Bradley's Almanac

[Nac Faves] My Favorite Music of 2004

Posted on January 17, 2005 at 10:41 am | No Comments

Without further ado, and later than most, I offer up my favorite discs and live shows from 2004. In no particular order…

Walking Concert – Run To Be Born

As Walter Schreifels gets older, his bands get mellower, step by sonic step. From Gorilla Biscuits to Quicksand, Rivals Schools to Walking Concert, it’s a progression strung together by his voice & guitar, and with songwriting that rarely lets me down.

download What’s Your New Thing? (mp3)


The Futureheads – Self-Titled

Wow. A little bit o’ Jam, a dash o’ Housemartins, borrows liberally from the old and ends up sounding, well, like the old. So it’s derivative as all get out, but it milks the good stuff. “Meantime” makes me want to jump around the room like a giddy schoolboy. One time I, uh, think I even did. And no, it wasn’t pretty.

download Decent Days and Nights (mp3)


The Album Leaf – In a Safe Place

No matter what mental state I’m in, Jimmy LaValle is able to relax me with just a couple keyboard notes and a programmed beat. The guy can do no wrong in my book, even with added guest vocals on a couple songs this time around.

download On Your Way (mp3)


The New Year – The End Is Near

With this album, the New Year fully embraces their Bedheady past and finds the perfect balance between what they are now and what got ’em here. Any wounds I suffered at Bedhead’s breakup are now entirely healed. I just wish ‘Chinese Handcuffs’ went on a little longer.

I wish that song was a whole day long… that’d be the best day, that day.” – kith

download Chinese Handcuffs (mp3) / download Disease (mp3)


The Arcade Fire – Funeral

Yeah, yeah. You knew it was gonna be here. From a slight buzz to all-out-hype faster than the strumming in “Power Out”, the supposed over-blogging and hipster backlash can all be ignored… not just because the songs on this album measure up, but because their live show exceeds it all.

download Wake Up (mp3) / download a complete live set (mp3s)


Pinback – Summer In Abaddon

While I’ve liked Pinback for a little while, it wasn’t until this record that I really loved ’em. Something clicked, and I’m digging through the back catalog with newfound enthusiasm. Looking forward to them live sometime this year.

download Fortress (mp3)


Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – Shake the Sheets

It’s a safe bet that any Ted release would end up in that particular year’s list, even it doesn’t reach the highs of the previous ones. Shake the Sheets is a solid record, with some great songs, but none that really hit me in that specific, receptive brainspot that certain songs do. That said, the tracks took on added impact when I saw them live, and made me appreciate the album even more.

download Me and Mia (mp3) / download some live tracks (mp3s)


Matt Pond PA – Emblems

Like Pinback, Matt Pond PA was a band I appreciated but wasn’t passionate about, but seeing them live and hearing Emblems all the way through changed that easily. Time to dive into the whole discography.

download Grave’s Disease (mp3)


Stereolab – Margerine Eclipse

I’d call this a much-appreciated return to form, but it’s not like they’d gotten terribly off-track with 2001’s Sound Dust. They’ve come full circle since the sterility of Dots & Loops, which nearly shoved me off of the Stereolab train. Glad I hung on, though.

download live tracks from 2004 (mp3)


Hot Snakes – Audit in Progress

They’ve got their sound, and they’ve got it down. A formula that works and works and works, that pummels and energizes and just makes me want to see them on stage again & again. As Chris wrote to me, “It’s no Rocket From the Crypt, but wow wow wow.” My sold-out-peel-session-seven-inch story ends sweetly: Chris bought an extra copy of that limited and long-gone Snakes’ vinyl, and sent it to me as a surprise. Most. Thoughtful. Friend. Ever.

download Hi-Lights (mp3)


Interpol – Antics

A disc that doesn’t only avoid the sophomore slump, but overcomes the worst leadoff track for a good album that I can remember. Took me awhile to get past that, but once I did… tracks 2 through 10 got constant play, with ‘Not Even Jail’ being one of my favorite songs of the year. And it’s not just because the ending of it gets me kinda nostalgic for Starlight.

watch Interpol videos


Snow Patrol – The Final Straw

While my Snow Patrol enthusiasm has faded a bit from where it was this time last year, I’d be remiss to leave this disc off the list. It spent a lot of time in my player, and I saw ’em no less than four times in ’04. Thing is, I enjoyed each show a little less than the previous one. Too much of a good thing? Could be.

download live acoustic tracks (mp3)


The Sixth Great Lake – Sunday Bridge

This album renders the title ‘favorite discs’ inaccurate, unless of course you’re talking about the black wax kind… because it’s vinyl only for now. This choice isn’t a favor for friends (and what a weak favor that would be), but one that came from repeated flips from side A to side B and back over again. These three songwriters have never blended better than they have here, with four songs from each of them, Zach then Chris then Mike and repeat.

They were kind enough to let me share ‘Fool’, transferred from colored vinyl to mp3. Order the vinyl direct from the band, or ask your favorite independent record retailer, since Carrot Top Distribution is now on board. Fingers crossed for a cd release sometime in ’05.

download Fool (mp3)


Rilo Kiley – More Adventurous

A really good album kept from total greatness by 2 or 3 weak songs (*cough* token blake ditty *cough*), but the first three alone are just pure pop genius. I don’t think it has the personal staying power of The Execution of All Things, but time and distance will tell.

download a complete live set (mp3s)


Explosions In The Sky – The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place

Technically released in late ’03, but undiscovered by me until ’04, America’s answer to Mogwai grabbed me from the first note of the first epic instrumental. They’re taking this year off to record a Travels in Constants EP, and to write their next record, due sometime in 2006.

download Memorial (edit) (mp3) / download live sets


Elliott Smith – From a Basement on the Hill

A farewell that wasn’t supposed to be, it’s impossible to listen to this and not get sad… to not imagine of what his next album might have sounded like. I still can’t believe that he’s gone, it still doesn’t make sense.

download Twilight (mp3)



Also really liked

  • Ambulance LTDLP

  • Pilot to GunnerGet Saved

  • Sonic YouthSonic Nurse

  • Audio Learning CenterCope Park

  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind soundtrack

  • Sufjan StevensGreetings from Michigan…

  • Camper Van BeethovenNew Roman Times

  • Twilight SingersShe Loves You

  • Guided By Voices (RIP) – Half Smiles of the Decomposed

  • Magnetic Fieldsi

  • KillersHot Fuss

  • Garden State soundtrack


    Favorite reissues & collections

  • Guided By VoicesBee Thousand [Director’s Cut]

  • PavementCrooked Rain Crooked Rain [expanded]

  • LowRarities Box Set

  • The CureThree Imaginary Boys [expanded] & Join the Dots b-Sides box

  • SlowdiveCatch the Breeze

  • CurveThe Way of Curve


    Looking forward to in ’05

  • LowThe Great Destroyer (Jan. 25)

  • Lou BarlowEmoh (Jan. 25)

  • Trembling Blue StarsSeven Autumn Flowers (out now)

  • Field MiceReissues (Jan. 31 / UK)

  • The Wedding PresentTake Fountain (Feb. 15)

  • IdaHearts Like a River (Feb. 22)

  • Crooked FingersDignity and Shame (Feb. 22)

  • The House of LoveDays Run Away (Feb. 28)

  • Yo La TengoPrisoners of Love 2-disc collection (Mar. 22)

  • New OrderWaiting For The Siren’s Call (Mar. 29)

  • Summer at Shatter CreekAll the Answers (Mar. 29)

  • Mary TimonyEx-Hex (April)

  • Rob Dickinson (Catherine Wheel) – debut solo lp (date tbd)

  • Stereolab3 disc collection (April)

  • Sigur Rostitle tbd (possibly May)

  • Nada Surftitle & date tbd


    And hoping for news of

  • Wedding Present live in Boston?

  • Some new Sparklehorse?

  • new Radiohead?

  • Built to Spill?

  • Sun Kil Moon?

  • Jason Loewenstein?

  • American Analog Set?

  • and how about… the return of Arcwelder? I’m just sayin’.





  • Previous year-end lists… 2001, 2002, & 2003

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    @ House of Blues Boston

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    Mastodon
    Spiritbox
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, September 13th
    Pet Fox
    @ O'Brien's

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    Phoenix
    Porches
    @ Roadrunner

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    Bauhaus
    @ MGM Music Hall

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    Quivers
    Let's Whisper (LP release!)
    Yours Are The Only Ears
    @ O'Brien's

    Wednesday, September 14th
    Porcupine Tree
    @ MGM Music Hall

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    Arlo Parks
    @ Roadrunner

    Thursday, September 15th
    Clutch
    Quicksand
    Helmet
    JD Pinkus
    @ House of Blues

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    Richard Thompson
    @ Natick Center For Arts

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    September 15th & 16th
    They Might Be Giants
    'Flood' 30th anniversary
    @ the Royale

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    Vundabar
    @ the Sinclair

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    The Afghan Whigs
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    Roxy Music
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    Idles
    Injury Reserve
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    The Dream Syndicate
    40th Anniversary Tour playing
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    @ the Crystal Ballroom

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    Kara Jackson
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    Heaven 17
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    Southern Culture on the Skids
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    Pet Shop Boys
    @ Some Bank Pavilion

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    Spiritualized
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    Echo & the Bunnymen
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    play "Four Minute Mile"
    & Sparta
    @ Brighton Music Hall

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    Supersuckers
    @ the Middle East

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    Come
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    Carly Rae Jepsen
    Empress Of
    @ Roadrunner

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    Pavement
    The Goon Sax
    @ the Wang

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    Japanese Breakfast
    Yo La Tengo
    @ Roadrunner

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    The B-52s (farewell tour)
    KC & the Sunshine Band
    @ MGM Music Hall

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    Low
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    Cigarettes After Sex
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    Sunny Day Real Estate
    The Appleseed Cast
    @ the House of Blues

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    The Killers
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    Stereolab
    Fievil is Glauque
    @ Roadrunner

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    Jeff Rosenstock
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Thursday, October 6th
    Fontaines D.C.
    @ the House of Blues

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    Day 1: Surprise Me Mr. Davis,
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    Day 3: The Slip, Club d'Elf,
    & William Tyler
    @ Soundcheck Studios, Pembroke

    Saturday, October 8th
    Billy Bragg
    Alice Phoebe Lou
    @ the Wilbur

    Sunday, October 9th
    Oliver Sim of the XX
    @ the Royale

    Sunday, October 9th
    L7
    30th Anniversary of
    "Bricks Are Heavy" tour
    @ Big Night Live

    Tuesday, October 11th
    Craig Finn &
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    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Tuesday, October 11th
    Gorillaz
    EarthGang
    @ TD Garden

    Friday, October 14th
    The Black Angels
    The Vacant Lots
    @ the Paradise

    Sunday, October 16th
    Future Teens
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Sunday, October 16th
    Smashing Pumpkins
    Janes Addiction
    Poppy
    @ the Garden

    Monday, October 17th
    House of Love
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Wednesday, October 19th
    Melt-Banana
    Ed Shrader's Music Beat
    Psychic Graveyard
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, October 20th
    June of 44
    Thalia Zedek Band
    Helms
    @ the Middle East Down

    Friday, October 21st
    Bad Suns
    Last Dinosaurs
    Quarters of Change
    @ the Royale

    Saturday, October 22nd
    Slothrust
    Weakened Friends
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, October 23rd
    Illuminati Hotties
    Enumclaw
    Olivia Barton
    @ the Sinclair

    Monday, October 24th
    Kevin Morby
    Coco
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, October 25th
    Metric
    @ the House of Blues

    Tuesday & Wednesday
    October 25th & 26th
    Calexico
    Ada Lea
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, October 27th
    Titus Andronicus
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Friday, October 28th
    Tegan and Sara
    Tomberlin
    @ the Royale

    Friday, October 28th
    The Joy Formidable
    Cuffed Up
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, October 30th
    Pile
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Sunday, October 30th
    Kurt Vile & the Violators
    Come
    @ the Royale

    Monday, October 31st
    Mint Green
    @ O'Brien's

    Wednesday, November 2nd
    Silversun Pickups
    @ House of Blues

    Wednesday, November 2nd
    Two Door Cinema Club
    Day Wave
    @ Roadrunner

    Friday, November 4th
    Rina Sawayama
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, November 5th
    Young Jesus
    @ Middle East Downstairs

    Saturday, November 5th
    Let's Eat Grandma
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, November 5th
    Turnover (Record Release)
    @ Roadrunner

    Sunday, November 6th
    Soccer Mommy
    Lightning Bug
    @ House of Blues

    Tuesday, November 8th
    Russian Circles
    Rezn
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, November 8th
    Arcade Fire
    Beck
    @ MGM Fenway Music Hall

    Tuesday & Wednesday
    November 8th & 9th
    Alex G
    Hatchie
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, November 9th
    Field Medic
    Sadurn
    @ Cafe 939

    Sunday, November 13th
    Plains
    (featuring Katie Crutchfield
    of Waxahatchee + Jess Williamson)
    MJ Lenderman
    @ Royale

    Monday, November 14th
    Bartees Strange
    Pom Pom Squad
    Spring Silver
    No They Hate Change
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, November 15th
    Cloud Nothings
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, November 15th
    The Menzingers
    play "On The Impossible Past"
    Touché Amoré
    Screaming Females
    @ the Paradise

    Wednesday, November 16th
    The Smile
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, November 16th
    The Chills
    @ City Winery Boston

    Friday, November 18th
    Alvvays
    Slow Pulp
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday & Sunday
    November 19th & 20th
    Turnstile
    Snail Mail
    @ Roadrunner

    Monday, November 21st
    Preoccupations
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, November 26th
    Dinosaur Jr.
    Guided By Voices
    Eugene Mirman
    @ the House of Blues

    Wednesday, November 30th
    Mclusky
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, December 1st
    Archers of Loaf
    Weird Nightmare
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, December 4th
    beabadoobee
    Lowertown
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, December 6th
    Local H
    "Here Comes The Zoo"
    20th Anniversary Tour
    @ the Middle East Downstairs

    Friday, December 9th
    Patrick Watson
    @ the Sinclair

    Tuesday, December 13th
    Bonny Light Horseman
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, December 17th
    The Lemonheads
    "It's A Shame About Ray"
    30th Anniversary Tour
    with Juliana Hatfield
    & On Being An Angel
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, December 17th
    Foals
    @ Roadrunner

    Monday, March 20th, 2023
    Bruce Springsteen
    & the E Street Band
    @ TD Garden

    Sunday, April 16th
    Dead Can Dance
    @ the Wang

    Wednesday, October 11th, 2023
    The Mission UK
    The Chamelons
    @ Brighton Music Hall