Dinosaur in Trouble: proudly serving Twin Cities music geeks

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Top 10 Albums of 2005

I was thinking of appending an “honorable mention” to this list of the best albums of 2005, but when I realized that my honorable mention list included over 100 albums, I decided that it was OK for me to be a little more exclusive. Needless to say, a lot of great albums aren’t getting the credit they deserve. Unjust as it may be, my decision to eschew the honorable mentions is a testament to how overwhelming the music of 2005 was. It is also a testament to the sheer brilliance of the albums that did make the list. Make no mistake; the albums on this list are the cream of the crop. Out of the thousands of albums released throughout the world in 2005, these ten made the biggest impression on Dinosaur in Trouble. After reading this list, I recommend making a trip to your local independent record store – collect all 10!

Say Hi to Your Mom
Ferocious Mopes


Ferocious Mopes would be a real downer if Eric Elbogen didn’t lighten things up with his relentless wit and biting sarcasm. Instead, it is an extremely satisfying collection of some of the year’s most memorable songs.

Math and Physics Club
Weekends Away / Movie Ending Romance


Here’s the reason I’m not too concerned with Belle & Sebastian’s recent change in direction: albums like Tigermilk and If You’re Feeling Sinister were powerful enough to inspire a whole new generation of indie poppers. These new bands are dedicated to preserving the genius of B&S’s early work. But few bands succeed so brilliantly as Math and Physics Club do on their debut E.P., Weekends Away, and its follow-up, Movie Ending Romance (which, together, qualify as one full album…that was the final word from the Dinosaur in Trouble jury).

Dignified Sissy

(Modern Radio)

“We’ve got a new National Anthem! We’ve got a new National Anthem! We’ve got a new National Anthem! We’ve got a new National Anthem! Aren’t you glad to be in America?! We’re all fucking crazy!”

Wolf Parade
Apologies to the Queen Mary

(Sub Pop)

People like me who absolutely despise Bon Jovi finally have an anthem-rock band to call our own. Maybe ten years from now, drunken frat boys in their drunken frat boy bars will be chanting along to “I’ll Believe in Anything” the way they currently chant along to “You Give Love a Bad Name.” Let’s hope that never happens – this album deserves a much brighter future.


(Young God)

Throughout the past year, I heard many cynics complain that no one is creating “new” music. Each and every time I heard this uneducated complaint, I referred the complainer to Akron/Family. Akron/Family is by far the most ambitious, forward-thinking, and rewarding debut since Architecture in Helsinki’s 2004 gem, Fingers Crossed. With albums like this, there is no excuse not to be optimistic.

I really didn’t want to like this album. I wanted to be the first to say that Sufjan Stevens was overrated. It was a futile task. It was stupid of me to even try to find faults with this album. Sufjan could give up on his 50 States Project right now and he’d still have a chapter secured in the rock and roll history books.

Angels of Light & Akron/Family
Akron/Family & Angels of Light

(Young God)

2005 really was the year of Akron/Family. Between touring as Akron/Family and as Michael Gira’s backing band in Angels of Light, they somehow found time to release a genius debut, an exclusive tour CD, a dazzling Angels of Light full-length, and this exceptionally strong split LP. Both Akron/Family and Angels of Light saved their most accessible, in-your-face rockin’ songs for this release, and both bands did their part in ensuring that one half of the spilt is just as vital as the other half. In effect, Akron/Family & Angels of Light is an album that you can actually play at a party without your friends asking, “Can’t we put on Weezer, or something?”

Thee More Shallows
More Deep Cuts


Three words can describe this album: perfect, perfect, perfect. In fact, the perfection embodied in this album is almost as eerie as the album itself. I’ve come to the conclusion that the only reason More Deep Cuts didn’t nab the #1 spot is because I, like most human beings, am insecure and I fear perfection. RIYL listening to music on headphones alone in dark rooms with your eyes closed. But be careful, it might bring a tear to your eye.

They’ve done it again! Last year, Architecture in Helsinki grabbed my coveted #2 spot with their astonishing debut, Fingers Crossed. Talk about consistency! Furthermore, this year, like last year, Architecture in Helsinki is the only non-North American band to even make it into my top ten. It takes a momentous album to maintain that distinction. In Case We Die is an instant classic and its influence is sure to be felt for years in the world of indie rock. Indeed, critics have been busy thinking up names for the new genre that is inevitably springing from Architecture in Helsinki’s visionary work (hyperprog?). In Case We Die joins the elite few albums (Pet Sounds, Sgt. Pepper’s, In The Aeroplane Over the Sea, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?, etc.) that have seamlessly harmonized experimentation with accessibility.

The Mountain Goats
The Sunset Tree


Bet you didn’t expect me to give the #1 spot to an old indie rock veteran. Well, you’re right – I didn’t give anything to anyone. The Mountain Goats earned this honor. There’s no way around it, The Sunset Tree is the best album of 2005. Few songwriters can make you hang on every single lyric the way John Darnielle does. Few songwriters can make you care so deeply about every one of their songs. Few songwriters can be so incredibly prolific, and yet release their most impressive work fourteen years after their debut. Few songwriters can write such hauntingly beautiful songs…period. 2005 was a great year.

Your comments are more than welcome.


Blogger rocknrollstar said...

Love your 2005 list...

You're summary on Wolf Parade made me lol! Totally agree...

Architecture in Helskinki was awesome @ 7th Street entry a few months back (after Arcade Fire)... I'm sure you were there, so I need not go on...

A few of your other picks I'm not too familiar with yet... you're right, I'll have to make yet another trip to the Fetus/Cheapo.

Love your blog man, thanks for linking to me!


12:04 PM

Blogger rocknrollstar said...

Whoops, reading through your archives... Of course you were @ Architecture in Helsinki! And most of the other great local shows this year it looks like...

OK, time for some other people to comment...

12:16 PM

Blogger Lee said...

Architecture's show at the Turf Club was also an incredible experience. I’d be surprised if any other Australian band has ever come through the Twin Cities twice in one year. We’re pretty lucky.

12:46 PM

Anonymous Hema said...

Thank you for your blog. You are my guru of cool.

3:01 PM

Blogger Driver2165 said...

hey, thee more shallows sounds really promising. thanks.

10:18 AM

Blogger Lee said...

Yes, get their album! That's the best advice I could possibly give anyone right now.

12:06 PM

Blogger Chris said...

hey Lee, great list! Mine will differ from yours, but will have similar entries...I just have to get to it is all...

11:15 PM


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