Saturday, January 21, 2006

Best of 2005: Filling In The Gaps

As seen below, I finally got around to compiling a rough draft of my Best of 2005 collection last week. The last few discs I'd ordered have come in, though, and I was able to work in a couple last-minute additions. I pulled The Bats from the mix -- decent album, but no real stand-out tracks, or at least nothing quite up to snuff with what made the final cut. I ended up with enough room for two final additions; here's what made the cut (and a few that didn't):

The Soundtrack of our Lives, "Believe I've Found." Although getting less favorable press than 2002's stellar Behind The Music, Swedish retro-rockers TSOOL's 2005 release Origin Vol. 1 has plenty of great tunes; I'm kinda disappointed I listened to the reviews and waited so long to pick it up. As with the last one, they churn out riff-heavy 70's-styled hard rock with a slight indie pop sensibility; kinda the Guess Who plus Pink Floyd as played by a band with a decent record collection. This particular song recalls Barrett-era Floyd (in the guitar sound) and sounds like something you'd expect to hear on a well-informed classic rock station.

Portastatic, "Through With People." Superchunk frontman Mac MacCaughan's one-time side project Portastatic has essentially evolved into a coequal band with Superchunk. And while Portastatic originally served as an outlet for Mac's mellower, more experimental urges that would have been out of place on Superchunk's hyped-up pop-punk albums, the two bands have met in the middle, with both becoming much more straightforward indie-pop (though Portastatic still tends to have a more artsy, meandering side). "Through With People" is a glorious angsty rocker that could easily have come out under the Superchunk moniker.

Not quite making the final cut:

Fruit Bats
The Fruit Bats: Liked the 2005 Spelled In Bones cd, which sounds like a cross between Of Montreal and the Shins -- relaxed and slightly twee guitar pop. Hasn't grown on me yet, though, and nothing jumped out as compelling enough to make the cut; maybe if I'd bought it earlier and had time to pick a favorite, but I think this gets relegated to the inevitable Disc Two: The Also-Ran Mix.

The Go! Team
The Go! Team: Though originally released overseas in 2004, Thunder, Lightning, Strike made it into the States in summer 2005, bringing with it a ton of buzz. I can see why: the blend of Britpop and Hip-Hop, but with cheerleaders and college marching bands instead of rappers, is definitely unique. But I'm not convinced it's something I'm going to be playing very often.

Iron & Wine & Calexico
Iron & Wine with Calexico: Really loved their joint EP (well, with 7 tracks it probably falls somewhere between an EP and a full-length cd) In The Reins. Definitely something I can see spending a lot of time with over the coming months. A bit too downbeat for my annual mix, which tends to focus primarily on upbeat tracks, but slated for inclusion on the spillover disc. Worth checking out for fans of either band's highly-stylized Americana.


Post a Comment

<< Home