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Tankboy's Top 20 (give or take a few) Of 2005 accompanied by various flotsam and other appendices

I decided to compile this year's Best Of list a little differently than in past years. Due to the huge influx of year end lists that have flooded the world in the past few years I have been battling a bit of ennui about the whole practice so I needed to do something to personally switch it up. Instead of focusing on the albums that I thought were the best in terms of artistic achievement when compared to the rest of the year's releases I decided to focus on discs that actually got lots of play by me. Since most of my "pleasurable" music listening is now done when I DJ it's not surprising that the list is pretty pop-heavy and loaded with discs that contain a fair number of catchy numbers.

Surprisingly NOT found on this list are releases this year from usual personal favorites Super Furry Animals, Stephen Malkmus, Dandy Warhols, Coldplay, White Stripes, Common, M.I.A., Beck and Queens Of the Stone Age. Usually releases by these artists would immediately find their way previous year's lists but to be honest this year they just didn't do it for me. For instance I really enjoyed Common's Be, but I just didn't feel it like I wanted to. Other releases, I'm looking at you Dandys and Mr White, just weren't all that great. Sorry.

1. LCD Soundsystem, "LCD Soundsystem"
It's a fucking cliché by now, but how could music critics not want to to root for a doughy, pasty, music geek? And how could we not love it when that geek not only nails dance-tastic tracks right on the money but also throws in liberal use of cowbell?

2. Gorillaz, "Demon Days"
I think Damon Albarn sold his soul to the same dude Bowie did, because no one should be making music this cool and current this far into ther career.

3. Spoon, "Gimme Fiction"
Speaking of Bowie, doesn't Britt Daniel sound just like Bowie after a coke-binge? I loved this album but what really sold me on the tunes was seeing them live for a small and completely rabid crowd at a private show here in Chicago earlier in the year. Fucking A.

4. Bloc Party, "Silent Alarm"
Brits swallow lots of speed, grow addicted to Gang Of Four, release album that doesn't suck. White boys with no rhythm dance the world over. Multiple calls to EMTs result from innocent passer-by confusing the body's natural response to these tunes with grand mal seizures. Excellent.

5. Franz Ferdinand, "You Could Have It So Much Better With Franz Ferdinand"
Scots boys continue to plumb the depths of disco beats with the unfamiliar weapons of guitar, bass and drums...and distortion.

6. Sleater-Kinney, "The Woods"
Massive.

7. Wolfmother, "Wolfmother"
This disc was tailor-made for folks disappointed that the year's QOTSA disc mined stoner-rock but forgot the melodies. These cats merge Black Sabbath with The Beatles with a characteristically Aussie take-no-shit attitude.

8. Fiona Apple, "Extraordinary Machine"
Fiona re-records perfect album with results that are less than perfect. Who the fuck cares, though, when less than perfect sounds this good?

9. My Morning Jacket, "Z"
This album was a grower. Again, I wasn't sold on the merits of these songs until seeing them performed live. Allow me to put it this way...when I am at a concert surrounded by dirty hippies and don't actually care that I'm surrounded by dirty hippies that can only mean one thing: the music is beyond reproach.

10. Greg Dulli, "Amber Headlights"
Y'know, Dulli keeps saying he broke up the Afghan Whigs, but this sure as hell don't sound like it.

11. OK Go, "Oh No"
Oddly enough the only track I didn't like on this disc was the one that made them popular all over the interweb. Go figure.

12. Robyn, "Robyn"
Isn't there some rule stating that in this post-ironic-ironic-post-modern age all crit-types need to have at least one female popster on their year-end tally? Luckily for all of us a few of these popsters are actually turning out incredibly interesting music that rises far above the guilty pleasure tag. If someone would just release this album stateside maybe Robyn would finally knock Gwen Stefani on her ass and we could all be chanting something beside B-A-N-A-N-A-S.

13. The Hold Steady, "Separation Sunday"
I would have never thought I'd fall for a literate AC/DC cover band, but I did.

14. Giant Drag, "Hearts And Unicorns"
Juliana Hatfield, "Made In China"

Yeah, I'm cheating here, but if you listen to these two discs, with their hissy-fuzzy production and their world-weary girlie piping you see one as the heir-apparent and one as the practicing pro. Guess which is which? (HINT: The answer is not as obvious as you would think.)

15. stellastarr*, "Harmonies For The Haunted"
I have a weak spot for these cats. Let's mark it off to a band finally throwing dancey-rock music behind melodies crafted by The Cure. They unfortunately get grouped in with Interpol way too often but I think stellastarr* creates music that, while just as strongly bowing to its source material, is a a lot more interesting.

16. The Darkness, "One Way Ticket To Hell...And Back"
Face it, they can do no wrong in my book. Again, I fall prey to the cowbell.

17. The Sounds, "Dying To Say This To You"
Hot Hot Heat, "Elevator"

Another two-fer. Neither album is groundbreaking. Hell, neither album is really original in the slightest. So why are they here? Because they are fun and I listened to them a whole bunch and I'm still not bored by either one. Didn't you read my intro paragraph? (Okay, okay...I'm really cheating on this one since The Sounds disc isn't technically released yet. However I've had a copy for so long it's just ridiculous so I'm including them anyway. It ain't my fault their label's lazy.)

18. Sigur Rós, "Takk"
Hey, I need something to help me comedown off those crystal-meth binges, okay?

19. Sufjan Stevens, "Illinois"
This is the prettiest sounding disc on my list and while I almost kept it off -- since I rarely spin any tracks from this release when I DJ -- in the end Sufjan's pull proved too strong. I do believe this has garnered a tad too much praise and as a result probably will not sound as majestic to new listeners now and that's a pity. However it still sounds pretty large to me so it's on the list.

20. Kaiser Chiefs, "Employment"
Louis XIV, "The Best Little Secrets Are Kept"
Maxïmo Park, "A Certain Trigger"

I can own up to the fact that all three of these albums are ultimately disposable. But they're fun damnit! And they make little girlies dance and I like nothing more than watching little girlies dance. So they're on the list.

Winner of the "I Can't Wait For The Backlash Award":
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, "Clap Your Hands Say Yeah"

More like Clap Your Hands Say Blah.

Best Local Release (album):
Textbook, "The Great Salt Creek"

Uncle Tupelo meets Superchunk.

Best Local Release (EP):
The Assembly, "Commencement"

Brit-rock masterminds land-locked in Chicago.

Albums by local bands that would have easily made it into the list if they had actually RELEASED them a.k.a. the "Hey Labels, SIGN these guys already!" Award:
The Cells, "Mayday"
Light FM, "Matchstick Suicide Camoflague Disaster"
America's #1 Sweetheart, "Wet Hott American Summer"
The Assassins, "The Assassins"

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Comments

Now that Wolfmother has gotten a bit of press in Sydney every hipster is sporting an afro.
It makes things even harder for us short people at shows.

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