When you get to see Krautrock legends Jaki Leibezeit, Michael Rother, Hans Joachim Rodelius and Dieter Moebius all together in one night, (and actually talk to them afterwards) you can't get better.
Richard Foster's Review of 2004
Well, I confess I could have had at least thirty great albums as a first choice this year. There has been a real glut of good stuff it seems. Top Ten albums? Starting with (in no particular order and an awful journo shorthand style), Franz Ferdinand's "Franz Ferdinand" for it's deliverence of the new zeitgeist (okay, no more pompous nonsense). I also loved Glide's masterpiece "Curvature of the Earth" an album that confirmed Will Sergeant's latent genius. Nick Cave's double "Lyre of Orpheus/Abbatoir Blues" is the record he'd been threatening to make for a good few years, whilst fellow old geezer Tom Waits produced "Real Gone", a mad but fantastic epic that could be "imaginatively" serialised on Radio 4. Guided By Voices couldn't be left out as all they've released this year (two generous box sets and their final masterpiece, "Half Smiles of the Decomposed") has been brilliant. Robyn Hitchcock should also be praised for "Spooked"; a welcome return to form, and hopefully (mindful of his collaboration with Gillian Welch and David Rawlings) a promising new springboard. Others? Well, The Futureheads' "The Futureheads" is flawed but exceptionally promising, and Ed Harcourt's "Strangers" should be viewed as a beacon of hope in the Keaneplay darkness. Ghost's "Hypnotic Underworld" can't be topped for some breadth and serenity.
All these are marvellous albums, but none of the above gave me as much pleasure as (cue a hearty fanfare of trumpets played by a company of groomed weasels);
ROGER "THIS IS THE SHIT"
Absolutely jaw dropping in its brilliance. It has everything and more by the truckload. The only album to have people constantly asking me what it is, as I surreptitiously stuck it in the cd player at parties.
On reflection, only five singles have survived being played all year whilst keeping their immediacy and charm. These are listed again in no particular order. First up we have The Rakes with "22 Grand Job". Watch this band, they are fucking ace and very underrated. The Duke Spirit follow with the "Roll Spirit Roll" ep. Buy anything by them, they are potentially one of 2005's behemoths and can only get better. Franz's "Take Me Out" will be on many lists apart from mine. Yep, I know it's a boring choice, but it is fantastic and girls do dance to it, and to leave it off would have been the worst case of petty snobbery ever witnessed on Incendiary. The Zutons released a hatful of grand toons this year. "You Will You Won't" is a classic Liverpool sea shanty.
HOWEVER, my all time favourite (oh my, how can I bear to believe, or admit to this), is U2 with their classy Joy Division rip off (yes the riff is from "Isolation" on "Closer", yes it is, no arguments), "Vertigo" wins it for me. Sorry....
It'll be hard to beat Super Furry Animals in January at the Melkweg with their Yetiness in full swing. They were back on form after a limp-ish gig in 2001, (plus Gruff gave me a Pretty Things DVD this time so I feel bribed enough to think kindly of them). This review's most ubiquitous band, Franz Ferdinand came damned close with the epic Paradiso show in March. I must also mention the wonderful gig Ben Christophers did at Rotown. People who were there won't forget that in a hurry. Mono were blinding at Metropolis too. The Polaroids played a fine first overseas gig in Leiden, but all are overshadowed by the Toon Festival in Haarlem. When you get to see Krautrock legends Jaki Leibezeit, Michael Rother, Hans Joachim Rodelius and Dieter Moebius all together in one night, (and actually talk to them afterwards) you can't get better. Legendary night out.
I'll keep this short cos I don't wanna be depressed...The Rhythm Factory Sessions LP stands out, primarily for promoting a bunch of talentless (yes, talentless), priggish, narrow-minded, snobbish, callously drugged up, prolier-than-thou nonsense, and expecting us to pay for it (all in the spirit of the revolution kids). This is a spiritually ruinous and emotionally damaging attempt to cash in on our good nature and curiosity.
The Libertines second album can be bracketed with the Rhythm Factory, but it's failure for me is more disappointment, in that it wasn't the glorious two fingers it could have been. If only Doherty had decided to stop starring in his own soap opera. Oh, while we are on the subject, I was mightily pissed off with all the accompanying gush from Hello magazine (ooh, sorry, did I say Hello? I meant the NME). I am beginning to wonder if the NME have secured the rights on Doherty's funeral.
Gem win the prize for Worst Dutch Band. Primarily for boring the shit out of me at the Patronaat. Don't want to talk any more about that..