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This is the second/third (depending on whether or not you count the Xmas one) Dub Club mix that I've been a part of. Seeing as it's January, it makes sense to use this disc to take a look back over the stand-out tracks of 2005 -- or at least those that we became aware of in 2005, regardless of whether or not they actually came out then.

Looking over my list, it looks like I did pretty well -- 19 of 23 came out in 2005 (or maybe 2004, depending on when in the year they came out. Like I can't remember if the Madness record was officially 2004 or 2005, and the Blanche record came out officially in 2004, but got picked up by a major and re-distributed in 2005. And, um, I THINK the Data Panik single was 2005, but I could just be wholly wrong on that one. Maybe it was 2004. I don't know -- either way it rules, though. Although, the Sonics song is from 1965, which is 40 years too soon. So, that one's a bit out of place, I suppose, and makes up for this year's best-of thingy actually being relatively current-based.

  1. Dentaku - Kraftwerk
    Kraftwerk's actually been relatively active in the 2000s -- they did a couple of singles, a full album and a 2 CD live album/DVD -- not bad for a band who, previously, had only released one thing in the entire 1990s -- and that was in 1991. This is from that live album, which came out this year. I saw Kraftwerk when they hit Seattle, and that was such an astoundingly good show. Minimum-Maximum doesn't feature anything from that show, unfortunately, but the performances on there are equally good. This song, though, is probably the stand-out track -- it's recorded live in Japan, and is the Japanese-language version of their single "Pocket Calculator" from Computer World -- and it's really great to hear the crowd just explode and sing along with Kraftwerk. Just a really great version. I dig it a lot.
  2. Going Fetal - Eels
    This year, eels put out a 2 CD set, Blinking Lights And Other Revelations, and it was surprisingly good -- usually 2 disc sets like that are a bit on the bloated side and could be trimmed. There's very little that could be trimmed from this album, including the instrumental link tracks. The press notes for the record mentioned that vocal eels fan Tom Waits guested on a track -- this is that track… and all he does is growl a couple times. Folks might feel burned, except that a) that's pretty hilarious and b) it's also a really awesome, rockin' song. In February, there's going to be a live CD/DVD of the recent eels with Strings tour -- I saw that at the Moore when it came to town, and it was great, but then, I love E and his banter and songs. It was, understandably, a really mellow night, but they completely tore the roof off when they went into "Dog Faced Boy" for the encore.
  3. Angel With An Attitude - The Ditty Bops
    The Ditty Bops will hopefully have a new record out very shortly, and with luck, this track will be on it. The Ditty Bops put out the best record of 2004 as I pretty much say to anyone who will listen -- but, unfortunately, I can't put any cuts from that record on, since I got into them in the tail end of 2004. However, this track was actually recorded live (at the Café Du Nord) in February of 2005, so it fits! I love this song -- it's so catchy and full of the Ditty Bops' trademark witty lyrics. The cool thing with them, too, is that not only are they taper-friendly (they've got a huge archive of live stuff at http://www.archive.org), but they keep writing songs. Someone at their official messageboard has kept track of all the non-album songs they've played at shows, and if they wanted to, their next CD could be a 3 disc set, with a special bonus disc of covers, and they'd STILL have stuff left over for the third album. And from getting the stuff from Archive.org -- rarer still, they don't have any clunkers. How in the hell does that happen?!
  4. Dance Music - The Mountain Goats
    Probably the most popular track from The Sunset Tree, "Dance Music" also provided the name of the most recent Mountain Goats tour. I just completely love John Darnielle's lyrics. His voice, I actually really like as well, but understand it can be a bit of an acquired taste for some people. Still, though, even if you find it hard to take, just pay attention to his lyrics, wordplay and imagery -- he's an outstanding writer.
  5. The Way I Want To Be - The Village Green
    Aila and I recently saw The Village Green live -- I think they were opening for the Posies; I'm pretty sure, anyway. They're from Portland, and they've been getting a lot of buzz, recently. Hopefully they'll make it to the Big Time. If you couldn't tell from their name, they're pretty Kinks-influenced (though, unlike the album they referenced, more on the Rock Side of the Kinks), and have a lot of that sixties garage stomp type of sound. A really fun band to listen to and see live. They've only got a self-titled EP out now, but hopefully they'll have a full-length soon.
  6. Strychnine - The Sonics
    After a very long time, I've finally decided to check out the Sonics. It's shocking I'd been unaware of them for so long -- they're local, ferchrissake. 'Course, it took me a long time to realize how good The Young Fresh Fellows were, too, and they're sort of the Alpha And Omega when it comes to rockin' local music. But, of course, I've got the Fellows to thank for getting me into a lot of cool stuff -- The Fastbacks, Sgt. Major, Visqueen, The Posies (though those two were more Aila) and finally the Sonics. Wow. This is still probably my favorite Sonics song, but there're so many good ones. Also, on the bonus cuts on The Day They Shot A Hole In The Jesus Egg, The Flaming Lips do an awesome cover of this song which segues very well into "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding" by Nick Lowe/Elvis Costello.
  7. Suburban Obscurity - Barnes & Barnes
    If you get me started, I will go on and on about Barnes & Barnes. I pretty much adore them. And this song is a really cool one. I'm pretty sure I've ranted at length about the history of the Kodovoner album before, so I'll hold off this time, but all you need to know is that this track is great and that Barnes & Barnes, though they were best known for their novelty stuff, were excellent pop songsmiths. And here's a little slab of proof -- vintage proof, aged to perfection for 22 years.
    POLYSICS. Awesome. That's pretty much it. This is the lead single for the new POLYSICS album Now Is The Time, and it's a return to the poppier sound of For Young Electric Pop. I've heard the full album is as well -- I haven't heard it yet. I was out of work when it came out, and I've been holding off now that I’m employed again, as I've heard that Tofu Records is supposed to be putting it out soon… unfortunately, I've also heard that Tofu Records is very flakey about actually putting records out, despite being a part of Sony (apparently -- didn't know that, either!), so who knows whether or not it actually will. Regardless, if you can't wait and want to drop 30 bucks on the import version, I'm sure it'd be worth it. If you don't want to spend that kind of coin, Tofu actually HAS released (as in, you can go to the store and get it now), the Japanese best-of POLYSICS Or Die!!!!, which is a really good mix of stuff, along with some new recordings to make it worthwhile for fans as well.
  9. Destroy Everything You Touch - Ladytron
    Some folks didn't like the new Ladytron album because it doesn't really sound like the first two (though the first two didn't sound a whole LOT like each other), but I pretty much instantly fell in love with the new sound. A lot darker and grittier, and it really works. I think this is going to be the second single from Witching Hour (the first/teaser single was "Sugar"), and I think it's one of the strongest songs on this excellent album. The only question -- why the 10 minute long track of silence at the end, huh? It's like padding for a bonus track… only without the bonus track. Oh well, I'm just bitter because Rykodisc didn’t include the bonus DVD that the UK Island Records pressing had with all their music videos and a documentary and some other stuff. (Speakin' of which, I'm miffed at Interscope for a similar infraction…)
  10. Go To Lubbock - The Sacred Truths
    There's actually quite a bit of local stuff on here, too. This is both local and new, so it's a double threat! The Sacred Truths might sound like a joke band when they're described to you (having props and weird horns and all that), but they're really good songwriters and musicians. More importantly -- they self-produced and self-released their debut EP… and it actually SOUNDS GOOD. This NEVER happens! Usually, these sorts of things might have good songs, but are recorded in what sounds like a dumpster -- but this one… man. They actually know what they're doing, which is kind of shocking. (But then again, I might be a little bitter -- I was a music director at a college radio station, you see…)
  11. 14th Street - Laura Cantrell
    This is the first cut on Laura Cantrell's Matador debut, Humming By The Flowered Vine. It's one of her strongest albums, and seems to be a favorite one so far of a lot of people. It's really good, actually. This song is written by Emily Spray of Portland, and is apparently about seeing Richard Hell in Manhattan and developing a crush on him. At least, that's what Laura Cantrell said at the concert.
  12. Sense Not Sense - Data Panik
    Data Panik is the band that bis evolved into. A few years ago they broke up, and formed different projects, the more rock-based The Kitchen (featuring Manda Rin) and the more electronica based Dirty Hospital (featuring John Disco and Sci-Fi Steven). Both of those bands imploded (sadly, in the case of The Kitchen, along with Manda Rin's marriage), and they got back together. Why did they choose a different name? I don't know -- I think they decided that since bis was declared dead, it'd be weird to say it was back. So, what does Data Panik sound like? Well, they sound like bis. But since bis was awesome, that's great. This is one of the A-sides of their double-A side single on Rough Trade, and is the A-sideier of the two in my opinion. But the other A-side, "Cubis (I Love You)", is pretty good too.
  13. You Keep Me Hanging On - Madness
    Madness' most recent record was all covers, and mostly all ska. This is probably the least ska-ish track on the album (maybe their version of "Lola" by the Kinks out-least-skas it), but it's still pretty ska. In a way, it was a bit of a let-down, as Madness' original songs and poppier songs are exquisite, but it was a pretty good album, too. And this is my favorite track on here. The weird thing with it, it almost sounds like a Pet Shop Boys version of this song, only with horns instead of synths. Either way, though, it's a great version of a great song.
  14. Bottomliners - Brian Eno
    Brian Eno put out his first vocal record in quite a while this year. At first, folks were expecting something like an updated version of Here Come The Warm Jets, but it was much more mellow and electronic than that album -- but that works, too, because it was really good. This is probably my favorite cut from this one, though "Bone Bomb" is very good as well. The lyrics and melody in this one are very pretty, though. Very mellow and cool.
  15. Teenager In Love - Purty Mouth
    This is a cover of the Kirsty MacColl song by a local band. Purty Mouth are a local alt. country band -- a local gay alt. country band, actually. Although they're actually a country band first -- they're not a one-joke gimmick band. They've got a strong sense of musical history (live, they'll do a bunch of Carter Family songs, for example), and it's obvious that they're doing that sort of music not because it's an amusing juxtaposition (though it IS) of gay-themed lyrics in a musical genre that's typically thought of as politically conservative, but instead because they actually love this music. The original of this song is a bit better than the Purty Mouth version, but they get all sorts of points for having turned me on to the original in the first place. So, you know, check them out! They're keen.
  16. Gomenasai - t.A.T.u.
    The new t.A.T.u. record, Dangerous And Moving is really great. I think I like the first one a little bit better, but this one is also very, very strong. I had a bit of trouble choosing which cut I was going to use on here, but I went with this one. The strings on this track are arranged by THE Richard Carpenter (yep, the guy from The Carpenters!), which is so cool. And, of course, he did a really good job. I love the combination of the electronics with the strings. Not to mention it's just a damn good pop song. The Onion said that this was the most inessential album of 2005 -- I question whether or not they actually listened to it, instead of just looking at the tracklisting and the (admittedly incredibly awful) cover art.
  17. Sugar Coated Iceberg - The Lightning Seeds
    Speaking of great pop songs, this is one of my all-time favorite pop songs. The strange thing is that it's co-written by the guy from Babybird who are really, really awful, at least from the songs I've heard. (Their single "You're Beautiful" comes to mind -- eech!) So, perhaps he got hit in the head before helping Ian Broudie write this one? Or, perhaps Ian Broudie just wrote this one and put the other guy's name on it out of pity? Either way, though, this song is outstanding. Just mindblowingly so. My mother said it reminds her of Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, and I can hear that a bit, too. And Boyce & Hart are excellent, so…
  18. Monique The Freak - Ween
    It's surprising when a band releases and Odds & Sods compilation, and it contains your new favorite song from that band. Then again, some Odds & Sods compilations are excellent albums as well (The Fastbacks' Truth, Corrosion & Sour Bisquits or They Might Be Giants' Miscellaneous T come to mind), so there you go. Anyway, this was originally recorded for the self-bootlegged release Craters Of The Sac, but this is a completely new version -- and far superior (though I loved the original as well). I really like Ween's excursions into funk.
  19. Garbage Picker - Blanche
    Outside of "Jack On Fire", this is probably my favorite cut from the Blanche album If We Can't Trust The Doctors.... It's pretty much a straight-forward alt. country song, but I like a lot of straight-forward alt. country songs, so there you go. Amusing lyrics on this one. Speaking of which, as I always pretty much mention whenever Blanche comes up, the lead singer/songwriter, Dan John Miller played Johnny Cash's guitar player in the recent film Walk The Line. So how 'bout that?
  20. Slideshowers In Paradise - Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players
    I love the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, and I've been waiting patiently for their new record for some time. Like their first, it's been self-released first, before being (presumably) picked up by a label (perhaps Bar/None like the first?). This album has a bit more of a meta flavor, with more songs (like this one) being actually about the whole Slideshow Thing, rather than about the slides themselves. This one is an answer to all the people who say "Hey, here's some of my slides, you should write a song about me!" -- which, if you couldn't guess is "No, your family is boring and is not funny." Which may be harsh, but, you know, the truth usually is.
  21. My Baby's Taking Me Home - Sparks
    I've been sort of slowly immersed in Sparks for a while now. Aila adores them, and for a long time, I resisted. At first, I didn't quite get it -- the first album I'd heard was In Outer Space, which had its moments, but was a bit too cheesy for me (at least then), and I couldn't get my head around Russell Mael's frequently-falsetto vocals. But driving around with her, I'd hear more and more. I found myself liking more and more, but still not really being sold on Sparks being all that great. (After all, they were the source of David Kendrick, who did the sub-par drumming on the last few DEVO records.) The beginning of Sparks-fandom came from hearing a couple songs on their MySpace page -- "The Rhythm Thief", which was OK, and "Suburban Homeboy", which I really liked. Around that time, she got the Li'l Beethoven: Live In Stockholm DVD, and I watched the first half (the album half) with her -- the first few tracks, I wasn't really that into. I didn't get why all the tracks were so repetitive, and it was in danger of losing me. She got me to stick with it, and after a while, this song came up -- and it CLICKED. This song is OUTSTANDINGLY GOOD. And it was the song that explained the whole Sparks thing to me. And I realized then that I really loved Sparks. And right now, in fact, I'm listening to my brand-new copy of In Outer Space, and I'm enjoying it and I understand it all now (though I still think Whomp That Sucker from the same era is the superior record). It has all become clear. Anyway, though -- this song. I love the way there's the layered vocals and the piano line, but what makes this song -- the recitation. And I realize that "Wow, the recitation makes this song!" is not something you ever hear, as, well, they typically ruin songs (or, on the off chance that they save a song that's not this one, it's by taking a mediocre-to-crappy song to a hilarious, awful plane that makes the song listenable by being so over the top -- see "You Look So Good In Love" by George Strait, for example) -- but in here, it works. The combination of the beautiful, profound turns of phrase (I love "As we walk through the morning rain/ And the skies are clearing / And the streets are glistening /Streets named for New England trees") combined with the hilarious pseudo-pretentious-pomposity-puncturing lines like "A rainbow forms / But we're both colorblind / But we can hear what others can't hear / We can hear the sound of a chorus singing", just makes this song so absolutely perfect, I feel I've got to share it with you, so hopefully you can bypass that whole "Sparks? They're OK, but they kind of suck with the whole weird operatic thing where, what, are they some sort of comedy band or what?" phase. Because they're really, really brilliantly good, and it took this song to show me that. So here it is.
  22. That Don't Fly - The Posies
    Tell you the truth, the new Posies album didn't really click with me as well as some of the others did (I almost put on "Ontario", "Daily Mutilation" or "Hate Song" from Amazing Disgrace or "Golden Blunders" or "My Big Mouth" from Dear 23 instead), but I went with this one because it's from the new record and is just outstanding, and it actually took another mix CD by a friend of mine to show me how outstanding it is. This is just a really slow pretty song about the demise of a relationship. It reminds me of one that they played live the first time I saw them (this year at their Easy Street Records instore after Bumbershoot… where they played longer than they would have at Bumbershoot!), which no one could figure out what song it was from the lyrics I remembered (which I don't remember much of, but I remember it had some lyrical bits similar to "Blackbird" by the Beatles), and sounded similar in tone/arrangement to this one. Anyway, though, it's real good.
  23. Oh,My Favorite! - Strangulated Beatoffs
    There's a few cuts that I almost put on this CD, but I figured that everyone would have heard them before, and it would have been like saying "Hey, wow, I found this great new song by this great band that I'd never heard of before? It's, like, called "Here Comes The Sun" by this band called the Beatles or something?" -- one of those where, yeah, duh, it's a great song, but tell me something I don't know, right? One of the candidates for this was one of the cuts from the Kanda record Lindsey put out on Bop Tart (probably "They'll Need Cocaine", but maybe "Arctic" or "Drink For Three") and another candidate was "Good Times A Goo-Goo" by the Bran Flakes (since I'd just now got Bounces). So, instead of doing that, I merely put on a song that REMINDED me of the Bran Flakes (Ideally, it'd remind me both of Kanda and the Bran Flakes, but that's a bit of a tall order…). This is from the Strangulated Beatoffs album which is either their self-titled or called Beating Off All Over The World depending on whether or not you believe the artwork on the record, or the little sticker thingy that goes over the top so you can see the name of the record in a record-store if it's packed in behind a bunch of stuff -- you know what I mean, right? Those little white sticker things that are kind of annoying? Anyway, though, yeah -- it's the record with the orange sleeve and the white circle with the band-name in it. Speaking of which, I love their band name -- it's completely like one of those band-names that would be on an awful sit-com to represent that Crazy, Awful Rock Music Those Wacky Kids Are Into These Days -- Don't They Know Any Nice Songs? Anyway, this is probably the most Bran Flakes-like of the Strangulated Beatoffs stuff I've heard, and it's not even very much like them, to be honest. But it's pretty cool, and the repetition takes it to kind of an interesting place. I originally had this in the middle of the mix CD, but it turns out it kind of ground it to a halt, so I figured the last track would be good. It's a good song, but it doesn't have the momentum the other tracks have. And, hey, the Posies track is kind of a wind-down track anyway, so that works. So, hey, check this out. And check out their other stuff, too, while you're at it. I've only seen their records at Electric Heavyland in the U District (which is a real awesome store, if you'll allow me the plug.) So, you know, check them out if you're in the area! Cool noise records and a bunch of awesome toys. And how can you go wrong with a place that has pretty much the complete Billy Nayer Show and Jandek discographies? And the people there are really nice and knowledgeable, too. And they've got rotating art exhibits! Neato!


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