Monday, December 12, 2005

list season: top 8 seattle albums/ep's of 2005.

if you hadn't noticed, i live in the greater-seattle area. i've lived out here for about 7 1/2 years, and in those years [partially due to listening exclusively to hip-hop], i never knew there was such a vivrant music scene. and i feel ashamed that i didn't know this before last year. oh well; what's in yesterday's newspaper is old news. and next year, who knows? your boy might even be a PART of the music scene here. here are my top 7 seattle-area releases of 2005:

8. harvey danger- little by little:
sean nelson is undoubtedly one of the most talented lyricists in alternative rock, and this release is no exception at all [sample lyric, from "cream and bastards rise": "you don't have to be a genius, but it helps to"-- proving that although noone likes a smartass, it's only because they're jealous]. "wine, women, and song" is my favorite song out of harvey danger's entire discography. yes, i like it even more than "flagpole sitta".

7. the pale pacific- urgency:
the first time i heard this cd, i immediately dismissed it as " diet death cab for cutie", but as an indie-pop group, the pale pacific have a lot of promise. especially on songs like "back to you" and their most rocking song, "written down".

6. laura veirs- year of meteors:
this release is so varied that it basically defies classification. from the subdued, yet uptempo "secret someones", to the rocking "black gold blues", to the almost-too-lo-fi "untitled", this is one of the sleeper hits of the year. my favorite track being the folky "through the glow", laura's sweet voice almost makes up for her choice in eyewear. [i'm sorry. i have a right not to like her glasses, don't i?]

5. math and physics club- weekends away ep:
the first time i heard "sixteen and pretty", i fell silent for about fourty minutes after i heard it. such a beautiful song. the entire ep is chock full of great twee-pop songs, reminiscent of the lucksmiths or tigermilk-era belle & sebastian, minus the cynicism.

4. death cab for cutie- plans:
let me start out by saying that the backlash against death cab was completely unwarranted. "sellout" is a term that went out of style in like 1996. seriously; let's be mature. "crooked teeth" has a solo that sounds like it was cribbed off of "my iron lung", which is not a bad reference point. "different names for the same thing" is one of my favorite songs off of the album, and "i will follow you into the dark" is possibly the best song that ben gibbard has ever written. no extra instruments, no white noise [like on "a lack of color"]; just ben's voice and an acoustic guitar. exactly how death cab for cutie probably started.

3. aqueduct- i sold gold:
earlier in the year, kanye west called franz ferdinand's style "white crunk", but if anyone can take that genre and run with it, it would be david terry. keyboards, live drums, and electric guitars are all over the place on this energetic, rhythmic album. "hardcore days and softcore nights" reads like a hip-hop song, anyway ["don't ever ask me where i'm from/in six states, that's considered dumb"]. aqueduct straddles the line between comical and beautiful all over this album.

2. luke temple- hold a match for the gasoline world:
i bought this cd from the mill pond records website, and the day i got it [which was in like april or may], i listened to it four times in succession. from the opening clarinet note on "someone, somewhere", to the last bit of white noise from the hidden track. although he gets lots of comparisons to paul simon, can paul howl like luke does on "god only knows"? if so, e-mail me the track in which he does. i'm not familiar with his work. the best part about luke temple is that he knows exactly what instruments to use on each track. none of these songs seem too excessive or too spare. it's just right. every time. this album is an underrated classic. maybe in four or five years, people will realize how great this piece of work is.

1. the long winters- ultimatum ep:
to make a long story short, this ep has some of the best songs of john roderick's career. seriously. it even has a live version of "bride and bridle", which is my favorite song on when i pretend to fall.


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