Fucking good year for records. In (almost) no particular order, here’s my favorite records of 2005.
1. Lady Soverign – Vertically Challenged
Grime grime grime. That seemed to be what everyone was talking about this year. Some of it is great, some of it…yawn. Lady Soverign is the best of the bunch I think, and maybe that is because she doesn’t stay within the scenes confines. If you like this, you should get the Run The Road comps as well.
2. John Coltrane – One Up, One Down: Live at the Half Note
This is Coltrane at the turning point. 1965, is the year A Love Supreme was recorded, but in these live sessions you can already hear the much more out work to come. I really can’t believe these haven’t been released before. The shock in the announcers voice when he realizes how long Coltrane has been playing ONE SONG is worth the price of the ticket.
3. Negroclash – Negroclash
New York DJ crew reclaims “electro” from the electroclash fucks with a manifesto, a great club night, and this amazing CD. What is Negroclash?, as the crew themselves define it, “It’s a celebration of elecronic sounds in black music, and all music influenced by the African Diaspora – to put it short anything soulful and electronic.”
4. Konono No 1 – Congotronics
Traditional Bazombo music from the borderlands between Angola and Congo brought to the city and amplified with broken speakers. This is not a novelty records. Its really really good. and has been on pretty much nonstop since I got it.
5. the Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree
Probably their best full-length record. This one almost brought me to tears. And I don’t wanna hear any whining about how it was better when it was on a boombox. Those tracks were great, but as a record? None beat this one.
6. the books – Lost and Safe
I know I’m supposed to like the Lemon of Pink better, but I don’t. Maybe I’m a sellout who goes for song structure, but I just think this is a smarter better-assembled record. Sorry, danshank, but that’s my position and I’m sticking to it.
7. v/a – Choubi Choubi! Folk and Pop Sounds from Iraq
I’ve heard that those who actually know Iraqi music are kinda befuddled by the mix included here, which includes the pop sounds of the Choubi Choubi scene as well more traditional folk ballads. I love the Choubi Choubi cuts and this record would make the top ten even if there weren’t a war on. But, this is a political record as well and cheers for Sublime Frequneces for doing this. It’s a little thing, but it humanizes the people we’re killing, and that’s a good thing.
8. M.I.A. – Arular
Odds are, you own this already. If not, believe the hype. We can argue about whether the genius is her or Diplo, I don’t care. This record is amazing.
9. v/a – Senor Coconut presents Coconut FM
If the hipster weren’t upping grime this year, they were getting all gushy about “baile funk”. There is plenty of that on this comp, but also reggaeton, cumbia and other styles. There’s better baile funk comps out there, but this one has a wider breath of styles. If you’re gonna get one record from the Southern lands of the leftist leaders and not nerd out and get five (like me) then this is the one.
10. The Decembrists – Picaresque
Not their best. (Cutouts and Castaways is their best) but still better than anything else that passes as indie rock. And no, the Mountain Goats are not indie rock.
Alright nerds, what ya got?