Top 20 of 2004

Top 20 of 2004: Adam's PicksAdam's Picks (2004)
staff picks

Reviewer Rating: 5

Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

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Ever since the leaves started to change I've been hyping "list making time" around the proverbial Punknews office like it was the coming of the Christian apocalypse. There's a zeal us music geeks have for this that I can't quite explain, comes with the occupation I guess. So let's all just sit back and breathe in for a moment, appreciating the sheer mount of nerdy obsessing that's gone into this collection of articles. It was truly a majestic waste of time.

My whole outlook on this exercise has changed in the past few years. I've come to realize that despite the ebb and flow of influences in young punk bands, my personal tastes have never really extended to metal or emo and no amount of hyphenised genre names are going to change that. I've spent more money this year on 60s Jamaican ska and catalog Neil Young releases than I have on anything that starts with "post" or ends in "core." There's always some pressure to give accolades to those few bands that "the scene" has united around, but more often than not these bands aren't the ones I've been interested in.

So, my friends, this really shouldn't be an effort in populism and I make no claims of being any sort of zeitgeist. This is purely an exposition of what music had me singing and dancing like an idiot when no one else was around. So who's breaking new ground? What's shockingly original? Who has the most punishing breakdowns or the most earsplitting emotional screams or the darkest eyeliner? Who deserves to be on this list?

Hell, I couldn't tell you. My name's Adam and I'm a news editor and reviewer for Punknews.org. Welcome to my headspace...

Who Rocked The Casbah In 2004
#20. Detonations - Static Vision
April 13 on Alive Records (Bomp)
Spazzed out, feedback drenched, dirty rock'n'roll somewhere on the map between The Stooges and Crime. This New Orleans three piece kicks through a collection of dirty blues and sleazy rock with an unconventional lineup (no bassist but bass strings on a Tele hooked into a bi-amp that's wired through the flux capacitor, or something like that). The bottom spot on the list is always the most contested spot, as it's the last place where the decision is made between who gets mentioned and who doesn't, but Detonations show so much potential that they swaggered right past the competition. [ ...read the review]
#19. Jeffie Genetic and his Clones - Need a Wave
January 20 on Dirtnap Records
The solo side project of Jeffie Pop of Vancouver's New Town Animals is a geeky 27 minute blast of hyperactive new wave punk that should appeal to fans of the Epoxies or The Spits. Jeffie's Ramone-monotone zips along atop a batch of Undertones / Buzzcocks inspired bubblegum. I've read so many reviews of this that have said "fun, but not essential" and in some ways that's true, but I can't deny the fact that this weird little album has been spun far more times this year than most other things.
#18. The New Breed - Off The Beaten Path
October 26 on Thorp Records
I'm really more of a traditionalist when it comes to punk rock, and an honest band playing an old formula with passion will always win me over before a something on the bleeding edge. The New Breed embody that description and with Off The Beaten Path they deliver the some of the best working class punk rock since McColgan-era Dropkick Murphys. The social and cultural roots of Halifax bleed through the music and give the port city rebels a regional voice that we don't often hear. [ ...read the review ]
#17. Tangiers - Never Bring You Pleasure
April 27 on Sonic Unyon Records
I've been torn on this record for most of the year. After their rocking garage-punk debut Hot New Spirits half of the band quit, leaving the remaining songwriters with far more freedom to pursue their own ideas. What results is a record that's more eclectic, sounding less like the effort of a full band and more like a raw indie side project. Yet the stellar songwriting of Josh Reichmann and James Sayce shines through, and this year's model Tangiers proves to be just as exciting and memorable as the prior.
#16. Ted Leo / Pharmacists - Shake The Sheets
October 19 on Lookout Records
I wasn't as immediately taken by Shake The Sheets as I was Hearts Of Oak, but it was only a matter of time before Ted Leo's huge hooks and undeniable tunes worked their way deep into my head. Ted's formula of writing honest mod / punk infused rock songs seems pretty obvious on paper, but for whatever reason nobody else is doing it quite as well. With such a steady output of quality material, it's a wonder that Mr. Leo and his ever-able Pharmacists are still being ignored by the larger rock mainstream.
#15. Million Dollar Marxists - Give It A Name
September 7 on Gearhead Records
High octane punk rock'n'roll in the lineage of the New Bomb Turks, Devil Dogs and The Pagans, but out of Ottawa of all places. Beneath the high energy punk emerges a sinister streak that gives the band a range that their style often lacks. It's always nice to find a band so tight and focused on their debut full length, and the Marxists are certainly that. [ ...read the review]
#14. The Futureheads - The Futureheads
September 7 on 679 Records / Sire (WMG)
So let's say The Jam were horribly injured in a NASA accident and a crack team of scientists lead by Gang Of Four's Andy Gill boasted "Gentlemen, we can rebuild them. We have the technology..." and thus they installed some crazy robotic time signatures and a cappella harmonies. Soon this new bionic Six Million Dollar Jam went out fighting crime and rocking out in style, only to realize they needed a new moniker for a new millennium, and thus they would be dubbed The Futureheads.
#13. Hot Snakes - Audit In Progress
October 5 on Swami Records
The John Reis / Rick Froberg war machine marches ever forward, proving that there's still unique and exciting music to be made in a stype so content with rehashing past. Audit In Progress shows a sharper, more concise version of the band, but still one that has the energy and drive of a swarm of angry hornets.
#12. Social Distortion - Sex, Love and Rock'n'Roll
September 28 on Time Bomb Records
Not that they're exactly getting soft with age, but Social Distortion shows a lot of heart on their much anticipated comeback album. Mike Ness sounds a little wiser, a little more introspective, and while he's still playing the outlaw greaser, his lyrics hint that he's made some peace with his demons. Sex, Love and Rock'n'Roll, a remarkably brisk record considering it's hype, sidesteps just about every pitfall that plagues the "comeback album." [ ...read the review]
#11. Bedouin Soundclash - Sounding A Mosaic
April 27 on Stomp Records (Union Label Group)
Kingston and reggae go together in most people's minds, but Kingston Ontario probably isn't what they're thinking about. Bedouin Soundclash's mix of dub, reggae and ska is given an eerily captivating treatment by Darryl Jenifer's big spacious production and Sounding A Mosaic proves to be one of most unique and soulful albums of the year. [...read the review]
#10. A.C. Newman - The Slow Wonder
June 8 on Matador Records
Zumpano / New Pornographers frontman Carl Newman proves why he's my favourite songwriter of recent years with a collection of wonderful power-pop songs. Outside of the Pornographers' collaborative environment Newman explores his more eclectic side, but no amount of experimentation can overpower his skill at writing simply classic tunes. Back as a sole vocalist his unique staccato soars and helps make The Slow Wonder as memorable and accomplished as his band's acclaimed work.
#9. The Marked Men - On The Outside
May 18 on Dirtnap Records
Ex-members of The Reds and a current Riverboat Gambler prove to be the heirs to the high-energy punk popsound of the late Exploding Hearts. On The Outside is comprised of tightly wound bursts of classically minded punk rock with soaring vocals. Not a record I expected to rank so highly, but one that's rarely out of my stereo.
#8. The Ponys - Laced With Romance
February 17 on In The Red Records
Chicago's The Ponys clearly share influences with the Pacific-northwest's new wave revivalists but Laced With Romance relies more on hypnotic rhythms and off-kilter vocals then it does hyperactive pop. This is a nervous yet groovy collection of garage-punk, packed with a guitar sound that came straight out of the 60s (in terms of both garage and psychedlia) and a shy weirdness the Buzzcocks would have killed for.
#7. The Frenetics - Grey Veins To The Parking Lot
May 18 on Union 2112 (Union Label Group)
This is the year's best record that you've never heard of. Earnest, textured and wonderfully personal punk rock is what you can expect from this Montreal three piece. There's a very typically Canadian slow-burn happening with this release, but while notoriety has been slow coming fans of the Ted Leo / Elvis Costello vein heartfelt rock music will adore this. Punk rock for adults. [ ...read the review]
#6. Death From Above 1979 - You're A Woman, I'm A Machine
September 7 on Last Gang Records (Canada) / Vice Records (US)
A two-piece bass and drum combo turned out to make more noise this year than most others. DFA79's debut is bitter, aggressive and sexual, playing a theme of wounded love against a hard rocking, fuzzed out cacophony. This is one of the most distinctive, original and confident debuts in recent memory. [ ...read the review]
#5. The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives
July 20 on Interscope Records (UMG)
So the Hives released a new record and the public didn't really care, but those of us who were waiting for new material since 2000's Veni Vidi Vicious were rewarded with a razor sharp batch of the band's trademark garage-punk. There's nary a misplaced second on Tyrannosaurus Hives and just enough fantastic songs to make it worth the wait. The Hives may jokingly boast about their own greatness, but they're not giving us a lot of reasons to argue otherwise. [ ...read the review
#4. Green Day - American Idiot
September 21 on Reprise (WMG)
I've tried to remain objective about American Idiot, but its coronation by the larger music press is hard to avoid. Still, Green Day wins points for having grandiose ambitions and actually pulling them off. Not that I doubt Green Day's history or ability, hell they were instrumental in introducing punk rock to a generation of kids, but concept albums are shaky ground even for the best bands. American Idiot is a sprawling, playful, socially conscious record that stands as a high point in Green Day's career.
#3. The Libertines - The Libertines
August 31 on Rough Trade (BMG)
I publicly damn NME for the rampant overexposure they gave this band, but I'm secretly hanging on every morsel of gossip and rumor that surrounds them. If you go back and read much of the rock journalism from the 70s you get a real sense that something was happening, that music lived and breathed and inspired. Compared to that, today's mechanical cycle of overblown press releases and business oriented music news seems woefully stale. The Libertines broke that pattern for me. Here is a band with an incredible talent barely holding their lives together. In those few weeks of stability they took a romanticized mix of Clash and Jam influences to oh so brief moments of brilliance, only to be torn apart by pride and vice soon after. There's no story in most modern rock, but there's story to The Libertines. This is a flawed record, yet one of the most interesting of the year. [ ...read the review]
#2. Bad Religion - The Empire Strikes First
June 8 on Epitaph Records
It's been said that a Republican administration is good for punk rock, as nothing quite stokes the fires of confrontation like social conservatism. In Bad Religion's case, the more public officials lean towards theocracy, the more relevant the lyrical message becomes. The band's Process line-up has solidified and grown tighter, and while I adored that comeback record this one is far more focused and consistent. Bad Religion's a band that demands context, so while over the years they've maintained a high level of quality it takes that external societal factor to really set them off. For better or worse, 2004 provided that in spades. [ ...read the review]
#1. The Briefs - Sex Objects
June 29 on BYO Records
The Briefs are one of the best punk rock bands in the world right now. I'm not talking about hardcore- or metal- or pop- or any other hyphenated subgenre, I'm talking about punk as back-to-basics rock music that manages to be simultaneously political, absurd, snotty, confrontational and fun as hell. To call The Briefs simply `77 revivalists is a gross oversimplification, for while their music calls to mind classics by the Adverts, Rezillos and Buzzcocks, their energy and lyricism is firmly directed at the here and now. Despite claiming the same influences, through intelligence, wit, and near perfect hooks The Briefs' songwriting is worlds better your run-of-the-mill street punk nostalgia act. With the fantastic Sex Objects and re-releases of Hit After Hit and Off The Charts, no band has spent more time in my stereo this year. [ ...read the review]
Honourable Mentions

The bottom third of my list from last year looks pretty flimsy in retrospect, but this year there are so many other records that I'd like to give their due. This includes hard rocking discs like SNFU's In The Meantime and In Between Time, Leatherface's Dog Disco, Les Hell On Heels' self titled debut, Descendents' comeback Cool to Be You, The Bellrays' finally released Red, White & Black and A Wilhelm Scream's breakthrough Mute Print. There's been a few really satisfying roots / Americana releases as well, notably The Sadies' Favourite Colours and The Weight's Ten Mile Grace. The new self-titled album from The Cure was better than I expected, as was Who Killed... The Zutons, The Cinch's Shake If You Got It and the Von Bondies' Pawn Shoppe Heart.

Of course, special mention must be given to Brian Wilson's finally realized opus Smile. While I enjoy it immensely, I haven't had it long enough to really place it in this year's list. This is one of those rare projects that has so much history and rumour surrounding it that it's something I truly can't place in the context of any one year. Needless to say, this is an essential listen.

Top 5 Eps
#5. Controller.Controller - History
February 24 on Paper Bag Records
Female fronted death-disco. I'm not sold on the idea that Public Image Ltd is suddenly so damn influential, but this is my favourite band of the "dance punk" batch.
#4. The Slackers - International War Criminal
June 8 on Thought Squad
Political protest and reggae has a fine history and The Slackers make their most overt attempt at it. I've always found political pop far more interesting and influential than political hardcore, and the Slackers have delivered in fine form.
#3. Unsacred Hearts - Unsacred Hearts
on Serious Business Records
New York City garage-punks deeply in love with their late 70s forbearers. Unsacred Hearts' debut has more character, range and potential than most. A strong first effort if there ever was one. [...read the review]
#2. Greg MacPherson - Maintenance
February 10 on G7 Welcoming Committee Records
This acoustic EP is a collection of Springsteen-by-way-of-Strummer working class protest songs, featuring variations on Greg's past studio material along with a Clash cover. Contained is the only official recording of the phenomenal "Company Store." [ ...read the review]
#1. The Lashes - The Stupid Stupid
August 3 on Lookout Records
There must be something in the water in Seattle lately. The Lashes craft four of the most perfect punk-pop songs in recent memory. At times sounding like a revved up version of The Cars, The Lashes prove every bit as infectious and memorable as their influences with tunes like "Death By Mixtape" and "It's Your Party." If the band maintains this level of quality on their upcoming full length, they'll be atop the main list come December `05. [ ...read the review]
Top Live Records
The Slackers & Friends (with Glen Adams and Susan Cadogan) - Upsetting Ernesto's
on Music Machine Records
That this is pretty much available as an import only just boggles my mind, as it's easily one of the best releases of the year and should be a part of any ska fan's collection. The Slackers return to the location of their earlier live album, only this time with The Upsetters' Glen Adams and lovers rock star Susan Cadogan. The collaborations are golden, as are the band's reinterpretation of some of their best-loved songs.
Neko Case - The Tigers Have Spoken
October 9 on Mint Records (Canada) / Anti- (US)
Alright, I admit it: I've been in love with Neko Case for a good three or four years now. This collection of live recordings from her tours supporting Blacklisted features the ever amazing Sadies as her backing band and 11 brisk but wonderfully performed originals and covers.
Top Reissue
The Clash - London Calling: 25th Anniversary Legacy Edition
September 21 on Epic/Legacy (Sony BMG) originally December 14, 1979 on Epic
This needs no explanation. I've purchased this record at least 4 times now in it's various incarnations, but this set makes it worthwhile with the fascinating Vanilla Tapes and the DVD of studio footage. Epic's Legacy line has a history of remarkable packaging and liner notes and this is no exception. That I can ponder over early versions of my favourite songs and watch footage of Guy Stevens throwing ladders at Mick Jones makes me happy to no end.
Top Compilation
Various Artists - CBC Radio 3 Sessions Vol 01
June 15 on CBC Record
The first collection of studio sessions from CBC Radio 3 is a knockout. This features incredible otherwise unavailable tracks by The Constantines, The Weakerthans' John K. Samson, Hot Hot Heat, The New Pornographers, The Sadies, Rheostatics, The Organ and other luminaries of the Canadian indie scene. With beautiful packaging and insightful liner notes this is an essential release.
2004 Mix Tape Mix Tape
  1. The Smugglers - Pirate Ships
  2. The Briefs - Orange Alert
  3. Green Day - Saint Jimmy
  4. The Slackers - Keep It Simple
  5. Unsacred Hearts - Stuck Inside a Mobile Home with the Mansion Blues Again
  6. The Hives - is for Brutus
  7. Your Enemies Friends - Back Of A Taxi
  8. Beastie Boys - An Open Letter To NYC
    This also wins the award for "Best use of a Dead Boys sample in 2004." "Sonic Reducer" has one of the all time greates openings, so to hear it looped here is a lot of fun.
  9. The Lashes - It's Your Party
  10. The Libertines - The Man Who Would Be King
  11. Detonations - See You Ride It
  12. The Von Bondies - C'mon C'mon
  13. Chris Murray - Let There Be Peace
  14. The Marked Men - Gone Away
  15. John K. Samson - Utilities (CBC Session)
  1. Tangiers - Ro Ro Roland
  2. Bad Religion - All There Is
  3. The Ponys - Virus Human
  4. Greg MacPherson - Company Store
    Greg's song about his ancestors in the Sydney Nova Scotia coal mines. My own great grandfather worked in the same area laying explosives in the tunnels under the Atlantic. It was just about the most dangerous and horrible job I can imagine, so Greg's lyrics resonate with me.
  5. The New Breed - Smoking Gun
  6. Leatherface - Hoodlum
  7. The Ends - Pucker Up
  8. Million Dollar Marxists - Le Shake
  9. Death From Above 1979 - Blood On Our Hands
  10. Despistado - A Stirstick's Prediction
  11. Morrissey - The First Of The Gang To Die
  12. A Wilhelm Scream - The Rip
  13. SNFU - Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump
  14. Jeffie Genetic and His Clones - Records Go Round
  15. The Clash - Heart & Mind
    The material on the Vanilla Tapes is obviously of lesser quality than what ended up on London Calling, but to hear unreleased Clash tunes is a rare treat.
Top Word I've Overused In Reviews This Year


Hey, I've got a thing for album length and sequencing. If your album's much more than half an hour long you better have a damn good reason for it.

Top Word That Should Be Banned From Use

Pretension / Pretentious / Pretentiousness

I'm guilty of using it too, but I've read far too many reviews and comments by folks that just pull this word out of their ass as a synonym for "I don't like this record" regardless of the presence of any real ostentatious qualities or not. You're ruining a perfectly fine word, you bastards.

What I'm Looking Forward To In 2005

Next year's looking good already with releases like Turbonegro's Babylon Forever, Queens Of The Stone Age's Lullabies To Paralyze and Mando Diao's Hurricane Bar. Members of the aforementioned Marked Men have a project coming up called High Tension Wires and the available demo from the record Send A Message is excellent. I'm also anticipating releases from The Dead 60s, The Constantines, The Epoxies, The Bellrays and Cuff The Duke among others.

In Memoriam

Of course no retrospective effort would be complete without some respect paid to those we lost, and this year I wrote far more obituaries than I ever anticipated. So many of the folks who passed on this year were those who laid the foundations of the scene we're following. These were legends who supported and fostered non-mainstream music in times or locals where it had no champions, men like ska/reggae producer Clement "Sir Coxsone'' Dodd, Bomp Records founder Greg Shaw and BBC DJ John Peel. Among the musicians we lost were incalculably influential figures like Ray Charles and Johnny Ramone. We've also seen the loss of many members of the early punk scenes, including Brittley Black of Crime, Robert Quine of the Voidoids and Arthur Kane of the New York Dolls among others.

Contend upon a rail of pain for just a pail of rain

Well that's my view of 2004, I'd like to thank all of you for sticking with us and participating in the site. Without your submissions, reviews and comments none of this would be possible.


People who liked this also liked:
Les Breastfeeders - Les Matins de Grands SoirsMilky Ways - Milky WaysToys That Kill - Shanked!The Undertones - The UndertonesThe Deadly Snakes - Porcella -or- A Bird in the Hand Is Worthless [12 inch, double LP]Green Day - WarningBouncing Souls - The Gold RecordThe Marked Men - Fix My BrainTeenage Bottlerocket - TotalBouncing Souls - Hopeless Romantic

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
-oggie- (January 7, 2005)

i have to disagree......bad religion "the empire strikes first" was way wicked. totally deserves to be numero uno!

Anonymous (January 4, 2005)

Futureheads - yes!

Anonymous (January 3, 2005)

Actually, he was talking about a false BSD. It's easy to impersonate my tag. Forgot my password.

Since I actually chat with Jesse the reviewer and have come to respect his opinion (with reservations).


lushj (January 3, 2005)

Ah, I was getting too confused. Why wouldn't he post that on the thread with the staff Jesse's list? Ack! -the non-staff (and non-staph) Jesse

adam (January 3, 2005)

lushj, I think BSD's talking about Jesse-the-reviewer's-list and not Jesse-the-Luscious'-list. Too many Jesses.


lushj (January 3, 2005)

I'm not saying fucked up music, rap, punk, whatever, isn't good or in my collection (Eminem, Willie D, NWA, GG Allin, DJ Assault are all faves), just that this year none of those groups made the list.

lushj (January 3, 2005)

1- Oh yeah, that Beastie Boys "To The Five Boroughs" is definitely in my top bunch of 2004 records. I totally spaced that one, thanks!

2- "Jesse must be fond of songs that degrade women. Which explains the heavy inclusion of rap artists on his list. -BSD"

If you're talking about my list, you're a weirdo and pretty ignorant. I have 2 hop hop releases on my list (well, 3 if you count the Beastie Boys from this post). I'll break 'em down for ya.

V/A "War (If It Feels Good, Just Do It)"- compilation of anti-Bush tunes from all around the country (mostly Bay Area) on Hip Hop Slam, the very lefty, multiracial, multigender label from Oakland. Check out Aya De Leon for a sample.

Paris- various reissues. You know, Paris, the radical leftist rapper who flirted with Black Power but concentrates on being anti-right wing nowadays. Famous for "Bushkilla" written about Poppa Bush in 1991.

BSD- If you're assuming that a hip hop or rap group is sexist, then I have to assume you're a dumbass and pretty clueless about the breadth of the genre. There's a lot of crap macho bullshit and misogyny, but look no further than rock and roll for the same shit. Next time someone mentions a metal band are you going to comment on the obvious sexism of all metal bands? Or all rock bands? Come on dude, get a brain.

Anonymous (January 3, 2005)

Since I'm sure you're all dying to read my list....

1.Green Day-American Idiot. Hands down album of the year in my eyes. its fun, its moving, it rocks, its catchy yet not cheesey. very well done, their best work yet, and i had lost some faith in them after the last few albums which were both average in my opinion, not bad, but not insomniac/dookie quality. this one tops them all.

2.lostprophets-startsomething. i know this isn't the punkx and many of you will compare them to hoobaincubus, but in my opinion, this is as good as radio rock gets. catchy, huge sounding, enough hooks for 10 cd's. i heard 'last train home' on the radio nearly a year ago and was hooked.

3.Say Anything-is a real boy. Best new band of the year. I know ap.net hyped the shit outta these guys, which is an instant turnoff to many .org'rs, but I believe it exceeds the hype. it sounds epic and important. I guess i feel about this the way all those people who shat over bright eyes must have felt in 2002.

4.Bad Religeon-empire strikes first. as if POB wasn't a great enough of a comeback, BR tops that effort in every way possible w/ this album, the energy, harmonies, speed, and of course, very thoughtful lyrics.

5.Living End-Modern ARTillery. great rock record. many styles, but under it all, its just solid rock n roll from a band who never caught my ear before. it just sounds classic and each song stands on its own.

6.Social Distortion-sex, love and rocknroll. This is Social D's best work since the self-titled album. what a comeback, worth the wait, and each song is just so classic. Mike Ness is the man. 'faithless' is the most underrated social d song ever.

7.StrungOut-exile in oblivion Blows American Paradox out of the water, and i liked that album a lot. This album is so sick, and one of the few cd's i can think of that the second half is stronger than the first half, w/ the disc highlights evenly spread throughout. sick musicianship. and hey, when i was 15 all i listened to was pantera and sepultura. them metal roots have mostly faded, but albums like this make me remember them.

8.Rise Against-siren song of the counterculture. I know a lot of people shat on this for being overproduced, to afi-ish and on a major. I think its their best album and rocks from start to finish, and the poppier/softer moments work well. not a weak track on teh disc.

9.New Found Glory-Catalyst........this is where i lose all cred. but sorry, i've loved nfg since 'back in the day' and i still feel they make the catchiest chorus's in modern pop punk. forever my guilty pleasure. if found this stuck in my cd player for a while.

10.Jimmy Eat World-Futures. enough has been said about this album, but yea, bleed american made my top 10 in 2001, and i like this album more than that. great flow to the album, culminating w/ '23' the most moving track they've ever written i think.

Honerable mentions:

lessthanjake B is for bsides (wow...anthem could have been their best album had some of these made the cut instead of she's gonna break soon),

Pully (skate punk at its finest, brings me back to 98),

Hot Water Music (not as good as caution, but damn solid, what an underrated punk band)

WIlhelm Scream-mute print (a bit underproduced, kind of shitty singing at times, but damn, they sound like strung out, bigwig, HWM and thrice all thrown together. and i love all those bands. thanks for turning me onto them via 'the rip' .org!

best non-punk cd's
1.kanye west-college dropout. Instant party classic, thoughtful, nicely blends the mainstream sound and the underground's integrity.

2.Muse-they desearve all they hypte they get

3.beastie boys-gotta have love for these guys. what a classic and a solid effort after accomplishing pretty much more than what most people in hip hop could hope to accomplish.


Paul (been a regular here since 2000

Anonymous (January 3, 2005)

Jesse must be fond of songs that degrade women.

Which explains the heavy inclusion of rap artists on his list.


gladimnotemo (January 2, 2005)

Wait, wait, wait. Jesse wins, hands down. Especially for his inclusion of Lars Frederiksen when everyone else snuffed it.

lushj (January 2, 2005)

Yeah, add the Spits "19 Million AC" reissue cd on Dirtnap to the best reissues of the year. Whoo!

lushj (January 2, 2005)

Re: Jello/Melvins- it's such a capital "R" Rocker. Both parties came in with songs they thought would appeal to the other- the Melvins with fast songs and Jello with slow riffy songs- so it's a pretty rad mix of both. I'm kind of surprised that it hasn't shown up on more lists since it's the best musical project I've heard from either entity for years.

For those who don't know, I work for Alternative Tentacles, the label which put out the eX-Girl, SCAC, and Jello/Melvins records. We also put out a bunch of other records in 04, but these 3 really stuck with me. AT is way too eclectic a label for anyone (even Jello!) to love every release we put out. I'm really glad that Jello's very open to different staff and interns bringing forward new releases for consideration. Some of the recent releases which were brought forward/introduced by staff/interns include Ludicra, Evaporators, Pansy Division, Leftover Crack, Michael Parenti (a t.b.a. spoken word release from this neat historian/father of Christian Parenti), and on and on.

adam (January 2, 2005)

Thanks Jesse, nice lists too.

I've been on some quest to get away from the whole area that you referred to as "dreck" so this list is the results of my effort so far. I really need to pick up Jello / Melvins soon, as everything I've heard from it has been really good, so I'm sort of ashamed I overlooked it. Dirtnap does indeed make me happy though, I'm constantly impressed by the stuff they put out.


lushj (January 2, 2005)

Oh yeah, and props for including so many Dirtnap and related bands. Ken has a great fucking ear. That Jeffie Genetic is pretty dope, as is The Cinch. Another rocker (musically related but not on Dirtnap) is the new Deadly Weapons from the Bay Area- Tina from the Bobbyteens and Larry from the Rickets = R-O-C-K!

Another great re-issue is the Spits cd on Dirtnap- that came out just this year, right?

lushj (January 2, 2005)

Adam, your list is the closest to my musical reality, thanks! Even though most of the other lists had a lot of, well, dreck to wade through, I'll echo the person who posted about this being a good resource for bands I've missed and bands I've previously ignored. Running for office for half the year meant I missed out on more bands then I have in 15 years easy- so thanks!

Personally, I'm looking forward to digging up copies of the following:
Sex Positions, Wrangler Brutes, Big D and the Kids Table, The Living End, 7 Seconds, the Futureheads...

Some of my favorites this year include Lars Fredricksen, Dwarves, Slapshot, V/A "War (If It Feels Good, Do It) (HipHopSlam), William Shatner (no, really!!!), Alkaline Trio/One Man Army, Die Hunns, The Briefs, DOA, Soviettes, Smugglers, Jello Biafra and the Melvins, Slim Cessna's Auto Club, and eX-Girl. There's more, but I'll stop there.

Reissues of the year include The Clash "London Calling", all of the Paris releases, and Zolar X.

Disappointment of the year: Descendents. I really tried, and I LOVE this band!

Hyped band on the lists who struck me as truly "eh": A Wilhelm Scream. I reviewed this for either KALX or Shredding Paper and I was bored stiff.

Records I can't believe aren't mentioned more than once (if that): Dwarves, Briefs, William Shatner, Lars Fredricksen, eX-Girl, Jello/Melvins

So uh, yeah- my opinion's right, all the rest of y'all should conform to me! I have the only correct subjective opinion here!

NP: "Give Em The Boot" V4

Anonymous (January 1, 2005)

I check this site daily, but I love how in simply going over all of the 'Top' lists I have discovered bands that I hadn't given much thought before.

Thank you.

Crookedsuperhero (January 1, 2005)

Agreed BSD, it does indeed 'suck ass'.

Anonymous (January 1, 2005)

SOYBOMB's list sucks ass.


bizzlebrizzle (January 1, 2005)

Hey, Brizzle, what's so great about that Still Crossed album? I mean, that's not to say that it's bad, but I didn't think it was amazing or anything.

I like it so much because I'm from Cincinnati, and they're one of the few bands out of Cincinnati that actually played hardcore. Much better than their fellow Cincinnati straight edgers Suffocate Faster.

SOYBOMB (January 1, 2005)

for film, continued,

4. I (Heart) Huckabees
5. The Blind Swordsman Zatoichi

Peace once more,

SOYBOMB (January 1, 2005)

I've pretty much given up on reading anyone else's reviews/editorials - If it wasn't written up by Adam, I tend to not give it much thought.


I can't pick twenty, let alone ten albums I truthfully adored this year, so, my top five looks something like this.

1. The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives
Brash, pompous, frenetic, so on, so forth. They put out an album that I could listen to ten times a day without getting bored of any of the tracks. The entire album has been my New York Sports Club anthem as I work out every day, and blares from my Ford Focus' mediocre stereo system while I'm cruising down the street being tailed by Ricers in their self-modded Honda Civics. The fact of the matter is, this band is a marvel to witness live and they truthfully do not give a fuck about any stigmatism "scenes" attach to their music or success.

2. Modest Mouse - Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Truth be told, I'd never really listened to Modest Mouse until I saw an episode of The Screen Savers with the former co-host, Kevin Rose, wearing a Modest Mouse shirt on-air. While I've heard the name before, I never listened to their music. So, I was quite surprised once I received the special two-order set from Best Buy of Good News... along with The Moon and Antarctica. Unique sound both technically and vocally attribute to 'their' sound. I say 'their' because I've yet to hear anything quite emulate what their music sounds like. Besides, Ocean Breathes Salty was a great song.

3. The Zutons - Who Killed... The Zutons?
A great album to listen to driving, cooking, dancing, fucking, and sleeping. I don't know how, but all of the aforementioned tend to amorphously become one while Zuton Fever is playing.

4. Franz Ferdinand - S/T
Once I started hearing "TAKE ME OUT!" in Breast Cancer commercials, I knew these guys exploded in a frightening way. Truth be told, I found this disc after browsing Pitchfork Media back when they initially posted their review. Must've been around March. Either way, their review, while mind-numbingly verbose and packed tighter with innocuous dry-wit than a convicts ass during shower time, their score would be what I'd inevitably come to terms with.

5. The Pink Spiders - Hot Pink
This disc was actually released a few months back through mail order and is getting a wider release right about now and I must say, I definitely enjoyed this disc tremendously. I remember my first introduction to these guys was actually Jesse shitting all over them in a review that I would find horribly inaccurate apon self listen. Come on, who gives a fuck about their fashion sense, haircuts and such? Their E.P. was good, but this album is leagues beyond it, which is great news for fans of rockn'roll.

There you have it.

Now, best games of the year for the nerds out there: Halflife 2, Halflife 2, Halflife 2, Halflife 2, and World of Warcraft.

Lastly, film!

1. Shaun of the Dead
2. Kill Bill Vol. 2
3. Collateral
4. I

Crookedsuperhero (January 1, 2005)

I can't believe you wrote out what you would put on your mix tape Chinatown. Ugh.

Crookedsuperhero (January 1, 2005)

And nice Leatherface track.

ThriveToFailure (January 1, 2005)

Skankin - I would definitely have Ministry in my top 20 of the year as well...

Anonymous (January 1, 2005)

the ten is for greg macpherson, otherwise i think im growing old, I don't like anyones top 20.

or maybe i read more now?


Anonymous (January 1, 2005)

"Papa Roach"?


Anonymous (January 1, 2005)

Shitty fucking list. Is everyone besides me completely oblivious to the fact that Papa Roach and Sum 41 put out amazing albums this year?

Anonymous (January 1, 2005)

The best live album should have been the Mad Caddies.

captaincrunch (January 1, 2005)

Adam, where the hell is my punk vs. emo cd?????

gladimnotemo (January 1, 2005)

Oh, thank God for Adam. I lost all faith in this site after I read the other Top 10/20s...

Glad to see the Briefs getting the spot they deserve, along with...you know, PUNK bands.

Psychoos231 (December 31, 2004)

My top 10
1.Tiger Army
2.The Libertines
3.Social Distortion
4.The Briefs
5.The Futureheads
6.Flogging Molly
7.Green Day
8.The New Breed
9.Hot Water Music
10.Bloc Party

Anonymous (December 31, 2004)

Just a comment on The Marked Men (#9 on this list): they suck. Well, if all of their songs sound like "Dr. Dan," that is. (And, given its simplicity as well as Adam's description of the album, I wouldn't be surprised). Awful, awful track; good thing they kept it under 2 minutes.


skankin_in_the_pit (December 31, 2004)

Is Brandon Sideleau getting to do one of these? I thought he was a staff reviewer. Or are you limiting it to 10?

Even though most of you don't care, and have very different taste in music, here's mine. I'm way too lazy to type out the titles.

The first 10 is really in no particular order.
1. Stockyard Stoics
2. Leftover Crack (By the way didn't all 3 Editors have "MG" in the best of 2001? You guys must of matured.)
3. Big D and the Kids Table
4. Jello and The Melvins
5. Bones Brigade
6. D.O.A
7. MDC
8. Voodoo Glow Skulls
9. Sick Of It All (Obviously not new stuff, but I figured it counts.)
10. Ministry
11 Champion
12. Social Distortion
13. Stand and Fight
14. Bad Religion
15. Crime In Stereo
16. Descendents
17. Potshot
18. 46 Short
19. A Wilhelm Scream
20. Only Crime

7 Seconds would be near the top, but it isn't really out here in the states.

Just Missed: Mastodon, Strung Out

Best Live Records: 1. Subhumans 2. Mad Caddies 3. Atom and His Package

Best Split: New Mexican Disaster Squad/Western Addiction

Best E.P's: 1. The Slackers 2. The Code 3. American Distress

Probably the best records I never got around to getting: Stiff Little Fingers, Bedouin Soundclash

Worst Record (That I Bought): River City Rebels

Anonymous (December 31, 2004)

this is probably the most pretentious list i've ever read. thanks, you're the new tate!


FortyMinutesWest (December 31, 2004)

Hey, Brizzle, what's so great about that Still Crossed album? I mean, that's not to say that it's bad, but I didn't think it was amazing or anything.

Anonymous (December 31, 2004)

No Flogging Molly? Talk about the snub of the year.

Anonymous (December 31, 2004)

For what it's worth, here's my list:

1. Mission of Burma--OnOffOn
2. The Dillinger Escape Plan--Miss Machine
3. Colossal--Welcome the Problems
4. Hot Water Music--The New What Next
5. Pulley--Matters
6. Clann Zu--Black Coats & Bandages
7. Owen--I Do Perceive
8. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists--Shake the Sheets
9. Iron & Wine--Our Endless Numbered Days
10. Of Montreal--Satanic Panic in the Attic
11. Strung Out--Exile in Oblivion
12. Brandtson--Send Us a Signal
13. Planes Mistaken for Stars--Up in Them Guts
14. The Arcade Fire--Funeral
15. Tiger Army--III: Ghost Tigers Rise
16. Mastodon--Leviathan
17. Red Animal War--Polizadda
18. Black Eyes--Cough
19. Joan of Arc--Joan of Arc, Mark Twain, Dick Cheney
20. These Arms are Snakes--Oxeneers or The Lion Sleeps When Its Antelopes Go Home
21. Aloha--Here Comes Everyone
22. Pig Destroyer--Terrifyer
23. The Black Keys--Rubber Factory
24. Good for Cows--Cowboy Bebop
25. Clair de Lune--Marionettes


1. Jawbreaker--Dear You
2. Pavement--Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain
----------------------------------------------------------- ------------
--------------------------------------------------- -------------------
And here's a compilation I made containing some of my favorite songs from '04:

1. Pulley--Looking Back
2. Mission of Burma--The Enthusiast
3. Tiger Army--Ghostfire
4. The Black Keys--Stack Shot Billy
5. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists--The One That Got Away
6. Brandtson--Who Are You Now?
7. Dillinger Four--Like Sprewells on a Wheelchair
8. Clann Zu--So Complicated Was the Fall
9. A Wilhelm Scream--The Rip
10. Arcade Fire--Neighborhood #2 (Laika)
11. Of Montreal--How Lester Lost His Wife
12. Q and Not U--Wonderful People
13. Hot Water Music--Bottomless Seas
14. These Arms Are Snakes--Darlings of New Midnight
15. Dillinger Escape Plan--Sunshine the Werewolf
16. Mastodon--Aquadementia
17. Guttermouth--Ticket to Quebec
18. Ten Foot Pole--Still Believe
19. Statistics--Hours Seemed Like Days
20. Black Eyes--Spring Into Winter
21. Iron & Wine--Free Until They Cut Me Down
22. Colossal--I'll Look at You When the Dying Starts
23. Tom Waits--Hoist That Rag


Anonymous (December 31, 2004)

Hooray for The Briefs!

Anonymous (December 31, 2004)

there should be one post thats a list of all that died this year.

Psychoos231 (December 31, 2004)

Nice list, it would have benn perfect if you took out Ted Leo / Pharmacists and added Tiger Army.

Anonymous (December 31, 2004)

that new life slackers album was never reviewed. why is that?

Anonymous (December 31, 2004)

second best list of the bunch. people do have shitty taste in music, especially scott.

adam (December 31, 2004)

"No Constantines self titled album under the category for "Best Re-Release for 2004"? "

Pfft. Maybe it can win the "Wow did you hear the Americans could finally buy..." category. I've had 2 copies of that record (one being the original in it's paper case) for years now.


Crookedsuperhero (December 31, 2004)

The Briefs? I've lost you Adam...

Anonymous (December 31, 2004)

No Constantines self titled album under the category for "Best Re-Release for 2004"?

For shame...


bizzlebrizzle (December 31, 2004)

10.)Wrangler Brutes - Zulu
9.)Sex Positions - Self-Titled
8.)The Gamits - Antidote
7.)Pulley - Matters
6.)Rise Against - Siren Song Of The Counterculture
5.)Still Crossed - Love and Betrayl
4.)Minus The Bear - They Make Beer Commericals Like This
3.)Only Crime - To The Nines
2.)Dillinger Escape Plan - Miss Machine
1.)Strung Out - Exile In Oblivion

My most anticipated for next year:

Paint It Black
Kill Your Idols
7 Seconds
The Loved Ones
New Mexican Disaster Squad

Jesse (December 31, 2004)

So far, best list besides my own. Man, everyone else has terrible taste in music.

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