We decided to do something a little different this year for our 'Best of' roundup. Instead of a master list compiled of submissions from our contributors and writers, we wanted to give our writers a chance to pick their own Top 5 list of the best of the year in music. Over the next three weeks we will be unveiling our writers' picks for the best of 2004.
Every day we will be posting a new Top 5 list from one of our writers, selected at random. At the conclusion we will reveal the master list. We also want to let you take part and will be accepting nominations for a readers' choice list.
antiMUSIC Editor Keavin Wiggins's Top 5 of 2004.
1. Angie Aparo - For Stars and Moon: Angie Aparo is one of the best kept secrets in the music business. A gifted songwriter, singer and lyricist, everything he does has instant credibility. I was blown away by his 2000 release The American, which sadly did not receive the promotion it deserved. Then Angie was vindicated when Faith Hill took one of the songs and not only made it the title track to her "Cry" album but took it right to No. 1. Angie is a rare musical visionary that crosses many boundaries, at times a Lennonesq curiosity and at others a Dylan like delivery but he is strongest when he lets his unique style shine through. "Child You're the Revolution" alone is worth the price of this CD, and other instant classics like "Hard Women" and "Sweet Loretta" are just icing on the cake and make "For Stars and Moon" the standout release of 2004. He may not be a household name, but Angie Aparo is one of the few true music visionaries producing quality music in this age of uninspired corporate "product". 6 out of 5 stars. (samples / buy cd | review)
2. Nirvana - With the Lights Out: How could this not be on the list? An amazing collection that any fan would love. It's really cool that this was finally put out and they included so much material, even the rawer underproduced stuff. It's an honest boxset and an absolutely an essential purchase that let's up witness the evolution of one of the most important bands of the past 20 years. (samples / buy cd | review)
3. Anthrax - The Greater of Two Evils: To be honest I was never really impressed by John Bush until last year's "We've Come For You All," an absolute homerun metal album. So I was really interested to hear John tackle some of these Anthrax classics but was still skeptical. Once I heard it, all my skepticism went out the window. Another hit out of the park for Anthrax! If you don't have this CD yet, put it at the top of your "to buy" list. (samples / buy cd | review)
4. The Blood Brothers – Crimes: Could The Blood Brothers do it? Top their amazing 2003 album "Burn Piano Island, Burn"? The answer is an absolute yet. "Crimes" is an amazing powerhouse of energy, punk and attitude. I really can't see how the band could top this album. If you haven't heard it yet, you must drop everything and check it out right now. A true punk rock masterpiece! (samples / buy cd | review)
5. Gary Jules - Trading Snakeoil For Wolftickets: The moment I heard "Mad World" in the film Donnie Darko, I was sold. When I heard that this CD was coming out I became really excited. When I got my hands on it, I was a bit taken aback because Gary's other material was so different from Mad World. I was expecting more haunting gothic rock and instead heard an inspired next generation Paul Simon (circa Simon & Garfunkel). After the initial shock went away, I was left very impressed by Gary's talents. Every song is a standalone and he stands miles ahead of other singer/songwriters in his diversity and the quality of music. (samples / buy cd | review)
Rank hath its privilege, so I decided I needed to do a separate Top 5 list of Indie releases
1. Twelvehourmary – Blowing Over: Your brain is connected to your ears, so why shouldn't music be intelligent? I've been waiting for this album for a couple years and the wait was well worth it. Rich Mouser (Weezer, Spock's Beard) did an amazing job on production, but it's the songwriting that is the real showcase here. From the rockin' title track to beautiful "Snowshaker," the melancholy "Face It," and the pop sensibilities of "Final Idiot", Brett Bixby and company have produced one of the best alternative rock albums to come out in years. What amazes me (and pisses me off) most is that a big label hasn't grabbed these guys yet. (samples / buy cd | review)
2. Johnny Jones and the Suffering Halos - Johnny Jones and the Suffering Halos: Another band out of Long Beach that proves that rock is alive and well. Johnny Jones makes real classic hardrock sound surprisingly fresh with this amazing testament to what made us fall in love with heavy rock in the first place. If you like hardrock, you'll love the Halos. (samples / buy cd | review)
3. Bigelf – Hex: How could you not love a band that takes the best elements of Sabbath and mixes them with Pink Floyd? A smash hit in Europe, the American labels were too brain dead to jump all over this band, which is too bad because "Hex" is easily one of the best rock albums of this decade. (samples / buy cd | review)
4. Cyber-Jack – The Great Red Spot: Imagine a band that mixes early Guns 'N' Roses with Nirvana vocals and Nine Inch Nails instrumentation. This CD is a bit shocking at first, but once you warm up to it, these Sao Paulo rockers make you a solid convert. (samples / buy cd)
5. mellowdrone - go get em tiger:
The next step in Jonathan Bates musical evolution. This EP demonstrates
Jonathan's strengths as a songsmith but also as someone that isn't tied
down to convention. This is not what you are hearing on the radio, but
if we had freeform radio in this day and age, mellowdrone would be a star
of the format. It will be interesting to hear what the full length album
is going to sound like as mellowdrone transitions from a solo project into
a full fledged band effort. We can rest assured that Jonathan will not
rest on his laurels and will again deliver when that times comes. But for
now we have had to significant EPs to make us mellowdrones. (That's a good
/ buy cd | review)
Check back tomorrow when another member of the antiMusic staff checks in with their top 5 list.
Wait! Be sure to submit your
nominations for the Readers' Choice list.
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