Here are bands that blew me away in 2005
1. Broken Social Scene, Broken Social Scene
They demolish the audience with their sonic army, and shoot out the music with subtle waves of sound and blasts of guitar…ewan. arte. I interviewed Kevin once. “Come backstage after the show,” he said. I would’ve, but then I would’ve had to marry him and have kids and no career and I’d rather keep the 17-member band together. You know, what would they do without him?
2. The New Pornographers, Twin Cinemas
Obscenely happy music! I interviewed Carl Newman once. He was kinda impatient. But I hate how urgently joyous this band sounds. Cause it puts me in an inadvertent good mood.
3. Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake, it’s Morning
In February, “Take it Easy, Love Nothing” was my song for Ryan. In June “First Day of My Life” for Di. In October “Landlocked Blues” was on repeat for C. There is no emotion that I can feel that Conor has not expressed in song. I hate that f*cker. That album is still in heavy rotation, and has probably graduated to being a life classic alongside Joni Mitchell’s Blue and The Pixies’ Doolittle.
4. The Futureheads, The Futureheads
British accents in four part harmonies? Such a turn-on. I interviewed Jaff once. I couldn’t understand a word (frikkin Sunderland accent) so I ditched the article. But they were good live. I saw them at the Henry Fonda where they were explosive, then again at Coachella where they looked wilted…but I still listen to them so …
5. Doves, Some Cities
We ambushed Jimi backstage while he was eating chicken fingers. I interviewed him once for Coachella but then he got sick so we didn’t use it. Good thing cause I didn’t know what I was talking about during the interview. I thought all the moog parts in their songs were voices and I used to sing them out loud and annoy Araceli. But they’re as sophisticated and cool in person as their music sounds. The Doves is the band you listen to to make all your friends feel unimportant and small for not liking them, because they’r not crazy famous.
6. Arcade Fire, Funeral
Arcade Fire’s music sounds so strangely religious and spiritually uplifting. I prefer listening to them over going to mass. Maybe “Funeral” is a mass. I dunno.
7. Heartless Bastards, Stairs and Elevators
When you watch the Heartless Bastards you don’t realize that they only have a bass, guitarist/vocalist and drummer. The empty spaces in between notes and melodies don’t sound empty, they sound anticipatory. Like the song doesn’t need anything else but Erika’s anguished singing and power chords. It was kind of like watching Janis Joplin’s spirit, except subdued. Paul said to Erika Wennerstrom, “You have to meet my editor.” So I did, and I got totally jealous of the HB. Threesomes are hot and their drummer looks like Cousin It.
8. The Black Keys, Thickfreakness
Great makeout music. Intense blues makes guys who would look like retards in real life really hot looking.
9. Bloc Party, Silent Alarm
Of course they’re trendy and they have an egoy singer which makes them quadruply hot, but I love them. I love them not just because this was the first show Araceli and I went to together, and I didn’t even really know her then, I just wanted to go. And now I love her so I love Bloc Party! But also I love them because their music sounds like they all used to be ravers back in the day, or had older siblings who were ravers and turned into E-tards, so they learned from their older siblings’ mistakes and just listened to a lot of Chemical Brothers and also the Gang of Four and made fun dance music in the garage while being nerd and smoking pot.
10. Aqueduct, I Sold Gold, ties with LCD Soundsystem, LCD Soundsystem
Missed Aqueduct, big regret. I interviewed him though; he sang that song in the Jaguar commercial. I have a big soft spot in my heart for all nerds, and Aqueduct is the biggest nerd, listening to Guns N Roses when he was 12 and writing songs about them, having a four track instead of a life. Saw LCD with Rann and thought, this would be awesome music to make for Bem!. It kind of made me miss 1998.
11. Luke Temple, Hold a Match for a Gasoline World
I heard Luke Temple’s “Radiation Blues” one night while driving home to Tustin on KCRW. I got sufficiently creeped out by his scary old man folk sound. He plays the kind of music serial killers listened to while sharpening knives and hogtieing 12-year-old girls in trenches. I met him after his show but didn’t get to watch him play. Godamm Hollyweird traffic.
12. The 88, Over and Over
“Have a button,” Keith said. “No, we’re not allowed to take anything.” I replied. Hear that, Gryks? I turn them all down. They’re oh-so-hipsterish and LA-cool but I like them because they wear suits onstage, they’re earnestly indie and they sound so earnestly like every other LA band around these days. And I mean that in a good way, and I got turned on to their Beatle-esque sound after watching Paul McCartney, so that must mean something good.
13. Dengue Fever, Escape from Dragon House
Cambodian-American surf-rock? Dengue Fever’s Cho’om Nimol is an Asian fetishist’s dream, but their music is slinky-sexy-bass-driven rock that hits you better than 10 rum cokes and makes you feel like you’re in a hot and humid jungle in South East Asia.
Rann said, “Nakakalibog ang singer nila!” then had Chom Nimol sign his shoes.
14. M.I.A., Arular
She’s cute, she’s Sri Lankan, she was Peaches’ protege. One of my Coachella highlights was dancing to her shiny happy music, everyone’s energy overflowing in the Gobi tent and her encore. Aaahhhh.
15. The Magic Numbers, The Magic Numbers
Happy, life-affirming pop songs that again, reminded me of Paul McCartney. Charles posted the video of “Forever Lost” on his profile and I kept going there just to watch it…and then I finally saw them in Vancouver. And then I had a super strong urge to grow my hair long, play bass and look like a hobbit.