Saturday, December 24, 2005


Having started the week admitting she was deaf, Foxy Brown attempted to get herself slung in jail, too. As her (new) lawyers attempted to get her assault charge marked down to a disorderly conduct rap, Brown decided to stick her tongue out at the judge instead:

each time Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Melissa Jackson called Brown's case on Friday, the rap artist balked at going through with the proceedings. As Brown faced the judge for a third time and declined to respond to questions, Jackson lost her patience.

"This is the third time you are before me performing today, and you are making faces and sticking out your tongue," Jackson told her, adding, "Are you chewing gum?"

With that, Brown stuck her tongue way out of her mouth as if being examined by a doctor.

"You stuck your tongue out at me. You are showing disrespect for the court," the judge snapped. She then ordered Brown handcuffed to her seat in the well of the courtroom until she apologized.

Shamefully, her lawyers then attempted to claim that she'd stuck her tongue because she was deaf:

"She (Brown) cannot hear. She's deaf. She opened her mouth, your honor, only to show you she wasn't chewing gum," Fleming told Jackson.

After Jackson threatened to slap Brown with a contempt-of-court citation, along with 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, the rapper finally relented.

Brown will be back before the judge on January 23rd. If the bench accepts the deal, Brown could get off with ten days community service.


Let's just leave aside for the moment that Wafah Dufour has taken to posing in a bath for GQ, and focus on the slightly more curious aspect of her interview for the magazine. Six months ago, she was banging on about how she didn't want to be connected to her uncle any more - that's twinkly old Uncy Osama Bin Laden - and how she was changing her name to break all the links with negative publicity that it brought. (And, to the best of our knowledge, this was the second time she'd made a similar fuss.)

Now, half a year on, and she's giving another interview about how she's not really in any way connected to him. For someone keen to play down the links, she's quite talkative about them - it's probably lucky she's not on witness protection; she'd have her name changed, a new life, a new town - and a blue plaque outside the house saying "Bin Laden's Neice Lives Here":

"Everyone relates me to that man, and I have nothing to do with him," Wafah Dufour, the daughter of bin Laden's half brother, Yeslam Binladin, says in the January edition of the magazine, referring to the al-Qaida leader.

"I want to be accepted here, but I feel that everybody's judging me and rejecting me," said the California-born Dufour, a law graduate who lives in New York. "Come on, where's the American spirit? Accept me. I want to be embraced, because my values are like yours. And I'm here. I'm not hiding."

You see? Her records aren't selling because people see the name and do some research and find out who her uncle is and think that if they play her CD then the terrorists will have won.

It doesn't seem to have occured to Wafah that there might be another, slightly less convoluted reason for her failing to unseat Mariah Carey at the top of the charts. Perhaps her records are so bad, nobody wants to buy them in their own right?

Mind you, the US Army might be interested - imagine the irony if they used Osama's neice instead of Eminem as part of the torture process for Al-Qaeda "suspects"...


Pete Doherty has done his second Newsnight interview of the year, and he now thinks he might have been a little bit hasty in quitting rehab in Arizona:

"Maybe it was a bit of a rash decision," he told Newsnight's Kirsty Wark. "But I missed London, I wanted to play my guitar and I wanted my books."

And you know what? It's all the paper's fault, boo-hoo-hoo:

But he insisted the truth was far less sensational, saying the real Pete Doherty and the one depicted in the media were "like two different people".

"The one thing that the tabloids have been consistent with is they haven't shown the slightest bit of interest in the music," he said.

In the interview, to be broadcast on Newsnight on Friday, he likens himself to late footballer George Best - a victim of what he calls "dead monkey brain tabloid fever" whose achievements were "swamped" by his later hellraising exploits.

"For me it's going to be the other way round," he said.

Which is, of course, exactly what Best thought it would be like - in his famous phrase, it was going to be the football that people remembered. But before we get too carried away, it's worth remembering that George Best wasn't killed by tabloid attention, but by drinking way too much, too often, for too long. And while Pete might wish the tabloids wrote about his music, perhaps if he didn't keep giving them interviews about how he loves Kate Moss, or has been going to have secret meetings in Paris with Kate, or showing off his implants, perhaps they wouldn't write about your drugs and lovelife.


As Spike once observed "there's always consequences" - funnily enough, he was talking about resurrections, as well. The small pile of credit card slips that have piled up as a result of the Take That reunion has generated a certain amount of chin-scratching amongst Bands That Were A Bit Similar But Not As Good, who also want some of that reunion action.

We guess the East 17 comeback was inevitable, but even Toby Mortimer (Tony? Trevor?) knows that they wouldn't be able to fill a paddling pool alone. So it is next year we'll have a joint tour featuring All Saints and East 17.

An "insider" sings:

?Tony has been stubborn about a comeback in the past and Shaznay was left with a very bitter taste in her mouth after an acrimonious split from All Saints.

?But time is a great healer and they have all matured, started families and grown up since they were first in the limelight.

?They have all agreed that the time is right to cash in after watching Take That storm the album charts and sell out their stadium tour.?

Well, at least they're being honest that it's for the money and not some attempt to take the artistic statement further forward.


The edge is going to be taken off Christmas at Mike Peter's house this year, as the Alarm bloke has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time. His first brush came a decade ago; now he's been found to have chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Peters is remaining positive, though:

"The good news is that although my illness is not curable, it is treatable... it is a disease I will probably die with, rather than of," he said.

"Obviously, this has come as a massive shock to me and my family, especially as it is almost 10 years to the day that I was originally diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.

"Ten years ago, it seems that my own immune system suppressed the cancer and I was able to go into remission for 10 years."

Peters intends to play next month's Gathering festival in Rhyl, despite doctors begging him not to. It's not because it'd affect his recovery, it's just they've heard the Alarm and wanted to spare the audience.


Howie Day - who's one of those people you vaguely know are pop stars, but can't quite put your finger on what he might have done to get that status - has got in trouble again. The charmer - who once locked a woman in the tourbus toilet because she didn't want to have to sex with him - has been charged following rowdy behaviour on a flight to Boston.

His lawyer attempts to explain it all:

Day, who is from Brewer, Maine, was returning home for the holidays and took a pill to help him sleep on the flight from Dallas, said his lawyer, Paul Kelley.

"He had a couple of drinks. The pill interacted with the drinks and he became intoxicated. He feels badly if he inconvenienced anyone, or caused any discomfort," Kelley told reporters outside court. "He has and will apologize, and our hope is that we'll be able to resolve this thing as promptly as possible."

The curious thing, though, is if Day feels he has something to apologise for and feels so badly, how come he entered a not guilty plea?

Day's back in court in March, and could be sentenced to up to six months if the court decides he interfered with flight crew.

Friday, December 23, 2005


Thanks to Karl T for sending us the following transcript of George Bush talking with Brit Hume about what's on his iPod playlist:

Bush : Beach Boys, Beatles, let's see, Alan Jackson, Alan Jackson, Alejandro, Alison Krauss, the Angels, the Archies, Aretha Franklin, the Beatles, Dan McLean. Remember him?

Hume: Don McLean.

Bush: I mean, Don McLean.

Hume: Does "American Pie," right?

Bush: Great song.

Hume: Yes, yes, great song.

Unidentified male: . . . which ones do you play?

Bush: All of these. I put it on shuffle. Dwight Yoakam. I've got the Shuffle, the, what is it called? The little.

Hume: Shuffle.

Bush: It looks like.

Hume: The Shuffle. That is the name of one of the models.

Bush: Yes, the Shuffle.

Hume: Called the Shuffle.

Bush: Lightweight, and crank it on, and you shuffle the Shuffle.

Hume: So you -- it plays . . .

Bush: Put it in my pocket, got the ear things on.

Hume: So it plays them in a random order.

Bush: Yes.

Hume: So you don't know what you're going to going to get.

Bush: No.

Hume: But you know --

Bush: And if you don't like it, you have got your little advance button. It's pretty high-tech stuff.

Hume: . . . be good to have one of those at home, wouldn't it?

Bush: Oh?

Hume: Yes, hit the button and whatever it is that's in your head -- gone.

Bush: . . . it's a bad day, just say, get out of here.

Hume: Well, that probably is pretty . . .

Bush: That works, too. ( Laughter )

Hume: Yes, right.

Most Presidents, you might think the weight of their office would be so great that it would take more than The Archies doing Sugar, Sugar to wipe it out their minds, but we've no doubt that putting on the iPod does isolate Bush totally from the business of government. After all, if he's got Dan McClean in his ears, he won't be able to hear Karl telling him what to do.


It's been over a decade since we last heard anything from the Revolting Cocks, while Al Jourgensen worked on Ministry stuff. But guess what?

They're back. Oh, you guessed. Al promises the new album, Cocked and Loaded is everything you'd expect:

"It's pretty prurient and juvenile and everything else that Revolting Cocks are known for," Jourgensen says of the new songs, with titles such as "Jack in the Crack" and "Viagra Culture." "It's basically middle-aged men regaining their lost, juvenile delinquency years and being absolutely sophomoric. It's great."

Meanwhile, Ministry have a new album lined up for the following month, which is a little more serious:

"We kind of have this administration that's just a little bit arrogant and very transparent, as far as their agenda," says Jourgensen. "This little war going on overseas, the little Iraq thing, that's kind of got my goat, too. The arrogance of the right has just got me. All these wimpy liberals -- good for Howard Dean, screaming into a mike, showing them the left isn't all about granola and alfalfa sprouts!"

What do you actually need Marilyn Manson for?


It's not going to be a cosy Christmas for record and movie executives - a bid to get French law reshaped to their desires has been rebuffed with a last-minute ammendment. The government had been pushing through legislation that would have introduced fines for people putting copy-protected material onto peer to peer networks of about a third of a million Euros. Oh, and three years in prison.

The French lower house, though, passed an ammendment which would allow anyone to fill their boots on filesharing networks in return for a seven Euro royalty.

Naturally, the industry is having kittens - cute, Christmas kittens - but kittens nevertheless:

"To legalize the downloading of our music, almost free of charge, is to kill our work," venerable rocker Johnny Hallyday said in a statement.

The actors' and musicians' branch of France's largest trade union, the CFDT, said the plan "would mean the death of our country's music and audiovisual industries."

The proposed royalties duty amounts to a "Sovietization" of the arts, said Bernard Miyet, president of the French music composers' and publishers' organization SACEM.

"You're talking about an administered price, set by a commission without regard to the music and film economy," Miyet said.

Hmm. They might have a point. But let's not forget this ammendment was proposed in response to a call for a punishment which had been set without regard to any actual damage that might have been done to the copyright holder. If the industry can pluck a "three year and third of a million" fine out the air, why shouldn't the people pluck a price out the same air in response? And perhaps the government is smart enough to know that if you set the price too high, people will just not bother paying.

There's also some moaning that this might contravene international law - although since the music industry has happily pocketed cash raised from levies in return for allowing people to use, say, blank tapes in some countries, there would appear to be a precedent that they've embraced before now.

The lower house returns to vote again on January 17th, and then it'll only take one more vote in Senate to make it law. (Ironically, the copyright industry's pressing for swift action had led the government to introduce a short-circuited lawmaking route for this one).


With Courtney Love recalculating figures on an almost daily basis, she's had another nasty problem to deal with just before Christmas: one of her properties has been foreclosed on: a historic house in Olympia. Of course, its worse news for Kurt Cobain's sister Kim, as she's been living there. Apparently, Love hasn't kept the mortgage up since December 2003; now, the property will go to auction on January 6th unless she settles the USD367,000 outstanding by then.


As we reach Christmas weekend, it's like No Rock's year review supplement:

2005, in review:

Review of the year
Other people's 2005 picks
Music of the year
The year in death

2005 Posts, week-by-week:

02 January 2005
09 January 2005
16 January 2005
23 January 2005
30 January 2005
06 February 2005
13 February 2005
20 February 2005
27 February 2005
06 March 2005
13 March 2005
20 March 2005
27 March 2005
03 April 2005
10 April 2005
17 April 2005
24 April 2005
01 May 2005
08 May 2005
15 May 2005
22 May 2005
29 May 2005
05 June 2005
12 June 2005
19 June 2005
26 June 2005
03 July 2005
10 July 2005
17 July 2005
24 July 2005
31 July 2005
07 August 2005
14 August 2005
21 August 2005
28 August 2005
04 September 2005
11 September 2005
18 September 2005
25 September 2005
02 October 2005
09 October 2005
16 October 2005
23 October 2005
30 October 2005
06 November 2005
13 November 2005
20 November 2005
27 November 2005
04 December 2005
11 December 2005
18 December 2005
25 December 2005

2005's big events:
The Musical response to Hurricane Katrina
The UK General Election
Top 100 of all time
John Peel Day
Eurovision 50th Anniversary
Michael Jackson's trial
Britpop night
Reading Festival
T in the Park
Live 8 - all the way through

2005's award ceremonies:
Rough Trade 100
UK Bloggers 40
Latin Grammys
NME awards


It's with a sense of surprise that we find ourselves at the end of 2005, as it never really felt much like the year got going - I suppose that the effect of the tsunami made the changing of the year seem less vibrant and important; there wasn't even that usual couple of minutes of blind optimism as we just bobbed into the year a little shocked and numb and, frankly, that's been the way much of the year has been - July 7th bombs, Katrina, oil depots blotting out the sun with their fire. Were we religious, we'd be flciking through the last bit of the Bible and using it the way we used to use those I Spy books on holidays when we were younger. ("All I need to tick off is the final horseman, and I can send my book to Big Chief I-Spy for a certificate.")

Luckily, as ever, there's been wonderful music and insanely stupid musicians and record company executives to offer us something other to do besides constantly taking the temperature of the lake across the road to see how long we have before global warming wipes us all out.

Apparently, the most important thing that happened in music this year was Live 8, a large event held in London this summer in order to provide material for a DVD to be sold into the Christmas market. We haven't quite managed to convince ourselves that Bono was asked by his big mate George Bush to arrange the whole thing to provide an instantly-grounded lightning rod to soak up the energy of the Make Poverty History campaign and ensure nothing serious happened, but we've not yet seen any compelling reason to believe that he wasn't.

There was a general election here in the UK, which saw the old, tired order who supported the Iraq war swept away and replaced by a young, charismatic leader who, erm, also supported the war on Iraq. Sadly, this only happened within the Tory party; despite the best efforts of Billy Bragg and, erm, Tom from Rage Against The Machine, nothing much else changed at Westminster.

Having slightly more of an effective response politically was Kanye West, whose "I can't believe I'm saying this" moment during a Katrina telethon sparked a debate about race that America had been trying to avoid for much of the last ten years. In the interests of balance, we should point out that George W Bush's mum denied that he didn't like black people.

Talking of Katrina, as soon as New Orleans was washed away, Michael Jackson sprang into action, promising to pull together the top stars in the world to raise money to help. And we look forward to the single from that sometime in 2008, once he's finally got the 9/11 one out the way. Jackson, of course, was acquitted of touching children, although the sweetness of the moment was rather ruined by some jurors saying "actually, we think he probably does touch kids, just not those kids at that point."

Further pyrrhic victory came for Robbie Williams, who despite camping it like he wanted to understudy John Humphries when it suits him, apparently found being thought slightly gay to be such a distressing slur that he had lawyers deny it in court (or rather, deny that he'd lied about sleeping with women.) Williams has spent much of the year strenuously trying to prove just how attracted to women he is; we're expecting him to grow a beard sometime in 2006.

Elton John, of course, got married, much to everyone's surprise a few years back. To a woman, although even her name (Renate Blauel) sounded like something that hadn't been fully-thought through at the time. This year, his wedding to David Furnish is lower key, but much more believable.

Despite having made a very noisy retirement from public life in February, George Michael has been busily running round telling everyone he's going to catch the bouquet, so to speak, at Elton's wedding and be the second famous gay wedding in the UK. Unless Sandy Toksvig gets there first. (and that there's never going to be Wham reunion, either).

Less happy marriage stories in the US - less than five months after their first joint interview (on Ellen) and almost as soon as baby Preston North End had been born, Britney Spears and Kevin have been having contractual difficulties. It looks like they might spend Christmas together, but it's not clear anyone can explain why.

Keeping to her pattern of doing everything Britney does, just twelve months later, Christina Aguilera will be setting up the marriage breakdown for Fall 2006. At the moment, she'll still be ruing having cut a deal to flog the pictures from her wedding to Ben Elton for "only" a third of a million.

The real heart-flipping love story of the year, though wasn't any of these, nor even The Subways' Mary and Billy getting engaged on stage. No, the love story of the year was centred, of course, on Pete Doherty. It looked for a moment that it was all over, and he was going to turn the back on the one he loved the most. But, no, as soon as Kate Moss told him to choose between the drugs and her, he went straight back to the drucks. "You've always been there for me, and you understand..." he sobbed, taking them back in his arms. Or anywhere he could find a vein.

A year on from John Peel's death, and it was hard to find anyone with a bad word to say about him (apart from Julie Burchill, of course, so no change there.) Indeed, it turned out that the whole world used to listen to every programme, to judge by the John Peel Day commeration. But then, since it turns out that Peel music was mostly middle-market, Times2 type stuff, maybe that's no surprise. We wonder what happened to that bloke with the same name who used to play stuff we'd never heard the like of before?

Madonna's comeback is another thing where we're not sure we're hearing what everyone else is. People insist that Confessions on a Dancefloor is return to form, but no matter how we strain our ears, we can only hear the album that Paris Hilton wants to make. It's been a busy year for Madonna - indeed, she's been too busy to find time to make any comment about Eliyahu Yardeni from her beloved Kabbalah Center suggesting jews who died in the holocaust bought it on themselves by not being Kabbalic. Having sustained a career on the back people getting tossed off, she really reinvigorated it by getting tossed off the back of a horse. Still, it gave her the chance to appear on US Network TV riding on the back of one. Not that she would have let the kids watch, of course - as this year, we discovered that Madonna firmly believes TV is for selling things on, not watching.

Also garnering a surprising amount of goodwill was the Oasis album, presumably because this one must have been better than the one they had to scrap because it was so rubbish. As part of an otherwise disappointing BBC FOUR Britpop night, John Harris suggested that Oasis main contribution to the music orld had been the invention of the Athlete and Coldplay style empty drone; Coldplay had a new record out, too, come to think of it but not even Chris Martin's claims that it was inspired by porn could raise any real passion about it.

Much more welcome return was in the form of Kate Bush, who, once she'd got the "look, I'm not living like some bloody hermit, okay" bit out her system picked up where she'd left off.

Limp Bizkit had a comeback, too, albeit in the unwelcome form of the death of a fan while Fred Durst got the crowd to hurl abuse at security guards returning to haunt them. Meanwhile, Fred Durst's attempts to get some flashmobby internet-action with the "secret" album fell a bit flat when the secret remained really well-kept.

Doing more business through the interweb were the Arctic Monkeys, who briefly made MySpace cool when they used it to surf to number one and the (albeit downgraded) Top of the Pops; sadly, by then, Rupert Murdoch had already bought MySpace and was working on turning it into a safe area for respectable businessmen to take money from kids.

Of course, the music industry is Murdoch's type of place, being run mainly by men who don't care for music and who are convinced of one thing - that they're right. For example, in February, Sony BMG announced plans to enhance the consumer experience with extra copy protection on its CDs; by the end of the year, after even Microsoft had said their software was pretty evil, Sony was finding itself with a PR and financial disaster. It withdrew five million CDs, but left another five million with a different sort of evil software on the shelves, with a shrug. Meanwhile, even as it settled its case with Rosa Parks over misappropriation of her image it refused to admit any wrongdoing, even though its refusal to settle any earlier had meant the last year of her life saw her medical records being thrown open to the public view and the dignity stripped from a dying woman.

Meanwhile, all the labels were getting caught breaking US law by paying to have their records played on the radio; and yet these paragons of virtue continued to sue people they believed were sharing music: having had a pop at the preteens in previous years, in 2005 they surpassed themselves by suing a dead woman. Now, they're lobbying the EU for the rights to see records of all EU citizen's phone and web communications. For the good of the artists, don't you know?

Boy George got back to doing what we know him for - being arrested over some confusing drug allegations; even his "I thought my rent boy was robbing me and called the police..." tale didn't come close to the tragicomedy of Mindy McCready's life; and even she may have done some fucked-up things, but didn't - unlike Courtney Love - get so out of it she'd shag Steve Coogan.

The Pixies followed their 2004 reunion by announcing they were sticking around; The Darkness got more press for dropping their bassist than dropping the new album and the star of Glastonbury turned out to be the Kaiser Chief's inflatable dinosaur.

Strangeways politely, but firmly, declined Ian Brown's offer of a return there to play a gig; Lil'Kim made her way inside after being found guilty of perjruy. Megaman from the So Solid Crew went all the through a murder trial only for the jury to not come up with a verdict, so it's all back to court next year for that one. Megaman's former mate, Romeo, was found not guilty of wounding with intent despite London's increasingly Mariah Careyesque mayor Ken Livingstone slamming the band as a bad example during the trial.

And who can forget the chart battle back in May between Mel B and Geri Halliwell? No? Anyone even remembered they had singles out?

Has there been a single moment in the last twelve months when Bono hasn't been up to something? How we wish, how we wish, but, no,Hanging out in Davos with the rich and the powerful even while fans who'd paid £25 for the right to be able to buy tickets found the U2 servers melting away; trying (and failing) to buy Lara Croft; getting involved in a petty legal action over trousers; leading the eulogies for the recently deceased pope, and sitting down for a happy meal with racist and homophobe Jesse Helms. It's increasingly clear that Bono is a man who loves hanging out with the powerful, and it seems more and more obvious that he's happy to use the plight of the poorest to get access to them. It's probable that if someone did manage to solve world poverty, Bono would probably have to steal some people's goats just so he'd still have an excuse to go and see George W. Which is pretty much where we came in for this review of the year. Here's to 2006...

Just at this festive point of the year, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who's supported No Rock over the last twelve months - whether by reading it, sending us an email with some interesting links or titbits, joining in the comments, providing a link to us from other blogs and websites or writing or saying nice things about what we do here in the so-called old media. Everyone's support is really appreciated.


A sample of best of picks from around the internet and across the magazine stands - you can find more lists referenced by Metacritic and DJ Martian's wonderful overview of best-ofs.

NPR's All Songs Considered:
Best album: Sufjan Stevens - Illinoise
Customer's Favourite: Coldplay - X&YEditor's Pick of 2005 albums: Sufjan Stevens - Illinois
( have an unordered list of albums, on which Stevens doesn't register

American Music Awards:
Favourite Rock Album: Green Day - American Idiot

BBC Collective best of 2005
BBC Collective users post their picks

Mark Beaumont - Sleepingwiththenme eye candy:
Best track: Hard-fi - Hard To Beat

Best Sellers in the UK:
Best selling single: Tony Christie - Is This The Way To Amarillo?
Best selling album: James Blunt - Back To Bedlam

Edith Bowman, Radio One:
Best track: Amerie - One Thing

Carrie Brownstein, Sleater-Kinney - according to CMJ:
Best album: Judee Sill - Dreams Come True

Tim Burgess, The Charlatans - according to Filter:
Best album: Black Mountain - Black Mountain

Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards:
Best Rock Album: Forever - Something to Dream Of

Rob Da Bank, Radio One:
Best track: Scotch Egg - Scotch Chicken

Chatanooga Pulse:
Local album of the year: Hey Penny - Use These Spoons
Top song: The Killers - All These Things That I've Done
Top album: Various Artists - One Kiss Can Lead To Another ("This 120 track girl group boxed set isn’t a “greatest hits” compilation from the ‘60s. It’s something far more interesting, digging up mostly obscure would-be hits for a parade of innocence emerging into experience.")

Best album: Animal Collective - Feels

Deerhoof - according to CMJ:
Best album: Wayne Shorter - Beyond The Sound Barrier

Stephen Deusner, Memphis Flyer:
Best album: Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy

Andrew Earles, Memphis Flyer:
Best albums: Dinosaur Jr reissues

Leslie Feist, Feist - according to Filter:
Best album: Juana Molina - Segundo

Filter Magazine:
Best album: Sigur Ros - Takk

Four Tet - according to CMJ:
Best album: Quasimoto - The Further Adventures of Lord Quas

Alison Goldfrapp, according to Pitchfork
Best music: Motorhead - Ace of Spades (reissue)

Guardian Film & Music review of the year's big trend - internet fanbases.

Chris Herrington, Memphis Flyer:
Best album: The Hold Steady - Separation Sunday

I Love Music regulars post their lists

Indie MP3 readers' poll:
Best tracks: Crack Babies - Smoking At Gas Stations;
Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot;
The Futureheads - Hounds Of Love
Best albums: Brakes - Give Blood;
The Envelopes - Demon;
Art Brut - Bang Bang Rock & Roll
Best bands: Bridge Gang;
The Envelopes

Indie for Dummies Poll of 100 bloggers:
Best album: Sufjan Stevens - Illinoise
Best album: Antony and the Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now's The Ticket: "For me, this was the year of The Arcade Fire"
Picks of the year: The Arcade Fire - Funeral
Ali Farka, Toure & Toumani Diabate - In The Heart of the Moon
Common: Be
Konono No 1: Congotronics
Cane 141: Moonpool

Junkmedia: "It was a good year for music and Junkmedia":
Best album: Spoon - Gimmie Fiction

Latin Grammys:
Best record: Alejandro Sanz - Tu No Tienes Alma
Best album: Ivan Lins - Cantando Historias

Shirley Manson - Garbage, according to Filter:
Best album: MIA - Arular

Maria, from Total Rock's Sex To 9:
Best album: Scar Sympathy - Symetric In Design

Conor McNicholas, NME editor:
Best track: White Rose Moevement - Love Is A Number

Best-reviewed album: Sufjan Stevens - Illinoise

Ross Millard, Futureheads, according to Pitchfork
Best music: Field Music - Field Music

Alan Miller, Filter publisher:
Best album: Embrace - Out of Nothing

Scott Mills, Radio One:
Best track: 2Pac - Ghetto Gospel

Mr. Red Penguin:
Best album: Bloc Party - Silent Alarm

Krissi Murison - NME Radar editor:
Best track: Snow White - Bored

James Murphy, LCD Soundsystem, according to Pitchfork
Best music: Black Dice - Broken Ear Record

The Music Box:
Best album: Neil Young - Prairie Wind

Trevor Nelson, Radio One:
Best track: Robin Thicke - Wanna Love Ya

Annie Nightingale, Radio One:
Best track: Splitloop, Here On Business

NME: "Music - particularly British music - was magical again in 2005"
Best album: Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
Best track: the Futureheads - Hounds of Love
Best book: Simon Reynolds - Rip It Up and Start Again
Best music dvd: Dig!

Observer Music Monthly: "A small handful of favourites emerged, but we were left with a list of well over 100 discs of almost bewildering variety. What did this mean? We think it's a reflection of how everyone's tastes have changed in this age of the iPod. There's more music being made than ever before (think of the explosion in cheap equipment and therefore creativity right across the globe), and we've finally become less fussy about what we listen to (it helps that were exposed to more, as TV background music, for instance; while online, it's easy to sample music for free)."
Best album: Anthony & The Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now
Reader's best album: Arcade Fire - Funeral
Best DVD: Bob Dylan - No Direction Home
Best music book: Margrave of the Marshes - John Peel and Sheila Ravenscroft

The Onion AV Club:
Least essential album: TATU - Moving and Dangerous

Ian Parton, The Go! Team, according to Pitchfork
Best music: Architecture In Helsinki - In Case We Die

Picadilly Records, Manchester - "We accept that it might not be similar to all the other thousands of 'identikit' charts that you're going to be reading in various publications up to the new year, but what would be the point of that? We've also noticed that a lot of those charts have the excellent Arcade Fire "Funeral" album very high (number one in many), and you're probably thinking where the hell is it in the 'Piccadilly chart'. Well the reason is because we were selling US import copies of it last year, and being the musical purists that we are(!) we felt it would be wrong to list it."
Best album: Magnolia Electric Co - What Comes After The Blues
Best seller: Gorillaz - Dirty Harry

Best single: Anthony & The Johnsons - Hope There's Someone

Popmatters: "The weirdest moments of 2005 were when it felt like the second coming of 2004: weren't we just discussing critically acclaimed albums by Kanye West, Franz Ferdinand, and Animal Collective, like, 12 months ago?"
Best album: The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
Best electronic album: Richie Hawtin - DE9 Transitions
Best jazz album: Theolonious Monk Quartet with John Coltraine - Live
Best country album: Laura Cantrell - Humming by the Flowered Vine "Billie Joe Armstrong gave kids everywhere one positive message: you can wear make-up and be tough at the same time. And we love him for that."

Radio One One Music Festive Fifty:
Number one: Jeggsy Dodd - Grumpy Old Men

Top-rated album: Sufjan Stevens - Illinoise

Jason Reece, And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - according to Filter:
Best album: AYWKUBTTOD - World's Apart

Tim Rice-Oxley, Keane, according to Glide:
Best album: MIA - Arular
Favourite live performance: Rufus Wainwright

Rolling Stone:
Best record: Kanye West - Late Registration

Rough Trade Record Shop sales & staff vote - "A truly great album and one that got more number one staff votes than any other in recent years" (Commentary from No Rock)
Best album: Brakes - Give Blood

Salon: "The past year has been a great one for legal downloads of music, as more and more artists and labels have realized that giving away some songs is free publicity and good business practice. As a general rule, major labels are still abstaining, as are the worlds of jazz and classical music, but there have been promising exceptions, and there will surely be more in 2006."
Best download: Coco Rosie: Beautiful Boyz

Ruyichi Sakamoto - according to CMJ:
Taylor Deupree & Kenneth Krischner - Post Piano 2

Blake Sennet, Rilo Kiley - according to Filter:
Best album: Feist - Let It Die

Paul Smith, Maximo Park, according to Pitchfork
Best music: Smog - A River Ain't Too Much To Love

Sister Ray Record Shop, London:
Best album: Arcade Fire - Funeral

The Sun Bizarre Reader's poll:
Best male: Will Young
Best female: Madonna
Best band: Coldplay
Best rock: Oasis
Best album: X&Y - Coldplay
Best single: James Blunt - You’re Beautiful
Best DJ: Chris Moyles
Bizarre asbo: Pete Doherty
Sack the stylist: Britney Spears

Sweeping The Nation: "The first tabloid reports that Pete and Kate were an item were printed on 18th January and it's felt like a particularly overreaching post-watershed Channel 4 drama ever since, completely obscuring the Babyshambles album from view and ensuring Jon Culshaw is probably working on the impression right now."
Best album: Arcade Fire - Funeral
Best single: Arcade Fire - Rebellion (Lies)

Take Your Medicine UK Blogger's Poll (Commentary from No Rock)
Hottest UK act: Girls Aloud
Take Your Medicine's choice
Best track: The Bridge Gang - London Sky Tonight
Best band: The Go! Team

Tankboy from Donewaiting:
Best album: LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem

The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday:
Best track: Arcade Fire - Cold Wind

Anthony Thornton, NME reviews editor:
Best track: Rufus Wainwright - The Art Teacher

Time Out London edition:
Reader's choice album: Coldplay - X&Y
Writer's choice album: Arcade Fire - Funeral

The Anti-Hit List from the Toronto Star:
Best music: Diplo - Favela Strikes Back

Best singles: Damian Marley - Welcome To Jamrock

Best album: The National - Alligator

Uncut magazine:
Best music DVD: Bob Dylan - No Direction Home
Best album: Arcade Fire - Funeral
Best reissue:

Urban Music Awards
Best album: Jamelia - Thank You

Ricky Wilson, Kaiser Chiefs - according to Filter:
Best album: Belle & Sebastian - Push Barman to Open Old Wounds

Roddy Woomble, Idlewild - according to Filter:
Best album: Sons And Daughters - The Repulsion Box

Yuri Wuensch, Edmonton Sun columnist:
Best electronic album: Diplo - FabricLive24

We'll update this as more polls and lists roll in


It's an impossible task, to set out to try and list every piece of music which made us go "woooo" this year, so this can only be an incomplete list... a very, very incomplete list.

22-20s Baby Brings Bad News 2004 album track given fresh life by the ever-wonderful Fashion TV music researchers

Arab Strap The Last Romance

Babyshambles La Belle et La Bete Album track

Bloc Party Silent Alarm

Bloc Party Silent Alarm remixed Same album, different shape

Brakes Give Blood

Bright Eyes I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning

Bush, Kate Aerial

Chalets Feel The Machine Single

Clor Love and Pain

Coxon, Graham Freakin' Out Single

Cribs The New Fella

Deanna Varagona Trio The Goodbyes Have All Been Taken This actually came out in 2003, but I only found them through an MP3 blog this summer

Deus Pocket Revolution

Dresden Dolls Dresden Dolls Another 2004 album we took a while to discover

Duke Spirit Cuts Across The Land

Editors The Back Room

Feist Let It Die

Field Music Field Music

Forward Russia Thirteen/Fourteen Single

Franz Ferdinand Walk Away Single

Futureheads Futureheads

Giant Drag Kevin Is Gay single

Goldfrapp Supernature Really, what is the point of Madonna?

Half Man Half Biscuit Achtung Bono

Hard-Fi Tied Up Too Tight Single

Hayman, Darren Gray Hairs Live session track on Gideon Coe, 6Music

Help, She Can't Swim Committing Social Suicide

Idlewild Warnings/Promises

Kid Carpet Ideas and Oh Dears

Kills No Wow

Ladytron Wishing Hour

LCD Soundsystem Daft Punk Is Playing At My House Single, although only for the first three times we heard it

Little Flames Put Your Dukes Up, John Single

Long Blondes Appropriation By Another Name

Louis XIV Finding Out True Love Is Blind Single - wouldn't it have been sweet if the rest of the album had been as good?

Magneta Lane CBC Radio Sessions Um, radio sessions

Maximo Park Apply Some Pressure Single

Merritt, Tift Tambourine From 2004, but I only found her this year

MIA Arular This was alright, but nowhere near as great as some people would have told you

Patti Smith Horses Horses Buffed-up version of the original and a live reworking

Pipettes Dirty Mind Single

Priscillas Aloha From Holloway

Rakes 22 Grand Job

Ravonettes Pretty In Black

Razorlight Kirbys House Album track from the War Child collection; we suspect this might be their high water mark

Roger Sisters Three Fingers

Saint Etienne Tales From Turnpike House A likeable concept album

Similou Wild Beasts Album track

Sister Vanilla & Jim Reid Song For A Secret Sister and brother split single between themselves

Sleater-Kinney The Woods

Sons and Daughters Dance Me In Single

Stars Set Yourself On Fire

Stars of Track & Field You Came Here For The Sunset Last Year EP

Starsailor On The Outside No, nothing like Coldplay at all

Stevens, Rachel Come And Get It … while it's lukewarm rather than hot, admittedly

Sugababes Push The Button We're kind of glad they're over, we felt so dirty liking this

Tears Here Come The Tears

Union of Knives Evil Has Never Criminally over-looked single

Various Original Seeds Collection of stuff that inspired Nick Cave swelled by another collection

Various John Peel's Festive Fifteen Uncut giveaway

Various BBC Beethoven from Radio 3 Downloads

Veronica Theen

Wainwright III, Loudon White Winos As part of a live session on Mark Radcliffe's Radio 2 show

Wainwright, Martha Bloody Mother Fucking Arsehole Album track

Wainwright, Rufus Want

Warren Suicide Fulford increasingly Numanesque single

We Are Scientists With Love & Squalor

Wedding Present Take Fountain Resurrection of the original Gedge brand marks return to heartache

Young Knives Weekends and Bleakdays Live at V2005