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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    Thalia Zedek Band
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    @ the Middle East Upstairs


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    Mint Green
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    @ The Sinclair


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    Guided By Voices
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    Thursday, Sept. 16th
    Bob Mould Band
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    Friday, Sept. 17th
    Julien Baker
    Thao
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    @ House of Blues


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    Flogging Molly
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    @ Some Bank Pavilion


    Saturday, Sept. 18th
    Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
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    Middle Kids
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    Future Islands
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    @ House of Blues


    Wednesday, Sept. 22nd
    OH SEES
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    Toad the Wet Sprocket
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    Primus
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    Sunday, September 26th
    Phoebe Bridgers
    Muna
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    Tuesday, September 28th
    Quicksand
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, September 29th
    Heartless Bastards
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, Sept. 29th
    José González
    Rufus Wainwright
    @ the Orpheum


    Thursday, Sept. 30th
    an evening with
    Mary Chapin Carpenter,
    Marc Cohn, & Shawn Colvin
    @ the Chevalier


    Thursday & Friday
    Sept. 30th & Oct. 1st
    Caspian
    Junior Beef
    @ The Sinclair


    Saturday, October 2nd
    Todd Rundgren
    @ Big Night Live


    Sunday, October 3rd
    AGP15:
    Thalia Zedek Band
    Honey Radar
    Andrew Cohen
    @ O’Brien’s


    Monday, October 4th
    Gary Numan
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, October 5th
    Will Sheff (Okkervil River)
    Damien Jurado
    @ City Winery


    Thursday & Friday
    October 7th & 8th
    Lady Lamb
    with strings
    @ City Winery Boston


    Tuesday, October 12th
    Idles
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, October 13th
    Nothing
    @ The Sinclair


    Thursday, October 14th
    St. Vincent
    @ the Wang


    Saturday, October 16th
    Waxahatchee
    Katy Kirby
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, October 16th
    Lucy Dacus
    Bartees Strange
    @ the House of Blues


    Monday, October 18th
    Manchester Orchestra
    @ House of Blues


    Wednesday, October 20th
    Diet Cig
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday & Saturday
    October 22nd & 23rd
    The Town & the City Festival
    a stacked lineup of artists
    @ venues around Lowell, MA


    Saturday, Sunday, & Monday
    October 23rd, 24th, & 25th
    The Magnetic Fields
    Christian Lee Hutson
    @ City Winery Boston


    Saturday, October 30th
    Wild Nothing
    Beach Fossils
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, October 30th
    The Monkees
    Farewell Tour
    @ the Chevalier, Medford


    Tuesday, November 2nd
    Buck Meek
    (of Big Thief)
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, November 5th
    beabadoobee
    @ the Royale


    Friday, November 5th
    Titus Andronicus
    performs “The Monitor”
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, November 8th
    Tennis
    Molly Burch
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, November 14th
    The Psychedelic Furs
    @ the Cabot in Beverly


    Monday, November 15th
    The Flaming Lips
    @ the House of Blues


    Monday & Tuesday
    November 8th & 9th
    Beach Bunny
    Miloe
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, November 10th
    Adrianne Lenker
    (of Big Thief)
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, November 13th
    Moving Targets
    @ the Middle East


    Tuesday, November 16th
    Half Waif
    @ Sonia


    Wednesday, November 17th
    Nada Surf
    Pom Pom Club
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, November 18th
    Deer Tick
    Delta Spirit
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, November 18th
    Tokyo Police Club
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, November 19th
    Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
    @ the Chevalier


    Tuesday, November 23rd &
    Wed., Nov. 24th (ska dream night)
    Jeff Rosenstock
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, November 27th
    Dinosaur Jr.
    The Lemonheads
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, December 1st
    CHVRCHES
    Donna Missal
    @ House of Blues


    Friday, December 3rd
    Hiss Golden Messenger
    Rosali
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, December 7th
    Metz
    Preoccupations
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, December 11th
    Slow Pulp
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, December 12th
    Runnner
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, December 14th
    Steve Gunn
    Jeff Parker
    @ The Sinclair


    Wednesday, December 15th
    Bully
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Monday, January 24th
    Best Coast
    Rosie Tucker
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, February 5th
    Erasure
    @ the Orpheum


    Wednesday, February 8th
    Courtney Barnett
    Bartees Strange
    @ the Wang


    Friday, February 24th
    Sleigh Bells
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, March 1st
    AFI
    Cold Cave
    @ the Royale


    Monday, March 7th
    Microphones
    Emily Sprague
    @ Somerville Theatre


    Thursday, March 13th
    Reigning Sound
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, March 19th
    Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
    @ Sonia


    Low
    Friday, April 1st
    @ Columbus Theatre
    in Providence


    Sunday, April 3rd
    Andy Shauf
    @ the Paradise


    Monday, April 4th
    Airborne Toxic Event
    @ the House of Blues


    Thursday, April 21st
    Fruit Bats
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, April 22nd
    Mogwai
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, May 1st
    OMD
    @ House of Blues


    Monday, May 2nd
    Hoodoo Gurus
    @ the Royale


    Saturday, May 14th
    Built to Spill
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, August 16th, 2022
    Goo Goo Dolls
    @ Some Bank Pavilion


    Sunday, September 19th, 2022
    New Order
    Pet Shop Boys
    @ Some Bank Pavilion