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2005 Music Overview - John Mac

Posted by John / December 26, 2005

wolf.jpgOver the next few days, Midnight Poutine will print the picks of a handful of Montreal types affiliated (however loosely) with the music scene. Today, it's me. Tomorrow and beyond, more exciting people will speak.

My own picks are incomplete. Or abridged. I missed the first third of 2005 by being out of the country, although I did sneak over to Austin, TX in March to see a bit of the new stuff at SXSW. Still, though, I can't claim to be as well-acquainted with the year's musical offerings this time around as I have been in the past.


Top Five Albums of 2005:

1. Wolf Parade, Apologies..., Sub Pop
2. Sleater-Kinney, The Woods, Sub Pop
3. Spoon, Gimme Fiction, Merge
4. Danger Doom, The Mouse and The Mask
5. New Pornographers, Twin Cinema, Mint

Honourable mention: Metric, Live It Out

Top Five Shows of 2005:

1. Irving Fields, Gonzales, SoCalled, Theatre Nationale, Montreal. What a lineup, and what an end to the Pop Montreal festival. Irving Fields was a ham, a card, and a virtuoso. Gonzales was simultaneously cocky and bashful, fully aware of his own skill but somehow not an asshole for flaunting it. SoCalled was jaw-dropping -- he's pushing the limits of so many different things at once.
2. Calexico and Iron & Wine, Spectrum, Montreal. I feared a boring show, but it was gripping and inspirational. The sound wasn't perfect, but it was good enough to capture every soul-shattering harmony Sam Beam and his sis produced, and there were so many.
3. New Pornographers, La Tulipe, Montreal. Carl, Neko, et al. started off slow but shed any tentativeness four or five songs into the set. After that, they didn't look back. This is as good as pop gets, and the Last Picture Show live is a whole new concept altogether.
4. Wolf Parade, Piano's, New York. On the brink of hugeness, when there was no album and lots of hype, a Hadji-free (he was tree planting or something) Wolf Parade got hammered on microbrews in this tiny village club and then nervously blew the minds of every hipster in the place. Their booking agent was at the show, and afterwards she whispered to Dan Boeckner: "You'll never play a venue that small again."
5. Spoon, The Parrish (?), Austin. A preview of Gimme Fiction found the band raw and loose, and slightly better -- less jaded, perhaps? -- than several months later, when they played Club Soda here in Montreal.



Andrew Rose / December 28, 2005 at 01:52 am
Live it Out gets your honourable mention, really?
John Mac / December 28, 2005 at 08:54 am
Yeah, someone else mentioned that to me recently. "Live It Out? Really?" she said. I was really impressed by it. Although, frankly, I haven't listened to the whole thing in months, and I played the song I like most at Green Room a few weeks ago and I was bored by it about halfway through (and, finally, I refer you to the caveats at the beginning of my picks). So, maybe not. Maybe I'm terribly wrong. But I'll leave it there for posterity anyway, although now that I'm here to comment I'll also give props to the Fembots <em>The City</em>. Anyone terribly offended by the Metric mention can just substitute that one.
Jay Watts III / December 28, 2005 at 11:26 am
I've never, ever, never cared for the Metric, and that last album really sold my uhh, not being sold on them. Too-slick production, boring paint-by-numbers chord changes, coupled with an uninspired and vaguely defined socio-politically rebellious "edge" (coming from a band sponsored by Vespa that, surprise!, mentions a Vespa in one of their songs!) - File under: Republica, Garage, Elastica (bands not quite as good as, but equally derivative).

Nonetheless, in their defence, I met two of the guys earlier this month at my friend's place and they were funny, intelligent, and really swell fellows. Shame.
John Mac / December 28, 2005 at 01:50 pm
Yeah, I dunno. Again, I don't have the most bulletproof rationale for this mention. Maybe it was the people themselves - I interviewed Emily Haines and, uh, James Shaw, and both were candid, funny, snarky, etc., and talked at length about recording the album (it's entirely a DIY bedroom/laptop recording, though mixed in a studio). Maybe they got to me. Maybe it was repeated listens while I was painting my apartment, before I had unpacked the rest of my music collection. Maybe it's the pop-punk skeleton in my closet. Whatever - I'm keeping it there.
Jay Watts III / December 28, 2005 at 07:34 pm
It was just an honourable mention, after all. Those are honourable reasons for inclusion.
Shawn Petsche / December 30, 2005 at 10:51 am
...Mr. Watts stirring shit up again.
Jamarion Creamer / June 22, 2007 at 04:29 am
Acclaimed film-maker Michael Apted signs up to direct the third Narnia film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader...

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