As the year comes to a close i look back on the music that made things tolerbale. Was there anything earthshatteringly good this year? No. What there was, were a steady flow of solid albums that i'm glad i didn't miss. the sophmore slump is a phrase that took a beating this year as "sophmoric" releases took the stage and decided to outperform their predecessors. SO before i get ahead of myself, here are my picks for the...
The Albums Of The Year (according to josh of course) 2005!!
Scary Kids Scaring Kids - "The City Sleeps In Flames"
This band shows up in the "other fun categories" section as well. Admittedly, this is not for everyone. Something about it struck me as different though. Maybe it's the distictly metal sound, the oddly mellow pace (give or take a few tracks), the seemingly out of place synthesizers, or the dueling guitar solos in "The Only Medicine". Yup, it's the solos.
Vendetta Red - "Sisters of the Red Death"
What is it with this band? They really aren't good. They're very average at best. Yet somehow this second album is impressive. It's probably the stricking resemblance to the sound that My Chemical Romance harnessed in "Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge". Even if they stole a bit of it, it sounds damn good. These guys are on the right track and this album is a lot of fun in a gruesome sort of way.
The Academy Is... - "Almost Here"
Sometimes you just know a band is going to be good even if their first EP was less than impressive. Point and case right here. I can think of one song off their EP that was worth a second listen, yet this whole album is solid by every means of the word.
Gratitude - "Gratitude"
A random purchase on my part that produced results. There's nothing new here, but the old is done very well. Catchy songs that get jammed up in your head for the day. somtimes that's all you need.. The next effort will need more pizazz if they're gonna keep it going.
The Top Ten:
10. Finch - "Say Hello To Sunshine"
When the countdown debuted this band was number one on the list. Since then most songs from that album get skipped on the ipod. Why? No meat. At the time it may have been revolutionary to me, but now it's passable. I have a feeling the guys from Finch may have felt the same way. This album pretty much threw eveything out the window and started from scratch. While most people did a "WTF?", i couldn't help but break out a little golf clap and a "well played". The mood on this one is darker and the riffs are intensely tighter. Still, this one came an inch away form ending up in the "runners up" pile. If you liked Finch before you might like this. If you didn't like "What It Is To Burn?" you might wanna give this one a shot.
Flagship Song: "Ink"
9. Fall Out Boy - "From Under The Cork Tree"
With their second mainstream release Fall Out Boy pulled out all the stops with the song titles. computers cried when the 255 character limit was blown to shreds! Ok that may be a slight exaggeration but the titles are only as long as the songs are good...and they're really good. As much as i hate that stupid hat he wears and all their stupid trendy outfits, i can't help but love this album. These guys are so full of themselves that King Kong has been rumoured to be considering them a thanksgiving day feast. With that attitude i can't see this going anywhere else in the good direction, so take it in while you can.
Flagship Song: "7 Minutes In Heaven (Atavan Halen)"
8. Ash - "Meltdown"
This album definately came out overseas in 2004 but it cma eout this year in the good 'ol USA. I had it back in 2004 but truthfully i really didn't catch on until this year. Luckily we got a US release and i can add it to this years list. I was a little bummed when this wasn't "Free All Angels" all over again, but i soon realized that this is ever better. Ash always sounds like they enjoy their own music and it really shines in this album. i remember when they were a soundtrack band on "Angus" but even then someone knew cause they had two songs on that album. "Meltdown" is great and it's certainly hard to pass up a rockin' album in the days of guys with no balls.
Flagship Song: "Orpheus"
7. NIN - "With Teeth"
I started myself on a bit of an obsession this summer with NIN. I've always liked 'em, but it never clicked until I finally bought "The Downward Spiral". I could write a book here on that album and how awesome it is (especially remastered) but this is about "With Teeth". Clearly this is an answer to critics of "The Fragile". What do you do when everybody hates your album? Start hating yourself! We all know that people who hate themselves write great music. Trent Reznor has clearly gotten whiny, depressed, and old on this album. But what's the only thing better than a whiny depressed old man? Nine Inch Nails of course.
Flagship Song: "The Hand That Feeds"
6. Motion City Soundtrack - "Commit This To Memory"
These guys have been one of those "buzz" bands for a few years now. "The Future Freaks Me Out" got people going "hey, i like this. what's next?" Here's the next and it's next to perfect. Catchy, fun, well-written songs drive this one around third base towards home. It's really up to you wether or not it's a home run. Oooh a choose your own adventure. Yessss! The bottom line here is it's better than the last so buy it biotch.
Flagship Song: "Feel Like Rain"
5. Houston Calls - "A Collection of Short Stories"
Yes, it's true. I'm a sucker. A sucker for catchy pop songs. Give me a punk-rock song with lyrics you can understand, a good melody, and rockin' instruments and i can't resist. It's showing on this list a bit more than usual. You probably haven't heard of this band but if the above applies to you as well you should check them out. Picture yourself driving near the ocean in the summer with the windows down blasting this. It's the steering wheel slapper you've been waiting for, and when houston calls...i'm answering.
Flagship Song: "A Pen & A Piece of Mind"
4. Gatsby's American Dream - "The Volcano"
The freshest thing on this list comes riiiiiight....now! I love this album simply because it sounds different. These guys are trying something a little off kilter from the rest of punk-rock and they're on the right track. This album isn't perfect the songs that aren't still strike a chord and are still different. you have to give them credit for trying to break the stereotype and separate themselves from the pack. I'm anxious to hear what these guys come up with for the next release. I think they're one step away from something big.
Flagship Song: "Theatre"
3. Armor For Sleep - "What To Do When You're Dead"
One of my favorite songs is "Dream To Make Believe" and with that album of the same name i knew whatever was next was gonna blow me away. and it did. Exceeding all possible expectations this album is incredible. The only thing lacking here is originality. It sounds like something we've heard before but done oh so much better. i really like the full sound of the guitars on this album. this one got me through the long commute to work and back when i was at the 'ol ice cream shoppe.
Flagship Song: "The Truth About Heaven"
2. The Mars Volta - "Frances The Mute"
Ahhh. What it must be like to be on acid. If this is what it's like to be on acid, i seriously do NOT want to try that shit. The best thing about this album is it tricks you into turning up the volume. You put it in and you can hear a nice little acoustic guitar and then some soft vocals. So, you do what anyone would do and you turn up the volume and squint your eyes while trying to hear what's going on. then at about 45 seconds you get a blast of insanity...and it never lets up. The only thing better than a truly great album is a truly insane one. It's easier to explain this album in words rather than sentences: Intruiging. Confusing. Beautiful. Scary. Original. INSANE. Incredible. Did i say Insane?
Flagship Song: "The Widow"
1. Mae - "The Everglow"
The best albums are usually described not as albums, but as experiences. "The Everglow" engages you in an experience. From the opening track, "The Prologue", you know you are in for something special. Literally a journey in music, the album takes you through the story of a traveller. Through these intertwining songs you embark on an adventure. Even the album insert is incorporated into this journey to serve as your visual map to the recording. I realize i'm being very abstract about this, or so it would seem. the truth is this is just a great great great album. It's not "...Is A Real Boy" (what IS really?) but it certainly is what it is. A solid genre spanning effort from a pretty new band. This album is great as a whole, but each song can survive on it's own as well. But watch out, this album does contain pianos! yeah that's right, pianos.
Flagship Song: "Someone Else's Arms"
Other Fun Categories:
Best Song About Pirates: Allister "The Legend of Pegleg Sullivan"
Best Band Name: Scary Kids Scaring Kids
Best Song Title: Fall Out Boy "Our Lawyer Made Us Change The Name Of This Song So We Wouldn't Get Sued"
Most Awkward Moment Involving An Album On This List: Playing "Frances The Mute" at work in Ben & Jerry's and having strange sex noises come on at the end of track #1 while i was serving an old woman, her daughter, and her daughter's daughter ice cream sundaes.
Best Song: Mae "Someone Else's Arms"
Happiest Moment Involving Music: Seeing a new Harvey Danger album on bittorrent.
Most Disappointing: Harvey Danger "Little By Little"
Best Album That Came Out Last Year That I Didn't Discover Until This Year: Death From Above 1979 "You're A Woman, I'm A Machine"
Funniest Quote On A Recording Released This Year: Dane Cook "What?! The tards just got married on their lawn. That's great. I have nobody and the tards just commited to eachother for a lifetime of tardiness."
Well that's all! Thanks for reading, assuming you actually did. please, comment on my choices, make your own list in the comments, or tell me about some choices you would have made instead. Then i can bash you and tell you why you're wrong.