How many albums do you own where every single song sounds important? Where every vocal sounds like it's a desperate plea for life? Where every guitar solo, every distorted bass chug, every powerful drum full jumps out of your speakers and into your psyche, for days at a time? How many records do you own that really, honestly, truly changed your life? Muse's Absolution joins that elite club in my record collection, and I'm a far better man for it.
A Wilhelm Scream
â Mute Print
]; the Blood Brothers
]; Cult Of Luna
[; Death From Above 1979
â You're A Woman, I'm A Machine
; Franz Ferdinand
â Franz Ferdinand
]; The Fullblast
â The Contagious Movement Theory
â Raised On Whipped Cream
[Columbia]; Ted Leo/Pharmacists
â Shake The Sheets
]; Stiff Little Fingers
â Guitar And Drum
]; the Thermals
â Fuckin A
; TV On The Radio
â Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes
[Touch And Go
The Top Five EPs Of 2004
#5. Gatsbys American Dream â In The Land Of Lost Monsters
The more pretentious they get, the better they get. Tim Kinsella, take note.
#4. Cougars - Manhandler
These songs sound like they were recorded on a Casio tape deck from three miles away, with a blanket covering its microphone. And it still completely rules all
. Cougars are going to maul you, whether you like it or not. (original review
#3. TV On The Radio â The New Health Rock
Touch And Go
I haven't listened to this band's full-length enough to get it onto my Top 20 list, but this follow-up EP with one new song, one from the full-length and a Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover, is fucking amazing.
#2. Cartel â The Ransom
self-released/The Militia Group
Cartel would've been named "Unsigned Band Of The Year," had the Militia Group not been smart enough to snatch them up and re-release this incredibly fun EP in November. Summer songs never sounded so good in the winter. (original review
The Top Ten Biggest Disappointments 2004
#1. Somerset - Somerset
I Ate Her
I really shouldn't have to write anything about Somerset, besides they've yet to write a bad song. Something tells me 2005 won't see that changing any.
#10. Ben Kweller â On My Way
How does an album that I gave five stars make my disappoints list? Simple: I'm a schmuck who rated it too high. (original review
#9. Descendents â Cool To Be You
Fat Wreck Chords
I don't quite know what I wanted this album to be; but after so many years of waiting, it just wasn't it. Songs about pooping just don't get me like they used to, I guess.
#8. The Special Goodness â Land, Air, Sea
All I want is the new Weezer album. No more side projects. Pretty please. (original review
#7. Northstar - Pollyanna
How can "To My Better Angel" be so good, and the rest of the album be soâ¦ not? (original review
#6. Engine Down â Engine Down
These Virginians came out showing more fangs than ever before, but ultimately locked themselves into a holding pattern. Here's to hoping they can snap out of it, as Demure
is one of my all-time favorite albums. (original review
#5. The Get Up Kids â Guilt Show
#4. Rise Against â Siren Song Of The Counter Culture
Don't get me wrong–I love Rise Against. But this disc was just too uneven to see the inside of my stereo more than a handful of times.
#3. Further Seems Forever â Hide Nothing
Tooth & Nail
Singer number three makes album number worst. Someone buy me a plane ticket to the Bamboozle fest so I can at least hear FSF's good songs sung by the dude who wrote them, please.
#2. The Faint â Wet From Birth
You're kidding, right? This wasn't worth three months of waiting, let alone three years
. (original review
The Most-Improved Band Of 2004
#1. Paris, Texas â Like You Like An Arsonist
I honestly can't get over just how pathetically overproduced this record is. The demo of "Hip Replacement" made me champion this band like they were my own; the album completely let me down on all accounts. Blech. (original review
The Best Compilation Of 2004
Turing Machine â Zwei
It took them four years to follow up their awkward and stunted Jade Tree debut, A New Machine For Living; but this instrumental trio have come into their own, creating some of the sickest grooves just begging for a totally sweet lead vocalist to wail on. The cohesion going on in this recording is nothing short of spectacular.
The Best Record Of 1966 That Just Happened To Come Out In 2004
Les Savy Fav â Inches
How this band's post-punk brilliance continues to go unnoticed by the majority of people in the indie community is beyond me. This disc, which compiles all nine of their short-run 7-inches over the past years, is more cohesive than most bands' full-lengths.
The Three Best Music DVDs Of 2004
Brian Wilson â Smile
The long-lost album that almost never was finally surfaces (albeit re-recorded completely). Had Brian Wilson not lost his marbles 40 years ago, this shit would've blown the Beatles out of the water.
#3. Mates Of State â Two Of Us
The world's cutest indie-rock couple document the making of Team Boo; and if you're not in stitches from the segment segues and album-title brainstorm sessions, you obviously have no sense of humor.
#2. Against Me! â We're Never Going Home
Hollywood couldn't have written a better plot for this film.
The Two Best Music Videos Of 2004
#1. Weezer â Video Capture Device
This is worth owning simply for the live footage of a severely choked-up Rivers singing "Mykel And Carli" at the memorial concert for the sisters. That night, Weezer died; and amazingly, it's caught on tape.
2. Volcano, I'm Still Excited!! â In Green
If you don't burst out in laughter at the start of the second verse in this video, there's something seriously wrong with you.
1. Big D And The Kids Table â Little Bitch
The Best Reissue Of 2004
What an awesome piece of film. If I drank, I'd want to do it with Big D.
Weezer â Weezer (Blue Album)
The Best Reunion Of 2004
The Clash â London Calling
This was a tough one–do I go with the band who's personally affected my life more (Weezer), or the one who's impacted the world more (the Clash)? Easy–I do a tie, and not worry about it. Both of these records are near legendary by themselves, and their reissues make them all the more essential to anyone's record collection. (original review
What, you thought I was going to say the Pixies? Fuck that. Braid owned my soul for six days this summer, and I wouldn't trade my sing-alongs with complete strangers for anything in the world.
The Best Record By Andrew WK Of 2004
Sadly, not applicable. Here's hoping for 2005.
The Two Best Records Of 2004 That Really Aren't All That Good, But I Really Couldn't Stop Listening To Them Regardless
The One Record Of 2004 That Probably Would Have Cracked My Top 20 List Had I Actually Gotten A Copy Of It
#2. Autopilot Off â Make A Sound
#1. The Killers â Hot Fuss
Both these albums have more than their fair share of duds, but for some reason, I had the damnedest time prying them out of my CD player. Both albums are near-perfect driving music, too.
The One Record Of 2004 That Would Have Cracked My Top 20 List Had I Not Lent It Out Two Months Ago And Not Gotten It Back, Thus Not Letting Me Fully Absorb It, Allowing It To Compete With The Others On My Shortlist
Mock Orange â Mind Is Not Brain
I never got a copy of this record for review. I was going to buy it in a used record store in Iowa City back in June, but the band were supposed to be opening for Braid that night, so I figured I'd buy it at the show, instead. The band never made the show, I never made it back to the record store, and thus, this record has only been played once within my earshot. I vaguely recollect it rocking all. I need to go buy this.
The Best Record Of 2004 Where Every Single Song Sounded The Same, In A Good Way
The Plastic Constellations - Mazatlan
Shitdamn, this record is brilliant. I think. Unfortunately, I let a co-worker borrow it roughly two months ago, and it's yet to make the trip back to work with him, thus depriving me of refreshing my memory on the quirky rock goodness that are the Plastic Constellations. Complete sleeper hit of 2004.
The Best Record Of 2003 That I Didn't Get Until 2004
Limbeck â Hey, Everything's Fine
What? I can't pick the same band again, with essentially the same record, just stripped down? Whatever, man, I invented this category.
The Best Record Of 2003 That I Didn't "Get" Until 2004
Every Time I Die â Hot Damn!
The title pretty much sums this one up. Hot damn, indeed.
The Best Unsigned Band In America For 2004
Murder By Death â Who Will Survive, And What Will Be Left Of Them?
I bought this record late last year but never gave it a fair shake; when I saw that the band were opening for Braid's reunion tour this past summer, I pulled it out to get reacquainted to it, and fell completely in love. I've seen the band seven times this year alone, and I can't wait to add to that total while singing along to these wonderful songs about the Devil, whiskey and the end of the world.
Technically, Ryan's Hope are still on Double Zero Records, but from what little birds whisper into my ear, that label is all but officially closing its doors, thus putting the most exciting punk band to come out of Chicago in quite some time free agents. Their most recent record, The Trials Of Recession, makes me feel like I am 15 again, attending my first punk-rock show.
The Punknews.org Mixtape, 2004 Edition
The Most Anticipated Records Of 2005
- Rise Against â State Of The Union
The second year in a row that these Chicagoans kick off my mixtape, and what a song to kick it off with. A total hardcore TKO.
- None More Black â Nothing To Do When You're Locked In A Vacancy
This song fucking rips. Plain and simple.
- Stiff Little Fingers - Strummerville
An awesome tribute to the fallen Clash frontman from one of the few punk bands who were there when it all started.
- The Faint - Paranoiattack
One of the very few bright spots of the Faint's new album.
- TV On The Radio - Ambulance
This song is completely a capella. And amazing.
- Pilot To Gunner â Barrio Superstarrio
- Useless ID â State Of Fear
- The Blood Brothers â Crimes
- Hey Mercedes â Roulette Systems
The best song this band have ever written. So incredible.
- The Velvet Teen â Chimera Obscurant
Ah, what the hell. I ended side A of last year's mixtape with a 14-minute song, might as well do another double-digit rocker for this year.
- Hot Water Music â Keep It Together
The best song off The New What Next, easily.
- Tsunami Bomb â Being Alright
- Jimmy Eat World â Just Tonightâ¦
This song is so aggressive, I love it.
- Hot Rod Circuit â Inhabit
The only good song on the new Hot Rod Circuit album, complete with an awesome bridge delivered by Say Anything's Max Bemis.
- Melee â The War (Piano Version)
From the In Honor comp, this version of Melee's "The War" is absolutely stunning.
- Audio Karate â Gypsyqueen
Song of the year. Virtually nothing else gets me going like this song does.
- The Hives â Diabolic Scheme
- Paris, Texas â Hip Replacement
The song is so good, yet the album is so bad! It drives me nuts!
- Say Anything â Admit It!
- Big D And The Kids Table â Moment Without An End
Weezer. It's all about Weezer. But I'll need something to listen to once I eventually wear that disc out, so here's looking forward to new discs from Mando Diao, Paint It Black, the Mars Volta, the Decemberists, the Suicide Machines, H2O, Saosin, Hey Mercedes, Alkaline Trio, Against Me!, Every Time I Die, Boys Night Out, Death Cab For Cutie, Thursday, Thrice, Brand New, the Weakerthans, the Bronx, Deftones, Motion City Soundtrack, Murder By Death, Vaux, Limbeck, and who knows what else.
Things I'd Like To See Happen In 2005
Adam Levin sending me the Slow Gherkin T-shirt I paid him for back in October of 2002. If any of you know this man, please make him send it. I'll put out a 20 dollar reward for the person who can get it to me [I really want the shirt]. I had a million witty things here, but they probably weren't too funny, so I'll just leave it at the aforementioned plea. Happy New Year, everyone. And yes, I really want that shirt.