Architecture in Helsinki - The Owls Go -
A quirky indie pop number lifted off of Fingers Crossed, the debut album from Australia's Achitecture in Helsinki. Such a charming collage of acoustic guitars, minimal found-sound samples and the human voice, I have never heard. A neat lil' gem from an otherwise unremarkable album that owes a bit too much to the likes of Jim Gutherie, The Aislers Set and Belle & Sebastian.
So this is the way the year of TWOTHOUSANDFOUR wound up for me:
01 Arcade Fire – S/T [Merge]
02 Laura Veirs – Carbon Glacier [Nonesuch]
03 Animal Collective – Sung Tongs [Fat Cat]
04 The Clouds – S/T [Team]
05 Interpol – Antics [Matador]
06 Cyann & Ben – Happy Like An Autumn Tree [Locust]
07 Devendra Banhart – Rejoicing In The Hands [Young God]
08 The Hold Steady – Almost Killed Me [Frenchkiss]
09 The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free [Vice/Atlantic]
10 Franz Ferdinand – S/T [Domino]
11 Converge – You Fail Me [Equal Vision]
12 The Comas – Conductor [Yep Rock]
13 Xiu Xiu – Fabulous Muscles [5 Rue Christine]
14 Air – Talkie Walkie [Astralworks]
15 The Dead Texan – S/T [Kranky]
16 Jukeboxer – In The Food Chain [Absolutely Kosher]
17 Mastodon – Leviathan [Relapse]
18 Subtle – A New White [Lex]
19 The Gris Gris – S/T [Birdman]
20 Ratatat – S/T [XL]
21 Isis – Panopticon [Ipacec]
22 Robyn Hitchcock – Spooked [Yep Roc]
23 Growing – Soul of the Rainbow and the Harmony of the Light [Kranky]
24 Sufjan Stevens – Seven Swans [Sounds Familyre]
25 The Minor Times – Making Enemies [Level Plane]
26 Mirah – C’mon Miracle [K]
27 August Engkilde Presents EPO – EPO [popscape]
28 Pig Destroyer – Terrifyer [Relapse]
29 Black Eyes – Cough [Dischord]
30 Pedro The Lion – Achilles Heel [Jade Tree]
31 Comets on Fire – Blue Cathedral [Sub-Pop]
32 The New Year – The End is Near [Touch & Go]
33 Haunted House – La Vida… [Adonis]
34 Joanna Newsome – The Milk Eyed Mother [Drag City]
35 Fear Before The March of Flames – Art Damage [Equal Vision]
36 Wrangler Brutes – Zulu [Kill Rock Stars]
The argument 'round here is that Pitchfork had a lot to do with the success of the Arcade Fire record. I say POPPYCOCK. Sure, perhaaaaps, due to the site's fairly large readership, they introduced a few -- a few -- folks to the band, but let us not forget how much press that album was getting around the same time. And let's not forget the giantic buzz the album rode before its release. And while we're busy not forgetting things, let's not forget how delightfully perfect Funeral was.
The thing warranted the hype, folks.
Besides, this happens every go-round: "Oh, well, if Pitchfork didn't hype this record to death it wouldn't have done well." Really, did you care about the Wrens? I didn't.
But, much like Turn on the Bright Lights from two years ago (although not to be compared to the see-thru irony-arena mope-pop bullcrap of 2003's You Forget It In People), the "Pitchfork Album" of 2004 was just a devastatingly brilliant release. Bright and vibrant in all the right spots. Dark and gloomy in the OTHER right spots.
It returned godhonesthope to my music collection. Funeral is a bunch of songs that reasure. A bunch of songs that pat the back. Truly cathartic music and clearly the best album of the year -- Pitchfork endorsement and all.