Twenty from 2004

To end this blog i've chosen to feature the 20 best songs i've heard for the first time this year. I started this blog last year with a list of 10 songs i made in November of 2002 - representing what "good music" was to me. You can view that list here if you missed it (the mp3s are no longer linked up, but the list, descriptions, and reasoning are pretty good).

Most of these songs were released in 2003 and 2004 - a few are older than that. Roughly half of them have already been posted on this blog. They are listed in order of discovery (but it's hard to remember everything). Trimming of this list got difficult at 35 songs... but i've settled on these - here goes:

01. The Rapture "House Of Jealous Lovers (album version)" Echoes (2003) Initially I wasn't sure why so many critics seemed impressed with this album. After repeated listening, it sounds better and better to me. I'm curious to see if The Rapture can follow this record up with anything half as good - my guess is that it'll be at least decent if they the DFA keep producing it.

02. Air "Venus" Talkie Walkie (2004) I heard the track "Run" off of a blog before i got the full record, but after nearly a year of listening "Venus" has risen to the top as my favorite from this album - and a favorite of the year.

03. Sufjan Stevens "He Woke Me Up Again" Seven Swans (2004) Between this record and Michigan, i could have chosen six or seven favorites from this year. This song continues to be a favorite... the banjo, the dynamics, the lyrics - the whole thing. i love it.

04. Dntel "Evan and Chan (Barbara Morgenstern Remix)" (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan EP (2002) Ben Gibbard and Dntel's collaboration before 'The Postal Service' came on Dntel's full length Life is Full of Possibilities - that song was then remixed by several other folks and released on a single/ep. The addition of the female vocal on this remix adds a variation that the original album track was missing.

05. Greg Peterson "Mini-Series" Spring Waits Brightly (2004) Friend or no, Greg writes a good tune. Solid country-folk love-lost goodness from a record that would've made a best albums of 2004 list if i'd have made one. Refreshingly honest and clever.

06. Iron & Wine "Naked As We Came" Our Endless Numbered Days (2004) Sam Beam writes beautiful quiet songs that beg to be heard over and over again. What a gorgeous tune!

07. American Analog Set "Hard to Find" Promise Of Love (2003) If i was in a band right now i would probably be attempting to sound just like this record. It continues to grow on me after nearly after 9 months of regular repeated listening.

08. Komeda "Blossom (got to get it out)" Kokomemedada (2003) Something about the chick's voice and the jangly feel-good tune keeps me listening long after i should be tired of this song. Not to mention the call and response that get's started about halfway through. Good for dancing!

09. Sun Kil Moon "Carry Me Ohio" Ghosts of The Great Highway (2003) I can't believe this song never got posted this year. Mark Kozelek (red house painter's) formed a new band and made a really great record. I have a great desire to sing along to this song but an extremely difficult time making out the words. Usually, this pisses me off - but i can disregard that here. This has been a big part of the soundtrack to my year.

10. The Shins "New Slang" Oh, Inverted World (2001) After getting completely hooked on 2003's Chutes Too Narrow it was time for me to give serious listening time to their 2001 release. There are a couple of stupid lyrics in this song that cause me to cock my head each time i listen. "And bleed into their buns" ???? - I forgive you, shins.

11. Frou Frou "Let Go" Details (2002) I would've never heard this if not for the trailer to the movie "Garden State" - the soundtrack to which also has "New Slang" (#10 on this list) on it. The rest of the album is weak, but this song has made its way on many of the mix CDs i've made this year. Atmospheric abandon.

12. William Bell "I Forgot To Be Your Lover" (1968) Gosh, i just got enamored with this song after hearing it on the "soul-sides" blog earlier this year. It catipulted me into a relatively short-lived search for other good-sounding soul music. In the end, this song and a few others were all that made it into my day-to-day listening routine.

13. Sia "Breathe Me (Four Tet Remix)" (2004) The allure of this song is a mystery to me. It's sexy and i like the music. Not sure why i left this out of an earlier feature on Four Tet remixes. Did i mention that this song is sexy?

14. A.C. Newman "Miracle Drug" The Slow Wonder (2004) File this under pavement-esque catchy rock tune. Good to the last drop pop-rock from The New Pornographers frontman - and I like this solo record better than anything that band's done.

15. A Silver Mt. Zion / Max Richter "Built Then Burnt / On The Nature Of Daylight" Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward / The Blue Notebooks (2001/2004) I made the connection and overlap of these songs earlier this year, and i've been playing it quite a bit since then. I know that technically it's not one song, but in my mind it's become that way. Richter's The Blue Notebooks is a must have neo-classical record from 2004.

16. Deerhoof "Panda Panda Panda" Apple O' (2003) I'm a late-coming fan of Deerhoof, and i'm not sure why this is my favorite song out of the three records i now own - it just is. That being said, there are about 10 Deerhoof songs could've made it on this list.

17. The Foreign Exchange "Raw Life" Connected (2004) From my favorite hip-hop record of the year (i've still yet to hear MadVillany and The Grind Date). I originally posted two other tracks from this record, but this song has risen to the top as my favorite. I particularly like the moment where the music gets all thin and then kicks back in (2:36-2:58). Thanks to the digital age, these kind of overseas collaborations are possible - in this case, before the two artists ever meet face to face! x

18. The Arcade Fire "Une Année Sans Lumiere" Funeral (2004) I'd like to post nearly every song on this album - It's the best record i've heard this year. Choosing a track to post ended up being kind of arbitrary - but this is one of my most favorites. One reason: the "whoo" at 1:50. Buy this record if you know what's good for you.

19. Brad Kilman "Like A Flood" Clouds Are Forming (2004) Don Chaffer produced this record, what i consider to be the foremost praise and worship album of the past 3 years. Is it possible for the Spirit of Christ to inhabit a recorded song of praise? I think it happens here.

20. LCD Soundsystem "Movement" Movement 7" (2004) Hot Hot Hot. There's an immediacy in this song that causes me to hold my breath a bit - and i like it. I like it a lot.

These'll be up through January. Goodbye! Thanks for coming!