2005: Top 50

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Dec. 15th, 2005 | -

The Top 50 Albums of 2005



50


Strange
Things in Night

A cacophony of sounds derail you from your perch, met with the anger and frustration of the vocalist. The band's name is very fitting to the sort of music they create. Some crazy drumming and trumpet carry most of these songs, instrumentally, and most of what you'll find on here will leave you dumbfounded.

genre: art-punk
listen to: 1001 Erotic Nights, Planet Life, Armistice Day

49


Rockethouse
Weapons of Mass Distortion

You can feel the raw energy sweeping right beneath you. Programmed beats, coupled with heavily distorted guitars, create a surreal, buzzy vibe that will leave you trembling. Danceable, even.

genre: alt-rock
listen to: Doomsville, Killjoy, My Clock

48


Kammerflimmer Kollektief
Absencen

German sextet rings in a winner with this moody tribute to all things moving. Part lounge music, part symphonic spreewilling, you never really feel safe listening to this music that keeps your brain enraptured. Chaos or bliss? Both.

genre: free-jazz-electro
listen to: Nachtwache 15 September, Lichterloh, Shibboleth

47


Hangedup
Clatter for Control

Right off the bat, you feel like someone's waking you up and pushing you out of bed. Frantically, you search for last night's jeans as the obtuse percussion beats a hypnotic pulse into your bloodstream. You slow down as you realize there's comfort in the discomfort. Another Godspeed side project winner.

genre: noise rock
listen to: Junk the Clatter, A Different Kind of Function, Go Let's Go

46


If Then Else
self-titled

Minus the Bear vocals and electrobuzzed Sparta instrumentation. These guys are a real lost gem in the fold of great albums that have made their mark this year. They haven't really done anything revolutionary, but they're a kick-ass band for name-dropping. Here's antoher: The Postal Service!

genre: electro-math-rock
listen to: Color Coded, Nimbo Stratus, No Not Yet

45


Venetian Snares
Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett

The most "alternative"-sounding album on the list. Sometimes you can throw a bunch of influences into a blender and hope you make one hell of a cocktail. Strings and mass percussion rue the day to create some of the most eerie, unforgettable music. A little something for everyone, except children, the elderly, animals, or anyone sane for that matter.

genre: glitchy-stringsomnia
listen to: Felbomlasztott Mentokocsi, Hajnal, Ongyilkos Vasarnap

44


Supersystem
Always Never Again

This is the kind of album you wish could be injected into the bloodstream of every boring person you've met. Quirky lyrics about nonsensical shit keep the mood light, so don't expect any mind-altering epiphanies. Do anticipate mass excitement, however. I'm sure I bugged the nieghbors with all the clapping along I did to this album.

genre: dance-punk
listen to: Born Into the World, Everybody Sings, Six Cities

43


The Chap
Ham

Striving to be esoteric is one thing, but to manage to score a few gems in the process also goes a long way. It's like these guys unwrapped their first instruments for xmas and started experimenting away before learning to play a note. Sometimes trying too hard pays off.

genre: art-rock
listen to: Auto Where To, Arts Centre

42


Thunderbirds Are Now!
Justamustache

Exclamation points are the new black. So are pirates, ninjas, robots, and zombies. We get it. There's always something to be had, however, by a bunch of guys who don't take themselves too seriously, but do take their music seriously. It's very easy to get lost in this record, if a little repetitive. Fine guitar work, Freud.

genre: dance-punk
listen to: To: Skulls, Eat This City, Better Safe Than Safari

41


Tristeza
A Colores

This is the "safest" form of post-rock, so while it doesn't make your stomach drop out, it does provide some stability as you sip on your Kahlua cocktail. They make good use of horns and synths, and sometimes that guitar reaches plateus of incendiary proportions. A worthy effort that won't disappoint.

genre: post-rock
listen to: Wand, Stumble on Air, Palindrome Dome

40


Milemarker
Ominosity


39


The Books
Lost and Safe


38


The Russian Futurists
Our Thickness


37


God is an Astronaut
All is Violent, All is Bright


36


The Morai
Bury Yourself


35


Kiss Me Deadly
Misty Medley

The deadly male-female vocal lead duos are the hippest trend since the days of The Pixies. Whether it's squealing or wailing, these kids know how to deliver the goods. Just take care of shipping and handling and it's yours for the low, low price of one eardrum.

genre: indie rock-pop
listen to: Dance 2, Pop, Groove

34


A Silver Mt. Zion
Horses in the Sky

I'm sick of trying to follow the name of this band, so ASMZ it'll stick. It seems with each passing, as obscure as the band name becomes, so does their music. They both lost and gained ground on this latest release, but it's still a solid effort. As if Efrim would care what anyone thinks.

genre: campfire post-rock
listen to: Ring Them Bells, Teddy Roosevelt's Guns

33


Pelican
The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw

In addition to their masterful EP (March Into the Sea), these guys have managed to eclipse a rare style of sound through the evolution of their work. They have the moxy of your typical hair band of the 80s, but the panache of modern-day post-rockers. Thrilling combination.

genre: instru-metal
listen to: March Into the Sea, Aurora Borealis

32


65daysofstatic
One Time for All Time

One of the most important bands of our generation, as can never be stressed enough. From the political to the social commentary, these guys deliver a brand of sound that will leave you breathless and shaking in your boots. Only a band such as this can make programmed beats so powerful.

genre: glitchy post-rock
listen to: Radio Protector, Drove Through Ghosts to Get Here, Await Rescue

31


Explosions in the Sky
The Rescue

How much notoriety do these guys have? Any instrumental rock band that makes use of e-bow, delay, reverb, etc. gets the EITS treatment/comparison. The band encourages you to download this album as well. Eight days of basement work later, they've churned out yet another winner.

genre: post-rock
listen to: Day Five, Day Six, Day Two

30


Broken Social Scene
self-titled

The masters of indie rock, everything they touch turns to gold. There's something to be said about a band that employs up to six guitars per song. This album isn't quite "Feel Good Lost," but it will grow on you.

genre: indie rock
listen to: Ibi Dreams of Pavement, Superconnected, 7-4

29


M83
Before the Dawn Heals Us

The band that single-handedly drew me into the power of the synth. A plethora of evocative, synth-driven grooves with an aggressive spirit. It'll move you....into a bigger house! Simpsons references never grow old.

genre: electro-shoegaze-post-rock
listen to: Don't Save Us From the Flames, (Star), Car Chase Terror!

28


Minus the Bear
Menos el Oso

They got pretty serious with this release, ditching the parlor game names that have anything to do with pirates and beer. Which is pretty good, considering what started out as a fun side-project for the mates turned into a full-fledged arsenal of musicosity. Well met!

genre: indie-math-rock
listen to: Pachuca Sunrise, The Pig War, Drilling

27


The Mars Volta
Frances the Mute

It's funny that after looking back at my list here, several of my favorite bands' releases seem to have fallen right smack in the middle of my top 50, meaning they all underperformed the expectations I had set forth for them. I guess grandeur can't last. Changing subjects here, the first part to Cassandra Gemini is among the most amazing pieces I've ever heard.

genre: prog-rock
listen to: Cassandra Gemini

26


Ghinzu
Blow

Gotta represent the good ol' home country here. Belgian rockers won me over with this amazing record, chalk-full of mesmerizing, enchanting tunes. Pianos and guitars combine to produce some amazing melodies.

genre: prog-rock
listen to: The Dragster-Wave, 21st Century Crooners, Blow

25


The Bravery
self-titled

Just because it's on MTV doesn't automatically means something sucks. These guys managed to actually pull off a strong album here, from one catchy song to the next. They may rip off every other band in known existence, but it's flattering when delivered this well.

genre: new-wave
listen to: Tyrant, An Honest Mistake

24


The Embassy
Tacking

Discovered two days before this list was compiled, these Swedes prove there's a certain formulaic perfection behind the indie-pop-eclectro genre. An excellent listen from start to finish, you'll wonder how something so light can sound so amazing and deep.

genre: indie pop
listen to: Some Indulgence, Lurking (With a Distance), Was That All it Was

23


Death Cab for Cutie
Plans

With Chris Walla, whose, in my opinion, guitar work made the band amazing to begin with, ditching his guitar to become a full-time keyboardist on Plans, it comes with a mixed bag. Thankfully, his talent transcends instruments, and while his piano work on some tracks is amazing, I really miss his guitar work on the more lackluster tracks. Still a strong record with a good ratio of winners.

genre: indie pop
listen to: Summer Skin, Soul Meets Body, Brothers on a Hotel Bed

22


Upcdowncleftcrightcabc+start
And the Battle is Won

God, it's bands like this that remind me why post-rock is my favorite genre. If I had a God to worship, it'd be in the form of a tricked-out pedal-board. Not breath-taking, but superbly solid post-rock work here.

genre: post-rock
listen to: Sadako's Fury, Phantoms, Silent Fire

21


Mono & World's End Girlfriend
Palmless Prayer, Mass Murder Refrain

Bring in some masters of post-rock, and combine them with a drone specialist, and you get a combination that will inspire you to drool out of both sides of your mouth. Some of the most moving, euphoric music of the year.

genre: post-rock
listen to: untitled 2, untitled 5

20


Editors
The Back Room

Deceptively catchy material here. Lots of minor chords here, but presented with such an upbeat tempo you don't know whether to cry or dance. Or both. So, in sum, listening to this record is like attending a funeral rave.

genre: neopost-punk
listen to: Bullets, Camera, Munich

19


The Most Serene Republic
Underwater Cinematographer

I love bands consisting of a massive set of contributors. You can tell these guys were having all the fun in the world recording this gem. You've also got to acknowledge the cred being the only non-BSS-affiliated band to sign onto Arts & Crafts. There's so much bliss on this album, it's hard to stop playing it.

genre: indie pop
listen to: You're a Loose Cannon McArthur...But You Get the Job Done, Content Was Always My Favorite Colour, Where Cedar Nouns and Adverbs Walk

18


Caspian
You Are the Conductor EP

Holy shit! This is what it's all about, right here. Gutsy, painstaking, and damn straight to the point. The best 1-2-3 punch on album you'll find on this list.

genre: neopost-rock
listen to: Quovis, Further Up, Further In

17


Destroyalldreamers
A Coeur Léger Sommeil Sanglant

Surefire sign #68 a band can do no wrong: their band name is lifted straight off your all-time favorite album (A Silver Mt. Zion - He Has Left Us Alone). These guys will lull you into a passionate dreamstate. There is just too much to love about this album.

genre: post-rock
listen to: Facultatives Imaginaires, en Robe et en Eclats, Destroy All Dreamers, Sombrer Dans La Follie

16


Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson
Unnoticeable In A Tiny Town, Invisible In The City

One of the freshest surprises of the year, helping establish Scandanavia as the new Canada in terms of putting out the best new music. These guys do everything right, from the sampling to the guitar-tweaking. Marvelous album.

genre: post-rock
listen to: Yet We Continue to Build There the Structure, A Lost Not to be Read at Your Wedding, We May Be Remembered by What We Did When We Sat Down

15


Rogue Wave
Descended Like Vultures

The only "local" band on my list. Beautiful, masquerading rock action. There's a youthful innocence to this music, and it's sure to get anyone out of a slump.

genre: indie rock
listen to: Love's Lost Guarantee, You, Catform

14


Loveninjas
I'm Really Sorry (That I Killed You)/Keep Your Love EP

Lyrics about one-night stands and dicing up penises for revenge may come off as mere parlor tricks, but the Loveninjas bring a brand of provocative instrumentation to back it all up. Seriously engaging music here.

genre: indie pop
listen to: Meet Me Here, My Lust is Dead, She Broke His Penis in Two

13


Longwave
There's a Fire

At least these guys have an excuse for underperforming, a band reshuffle done twice over. But the core is still there. And it's still unbelievable music. Their experimental is still among tops in the game.

genre: shoegaze indie rock
listen to: There's a Fire, Underworld Song, River (Depot Song)

12


Jaga Jazzist
What We Must

Ahh, the sweet sounds of full orchestration jazz doing unprecendented things in the music world. This was a huge surprise given how banal their past albums were, and only leads one to be ever-optimistic about the bright future this band holds.

genre: post-rock
listen to: All I Know is Tonight, Stardust Hotel, Swedenborgke Rom

11


The National
Alligator

The only drawback to this album (read: 5 spots down) is the production with too much emphasis on vocals. When I saw these guys live, they blew me away, especially with the tandem of guitars and fiddle going crazy. A little more cowbell.

genre: indie rock
listen to: Mr. November, Secret Meeting, Karen

10


Sigur Ros
Takk

After the absolute borefest that was (), I had huge reservations about this album. Then they went and rediscovered their charm. Beautiful, sweet, crashing crescendos. I'm back in love.

genre: post-rock
listen to: Saeglopur, Gong, Hoppipolla

9


PORT-ROYAL
Flares

As soon as the opening track begins, I can feel my eyes well up and roll to the back of my head. I get completely lost in the transcendence. By far the most emotionally-evocative album on my list.

genre: post-rock
listen to: Jeka, Spetsnaz - Paul Leni, Zobione pt. 2

8


Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
self-titled

I always challenge myself to have a negative predisposition with anything that is hyped. Unfortunately, this album's charm completely dispelled that and won me over. Another voice to grow used to, but richly rewarding just the same.

genre: indie rock
listen to: Over and Over Again (Lost and Found), Is This Love?, In This Home on Ice

7


Billy COrgan
The Future Embrace

I'll admit one weakness with music here...once an SP-head, always a Corgan-lover. I seem to like this a lot more than a lot of other people. But then I also think that while half the tracks on this record are brilliant, the rest are disgustingly bad (All Things Change, anyone?). That makes my opinion more valid than yours.

genre: prog-rock
listen to: Mina Loy (M.O.H.), To Love Somebody, Now (And Then)

6


Red Sparowes
At the Soundless Dawn

Sweet Jesus, I can't get enough of these guys. When I had already denounced anything to do with country music, these guys come along and combine some country guitar work within the framework of some hardcore post-rock. Truly unique and incredible. I was left flattened when I had just missed watching them play live and had to listen to them in line while trying to find tickets. Such a sad day.

genre: post-rock
listen to: Alone and Unaware, A Brief Moment, Our Happiest Days

5


Hammock
Kenotic

Surreal. Expansive, brutally purifying to the soul and body. This album will set your emotions into overdrive with ridiculous after riduculously good track. Perfect for long road trips.

genre: post-rock
listen to: What Heaven Allows, Wish, The Air Between Us

4


Imogen Heap
Speak For Yourself

One of the easiest albums of which to fall under a spell. Mesmerizing and haunting, yet full of life and vigor. Imogen has one of the most beautiful voices in the industry. Superb consistency across every track of this album.

genre: electro-indie-pop
listen to: Loose Ends, I Am in Love With You, Clear the Area

3


Saxon Shore
The Exquisite Death of Saxon Shore

This is the exact formula for which all music should follow. Edgy, rockin, high-fret, and bombastic.

genre: neopost-rock
listen to: Marked With the Knowledge, This Shameless Moment, The Revolution Will Be Streaming

2


Bloc Party
Silent Alarm (+ Remixed)

Everything these guys touch turns to gold. They churn out killer songs like candy. The most exciting new band of the year.

genre: rock
listen to: Positive Tension, This Modern Love, Banquet, So Here We Are

1


Wilderness
self-titled

Nothing much more to say other than it's the most incredible album I've heard in a long time. Down to the drumming, the tandem of guitars and bass, the vocals....just everything flows like a champion. Undisputed winner.

genre: art-rock
listen to: Marginal Over, Arkless, End of Freedom, Post Plethoric Rhetoric, Say Can You See

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Comments {30}

gazzo

from: gazzo
date: Dec. 15th, 2005 - (UTC)
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yeah!
a belgian band!
*proud*

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from: charlatantric
date: Dec. 15th, 2005 - (UTC)
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Sweek would have also probably made the list if could I get ahold of their new album.

I was raised in Liège, so it's all a homefront to me.

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gazzo

from: gazzo
date: Dec. 15th, 2005 - (UTC)
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wow
thats like 20minutes from here :)

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runcomrade

from: runcomrade
date: Dec. 15th, 2005 - (UTC)
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would you mind uploading your fave song from your number 1?

i'm intensely curious to see what your undisputed winner sounds like!

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from: anonymous
date: Dec. 15th, 2005 - (UTC)
Link

http://www.livejournal.com/users/charlatantric/36464.html

But that's barely crackin the top 10 overall songs of the year. ;)

I'm working on that list right now.

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Joe

from: xwithcoldeyesx
date: Dec. 15th, 2005 - (UTC)
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wilderness is #1? i dunno man, theyre okay, and i havent heard the whole album, but after seeing them live i just cant understand it. theyre decent, but the vocals are sooooooo boring. it was okay on the first song, and then its the same shit in every song. i could probably lift the vox from one track and put it on a nother and you wouldnt even be able to telll. just not versatile enough for me. pretty much in agreement with everything else tho

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from: charlatantric
date: Dec. 15th, 2005 - (UTC)
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I completely dismissed it the first couple times I listened through. It wasn't until about two months later when I happened across them again and a shimmer of light began to appear. From there, the shaft of light grew tremendously into the supernova that it is today.

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Joe

from: xwithcoldeyesx
date: Dec. 15th, 2005 - (UTC)
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i trust your taste enough to check out the album. also, i was really into the youth pictures... track you posted, but where can i find this album (without searching thru record stores...) and any info on destroyalldreamers

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from: charlatantric
date: Dec. 15th, 2005 - (UTC)
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If not Soulseek, then whatever bit torrent sites you can find.

Here's the myspace page for destroyalldreamers: http://www.myspace.com/destroyalldreamers

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from: anonymous
date: Dec. 15th, 2005 - (UTC)
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Nice list, I tried Wilderness but I don't think I will ever really going to like them.

Btw, your 40 to 36 is missing...

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trang

from: trangster
date: Dec. 15th, 2005 - (UTC)
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yay for the list. =)

i really like wilderness. they never retire from my playlist, shiet.

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from: anonymous
date: Dec. 15th, 2005 - (UTC)
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A great top 50 list which without being contraversial remains interesting. Well done!

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from: anonymous
date: Dec. 16th, 2005 - (UTC)
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Where are the appleseed cast D:

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from: charlatantric
date: Dec. 22nd, 2005 - (UTC)
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2006.

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(Deleted comment)

from: charlatantric
date: Dec. 22nd, 2005 - (UTC)
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heh, it's the one track i actually skip over each time. snoooooze.

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hans_lucas

from: hans_lucas
date: Dec. 16th, 2005 - (UTC)
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I must say that this is one of the better lists I have seen.

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Alex

from: teamalex
date: Dec. 16th, 2005 - (UTC)
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I think you, for the most part, should flip your list upside down and then I would agree more. Regardless, wonderfully done. I enjoyed it. #it

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se7en

from: se7
date: Dec. 16th, 2005 - (UTC)
Link

Great list indeed! You especially get mad props for placing Wilderness at the #1 spot. But no folk/alt-country? At least Sufjan Stevens and The Decemberists (which both basically are folky indie pop) would fit snugly in the higher regions of this list.

Oh, and the destroyalldreamers album is from 2004. Late october i think, but still.

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from: charlatantric
date: Dec. 22nd, 2005 - (UTC)
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you'd hate my answer concerning my views on folk/alt-country.

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se7en

Oh...

from: se7
date: Dec. 22nd, 2005 - (UTC)
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...well I'd say you're missing out on some great music. I don't know what you've heard from the genre, but pretty much anything from Songs: Ohia/Magnolia Electric Co and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy is as moody and atmospheric as most post-rock.

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Re: Oh...

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 23rd, 2005 - (UTC)
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I've listened to Spoon, The Decemberists, Wilco, Iron and Wine, etc. but none of them do anything for me, at all. I dismissed MEC and BPB before, but I'm gonna go back and listen to them now.

~Jerome

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se7en

Cool!

from: se7
date: Dec. 23rd, 2005 - (UTC)
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Give 'em a shot. BPBs 'I see a Darkness' and Songs:Ohias 'The Lioness' or 'Didn't it Rain' would be the best place to start, IMO. Then there's Sufjan of course...

Oh, and I forgot the most obvious post-rock/alt country merger: Migala from Spain. Maybe you've heard them already? Anyways, their combination of thundering post-rock instrumentals and heartfelt alt-country ballads has made them one of my definite favorite bands. 'Restos de un Incendio' would be the best place to start, while their most recent album 'La Increible Aventura' from 2004 has more shorter instrumentals, much like in the vein of the last Saxon Shore album.

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from: anonymous
date: Dec. 16th, 2005 - (UTC)
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...caspian are fucking amazing.

Thanks a ton charlatantric :D

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Lush

from: lushlush
date: Dec. 17th, 2005 - (UTC)
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Where's Stars - Set Yourself on Fire? :

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from: charlatantric
date: Dec. 22nd, 2005 - (UTC)
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in the honorary mentions

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Dreaming

.

from: pseudoephedrine
date: Dec. 17th, 2005 - (UTC)
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i just want to say thank you so much for just having this journal as it has opened my eyes to a lot of amazing music that i otherwise wouldn't have even heard about. it's quite sad how stuff this great just isn't readily accessible to the general public -- honestly, i think it should be blamed on the media, and not the people (although some just don't understand.)

i adore the appleseed cast now & explosions in the sky.. & now most recently, saxon shore. there are probably a lot of other people who read this journal & get stuff from it so i just would like to thank you again on behalf of them and myself. keep on writing!

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Re: .

from: charlatantric
date: Dec. 22nd, 2005 - (UTC)
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it's a combination of media exposure and people. it's amazing how many people i've met outright reject the awesome music i play simply because it sounds much too unfamiliar.

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STRANGE "Things In Night"

from: anonymous
date: Dec. 19th, 2005 - (UTC)
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Thanks for including us!
Xo,
Strange

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Re: STRANGE "Things In Night"

from: charlatantric
date: Dec. 22nd, 2005 - (UTC)
Link

Hey, thanks for making kick-ass music.

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from: anonymous
date: Jan. 8th, 2006 - (UTC)
Link

Hey,

I really have enjoyed the work you've done here, and maybe I can offer something interesting in return. Here's an article I wrote that you may enjoy, perhaps it introduces you to a band or two that you hadn't heard of before.

http://www.decoymusic.com/vb/showthread.php?t=6776

Note that you can navigate through the links at the top.

~Jordan
~~DecoyMusic.com

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