I get the weirdest referrals to this blog. People Google “chamber music cokemachineglow,” “iron & wine jerkules,” “greg radio,” or (my personal favorite, and the source of more hits than I’d like to admit) “Amanda Petrusich” and somehow wind up here.
Anyway, I performed tonight with the UCLA University Chorus. I didn’t suck, which I was pretty excited about.
Without further ado. TOP HOWEVER MANY ALBUMS OF 2005 THAT I GENUINELY ENJOY. (No point in listing 10 albums if half of them suck.) Sort of in order. I’m not sure how I feel about Sufjan anymore, and it’s not even out yet.
1. Ryan Adams – Cold Roses
Ok, it’s too long, but I don’t care. It’s his best album in years – maybe ever – and everything, from the ridiculous guitar tones to his ridiculous voice to Rachel Yamagata’s surprisingly ridiculous harmonies, sounds so fucking good. Let’s be honest, I have a big man-crush on Ryan. He could put out a slab of smoldering poo and I would pay $15 to lather my face with it. That being said, this is the album of the year. (6/03 concert photo courtesy of Chris.)
2. The National – Alligator
This just came out of nowhere. I have Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers and don’t like it, so I was fully intending on ignoring this until some prominent message board tastemakers started pimping it (Zach, I’m looking at you). This is a just-about-perfect medium-volume sad bastard indie rock album for people who think Antics sucks, but wish it didn’t, or at least wish Interpol would check out old Willie Nelson records. (Antics sucks.)
3. Okkervil River – Black Sheep Boy
Another surprise, especially because they were opening for the Decemberists and ended up cutting the better record. Everybody’s been saying that they sound like a different band on this album, and while they still sound very much like Okkervil River, they sound like Okkervil River doing 12 great songs instead of 1 great song. A nice one for folksy-leaning Neutral Milk Hotel fans (*ahem*).
4. Sea Snakes – Clear As Day, The Darkest Tools
Great singer, reminds me of The One AM Radio, cymbal-heavy drumming, etc. Technically an ’04 release. I adore it. You know the drill.
5. New Buffalo – The Last Beautiful Day
This is also a 2004 release and a Cokemachine favorite. You should download “I’ve Got You And You’ve Got Me” right now from her site. Beth Orton sings on one of these songs. There’s bizarre production and not a whole lot of guitars, which is a novel – and exciting – approach for a female singer-songwriter album. Nice post over on Womenfolk, if you want more.
6. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
I’ve already burnt myself out on this album. It also is his most exciting, accessible, and potentially best release yet. There are multiple songs beautiful enough to make me want to cry or, alternatively, rock the fuck out.
7. That’s more than enough. Ingest records! Don’t listen to 20 a week! Make music mean something again! (7-10: Picaresque, & The Mysterious Production Of Eggs, Some Cities, and Lewis & Clarke’s Bare Bones And Branches.)