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2005 Music Overview - Jay Watts III

Posted by MP / December 31, 2005

feels.jpgAnother member of the Pop Montreal squad, and curator of the comprehensive, often-delightfully-obscure, smartlier-than-thou Goldkicks blog, Jay Watts III provides his picks. Right here.

In terms of releases, music, shows, 2005 was too long and too packed to make any definitive statements about the year - but I'm sure someone can piece together a crafty little thesis about the Death Of The Genre [ed note: that was last year].

The first quarter of the year I spent listening to John Cale's 70s albums and random psych-folk noodlings usually recorded in meadows or other pastoral settings, and recently I've come to appreciate (gasp) electro-type stuff, not enough to work my way through the mountain of genre names, but enough to actively seek out an average of three remixes for every great song I've heard. Other parts of the year were spent listening to the mountains of submissions for Pop Montreal, and consequentially, music became less of a soothing balm or invigorating tonic, and more of the grating din that punctuated the office arguments about the merits of musicians that nobody even seemed that keen on. Nonetheless, this year there were far too many highlights to even mention, far too many albums and releases and songs and shows to keep track, so I'm sure plenty has been lost. Next year, let's do these things as quarterly reports, please?

Top Five Albums

3/5 of these albums haven't even been released yet, but I consider that to be a mark of my progressive thinking...

1. Animal Collective, Feels & Prospect Hummer EP w/ Vashti Bunyan - My record-store mentor, a West Coast dweller whom I occasionally consult for (I remember him pushing Antony & The Johnsons on me in 2000) and avuncular advice said that this new album sounded like early Mercury Rev, and lo and behold, it does! That doesn't diminish the album at all, though - these two releases were the most polished, focused, mature and straight-ahead thing the group has ever done

2. Destroyer, Rubies - Dan Bejar was previously spotted fucking with international art-star Rodney Graham's midi trumpets and synthesizers, which miffed a great many of his fans while it might have made him a more viable CCA grant applicant. This album is a rollicking return to the glory days of
pre-"Your Blues", full of the lyrical play and referential mazes which both alienate a great many people and prove that he is, according to some Bejar-watcher, "the greatest rock critic around today."

3. Islands, Return To The Sea - It's not out yet. You're not allowed to listen.

4. Daddy's Hands, n/a - Dave Wanger might not be the best party guest, but as someone who practically wrote the blueprints for err, "art-rock" on the West Coast, tore it up into little pieces and ate 'em, he's deserving of your attention. More visceral and punishing than his children (Wolf Parade,
Frog Eyes, et al.), but worth the trip: hopefully somebody releases this album in 2006, and he doesn't have to suffer the indignities of cult status any longer.

5. Cass McCombs, PREfection - His Dylan-in-Playboy magazine style responses to my (admittedly) shitty and convoluted questions didn't really endear the musician as man to me, but considering his output, I'm a forgiving man. This album so overflows with the bountiful delights of Visconti-like production, Loaded-era VU song-writing styles and the aesthetic of many other canonical greats that I'm tempted to call "plagiarism" - as if he's got a stack of unreleased recordings by these groups (maybe not too far from the truth - witness local Montrealer and former Radio Berlin synth-man Warren Hill's Velvet Underground acetate find!) - but more than likely it's great songwriting by osmosis and a spark undoubtedly his.

Top Five Shows

1. Awesome at Pop Montreal - Impressario and local arts scene Sven Gali Robin Simpson put together
the real shouldn't-have-been-missed show of the festival, staging the only outdoor event (well, that is unless you count waiting in line for sold out shows - har har!) in Square Viger with a cast of tens. A
four armed drummer, crust-punk blowjobs (certainly the scariest and most primal shit I've seen all year), fireworks, that Otaku zinester almost getting his arm blown off, a guy in a sequined afghan, all set
in some gone-to-seed modernist structure, just waiting for demolition.

2. Black Mountain at Sala Rossa
3. Wolf Parade at FringePop (Baby tamourine thief.)
4. Irving Fields/Socalled/Gonzales
5. Any Duchess Says show.

Discussion

27 Comments

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TODDLER tambourine thief.
*Some* of Rodney Graham's "Rock is Hard" LP is really great...
Andrew Rose / January 3, 2006 at 09:33 am
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Jay Watts goes with not ONE, but TWO albums that are slated for release in 2006. Have you set the eBay reserve for your indie cred, yet, Jay?
Jay Watts III / January 3, 2006 at 01:30 pm
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And a third isn't even slated for release yet...
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