Tom Whalen Poop 05

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The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday (French Kiss)
When I was in my early teens and first “discovering” rock n’ roll and the unique salvation it represented, all of my favorite songs and albums bled into one singular experience, a looping hits compilation of sensation and memory that was so pure, romantic and uninhibited, and one that contrasts so distinctly with the detached, exhaustingly analytical way I approach most music these days, that I have a hard time even remotely identifying with it. Years before I bogged myself down with trivia, music was a different kind of obsession, and it was all one great album that I was sometimes thinking about but always listening to. In as much as anything so intangible could save a well-fed white kid from the suburbs of Staten Island, that record saved my life, like those kind of records, I’m told, are supposed to. The masters for this magical album have been collecting dust for sometime now. I don’t know where or how the Hold Steady found
them but they’ve only gotten better with age.

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2 Animal Collective – Feels (FatCat)
“I would like the new Animal Collective record more if everyone else didn’t like it so much.” – John Lefsky

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3 Broken Social Scene – s/t (Arts & Crafts)
Sheer sonic body slam. OF COURSE the thing’s crowded and over-produced. What did you expect, “Nebraska?” Are you insane? The end justifies the means to the maximum! NGA, braw: No Grinches Allowed.

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4 Wooden Wand – Harem of the Sundrum and the Witness Figg (Soft Abuse)
Oh-five’s semi-hidden gem. Devandra Banhart would probably shave himself shiny for the right to say he wrote “Eagle Claw.”

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5 Matt Sweeny and Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Superwolf (Drag City)
Largely responsible for my current penchant for solitude, warm beverages, and, perhaps, spanking, though the jury is still out on that last one.

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6 Steve Malkmus – Face the Truth (Matador)
The ‘Mus is loose yet again. SM could probably murder my family and poo in my mailbox and still make my top 10 without a second thought. For my buck the man’s brilliance is impossible to overstate.

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7 Castanets – First Light’s Freeze (Asthmatic Kitty)
Raymond Raposa builds on the cagey, fractured song craft of last year’s “Cathedral” with some spooky synthetics and a thin layer of chicken-coup ambiance. It’s a small, lonely record with a little bit of everything; a third of the size of ‘Illinois’ and many times more potent.

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8 Spoon – Gimme Fiction (Merge)
Bill Collector: Hey guys, I’ve got some bills here that need paying for.
Spoon: Don’t sweat it, BC. We’ve got more than enough skills to pay those bills.
Bill Collector: It appears you do. In fact, now that I look at these receipts, it appears you always do. God bless you kids. How can I ever thank you?
Spoon: (gravelly Christian Bale Batman voice) You’ll never have to… (crisp snare hit)

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9 Black Mountain – s/t (Jagjaguar)
Mountain, bloody mountain! Animal Collective might’ve written 05’s best drug record, but this bad boy is the year’s best “drug record,” hands down.

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10 Six Organs of Admittance – The School of the Flower (Drag City)
Late to the party but glad I showed up. “Home” is an absolute gem and the 13-and-a-half minute title track is a mesmerizing show stopper. Walks the wobbly wire between psyche and folk with such breathless grace that is makes the whole “freak-folk” thing somewhat embarrassing.

Second Tier
11 Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice – Buck Dharma
12 Deerhoof – The Runners Pour
13 Pelican – The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw
14 The Books – Lost and Safe
15 Akron Family & the Angels of Light – split
16 No-Neck Blues Band – Qvaris
17 Sleater-Kinney – The Woods
18 Premise 73 – Reads the Books
19 Alexander Tucker – Old Fog
20 Lightning Bolt – Hypermagic Mountain
21 The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema
22 Akron/Family – s/t
23 Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
24 My Morning Jacket – Z
25 Iron and Wine/Calexico – In the Reins
26 The Kallikak Family – May 27, 2007
27 Oneida – The Weding
28 Ryan Adams and the Cardinals – Cold Roses
29 Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice – The Flood
30 Sunn 0))) – Black I
31 Oneida – The Wedding
32 M83 – Before the Dawn Heals Us
33 Gang Gang Dance – Hillulah
34 Xiu Xiu – La Foret
35 The Boy least Likely to – The Best Party Ever
36 Architecture in Helsinki – In Case We Die
37 Wilderness – s/t
38 Silver Jews – Tanglewood Numbers
39 Rogue Wave – Descend Like Vultures
40 SigurRos – Takk

On Deck:
The Fiery Furnaces – EP
Animal Collective feat. Vashti Bunyan – Prospect Hummer EP
The Decembrists – Picaresque
The Gris Gris – For the Season
Kinski – Alpine Static
Supersystem – Always Never Again
A Hawk and a Hacksaw – Darkness at Noon
Dirty Three – Cinder

Other Assorted Personal Excitements:
Wilco – Kicking Television: Live in Chicago
Arrested Development Season 3
Arrested Development Season 2 DVD (or, rather, the rips of which I illegally downloaded)
Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Summer in the Southeast
Please Don’t Come Back From the Moon by Dean Bakopoulos
Book of the Dead: The Complete History of Zombie Cinema by Jamie Russell
R. Kelly – Trapped in the Closet Chapters 1-12
The Polyphonic Spree, Gang of Four, and Belle and Sebastian at Across the Narrows – BK, NY
Spoon, Dungen and Q and not U at Siren Music Festival – Coney Island
The Hold Steady at The Bowery Ballroom – NY, NY
Wilco at MSG on NYE 05
Wilco at the London Hammersmith
Jeff Tweedy at the Broadway Theater/ Kingston, NY
The Buzzcocks at the Camden Crawl in Club Koko/ London
The New Pornographers in Prospect Park/ BK, NY
Liverpool FC wins FA Cup with stunning come-from-behind heroics
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer – The Beauty Supply District
Julius Knipl: Real Estate Photographer – Stories
The Jew Of New York by Ben Katchor
The Sun Also Rises, the Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
All the Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren
The Ed Wood Box Set
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Chronicle I
Mike and the Mechanics – “All I Need is a Miracle”