I've got a whole city to hold down

December 22, 2004

Best of 2004: Other views

We'll use this rolling post to archive the year-end lists of various local rags. If you know of something that hasn't been posted here but should be, tip us off. And keep on sending your own thoughts on the best of the year's local music scene to the same address - we'll continue publishing excerpts throughout the month.

Posted 12/22: Pitchfork posted its top 50 albums today ... and the ensuing hordes exploded their server. As of 10:30 CT this morning, the site was still down; here's the full list:

50: Xiu Xiu - Fabulous Muscles - [5RC]
49: Max Richter - The Blue Notebooks - [FatCat]
48: Loretta Lynn - Van Lear Rose - [Interscope]
47: Comets on Fire - Blue Cathedral - [Sub Pop]
46: Iron & Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days - [Sub Pop]
45: The Concretes - The Concretes - [Astralwerks]
44: Camera Obscura - Underachievers Please Try Harder - [Merge]
43: Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters - [Polydor]
42: DJ/Rupture - Special Gunpowder - [Tigerbeat6]
41: Les Savy Fav - Inches - [Frenchkiss]
40: The Walkmen - Bows and Arrows - [Recordcollection]
39: Cee-Lo - Cee-Lo Green Is a Soul Machine - [Arista]
38: Morrissey - You Are The Quarry - [Attack]
37: Jóhann Jóhannsson - Virðulegu forsetar - [Touch]
36: Excepter – KA - [Fusetron]
35: Mirah - C'mon Miracle - [K]
34: Espers – Espers - [Locust]
33: The Futureheads - The Futureheads - [679]
32: Califone - Heron King Blues - [Perishable]
31: De La Soul - The Grind Date - [Sanctuary Union]
29 A.C. Newman: The Slow Wonder [Matador]
28 Junior Boys: Last Exit [Kin/Domino]
27 Interpol: Antics [Matador]
26 Franz Ferdinand: Franz Ferdinand [Domino]
25 VA: DFA Compilation #2 [DFA]
24 TV on the Radio: Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes [Touch & Go]
23 Modest Mouse: Good News for People Who Love Bad News [Epic]
22 The Foreign Exchange: Connected [BBE]
21 Fennesz: Venice [Touch]
20 Air: Talkie Walkie [Astralwerks]
19 Björk: Medulla [Elektra]
18 Kanye West: The College Dropout [Rocafella]
17 Sufjan Stevens: Seven Swans [Asthmatic Kitty]
16 Dizzee Rascal: Showtime [XL]
15 Annie: Anniemal [679]
14 Erlend Øye: DJ-Kicks [!K7]
13 Dungen: Ta Det Lugnt [Subliminal]
12 M.I.A. / Diplo: Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1 [Hollertronix]
11 Sonic Youth: Sonic Nurse [Interscope]
10 Joanna Newsom: The Milk-Eyed Mender [Drag City]
09 Ghostface: The Pretty Toney Album [Def Jam]
08 The Go! Team: Thunder Lightning Strike [Memphis Industries]
07 Devendra Banhart: Rejoicing in the Hands [Young God]
06 Madvillain: Madvillainy [Stones Throw]
05 Brian Wilson: Smile [Nonesuch]
04 The Fiery Furnaces: Blueberry Boat [Rough Trade]
03 The Streets: A Grand Don't Come for Free [Vice]
02 Animal Collective: Sung Tongs [Fat Cat]
01 The Arcade Fire: Funeral [Merge]

Posted 12/21: Pitchfork's top 50 singles. Number one goes to Annie's "Heartbeat"; predictably, Chicagoans on the list include Twista and Kanye.

Reader Paul Farahvar of the local artist management and promotion group Shoeshine Boy chimes in with his favorites:

"These CDs were played the most in my stereo at home, in my walkman (I don't own an iPod), and most importantly, in my car. I pick these by their ability to remain in the 'now playing' section of my brain."
1) Wilco - A Ghost is Born - "Although no Summerteeth, the album still beats out nearly everything that came out this year. No matter what people think of Jeff Tweedy, there is no denying the fact that this album was amazing."
2) Ray LaMontagne - Trouble - "From the first time I heard the title track of this song, I knew that it would be something special. Ray's raw talent shines on this album, and it doesn't hurt to have Ethan Johns on the throne." [Jack Flack says: Pretty much everything Ethan Johns has produced makes me want to run for the throne ... the porcelain one.]
3) Rufus Wainwright - Want One - "Although not Rufus's finest, again, this album still beats out nearly everything that came out in 2004. Curious to see how Want Two does." [Jack: Dude that was an '03 release.]
4) Rachael Yamagata - Happenstance - "I don't know why this album has not gotten the local support here in Chicago, but even if she wasn't from Chicago, I would still love this album and what she brings to the table. Although I see the Norah Jones, Fiona Apple similarities, the fact remains that this album is a well produced, well written piece of art that should stand the test of time. Rachael pours her heart out for us. Nearly every song on this album is memorable."
5) EastmountainSouth (technically from 2003)
6) Los Lobos - the Ride
7) Garden State - Soundtrack
8) Alicia Keys - The Diary of Alicia Keys
9) Los Lonely Boys
10) The Shins- Chutes Too Narrow [Jack: Also 2003.]
11) Brian Wilson - Smile

Posted 12/20: Reader Tankboy e-mails to pimp his Favorite Albums of '04. He's got love for Light FM and Local H, a shrug for Kanye, tut-tuts to Jeff & the Tweedynaires and pounds for a gang of lesser local lights.

Here's Dusted Magazine's year-end package, unfurling daily, two entries at a time. Of what's up so far, CMB readers may take a special interest in Daniel Levin Becker's Chicagocentric wrap and Tom Zimpleman's volley on rockism (scroll to bottom).

Also Pitchfork's 50 best reissues.

And then there's the year's six best Chicago-made discs, per New City's Dave Chamberlain:

The Ponys, "Laced With Romance" (In the Red)
The Like Young, "So Serious" (Parasol)
Kanye West, "The College Dropout" (Roc-A-Fella)
Lair of the Minotaur, "Carnage" (Southern Lord)
The New Black, eponymous, (Thick Records)
Telefon Tel Aviv, "Map" (Hefty)

Honorable mention: Atombombpocketknife, "Lack and Pattern"; The Baseball Furies, "Let it Be"; Slicker, "We All Have a Plan"; Local H, "Whatever Happened to PJ Soles?"

Posted 12/17: Year-end lists from Schubas talent buyer Matt Rucins.

1. The Arcade Fire - Funeral
2. Wilco - A Ghost Is Born
3. Rogue Wave - Out Of The Shadow
4. Earlimart - Treble & Tremble
5. Kanye West - The College Dropout
6. Kevin Tihista's Red Terror - Wake Up Captain
7. Modest Mouse - Good News For People Who Love Bad News
8. By Divine Right - Sweet Confusion
9. Madvillain - Madvillainy
10. The Walkmen - Bows And Arrows

Conflict Of Interest Album Of The Year: The M's
Kind Of A Reissue Album Of The Year: Brian Wilson - Smile
Guilty Pleasure: Tegan & Sarah - So Jealous
Most Promising EP: The Crimea - Lottery Winners On Acid
"Hey Ya" of 2004: Modest Mouse - Float On
Most Disappointing Album(s): Mos Def - The New Danger and The Roots - The Tipping Point
Worst Album Of The Year: The Killers - Hot Fuss

Book: "America: The Book" by The Daily Show
Movie(s): "Sideways" & "Fahrenheit 9/11"
The T.V.: "Arrested Development" and "The Wire"


Posted 12/13: The Tribune ran a year-end package in the Arts and Entertainment section on Sunday, 12/12.

Greg Kot offered two lists:

The Year's Best Rock, Etc.
1. Kanye West, "College Dropout" (Roc-A-Fella)
2. Isis, "Panopticon" (Ipecac)
3. Madvillain, "Madvillainy" (Stones Throw)
4. The Streets, "A Grand Don't Come for Free" (Vice/Atlantic)
5. Fiery Furnaces, "Blueberry Boat" (Rough Trade)
6. "The Futureheads" (Sire)
7. Danger Mouse, "The Grey Album" (Self-released)
8. "Franz Ferdinand" (Domino)
9. Jill Scott, "Beautifully Human" (Hidden Beach)
10. M83, "Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts" (Mute)
Honorable mentions: Green Day, "American Idiot" (Reprise); Brian Wilson, "Smile" (Nonesuch); Wilco, "A Ghost is Born" (Nonesuch); "The Gris Gris" (Byrdman); Mission of Burma, "On Off On" (Matador); Loretta Lynn, "Van Lear Rose" (Interscope); Junior Boys, "Last Exit" (Kin/Domino); Ghostface, "The Pretty Toney Album" (Def Jam); Secret Machines, "Now Here is Nowhere" (Sire); Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, "Who is this America?" (Ropeadope).

The Year in [Chicago] Indies
1. Califone, "Heron King Blues" (Thrill Jockey)
2. Capital D, "Insomnia" (All Natural)
3. Thaione Davis, "Situation Renaissance" (Birthwrite Records)
4. Mavis Staples, "Have a Little Faith" (Alligator)
5. Frankie Knuckles, "A New Reality" (Definity)
6. Caviar, "The Thin Mercury Sound" (Aezra)
7. "Trax Records: The Next Generation," mixed by Maurice Joshua (Trax)
8. The M's, "The M's" (Brilliante)
9. The Ike Reilly Assassination, "Sparkle in the Finish" (Sixthman)
10. Kevin Tihista's Red Terror, "Wake Up Captain" (Parasol)

Other Trib critics weighed in on the best of adult contemporary, bluegrass, blues, classical, country, jazz, Latin, and something called "urban," a k a hip-hop.

Awkward moniker aside, we thought Matt Lurie's rap list was interesting and probably of note to you too - so here it is:
1. Kanye West, "College Dropout" (Roc-A-Fella Records)
2. Madvillain, "Madvillainy" (Stones Throw Records)
3. Ghostface, "The Pretty Toney Album" (Def Jam Records)
4. J-Zone, "A Job Ain't Nuthin But Work" (Fat Beat Records)
5. Brother Ali, "Champion EP" (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
6. De La Soul, "The Grind Date" (Sanctuary Records)
7. MF Doom, "Mm..Food" (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
8. Typical Cats, "Civil Service" (Galapagos 4 Records)
9. Jadakiss, "Kiss of Death" (Interscope Records)
10. Nas, "Street's Disciple" (Sony Urban Music)