Thursday, June 16, 2005
we will find our way, stuck in the middle

Since we've reached (about) the halfway mark of the year, it's my list-loving pleasure to present you From Blown Speakers' favourite albums of the first 6 months of 2005. There's a couple of releases that you might not be able to find easily in your local music store, so I've linked to places where you can buy online.

1. Sleater-Kinney - the Woods
2. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - s/t
3. Final Fantasy - Has a Good Home
4. Architecture in Helsinki - In Case We Die
5. Andrew Bird - ...and the Mysterious Production of Eggs
6. M.I.A. - Arular
7. LCD Soundsystem - s/t
8. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
9. Math and Physics Club - Weekends Away EP
10. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm

And to celebrate what has, thus far, been a fantastic year, here's a little mix with some tracks from those ten albums up there, and some other songs that have been hogging time in my cd player/winamp playlist. It's by no means exaustive, but it's a start.

1. Sleater-Kinney - Entertain
The drums on this track come thundering, giving me the same feeling I got the first time I heard the intro the Autolux's "Turnstile Blues" last year. The lead off single from the tremendous the Woods builds from there. The bridge sees Carrie Brownstein spitting venom, before the last chorus crashes in and Corin and Carrie trade vocals in classic S-K fashion.

2. the National - Mr. November
I wasn't initially that keen on the National's latest, after streaming it off of there official site, but it's growing on me. This song in particular could single handedly convert me on the record. The shimmery guitars, the defeated lyrics, and oh that chorus... it explodes. Music (for Robots) posted this song a week or so ago, and they described it much better than I could.

3. the Fiery Furnaces - Single Again
EP is the perfect balance between Gallowsbird's Bark and Blueberry Boat, and this song is like a microcosm of that point. The midpoint between GB's full on riffing and Blueberry Boat's blippy experimentation, and (surprisingly for a compilation of mostly b-sides), their best to date.

4. Final Fantasy - This Is the Dream of Reg and Win
You might recognize Owen Pallett, if you've seen any of the Arcade Fire's East Coast dates (or their late night TV appearance). You may also know him from the Hidden Cameras, or his other band Les Mouches. The guy gets around, but this is by far my favourite project of his. Final Fantasy is just all Owen. If this and Andrew Bird are any sign, looping violins are the next big thing. To add to that the DNTEL baiting title and glitchy programmed drum are enough to win me over. Lucky for you, if you're not so easily amused, there's much more here than just witty word play.

5. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - Heavy Metal
My love affair with this little Brooklyn band started when Mystery and Misery posted four tracks. At first I was somewhat amused, but not completely won over, but the same four tracks kept popping up on my shuffled WinAmp playlist. Then I downloaded the album when some kind soul posted it on Indietorrents, and now I'm sold. By now you've probably heard the Talking Heads comparisons from all over the blogosphere. And, if not that, you've probably read that Pitchfork is "trying not to piss themselves." And that is the beauty of the internet. For everytime I lament how much of my time is wasted on it, or how Mix CDs have killed the mixtape, there are 3 or 4 amazing bands that I wouldn't have heard of without my computer. Do yourself a favour and get your hands on this one (link above), you won't be sorry.

6. Architecture in Helsinki - Do the Whirlwind
I'd like to thank my wonderful friend Brittany for introducing me to the Aussie pop joy that is Architecture in Helsinki. After she sent me this song I was humming it for days, until I saw them perform live in Seattle. Think of the Arcade Fire, but on prozac... that's a good thing, by the way. The album is equally sublime.

7. Amerie - Love's Off the Chain
By now you've either fallen completely in love with, or loathe "1 Thing." I'm not afraid to admit that I'm firmly in the "love" camp. Amerie's vocal gymnastics are a step up on the rest of the R&B princesses out there, and this track (a b-side that Chris at Lemon Red posted) is proof positive. The horns, the chattering background... it sounds like an old soul track to me, rather than someone crooning over a hip hop beat. I haven't been able to track down the 12" that this is on, but when I do you can be sure that I'll be picking it up. One of my favourite songs of the year, from an unlikely source.

8. M.I.A. - URAQT
For some reason this track was left off of the domestic release of Arular. I can't for the life of me understand why. Maya eases off on the politics, with a bit of a love tune, and it's a nice little break from the militant rhymes we love so much.

9. Bloc Party - Luno (Polysics Harajuku Remix)
You've more than likely heard the album version of this lovely little dance number, as Bloc Party are poised to be this year's Franz Ferdinand. This is the Polysics remix, and if you've heard them, you probably have a good idea of what it's going to sound like. All frenetic beats and vocoder. This is what I wish they'd play at every dance party I've ever been to.

10. LCD Soundsystem - Jump Into the Fire
This is the b-side to the 7" of "Daft Punk is Playing At My House," and is a Harry Nilsson cover. Despite the fact that James Murphy didn't pen the track, it fits right in with the rest of the LCD Soundsystem catalogue with Murphy yelping along to the riffs that fire off over the pulsing bassline.

11. Tom Vek - I Ain't Saying My Goodbyes
I'm not that hot on this album, but this track is a killer. The tinny guitar has a bit of a garage rock feel to it, but the electronic beat and programming add up to make it so much more.

12. Jamie Lidell - When I Come Back Around
If you've really got your finger on the pulse (much more so than I), you might recognize this name from Super Collider. If not, you should know that they're signed to Warp and have garnered comparisons to Prince. Jamie's solo joint is no different. All blips and beeps and blue eyed soul. This song sounds like the past and future all at once. (I cheated a little... this one doesn't officially come out on this side of the pond til June 28th)

13. Field Music - Shorter, Shorter
Just under two minutes of perfect pop. It's like the Beatles at their most experimental condensed into the timeframe of "She Loves You," and not sounding the least bit constrained

14. The Nice Boys - You Won't See Me Anymore
The only surviving member of the Exploding Hearts has a new band, and this is them. Whenever I heard some shitty throwback punk band or some poppy mall punk pretender over the last couple of years I wondered how they could get it so wrong while the Hearts got it so right. This 7" A-Side picks up right where they left off, albeit at a slightly lower volume.

15. Ray Lamontange - Trouble
Ray Lamontange's story is so intriguing it threatens to be more interesting in than the music. When I saw him at Sasquatch I was kind of expecting just that, when I caught up with his set just in time to hear the shaggy troubadour mumble something incoherently to the crowd and start to sloppily strum some chords. Then he opened his mouth. My Mother, who loves old Motown records really digs this. My Dad, who loves old country records will be equally impressed when he gets this record for Father's Day. It's like Otis Redding fronting the Jayhawks.

16. Math and Physics Club - Weekends Away
This is the most charming little pop song you will hear all year. You might want to hate it, because its so very sweet sounding with its cutesy lyrics and jangly guitar, but you can't. You will listen. You will smile. You'll hum it and smile to yourself on the bus or at work. When Pitchfork reviewed this track they put out a warning to the recently single. Really though, no matter what relationship(less) state you find yourself in, there is no way this song can depress you, it's joy wrapped up in two minutes and thirty-three seconds.

17. Jason Collett - These Are the Days
I often associate music with settings or places, and I can say with confidence that this song (and the album it comes off of) is lazy summer evenings. By the time multi-tracked Amy Millan and the horns come in for the last minute of the tune, you're on you're first too many beer, are sitting on the patio, and have forgotten the stresses of the preceding week completely.

18. Andrew Bird - Tables and Chairs
Andrew Bird's new album is one of the most finely crafted albums you'll ever hear. The tracks seem to brim with instrumentation, but never seem busy. Everything is in it's right place. That, and I'm a sucker for these violins.

download: From Blown Speakers' Best of the First Half of 2005 mix

Hope you enjoy these songs as much as I do.

now playing: Ray Lamontange - Trouble


My 10 best so far (unranked):

Common - Be
Sleater-Kinney - The Woods
LCD Soundsystem - s/t
Quasimoto - Further Adventures of Lord Quas
Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
The Game - The Documentary
Bright Eyes - I'm wide awake, it's morning
Blueprint - 1988
Gang Gang Dance - God's Money
Aesop Rock - Fast Cars, Fire, Danger and Knives

By Blogger Graham, at 11:28 a.m.  

(followed sig link on atease)
wow, a lot of the stuff you have listed would also be on my top 10 or at least very close.. i'm definitely gonna check out your best so far of the year mix, too.

my tentative top 10 so far goes like:
Andrew Bird – The Mysterious Production of Eggs
Decemberists – Picaresque
Spoon - Gimme Fiction
The Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
M.I.A. – Arular
System of a Down - Mezmerize
Sufjan Stevens – Illinois
13 and God
LCD Soundsystem
Vitalic – OK Coyboy

though i guess sufjan's album isn't technically out yet. a lot of the stuff you have on i just haven't listened to enough to pass judgement, like the bright eyes which i really like.

By Anonymous damon, at 1:47 p.m.  

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upcoming shows
2/8 Twin Sister, Eleanor Friedberger, and Ava Luna @ the Media Club
2/9 David Choi @ the Rio
2/10 Secret Chiefs 3 and Dengue Fever @ the Rickshaw
2/13 White Buffalo @ the Media Club
2/14 The Ballyntines and Pleasure Cruise (TT) @ the Biltmore
2/18 Grimes w/Born Gold @ Fortune (early)
2/18 Cruel Young Heart, Young Liars, the Oh Wells, and Matiation @ the Dodson Rooms (AA)
2/18 Cursive w/UME @the Media Club
2/19 The Asteroids Galaxy Tour w/Vacationer @ Venue
2/20 Veronica Falls w/Bleached @ the Media Club
2/26 DJ Krush @ Fortune
2/29 Trevor Hall @ the Media Club
3/6 Slow Club w/Signals @ the Media Club
3/7 Cloud Nothings w/Mr. Dream @ the Media Clubr
3/8 Islands @ the Rio
3/10 Memoryhouse @ the Waldorf
3/17 William Fitzsimmons @ the Biltmore (early)
3/18 Magnetic Fields @ the Vogue (AA)
3/21 Plants & Animals>/b> @ the Rickshaw
3/22 Drive-by Truckers @ the Commodore
3/23 White Rabbits @ the Biltmore
3/23 Loney Dear @ the Media Club
3/24 Sharon Van Etten and the War on Drugs @ the Biltmore (early)
3/25 Nada Surf and An Horse @ the Rickshaw
3/27 The Ting Tings @ the Commodore
4/5 House de Racket @ the Electric Owl
4/6 Chairlift w/Nite Jewel @ the Electric Owl
4/7 Heartless Bastards @ the Media Club
4/8 Metronomy @ Venue
4/8 Gotye @ the Vogue (AA)
4/9 Cults @ Venue
4/10 First Aid Kit @ Venue
4/10 Andrew Bird w/Laura Marling @ the Vogue (AA)
4/13 The Odds and the Grapes of Wrath @ the Rickshaw
4/14 The Joel Plaskett Emergency @ the Vogue (AA)
4/24 School of Seven Bells w/Exitmusic @ the Electric Owl
4/26 Justice @ the PNE Forum (AA)
4/27 M83 @ the Vogue (AA)
4/27 Yukon Blonde @ the Commodore
4/28 Neon Indian @ Venue (early)
5/6 Delta Spirit w/Waters @ the Electric Owl
5/9 Yann Tiersen @ the Rickshaw
5/11 Great Lake Swimmers w/Cold Specks @ the Commodore
5/12 The Boxer Rebellion> @ the Biltmore
5/27 Coeur de Pirate @ Venue

AA = all ages
DG = @damaged goods
DFTK = @dirty for the kids
FJW = @fake jazz wed
EN = @easy now
GD = @glory days
HL = @higher learning JH = @junior high
JY= @junkyard
RRPP = @rocknroll pizza party
SD = @shindig
TT = @toonie tuesday
NW = @no worries

more shows
the biltmore
the railway
the red room

club action
culture club
damaged goods
east van soul club
glory days
ice cream social
no more strangers
wild zero

local favourites

mostly music
a day in the life of...
a reminder
chipped hip
duncan's donuts
expressway to my skull
goodnight neverland
hero hill
the indie files
my indie world
radio zero
the skinny
weird pop vancouver
winnie cooper

red cat

formed a band
the abramson singers
black mountain
the clips
fine mist
no gold
nu sensae
twin crystals
white lung

dj kicks
betti forde
cam dales
dg djs
expendable youth
john cougar
paul devro
tyler fedchuk

everything else
beyond robson
chez nous presents
linds & nicola
ryan walter wagner
safe amplification site society
the straight
twee death
urban diner
vancouver is awesome
vanity presents

everywhere else

brooklyn vegan
copy, right
feed your habit
for the 'records'
good weather for airstrikes
gorilla vs. bear
i am fuel, you are friends
i (heart) music
largehearted boy
mad decent
mcnutt against the music
more cowbell
music (for robots)
my old kentucky blog
the outernet
palms out sounds
pop (all love)
rock, paper, pixels
said the gramophone
soul sides
songs: illinois
weird canada

you ain't no picasso

cbc radio 3
coke machine glow
glorious noise
schedule two
tiny mixtapes




on repeat
i'll make you a tape
one song
promo pile

previous posts
get behind me satan
i'll bring the sun
this gun's for hire
pacifist revolt
i only play for money
when the stars go blue
dance, motherfucker, dance
it's for you
pretentious nonsensical title


mp3s are for preview purposes, if you like what you hear, buy it at your favourite indie record store. please don't direct link to photos. click for more.

writing by Quinn
unless noted

orig. design by gerald`

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