Without further ado, here is my (cue dramatic music)
2004 was a good year for the rock, and a bad year for my wallet in relation to said rock. I saw way too many shows, but it was a damn good time. I also bought way too much music (and continue to do so), which was less of a good time and some weak, lame attempt at music consumption reform (not nearly as catchy as tort reform) will be made within the House Of Funky Commons (To start the reform and stay true to the name of the House, I think I'm keeping Resurrection and selling One Day It'll All Make Sense, Like Water For Chocolate, and Electric Circus!!! Be??? It better be good!!! Ha!) soon. Since everyone loves lists (and at this point, I could probably make a list of my Top 10 Best of 2004 Lists), I made several. Let's start with my Top 20 Albums of the Year, shall we? I have not spent enough time listening to most of the music I own, so if I sat down for a month and just spent it listening to all the 2004 releases that I have, the content and order of this list would be much different, but since that will never happen, who cares?
20. Tree of Snakes - The Ottoman Empire Strikes Back Columbus dudes + punk + PBR = FUN. Good CD from a good local band that is just looking to have a good time, and these rockin' beery singalongs are a testament to that spirit.
19. Moviola - East of Eager Long-time Columbus folk-rock band soldiers on with another album of laid-back front-porch ditties. More albums need to reference Luis Aparicio without saying much about him. And more bands with 5 or 6 members (they lost one during the year, so who knows what the official count is now?) need to have ALL of them sharing lead vocal duties. IF THEY CAN PULL IT OFF.
18. M.F. Doom - Mm..Food Yes, the "official" follow-up to Operation: Doomsday finally dropped this year. Yes, it was disappointing, what with the huge amounts of underground hype and the huge amounts of Doom-sample skits on the album. But instupituous songs like "Rapp Snitch Knishes," "Hoe Cakes," "Potholderz," and "Deep Fried Frenz" CANNOT be fronted on. For the next Doom album in 2022, however, Mr. Dumile better remember that WE KNOW HE IS FUCKING METALFACE DOOM!!! DAMN!
17. Medeski Martin & Wood - End of the World Party (Just In Case) Wait, how did this make it on here? This crazy list. Anyhoo, this was a pretty good release from the boys. Good beats, good samples, and some jazz here and there.
16. Wordsworth - Mirror Music Though he's a bit too world-weary, Words has come back with a vengeance. Good thing approximately 6.8 people (8.8 if Nappy and Davekwon get their respective acts together) have run out and bought this fine hip-hop album. Good beats, good flow, and lots of fine story-telling and wisdom-imparting.
15. Crown City Rockers - Earthtones The crew formerly known as Mission has returned with an album of soulful, organic hip-hop jams. Good flows from Raashan Ahmad, nice tunes from the band, and even a blazin' cameo from Gift of Gab!!! What more do you want?
14. RJD2 - Since We Last Spoke Though very different from Deadringer (and not quite as good), SWLS is some sort of '70s AM radio party. Some funk, some rock, some different, and even some singing from ol' RJ himself. Mellowed-out niceness, with some not-so mellow parts too.
13. Holy Sons - I Want to Live a Peaceful Life Though his album is rather world-weary and depressing, Emil Amos' time in a barn somewhere in Portland, OR was well-spent. A fine folk album, good rainy day type tunes. But somebody really needs to go over there and cheer him up. I'm serious.
12. Blockhead - Music by Cavelight In a year of many instrumental hip-hopish albums, the man most revered for producing gems for Aesop Rock did very well for himself. Another mellowed-out recording. Sorry, I haven't listened to this for months, I just remember it being awesome.
11. Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand Yes yes yes, hype hype hype, I know. But these Scottish art-mongers still put out a nice little album. Y'ALL DON'T EVEN KNOW ABOUT "MATINEE"!!! THAT'S MY JAM, YO!!!
10. Dan Melchior's Broke Revue - 'O Clouds, Unfold!' Commit this picture of the cover to memory, for you may never see it again (this is actually the first time I've ever seen it, good ol' internet comin' through in the clutch!). Oh sure, it's quite the awesome album. Melchior, a short, quiet, British dude, assembled a new (American, I think, just like the last one) band after the old one quit and recorded another wonderful epic that could best be described as some sort of garage-pop-rock. Some 60s pop flourishes, some rockin tunes, and a bunch of memorable ditties sung in his distinctive accent. But it appears that the mighty Troubleman Unlimited label has stalled the release of this one indefinitely. Melchior is giving out free burned copies at shows, and it looks like it might never come out, or at least not in the form I have. DAMN THE MAN!
9. Wicked Lung & the Wookalar - Angle Bangers Sure, I know these guys personally. But any hip-hop album with a tune that gives "Cock Mobster" a run for its money in the white-guy female-star-fucking department is OK by me. If the forthcoming hip-hop and death metal albums from these guys are anywhere near as good as this one, I might be able to start forgetting about the Trailer Park Ninjas. Maybe.
8. Quantic - Mishaps Happening Crazy beats from a funky Brit. Jerome and I put this in the car stereo on the way to Bacch and just about lost it. A downtempo concoction of Afrobeat, funk, soul, jazz, and...magic that doesn't feel "downtempo." DANCE!
7. Von Bondies - Pawn Shoppe Heart Sure, maybe they're just famous because of the Jack White incident. Judging by the lines "With my teeth knocked out, I can feel the blood..." from their lead single, I think Jason Stollsteimer knows it. But this is still one groovy Detroit rock dance party. This album has produced at least two long-running inside jokes between me and Nappy, so isn't that enough for greatness. I waited to write this chart after my birthday so people would take me seriously, finally.
6. Black Keys - Rubber Factory Akron's finest blues-rock duo continues their assault on your mind. People talk about big differences between this and their earlier material, but to me it's some great blues jams, like the other stuff (Well, I haven't heard The Big Come Up yet, so sue me). Soul-socking beats, ass-shakin' guitar riffs, and solid vocals. Tell 'em Abele, tell 'em!
5. Murs - Murs 3:16, The 9th Edition Short, but sweet. 9.5 tracks of collabodopiation between Murs and 9th Wonder, underground beatmaker supreme (I guess). Great storytelling, great soul from 9th, and just overall greatness. A testament to the concept of sitting down and focusing on just putting your best stuff on the record, not a bunch of skits or filler songs (Doom, anyone?) or other such shit. I mean, I'm no Canuck, but random references to Kamloops (British Columbia) make me go nerd for the night.
4. Madvillain - Madvillainy In a year of much Doom, this one obviously stood head and shoulders above the rest. As opposed to Mm..Food, this one interspersed short songs, interludes, skits, and who knows what in such a well-mixed, rapid-fire manner that it definitely felt like one solid presentation, and not good songs with bullshit between. Madlib and Doomy Doom created a blunted hip-hop wonderland, so I think I'll go live there.
3. Greyhounds - Liberty OK, this is cheating because it originally came out a couple years ago and it was reissued this year. But damn, this is a backyard funky soul party! And yes, the album does have a guest appearance from Ani Difranco (No, I'm not bolding that shit), but she just sang backing vocals, and it was great! That's a power move right there. Anyway, this album is funny, emotional, gritty, peppy, and just all-around awesome. Texas jamtime.
2. Diplo - Florida Philly beatmaker put out an international banger that ran neck-and-neck for the first annual Blogged Out Championship, and therefore ALMOST got to have a big album cover here. Trippy beats, inventive sampling, some cool vocal appearances, and overall vibe make for a damn good album. I didn't get to see him live, but remember, he's no Gallagher.
1. Antibalas - Who Is This America? Man, it's a political year and I only have one seriously political record in my Top 20? Well, then it's got to be number one! Ha! Such a potent combination of funk, dance, and politics has no competition. The tradition of Afrobeat, an African form of funk popularized by Fela Kuti, is still being extended proudly by these now-New Yorkers. It's an enjoyable kick-in-America's-ass that is oh so necessary. Get this album, then see them live. An awesome album by an awesome ensemble.
Top 5 EPs
5. Printmatic (Blueprint) - Vitamins and Minerals
4. Dan Melchior's Broke Revue - Gud' Bye Ta Sluggo!
3. DJ PRZM Presents The Off the Clock EP Starring Illogic
2. The Sun - Did Your Mother Tell You?
1. Envelope - Envelope Yes indeed folks, Envelope's rhymes and Amos Famous' beats combined for a six-pack of Columbus hip-hop awesomeness. Envelope's wit and slightly off-kilter flow make him a quality, distinctive MC. Look out for the album. Maybe I'm a "homer," but Clintonville's my home, what the fuck can I say??? Now about that loading dock........
Top 5 Reissues/Reissue Compilations
5. Tokya Ska Paradise Orchestra - 1998-2004
4. Fela Kuti - The Undergound Spiritual Game
3. Quincy Jones and Bill Cosby - The Original Jam Sessions 1969
2. Stones Throw 101 DVD/CD
1. Eccentric Soul: The Capsoul Label Oh Bill Moss, why did you go insane? I mean, if I was "The Boss with the Red Hot Sauce," I would probably stay that way. Anyhoo, the Numero Group, a reissue label in Chicago, came to Columbus and put together an authorized compilation of the best of Capsoul Records, a Columbus funk/soul label run by Bill Moss in the '70s. This CD is chock full of vintage funk and soul, but I would pay $15 for Bill's "Sock It To 'Em Soul Brother" alone.
Wow, this category is waaaay too wide open for a serious list or anything. Off the top of my head, the bands I saw perform awesomely in 2004 include: The Dirtbombs, Fat Girls By The Snack Table, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, This Moment In Black History, The Hoo Doo Soul Band, Apollo Sunshine, VHS or Beta, 84 Nash, Peelander-Z, Amps II Eleven, Dr. Lonnie Smith, The Tony Monaco Trio, Charlie Hunter/Bobby Previte/DJ Logic, Mclusky, BOB LOG III, The Red Elvises, The Octopus Project, The Lab Rats, The Heroes of History, Addison Groove Project, Grand Buffet, Lion Fever, Free Space, Gris Gris, Shell Shag, Robert Randolph, The Apes, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and damn, a fuckton more, OK? That's enough, and not off the top of my head. I was rocked super-thoroughly in 2004, and that's all you need to know.
Fuck it, that's enough writing. Sure, alot of my writing is bullshit, but I think I believe in my lists, so comment away. I mean, I didn't pull a "Stylus" and celebrate R. FUCKING KELLY as creator of the #1 single of the last five years, so I think I at least deserve a reply. To reward your attention to detail, the first person to comment on this whose name is not Glen Andrew Napier or Christopher John Abele (at least I think that's your middle name) wins...the aforementioned 3-pack of Common CDs!!! Git 'er done!