Using Bees To Effect Vengeance

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Wednesday, December 31, 2003
Right, in no particular order, except for the Top 3:

Rilo Kiley -- The Execution Of All Things [MP3s: 1 2 3]
The Shins -- Chutes Too Narrow [mp3]
Radiohead -- Hail To The Thief

These were the only three records that honestly excited me this year. The Rilo Kiley album is a joy -- it doesn't do anything groundbreaking, but it pisses all over your standard-issue indie pop with its uncommonly inventive hooks, uncommonly powerful (at least to me) lyrics, and uncommonly thoughtful arranging and production. Jenny Lewis's voice charms (and she's cute too -- c.f the video for The Frug), and the album as whole is endlessly listenable. These were the songs that were stuck in my head all year.

The Shins record is also not groundbreaking -- it's similar to RK in that it's an intelligent record that has all kinds of nooks and crannies to explore and appreciate.

The Radiohead consolidates on their albums of the last few years, but is still operating on a level of invention far above their peers. There, There never fails to get the juices flowing.

White Stripes -- Elephant
New Pornographers -- Electric Version
The Decemberists -- Castaways And Cutouts [mp3] ("July, July" is a long-lost Robyn Hitchcock song)
The Strokes -- Room On Fire
The Libertines -- Up The Bracket
Minus Five -- Down With Wilco
Evan Dando -- Baby, I'm Bored

Honorable Mentions:
Pernice Brothers -- Yours, Mine And Ours
Gotan Project -- La Revancha del Tango
Goldfrapp -- Black Cherry
Belle & Sebastian -- Dear Catastrophe Waitress

Didn't hear the whole album, but should've and will:
Robyn Hitchcock - Luxor
Sloan -- Action Pact
Beyonce -- Dangerously In Love
Outkast -- Speakerboxx/The Love Below (I know, I know)
Twilight Singers -- Blackberry Belle
The Wrens -- Meadowlands
My Morning Jacket -- It Still Moves
SFA -- Phantom Power
Josh Rouse -- 1972
Explosions In The Sky -- The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place
Ted Leo/Pharmacists -- Hearts Of Oak

Rufus Wainwright -- Want One
Blur -- Think Tank (a couple of beautiful songs and some drek)
Fountains of Wayne -- Welcome Interstate Managers (good for what it is, but they *really* need to do something different on their 4th album...also known as "The Sexsmith Syndrome)

Slight Disappointment:
Elvis Costello -- North (an album touted as in the vein of Wee Small Hours should swing, even if very gently)

I Don't Get It:
Broken Social Scene
The Darkness
Death Cab For Cutie/Postal Service


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