Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Musical Highlights of 2005

Well, for the world it might have been a less than stellar year (though personally it was pretty good) but at least there's always the music to keep you going.

In no particular order, these are some of the songs/artists/albums that did it for me. (as played on the show yesterday)

Turn Up Your Radio The FBi Idols 4:06 Kill Your Idols
This is the final track on a great album put out by FBi, a community station in Sydney.
Great range of tunes on this and I've always liked this Master Apprentices track, performed here by a supergroup including Dave McCormack and Sarah Blasko, possessor of a most sexy rock growl at the start.

Pyramid Wolfmother 4:28 Wolfmother
Wolfmother had a big year in 05 with their big, enthusiastic Sabbath/Zeppelin driven rock. Lots of fun and hard to get past some great dirty 70's guitar and vocals - it'll be interesting to see if they're more than a one trick pony. Missed their show at the ANU bar though reports were pretty positive.

Smokescreen Amusement Parks On Fire 4:11 Amusement Parks On Fire
Well hyped critically at the start of the year, APOF have an interesting guitar drenched shoe gazer sound - early 90's style. On the surface this album seems slightly derivative but begs repeated listens to dig down to the treasure that seems to lie just below.

Girl and the Sea Presets 4:46 Beams
Another artist that the FBi compilation put me onto this year, the Presets have a low key, at times sombre (for electronica) sound with compelling beats and vocals. Their sound is very much their own - I'd almost drawn comparisons to my first experiences of Depeche Mode or New Order but only for a lack of anything closer.

The Night I Couldn't Stop Crying The Devastations 4:58 Coal
Take You Home The Devastations 3:53 Coal
Probably my favourite album and live show of the year. The Devastations live in the same general neighbourhood as the Bad Seeds, Tex Perkins and Leonard Cohen. Every part of the band comes together to produce sophisticated and emotional songs of thought and beauty - which also manage to rock out with some inspired guitar and well placed keyboard. Their show supporting Clare Bowditch at the ANU bar was inspiring and all too underappreciated

Dirty Harry Gorillaz 3:43 Demon Days
Hard to go past Gorillaz for sheer joy and inventiveness in tunes, yet another great offering from them in 05.

451 Decoder Ring 4:10 Fractions
Coming across these guys firstly through their impressive work on the Somersault soundtrack, I was pretty blown away by the accomplished tracks of energetic and slightly moody electronica on this album.

Rebellion (Lies) The Arcade Fire 5:10 Funeral
A firm critics favourite for 2005, I think I still need a few more listens to this album but this track in particular gives a pretty good indication of what's good about these guys - all the pieces fit together so well and in a way that still brings something new while having a timeless kind of sound. (if that doesn't sound to wanky :)

Blue Orchid The White Stripes 2:38 Get Behind Me Satan
Take, Take, Take The White Stripes 4:22 Get Behind Me Satan
Definitely my other big highlight of the year, this album didn't leave the cd player/iPod/etc for weeks. Ideas, emotion, humour, power, clean sounds - it's got it all.

Kawasaki Z117 50 Rock'N'Roll The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion 3:13 I Love Guitar Wolf... Very Much
Cyborg Kids J. Mascis And The Fog 5:19 I Love Guitar Wolf... Very Much
A late entry (only listened to it properly on New Years Eve after having it sitting in the back of the car for a week before) but well deserving. Guitar Wolf are probably the loudest band I've ever heard (in a good way) - taking that whole Japanese cool 50's leather jackets, motorbikes and surfing rock sound and injecting 10000 volts of pure energy through it. This is a compilation of other artists paying them a well deserved tribute.

Yoshimi Battles Snoop Dogg DJ BC 4:06 Internet Exclusive
Sanctuary's Over (Youth Mix) (The Doors vs. The Cult) Smash Mash-Ups 4:11 Internet Exclusive
One of the things I've tried to do with Monday Sunset through 05 has been seek out interesting tidbits online and the mashup movement has been of particular interest. There is a link to these (and others) in a previous posting

Crackajack 2UP 3:18 Player's Club
Aus Hiphop has been another highlight in the last year or so (and ideally I also would've included tracks from outfits like the Speakeasies and TZU in this listing but forgot - oops). After the Tastes like Chicken ep that 2up put out a while back, I was pretty keen to see where they are now - and they really impressed. Fantastic, intelligent and funny lyrics, great samples and djing. Still loving the line "Bad to the bone like osteoporosis".

Gabrielle Ween 3:29 Shinola (Vol. 1)
Ween continue to fly just a little below the radar doing their thing, playing with genres and making them their own as they always do. This album has everything from this Thin Lizzy inspired track to songs that sound like they belong on kids tv.

Panther Dash The Go! Team 2:45 Thunder, Lightning, Strike
Hard to describe but fun, energetic and original sounding (while still not being afraid to plunder the last 50 years of music for sounds)

No Way Out Love Of Diagrams 4:05 We Got Communication
Caught these guys supporting the Rogers Sisters at the Annandale earlier this year and was way impressed. Great urgent indie rock.

Girl Beck 3:29 Guero 16/05/2005 7:17 PM
Heaven Hammer (Missing) (Remix by Air) Beck 4:54 Guerolito
Shake Shake Tambourine (Black Tambourine) (Remix by Adrock) Beck 3:36 Guerolito
Maybe Beck is a little overrepresented in this listing but I'm a fan so what can you say. Two great albums this year - well one album and a remix album but both pretty bloody interesting. Revisiting the Odelay sound a little but why wouldn't you.

Like Dylan In The Movies Belle & Sebastian 4:26 If You're Feeling Sinister Live At The Barbican
If You're Feeling Sinister Belle & Sebastian 6:09 If You're Feeling Sinister Live At The Barbican
Belle and Seb are another of the bands to bring out the fanboy in me (as some of my gorgeous-yet-slightly-twee-indy-folk-pop hating friends will attest). Great b-sides compilation out this year in Push Barman to Open Old Wounds but this late starter snuck through to become a quick fave. It's the If You're Feeling Sinister... album performed live and it's a corker.

Doris Dirty Three 3:26 Cinder
Great Waves Dirty Three 3:28 Cinder
Another of my musical faves, I could never really go past a Dirty 3 album - and if you've ever seen them live I hope you'd feel the same way. This is a bit of a change of pace for the D3, lots of songs, nothing more than 6 minutes and new instrumentation thrown into the mix (including the best rock bagpipes since um...). Great Waves, a track with vocals from Chan Marshall of Cat Power is another highlight.

Lavender The Go-Betweens 3:09 Oceans Apart
The Go-Betweens continue their triumphant comeback with their 3rd album of recent years being another great one.

Six Months In a Leaky Boat Little Birdy 3:53 She Will Have Her Way
Don't Dream It's Over Sarah Blasko 4:42 She Will Have Her Way
Fantastic compilation of covers of Tim/Neil Finn songs as performed by a swag of Aus female artists (and I think I'm getting a crush on Sarah Blasko's voice). (Give the Renee Geyer - Into Temptation track a miss though - no idea what she was thinking but it's tragic - doubly so as it's one of my fave Crowdy's tracks)

Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole Martha Wainwright 3:14 Martha Wainwright
From a family of musical freaks, Martha puts it all out there for the world to see in a particularly beautiful way with this song apparently about her dad.

Where the wild roses grow Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 3:47 B-Sides And Rarities Volume II
No new album from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds this year but this 3 cd compilation was fine compensation. And to think that these 50+ tracks are the ones that didn't make previous cds. This version of what is perhaps his biggest hit - Where the Wild Roses grow - features the grand teutonic vocals of Blixa Bargeld, now ex-Bad Seed.

The Rider #1 Nick Cave & Warren Ellis 1:15 The Proposition Soundtrack
One of the reasons there was no Bad Seeds album this year? Atmospheric, eerie, haunting etc soundtrack to one of a swag of great Oz films this year.

Creep (Ft. Fred From Fitter Ha Radiohead 3:29 Me & This Army: Radiohead Remix
More delving into online sampling/remixing/mashing with this cute version of Creep as performed by computer voice Fred - from Fitter, Happier, More Productive)

Don't Call Me Red Ry Cooder 5:00 Chavez Ravine
3 Cool Cats Ry Cooder 3:00 Chavez Ravine
Ry Cooder continues his exploration of different musical genres with this concept album looking at a Mexican neighbourhood in LA in the 50's.

Keith And Tina Sodastream 5:42 Take Me With You When You Go
Sodastream get dark with this great tale of fucked up lives in America in their thoughtful acoustic style.

John Wayne Gacy, Jr. Sufjan Stevens 3:19 Illinois
Prairie Fire That Wanders About Sufjan Stevens 2:11 Illinois
Another pretty interesting concept album from a guy on a mission to release an album about each of the 50 states in the USA. Lots of stories in song.

Harry Was A Bad Bugger Tex, Don & Charlie 5:19 All Is Forgiven
Cold Chisel legend Don Walker teams up with Tex Perkins and all-star Oz guitarist Charlie Owens in his song about a bad bad man which has classic written all over it. Great telling of a story in a bone dry Oz voice.

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