The Aardvark Speaks : essence, effervescence, obscurity. Established 2002. A weblog by Horst Prillinger. ISSN 1726-5320

December 21, 2005

Record review of 2005, part 2: Not released this year

As it turns out, some of my favourite albums this year weren't released this year at all. I made some late discoveries, which can't make it into the official polls, but which I nevertheless listened to quite extensively.

A Ghost Is BornWilco: A ghost is born. Probably my favourite album this year, but, alas, released last year. For some reason I totally ignored it when it came out, but then I bought the vinyl, which was released this spring, and was instantly hooked. I prefer this a lot to their much-lauded previous album because it has a few more edges, but it delves into a similar musicality and range of ideas. It's good to see that someone still cares to make records like this.

You Are FreeCat Power: You are free. Even though it is a bit overlong, I still admire this album for its barrenness, its bleakness and its fragility. It's a kind of music that I only realized I'd wanted once I'd found it. Hard to describe really; I guess you actually have to listen to it, but it's hard to deny that there is power behind that frail voice. I wouldn't call it "cat" power though.

Bryter LayterNick Drake: Bryter layter. I will probably remember 2005 as the year in which I discovered Nick Drake. This may seem awfully late since he recorded his albums well over 35 years ago, but it was this year that all of a sudden I stopped complaining about the string arrangements and recognized Drake's songs for what they are: brief moments of perfect beauty; and some of these songs are so beautiful that they make you cry. It's true; I swear.

The TainThe Decemberists: The Tain. Much as the Decemberists' new album disappointed me, their previous one became one of my favourites this year. It's a lengthy narrative very much in the tradition of Jethro Tull's Thick as a brick, and it's impossible to deny that there's more than a structural resemblance. Jimi Hendrix's "Manic depression" also makes a brief appearance here, but for all its pastiche, it's a remarkably powerful and remarkably original recording.

Posted by Horst on December 21, 2005 10:23 PM to reviews | Tell-a-friend

whittler said on December 26, 2005 09:59 AM:

A Ghost is Born is very cool. I love The Late Greats.

Nick Drake is inimitable. A biography of him totally did my head in. I always get sad when I think of Nick.

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