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Top 10 of 2004

Top 10 of 2004: Aubin's PicksAubin's Picks (2004)
staff picks

Reviewer Rating: 5


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

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2004: A year in 365 words

I don't have any quotable observation about 2004, it came and it went, though not without a little fanfare. Politically, the US Presidential Election had us nervously flipping channels, and the Iraq war continues unabated despite the Administration's best claims otherwise. There were some great books, like Phillip Roth's The Plot Against America and some lousy TV like the abysmal season so far of the West Wing, and the similar plummet of South Park from inspired satire to weak straw man jokes.

The dead horse of pop-metalcore/emocore reached an ever greater strata of popularity, the true innovators of this genre, and every genre were still in full force. Aggressive music took many steps forward with inspired recordings from Pig Destroyer, Dillinger Escape Plan and Planes Mistaken for Stars and pop-punk saw great releases from the likes of Green Day.

But besides all the great new records this year, 2004 was an especially great year for classic records, with many of them finally recieving the kind of lush treatment they always deserved. While some labels went a little overboard by reissuing records less than a year old, others produced beautifully packaged and definitive versions of recordings like London Calling, Dear You and Weezer's Blue album.

Punknews.org went into it's fifth year and while we saw the departure of long-time friend and co-conspirator, Scott Heisel, our newest editor, Brian Shultz has more than capably filled his ample shoes (figuratively of course, Scott is a big guy.) We also launched our new version of the site, which besides being an incredibly nerve-wracking experience for me, was a great way to respond to your suggestions and comments about the old site.

And while it's certainly been an eventful and exciting year, it has unfortunately been also punctuated by tragedy, for another year, we lost too many people. One particularly sad loss was that of John Peel who remains the most important DJ since the dawn of radio, and I doubt any broadcaster will ever come close to matching his legacy. Progressive music has lost its greatest advocate and biggest fan. We'll miss you John.

Anyway, without any further ado, here is my list, as always in no particular order.

Top Albums of 2004
Pig Destroyer: Terrifyer
Relapse
Astounding complex, powerful and violent. The record that could very well bring grindcore into the mainstream. Well, maybe not the mainstream, but probably Hot Topic.
Dillinger Escape Plan: Miss Machine
Relapse
While not as bleeding edge as Calculating Infinity, a record which saw the hardcore math-metal pioneers achieving new levels of melody and accessibility while doing their part to revitalize heavy music. Again.
Isis: Panopticon
Ipecac
The masters of athmospheric, narrative metal return with another alternately explosive and delicately beautiful release.
Green Day: American Idiot
Reprise
A band so consistently creative, catchy and plain fun that it's sometimes hard to imagine how they manage to succeed at it year after year. Another successful reinvention of their sound, and a rock opera which is neither indulgent nor annoying.
Descendents: Cool to Be You
Fat Wreck Chords
Hardcore for the skinny, glasses wearing geek inside you. I'll say what I said in the original review: “the Descendents don't need to change the world of music with Cool to Be You. They already did in 1981.”
Snow Patrol: Final Straw
A&M
Strong melodic indie rock made ever more special by insightful lyrical musings that demonstrate one of the few nuanced views of relationships in emotional music.
Planes Mistaken for Stars: Up in Them Guts
No Idea
Another dirty, ugly and beautiful classic from a band that is finally starting to get the attention it deserves.
Muse: Absolution
Warner
Yes, vocalist Matthew Bellamy sounds a lot like Thom Yorke, but besides that, the Radiohead comparisons are undeserved. Baroque instrumentation and Sabbath-esque riffing combine beautifully to make a record that is energetic and prententiously lush, but in the best possible way.
Rise Against: Siren Song of the Counter Culture
Geffen
While it didn't grab me as quickly as Revolutions Per Minute, over time, the impact and passion of the record grew on me. A truly impassioned and exciting record from a band which has gone from obscurity to one of the most loved hardcore/punk bands around in a handful of years.
Mono: Walking Cloud & Deep Red Sky Flag Fluttered And The Sun Shined
Temporary Residence
The heir apparent of noise rock like Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine, but infused with a classical sensibility allowing effortless segues between gentle melancholy and crushing feedback. Achingly beautiful and unforgettable.
Honorable Mentions
Brian Wilson: Smile
Mastodon: Leviathan
Bad Religion: The Empire Strikes First
Arcade Fire: Funeral
Menomena: I Am the Fun Blame Monster
Flat Earth Society: Isms
Champion: Promises Kept
Cult of Luna: Salvation
Nasum: Shift
The Secret: Luce

Best EPs/Splits
Alkaline Trio/One Man Army: BYO Split Series Volume
BYO
The best material from both the Trio, and One Man Army in years. It's a shame that it turned out to be One Man Army's swan song.
Meshuggah: I
Fractured Transmitter
A veritable “greatest hits” of the band compressed into a single twenty-one minute track. Effectively combining all of their incarnations, from their first great record Destroy Erase Improve, through the polyrhythmic grandeur of Chaosphere with the esoteric range of Nothing.
The Casket Lottery: Smoke and Mirrors
Second Nature
After a series of unconventional and interesting post-rock releases, the Casket Lottery released arguably their strongest and most refined offering to date with Smoke and Mirrors. Unfortunately, all signs point to the fact that it is likely their last as well.
Gatsbys American Dream - In The Land Of Lost Monsters
LLR
Talented, creative and thoroughly unique. I've heard the band spent one and a half months recording their full length compared to the five days spent on the EP and I can't wait to hear what they'll do with all that time.
Taken: Between Two Unseens
Goodfellow
Another band that broke up too soon, melodic, heavy hardcore and strained vocals. It's hard to explain what makes them different from the glut of bands playing this kind of music, but dig them up, give them a listen and you'll see.
Best Reissue
The Clash: London Calling
Sony
In a year which had a surprisingly high number of quality reissues from major acts like Weezer, to obscure but brilliant ones like Coalesce, one stood far above the rest, the painstakingly thorough reissue of the London Calling which includes both the remastered original, a bonus disc of demo tracks and odds and ends, and a interesting and compelling DVD presentation of the recording of the classic record. No fan of punk rock should miss this one.
Mix Tape
  1. Psyopus - “Death, i”
  2. Pig Destroyer - “Gravedancer”
  3. The Secret - “Memento Mori”
  4. Nasum - “The Deepest Hole”
  5. Lamb of God - “Blood of the Scribe”
  6. Old Man Gloom - “The Volcano”
  7. He Is Legend - “The Seduction”
  8. Dillinger Escape Plan - “Panasonic Youth”
  9. The Haunted - “99”
  10. Meshuggah - “I”
  11. Rise Against - “Give It All”
  1. Snow Patrol - “Wow”
  2. Menomena - “Cough Couging”
  3. The Killers - “Mr.Brightside”
  4. The Thermals - “How We Know”
  5. Death from Above 1979 - “Romantic Rights”
  6. Arcade Fire - “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)”
  7. Jimmy Eat World - “Drugs or Me”
  8. Owen - “Note to Self”
  9. One Man Army - “All the Way”
  10. Green Day - “Give Me Novacaine”
  11. The Casket Lottery - “On the Air”
Conclusion
To paraphrase that dark wordsmith, Jerry Seinfeld:
Well, the new year is merely symbolic of how another year's gone by and how little we've grown. No matter how desperate we are that someday a better self will emerge, with each flicker of the candles on the cake we know it's not to be. That for the rest of our sad, wretched, pathetic lives, this is who we are to the bitter end. Inevitably, irrevocably. Happy New Year? No such thing.

That cautionary statement aside, at least 2005 will have some great new music with new releases expected from many bands like Alkaline Trio, Meshuggah, Gatsbys American Dream, Paint it Black, Chixdiggit, Thrice, Propagandhi (!), The Esoteric, Comeback Kid, No Use for a Name, Millencolin, ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Weezer and many others. So despite the ominious quote, the new year just may be a good one.

As for me, I'll still be here, hope you'll be here too.

 


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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.
Anonymous (January 7, 2005)

"Anyone remember when punk rock meant punk? "

no and i'm 24. what are you like 30? cuz i really dont' remember it ever being much better than this. maybe a little.

paul

manmai_chic (January 4, 2005)

Very good choices with Green Day and Muse and the Alkaline Trio... they all kick ass!!!!

Anonymous (January 4, 2005)

This score is for all the Top Ten lists that have been posted with virtually nothing from non-major or major punk labels. Wake up people! There's more to punk than old bands and the Warped Tour!

Anonymous (January 4, 2005)

This is to most of the top 20 lists: Fuck this technical crap making the top albums of the year. Anyone remember when punk rock meant punk?

Here's my favourites of the year:

-Social Distortion
-Green Day
-Tiger Army
-Leftover Crack
-Lars Frederiksen & The Bastards
-The Briefs
-SNFU
-Ripcordz
-Action
-Audio Karate
-Flogging Molly
-Descendents
-God Awfuls
-Guttermouth
-Rise Against
-Pulley
-Ten Foot Pole

Anonymous (January 4, 2005)

Whats the point of doing top 10s when out of all those top 10 and 20 lists, not a single person had the New Belevdere "Fast Forward Eats the Tape" on it. This album would be every spot on my top 10 its that good. Also, surprised to see that the new Jello, MegaDeth, SNFU, and Social Distortion didnt get more recognition... all better albums then the Green Day one, although I liked it too, plus these guys are like twice the age of most groups these days.

Anonymous (January 4, 2005)

Has anyone mentioned the Dwarves in any of the lists?

Anonymous (January 4, 2005)

jandek released 4 records this year, played live for the first time, and was a general awesome guy.

its totally his year.

wyzo

Anonymous (January 3, 2005)

"How It Goes" is mediocre at best. The Mad Caddies pee all over Big D and his stupid table.

-Chinatown

Anonymous (January 3, 2005)

i disagree with all of these lists.
there were many good releases, but very very few GREAT releases this year for those of us who'd rather skank than do some lame "hardcore action figure punches and kicks". Ska still stands this year, held up by these 2 releases.
top 1 has got to be
Fuck World Trade by Leftover Crack.
Intense, catchy, varied, complex, classic, the crack squad just keeps going.
(2.) How It Goes by Big D and the Kids Table
A quick second to Fuck World Trade, this cd is HUGE, coming in at over an hour of great ska people have been begging for the past year. The amazing thing about this band is touring. This year, ALONE, they played 200 different shows. 200 shows out of 365 days a year. More than every other day they were out there in front of a skanking crowd.

freehat17 (January 3, 2005)

My top 10:
10. Leftover Crack - Fuck World Trade
9. Less Than Jake - B Is For B-Sides
8. Guttermouth - Eat Your Face
7. Rise Against - Siren Song Of The Counter Culture
6. Flogging Molly - Within A Mile Of Home
5. Descendents - Cool To Be You
4. Bad Religion - The Empire Strikes First
3. Social Distortion - Sex, Love & Rock N Roll
2. Green Day - American Idiot
1. Tiger Army - III: Ghost Tigers Rise

Anonymous (January 3, 2005)

ok i guess fuck world trade is only in my top 10...

sickboi (January 3, 2005)

In no specific order, turd-wads....

-Social D
-Crime In Stereo
-A Wilhelm Scream
-Hot Water Music
-Strung Out
-Unearth
-Rise Against
-The Explosion
-Voice in the Wire
-Heads Vs Breakers

Anonymous (January 3, 2005)

"Since you had a "non-punk" category, why didn't you stick Green Day and lostprophets in there?!"
-------------------------------------
well i goofed. but

A. i do consider green day punk, whether you like it or not, all pop punk bands of the modern era owe them. they also started DIY on lookout, played gilman, etc.. etc. i consider them punk

B.lostprophets i dig a lot, so i knew it was #2 on my list regardless of whether that list was punk albums or not.

Anonymous (January 3, 2005)

Since you had a "non-punk" category, why didn't you stick Green Day and lostprophets in there?!

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:
Northstar

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.

thanks

Paul (been a regular here since 2000)

Anonymous (January 3, 2005)

fuck world trade doesn't seem to be in anyone's top 10 or 20 list.... that's pretty weird, i thought leftover crack had an impact this year. anyone?

Anonymous (January 2, 2005)

10. The Littlest Man Band - Better Book Ends
9. Audio Karate - Lady Melody
8. Bad Religion - The Empire Strikes First
7. Less Than Jake - B is For B-Sides
6. Elliott Smith - From A Basement On A Hill
5. Flogging Molly - Within A Mile of Home
4. Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News
3. Big D & The Kids Table - How It Goes
2. Say Anything - ...is a Real Boy
1. Green Day - American Idiot

musical-monkey (January 2, 2005)

aubin: guess i missed the "paraphrase" part. woops.

theundergroundscene (January 2, 2005)

Come on, dude. Don't bring that absolutepunk.net shit into the conversation. You know what's going to start.

Tate is an idiot, we know.

Anonymous (January 2, 2005)

hardest working bands? hawthorne heights?

Anonymous (January 1, 2005)

(sorry guys, my list is too awesome to be contained within one post)
** Best Movies of 2004: **

04) Garden State
03) Mean Girls
02) I

Anonymous (January 1, 2005)

** The Best Albums of 2004: **

20) The Snake The Cross The Crown - Mander Salis
19) Reeve Oliver – Self-Titled
18) Days Like These – Charity Burns Green
17) Letter Kills – The Bridge
16) Don’t Look Down – The Fear in Love
15) Relient K – MmHmm
14) Recover – This May Be the Year I Disappear
13) Moments in Grace – Moonlight Survived
12) Muse – Absolution
11) Lovedrug - Pretend You're Alive
12) This Day & Age - Always Leave The Ground
09) Butch Walker – Letters
08) My Chemical Romance – Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge
07) Brandtson - Send Us A Signal
06) Straylight Run - Self Titled
05) Name Taken – Hold On
04) Northstar – Pollyanna
03) Midtown – Forget What You Know
02) Jimmy Eat World – Futures
01) Say Anything – Is a Real Boy

These are the albums I loved this year. They may not be the most underground albums released but regardless they are the one’s that moved me. I went with Say Anything as the best album of the year … because, well – it’s on a level no other band came close to in 2004. My list changed some thirty times, but this is the most current concoction and I’m going to just go with it. Next year this list is going to be impossible to complete.

Honorable Mention:
Kane Hodder - Pleasure to Remain So Heartless
Sum41 – Chuck
Audio Karate - Lady Melody
I Can Make a Mess Like Nobodys Business – Self-Titled
A Small Victory – El Camino
Green Day – American Idiot
utoPilot Off – Make a Sound
Funeral For A Friend - Casually Dressed and Deep In Conversation (US Release)
The Living End – Modern ARTillary

** Best 10 EPs of 2004: **

10) Bleed The Dream - Asleep (EP)
09) Yesterdays Rising - When We Speak, We Breathe
08) MC Lars - The Laptop
07) Waking Ashland - I Am For You (EP)
06) Gatsby's American Dream - In The Land of Lost Monsters
05) Rory - Always Right As In We Are
04) Daphne Loves Derby - Closing Down The Pattern Department
03) Copeland - Nothing Stays The Same
02) Owen - EP
01) Cartel – The Ransom EP

Cartel owned this category. As EP’s only showcase a small glimpse into the future of some of the best up and coming bands in the scene, this is always a fun category – and the best part is that next year we finally get full lengths from some of these artists.

** The Worst 5 Albums of 2004: **

05) The Used – In Love and Death
04) Simple Plan – Still Not Getting Any
03) Good Charlotte – The Chronicles of Life and Death
02) Taking Back Sunday – Where You Want To Be
01) Ashley Simpson, Lindsay Lohan, Hillary Duff (They’re all the same)

Bring on the controversy.

** Albums Your Parents Will Love: **

02) Brandston – Send us a Signal
01) Copeland –Nothing Stays the Same

** Best Producer of the Year: **

01) Ed Rose

His work speaks for itself.

Runner-Up: Tim OHeir

** Best New Band of 2004: **

01) Cartel

Not enough good things can be said about this band. They’re only just starting folks.

** Best Music Video of 2004: **
01) Midtown – Give it Up

** Worst Music Video of 2004: **

01) Good Charlotte – I Just Wanna Live

** Best Bside Of 2004: **

01) Mae - Suspension

** Best Lyrics of 2004: **

01) Max Bemis (Say Anything)

** Best Vocals of 2004: **

03) Butch Walker
02) William Pugh (Cartel)
01) Jason Vena (Acceptance)

** Biggest Sellouts: **

02) The Used
01) Taking Back Sunday

** Best Live Show: **

04) Greenday
03) Over It
02) Fall Out Boy
01) MxPx

** Hardest Working Bands of 2004: **

03) Hawthorne Heights
02) My Chemical Romance
01) Over It

** Best Record Label: **

02) Lobster Records
01) 111 Records

** Most Overrated Band: **

01) Taking Back Sunday

** Most Underrated Band: **

06) Acceptance
05) The Spill Canvas
04) This Day and Age
03) Days Like These
02) A Small Victory
01) Over It

** Best (Catchiest Song) Single: **

01) Cartel – Luckie St.

** Worst Single: **

01) Good Charlotte – I Just Wanna Live

** Best 'Other' Zine Website: **

01) TheScout.net

** Band(s) Most Pimped By AP.net: **

02) Over It
01) Say Anything

** Most Annoying AP.net Staff Member: **

02) Kamtin
01) Jon Wark

** Best Band Related DVD: **

02) The Matches
01) Yellowcard

** Best Movies of 2004: **

04) Garden State
03) Mean Girls
02) I

Anonymous (January 1, 2005)

Did everyone on this site just forget about SNFU's new album after it came out. There was a lot of press for it before it came out, then it wasn't even reviewed or mentioned. This album is top notch, probably their best in the past 15 years, since if you swear, youll catch no fish. Maybe I'm biased because i live in Edmonton and get to see them 3 or 4 times a year when they are playing together, but I think their new album at least deserved an honorable mention. Social D and the descendents comeback albums both got lots of attention, so what about SNFU i ask?

KeithyBoBeefy (January 1, 2005)

This isn't directed totally at Aubin, but all of the people who made lists. I am sorry that My Chemical Romance's Three Cheeres for Sweet Revenge didn't make it on. It was my personal favorite and I thought it should have been in the top 20 of your lists.

aubin (January 1, 2005)

musical-monkey: That's right, I changed it (paraphrased) since it seemed like it could work for a new years statement too.

Anonymous (January 1, 2005)

Where the fuck is Strung OUT? they have to be somewhere on here that cd fucking rules

musical-monkey (January 1, 2005)

the seinfeld quote is wrong, it's about birthdays not new years. good list though

Crookedsuperhero (January 1, 2005)

Chinatown, i think i can quite safely say no-one cares what you think.

Anonymous (January 1, 2005)

only things ive seen so far from these reviews that i like are green day, ted leo, and the OMA/alk3 split. i hardly liked much of anything that came out this year. the ghost mice full length and the defiance ohio/ghost mice split were both great. and althought its not new material, the operation: cliff clavin discography just came out, thats on my list

bemused (January 1, 2005)

Nice review of the year...a little mention of the tsunami would've been good, but I know you probably had this done a week ago. NYE Resolution: I really need to check out Isis, Circle Takes the Square and Death from Above 1979

This score is for the year in music. Not as great as 03, but still pretty solid.

-Chris-

Anonymous (January 1, 2005)

haha, that was really a 365 words text!

Nice job.

Anonymous (December 31, 2004)

Why hate jesse for having good ecclectic taste? Jason Tate's taste is just rehash after rehash. Good job, Jesse.

Anonymous (December 31, 2004)

Aubin, you have an excellent vocabulary.

johnnydanger (December 31, 2004)

why cant someone with good taste do jesse's mixtape idea?

jesse, i hate you almost as much as jason tate in the world of shitty internet "punk" site luminaries

FortyMinutesWest (December 31, 2004)

I didn't expect "I" to make anyone else's mixtape, nice.

kenjamin (December 31, 2004)

Why does Chinatown have so much freetime? Anyways, I'm glad to see that no one drooled over the pavement reissue. I just got it and uhh i really didn't need close to 40 bonus tracks. anyways, thanks punknews for the info and reviews and happy new year. I'm off to get krunked (the word of the year for sure).

Anonymous (December 31, 2004)

hey hey hey, the west wing has been pretty solid so far this year!

Anonymous (December 31, 2004)

Props for the inclusion of PMFS. Other than that...eh, somewhat lacking in terms of categories. Overall, I'd rate 04's lists like this:

1. Scott
2. Adam
3. theundergroundscene
4. FortyMinutesWest
5. Aubin
6. KirbyPuckett
7. Brian
8. Jesse
9. gregOrb
10. Hein

-Chinatown

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