Greetings, music fans. Below you will find, in Shanghaiist’s humble opinion, all the music you should have been listening to in the first half of 2005. And if you haven’t been able to check these albums out yet, you still have plenty of time to load them on to your mp3 player of choice before 2006. Five Shanghaiist contributors submitted five albums each for a total and 25 — and they wrote exactly 25 words about each one (exactly, only if you are very lenient with your rules of hyphenation). And yes, we are aware that these “Best of the Year (so far)” lists should really happen at the end of June and not at the end of July. But we’re a start-up blog in China — you expect us to be organized?
Albums are listed alphabetically by artist. Don’t see your favorite music here? Tell us your picks in a comment. We’re always looking for new music to downl-, er, buy.
Analord Series 1-11 by Aphex Twin
Untilted by Autechre
The Mysterious Production Of Eggs by Andrew Bird
I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning by Bright Eyes
Often recalling Hallowed Ground-era Gordon Gano, precocious Nebraskan singer-songwriter Conor Oberst delivers a sterling album of country-twinged love songs with New York as the backdrop.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Shhhh. Hear that? If you are quiet, you can hear the buzz surrounding this Brooklyn band from any spot on Earth. Arcade Fire for 2005.
Beauty and the Beat by Edan
A veritable smorgasbord of delightful beats and samples underscores Edan’s intensely colorful lyricism, leaving us “fumbling over words that rhyme” to express our immense satisfaction.
Demon Days by Gorillaz
Madvillain: Remixes[2xEP] by Koushik & Four Tet
The best hip hop record of 2004 remixed? Twice? We’ll take it, the more DOOM the better. Grab these two, grab the original … aural pleasure.
LCD Soundsystem by LCD Soundsystem
Multiply by Jamie Lidell
A nod to the soaring dramatics and inflamed funkiness vintage r&b, Lidell’s full-bodied soul has staggeringly fervent hooks and balancing moments of lean strut.
Tesri by Robert Lippok and Barbara Morgenstern
To Rococo Rot heavyweight Lippok teams up with the contemplative piano of Morgenstern. A joyfully dense and impeccable album of thinking-cap music. Personal favorite.
Face The Truth by Stephen Malkmus
Arular by M.I.A.
MIA’s sing-song chant locks into global village electro in a hail of 808 gunfire and cataclysmic bass. Aggressively lo-fi, Arular is nothing short of earth-shattering.
The Sunlandic Twins by of Montreal
“We’ll have bizarre celebrations,” sings Kevin Barnes, and that’s exactly what this album is. This is what happens when indie psych-pop boys play with computers.
Black Sheep Boy by Okkervil River
The Wedding by Oneida
Speaking of weddings, this won’t get played at too many. Unless, like us, the bride and groom are into warped psychedelic rock droning away relentlessly.
Let Us Never Speak Of It Again by Out Hud
Surrounded by Silence by Prefuse 73
The Further Adventures of Lord Quas by Quasimoto & Mad Lib
Fallen Leaf Pages by Radar Brothers
“Violently boring” screams one review. It must be Shanghai, but we guess we need to be violently bored from time to time. Slow and sublime.
A Healthy Distrust by Sage Francis
Slam-poet-cum-hip-hop-iconoclast, Sage bucks trends and speaks his mind in an attempt to relate his personal reality of refreshingly accessible cynicism.
Gimme Fiction by Spoon
A feast of grubby synth, crackling guitars and handclaps, with a lick or two of outlandish disco. “Was It You?” perfectly distills the year 1982.
Illinois by Sufjan Stevens
The second of Fifty States, Illinois defies definition, reflecting its composer’s complexity. In an age of singles and MP3s, Sufjan Stevens keeps the LP relevant.
Get Behind Me Satan by The White Stripes
Apologies To The Queen Mary by Wolf Parade
This album “officially” doesn’t get released until late September, but jump on this Montreal band’s bandwagon now. Partially produced by Isaac Brock, and it shows.
Compiled by Edward Dabbagh, Jeff Jorve, Shamus Sillar, Dan Washburn and Adam Williams.