2004 Year-End Summary
If Clear Channel and the media conglomerates had their way, artists would stay imprisoned within specific genre cells until they die. The idea, that clearly defined genre labels will make it easier to market to specific audiences, is nothing new, of course. What the moguls should have come to understand within the past decade or four is that easy convenience always leads to stagnation. Without variation in the creative gene pool, music, art — indeed all of humanity — becomes weak and stunted. There’s a reason why incest is illegal. Keep it in the family and you’ve got deformed, dumb babies. Mix races and cultures and you create unique, beautiful offspring. Only the strong and wily can overcome the social barriers, break out of their cells and mix it up.
That’s what happened sixty years ago, when country, bluegrass and blues jumped the fence, met up for some moonshine and had a spectacular threesome, spawning rock ‘n’ roll. Despite its predicted death every ten years, rock was a sturdy kid, able to roll with the changes and absorb new cultural offshoots like metal and punk. Pop would be its sickly cousin, feeding off the scraps of other genres, perking up when infused with new blood from soul, funk and hip hop, but soon collapsing with exhaustion when trendhoppers bludgeon an idea to death with soulless repetition.
A decade ago it felt like something exciting was happening. Mavericks were mixing up German space rock, soul, dub, hip hop, punk, metal, and dozens of combinations of ethnic styles from Latin, Arabic, African and Asian cultures (for example, Laika, Roni Size, Massive Attack, Tricky, Transglobal Underground, Mano Negra, Nação Zumbi, Cornelius, Cornershop, Asian Dub Foundation and Café Tacuba). It seemed inevitable that they would influence the direction of pop music. Didn’t happen. Sure there were token nods to innovation, like Timbaland toying with bhangra beats, but under the sheer weight of the usual drivel, the small explosions in creativity affected little in the anemic pop world. Instead of being inspired by Tricky’s innovations, artists aped surface sounds to create trite and dreary “trip hop.” Drum ‘n’ bass painted itself into a corner and imploded. Artists united against their will (and with mewling protests) under the “post-rock” tag (more as a state of mind than a sound) chose to stay sternly obscure rather than court popularity, except for Radiohead, who have valiently served as a mainstream ambassador.
Whether it’s my age or the oppressive political climate I’m not sure, but 2004 didn’t party like 1994 or 1984. With the lack of both satisfyingly enraged outbursts and sheer manic fun, music didn’t seem to feel as important as usual. Subdued moods and expectations made normally trivial moments like the crossover successes of Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand and Interpol seem far more exciting and encouraging than they were. In this context, TV On The Radio’s Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes makes perfect sense as the album of the year. Ambitiously mixing droney post-punk with hip hop and doo-wop, they’re also somewhat reserved, keeping the rage at a slow simmer as they cast an evil eye upon the hypocritical pop stars who make bank from pop based in hip hop and soul while they flaunt diamonds mined by African slave labor and traded with terrorists: “oh loiterers united / indivisible by shame / hungry for those diamonds / served on little severed bloody brown hands / oh the bling drips / oh the bling drips down / fallin’ down just like rain.” Justice was at least served in a small way when Desperate Youth… claimed the Shortlist Music Prize in November. Rest assured, no bling will be flaunted from any resulting success, but TV On the Radio do seem to be loosening up with the danceable single, “New Health Rock.”
Rightly considered the queen of infusing pop with avant-garde ideas, Björk continues her introspection with Medulla. Scrapping a project initially bloated with orchestras and bombast, she focused on the human voice, creating a powerful work that is at times cuddly, but often terrifying and alien. With Björk having frightened off mainstream pop audiences and stalkers alike, it would be great to see her come to terms with instruments again, particularly guitars. She started out in Kukl, a badass post-punk band, after all. Perhaps her partner Matthew Barney’s death metal mixes will inspire her. A post-punk/metal/pop hybrid from Björk would be something to behold.
One of 2004’s most encouraging developments are two gifted young songwriters who chose to work directly in pop music. Annie (Norway’s Anne Lilia Berge-Strand) and Utada (21 year-old Utada Hikaru) are subverting the tradition of making innovative, unpopular music, only to see others rip off the obvious parts and cash in with inferior versions that hit big on the pop charts. While penning intense, literate lyrics to their own music isn’t unusual in folk, rock and country, it’s unheard of in pop music. Ever since the days of Tin Pan Alley it seemed there was a rule book that writers write catchy, vapid pop songs, and singers sing them. Aside from some of the near poetry of Motown hits, this was rarely an inspiring formula. Not only are Annie and Utada’s joys and sorrows more believable, they’re complimented by expertly crafted music, subtly laced with experimentation. Gwen Stefani aims for that kind of success with her solo debut and comes only up a little short due to her inconsistent collaborations. On the flip side, Girls Aloud shows that manufactured pop can have some heart if the production team is talented enough. Spawned from the U.K. reality show Popstars: The Rivals, they’re the living, silver-clad fem-bot embodiment of Bruce Sterling’s fictional girl-band G-7 from Zeitgeist and William Gibson’s Idoru.
By necessity, good art is often disobedient and unruly, which explains the popularity of an album that was never commercially available – Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album. DJ Danger Mouse mixed The Beatles’ White Album with Jay-Z’s The Black Album, distributed 3,000 free copies, and was served with a cease-and-desist order from EMI. Despite further litigious threats, millions of fans gleefully downloaded it. It’s a great conversation starter on the struggle between copyright law, fair use and free speech. But while The Grey Album has some brilliant moments, it gets old pretty quickly as a one-trick gimmick. Much better is M.I.A. & Diplo’s mash-up mixtape, Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1. M.I.A. sings, raps and chants over Diplo’s splices of hip hop, dub, baile funk and The Bangles. M.I.A. signifies a new breed of pop star who’s first big break happens on the Internet without the aid of labels and genres. This is promising.
Legally released albums have also tapped into this energy. Much like the Avalanches, The Go! Team makes heavily sampled party music that is dense, brash and exhuberant, yet manages to keep their eyes on the prize in not letting the mish-mash overwhelm the winning pop songs. Jason Forrest’s The Unrelenting Songs of the 1979 Post Disco Crash sacrifices clarity for still more manic energy, integrating the AOR rock of ELO, The Cars, The Who and Elton John into something utterly unrecognizable.
Corporate radio may never loosen its deathgrip on restrictive programming. But anyone with a laptop, a wireless connection and some know-how could become a pirate DJ. Unfettered by commerce and copyright law, let’s hope the new pop artists, emancipated from genre holding cells, will rise to the surface and make new music fun for everyone again. Or at least music worth going to jail for.
Comeback of the year
I’ll never be surprised by a reunion again, short of Jimi Hendrix rising from the grave. I had accepted the fact that I would never see Mission Of Burma perform live. Roger Miller had a bad case of tinnitus, and there was simply no way around it. Yet there I was, watching Miller onstage with giant airport headgear and a plexiglass barrier between him and the drummer, rocking out so loud my own ears were starting to ring. And I had earplugs in. The album was pretty great too, sounding like the followup that would have come out in 1983 or 84. The return of The Pixies was slightly less surprising, but no less welcome. I’m not so sure a reunion album would be a good idea for them, however.
Debuts of the year
TV On the Radio wins hands down, of course. Runnerups were Razorlight, Junior Boys, Annie, The Go! Team, The Earlies, Ada, Skinnyman, Wiley, Cut Copy and On! Air! Library!
Overrated of the year
Kanye West. Sure he had a couple good songs. But did you listen to the whole album? It’s pretty ordinary and boring overall. There were at least fifteen hip hop releases that were far better. No wonder he has a messiah complex. He cranks out an album of more filler than killer and the world is his oyster. You know he’s thinking, “hm, if I actually made something good all the way through, I’d be Lord God of the Universe, yeah!” Runner-up is Brian Wilson. This is coming from someone who thinks Pet Sounds is just plain dorky, but while Smile could have been worse, there is no way in hell it’s even close to being the best album of the year. At this moment, Smile is #208 on my list, College Dropout #297.
Disappointment of theYear
N*E*R*D took quite a plunge, from 2002’s album of the year, to Fly Or Die not even making the top 100. I certainly like it enough to keep around, but I expected so, so much more from them. I think they’re just too damn rich. Their hits seem to be drying up, so maybe they’ll be lean and mean enough to make a great album by ’06. Le Tigre also fell flat. They should have practiced more than their cheerleader routines in the last few years. The music is totally lacking on This Island, and the lyrics are shouted out like stale slogans.
Wot do u call it?
This year’s electroclash or drum ‘n’ bass is “grime.” I have no problem with the concept, but they seem to be painting themselves into a stylistic corner too early in the game. Dizzee Rascal’s second album is an improvement, he at least sounds less like a sqwaking chicken. But the claustrophobic, dinky backing tracks get old in a hurry. The Streets made a valient attempt at a narrative flow, but the verbal flow was far too stilted, and the quality of the music doesn’t hold up to the debut. Much better were albums by Skinnyman and Wiley. Skinnyman doesn’t fit into that UK garage/grime cul de sac, and he’s better for it. I would think settling for UK hip hop would allow for more diversity. Wiley puts everyone in their place in “Wot Do You Call It” — “Wot do you call it? Garage?…Urban?…2step?…Who told you that I make garage? / Wiley Kat’z got his own style s’not garage / Make it in the studio but not in the garage / Here in London there’s a sound called garage / But this is my sound, it sure ain’t garage / I heard they don’t like me in garage / Cause I use their scene but make my own sound / The Eskimo sound is mine recognise this / It’s mine – you can’t claim what’s mine.”
I obviously think genre labels have some use. While my main list mixes all styles, at the end of every year I break it down. I hope that it doesn’t encourage the unfortunate habit for some people to identify solely with one or two genres and ignore everything else. It should be more of a guide to seek out stuff that fits a particular mood. It’s also useful to highlight albums that would otherwise be buried in my list of 400+ albums. But it’s a fine line to balance on, the danger of boxing ourselves or artists in too tightly is always there. Listen to it all!
Click here for the entire list.
Having had a copy since November 2003, this album was quite the slow grower. I never would have guessed it would end up being the best album of the year. It’s flaw lies in lack of more killer tunes with suckerpunch hooks like “Staring At the Sun” to balance out the more somber dirges. Taken individually, however, each song is nearly flawless, and there simply wasn’t anything else that came close. The band truly deserved their Shortlist Prize, and, of course, the Fast ‘n’ Bulbous Album of the Year.
Given the mixed and sometimes cool reaction Björk received for Medulla, it was gratifying to see her chosen to perform at the opening ceremony for the summer Olympics. Who else could have done it? Who else is a goddess? Who could summon the force of the ocean with such a beautiful sirensong as “Oceania” as a metaphor for the lifeblood that unites every creature on this planet? No one but Björk.
These ageing Japanese psychedelics who wander the earth like the ancient druids are about as far from hip and trendy as you can get. Their music may bring random whiffs of dusty gatefold prog sleeves with traces of chronic, but closer listen reveals the buzzing crickets to be electronic. Follow the white noise and you may discover inner peace or another universe.
As far as sheerly pleasurable repeated listens, Razorlight tops my list. There may be nothing revelatory about their mix of Patti Smith Group, the Voidoids and Thin Lizzy (rawk!), but it’s simply the best, even moving rock and roll album of the year. There’s even another full 70 minutes of B-sides (compiled on an unreleased collection called Rarities that also blows away the best offerings from other bands (yes that includes you, sloppy-ass Libertines), focusing on the sort of tightly-wound pop songs reminiscent of early Attractions that’s Spoon’s bread and butter.
Their sound is already becoming so ubiquitous that Junior Boys will likely not get credit (or blame) for it. Anyone who ever loved the sleek, shiny cosmopolitan synth-soul of the Associates or Soft Cell should be duly impressed by the sophisticated arrangements and simply killer songwriting on this album.
After seeing them live last March, The Walkmen’s songs (particularly “Thinking Of A Dream”) have been branded onto my brain. Thankfully that’s a good thing. I can’t help but love a band that mixes the drunken lurch of old Bad Seeds and The Pogues with driving arena post-punk like U2 circa Boy. It’s a small niche that no band is likely to infringe upon, which makes The Walkmen all the more valuable.
Six albums of electronica-laced bossa nova with touches of no wave skronk from a founding king, all equally brilliant, all equally ignored. I guarantee if Arto Lindsay were young, pretty and Williamsburg-hip, he’d be selling ten times as many albums. Come people, get with it already.
Who knew pure pop music could be this good, this smart, this fun? Bouncing back winningly from tragedy, this Norwegian pop star-to-be should be ubiquitous on tv and the radio if the world knows what’s good for it.
I sure wish I was a fly on the wall at the Desert Sessions in which PJ Harvey jammed with members of Queens of the Stone Age. I had hoped it was a sign that Polly would do some serious rocking out on her new album. Surprisingly, she saved her rock aura for her collaboration with Mark Lanegan, who quit touring with QOTSA to focus on his blossoming solo career. This is his sixth and best solo joint by far.
Haruomi Hosono and Yukihiro Takahashi, originally two-thirds of Japan, the most pioneering synth pop band outside of Kraftwerk, have formed a new band, this time to conquer glitch pop. They’ve been at it since 2002, with Loophole being their second album already. Who says old guys can’t innovate?
Third time’s a charm. Not being a fan of most young bands attempting to revive blooze rock, I promptly ignored The Black Keys. Rubber Factory, however, couldn’t be denied. The songwriting, arrangements and production are just too damn fresh and arresting to deny. Great for driving and drunken groping.
Sonic Youth, The Jackson Five and Fraggle Rock. The only thing they have in common are their use in flailing attempts to describe The Go! Team, with members songwriter Ian Parton of Brighton, M.C. Ninja of London. There could be a couple more drummers, or a crew of a dozen, it’s hard to tell, given the cleverly assembled tunes which mix samples and live instrumentation. Party like it’s your ninth birthday and helium is plentiful.
Hikaro Utada has already sold over 9 million albums in Japan and has been recording since age 11. She was born in 1983 when I already had a sizeable record collection. I feel old. You’d think this is just another international pop diva wannabe, but this one quotes Poe and uses Mars Volta drummer Jon Theodore. How cool is that? You’d think she’d sell another 9 million in the U.S., but I doubt it. We Americans are stupid like that.
Click on linked titles go read review.
Albums released in 2003 but reissued in 2004.
- The Concretes (Licking Fingers Sweden)
- Menomena * I Am The Fun Blame Monster (Muuuhahaha!)
- M83 * Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts (EMI FR)
- Colder * Again (Output UK)
- Elbow * Cast Of Thousands (V2)
- Snow Patrol * Final Straw (Universal UK)
- Etienne Daho * Reevolution (Virgin)
- Ty * Upwards (Big Dada UK)
- Architecture in Helsinki * Fingers Crossed (Trifekta)
- Sons And Daughters * Love The Cup (Ba Da Bing/Domino)
- Magnet * On Your Side (Ultimate Dilemma UK)
- Excepter * Ka (Fusetron)
- The Wildhearts * Must Be Destroyed (Sanctuary)
Albums released in 2003 that should be reissued cuz we missed ’em.
- Lomax * A Symbol Of Modern Living (93 Records)
- Otto * Sem Gravidade (Trama)
- Shack * Here’s Tom With The Weather (North Country UK)
- Tujiko Noriko * From Tokyo to Naiagara (Tomlab)
- Lucas Santtana * Parada De Lucas (Diginois Brazil)
- A Frames * A Frames 2 (S-S Records)
- Benjamin Biolay * Negatif (EMI)
- Kahimi Karie * Trapèziste (Victor)
- Haco & Sakamoto Hiromichi * Ash in the Rainbow (Detector/ReR Megacorp)
- Bang Gang * Something Wrong (Recall Iceland)
- The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa * Slowthinking (Labels Czech Rep)
- Kazumi Nikaidoh * Mata Otosimasitayo (You Dropped Something Again, Didn’t You) (Poet Portraits Jpn)
- The Russian Futurists * Let’s Get Ready To Crumble (Upper Class)
Rock & Pop
- TV On The Radio * Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes (Touch & Go)
- Razorlight * Up All Night (Vertigo UK)
- The Walkmen * Bows And Arrows (Record Collection)
- Arto Lindsay * Salt (Righteous Babe)
- Annie * Anniemal (679)
- The Mark Lanegan Band * Bubblegum (Beggars)
- The Black Keys * Rubber Factory (Fat Possum)
- The Go! Team * Thunder, Lightning, Strike (Memphis Industries)
- Utada * Exodus (Island)
- Stars * Set Yourself On Fire (Arts & Crafts)
- Sonic Youth * Sonic Nurse (Geffen)
- Ed Harcourt * Strangers (Heavenly UK)
- The Earlies * These Were The Earlies (WEA UK)
Avant Rock & Out Pop
- Björk * Medulla (Elektra)
- Ghost * Hypnotic Underworld (Drag City)
- Bark Psychosis * ///Codename: Dustsucker (Fire)
- Lali Puna * Faking The Books (Morr)
- Cut Copy * Bright Like Neon Love (Modular)
- Various * DFA Compilation #2 (DFA)
- Max Richter * The Blue Notebooks (Fat Cat)
- The Eternals * Rawar Style (Aesthetics)
- On! Air! Library! (Arena Rock)
- Stereolab * Margarine Eclipse (Elektra)
- Animal Collective * Sung Tongs (Fatcat)
- Polysics * Polysics Or Die!!! (Surla/Sony)
- Xiu Xiu * Fabulous Muscles (5 Rue Christine)
Hard Rock & Metal
- Dungen * Ta Det Lugnt (Subliminal Sounds)
- Colour Haze (Elektrohasch)
- Witchcraft (Candlelight)
- UFOmammut – Snailking (Supernatural Cat)
- Mission Of Burma * ONoffOn (Matador)
- Khold – Mørke Gravers Kammer (Candlelight)
- Comets On Fire * Blue Cathedral (Sub Pop)
- Mastodon * Leviathan (Relapse)
- Anathema * A Natural Disaster (Koch)
- Social Distortion * Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll (Time Bomb)
- Isis * Panopticon (Ipecac)
- Ikara Colt * Modern Apprentice (Fantastic Plastic UK)
- The Wildhearts * Riff After Riff (Gearhead)
- Lamb Of God * Ashes of the Wake (Epic)
- Dillinger Escape Plan * Miss Machine (Relapse)
- Converge * You Fail Me (Epitaph)
- Amen * Death Before Musick (Eat URmusic/Columbia)
- Blue States * The Soundings (Memphis Industries UK)
- Mosquitos * Sunshine Barato (Bar/None)
- Psapp * Tiger, My Friend (Leaf)
- Bebel Gilberto (Six Degrees)
- Jens Lekman * When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog (Secretly Canadian)
- Moonbabies * The Orange Billboard (Hidden Agenda)
- The Delgados * Universal Audio (Mantra UK)
- Rilo Kiley * More Adventurous (Brute/Beaute)
- Jonathan Richman * Not So Much To Be Loved As To Love (Sanctuary/Vapor)
- Lovedrug * Pretend You’re alive (Militia Group)
- Coastal * Halfway To You (Words On Music)
- Hercules * In The Alleyway (March)
- The Hidden Cameras * Mississauga Goddam (Rough Trade)
Electronica, Techno & Dance
- Junior Boys * Last Exit (Kin UK)
- Sketch Show * Loophole (Third Ear)
- Federico Aubelle * Gran Hotel Buenos Aires (Eighteenth Street Lo)
- Ada * Blondie (Areal)
- Ricardo Villalobos * Thé au Harem d’Archimède (Perlon)
- Fennesz * Venice (Touch)
- Lucien-N-Luciano * Blind Behaviour (Peacefrog)
- Spektrum * Enter … The Spektrum (Playhouse UK)
- M.I.A. & Diplo * Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1 (Hollertronix)
- Jason Forrest * The Unrelenting Songs of the 1979 Post Disco Crash (Sonig)
- To Rococo Rot * Hotel Morgen (Domino
- Diplo * Florida (Big Dada)
- Telefon Tel Aviv * Map of What Is Effortless
- Rachid Taha * Tekitoi (Wrasse)
- Tinariwen * Amassakoul (World Village)
- Syd Matters * A Whisper And A Sigh (3rd Side/V2)
- Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra * Who Is This America (Ropeadope)
- Etienne Daho * Pap Satori (Virgin)
- Youssou N’Dour * Egypt (Nonesuch)
- Ozomatli * Street Signs (Real World)
- Lhasa * The Living Road (Les Disques Audiogramme)
- Juana Molina * Tres Cosas (Domino)
- Angélique Kidjo * Oyaya! (Columbia)
- Tom Waits * Real Gone (Anti/Epitaph)
- Devendra Banhart * Rejoicing In The Hands Of (Young God)
- Blanche * If We Can’t Trust The Doctors (Loose Music/Vinyl Junkie)
- Califone * Heron King Blues (Thrill Jockey)
- Entrance * Wandering Stranger (Fat Possum
- Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter * Oh, My Girl (Barsuk)
- The Czars * Goodbye (Bellaire)
- Micah P. Hinson & The Gospel Of Progress (Sketchbook)
- Devendra Banhart * Niño Rojos (Young God)
- Jim White * Drill A Hole In That Substrate And Tell Me What You See (Luaka Bop)
- Born Heller (Locust)
- P.G. Six * The Well of Memory (Amish)
- Giant Sand * Is All Over The Map (Thrill Jockey)
Country & Folk
- Sufjan Stevens * Seven Swans (Sounds Familyre)
- Joanna Newsom * The Milk-Eyed Mender (Drag City)
- Faun Fables * Family Album (Drag City)
- Eleni Mandell * Afternoon (Zedtone)
- Polly Paulusma * Scissors In My Pocket (One Little Indian)
- Neko Case * The Tigers Have Spoken (Anti)
- Regina Spektor * Soviet Kitsch (Sire)
- Laura Veirs * Carbon Glacier (Bella Union UK)
- Thalia Zedek – Trust Not Those In Whom Without Some Touch of Madness (Thrill Jockey)
- Loretta Lynn * Van Lear Rose (Interscope)
- Grant Lee Phillips * Virgina Creeper (Cooking Vinyl)
- Tom Russell * Indiands Cowboys Horses Dogs (Hightone)
- Bonnie Prince Billy * Sings Greatest Palace Music (Drag City
Hip Hop & Rap
- Skinnyman * Council Estate Of Mind (Lowlife)
- Wiley * Treddin’ On Thin Ice (XL)
- Beastie Boys * To The 5 Boroughs (Capitol)
- Devin The Dude * To Tha X-Treme (Rap-A-Lot)
- The Roots * The Tipping Point (Geffen)
- Beans * Shock City Maverick (Warp)
- Madvillain * Madvillainy (Stones Throw)
- Dizzee Rascal * Showtime (XL)
- Cee-Lo * Cee-Lo Green Is The Soul Machine (Arista)
- Prince Po * The Slickness (Lex)
- cLOUDDEAD * Ten (Mush)
- Jean Grae * This Week (Babygrande)
- Rjd2 * Since We Last Spoke (Def Jux)
R&B & Soul
- N*E*R*D * Fly Or Die (Virgin)
- Amp Fiddler * Waltz Of A Ghetto Fly (Genuine)
- Sweetback * Stage  (Epic)
- Saul Williams (Fader)
- George Faith * To Be A Lover (Hip-O Select) 78
- Herman Chin-Loy * Aquarius Rock (Pressure Sounds) 73
- Brian Eno * Another Green World (Astralwerks) 75
- Talking Heads * The Name Of The Band Is Talking Heads (Rhino) 81
- Wayne McGhie & The Sounds Of Joy (Light in the Attic) 70
- Lee Perry & The Upsetters * Super Ape (Hip-O Select) 76
- Can * Tago Mago (Mute) 71
- Max Romeo & The Upsetters * War Ina Babylon (Hip-O Select) 76
- Serge Gainsbourg * Aux armes et caetera + Dub, DJ & Singer Versions (Mercury)
- The Only Ones * Why Don’t You Kill Yourself?: The CBS Recordings 1978-80 (Edsel)
- Adam & The Ants * Dirk Wears White Sox (Columbia) 79
- The Pogues * Rum Sodomy & The Lash (WEA) 85
- Burning Spear * Creation Rebel: The Original Classics From Studio One 1969-74 (Studio One/Heartbeat) / At Studio One 1969-74 (Soul Jazz) [Nearly identical, but Heartbeat collection gets the edge with 20 songs over Soul Jazz’s 18, missing only “Joe Frazier” and “Journey” from the Soul Jazz]
Click here to see the entire list of reissues.
- Futureheads – “Hounds Of Love” – Sire
- Bloc Party – “Little Thoughts” – Dim Mak
- Razorlight – “(Don’t Go Back To) Dalston” – Universal
- Annie – “Chewing Gum” – 679
- Mark Lanegan Band – “Hit The City” – Beggars
- Walkmen – “Thinking Of A Dream” – Record Collection
- Rakes – “22 Grand Job” – Trash Aesthetics
- Pixeltan – “Get Up Say What (DFA Mix)” – DFA
- M.I.A. & Diplo – “Galangaton” – no label
- Junior Boys – “More Than Real” – Domino
- Utada – “Kremlin Dusk” – Island
- The Go! Team – “Ladyflash”
- TV On the Radio – “New Health Rock”
- The Pixies, Riviera
- TV On the Radio, Metro, Empty Bottle
- Mission Of Burma, Metro
- The Walkmen, Metro
- The Cramps, San Francisco
- The Black Keys, Metro
- Twilight Singers, Metro
- Franz Ferdinand, Empty Bottle
- Black Heart Processsion, Bottom Lounge
- The Faint, Metro
- Tributes to The Clash, The Jam, The Damned, Empty Bottle
- Devo, Grant Park
- The Interiors, Hideout
- Eternal Sunshine On The Spotless Mind
- The Dreamers
- Before Sunset
- The Incredibles
- Napoleon Dynamite
- Garden State
- Spider-Man 2
- Motorcycle Diaries
- A Shark’s Tale
- Fahrenheit 9/11
- Shrek 2
Haven’t seen: Bad Education, Closer, The Control Room, Hero, I Heart Huckabees, Kill Bill Vol. 2, Kinsey, Maria, Full of Grace, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, Million Dollar Babies, Ray, Sideways, Silver City, Wicker Park.