Phil Gyford

Writing

Monday 14 February 2005

PreviousIndexNext Top Tunes of 2004

Every year I do not make a CD of my favourite tunes of the past twelve months and give copies to a few friends. No. Because while honest and good people have been making and sharing mix tapes for decades without civilisation collapsing, burning CDs and giving them to a few friends is, as we all know in this terrifying age, the spark that leads to the fiery hells of crime, drugs and, of course, terror.

But if I did wish to cause the downfall of western governments and industries, not to mention forcing musicians to cast aside their instruments and beg in the gutter, the CD I would have made of my favourite tunes of 2004 would have looked like this:

(Links are a mixture of places you can hear or download the track, where I first heard the tune, or just to Amazon.)

  1. The Robot Ate Me — The Genocide Ball (2004)
  2. The Shins — Kissing the Lipless (2003)
  3. Beans — Mutescreamer (El-P Remix) (2003)
  4. The Postal Service — Nothing Better (2003)
  5. Art Brut — Formed a Band (2003)
  6. Shystie — I Luv U (Raw Mix) (2003)
  7. David Bowie — Young Americans (1975)
  8. Jaga Jazzist — Serafini Jungelen (Jomba vs K-Mart & Ravi ‘97 Mix) (1998)
  9. Gillian Welch — The Weight (with Old Crow Medicine Show, Live) (2004)
  10. Kimya Dawson — Hadlock Padlock (2003)
  11. The Mountain Goats — Dance Music (2004)
  12. Sharkey — Summer in the City (Lovin’ It) (featuring Jean Grae) (2004)
  13. The Waifs — London Still (Live on Andy Kershaw, Radio 3) (2004)
  14. The Weakerthans — My Favourite Chords (2000)
  15. Kathryn Williams — No One Takes You Home (2002)
  16. KRS-One — Outta Here (1993)
  17. Nellie McKay — Sari (Live) (2004)
  18. Saturday Looks Good To Me — Lift Me Up (2004)
  19. Nina Simone — Just in Time (?)

This is based upon what I listend to a lot during 2004, rather than music released that year. And there are several criteria beyond simply choosing “my favourite tunes”: Anything new I’m sure my friends will know is out (no Morrissey or PJ Harvey); Only one track per artist; An emphasis on tracks I’ve played a lot rather than what I think are best (in my obssessive ratings, a few of these only get 4 out of 5 stars).

Such a brief list appears somewhat inadequate in the face of Dan’s recent post on his tracks of 2004, most of which I’ve never heard of, let alone heard. But I like the restriction of making a single CD.

Looking at how I heard about all this music, it’s obvious that MP3 blogs have been important for me this year. I’ve heard so much music I’d never have come across if I hadn’t been reading them, and in a year when I largely stopped listening to radio I’ve been more excited about music than ever. And, yes, in many cases I have gone on to buy CDs after hearing songs on blogs, although bloggers do have an annoying knack of picking the single decent song to put up…

In all, I first heard twelve of the 19 tracks via MP3 blogs (tracks 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18). Two (10 and 11) were via John Peel, one (4) via a friend, one (5) via MTV while on holiday, one (9) I first heard live, and two oldies I re-heard in movies: Young Americans in Dogville and Just in Time in Before Sunset.

There are a few more tracks I that I either forgot to consider or that didn’t quite make it on to the CD (that I still definitely did not compile and burn easily in iTunes like millions of other people):

Comments

Phil, if it's any consolation, I don't think I've heard of 8 of the artists on your list either. Nor 7 of your reserve list.

Not that that's the point ;-)

The point is how you discovered that stuff, which is very interesting - I'm (naturally) fascinated by this process and how 'various' and rich this is. Excellent further point too: yes, people have been doing this kind of recommendation and sharing for decades. If only *certain people* could see what a fabulous service fans provide for nowt - sigh.

Posted by Dan on 14 February 2005, 9:59 pm | Link

It's the instant response to 'there's no good new music out there'. No, mate: you just haven't been looking. And it's now easier to look than it has been in a long, long time.

Posted by nick on 14 February 2005, 11:42 pm | Link

For our interest, will you be linking to the mp3 blogs in question? Oh go on.

Posted by rodcorp on 15 February 2005, 9:29 am | Link

Well, the ones I visit most often at the moment are:

Said the Gramophone: http://www.saidthegramophone.com/

Lost Bands of the New Wave Era: http://lostbands.blogspot.com/

Soul Sides: http://soul-sides.com/

The Number One Songs in Heaven: http://londonlee.com/blog.html

I haven't had time to visit these for a while now, which means I haven't been getting much *new* music of late:

Tofu Hut: http://tofuhut.blogspot.com/

Fluxblog: http://www.fluxblog.org/

Scissorkick: http://www.scissorkick.com/

Pregnant Without Intercourse: http://pwi.blogspot.com/

And there are so many more I'd love to visit too. It's a much more time-consuming way of listening to music than the radio, but far more satisfying.

Posted by Phil Gyford on 15 February 2005, 9:45 am | Link

Thx Phil!

Posted by rodcorp on 15 February 2005, 10:11 am | Link

I swear by the RSS feed of http://www.mp3blogs.org/ which provides an almost overwhelming selection of music on a daily basis.

Posted by martin on 17 February 2005, 11:41 am | Link

Phil! Come back! PWI misses you!

Glad to hear you've enjoyed the site.

FC (www.pwi.blogspot.com)

Posted by fatcitizen on 17 February 2005, 11:03 pm | Link