Best Artist Albums - 2005

So I'm breakin' it up for you. That way people who don't listen to "the dance music" will have better points of reference. Also, and I realize this is a bit of a cop out, the albums on this list did not necessarily have to be released this year--I just had to purchase them this year. I'll try to keep it pretty current, though. Nothing older than 2 years, let's say.
Ok, now that you've got the rules and regulations, let's get to it.

The Lucksmiths - Warmer Corners10.
The Lucksmiths - Warmer Corners [Matinee Recordings] - This album is chock-full of sweetness. Apparently its their seventh album--go figure! Its the first time I've heard of them. There's some nice organ on a couple tracks and horn arrangements that should shame Sufjan Stevens. Sweet vocals with great lyrics. And they're Australian, did I mention that?

Architecture in Helsinki - In Case We Die9. Architecture in Helsinki - In Case We Die [Bar None Records] - More Australians . . . hmmmm. I love this album. I love its playfulness and I love Architecture in Helsinki's wild abandon. They play an assortment of instruments, traditional and non. They shout/sing most of their lyrics and they make me feel like I'm a kid. Plus, cute Australian accents.

Caribou - The Milk of Human Kindness8. Caribou - The Milk of Human Kindness [Domino] - Well, even though he was forced to change his name from Manitoba to Caribou, Dan Snaith has managed to maintain a keen ear. He has a fondness for builds of epic proportion but enough pop-friendliness to make the album digestable. Snaith marks his shift in genre (krautrock to folk) with interludes that tie the album together. Did I mention this dude's Canadian?

Stars - Set Yourself On Fire7. Stars - Set Yourself on Fire [Arts & Crafts] - These dudes (and chick) are Canadian, too. I can't believe that this album wasn't played out last year. Maybe now that they're opening for Death Cab, they'll get some cred. I love Torq and Amy. Album highlights, for me, are "Your Ex-Lover is Dead," "Soft Revolution," and "What I'm Trying to Say."
The Dead Texan6.
The Dead Texan - s/t [Kranky] - So this came out last year, but I bought I guess in March. Its a grogeous album full of Slowdive-esque drone. It is packaged with a DVD of visuals that go along with it--trippy, dude!

Ivy - In the Clear5. Ivy - In the Clear [Nettwerk] - Any year an Ivy album is released, you're pretty much guaranteed that it'll break my top five. I love their sound. I love that their music is in my past and its in my present. I love Dominique's vocals and I love it when the boys join in, in falsetto. Production is a little different with this album, but in pretty subtle ways. Some xylophone which I don't think we've heard before. Check out their in-studio at KCRW.

Royksopp - The Understanding4. Royskopp - The Understanding [Astralwerks] - Loathed by many, loved by a few. Guess I'm in the latter group. I think this album contains some great dance pop on the level of St. Etienne or latter-day Faithless. "What Else is There?" is crystalline and sugary and it feels like it might cruble at any moment. The whole album is great.

Isolee - We Are Monster3. Isolee - We Are Monster [Playhouse] - Rajko Moller releases a seminal work. Minimal disco--not that neu-disco shit people are hyping (ahem, Madonna), subterrestrial funk. This album bites style after style while still creating an original minimal masterpiece.

James Taylor - Carthage Milk2. James Taylor - Carthage Milk [Logistic] - Put this, Isolee and Royksopp on random and you've got yourself a perfect three hours of listening pleasure. James is not your mama's folk singer, he's half of Swayzak and their last set in Seattle was one of the best I have ever been to. What always surprises me about them is how much more bangin' they are in a club setting. This disc doesn't provide any bangers, its much more subdued, but not comatose by any means. Go get it and tell me you don't like it. I dare ya.

L'Altra - Different Days1.
L'Altra - Different Days [Hefty] - I love this album. I love this band. They play a great set live and the phenomenal programming on the album comes from Joshua Eustis of Telafon Tel Aviv. I have heard heartbreak on an album before, but never with such scope with such attention to the minutiae. I'm posting two songs from this album for until the New Year. Hopefully it will inspire you to go out and get this ablum from this talented duo.
Sleepless Night
So Surprise

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