live in fascination, fascination forever
Happy December, y'all.
As I mentioned last week, today marks the beginning of The Big Ticket's Mix '05 (I still need a better/real name for this thing) & the return of daily posting on my part (hopefully) right up until Christmas eve (makes a nice stocking stuffer). One year ago today, I started my (nearly) month-long alternative to the typical year-end list, choosing instead to post & write about some of the tracks that were important to me for one reason or another over the preceding eleven months. Just as the tracks on Mix '04 were sequenced not by rank, but by how well each one lead to the next over the course of (just under) eighty minutes, so too will Mix '05 be constructed, with one big difference - this year's mix will be twice as long as its predecessor. Since I just couldn't narrow my song selection down to one cd, I will be posting two tracks each weekday instead of 2004's measly one for a double-disc recap of all things '05. Last year's caveat I still applies:
Some of the included tracks have been posted here before, and likely all of them have been posted elsewhere, so it's nothing you haven't already heard. And of course, there is so much great material out there that I haven't gotten a chance to hear (or listen to enough of) this year, so this is by no means any kind of definitive anything. It's just a bunch of great tunes that have impacted me over the last year, in an order that seemed to work out alright when I put it together.
As always, I appreciate your feedback & gripes. I look foward to reading your opinions on the overall mix, as well any alternate suggestions of what I should have included but didn't. Enough preamble, here goes something...
Mix '05 begins with twenty seconds of feedback, which is dramatically broken up by an absolutely thunderous drumbeat that pulses & thrives, ever-building in intensity. I saw Canadian post-punk vets the Constantines twice in 2005, headlining the 400 Bar back in August & opening for Mpls faves The Hold Steady at First Avenue in late October (more on that later), and on both occasions they opened with this "Draw Us Lines," which also leads off the band's latest Sub Pop release, Tournament of Hearts. In each instance, the song freakin' kills - the best opening track of 2005 IMO. Frontman Bry Webb's raspy growl of a voice perfectly compliments the dirty production, becoming passionate shouting as the overall volume increases, driving toward the song's climax. This is powerful sh**, and it demands your attention. WAKE UP! While most of Tournament of Hearts may lack the balls out rawk of earlier albums like 2001's self-titled LP & 2003's abfab Shine A Light, its track one does not disappoint in the slightest. Goddamn.
Later tonite, I'll have more on that First Avenue gig (with pix taboot) which featured guest appearances from just about all of fellow canucks Broken Social Scene that may have been my top concert moment of the year.
Perhaps I'm cheating by following the previous track one with another, but I think it works. Austin TX's Spoon delivered the follow-up to their 2002 masterpiece Kill The Moonlight with this past summer's very solid Gimme Fiction, and this is both its first & best song. The stripped down production, the references to later songs on the album (The Beast & Dragon, Adored was the original title for Gimme Fiction, which I suppose is catchier or something), frontman Britt Daniel's sickly catchy chorus, the off-kilter guitar breakdowns, it all hits you right in the gut but takes you along for the ride.
I caught an early all-ages Spoon show in late June, though that performance paled in comparison with the one I saw the previous summer at the 400 Bar. Spoon will be playing the 400 again on December 8th, though I doubt I'll attend. Frankly, I don't want to go through the hassle of tracking down tickets to the "free" show Perhaps I'm a fool, but so be it.
Check this post again tomorrow for more pix & words & stuff.
And perhaps some edits (better writing). Alas, it's time for work.