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Tuesday, January 16, 2007
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Friday, January 12, 2007
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Thursday, December 8, 2005

Tom Ridge's Favorite Recordings Of 2005

Neumu's Michael Goldberg writes: In a year that saw the release of one great album after another, it's amazing that our critics manage to cherry-pick just 10 gems to share with us as the holidays approach. And, in fact, some of them (such as Anthony Carew) found way more than 10 to make note of.

Our man Tom Ridge could certainly have given us a list of 20, perhaps 30, albums that have rocked his world. But he understands that less really can be more sometimes. And so, here are Neumu Contributing Editor Tom Ridge's fave albums of the year. Enjoy.

1. Black Mountain, Black Mountain (Jagjaguwar): An awesome conflation of '60s/'70s influences, stirred into a righteous mix of underground and stoner elements with a keen sense of protest bubbling under. Black Mountain's trick is to always stay several steps ahead of what you think they're going to do next, so while much of this album might remind you of something else, it's not easy to pin down exactly what that something is.

2. Akron/Family, Akron/Family (Young God): Michael Gira-sponsored, mesmerizing meta-roots combo, with an intelligent, emotionally engaging hybrid of wayward Americana cross-bred with abstract, textural arrangements.

3. Low, The Great Destroyer (Sub Pop): A louder Low than we've been used to, and an album reflecting a turbulent cultural milieu with its palpable sense of focused anger and outrage.

4. Magnolia Electric Co, Trials & Errors (Secretly Canadian): Jason Molina explicitly evokes the edginess of the electric Neil Young in his prime with this raw and vivid live album, recorded on tour in Europe.

5. ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Worlds Apart (Interscope): Dour musings on the place of art in a politically unstable world, filtered through an explosive yet oddly baroque rock 'n' roll sensibility.

6. Kato Hideki, Green Zone (Doubt Music): A blistering, live-in-the-studio soundtrack to the ongoing turmoil in Iraq, with NYC-based Japanese bassist Hideki leading a power trio through some powerful atomic blues and combustible improv.

7. Combat Astronomy, The Dematerialised Passenger (Discus): Stunning transatlantic fusion of relentless, low-end industrial force with the explosive, ecstatic noise of questing free jazz.

8. LCD Soundsystem, LCD Soundsystem (DFA): Finally James Murphy releases his debut album, and its infectious mixture of pounding rhythms and ironic self-awareness scores a series of deadly accurate hits, with Murphy apparently satirizing the very thing he's celebrating.

9. East West Blast Test, Popular Music for Unpopular People (Ipecac): A thrilling, exhausting whistle-stop tour through a nimble post-metal soundtrack that encompasses raw power and a breathtaking variety of styles, all compressed into a turbo-charged ball of energy.

10. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Howl (Red Ink/RCA): A convincing reinvention as this trio eschew their cooler-than-thou rebel posturing for heartfelt folk-blues stomps and intimate, gospel-flavored fireside workouts.

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