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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, July 18

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anne / December 9, 2004 11:16 AM

Loretta Lynn's Van Lear Rose

pat / December 9, 2004 11:30 AM

William Shatner's Has Been.

Andrew / December 9, 2004 11:31 AM

- Franz Ferdinand's self-titled
- Modest Mouse, "Good News for People Who Like Bad News"

Brenda / December 9, 2004 11:40 AM

Damn... pat beat me to it. I second Shatner's "Has Been."

Joe / December 9, 2004 11:42 AM

Madvillainy - MF Doom and Madlib

MMM Food - MF Doom

its the hotness.

Thurston / December 9, 2004 11:45 AM

These kinds of questions bring out my inner Greg Kot. Some of my 2004 favorites:

Mice Parade: Obrigado Saudade
Arto Lindsay: Salt
Animal Collective: Sung Tongs
David Byrne: Grown Backwards
Komeda: KoKoMeMeDaDa

I second Madvillain's Madvillainy - a groundbreaking hip-hop LP.

Fredbeck / December 9, 2004 11:58 AM

Off the top of my head, and in no particular order...

1) Rilo Kiley: More Adventurous
2) Elliott Smith: From a Basement on the Hill
3) Old 97s: Drag it Up
4) Shatner: Has Been
5) The Roots: The Tiping Point
6) Kanye West: The College Dropout

I'm probably forgetting a bunch of albums I liked...

Mike / December 9, 2004 12:01 PM

Honestly, this question is hard for me, I haven't even listened to anything new for so long. I'm stuck listening to Joy Division and the Nuggets Box set only long enough to come out into the light sometimes and ask "Who is this Interpol person?!"

That said, I did like the new Ted Leo and the Pharmicists album.

Craig / December 9, 2004 12:09 PM

iTunes makes this easy.

These records were consistently at the top of my playlist all year:
French Kicks - Trial of the Century
Diplo - Florida
Deadbeat - Something Borrowed Something Blue

The following were really hot for me at first and then cooled down as the year went on:
Futureheads, Air, Secret Machines, Madvillain (last year's bootleg softened the impact of the real release), Arcade Fire, John Vanderslice, RJD2, Franz Ferdinand, Menomena, Adem, Rogue Wave, Tortoise, MMW, Kings of Convenience, Erlend Oye, Dykehouse, Magnetic Fields, Album Leaf, Beans.

PS "Glass Concrete and Stone" song on David Byrne's new record might be my favorite single of the year, followed by Mouse on Mars' "Wipe that Sound".

PPS The new Wilco record sucked.

Sarah / December 9, 2004 12:10 PM

There wasn't any one album that really stood out for me this year like Outkast's album did last year. But I thought that the new Wilco album, "A Ghost is Born", was keen. I'm also a big fan of the new Magnetic Fields album "i". Franz Ferdinand and Modest Mouse, at least the bits I've heard on the radio, were also good. I haven't heard the Kanye West album or the Loretta Lynn album, but would like to.


CSC / December 9, 2004 12:14 PM

I've quit calling my list a "Best of" and now I'm just calling it what it is--my favorite records of 2004. The ones I listened to over and over and over....

The Walkmen - Bows & Arrows
The Arcade Fire - Funeral
The Hold Steady - Almost Killed Me
Wilco - A Ghost Is Born (ahem...I don't think it sucked)
Grant Lee Phillips - Virginia Creeper
Matthew Sweet - Kimi Ga Suki
Iron & Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days
The Black Keys - Rubber Factory
The Ponys - Laced with Romance
Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand

Honorable mentions abound, but they'd include that charming little Rogue Wave CD, Brian Wilson's Smile (which would surely be in my top 10 if I'd listened to it more), Mirah - C'mon Miracle, Bjork - Medulla, and Ted Leo - Shake the Sheets.

Jason / December 9, 2004 12:56 PM

Touch My Heart: A Tribute To Johnny Paycheck - Various Artists

Favorite song on the album - Don't Take Her, She's All I've Got performed by George Jones

Eamon / December 9, 2004 1:23 PM

Danger Mouse's Grey Album. From the website:

Danger Mouse raised the bar on hip hop experimentalism by dropping the infamous Grey Album, which used the full vocal content of Jay-Z's Black Album, recorded over new beats and production created using the Beatles White Album as it's sole source material. The resulting record is a unique hybrid of work, a re-interpretation being touted as the one of greatest remix albums of all time. With one million downloads in a week and ensuing battle between major record companies, the media, Internet and copyright advocates, the release of the Grey Album has been nothing less than a watershed moment for music.

Steve / December 9, 2004 1:25 PM

Neumu will be running my official writeup next week, but here's my alphabetized list of 10....

--American Music Club, Love Songs for Patriots (Merge):
Because they spent a decade away, but didn’t miss a beat.

-- David Cross, It’s Not Funny (Sub Pop): Because music’s
easy, and comedy is hard. TV may pay his bills, but it also frees Cross
to lash out with searingly funny rants like those found here.

-- Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand (Sony): Because the
structuralists tell us that it’s all already been written anyway, but
these fashion-forward Scots bring us back to the future with better songs
than most.

-- French Kicks, The Trial of the Century (Startime
Because they pull the same trick as Franz Ferdinand but with
a broader palate.

-- Green Day, American Idiot (Reprise): Because
hopefully, we will one day need footnotes to understand the America that Billie
Joe and Co. are singing about.

-- Interpol, Antics (Matador): Because they’ve evolved
past the new Joy Division thing to become the new New Order, with
inferior bass but superior guitar and equally daft lyrics.

-- Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Shake the Sheets
Because I came late to Mr. Leo’s party, and don’t know his back
catalog well enough to understand why some saw this disc as a letdown.

-- The Libertines, The Libertines (Sony): Because their
debut was better, but this likely swansong comes mighty close.

-- The Like Young, So Serious (Parasol): Because short
fast loud rules, especially when this husband-and-wife duo do it so well.

-- The Walkmen, Bows + Arrows (Record Collection):
Because I’m pretty sure they’re younger than me, but they sound so much
older, and sometimes wiser.

Steve / December 9, 2004 1:26 PM

(Sorry for the gruesome line breaks in my post above....)

joe / December 9, 2004 2:24 PM

The grey album was hot, or at least a cool Idea. Also tight was the silver album with Jay-Z over RJD2 Beats (not acutally made by RJD2 but still hot). And there was another re-mix with the cunninglinguists DJ Kno that was great too but the name escapes me Actually they were all great, except the black album.

daruma / December 9, 2004 2:29 PM

The Diary of Alicia Keys

miss ellen / December 9, 2004 2:33 PM

Kanye West ---- The College Dropout, sure gets a lot of spins at my crib

K-os ---- Joyful Rebellion

and sure, I'll throw in the Grey Album, too.

eep / December 9, 2004 2:37 PM

I don't actually own Franz Ferdinand, but what I've heard of it makes me love it. Plus, bands like them, the Libertines, and Modest Mouse seem to be shaking up the sound of music right now, which was greatly needed. Of course, we could have 8 million copycat bands by next week, killing it all, but for now, I've gotta hand it to Franz Ferdinand for creating some standout music in a year of blandness.

As a personal favorite, I really loved Pheonix's "Alphabetical."

Maggie / December 9, 2004 3:19 PM

I love love love Kanye and College Dropout and I can't get enough of Genius Loves Company. I know it's not Ray Charles best work, but his duets with Diana Krall and Van Morrisson weaken my knees.

roderick / December 9, 2004 3:26 PM

I'm usually just getting to last year's music so here are the CDs I bought that were released in 2004:

Kanye West - College Dropout
Garden State Soundtrack
Gray Album
Modest Mouse - Good News for People Who Like Bad News
Weezer - Blue Album (hey, it's a re-release, so it counts dammit)
Polyphonic Spree - Together We're heavy

It looks like I'm going to have to get Franz Ferdinand after all.

Perch / December 9, 2004 6:51 PM

I second many of the picks already made, but may I add:

Ghostface Killer - "The Pretty Toney Album"
The Go! Team - "Thunder, Lightning, Strike"
Foreign Exchange - "Connected"

And I have to second K-Os - "Joyful Rebellion"

And third Madvillian!!!!!!!!!!

Lisa / December 9, 2004 6:53 PM

Like everyone else... Franz Ferdinand. I love Ted Leo's "Shake the Sheets" and Snow Patrol's "Final Straw". And I like the Chris Isaak Christmas album, too.

Armaghetto / December 9, 2004 9:29 PM

I really liked Phoenix's Alphabetical, but I have an unhealthy obsession with that band. It's on bar with my obsession with New Black (as in who also put out a bad-ass album this year.

Armaghetto / December 9, 2004 9:30 PM

er, par, not bar.

Freudian slips are when you mean to say one thing, but instead say your mother.

Jason Metter / December 10, 2004 12:25 AM

I listened to Kanye West at least once a day for a few weeks when it came out. I had forgotten that hip hop could be so good. I agree with everyone else about Franz Ferdinand. Some that I didn't see on this list:

The Black Keys -- "Rubber Factory"
The Arcade Fire -- "Funeral"
Secret Machines -- "Now Here is Nowhere"
Ratatat -- "Ratatat"

Dr. Jre / December 10, 2004 7:09 AM

"Ivey Divey" by Don Byron

Your Pal / December 10, 2004 9:14 AM

What ever happened to posts after each "airbag" section in this site????

I'd like to comment on Gordo's piece this week. Reviewing a film is one thing, talking down to our naiton as a whole in the guise of "educating" us of our own traditions, customs, history, and ignorance is quite another thing entirely (i don't think that subject matter was in that film); perhaps Gordo needs a new column on enlightening the stupid arrogant american masses.

also, if you want to use "obscene" words in your pieces, i think we're all adult enough here to understand the signifiers used in place the signifiers we call letters of the alphabet and what they're trying to hide from innocent minds, so please, no need to censor ourselves people. what the fuck!

robin.. / December 10, 2004 9:45 AM

i know i'm going to sound like the bored hipster at the party, but really, the new modest mouse PALES in comparison to, say, "lonesome crowded west." eep: i think modest mouse was changing more about music back then than they are now. additionally, i was so let down by the libertines. i didn't think they were new or vital at all.

and now, to sound like the bored politico at the party, i was too busy, mad, depressed, and mad about politics this year to have the time to care about music, which is usually something i really love. stupid politics...stupid modern living...

jima / December 10, 2004 10:12 AM

The one album from 2004 that I'm going to remember and still listen to ten years from now is definitely going to be the Judson Fountain CD compilation Completely In The Dark. A compilation of supremely awful, yet supremely hilarious, radio plays made with a budget of approximately 15 cents. Fans of Ed Wood, Ray Dennis Steckler, and old-time radio shows will not be disappointed.

steve_sleeve / December 10, 2004 10:41 AM

I can't write my whole list for two reasons, (1) the various writers on are all going to publish their lists next friday, and (2) it's not done yet. But the new Ted Leo joint and the Rogue Wave album are near the top of the list...

...right below Tha 446 "Pirates Of The Fourth Coast"

Mike / December 10, 2004 10:47 AM


I'm with you on that one, the Libertines might be the toast of London/NYC hipsters, but when I listened to the album at a friend's house, it sounded like a thousand bands (reaching all the way back to the 70s), nothing really interesting about them. Maybe they're good live.

Oh, and Har-Mar Superstar "The Handler" is pretty good. But it's a thousand times better to see him do it live.

Fil / December 10, 2004 11:23 AM

BJORK's Medulla!!! That album blew my mind!

Eric / December 10, 2004 11:30 AM

Franz Ferdinand edges Velvet Revolver.

Thurston / December 10, 2004 11:43 AM

Robin & Mike:
Given your comments, I think you might share with in my opinion that this whole Brooklyn-centered new-wave/no-wave/dance punk/80's revivalism thing is getting pretty bogus and derivative. Seven years ago most hipsters probably thought it was lame that a bunch of sorority girls might listen to "Come On Eileen" and the like all the time, but suddenly it's really cool for those same hipsters to be extolling the virtues of these songs? If you ask me, those sorority girls were way ahead of any johnny-come-lately neo-new-wave band.
That said, Franz Ferdinand kind of fits into this camp, but there is something I can't quite identify that they are doing that makes them so much more fresh than bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Le Tigre, Elephant, We Ragazzi, etc.

robin.. / December 10, 2004 11:45 AM

Mike: so glad to hear you like the Har Mar. i love me some Har Mar. the show is great, but almost better than that is the unreasoning vitreol that the hip-eoise of a certain web-based music publication have for him. man, does pitchfork ever hate the har mar...but then, one of their reviewers thought the libertines were the new great white hopes of rock and roll...i take their views with a grain. some are useful, some are not.

jeff / December 10, 2004 12:01 PM

Backyard Babies and The Hellacopters!!!!!!!

--hands down two of the best true great rock bands around!!

robin.. / December 10, 2004 12:01 PM

thurston: generally, i find that we are of the same mind. however, i have always, and will always, love "come on eileen," without reservation. / December 10, 2004 12:06 PM

All you hipsters should pay homage to DAMAGEPLAN and PANTERA.

Veronica / December 10, 2004 12:13 PM

My votes are for the following:

The new DFA compilation is hot shit.
Swayzak ”loops from the bergerie”
Styrofoam ”nothings lost”
Interpol ”Antics”
Kings of Convenience “riot on an empty street”
Mos Def ”the new danger”
RJD2 ”since we last spoke”
and one little vice of mine. George Michael ”patience”

Carly / December 10, 2004 12:14 PM

Off the top of my head:

Iron & Wine-Our Endless Numbered Days
Franz Ferdinand
Sufjan Stevens-Seven Swans
Pinback-Summer in Abaddon

Veronica / December 10, 2004 12:17 PM

am I the only one who really didnt like the franz ferdinand album? there was one or two good tracks but overall i thought it was strictly mediocre. maybe i would like them better live. i dunno.

Thurston / December 10, 2004 12:47 PM

robin: Indeed, "come on eileen" is and has always been a terrific song. I guess I find some 80s revivial hype rather ersatz: It seems many wax philosophical (or ironic) about early 80s music as if they can appreciate it more deeply than non-hipsters who liked it before Pitchfork did.

Two more good 2004 releases:
Igloo: selftitled (Afterhours)
Domenico + 2: Sincerely Hot (Luaka Bop)

Naz / December 10, 2004 1:00 PM

Your pal -

You could always email him directly, top right corner.

As for obscenities - quite a few people look at the site at work - which happens to trigger those pesky unsafe for work internet blocking alarms. Unfortunately, swear words fall into this category and thus those who are "blessed" with these protocols at work would be unable to take a look at the site.

Andy / December 10, 2004 1:59 PM

Iron And Wine was good.

Killers - Hot Fuss. Great album. One of the few that deserves the attention it's getting.

Oh yah and Kanye West's College Dropout. Chi Town!
An album so good it made Common want to rep the Midwest again.

steven / December 10, 2004 2:10 PM

i have to agree with veronica, the franz album didn't do too much for me either. couple of cool tracks and good riffs/beats, but lots of fluff too.

my favs o' 2004:
pj harvey: uh huh her
loretta lynn: van lear rose
velvet revolver: contraband (although i haven't heard the entire album as of yet, the fact that they covered 'no more no more' by aerosmith is good enough for me. axl doesn't know what he's missing)

karen / December 10, 2004 2:51 PM

three words:

kanye, kanye, kanye.

B! / December 10, 2004 2:59 PM

Loretty-VLR (The Coal Miner's daughter is back!)
Nancy Sinatra-S/T (Ol' Blue Eyes' daughter is back!)
Robinella And The CCstring Band-S/T (new to me!)
Elvis-King Creole Sdtk (new to me!) (me singing-'crawwwwfish-crawwwwwwfish')
Scissor Sisters

Sammy / December 10, 2004 3:47 PM

A Band So Indie - You've Never Heard Of 'Em

davin / December 10, 2004 3:56 PM

modest mouse
arcade fire
bjork - medulla
jill scott
pj harvey

i wish the yeah yeah yeah's were this year because i still love them.

was rufus wainwright's want one this year?

Mike / December 10, 2004 4:24 PM


I'm really not sure, I did like half of the Hives, White Stripes and definitely the Strokes, but bands like the Libertines and a lot of Le Tigre (not all of it mind you) just don't make it work.
On a related note, I'm still totally addicted to electroclash (Mommy + Daddy, Fischerspooner) and "dance-punk" or whatever the hell it's called (Electric Six, Rapture, some Le Tigre).


Yeah, Pitchfork made the wrong call on Har Mar. I don't know why, I don't care. Though I do think it influenced a friend of mine who reads PF all the time. I asked him if he wanted to go see Har Mar at the Double Door, and he was really excited. By the end of the day though, he cooled off completely and didn't want to go anymore. This is a guy who likes Bobby Conn, so he's not exactly adverse to dirty lyrics.

Eric / December 10, 2004 5:01 PM

Guided By Voices- Half Smiles of the Decomposed
Wilco - a ghost is born
Posi - Michigan Girls are Waiting for Me

eep / December 11, 2004 12:20 PM

robin, Mike, Thurston: I don't disagree with you *at all* about the Libertines, and about all the fuss that people are making over the Brooklyn/new wave/retro-revival music. Frankly, I think a lot of it *is* crap, especially the Libertines. (I, personally, find their music to be nothing less than juvenile.) However, I appreciate what they're doing to the music industry. For quite a while there you could only choose between hip-hop, cookie-cutter "alternative," or pop. And I like that these bands are getting attention so that hopefully more bands with different sounds may be signed and released. Yes, some like Modest Mouse are very good (although the singer's voice drives me nuts), and yes, some don't deserve praise at all. But I just like that for a change, there's something different to listen to.

But yeah, you're not wrong.

christian / December 11, 2004 9:50 PM

Stuff I liked this year.

Eleni Mandell: Afternoon, this would be my favorite album.
bjork: medulla
pj harvey: uh huh her, and b-sides
Earlimart: treble & tremble

I liked a few other albums, but nothing that I would call the best of the year. I thought Franz Ferdinand was interesting at first, then I stopped listening and haven't listened to it since, I think it's due for my second listening. I dislike Modest Mouse for some reason, maybe because of how much it has been played on radio stations. It may be his voice that annoys me, ever since someone pointed out his lisp; I hear it in every song.

The song I hate with a passion of a thousand burning suns would be the Turn to Two jingle, it drives me insane.

Richard Hartung / December 11, 2004 11:46 PM

The Chicago Then and Now series is fascinating, but I have two observations:
1)As I recall the Clarke House, reputedly the oldest house in Chicago, was originally located near Michigan Avenue and 12th St. (Roosevelt Rd.) and therefore the present location is its third site. I toured the house many years ago when it was located on Wabash.
2) I was extremely disappointed when I looked at the South Side section since the preceding text led me to believe that there would be photographs of the Hyde Park neighborhood. Either a) the reference is to the Township of Hyde Park as it existed prior to its incorporation into the City of Chicago before the 1893 Columbian Exposition, b) the geographical description is simply wrong, as the Hyde Park neighborhood begins at 47th Street and there are no photos shown that far south, or c) the photographs Cushman took of Hyde Park are not shown here.

michelle / December 12, 2004 2:51 AM

there was alot, but these are what I'm still listening to

pierre lapointe- s/t
air-talkie walkie
luomo-the present lover

Andrew / December 13, 2004 11:52 AM

c'mon people, only one vote for Sufjan Stevens' "Seven Swans"? i know more of you than that were at his shows this year!

mt / December 22, 2004 9:38 AM

top5albums of 04:
Ghost-Hypnotic Underworld
Comets on Fire-Blue Cathedral
The Icarus Line-Penance Soiree

*and 2 extra for the hell of it:
Tussle-Kling Klang

*oh, and please make Interpol and Franz Ferdinand disappear in 2005. thank you....

mt / December 22, 2004 9:39 AM

top5albums of 04:
Ghost-Hypnotic Underworld
Comets on Fire-Blue Cathedral
The Icarus Line-Penance Soiree

*and 2 extra for the hell of it:
Tussle-Kling Klang

*oh, and please make Interpol and Franz Ferdinand disappear in 2005. thank you....

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