erasing clouds

TonyDoug's CD Review: The Best of 2005

by tonydoug wright

This is the introductory paragraph where I am supposed to say something deep and profound about the artists on my 2005 top ten list. All I can say is that last year I had the opportunity to review some damn good albums so I decided to select ten artists who deserved some additional praise for their noteworthy releases. The list is in alphabetical order because I felt it was not necessary to rank one artist over another. Read the list and check out the links provided to see what great music you missed in 2005.

1. Cesar Comanche, Squirrel and the Aces (ABB)

This artist from North and member of the hip-hop crew The Justus League released an impressive hip-hop album in 2005. Squirrel and the Aces is an extremely laid back production featuring a multitude of up-and-coming hip-hop artists such as Median, Phonte, Supastition and Edgar Allen Floe. Despite the numerous guest appearances Cesar Comanche is still the superstar of the album where his talents are highlighted by the work of producer 9 th Wonder. A variety of jazz, blues and soul beats provide a solid musical backdrop for the slick styles of Comanche and his hip-hop associates. Highlights include 'Miss You (Remix)' and 'Get Ready'.

2. Clouds Forming Crowns, s/t (Morphius)

Todd and Tim Tobias are the dynamic duo behind Clouds Forming Crowns. The Tobias brothers have worked with Robert Pollard and Guided By Voices and their self-titled album reflects a GBV influence especially on tracks such as 'Are You Sleeping Well' and 'Wish Hound'.

3. Foolish, The Brunch of Champions (Self Released)

For a number of years Bunk Nesbit has released some great DIY albums on his Red Nail Music label under various band names and The Foolish are another success story. Those familiar with Nesbit's previous works knows that he constantly churns out excellent pop and rock songs. Brunch of Champions balances a distorted rock guitar sound with an electronic pop feel. 'Corker' is a beautiful track and it is yet another great song from an artist who deserves more press and praise.

4. Heavy Trash, s/t (Yep Roc)

Heavy Trash is a rockabilly collaboration between Jon Spencer (Jon Spencer Blues Explosion) and Matt Verta-Ray (Madder Rose). Their self-titled release is for fans of Gene Vincent and Link Wray who yearn for gritty retro rock and roll. You'll be swinging your hips after you experience 'The Loveless' and 'The Hump'.

5. Heth and Jed, Between the In and the Out (Space Rock)

If you have a chance to visit New York City and you are at Union Square or Penn Station then you might see brothers Heth and Jed Weinstein performing their music for the commuters and tourists. Their album Between the In and the Out features ambient instrumentals ('Ladder') and melodic pop tunes ('Walking Away From Heaven'). Heth and Jed picked up where they left off with Clean and they have brought forth another impressive effort. For more information about this album check out .

6. High School Speeding, Hot Girls In Love (Self Released)

For years, fans of High School Speeding had to listen to demos or live bootlegs for their fix of tunes but that all changed in 2005 when they released their Hot Girls In Love EP. This power-pop band has some twenty-something anthems on their EP like 'You Say That Now' and 'Even Steven'. Those who love High School Speeding waited long enough for this EP and hopefully a full-length album is right around the corner.

7. The Living Blue, Fire, Blood, Water (Minty Fresh)

It does not matter if you call them alternative rock, indie rock or modern rock because The Living Blue tear it up with Fire, Blood, Water . Songs such as 'Serrated Friend' and 'State of Affairs' are comparable to The White Stripes and The Strokes.

8. Living Things, Ahead of the Lions (Jive)

Yes, Jive Records has an R&B and boy band legacy but they have a legitimate rock band on their roster called Living Things. This St. Louis band released a killer left-wing political rock album in 2005 titled Ahead of the Lions. 'Bom Bom Bom', 'New Year' and 'Keep It 'Til You Fold' are three excellent examples of Living Things glam and stoner rock sound.

9. The Pubcrawlers, Another Night on the Floor (Self Released)

These New Englanders have perfected the sound of Celtic punk and their debut album Another Night on the Floor was an unexpected delight in 2005 . A throwback to the days of The Pogues, The Pubcrawlers live in a world where everyday is St. Patrick's Day, hangovers are unavoidable and the cops always ruin the fun. Listeners will especially enjoy 'All For Me Grog', 'Shot Glass' and 'Boston Subway'.

10. Silver Sunshine, A Small Pocket of Pure Spirit (Empyrean)

Hailing from San Diego but sounding like a band from Manchester, Silver Sunshine is influenced by late 60s psychedelic Brit-rock. A Small Pocket of Pure Spirit has Oasis moments ('Waiting for the Sun'), Beatles moments ('Another Day') and some Kinks moments ('She's The Reason').

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