Saturday, December 31, 2005

a year at the rally...

So there we were in the pub, having the annual Johnny Domino Christmas drink, when we decided that we should each try to come up with some sort of end-of-year list for The Rally. Being drunken miserable old gits, we then spent a good while complaining about the state of modern music and bemoaning the fact that we'd never be able to come up with a list of great albums/tracks that came out this year. However, before the night had ended we agreed to try to list the 5 best things we'd heard in 2005. These could have been released in any year; they just had to have been things that we'd heard for the first time in 2005.

Most of my "contemporary" favourites have either been featured on here (see The Bad Plus, Langhorne Slim, Silver Jews) or everywhere else in BlogLand (Sufjan Stevens, LCD Soundsystem and Arcade Fire - "Funeral" is pretty much the only album that came out in the UK this year that you can say is a stone-cold classic).

The Bad Plus - Rhinoceros Is My Profession
Langhorne Slim - And If It's True
Silver Jews - Animal Shapes

SteveDomino's hits from the vaults, 2005, would have to include:

Miles Davis - A Tribute To Jack Johnson - mind-blowing jazz-rock-funk-fusion work-out from 1971. Over an hours worth of great music over 2 tracks - not very bloggable!
Harmonia - Musik Von Harmonia - 1974 motorik repeato-rock featuring members of Neu! and Cluster. Great stuff but I think Jim is planning a Harmonia post so I shan't tread on his toes.

Outside of those, the album I've played the most is without a doubt Martha Wainwright's debut album, but she went and ruined it by releasing an expanded edition. Is it me or is this fashion for repackaging current albums with a couple of bonus tracks one of the true curses of modern music?

Next in rotation is probably The Coral's "The Invisible Invasion". I don't understand why they seem to have fallen so out of favour, especially when they've released what I think is their best album yet. A couple of years back the press in the UK was all over them but this came out in the summer to barely a whimper. They're still doing the Pink-Floyd-meets-Freddie-&-The-Dreamers thing but they've obviously been listening to A LOT of Can. Give 'em a listen, 'cos it's a great album.

The Coral - She Sings The Mourning

The Coral - So Long Ago

However a late contender swept it's way to my album of the year spot, They Might Be Giants' "Venue Songs" set. When They Might Be Giants toured last year they set out to write a track for every town and venue that they went to. (Maybe Sufjan Stevens should've done that, 'cos I can't see him getting through all of the US states at his current rate of work...). A lot of the songs sound like other artists - notably The Who (Leeds), Frank Zappa (Dallas) and The Cars (Vancouver).

They Might Be Giants - Vancouver
They Might Be Giants - New Orleans
They Might Be Giants - Minneapolis

"Venue Songs" comes as a 2-disc CD and DVD set if you buy it from They Might Be Giants directly. They're the ultimate love-em-or-hate-em band; I just think they're really clever and fun. There are also some great non-Venue Songs on the CD, most of which have been available for free download from

They Might Be Giants - Renew My Subscription

Visit - and buy "Venue Songs"
Visit - The Coral
Buy - "The Invisible Invasion" by The Coral

Here is Marc-o's list, as he sent it to me:

- "Oceans Apart" by The Go- Betweens
- "Love Kraft" by Super Furry Animals
- Best Re-issue - "The Glasgow School" by Orange Juice
- Re-discovered Gem - "Swoon" by Prefab Sprout
- Best Download surprise - "A Salty Dog" by Procol Harum*

(* which he got from Spoilt Victorian Child)

Oxbow's personal musical highlights of 2005:

1. Michael Hurley - 'I Paint a Design' (posted on Last night an MP3 Saved My Wife in October- no longer up there I'm afraid, but I am now discovering this artist's albums, so thanks!)
2. Jean Sibelius - 'The Swan of Tuonela' (this has truly been the year of Radio Three for me! Not sure how I feel about what this says about me but it's the truth... )
3. Charles Mingus - 'Better Git It In Your Soul' (magnificent jazz off an old mix tape made by Steve)
4. The Kaiser Chiefs - 'I Predict a Riot'
5. The Soundtrack of our Lives - 'Origin Vol 1' (rock album, will do a post about it soon.)

Last but by no means least, this is Jim's list:

Coil - The Ape of Naples - the last ever studio album - very nice, very accessible, the quintessential Coil album
Kate Bush - Aerial - never mind all the crap about, "oooh, didn't it take ages?", this is just a really good album that should be on every discerning coffee table
The Yello remasters esp. "Stella" and "Solid Pleasure" - bonkers Euro geniuses
Super Furry Animals - Love Kraft - a double Domino vote!
This year I've been listening to a lot of Frank Zappa - same as last year, really...

Thanks again for listening this year - see you in 2006!

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