This is the year I truly came out swinging as a music fan. Fan as in fanatic.
I've always been someone truly interested in hearing new things. I grew up on Video Music Box and Right On and Word Up and MTV and KISS-FM and Sunday Classics and CBS-101. I've always mixed my R&B and rap with oldies and rock. I dragged my dad to see Steely Dan in 1996 and made a fan out of him. The first almost written fan letter was to Scott Weiland to encourage him to get his shit together (with love) and keep coming back because I wanted to see that Tiny Music tour -- and that I was also glad I didn't buy a ticket because I would've been pissed. At Wes, I gravitated to the station and toiled at my little timeslot at first Thursdays at 4am...when I had to be at work at 9am the next day because I just loved being able to walk into the box and transmit whatever random album that had crossed my path out there into the world. And sometimes people actually listened too. Here back home, at first I felt that I needed to specialize because everyone had their niche of what they listened to and just you know, fuck the rest. But, I'm a random and I like all sorts of things, so I just zig-zagged my own little path, every once in a while checking in with others to see what was up. This year, I have loved:
1. Minimalist Atmospheric Producer Albums I Played Until They Depressed Me And Then Still For A Few More Weeks: RJD2, Since We Last Spoke; Dabrye, Instrmtl; Prefuse 73, Extinguished and One Word Extinguisher; Savath + Savalas, Apropat’t.
2. Compilations Bigged Up Endlessly In Cyberspace Which I Became Curious About and/or Chance Viewings (Thanks VH1 Classic!) and/or Chance Hearings (Thanks Sapph!) That Got Me Feeling Glad That I Came Along Late Rather Than Never: Arthur Russell, The World of Arthur Russell; Coati Mundi, "Me No Pop I;" Morgan Geist, Unclassics; Vanity 6, "Drive Me Wild;" The Pointer Sisters, "Automatic;" Easy Star All-Stars, Dub Side of The Moon.
3. Bands That Made Me Excited Just To Be In Their Audience: Phoenix, Tortured Soul, The Art of Shooting, Benzos, and Man Man (natch). The rule of thumb this year has been, if a show is cheap enough and I've heard of the group (or at least, the night shows promise), I'm there. Phoenix was mutual understanding group with the French kids I met in DC on my study domestic program. I rock the Todd Edwards remix of "If I Ever Feel Better" to this day. I'm not going to get into the show again, but I came for Benzos. I'd seen them back in March on my birthday and downloaded some tracks and fell in like. I ended up on the TSoul mailing list somehow earlier this year and went to the show because it was something fun happening while I was in LA. TOAS came via one of my ridiculous amount of MM shows this year. I'm beginning to feel like the mascot or something. And reading back at the stuff I've written over time is a trip! No wonder why I, um, stood out...besides the obvious. Bottom line is: live music is awesome!
4. Groups That Have Me Along For The Ride If They Want To Party Like Its 1986: Chromeo and Electric Six.
5. Electro-Rock/-Dance a.k.a. ILM and Fluxblog Taught Me Everything: Franz Ferdinand, "Take Me Out;" LCD Soundsystem, "Yeah (Stupid Version);" Erlend Oye, DJ Kicks; Bugz In Da Attic, "Booty (La La);" Spektrum, "Kinda New" (Tiefschwarz Remixes); Metro Area, "Orange Alert (DFA Remix);" Basement Jaxx, "Hot N Cold;" Luciano & Quenum, "Orange Mistake;" Tiga; Smash TV, "Queen Of Man;" Truby Trio, "Universal Love (Tiefschwarz Remix)"
6. Reggaeton: Like Dancehall But In A Foreign Language, So That's Why I Don't Understand It: Don Omar, "Dale Don Dale;" Tito Y Hector, "Gata Celosa;" Pitbull, "Culo;" N.O.R.E. and like everybody, "Oye Mi Canto"
7. It's Got A Damned Good Beat, But You Can Only Really Shuffle To It Like Every Other Fucking Hip-Hop Song In 2004: Mobb Deep, "Got It Twisted;" Snoop & Pharell, "Drop It Like It's Hot" (instumental please because when does Snoop have time to do his gang thing? After football practice and before stoner movie cameos? Puhlease!); Terror Squad, "Lean Back;" Petey Pablo, "Freek-A-Leek;" Usher, "Yeah!;" Twista, "Overnight Celebrity;" Ciara, "Goodies." And the like two exceptions that aren't actually: Nelly, "Flap Your Wings" and LL, "Headsprung"
Anways, my best of what I was listening to all year, not necessarily new -- except to me -- in no particular order:
Arthur Russell, The World of Arthur Russell
Erlend Oye, DJ Kicks
RJD2, Since We Last Spoke
Tortured Soul, Introducing Tortured Soul
Man Man, Man In A Blue Turban With A Face
Easy Star All-Stars, Dub Side of The Moon
Morgan Geist, Unclassics
Chromeo, She's In Control
Prefuse 73, Extinguished
Bugz In Da Attic, "Booty (La La)"
Death Cab For Cutie, "Transatlanticism"
Erro, "Don't Change For Me"
Morgan Geist, "Lullaby"
Truby Trio, "Universal Love (Tiefschwarz Remix)"
N.E.R.D, "She Wants To Move"
Twista, "Overnight Celebrity"
Basement Jaxx, "Hot N Cold"
Mobb Deep, "Got It Twisted"
Tito Y Hector, "Gata Celosa"
Franz Ferdinand, "Take Me Out"
Coati Mundi, "Me No Pop I"
I'm Going To Be All Over Their New(est) Shit In 2005 Like Grease On Fried Chicken:
The Sea And Cake/Sam Prekop/Archer Prewitt/Tortoise
Kings of Convenience