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I’m going to be counting down my top picks for the year 2005 in this space, with brief commentary on most of them. There will be four categories: New Recordings, Old Recordings/Retrospectives, Singles, and Music DVDS. Enjoy!
(Honorable Mention): TELESCOPES – #4 (Antenna)
A nice return for these old late ‘80s/early ‘90s Brit dreampoppers, and a new direction.
60. BEVIS FROND – London Stone (Rubric)
An extremely flawed album, way too long and short on quality control as ever, but when this guy NICK SALOMAN hits on a great song, as he does a few times every LP, it’s power-pop/psych magic.
59. MARK GARDENER (with GOLDRUSH) – These Beautiful Ghosts (UFO)
First solo LP from former RIDE leader proves worth the decade wait, if not as a whole then several strong songs.
58. BIG STAR – Big Star in Space (Rykodisc)
Speaking of flawed; half of this first Big Star LP in 30 years is pretty bad; the other half, though, was hard to stop playing, in that classic ALEX CHILTON and JODY STEPHENS meets POSIES way.
57. THE EPOXIES – Stop the Future (Fat)
These zippy punk kids with the futuristic garb are really good fun.
56. FEEDER – Pushing the Senses (Echo U.K.)
A British LP that is full of tragedy (the drummer’s suicide three years ago) overcomes some minor heavy-handed tendencies to score big in places.
55. FACTORY INCIDENT – Red Tape (mini-LP)(Postfact)
I always wondered if JOHN STABB from GOVERNMENT ISSUE was finished. He isn’t, and his new, very different post-punk pop band is greatly enjoyable.
54. KAISER CHIEFS – Employment (Universal)
Though I’ve grown pretty tired of the whole Brit third wave of the new wave, there’s no denying the catchy charms of a few songs here like “I Predict a Riot” and these guys don’t take themselves too seriously (always a plus when you’re retro).
53. PALE PACIFIC – Urgency (SideCho)
A Bellingham, Washington band that is doing some nice ethereal pop. A good find.
52. ASH – Meltdown (Record Collection)
Not as good as their last two LPs, or for that matter CHARLOTTE HATHERLEY’s great and sadly overlooked solo album, but they can still write punk-pop songs for sure.
51. THE SAINTS – Nothing is Straight in My House (Cadiz U.K.)
CHRIS BAILEY hooks up with old fan MARTY WILLSON-PIPER to make an LP inspired by the early 1973-1978 Saints. If not that great, still highly enjoyable.
50. THE LOOSE SALUTE – Suck it up Buttercup EP (Best Before U.K.)
This MOJAVE 3 offshoot (drummer IAN MCCUTCHEON taking up the guitar instead) are the third side project from that band (after great solo LPs by RACHEL GOSWELL and NEIL HALSTEAD) to produce absolutely sterling results!
49. ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN – Siberia (Cooking Vinyl)
Best LP by far IAN MCCULLOCH and WILL SERGEANT made since their comeback!
48. BATS – At the National Grid (Magic Marker)
Another old favorite finding good old footing, these old New Zealand favorites sound inspired.
47. DAMON & NAOMI – The Earth is Blue (20/20/20/Revolver)
The breeziest pop these days this side of IVY.
46. ERIC MATTHEWS – Six Kinds of Passion Looking for an Exit (Empyrean/Wishing Tree)
What a relief! I thought the maestro of baroque pop had hung it up after his two great Sub Pop albums a decade or so ago!!!
45. LAB PARTNERS – Wicked Branches (Reverb)
Who knew Dayton, OH could produce another band this good, let alone modern dreampoppers? This seemingly came from nowhere.
44. THE CORAL – Invisible Invasion (Columbia)
As this Liverpool group heads more and more in the direction of its Scouse forebears THE LA’S, I like it more and more.
43. SUN KIL MOON – Tiny Cities (Caldo Verde/Redeye)
Sure MARK KOZELEK can sing the phone book, and he can sing some chamber versions of MODEST MOUSE, too!
42. ADOLESCENTS – O.C. Confidential (Finger)
Having thought little of their previous comebacks, this one caught me by surprise. It has many of the same tendencies as their classic 1981 debut!
41. MY DAD IS DEAD – A Divided House (Unhinged)
This veteran MARK EDWARDS has gotten far too little respect/notice for 20 years, and this is one of his most inspired efforts.
Stay tuned for picks 40-21!
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