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Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Jim Connelly's Favorite Recordings Of 2006

Monday, January 15, 2007
Jesse Steichen's Favorite Recordings Of 2006

Friday, January 12, 2007
Bill Bentley's Favorite Recordings Of 2006

Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Tom Ridge's Favorite Recordings Of 2006

Thursday, January 4, 2007
Lee Templeton's Favorite Recordings Of 2006

Tuesday, January 2, 2007
Anthony Carew's 13 Fave Albums Of 2006

Monday, March 27, 2006
SXSW 2006: Finding Some Hope In Austin

Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Letter From New Orleans

Saturday, February 18, 2006
Jennifer Przybylski's Fave Albums of 2005

Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Music For Dwindling Days: Max Schaefer's Fave Recordings Of 2005

Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Sean Fennessey's 'Best-Of' 2005

Thursday, January 12, 2006
Lori Miller Barrett's Fave Albums Of 2005

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Lee Templeton's Favorite Recordings of 2005

Thursday, January 5, 2006
Michael Lach - Old Soul Songs For A New World Order

Wednesday, January 4, 2006
Found In Translation Emme Stone's Year In Music 2005

Tuesday, January 3, 2006
Dave Allen's 'Best-Of' 2005

Monday, January 2, 2006
Steve Gozdecki's Favorite Albums Of 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Johnny Walker Black's Top 10 Of 2005

Monday, December 19, 2005
Neal Block's Favorite Recordings Of 2005

Thursday, December 15, 2005
Jenny Tatone's Year In Review

Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Dave Renard's Fave Recordings Of 2005

Monday, December 12, 2005
Jennifer Kelly's Fave Recordings Of 2005

Thursday, December 8, 2005
Tom Ridge's Favorite Recordings Of 2005

Tuesday, December 6, 2005
Ben Gook's Beloved Albums Of 2005

Monday, December 5, 2005
Anthony Carew's Fave Albums Of 2005

Thursday, November 10, 2005
Prince, Spoon And The Magic Of The Dead Stop

Monday, September 12, 2005
The Truth About America

Monday, September 5, 2005
Tryin' To Wash Us Away

Monday, August 1, 2005
A Psyche-Folk Heat Wave In Western Massachusetts

Monday, July 18, 2005
Soggy But Happy At Glastonbury 2005

Monday, April 4, 2005
The SXSW Experience, Part 3: All Together Now

Friday, April 1, 2005
The SXSW Experience, Part 2: Dr. Dog's Happy Chords

Thursday, March 31, 2005
The SXSW Experience, Part 1: Waiting, Waiting And More Waiting

Friday, March 25, 2005
Final Day At SXSW's Charnel House

Monday, March 21, 2005
Day Three At SXSW

Saturday, March 19, 2005
Day Two In SXSW's Hall Of Mirrors

Thursday, March 17, 2005
Report #1: SXSW 2005 And Its Hall Of Mirrors

Monday, February 14, 2005
Matt Landry's Fave Recordings Of 2004

Wednesday, February 2, 2005
David Howie's 'Moments' From The Year 2004

Thursday, January 27, 2005
Lori Miller Barrett's Fave Recordings Of 2004

Thursday, January 20, 2005
Noah Bonaparte's Fave Recordings Of 2004

Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Kevin John's Fave Albums Of 2004

Friday, January 14, 2005
Music For Those Nights: Max Schaefer's Fave Recordings Of 2004

Thursday, January 13, 2005
Dave Renard's Fave Recordings Of 2004

Wednesday, January 12, 2005
Neal Block's Top Ten Of 2004

Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Jenny Tatone's Fave Albums Of 2004

Monday, January 10, 2005
Wayne Robins' Top Ten Of 2004

Friday, January 7, 2005
Brian Orloff's Fave Albums Of 2004

Thursday, January 6, 2005
Johnny Walker (Black)'s Top 10 Of 2004

Wednesday, January 5, 2005
Jennifer Przybylski's Fave Albums (And Book) Of 2004

Tuesday, January 4, 2005
Mark Mordue's Fave Albums Of 2004

Monday, January 3, 2005
Lee Templeton's Fave Recordings Of 2004

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Thursday, January 13, 2005

Dave Renard's Fave Recordings Of 2004

Devendra Banhart, Rejoicing in the Hands (Young God): Early in the fuzzy-headed morning with coffee on and slanted sunlight coming in the blinds, much too late at night when I can't go to sleep yet, I keep coming back to Rejoicing in the Hands. Childlike and worldly at the same time, Banhart's eccentric songs brim over with originality even as they're saturated with the folk, psych and blues traditions of the "old, weird America." See also: Joanna Newsom's The Milk-Eyed Mender (Drag City) — handmade, whimsical, and intense.

Dungen, Ta Det Lugnt (Subliminal Sounds): This Swedish psych record must have fallen through a wormhole from 1968, because it sounds like a refugee from the Nuggets II box set. The guitar pedals are set on "lysergic," but the songs are so catchy you'll be singing along to the Swedish lyrics, which could be about getting righteously wasted or about hobbits dancing in a meadow — I really have no idea. When the music is this good, it doesn't matter.

The Hold Steady, ... Almost Killed Me (Frenchkiss): In total, I think I spent about three months of 2004 either obsessively deciphering the lyrics of Lifter Puller (Craig Finn's old band) or going to see the Hold Steady (his new one) rock out. First, start with Finn's free-associative storytelling: "My name's Rick Danko, baby, people call me One-Hour Photo/ I got some hazardous chemicals, so drive around to the window." Now combine that with balls-out classic rock and guess what, the Hold Steady pack more punch than roofies in yer jungle juice. Somehow their ballads ("Certain Songs," "Sketchy Metal") are their best songs.

Interpol, Antics (Matador): Late 2002, "NYC," reaction after one listen — "Ugh, Interpol, mopey, Joy Division-y, skinny-suit-wearing blah de blah blah." Mid-2003, "PDA," five listens — "Um, this is actually pretty good." Late 2004, "Evil," 25 listens — "Dude, Interpol! Atmospheric, Joy Division-y, best-of-the-year blah de blah blah ..."

Madvillain, Madvillainy (Stones Throw): MF Doom could justifiably stand accused of letting his quality control slip a bit this year, since he unleashed multiple albums and seemingly dozens of Special Herbs beat compilations. On Madvillainy, though, the Metal Fellow kills track after track of producer Madlib's fractured funk, playing verbal "Jeopardy!" and running up the score like Ken Jennings: "Groovy, dude, not to prove to be rude but this shit is like what you might put on movie food." (Um, what is jalapeños?) See also: De La Soul's "Rock Co.Kane Flow" — totally bonkers, and Doom has a guest verse.

M.I.A., Piracy Funds Terrorism Vol. 1 (CD-R): The producer Diplo's new album, Florida (Ninja Tune), runs the gamut from psych-tinged downtempo to Dirty South and dancehall ("Diplo Rhythm"), but it's only his second-best release of 2004. He also put together Piracy Funds Terrorism, the excellent street-style mixtape by M.I.A., an MC from Sri Lanka by way of London. Omnivorous global funk, from Brazilian to "Big Pimpin'," provides the perfect backdrop for M.I.A.'s precise, singsong delivery, and Diplo sticks the landing on tons of segues that have no business working so well — like when the "yo-yo-yaaaayyyy" chant from M.I.A.'s "Galang" morphs into Baby's "What Happened to That Boy?"

Arthur Russell, The World of Arthur Russell (Soul Jazz): Music is constantly hurtling forward and backward at the same time, and 2004 wouldn't sound the same without the countless reissues and rediscoveries that came to the surface. One of the best was this Arthur Russell collection, surveying his genre-defying disco experiments ("Is It All Over My Face?") as well as his beautiful solo songs for cello and voice ("A Little Lost"). See also: the propulsive and druggy Black Devil Disco Club reissues (Rephlex) and the amateur-genius funk of Thrust by McNeal & Niles (Chocolate Industries).

TV on the Radio, Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes (Touch and Go): "See, we'll have this kind of My Bloody Valentine, Pere Ubu/prog rock sound with a strong groove and barbershop harmonies, right? It'll be soulful — like a soulful version of Peter Gabriel — but also postmodern, with whitewash wall-of-noise guitars and all these samples and loops." Sounds terrible, right? Oops, no, it's awesome.

DFA 12-inch singles: This label's underground hits of 2002, the Rapture's "House of Jealous Lovers" and LCD Soundsystem's "Losing My Edge," became so inescapable that it seemed like DFA's expiration date might come up fast. But this year's models included no fewer than three extended-playing monsters: the acid-disco madness of LCD's "Yeah," Pixeltan's dubby-dancey-punk blast "Get Up/Say What," and the mesmerizing DFA remix of Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Russom's "Rise." The recently released DFA Compilation #2 puts it all on CD with some new tracks and a mix disc.

Biggest Disappointment

Absolutely loved the Fiery Furnaces' first album, Gallowsbird's Bark. Their follow-up, Blueberry Boat, is being billed as the second coming of Tommy, but it's more like 90 half-finished songs arranged somewhat randomly into 13 really LONG songs. Get these guys some Ritalin. Bonus disappointment: When they play live now, all their old songs sound like the new record.

Great Songs From Albums That Didn't Make The Cut

The Rogers Sisters, "Check Level"; Animal Collective, "Who Could Win a Rabbit?"; Kanye West, "All Falls Down" and "Jesus Walks"; Liars, "Broken Witch"; Franz Ferdinand, "Take Me Out" (anthem of 2004, hands down).

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