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2005 Year End Best Of

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As I look back over this year, I'm stunned by the quality of music, both recorded and live that I've heard. I've discovered some new bands, and lost some favorites. I've seen some incredible shows, and been pleasantly surprised more than once. In the number of years we've published Evil Sponge, this is the first year I've given out 4 seven sponge ratings! Wow, that in itself is impressive. So without further delay...

          Top Ten Releases of 2005
  1. Night Light by Hitchhike. Technically this is a 2004 release, but it didn't make it onto my stack until 2005. This 5 song EP contains the best single song I've heard in a long time (I'm Not Tired), but everything else is also amazingly strong.
  2. One Ten Hundred Thousand Million by The Octopus Project. On their second album, The Octopus Project managed to make a perfect amalgamation of electronica and indie rock. All instrumental, this release holds up under both close listening as well as loud stereo conditions, and gets my head bopping every time. Definitely the best "transcends genres" release of the year.
  3. (tie) Found On the Forest Floor by Luigi. Lots of jangle and headed up by vocalist/guitarist Michelle Dubois and backed by a fearsome rhythm section. I am continually amazed that Luigi are a local band, and that this release is not on some Indie label somewhere. If you get a chance, you should also check out their always excellent live shows as well.
  4. (tie) The Kick and The Snare by The Deathray Davies. This record continues the band's streak of excellent releases. The Kick and The Snare manages to combine the lo-fi sensibility of earlier releases with the interesting production values of their last album. Plus, it also contains a recording of Chainsaw, a longtime favorite.
  5. Let It Lie by The Jupiter Watts. Another local Atlanta release that holds up under repeated listens. At times it's languid rock with a slight air of psychedelia; at other points, it rocks hard. Either way, it's fun.
  6. Sincerely by Black Lipstick. Another solid release from the Peekaboo records label. People still persist in comparing this group to the Velvet Underground, and I still refuse to hear it. Nevertheless, this is a fun romp through garage rock land.
  7. Moxie Bravo by The High Strung. A couple of years in the making, Moxie Bravo lives up to the promise of The High Strung's debut album. It has the same drive and intensity as their earlier material, while remaining interesting in a musical and lyrical sense
  8. Knitting Needles & Bicycle Bells by Tenement Halls. Essentially, this is the return of Chris Lopez (late of Atlanta's The Rock*a*Teens). This records features tunes that Lopez et al have been playing around town for a good long time, and it's see that he's back.
  9. Eyes to Space by Eyes to Space. This is another EP has four songs, none of which sound like the others. The best song on this is Destructive Behavior, a vaguely Stereolab-esque tune.
  10. Louise by Bouldercrest Singing Group. Coming ostensibly out of nowhere, this is a late in the year release by another local Atlanta band. It's soul-country, and very soothing as you travel all over the East Georgia countryside.
          Live Shows

This list needs to start with a disclaimer. When I first sat down to write it, I realized that there was a one to one correlation between the albums listed above and my favorite concerts of the year. So, I basically decided to remove the ten bands listed above from my concert list. So, with that in mind, here's: Top Ten Shows of 2005 by bands not mentioned in my best album list...

  1. ASOBI SEKSU w/ SNMNMNM atThe Drunken Unicorn on Monday.14.February: I'm not as big a fan of Asobi Seksu as Postlibyan, but I thought this show was excellent. It was good music, with a great opener (SNMNMN), and made it worthwhile to go out on a Monday evening.
  2. MASERATI w/ The The Liverhearts and Headlights at The EARL on Tuesday.27.September: Maserati don't play out that much these days, which is a shame, as this was an excellent showcase for their skills. Furthermore, Headlights were wondrously good, and improved upon their Corndogorama set.
  3. Sleep Therapy and Cinemechanica at The Drunken Unicorn on Friday.9.September: Yeah yeah, The Octopus Project were also on this bill, but they don't count (see disclaimer above). However, ignoring them, Sleep Therapy and Cinemechanica put together a set that combined math-punk and straight up emo, and made me take note of two heretofore unknown acts.
  4. RUVOLO w/ Pocket Novel Mystery and The Sudden Rays at The EARL on Wednesday.9.February: I love The Sudden Rays, the main project of 3D5SPD's Chris Hoke and Justin Gray. Part Superchunk part hard rock, they are excellent. On this evening local band Ruvolo and touring band Pocket Novel Mystery completed a great night of music.
  5. BRITISH SEA POWER at The EARL on Tuesday.10.May: O.K., so it was the night before my birthday, and things got a little weird, and PostLibyan did not try to kill the opener this time. Still, it was fun and enjoyable, and oddly enough, British Sea Power work well enough in The EARL's environment.
  6. SNOWDEN w/ Jetty and The Shut Ups at The Star Bar Saturday.13.August: I love The Shut Ups; they are a criminally underrated band that always puts on an excellent set. With fellow locals Snowden and Jetty, this was a somewhat bizarre set in terms of musical mix, but it somehow managed to work.
  7. Bang! Bang! and The Love Drunks at The EARL on Saturday.10.September: Bang! Bang! got lost on the way to The EARL. But they eventually showed, which was a good thing, as I totally loved their electro-clash/garage sound. The Love Drunks held their own against this, and if anything, were even better than the touring act.
  8. THE ROSEBUDS w/ The Comas and Hopewell at The EARL on Friday.20.May: And representing the North Carolina contingent we have The Rosebuds and The Comas. The Rosebuds, as usual, were breathtaking, and I had forgotten how much I really like The Comas. Hopewell were unexpected and quite good as well.
  9. MAGNAPOP at The EARL on Saturday.5.March: Magnapop played better later on in the year at Corndogorama; however this show was the first time I had seen them in years, so it was a definite highlight.
  10. THE MATTOID at The Star Bar on Saturday.30.July: Speaking of criminally underrated, have I spoken of The Mattoid lately? This four piece consistently plays a raw, funny set, and this was no exception.
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