December 21, 2005

The World Needs Another Top 10 List

I regularly bemoan my inability to express why I like a given piece of music, art or film, but in an attempt to avoid work and to appear thoughtful, here’s an attempt anyway.

Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
One of the early releases in 2005, yet it’s the one I’m least tired of. The Bloc Party EP released in 2004 which featured ‘Banquet’ and ‘She’s Hearing Voices’ suggested great promise and Silent Alarm didn’t disappoint. It’s a bleak sounding album with pounding bass, decisive drumming searing twin guitar melodies and bold vocals. They can be brash when they want but still produce ballads such as ‘So Here We Are’. The album brings back memories of a tedious period spent sending off job applications and receiving rejections the following day, yet I love it.

Tom Vek – We Have Sound
There’s a minimalist feel to some of these tracks as much of the melody and general catchiness comes from the bass line with guitar and drums taking a back seat. Vek’s vocal range can sometimes be non-existent though it really suits the synth laden music. He’s clearly capable of letting lose every now again as evidenced by the most exciting track ‘I Ain’t Saying My Goodbyes’.

Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary
Wasn’t overly keen on this initially, but the fact that they’re from Montreal was reason enough to have a second (and third and fourth…) chance. The two vocalists (one grungy, one clean) add some variety to a sound that is compared with Modest Mouse.

Venetian Snares - Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett
Past releases from Aaron Funk of the ‘Snares have been guaranteed to scare kids into bed and cause irreversible damage to ones hearing should the volume dial be turned too high. Rather than being a straight up IDM release you’ve got some strings in here, piano, and even some vocal samples. It’s still dark music, but with real variety.

Death From Above 1979 - You're a Woman I'm A Machine
This duo shunning use of an electric guitar makes some highly energetic music. The raucous vocals and highly obtrusive synths more than make up for a lack of members and instruments. It’s a short album, but it doesn’t leave you bored for a second.

The Game – The Documentary
The on-off pseudo feud between The Game and mentor 50 Cent may be comic, but what should be taken seriously is this debut album featuring much radio-friendly, catchy hip hop. With Dr Dre and Kanye West assisting with production and collaborations with 50 Cent and Eminem it was never going to go far wrong. Highlights are ‘Hate It or Love It’ and ‘Dreams’.

M.I.A - Arular
No idea how to describe this, but to narrow the field slightly (or perhaps confuse matters) you’ve got a feisty female vocalist creating dance music that has some international influences. I was listening to the M.I.A and Diplo mixtape ‘Piracy Funds Terroism Volume 1’ at the time of creating last year’s top 10 which featured some of the tracks on her debut. I remember thinking the mixtape was a bit of a mess, but liked Arular anyway.

System of a Down - Mezmerize
It’s amazing how they can make the rudest lyrics sound so catchy and even….beautiful. The harmonies on this album make for great listening; you can even sing along too. I hear their second release of the year ‘Hypnotize’ is equally good but I’ve not had time to listen to it.

Kaiser Chiefs - Employment
Like the System album mentioned above, there’s so much good sing-along material here. There are some tracks I’m not particularly keen on such as ‘Time Honoured Tradition’ and ‘Team mate’, but the strength of the top half of the album more than makes up for things.

The National – Alligator
They’re compared to the morose Joy Division, which can't be bad. The opening track beginning with the paranoid lines ‘I think this place is full of spies’ give you an idea of what tone the rest of the album takes.

- 2 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Christopher Rossdale

    Hmm, nice mix there, i've listened to most of these, but not enough. Thanks for yet another poke to stop being lazy and just listening to Radiohead and the Pixies :P

    21 Dec 2005, 17:36

  2. Wolf Parade eh? Might go and find out about them as well…

    22 Dec 2005, 00:32

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