogue Wave – Descended like Vultures 4.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 3.Super Furry Animals – Love Kraft 2.Doves – Some Cities 1. Broken Social Scene – s/t Washington City Paper (U.S.) 10.Feist – Let It Die 9.Various Artists – Run the Road 8.Sufjan Stevens – Illinois 7.Hood – Outside Closer 6.The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema 5.Pelican – The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw 4.Kanye West – Late Registration 3.Deerhoof – The Runners Four 2.M.I.A. - Arular 1. Konono No. 1 - Congotronics
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