John Greak Poop 05

Webster defined best as, “excelling all others”. That’s why I have such a hard time writing these supposed “best of” lists, as I am under no illusion that I have the “best” taste in anything, let alone music. My choices in pop culture have been called into question so often over the past year that I wonder why I even bother. That being said, Antony & the Johnsons suck. A lot. And so it goes…


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1. Alkaline Trio – “Crimson”
The power trio at its finest. A little Misfits meets a lot of Jawbreaker goes a long way in my book. The doom and gloom is probably getting a little old after 7 albums, but I love it nonetheless.


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2. Sleater Kinney – “The Woods”
SK return to their championship form on this one. A little more distorted and edgier than the last record with plenty of hooks to keep the kids into it. “Modern Girl” is a marvel.


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3. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Self Titled
For once a record lives up to the hype. Of course they sound like the Talking Heads and of course it’s been done before, but the songs are just the right mix of pop meets art rock.


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4. Craig Wedren – “Lapland:”
Ex-Shudder To Think vocalist finally releases his solo debut. It’s more singer/songwriter fare than I expected, but he still has that distinct falsetto to mix things up with. I like.


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5. Laura Cantrell – “Humming By The Flowered Vine”
Production is a little slick for my tastes and the vocals are a bit too shiny, but the songs are sweet and the CD stuck around my player for months. No Neko Case, but in a year where Aimee Mann put out a clunker this one was just about right.


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6. Diamond Nights – “Popsicle”
A pleasant surprise. Kind of a mix between Thin Lizzy and a NYC rock band, with some catchy hair guitar riffs thrown in for good measure. A little much on the falsetto here and the album drags toward the end, but an A for effort.


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7. Mary Timony – “Ex-Hex”
Not as good as the “Golden Dove”, but not too far behind. Some good rock numbers that benefit from Brendan Canty’s stripped down production style. “Friend Of JC” is probably my favorite song of the year.


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8. Various Artists – “This Bird Has Flown: A Tribute to Rubber Soul”
I’m not usually a big fan of tribute albums, but this nod to “Rubber Soul” was just so much better than expected. Ben Lee, Ted Leo, Rhett Miller, the Fiery Furnaces, and even Dar Williams (!?!?!?) do themselves proud on here. The Donnas track is terrible, as is Ben Harper, but get past those and it’s a nice ride.


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9. Big Star – “In Space”
Alex Chilton & Jody Stephens returned with Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow to actually record a new studio album. This one was a grower, as initially I only dug two or three songs. The rest has settled in nicely, although there are a few tracks that make me cringe. But it’s nice to know Mr. Chilton is still trying…


My other three faves are “live” albums, and that is cheating, but I don’t care:


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10. Old 97’s – “Alive & Wired”


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11. Wilco – “Kicking Television”


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12. Galaxie 500 – “Peel Sessions” 1989/90


Live Shows 2005

I was lucky enough to catch Paul Westerberg three times in April, twice at the Supper Club in NYC and once at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Worth every penny spent and then some. Every Mats song you can think of and plenty of solo stuff mixed in. Plus covers of “If I Had A Hammer”, “I Think I Love You” and “Different Drum”. What can I tell ya, the man is speaking to me. I swear. Otherwise, The Pixies @ UPAC, The Knitters @ Irving Plaza, Ted Leo & the Pharmacists @ the 9:30 Club, and the Slavic Soul Orchestra @ the WFMU Record Fair were the live music highlights of 2005.



  • Various Artists – “The Sexual Life Of The Savages: Underground Post-Punk From Sao Paulo, Brasil”
    Hey, who knew there were people in Brazil being influenced by Gang Of Four, The Pop Group & the Slits? Not me, so this disc was a big eye opener. Hats off to Soul Jazz for another great comp.

  • 2005: A Motion Picture Odyssey
    Faves included: Herbie: Fully Loaded, Good Night & Good Luck, Match Point, Shopgirl, The Family Stone, Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith, Corpse Bride, 40 Year Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers, and more that are slipping my mind..


Link Wray, Lyn Collins, Robert Moog, Johnny Carson, Hunter Thompson, Hasil Adkins, Danny Taylor, the city of New Orleans, Roe vs Wade & a womans right to choose, our personal freedoms, the right to privacy, and the seperation of church and state. Sorry, that fucker Alito just got confirmed.

Enjoy the last 11 months of 2006