My top 50 list 0f 2005 is now here for your viewing and scrutinizing. Consider this to be in no particular order or ranking as I don't like that sort of a system. Even with a list as seemingly large as a top 50 I still feel bad for leaving off some great releases, but you gotta draw the line somewhere. Feel free to send in your own top ten for posting on this site. Your name and who you are will be required. email to email@example.com
1) The Buff Medways- Medway Wheelers (Damaged Goods)
2) Iron & Wine/Calexico- In The Reigns (Overcoat)
3) Brian Eno- Another Day On Earth (Hannibal)
4) Detroit Cobras- Baby (Bloodshot)
5) Bob Mould- Body Of Song (Yep Roc)
6) Ellen Allien- Thrills (Bpitch Control)
7) Teenage Fanclub- Man Made (Merge)
8) Ryan Adams & The Cardinals- Cold Roses (Lost Highway)
9) The Kills- No Wow (Rough Trade)
10) The Raveonettes- Pretty In Black (Columbia)
11) All Tomorrow's Party- Yoo Doo Right, Yoo Doo Slide (Sympathy)
12) Alvin "Young Blood" Hart- Motivational Speaker (Tone Cool)
13) American Analog Set- Set Free (Paper Bag)
14) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club- Howl (Red Ink)
15) Lowlights- Dark End Road (Darla)
16) Magnolia Electric Company- What Comes After The Blues (Secretly Canadian)
17) Eliza Gilkyson- Paradise Hotel (Red House)
18) Devendra Banhart- Cripple Crow (XL)
19) The National- Alligator (Beggars Banquet)
20) Sheavy- Republic? (Candlelight)
21) Pernice Brothers- Discover A Lovlier You (Ashmont)
22) Calla- Collisions (Beggars Banquet)
23) The Ponys- Celebration Castle (In The Red)
24) Sleater Kinney- The Woods (Sub Pop)
25) Spoon- Gimme Fiction (Merge)
26) The Decemberists- Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars)
27) The High Dials- War Of The Wakening Phantoms (Rainbow Quartz)
28) Caribou- The Milk Of Human Kindness (Domino)
29) The Wedding Present- Take Fountain (Manifesto)
30) Reigning Sound- Home For Orphans (Sympathy)
31) Thievery Corporation- The Cosmic Game (ESL)
32) Brian Jonestown Massacre- Tepid Peppermint Wonderland (2cd anthology) (Tee Pee)
33) Witchcraft- Firewood (Rise Above)
34) Various Artists- Ghana Soundz: Afrobeat, Funk & Fusion in 70's Ghana (Soundway)
35) The Hellacopters- Rock & Roll Is Dead (Universal)
36) LCD Soundsystem- S/T (DFA)
37) Circle- Guillotine (Scratch)
38) Sigur Ros- Takk (Geffen)
39) The Warlocks- Surgery (Mute)
40) Bohren & Der Club Of Gore- Geisterfaust (Wonder)
41) Daniel Lanois- Belladonna (Anti)
42) Death In Vegas- Satans Circus (Drone)
43) Rosie Thomas- If Songs Could Be Held (Sub Pop)
44) Fourtet- Everything Ecstatic (Domino)
45) The Immortal Lee County Killers 3- These Bones Will Rise To Love You Again (Tee Pee)
46) Antony & The Johnsons- I Am A Bird Now (Secretly Canadian)
47) Richard Thompson- Front Parlour Ballads (Cooking Vinyl)
48) Amon Tobin- Splinter Cell (Ninja Tune)
49) Tristeza- March Of The White Lies (Rocket Racer)
50) The Fall- Fall Heads Roll (Dim Mak)
This top 11 list is from Kory Gibbs, a local musician, band teacher & devouted music buff. Rock on guy!
#1 Sleater-Kinney: The Woods (SUBPOP)
#2 The Herbaliser: Take London (Ninja Tune)
#3 Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation: Mighty Rearranger (Sanctuary)
#4 Queens of the Stone Age: Lullabies to Paralyze (Interscope)
#5 Nashville Pussy: Get Some (Spitfire)
#6 Matt Mays + El Torpedo: S/T (Sonic Records)
#7 Rodney Crowell: The Outsider (Columbia)
#8 Bruce Springsteen: Devils & Dust (Columbia)
#9 The Kills: No Wow (Rough Trade)
*#10 Moistboyz: I & II (Sanctuary)
*#11 Bill Frisell: east west (Nonesuch)
This next list is from Jenny Eisler who works in the music biz & hosts the wonderful "Sweet Sweet Candy" radio show on 91.3fm (saturday 4-5pm) here in Regina.
10. Goldfrapp: Supernature
9. Aimee Mann: The Forgotten Arm
8. Broadcast: Tender Buttons
7. The Duke Spirit: Cuts Across the Land
6. Neil Young: Prairie Wind
5. Spoon: Gimme Fiction
4. Matt Mays & El Torpedo: S/T
3. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Howl
2. The High Dials: War of the Wakening Phantoms
1. Echo & the Bunnymen: Siberia (NOTE: They are my most cherished band and after I saw them live in Vancouver in December 2005 I could have left this life an extremely happy girl. That being said, YES they are still making great music and Siberia is a beautiful and inspiring album.)
This list sent in by Rick August host of another fine CJTR program called "Borderlines", a fantastic 2 hours of true country heard every sunday from 3-5pm.
1. Billy Joe Shaver: The Real Deal (Compadre)
2. Tim Hus: Alberta Crude (self)
3. Blaze Foley: Wanted, More Dead Than Alive (Waddell Hollow)
4. Marti Brom: Heartache Numbers (Goofin')
5. Joe West: The Human Cannonball (Frogville Planet)
6. Jimmie Dale Gilmore: Come On Back (Rounder)
7. Rick Shea & The Losin' End: Bound For Trouble (Tres Pescadores, reissue)
8. James McMurty: Childish Things (Compadre)
9. Romi Mayes & The Temporarily Employed: The Living Room Sessions Volume 1 (self)
10.Old Reliable: The Burning Truth (self)
Here now is an expanded version of Emmet Matheson's best of 2005 list, complete with bonus director's commentary. Emmet is a music columnist with the Leader Post.
1. War of the Wakening Phantoms, High Dials (Rainbow Quartz) - Six months after this record came out, I'm still listening and discovering new moments of revelation and awe. A grand adventure of beauty and spirits.
2. CASA, Roger Dean Young & the Tin Cup (Copperspine Records/Loose Music) - This is a great album to get completely lost in. The lyrics and the instrumentation are both deceptively, um, pleasant. I mean, you can sit there, at a distance, and just enjoy the surface sounds, just put it on while you're making dinner, and it's great quiet country-jazz a la Calexico or Giant Sand. But turn off the lights, put on the headphones, and just give yourself away to this album and it will reward you over and over again.
3. Your Language, White Hassle (Fargo Records )- A sentimental favourite, but a favourite nonetheless. There's something different, something more immediate and more now to this album than any of White Hassle's earlier stuff. It's the most fun thing they've done.
4. Cuff the Duke, Cuff the Duke (Hardwood/Universal) - Part Great Canadian Country Rock (taking cues from the Band, Blue Rodeo, etc), part Wes Anderson tweemo angst. A rare case of earnestness being endearing.
5. All Night Fox, Howling Hex (Drag City) - Neil Hagerty put out a lot of stuff this year. If I had to chose just one thing, I'd probably pick his book of essays and short stories, Public Places. But All Night Fox is my-T awesome, too. It's like he's making a dub record without any reggae arrangements. Or like a disco record by Black Sabbath who have maybe only read about disco in a magazine.
6. Central City May Rise Again, the Cape May (Flemish Eye) - Calgary's answer to Will Oldham sounds like a slur, but the Cape May singer's voice sounds more like Jason Molina anyway, so that's not such a hot comparison. Terrifically grand atmospheric country rock.
7. Our Love Will Change the Universe, Outrageous Cherry (Rainbow Quartz) - Pretty much perfect guitar pop. Listen to the tones on Matthew Smith's guitar, and then get into the nail-on-the-head precision of the songwriting.
8. La De Da, Joel Plaskett (Maple Music) - Great, goofy, half-baked songs about driving, watching TV, working at a crappy job and Ronald Reagan.
9. Sunday Anthems, The Neins Circa (Blue Curtain) - I've called them the Kanye West to the New Pornographers' Jay-Z, and I stand by that. Sunday Anthems is just drowning in giant ideas, playfully absurd lyrics, and real showmanship.
10. Fire and Glory, Kardinal Offishall (EMI/Virgin) - This ain't no feel good K-os record, this is fierce, occasionally angry, always bumpin' rap that's not afraid to be both mainstream and innovative.
11. Run the Road, Various Artists (679/Last Gang) - This 2004 British comp of mindblowing GRIME (which is to rap what lorries are to trucks) finally hit Canada this year and brought us Lady Sovereign, who is my hero.
12. Late Registration, Kanye West (Roc-A-Fella/Universal) - Houston's K-Otix stole some of Kanye's thunder by brilliantly grafting his post-Katrina outburst onto his hit single "Gold Digger", but this is the most ambitious mainstream rap album in years, and it mostly pays off.
13. An Electric Trace, Sylvie (Smallman) - Damn, this sounds good. Masterful dynamics, sharp melodies, excellent building of tension and payoffs.
14. Themes International, The Summerlad (Saved By Radio) - Ambitious, arty, rock from Calgary, and nowhere near as boring as that may sound.
15. Here's Your Ghost, Falconhawk (Saved By Radio) - Eff Metric, get yer (new) new new wave right here. Lush, catchy, fun.
16. Bitter Hands Resign, A Northern Chorus (Sonic Unyon) - Speaking of lush, this one is worth it almost for the liner notes alone. Great big wham-dang-doozle dreamrock.
17. First Blush, Tricky Woo (Last Gang) - I really didn't like this at first. I wanted Tricky Woo to keep on the psyche path of Les Sables Magique and TW-hiatus act Soft Canyon. But I'm not in Tricky Woo, so I don't get to make those decisions. Instead, original guitarist Adrian Popovich returned with some giant killer old school (pop) metal craziness that pays off with songs like "Pink Thunder" and "Living in the Danger Zone".
18. The Silence Show, Snailhouse (Scratch) - Mike Feuerstack is a great guy and makes great songs.
19. The Magic Numbers, the Magic Numbers (EMI?) - This is probably what Jack Black's band would sound like if he wasn't trying to be funny.
20. Fair and Square, John Prine (Oh Boy) - Prine in classic form.
21. Master of Disaster, John Hiatt (New West) - Teamed with the entire Dickinson family (or at least Jim, Luther and the other guy), a surprisingly tight roots album.
22. The Sunset Tree, Mountain Goats (4AD) - Even when he's being nice, John Darnielle cuts to the bone.
23. There's More Where That Came From, Lee Ann Womack (MCA Nashville) - Retro-seventies countrypolitan niceness.
24. Less Than Human, the Juan McLean (DFA/Sonic Unyon) - When computer dating goes horribly wrong.
25. The Mouse and the Mask, Danger Doom (Epitaph) - Rappers like cartoons.
26. LCD Soundsystem, LCD Soundsytem (DFA/Sonic Unyon) - Songs about Daft Punk are better than songs BY Daft Punk.
27. The Way It Is, Keyshia Cole (A&M) - Not to be confused with Canadian nicey-nice R&B singer Keshia Chante, Keyshia Cole is an American nasty-nast R&B singer.
28. Demon Days, Gorillaz (EMI) - Zombies, Dennis Hopper, Danger Mouse, children's choir, what the hell else do ya want already?
29. Welcome to Jamrock, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley (Universal) - Another son of Bob brings back the righteous anger and makes reggae powerful again.
30. Deadlivers, Greyskul (Rhymesayers) - Rappers like comic books.
31. Porcella, the Deadly Snakes (Paper Bag) - When Garage Rock Nihilists Go Folk.
32. Breaking Kayfabe, Cadence Weapon (Upper Class) - World class indie rap from Edmonton. Go figure.
33. Precious Fathers, Precious Fathers (White Whale) - Amazing sparse instro indie-rock-jazz from Vancouver.