Scott "KirbyPuckett" Auth is a staff reviewer here at Punknews.org -ed
From a personal perspective 2005 has been a great year. I completed college with a B.A. in Computer Science and very generous grades. I also managed to have a very full and personal life, by making a ton of new friends, some even coming from this very website. The current calendar year has been a rough, but lucrative one for the music industry. It seemed that every week a band was breaking up, many unimportant; however several notables left us or entered the hiatus status. Hot Water Music, the Get Up Kids, and Blink 182 are a few that stand out on top. This year saw the birth of a dream for three individuals. Punknews Records officially launched with the release of Somerset's Pandora and I would like to congratulate Aubin, Scott, and Adam on a dream come true!
Top 20 Albums
Now to the heart of the recapitulationâ¦I have reshuffled and tweaked this list all the way up until the last second. I am finally comfortable with it though and I am sure it illustrates just how I felt about music in the year 2005.
#20. Latterman â No Matter Where We Goâ¦!
August 9 on Deep Elm
Sneaking in late to my top list is this insightful release that touches on almost every aspect of the punk genre. I think I enjoy this album so much because it has a sound similar to Whatever it Takes and Voice in the Wire, two Pittsburgh greats.
#19. Sleater-Kinney â The Woods
May 24 on Sub Pop
This record really is phenomenal. It took me a few spins to get into it, but each listen since I keep finding new sounds. Everything here is spot on and it features some of the best drumming I have heard in awhile.
#18. Architecture in Helsinki â In Case We Die
April 12 on Bar None
I bought this on a whim and with no prior knowledge of who or what they are I was quite surprised. The album is like taking the who's who in "indie rock" (Arcade Fire, the Shins, Decemberists, the New Pornographers) and tossing them in a pot and recording their intuitions. Amusing, quirky, and extraordinary!
#17. M.I.A. - Arular
May 7 on Interscope
I am sure at one point all of thinks think music is losing its touch and nothing new or interesting is being released. Hip-hop is no exception to that, although it has the ability to pull from many musical aspects, it must maintain cohesiveness and flow. M.I.A. steps up with a dazzling debut that strikes high in the creativity column, but with plenty of assets to get anyone to dance. .
#16. Decemberists - Picaresque
March 22 on Kill Rock Stars
A very solid release, obviously enough to garner major label attention. This release is very dynamic, with a lot going on and each song feels very independent from the rest. At the same time, there is a strong sense of cohesiveness between the members and their instruments that it forms a dazzling album.
#15. Dropkick Murphys â The Warrior's Code
June 21 on Hellcat
The Gang's All Here holds sentimental value in my ears, but I believe that this is the best album the DKM have ever recorded. The tracks are short explosive numbers that wrap up before they get boring. Regardless of what people say "Sunshine Highway" is the best driving song of the year.
#14. Beck - Guero
March 29 on Geffen
Beck is viewed as having almost two careers in the music industry. There's the Mellow Gold-era and then everything after Odelay. Guero mixes a plethora of chunk from Beck's more recent discography. The Dust Brothers handled the production values and there are many tracks
#13. HORSE the Band â The Mechanical Hand
May 3 on Combat
HTB's sophomore release takes the basic fundamentals of R. Borlax and adds a maturation in the song writing process to make it a strong release. These five guys still know how to have a blast with their music, but at the sometime do not have to rely on the whole "Nintendo-Core" gimmick to get by and the musicianship here is solid.
#12. Hank Jones â Saturdays of Thunder
May 3 on Undecided
I love these guys and I appreciate their debut record even more. Explosive modern hardcore that takes the best of Minor Threat along with contemporaries like Comeback Kid and smoothly combines with a bit of humor for one of the most fun records of the year.
#11. City on Film â Informal Introduction / I'd Rather Be Wine Drunk / American Diary
June 21 on Grand Theft Autumn / May 25th on Post436 / August 6th on Redder
Bob Nanna was a busy man this yea and even with the pressures of the recent Braid reunion and disbanding of Hey Mercedes he managed to squeak by with five astonishing releases (Add a split with Minus the Bear and a Hey Mercedes EP) with his new outfit City on Film. Adding to the studio records the official website is full of home recorded covers from Jawbreaker to Morrissey. I could not single out one record as my favorite so I lumped them all into one placeholder. Nanna has always created beautiful music and the acoustic endeavors of CoF are no exception.
#10. Vendetta Red - Sisters Of The Red Death
August 30 on Epic
Last year Audio Karate took a huge leap from generic garbage to respectable musicianship, this year's biggest improvement hands down belongs to Vendetta Red. The group strikes back after a major label flop with an awkward concept album about a nuclear war and how women came to supremacy in lieu of it. The album takes the post-ATDI world and mixes it surprisingly well with over done production to create one of the biggest surprises of the year.
#9. Kanye West â Late Registration
August 30 on Roc-A-Fella
I left Kanye West's debut The College Dropout off my 2004 list, because this is a "punk" website, however, I am not making that mistake this year. Kanye's sophomore effort Late Registration takes the fundamentals of his debut and builds on it with a level of maturity that maintains its soul â something you rarely see in a mainstream rap album. Not to mention he called out President Bush so that counts for somethingâ¦right?
#8. Bear Vs. Shark - Terrorhawk
June 14 on Equalvision
It is a shame that BvS just broke up.Terrorhawk smoothed out the bumps from their stunning unveiling Right Now You're In The Best Of Hands. And If Something Isn't Quite Right.... They really hit their stride with these fifteen tracks that pulled from nearly every genre for one of the most intriguing albums in recent memory.
#7. Propagandhi - Potemkin City Limits
October 18 on G7 / Fat Wreck Chords
The most anticipated release of 2005 delivers on all fronts. The five years of rust are quickly shed for the veterans of socially and politically aware punk rock. While Propagandhi's lyrics will always be a focal and controversial point within their songs, it is the music that makes Potemkin City Limits so pivotal to me. Crisp and blazing guitars with plenty of riffs on top of an onslaught of pummeling drums aid in the deliver of twelve monumental tracks.
#6. Somerset - Pandora
August 9 on Punknews Records
When I first heard the This Thought Process EP I knew there was something special about this Minneapolis group. Pandora captures the significance of the band's earlier recordings, but delivers packed with a growing sense of maturity and musicianship. On the surface it may appear that Somerset are easily capitalizing on the waves of the bountiful "post-emo" scene, but dig deeper before you write them off so quickly. As each track is loaded with an unparallel array wholeness in both the instruments, Forest's voice, and the lyrics he so cleverly croons. Kudos to the band and to Aubin, Adam, and Scott for achieving one of their goals with this stellar release!
#5. Dangerdoom â The Mouse & The Mask
October 11 on Epitaph
The result of one of the indie hip-hop circuits premiere MCs collaborating with a rapidly growing producer and putting an emphasis on a late night block of cartoons should be an instant flop. Despite that barrier, MF Doom, DJ Dangermouse, and the cast of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim suggest a firm hip-hop album that is amusing without being a gimmick.
#4. Motion City Soundtrack â Commit This To Memory
June 7 on Epitaph
Here is another group of musicians from Minneapolis that when I first heard I was instantly captivated. CTTM comes off a little darker than their debut I Am The Movie but that's only in Pierre's lyrics as all the hooks and catchy vocal lines are still firmly rooted. Easily, the best "summer record" of the year. I was weary that Mark Hoppus would tarnish their sound, however the production is tight and I'm sure Ed Rose is proud.
#3. Paint it Black - Paradise
March 8 on Jade Tree
I think there is a stereotype that floats around that hardcore is not nearly as well written or intellectual as other forms of music. However, Dan Yemin & Co. certainty put that claim to rest. Solid from front to back and one of my favorite releases in the genre ever.
#2. A Wilhelm Scream - Ruiner
August 16 on Nitro
A "Wilhelm Scream" is a generic sound clip used in several films, made famous throughout the Star Wars films. Although, the band's name is derived from a common audible noise there is nothing broad about their music. With Ruiner AWS have compiled a smarter and more aggressive record than Mute Print, but the biggest surprise is perhaps the cunning lyrical department. Also, the song "Me Vs. Morrissey In The Pretentiousness Contest (The Ladder Match)" is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
#1. Against Me! â Searching for a Former Clarity
September 6 on Fat Wreck
By now everyone has their opinion on this record and it is a part of the picture that made this band the most controversial of the year. At the end of the day, when you ignore the aesthetics to sit down and listen to a good record there is no better one in the year 2005. I commend Against Me! On all of their amazing year and for this remarkable album.
Fantomas â Suspended Animation Smoke or Fire â Above This City, Nada Surf â The Weight is a Gift, Zutons â Who Killed The Zutons?, Daggermouth â Stallone, Western Addiction â Cognicide, Mars Volta â Frances the Mute, Bright Eyes â I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, Modern Life is War â Witness, Suicide Machines â War Profiteering is Killing Us All, Chixdiggit! â Pink Razors, Of Montreal â Sunlandic Twins, Death Cab For Cutie â Plans, Comeback Kid â Wake The Dead, Minus the Bear â Menos el Oso, New Pornographers â Twin Cinema, Lucero â Nobody's Darling
Top 3 EPs
#3. Jimmy Eat World â Stay on My Side Tonight
October 4 on Interscope
A craft EP that shows how dynamic this band can be.
#2. Cardinal Sin â Oil & Water
April 5 on Grey Flight
The best Alkaline Trio record of the year.
Top B-Side Record
#1. The Loved Ones â s/t
February 22 on Jade Tree
Release an EP, a national tour, open for Lifetime, sign to Fat Wreck. Quite a year for this band and these five songs support all their accomplishments.
The Lawrence Arms â Cocktails & Dreams
June 21 on Asian Man
Although this cannot technically be placed in my Top 20, it should be. Oh Calcutta! cannot get here soon enough!.
Tony Hawk American Wasteland Soundtrack
October 18 on Vagrant
This soundtrack's formula is one meant for disaster, but it surprisingly is pulled of very well. If you have yet to listen to this yet, based on preconceived notions, give it a shot, it might shock you just how well these modern bands pay their dues to the legends of punk rock.
Inquisition âRevolution... I Think It's Called Inspiration
October 25 on AF
Had this been originally released in 2005, it would be all the rage and on everyone's top lists.
End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones
March 15 on Rhino
This movie portrays the band, their importance the ups & downs, as well as their struggles better than any Ramones documentary to date. Truly one of the years best films.
Weezer â Make Believe
May 10 on Geffen
I know that Rivers & Co. are still capable of writing another great album. Make Believe features a few flashes of their old writing styles, but as an album these songs are impossible to listen to.
Top Weekend Where I Saw Lifetime Three Days In A Row
Alkaline Trio - Crimson
May 24 on Vagrant
It is a shame when the demos from the album are better than the final product and almost make the record enjoyable.
Lifetime Reunion - August 19-21 in New Jersey / Philadelphia
There is not too much more can I say about the amazing events of that weekend that are not already in Best Record I Did Not Hear Until 2005
2005 Mix Tape
Charlie Brown Gets A Valentine - Dismissed
August 5, 2003 on Whoa Oh
Although it is from 2003, I did not get it until my birthday of this year (New Years Day). If you, like myself, are having a tough time waiting for the Lawrence Arms' new record and Cocktails & Dreams is not holding you over enough, I strongly suggest checking out CBGAV. Much like TLA this band features two singers on top of that gritty Midwestern punk sounds with intelligent lyrics and hooks galore!
Anticipations For 2006
- A Wilhelm Scream â The King Is Dead
- Against Me! â >From Her Lips To God's Ears (The Energizer)
- Paint It Black â Pink Slip
- Hank Jones â Get Pissed
- Comeback Kid â False Idols Fall
- 7 Seconds â This Is Temporary
- Dropkick Murphys â Your Spirit's Alive
- Suicide Machines â Nuclear Generators
- Loved Ones â 100K
- Smoke or Fire â California's Burning
- Daggermouth â I Dance to Trance In Garbage Bag Pants
- With Honor â Up & Out
- Western Addiction â A Poor Recipe For Civic Cohesion
- Propagandhi â Fedallah's Hearse
- Bear Vs. Shark â Catamaran
- Lawrence Arms â Criminal
- Spitalfield â Tampa Bum Blues
- Bullet Train to Vegas â This Bed's Meant For Two
- The Letters Organize â I Want I Want
- HORSE The Band â The House of Boo
- Dangerdoom - Benzie Box (ft. Cee-Lo)
- Kanye West - Diamonds from Sierra Leone Remix (ft. Jay-Z)
- M.I.A. â Bucky Done Gun
- All-American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret
- Motion City Soundtrack - When You're Around
- New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
- Thunderbirds Are Now! - 198090 (Aquatic Cupid's)
- Beck - Girl
- Of Montreal - Wraith Pinned to the Mist (And Other Games)
- Architecture in Helsinki - Wishbone
- Hot Hot Heat - Running out of Time
- Vendetta Red - Silhouette Serenade
- Lucero - Bikeriders
- Sleater-Kinney - Wilderness
- White Stripes - My Doorbell
- The Eels - Hey Man (Now You're Really Living)
- Decemberists - Sixteen Military Wives
- Somerset - House of Knives
- City on Film - Pony's Last Trick
- Bright Eyes - First Day of My Life
The coming year looks like it will be filled with plenty of good records here are a few bands that I am looking forward to the most: Strike Anywhere, Thursday, Rise Against, Lawrence Arms, Lifetime, Kid Dynamite, None More Black, NOFX, the Loved Ones, Big Wig, and I'm sure many more!