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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  • BOSTON-AREA LIVE SHOW ACTION
    Thursday, February 2nd
    Jennifer O'Connor
    Chris Brokaw
    @ Atwood's Tavern

    Thursday, February 2nd
    Ride
    The Charlatans
    @ Big Night Live

    Friday, February 3rd
    Patty Griffin
    Raul Malo
    @ the Wilbur

    Saturday, February 4th
    Dyr Faser
    Tequila Sirens
    Van Chamberlain
    Audrey/Karina
    @ the Loft, Somerville

    Saturday, February 4th
    Black Helicopter
    Cortez
    Z/28
    Mollusk
    @ the Midway Cafe

    Sunday, February 5th
    Major Stars
    Soft Fangs
    Nighttime
    @ O'Brien's
    Saturday, February 11th
    Kiwi Jr.
    @ the Lilypad

    Saturday, February 11th
    Maggie Rogers
    Del Water Gap
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, February 14th
    Bush
    Candlebox
    @ MGM Music Hall
    Tuesday, February 21st
    The EARFULL Series
    with authors
    Douglas Bauer & Laura Zigman
    and musicians
    Colleen Green & Positively Daves
    (featuring the Daves from 0 Positive)
    @ the Burren

    Friday, February 24th
    Waiver Wire
    Early Exit
    Paper Tigers
    Indoor Friends
    @ the Jungle

    Friday, February 24th
    Walter Schreifels
    (Of Quicksand, Rival Schools, etc)
    Kevin Rheault
    DJ Dookie
    @ Zuzu

    Friday, February 24th
    The City Gates
    Iceblynk
    The Spearmint Sea
    @ O'Brien's

    Friday, February 24th
    Elle King
    Red Clay Strays
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, February 25th
    Topsy (Hannah from "And the Kids")
    Children of the Flaming Wheel
    Audrey/Karina
    @ the Loft, Somerville

    Saturday, February 25th
    Gramercy Arms
    (featuring Dave Derby
    of the Dambuilders)
    @ the Midway Cafe

    Sunday, February 26th
    Future Teens
    Macseal
    Shallow Pools
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, February 26th
    Kula Shaker
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Monday & Tuesday
    February 27th & 28th
    The Beths
    Sidney Gish
    Hans Pucket
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, March 3rd
    Pile (LP release)
    @ the Somerville Armory

    Friday, March 3rd
    Arctic Monkeys
    Fontaines DC
    @ the Garden

    Friday, March 3rd
    The "Remain In Light" Tour
    with Jerry Harrison
    & Adrian Belew
    @ House of Blues

    Saturday, March 4th
    Puppy Problems
    @ O'Brien's

    Saturday, March 4th
    Constant Smiles
    @ the Lilypad

    Sunday, March 5th
    Weyes Blood
    @ the Royale

    Tuesday, March 7th
    Clan of Xymox
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Tuesday, March 7th
    Runnner
    Waveform
    @ The Rockwell

    Tuesday, March 7th
    Elvis Costello &
    the Imposters
    @ the Cabot, Beverly

    Friday, March 10th
    The Sheila Divine
    Tugboat Annie
    Vic Firecracker
    @ the Paradise

    Sunday, March 12th
    Blushing
    Pale Dīan
    Husbands
    Storax Sedan
    @ O'Brien's

    Tuesday, March 14th
    Quasi
    Bat Fangs
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, March 16th
    Bruce McCullouch
    of the Kids in the Hall
    @ the Wilbur

    Friday, March 17th
    Dawes
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, March 18th
    Hallelujah the Hills
    Eyelids
    @ Atwood's

    Sunday, March 19th
    White Reaper
    Mamalarky
    @ the Royale

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

    Saturday, March 25th
    Bird Streets (duo show)
    @ the Village Social Club
    inside Garrison House, Brookline

    Tuesday, March 28th
    Sunset Rubdown
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Tuesday, March 28th
    The Residents
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, March 30th
    The Murder Capital
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, March 31st
    The Church
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, March 31st
    Jukebox The Ghost
    @ the Royale

    Sunday, April 2nd
    Robyn Hitchcock
    Kelley Stoltz
    @ City Winery

    Monday, April 3rd
    Tennis
    Kate Bollinger
    @ the House of Blues

    Thursday, April 6th
    Rick Berlin w/Orchestra Luna,
    Berlin Airlift, & Nickel & Dime Band,
    with guests The Sheila Divine,
    Hallelujah the Hills, & Nervous Eaters
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Thursday, April 6th
    Caroline Rose
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, April 8th
    Sleaford Mods
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, April 8th
    Emma Ruth Rundle
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Sunday, April 9th
    Bikini Kill
    @ Roadrunner

    Thursday, April 13th
    Andrew Bird
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Friday, April 14th
    U.S. Girls
    Jane Inc.
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, April 14th
    Widowspeak
    Duster
    @ the Paradise

    Friday, April 15th
    Harris
    Sidewalk Driver
    Stars Like Ours
    Aaron and the Lord
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Sunday, April 16th
    Peter Case
    Ben de la Cour
    @ Atwood's Tavern

    Sunday, April 16th
    Dead Can Dance
    @ the Wang

    Wednesday, April 19th
    Sloan
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Thursday, April 20th
    Black Flag
    @ the Middle East Downstairs

    Friday, April 21st
    The Feelies
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, April 21st
    Fruit Bats
    @ the Royale

    Saturday, April 22nd
    Joywave
    Elliot Lee
    @ the Royale

    Saturday, April 22nd
    Unknown Mortal Orchestra
    @ Roadrunner

    Sunday, April 23rd
    M83
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday & Wednesday
    April 25th & 26th
    Built to Spill
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, April 26th
    Andy Shauf
    @ the Royale
    Friday & Saturday
    April 28th & 29th
    The Town & the City Festival
    with so many artists, including...
    Buffalo Tom, Ted Leo, John Doe Trio,
    Vapors of Morphine, Rhett Miller,
    Pile, Dave Herlihy (O Positive),
    Robin Lane, Justine & the Unclean,
    and many, many more
    @ lots of walkable Lowell, MA venues

    Saturday, April 29th
    Lucius
    @ Roadrunner

    Sunday, April 30th
    Placebo
    Deap Vally
    @ Roadrunner

    Monday, May 1st
    Pedro The Lion
    performing
    "It's Hard To Find A Friend"
    and "Control" in full
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, May 5th
    Fever Ray
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, May 6th
    Muna
    Nova Twins
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, May 6th
    David Cross
    Sean Patton
    @ the Wilbur

    Sunday, May 7th
    Goth Babe
    flipturn
    Yoke Lore
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, May 10th
    Natalie Merchant
    @ the Emerson Colonial

    Thursday, May 11th
    Chisel
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, May 11th
    Graham Nash
    @ the Cabot, Beverly

    Monday, May 15th
    The New Pornographers
    Wild Pink
    @ the Royale

    Thursday, May 18th
    The Pernice Brothers
    perform "Overcome By Happiness"
    (with a string section!)
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
    May 19th, 20th, & 21st
    Taylor Swift
    Phoebe Bridgers
    Gayle
    @ Gillette Stadium

    Sunday, May 21st
    Blink 182
    Turnstile
    @ the Garden

    Tuesday, May 30th
    Crowded House
    @ the Wang

    Wednesday, May 31th
    Fenne Lily
    Christian Lee Hutson
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, June 2nd
    Bruce Cockburn
    @ the Cabot, Beverly

    Thursday, June 8th
    Pixies
    Franz Ferdinand
    Bully
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Saturday, June 10th
    Bryan Adams
    Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
    @ TD Garden

    Friday, June 16th
    Steve Lacy
    James Blake
    Toro y Moi
    Fousheé
    @ the Stage @ Suffolk Downs

    Saturday, June 17th
    LCD Soundsystem
    Jamie xx
    Idles
    L'Rain
    @ the Stage @ Suffolk Downs

    Sunday, June 18th
    boygenius
    Clairo
    Dijon
    Bartees Strange
    @ the Stage @ Suffolk Downs

    Wednesday, June 21st
    Wednesday
    Tenci
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, July 1st
    Sparks
    @ the Wilbur

    Sunday, July 16th
    First Aid Kit
    The Weather Station
    @ Roadrunner

    Monday & Tuesday
    July 24th & 25th
    Le Tigre
    @ the Royale

    Saturday, August 5th
    Foreigner
    Loverboy
    @ Xfinity Center
    Friday, August 11th
    Glen Hansard &
    Marketa Irglova
    (of the Swell Season)
    @ the Wang

    Saturday & Sunday
    August 19th & 20th
    In Between Days Festival
    with
    Modest Mouse, Lord Huron, Metric,
    Trampled By Turtles, Sunny Day Real
    Estate, Cautious Clay, Yoke Lore,
    Blitzen Trapper, Allison Ponthier,
    Illiterate Light, Slothrust,
    Miko Marks, Weakened Friends,
    shallow pools, Kat Wright,
    Fantastic Cat, Dwight & Nicole,
    Paper Tigers, Dutch Tulips,
    Carissa Johnson, Mint Green,
    Gypsy Moths, & Sweet Petunia
    @ Veterans Memorial Stadium, Quincy

    Tuesday, September 5th
    Beck
    Phoenix
    Weyes Blood
    Sir Chloe
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Tuesday & Wednesday September 12th & 13th
    Death Cab For Cutie
    The Postal Service
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Wednesday, September 20th
    OSEES
    @ the Royale

    Wednesday, September 20th
    Death Grips
    @ House of Blues

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