Tuesday, December 14, 2004


"Why not just make 10 louder?"

Quick confession. I have an un-natural love for end of year ten-best lists. I read ALL of them, argue over them, agonize over them, and re-write my own eleven or twelve times before committing it to the Christmas disc or elsewhere. With that in mind, I've taken it upon myself to approach the "list thang" from a few different directions this year. 1) I'm going to post my own list in installments this week. 2) I'm going to feature the lists of some buddies here in Fat City (including the input of some "Real Journalists"(tm) . . . ) 3) With much love for the recent feature on Information Leafblower I'm going to bring those opinions together with some of the greatest minds on the interweb (what, what WHAT?) to try and come up with Die 2004 Uberlihst. With no further ado This machine kills fascists, and boring music: Ted Leo Number 10: Ted Leo + Pharmacists: Shake the Sheets Listen to Bridges/Squares No, I'm not posting Me and Mia. It's a perfect song, but this is a few words about missed opportunity. Ted and the Pharmacists have played in Fat City at least twice in the last few years. I missed both shows. If you look closely, you can still see the self-inflicted boot marks on my forehead. I started kicking myself approximately .1539 seconds after hearing the opening notes of Hearts of Oak earlier this year. Mr. Leo can write guitar hooks with the best of them. He accompanies the hooks them with lyrics that spin from the Pope to Francis Fukuyama, without breaking up your desire to sing along. In a year that will be remembered for politics, and in some ways frustration, this is a political album that remembers that you can sooth with melody as well as message. Shake the Sheets is the next step in what I hope will be a long band/hopeless fanboy relationship. Buy Shake the Sheets The artist formerly known as Billy Number 9: Bonnie "Prince" Billy Sings Greatest Palace Music Listen to Riding Sometimes, it's nice to be wrong. Everyone hated this record. Pitchfork skewered it. Long time Palace Music fans dumped on it and me . . . I thought it was great. I'm wrong and I don't give a damn. The guitar and string lines on Riding are so insistent. You feel as if you're you're being chased. You can almost see the trees on the side of the road blurring in your peripheral vision as your headlights turn the corner. Atmospheric, tense, good. Buy BPB Sings Greatest Palace Music A few words from a "Real Journalist" (tm) I gave my buddy K.C. an assignment to come up with his top ten, he ended up writing something more...like a top 15 and some quite thoughtful insights.
Brother...this turned out to be something of a challenge, given not so long ago I was struggling to name 10 discs I'd bought this year, let alone a top 10...turns out I had a good 30 to choose from, and some damn good music -- julie doiron, streets, uncut -- didn't even crack the top 15....it's been a blast listening to all this stuff...Thanks for the challenge. last proviso: serious hockey injury kept me from picking up dizzee rascal. He mighta made it. Ok, here ya go. 15. Killers, Hot Fuss 14. Stars, Set Yourself on Fire 13. Drive-By Truckers, The Dirty South 12. Neko Case, The Tigers Have Spoken 11. Jim Guthrie, Now More than Ever (if Elliott smith had killed himself a few months sooner, this was in my top 10. it prolly should be anyway.) 10. Steve Earle, The Revolution Starts...Now. (Is it as good as El Corazon? No. Is there a better way to rage at the outcome of the year's seminal event? No. That'll do for No. 10) 9. Elliot Smith, from the basement on the hill. (Ever hear the record Bob Geldoff recorded after Paula Yates killed herself? Smith's is just as heavy, but with a little more melody.) 8. K-OS, Joyful Rebellion. (Sure, the streets is a pretty good story teller. Given the outcome of the year's seminal event, I'll take some hippety-hop that's a little easier to dance to.) 7. Calexico, Convict Pool. (Buy this, and it will never leave yer extended rotation. Ever. Can u say that about Franz Ferdinand?) 6. Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose. (The woman's been on the planet for seven decades, and singing about getting loaded and getting it on with Jack White -- that's rock n roll. I played the shite out of this thing for months.) 5. Franz Ferdinand (What can I say, really? Long live britpop, in all its forms) 4. Interpol, Antics (I'd drop Turn on the Bright Lights in my top 10 if it wasn't two years old. Antics is fine transition, with a few dance numbers thrown in for good measure.) 3. Tom Waits, Real Gone. (Why? Because Waits cud chew up everyone else on this list, defecate, and turn the whole thing into an album that wud rip yer heart out.) 2. Arcade Fire, Funeral. (Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.) 1. Wilco, A Ghost Is Born. (I already told you, I'm not going take these guys for granted this time. As good as Funeral is, Ghost is a different album every time I put it on. Tweedy et. al. are at another level.)

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