The weblog you see now did not really exist till 2005.
The previous incarnation of Musicwhore.org was far more extensive, remnants of which can be found over at the archive. I did a lot of data entry for that site, developed the entire administrative backend and wrote all the content. The site had gotten somewhat popular, and I could have asked for more help to expand.
At the same time, all the Japanese music coverage pigeonholed the site. I had wanted it to reflect my own music tastes, and that was getting lost. So in 2004, I expanded the editorial scope of the site to include more catalog and classical releases. (Sound familiar?) It would be another 3/4 of a year before the weblog you read now was launched.
This list shows a shift in my listening. The Japanese titles started to make room for more domestic acts, a growing number indie in nature. With the 2005 relaunch, the Favorite Edition lists were introduced, so this list also concludes a 20-year exploration of listening.
Musicwhore.org Favorite Edition 2004
The Arcade Fire, Funeral
I didn’t discover this album till 2005, and my first reaction was, "Huh. I think I liked this band better when they were called Talking Heads." Eventually, the band’s catholic sound and Win Butler’s unhinged singing won me over. I’m suspecting, though, Funeral is to the Arcade Fire as Oh! Inverted World is to the Shins — an album I like from a band of whom I’m not much of a fan.
Eluvium, An Accidental Memory in Case of Death
Another album I didn’t discover till 2005, An Accidental Memory is a piano album by a guy who isn’t really a pianist. Sole Eluvium member Matthew Cooper even says as much. I rather like the perspective, actually. Not everyone can be Frederic Rzewski, and it’s best to leave Enya to Enya. Non-classical solo piano albums are usually the terrain of the likes of John Tesh, so it’s refreshing to hearing one aspire to something more avant-garde, whether that’s the intention.
I’m sure if Supercar stayed together after Answer, the band’s music would sound closer to their guitar-heavy early days than the electronic shift that occurred with 2000’s Futurama. Electronics still played heavily in the band’s sound, but Answer was also the most organic of the quartet’s latter day albums.
2002’s The World Is Mine was a good album, experimental, daring, contemplative. I didn’t like it. Antenna brought the band back to its more rocking sound, even though it didn’t really have much in the way of singles. ("Rock ‘n’ Roll" was pretty good, though.)
Kicell, Mado Ni Chikyuu
Kicell’s lush, lethargic sound gets a boost with the strongest songwriting yet crafted by the Tsujimaru brothers. In a word, gorgeous.
ZAZEN BOYS, ZAZEN BOYS II
I wonder if this would have turned out to be the album NUMBER GIRL made after NUM-HEAVYMETALLIC. It’s the last remnants of sanity Mukai Shuutoku would demonstrate before he went bugfuck crazy with the rest of ZAZEN BOYS’ repertoire.
Dylan Rice, Wandering Eyes
I didn’t discover this album till 2006, but I like it enough to give it a retroactive top favorite ranking. The fact Dylan Rice is hot probably has a lot to do with that.
Loretta Lynn, Van Lear Rose
Jack White working with Loretta Lynn on an album reminded me of Daniel Lanois working with Emmylou Harris or Rick Rubin with Johnny Cash. It’s that rare moment where country music reached outside of its insular comfort zone to create something that doesn’t feel forced.
The Killers, Hot Fuss
Hot Fuss was a much better Duran Duran album than Astronaut.
Mindy Smith, One Moment More
I think I’m the only person who thought Mindy Smith sounded like Harriett Wheeler of the Sundays.
And, of course, the extended list:
- STRAIGHTENER, LOST WORLD’S ANTHOLOGY Fast and tuneful
- Kanye West, The College Dropout "Jesus Walks" is a phenomenal critique of rock star excess and faith, but I wonder if the album could have done more with those kinds of moments.
- Fuji Fabric, Fuji Fabric So eclectic, it’s hard to describe.
- ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, Solfa As much as I think AKFG is Eastern Youth Lite, I still kind of like them from time to time.
- Sacha Sacket, Shadowed A strangely electronic album propelled by a compelling voice.
- m-flo, Astromantic So, LISA, how’s that solo career coming?
- Bonnie Pink, Even So What could have been an album of leftovers from Present turned out to be its more extroverted foil. Bonnie Pink was really on a roll from 2003-2004.
- The Butchies, Make Yr Life Lesbians have all the best gay rock bands.