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Guest Van Mundegaarde

2005 at the halfway point...

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Guest Van Mundegaarde

Ok... how do you guys feel about things halfway through the year? My opinion on this year was completely different a month ago. I was disappointed at the come down in quality from the last four years. But after having the last month to take in a lot of stuff i had either only heard sparsely or not at all, i would have to say that this year is roughly on par for the decade (which I think has been formidable, even better than the 90s). The albums I own from this year are as follows:


Akron/Family- Akron/Family: incredible debut that says as much about the great things to expect from these guys in the future as it does about it's own quality. Possible top 20 release of the year.

Animal Collective Feat. Vashti Bunyan- Prospect Hummer EP: I wish this could have been expanded to a full length release, but I also fear that it might have come apart if they had done so. As it is, good enough to stand among the better full length releases this year.

Annie Anniemal- I don't own a computer (i post rarely from one on campus) so I wasn't able to hear this until it was released officially stateside a short time ago. I kinda wanted to hate this as a reaction to its hype, which even now I regard as unnecessary overkill, but I think it's solid. It won't be a top 25 calibre- release but it would probably make my top 50... maybe...

Antony & The Johnsons- I am a Bird Now- Excellent. There is something haunting about this album. His voice is so penetrating (kinda like what his penis does to the buttcheeks of other dudes, AM I RIGHT!?!) I think it tapers off near the end, but as it stands this is most definately top 20 for the year when i make my official list come december.

Architecture in Helsinki- In Case We Die I think this comes through on what I felt I missed in "Fingers Crossed." Not quite as challenging (and therefore not as polarizing) as "Blueberry Boat" this is still so erratic and eclectic in its offerings that it's hard not to enjoy. Still I feel that this is an album of good ideas and experimental notions. Good enough to most likely make the top 50 cut though unless the second half of the year really picks up.

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy & Matt Sweeney- Superwolf This one has gotten better and better each time I've heard it. This is easily Oldham's best release since "Ease Down the Road" probably even better. Not quite "Darkness" territory but how many records in this vein are? Top 20 of the year easy.

Andrew Bird- The Mysterious Production of Eggs This is his best album so far. Striking a perfect balance between indie and pop. Probably the most hummable indie album released in the last three years. Top 10 of the year. May have a shot at #1.

Bloc Party- Silent Alarm It's good. Really good. Who cares if it's stuff we've heard before? Seeing them live boosted the album in my eyes. That said, I expect these guys to fizzle out very quickly, this might be the last great album we get from them. Top 20, maybe Top 25.

British Sea Power- Open Season I think this album really proved the band to me. Much better than their debut. They resemble a completely different band. While I do not condone artistic stagnantion, I hope they explore this sound for at least one more album. Top 20 easy.

Caribou- The Milk of Human Kindness It's not as good at Up in Flames but it's not overtly worse. Will make it out of the year in the top 50, but low end I'm sure.

The Chemical Brothers- Push the Button Very solid. Not extraordinary. Purchased mainly to satisfy the completist in me. Won't crack the top 50. May make the top 100. Either way, better than the new Daft Punk.

The Decemberists- Picaresque Currently the best album released this year. I've seen them live twice (a third time to follow at Intonation). Having seen them I've realized that I enjoy the songs from this album more than from their previous ones, even though it's not overwhelmingly superior to either. Will be a definite top 10, likely top 5, possibly #1.

Eels- Blinking Lights and Other Revelations I like Electro-Shock Blues pretty well but largely abhorr anything released by this band. I bought this after having listened to it via a good friend on a lengthy car trip. I still believe that to be the best way to take it in. Good album and a very rewarding listen for all its 93 minutes. Not top 20 I don't think, but not far outside.

Electric Six- Senor Smoke I don't care man, I love these guys. This album isn't quite as good as "Fire" but come on... "Dance Epidemic" "Dance-a-thon 2005" "Rock 'n' Roll Evacuation" "Bite Me" "Devil Nights" This album is awesome. Top 50 at least.

Fiery Furnaces- EP Not sure why this is a EP. This should count as a full length release at over 40 minutes. Definately more accessible than previous FF stuff. This could finish out the year in the top 25. More likely it'll fall somewhere in the top 30-40.

Ben Folds- Songs for Silverman I don't even pretend to have indie cred which I think makes it a lot easier for me to enjoy Folds' harmless relatively welcome acceptance of middle age. This album has some very strong cuts on it. I think Landed is the best single he's released since Ben Folds Five's debut. Low end top 75 perhaps.

Gorillaz- Demon Days Much better than the first Gorillaz release. I feel bad for the fact that this will probably remain novelty with the circumstances of its release. Very strong. Top 50 almost guaranteed.

The Hold Steady- Seperation Sunday Great. Though I admit it takes some doing to get adjusted to Craig Finn's vocals. One of the best albums this year. Top 20 for sure. Top 10 likely.

Iron & Wine- Woman King EP An entire album of this quality would be definite number one. The best work Sam Beam has ever done. I can't wait for the next LP. Even now I'm sure this will make the top 25. Best EP release since Young Liars.

LCD Soundsystem- LCD Soundsystem Awesome, I never really bought into the DFA hype before this. (Echoes, while not bad, was not even one of the hundred best releases of its year) This rules and it's packaging with the previous singles made it the best buy of the year hands down. Top 20.

John Legend-Get Lifted Released too late last year to be considered for my year end list. Very good album. One of the best R & B releases in years. Top 50 fo sho'.

Stephen Malkmus- Face the Truth I think this is his best solo effort. Outside of a couple grating tracks (I've Hardly Been predominantly) this is awesome. Maybe even better than Brighten the Corners. Which makes it definite top 20.

M.I.A.- Arular Not as good as the hype might have you believe. Still top 50.


I'm getting tired at this point...


The Mountain Goats- Sunset Tree Their best album. Four or five of the songs on this album give me absolute chills. Top 10 most likely.

Okkervil River- Black Sheep Boy This album came out of nowhere. I honestly didnt expect anything near this good from a band i dislike live and have hated previously. Top 25 maybe... more likely top 35.

Of Montreal- The Sunlandic Twins Of Montreal has finally come into its own these last two years. I thought The Gay Parade would be the only good album they ever released. Kevin Barnes succeeds here making his second best album. Top 25.

Pernice Brothers- Discover a Lovlier You Joe Pernice doesn't get near his due. This is beautiful. Not quite "World Won't End" but not far off. Top 40.

Archer Prewitt- Wilderness A lot of people seem to have forgotten this album. It's a shame too because this was once my fav album of the year early on. Right now its top 30.

Six Organs of Admittance- The School of the Flower The title track drags this down slightly. But excellent album. The best Chasny has released under this moniker. Top 40.

Sleater-Kinney- The Woods I don't think this is as good as One Beat but still awesome. Corin Tuckers vocals are the most intriguing in music today. Top 50.

Spoon- Gimme Fiction My third favorite release this year. Not as good as MTN but slightly better than GCT. I dig the Lennon-esque tint to Daniels voice on the opening track. Top 10 easy, maybe top 5.

Stars- Set Yourself on Fire Same story with this as with Anniemal. Excellent. Would've been top 25 for me last year. This year its likely it will very well be the same.

Sufjan Stevens- Illinoise Great album. Better than last years. Not quite as good as Michigan. Top 20.

M.Ward- Transistor Radio Great unsung album this year. Top 50.

The White Stripes- Get Behind Me Satan Best album of their career and hints that the next one might be even better. Awesome. Top 20.

Patrick Wolf- Wind in the Wires Solid. Top 50-60.


There you go. what do you guys think?

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I bought the new Sleater-Kinney the day it came out and still haven't gotten around to listening to it. "All Hands on The Bad One is my favorite by them right now

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Albums that I have bought this year thus far:

-The Mars Volta: Frances the Mute

-Weezer: Make Believe

-System of a Down: Mesmerize

-Audioslave: Out of Exile

-CKY: An Answer Can Be Found


With the exception of Out of Exile, I have to say that I've thoroughly enjoyed my purchases up to this point. If I had to choose, An Answer Can Be Found is my album of the year up to this point.

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My list of albums so far this year:


-Roots Manuva-Awfully Deep. British rapper with rastafarian flow and weird hip hop/video game techno production=awesome.


-Antony and the Johnsons-I am a Bird Now. I've known about them before this album (He's toured with Coil and Current 93), so to see a widely available album from him is pretty sweet.


-DJ Spooky and Dave Lombardo-Drums of Death. Major disapointment. At least "B-Side Wins again" is alright.


-LCD Soundsystem-Good, albeit a bit overhyped.


-Bloc Party-Silent Alarm.Ditto.


-Hrvatski-Irrevocably Overdriven Break Freakout Megamix.91 tracks in 40 minutes. It's a pretty swell mix of drum n bass/drill n bass/IDM/noise/weirdness.


-Gorilaz-Demon Days.I'd have to say that I agree that it's much better than their debut. More focused and catchy, with no filler, and Dennis fuckin' Hopper appearing.


-Merzbow-MerzBuddah and Sphere. Probably some of his best work in a while. Dig the pulsating, almost dubby bass in "Merzbuddah."


-AFX(Aphex Twin)-The Analord Series.A series of vinyl eps that harken back to his Analogue Bubblebath/Selected Ambient Works 85-92 era sound.


-M.I.A.-Arular. Along with Roots Manuva's "Awfully Deep", this is the political statement/party record of the year.


-Meat Beat Manifesto-At the Center.Heard a few songs from it, and it sounds pretty cool. Basically, it's Meat Beat Manifesto collaberating with a Free Jazz band.


-Coil-And the Ambulence Dies in his Arms.Cool live album. Will probably be their last album, since John Balance died last November. It's good, but not as great as last years "Black Antlers" album.


-Common-Be. It's Common produced by Kanye West, so unsuprisingly, it's a winner.


Still waiting for-Current 93, "Black Ships Ate the Sky"

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Guest Derek Bailey

As great as they are, I wouldn't agree that this year's Mountain Goats and Six Organs of Admittance releases are their best (although I hope that Chasny does more with Chris Corsano), but I agree with most of what you say about what I know. Gang Gang Dance - God's Money is the only thing that I'd consider for my top albums of the year that you don't have there (and it's top 5 at least), but my mind is probably drawing a blank because it's almost 6am. While it's entirely cheating, my favourite album of this year is a compilation, By the Fruits You Shall Know the Roots, a triple LP featuring Six Organs of Admittance, Jack Rose, The MV + EE Medicine Show w/ Chris Corsano, Dredd Foole, Fursaxa aaaand one of those Finnish weirdo types with the ridiculous names. The one with the Ks. I like the two Wolf Eyes releases I've got my hands on this year, but one of those is mostly a reissue and the other is live, so they don't count either.


Now that I have more memory I like the new Books and Four Tet albums too. And Smog. And A Hawk and a Hacksaw.


I've done reviews of a few of them on the webzine that I am co-administrator of. Check 'em out: Wolf Eyes. Antony and the Johnsons. Six Organs of Admittance. Fiery Furnaces. Superwolf. Check out the rest of the website too. Some of it's bad. But I think most is okay.

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I havent really bought many new cds this year...I tend to be a bit behind on cds, and I usually tend to spend my musical budget on live shows. So heres a lil list of the best bands I saw for the first time this year.



20. Joss Stone - Surprisingly awesome set at Bonnaroo

19. Shadows Fall - Good opening band on the Slipknot our.

18 - Be Good Tanyas - Sweet alternative-folk girlies on the Sasquatch Festival second stage

17.The Perceptionists - Brilliant late-night hiphop at Bonnaroo

16.3 Inches of Blood - Good old school metal.

15.Karl Densons Tiny Universe - A mindboggling (although my mind was already pleny boggled) late night 5 hour set at Bonnaroo

14.Melee - Sunny pop tunes out of Socal. I was lucky to see them at my local little club in Wisconsin.

13.DJ Krush - Best live dj set Ive ever seen/heard. Bonnaroo late night.

12.Lamb of God - Damn good heavy band supporting Slipknot on that Subliminal Verses tour. They played alot longer than I expected and it was all worth every econd.

11.Tsunami Bomb - Fun punk band...packed crowd...boiling local music club.

10.Cocorosie - Really talented and unique sounding band of two sisters from Canada. They played a crazy good show opening for Bright Eyes. Should have a new cd out in a few months

9.Josh Ritter - Amazing singer-songwriter on an early set at a small tent at Bonnaroo. He carries a nice Irish Jeff Buckley vibe. After his show I shared some snack crackers with him, good time.

8.Jurassic 5 - Not the newest band on my list but it was my first time seeing them, at Bonnaroo. Great set with some new songs...there should be a new record out later this year.

7.The Dears - One of the early bands on the second stage of Sasquatch Fest in WA. A supremely talented lead singer with great female backup and a full band with lots of energy and unique catchy songs.

6.The Clumsy Lovers - Sweet Celtic-blugrass-rock band from Canada. They played a crazy booze-soaked set at a Madison WI saloon in support of their new (awesome) cd 'Smart Kid'

5. Iron & Wine - Very emotional performance at Bonnaroo. Highlights included Woman King, Jezebel, As We Came, and a cover of Neil Young's Mr Soul.

4.Motion City Soundtrack - An exhausting punk show at my local furnace/club. Ive never sweat so much in my life...and this band is far better than any other 'punk' on tv/radio right now, save Green Day.

3.Kanye West - He played the mainstage at the Sasquatch Fest at the Gorge Amph in Washington...on a lineup of altrock bands like Modest Mouse, Pixies, Bloc Party, etc. He had alot to prove to the foreign audience and he pulled it off amazingly. He made a new fan of me with an energetic set (under a near 100 degree sun) of tracks from College Dropout and upcoming cuts.

2.Bright Eyes - A great set at the Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee from January. One of his first performances of 'When the President Talks to God'. He drank prodigiously and played for a couple hours, most of the new acoustic disc and about 10 older tracks. Also the first guy Ive ever seen smash his guitar live...and Ive seen over 250 bands.

1.Saul Williams - An incredble performance...a sweet knockout punch to the soul that left me farflung moved and deeply thoughtful. He played just before the Mars Volta at Bonnaroo, I waited for hours, missed DMB, it was all totaly worth it. His nonstop flow of intelligent and mindsnapping poetry was among the best shows Ive ever seen.



I chose not to include other good shows like Modest Mouse, Slipknot, Ratdog, Allman Bros, John Prine, and more because I had either already seen them prior to this year or they were clearly not a 'newish' band.

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Anthony and the Johnson album, to me, sounds like the same song played over and over again....


Might have to give it another try if it's actually meant to be any good.

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Hey, Bloc Party are good fun so hurray for them. The British Sea Power album is ok too, and I think Franz Ferdinand have a new album coming out in a few months and I hear it sounds promising.

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Albums of the year so far....


1. Mudvayne - Lost & Found

2. Esham - A 1 Yola

3. Twiztid - Man's Myth Vol. 1


Still waiting for...


Twiztid - Mutant Vol. 2

Tech N9ne - Everready: The Religion

Super Villians - Furious

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Still a toss-up between Low's The Great Destroyer and the Wedding Present's Take Fountain.


Hm, I'm listening to that Low album right now. I think I'll give it the edge. I think it's the best thing they've ever done, but the consensus seems to be its one of their weaker efforts. Oh well.

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I'm sure there were more albums I liked this year, but I can't think of them all for some reason. I never remember what year stuff came out in, so this is all I have so far:


Frameshift-An Absense of Empathy

Clutch-Robot Hive/Exodus

Queens of the Stone Age-Lullabies To Paralyze

CKY-An Answer Can Be Found

System of a Down-Mesmerize

Dream Theater-Octavarium

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