It has been a good year for music and film. Lots of new creativity.
Best Albums of 2004
- Auf Der Maur – Auf Der Maur. A stunning debut album from the former Hole bassist, delivering chunky guitars against twisted lyrics. The sexiest and best album of the year.
- Biffy Clyro – Infinity Land. The boys from Kilmarnock finally produce the rock album they have been threatening for years. While their first album, Blackened Sky, was all catchy hook filled sing alongs, and Vertigo Of Bliss took them into slightly stranger territory, it is with this third album that they finally nail their sound. A very close second. Just remember: There’s No Such Thing As A Jaggy Snake.
- Probot – Probot. Dave Grohl’s metal side project comes to fruition after years of speculation. Songs sound like extensions of the main bands of the many guests, with “Shake Your Blood” spilling over with the influence of Motorhead. An easy choice for a drummer.
- JetPlane Landing – There Is No Courage Unless There Is Real Danger. Not actually an album (or it would be higher), more of a 23 track single. Either way, fantastically good. The title track is the sort of rant produced by Rage when they were in their prime, followed by a mixture of live tracks and new acoustic songs. For 4, it’s excellent value (quality and quantity) and with proceeds going to International Red Cross you really should get a copy.
- yourcodenameis:milo – All Roads To Fault. The first mini-album sounds great. A fairly odd guitar dynamic, switching tempos and strong lyrics make this a favourite. Worth it for the title track alone.
Honourable mentions for the above should go to Mclusky for the “The Difference Between Me And You Is That I’m Not On Fire“. Opens with two dark tracks, and progresses as a very proficient rock album. Only kept out of the top five by a whisker.
Top Five Bands To Watch In 2005 (we’ll assume that Chinese Democracy won’t make it out again):
- The Mars Volta – First album, Deloused In The Comatorium, was and still is a mind-expanding sonic adventure. Upcoming second album, Frances The Mute, has a lot to live up to but if anyone can do it Omar and Cedric can.
- Degrassi – Solid indie rock with perfectly posed lyrical riffs and cutting guitars. If this band get signed, they will be big.
- Fickle Public – A band who understand the intricacies of guitar dynamics better than most who have decade long careers. Funny titles, head bopping tunes and a hint of punk, the debut album is most definitely one to watch.
- Hell Is For Heroes – Two singles into the approach for their follow up to the fantastic Neon Handshake, Hell Is For Heroes prove that being dropped by a major label shouldn’t slow you down if you’ve got belief in your music.
- yourcodenameis:Milo – The first full-length will drop sometime early next year, preceeded by an EP. Buy them both. They shall be good.
Now, the next part is the best films of the year. Tricky business since it has been such a spectacular year for cinema. Because the selection process was so tricky (particularly cross-genre), I’m picking a top three and then listing another ten excellent films.
- Bubba Hotep – A dark comedy about a retired Elvis, a black John F. Kennedy and a soul sucking mummy, opening with a spiel about warts in odd places. Hilarious. Bruce Campbell is spot on, as always.
- I Heart Huckabees – Comedies about an existential crisis and the nature of human existence probably shouldn’t work. This one does and does it well.
- Zatoichi – Samurai action done right: short battles, single swipe kills, and lots of blood. Takeshi Kitano is superb as the master swordsman turned blind masseur.
Other films (no further commentary, just read the review):
- Infernal Affairs
- Dawn Of The Dead (remake)
- Shaun Of The Dead
- Kill Bill, Volume 2
- The Bourne Supremacy
- Garden State
That’s all. I would thoroughly recommend all the films and albums listed here. If you haven’t seen or heard any, give them a go.