Tuesday, March 01, 2005

2004 Year-in-Review

Well, I finally have something to put on the 2005 list, so that means I need to get around to taking down the 2004s.

favorite 2004 releases (music)

clutch (blast tyrant)

Possibly my favorite hard rock album since Appetite for Destruction. Yea, it's that good. Haven't made many converts, but I don't know how anyone can deny the all-out fury boogie going on here. I wasn't sold on any of their earlier stuff (except a few tracks off Pure Rock Fury, and, truth be told, I'm still not, but loud (really loud), dumb, rawk really doesn't get much better than this album.

against me (stolen demos)

Some kid lifted the demo CD-R from a Lucero show in Miami and less than 8 hours later 5 demo songs for the new Against Me record had hit the internet. You were lucky to snag this before the Fat Wreck illegal piracy machine cranked into action and requested it yanked everywhere it appeared. Darn good stuff, though, and bodes well for the new album in '05.

bad religion (the empire strikes back)

Sure, it's not No Control or Against the Grain, but since Mr. Brett's been back in the fold (since 2000's The Process of Belief), BR has been reinvigorated, fired up, and got me back on the bandwagon (which I bailed forthwith upon hearing the gawdawfulness of The Gray Race.

frank black francis (disc 1)

I was lucky enough to catch 2 Pixies reunion shows (Davis and Berkeley) in '04 plus an acoustic Frank Black set of mostly Pixies songs. The first disc is acoustic demo material that was recorded to prep for the recording what would later become The Purple Tape. Frickin' amazing. The 2nd disc is whack, weird, and strangely enjoyable if you can get past being beholden to the original versions of the songs.

norah jones (feels like home)

Mellow, countrified. Sure, a little on the adult contemporary side, but I dug it, aiight?

whiskey & co.

Alt-country, insurgent country, whatever. Never was much of an Uncle Tupelo junkie...too clean and polished I think, but their descendents have occasionally bent my ear (most prominently, Drag the River). I like my country outlaw, rough, and raw. This booze 'n' drug drenched 9-song album spent a lot of time in my rotation last year.

nirvana (with the lights out)

Yea, this was somewhat of a disappointment in that it could have been a helluva lot better, but hey, it finally showed at least and there are a few gems. "Aint it a Shame" is the weirdest "Nirvana" song I've ever heard (because it's so...'joyful' is the only word that comeds to mind). Sounds like The Jury (Kurt, Mark Lanegan & Mark Pickerel--of the Screaming Trees) were really having a blast doing that song. Overall, though, this is a Nirvana-freak only buy.

terror (one with the underdogs)

Good ol' riff-roaring metal will always have a special place in my cold, disillusioned, black heart. I guess this is considered 'hardcore' by the kids these days. Whatever it is, Terror's 2 releases were the first 'metal' albums I paid for in 12 years.

dwarves (dwarves must die!)

Supposedly, the "last" Dwarves album. Guess we'll see. Good stuff. Continues (in an even more eclectic vein) what they've been doing since their 1997 "comeback" Young & Goodlooking album. This thing has garage rock, pop-punk, Blag rapping, and even doing his best Marilyn Manson.

jsbx (damage)

Ok, so they're just called the Blues Explosion now. Solid, enjoyable album. I liked Acme a lot better for their recent stuff, but I think I like this one better than Plastic Fang overall. A couple of the most amazing shows I ever saw were JSBX in 1997 (during the Extra Width tour in the UK), but when I saw them play in SF for this album, it seemed liked Jon's shtick was getting pretty played out. Still enjoyed the album, but they seem to be running out of gas.

tom waits (real gone)

New Waits, new weirdness. Not as good as Mule Variations, but better than the last two concept/showtune releases.

rise against (siren song of the counter-culture)

Got hooked on this. The Unraveling still sounds pretty bad, but they took a giant leap forward w/ Revolutions per Minute. I wasn't sold on them until I kept not taking this album out of the player.

beastie boys (to the 5 burroughs)

Another one of those albums that I didn't think I liked at first until it never seemed to stop being played in the car. Not as good as their best, but a definite improvement over the ho-hum Hello Nasty, which I never listen to.

rocket from the crypt (circa now! re-issue)

Amazing album. Great remaster job. Sounds better than ever. When this album came along in '92, it just blew my socks off. There just wasn't anything else that sounded like RFTC. There are a few albums that you just had to be there when they hit to truly appreciate them and this is definitely one of them. (Since I started kickin' in '74 and became a music fiend around '86), some others I put in this category are: appetite for destruction (g'n'r), nevermind (nirvana), slanted&enchanged (pavement), s/t jsbx. This review of slanted&enchanted is what I'm trying to get at when talking about this record.

favorite 2004 releases (movies)

control room

the corporation

horns & halos

unprecedented: the 2000 presidential election (2004 campaign edition)

outfoxed: rupert murdoch's war on journalism

the fog of war (dvd)

donnie darko: the director's cut

eternal sunshine of the spotless mind

garden state

shaun of the dead

day after tomorrow (craptacular)

bush's brain

2004 reading list (best-of)

dark tower vi song of susannah (stephen king)

dark tower vii the dark tower

jennifer government (max barry)

bringing down the house: the inside story of six M.I.T. students who took vegas for millions

no logo (naomi klein)

da vinci code (dan brown)

cryptonomicon (neal stephenson)

in harm's way: the sinking of the USS indianapolis and the extraordinary story of its survivors

under the banner of heaven: a story of violent faith (jon krakauer)


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