Saturday, December 31, 2005

The Year That Was: 2005 - Part I (30-26)

Good night, shirttail! Break out the champagne and the shampoo! It's the end of the year...

This marks the 11th Consecutive Year in which The Toaster Talks editorial staff has compiled a Best of list in music. As one would expect, our taste in music has seen a slow, sinuous evolution through genres, dabbling in pop-punk, with a nibble out of the punkin pie itself; industrial rock -- we were young and impressionable; the vast realms of "alternative," which we all still refuse to define; and our musical bodies have since undegrad been immersed in the public swimming pool that is indie.

So get up on the high dive and plunge yourself headfirst into The Toaster Talks' best songs of 2005.

[Note: Due to limited space, the List will be uploaded in daily five-song spurts and will be available for two days only.]

:: 30 ::

The Cloud Room | "Hey Now Now" | The Cloud Room

Who knew that adding “now now” to the end of every line could be so catchy? And though I haven’t heard anything else on the album, this one’s good enough to kick us into the Top Thirty.

“If you ride the bus there, pay the bus fare.”

Band site:
Buy The Cloud Room

:: 29 ::

Kate Miller-Heidke | "Space They Cannot Touch" | Telegram

Kate Miller-Heidke is known in her native Australia as a classically trained and highly honored opera singer. And now she’s a burgeoning pop sensation with a voice that cripples us at the Toaster. Note how her voice hits on the angelic, the playful, the smoke-tinged, the sincere -- and then it rinses and repeats. Its beauty is understated, and that counts for a lot in a field of trying-too-hard-to-be-catchy songs.

Buy Telegram

:: 28 ::

Southeast Engine | "Coming to Terms With Gravity" |
Coming to Terms With Gravity

“Oh great, Toaster! Another band from Athens, Ohio…” I looked up “bias” in the dictionary, and while my history watching and working with this band from its infancy in Athens, Ohio, might qualify, Southeast Engine has earned its spot in 2005’s List. While the clever honesty in Adam Remnant’s vocal delivery and the haunting backing track in “Gravity” sets it apart, the remainder of the album is as solid as they come.

“It’s hard making any sense. But you swear that you will. You’re just trying to kill the gravity that always weighs you down.”

Band Site:
Buy Coming to Terms With Gravity

:: 27 ::

The Hold Steady | "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" | Separation Sunday

Being introduced to The Hold Steady may have been one of the happiest musical treasures of the year for the Toaster crew. While this track might be the most polished The Hold Steady has ever recorded (e.g., a woman, harmony, hooks everywhere), it perfectly captures why this band is good for you -- whether you’re happy, sad, drunk or pregnant. Hint: Turn this one into a sing-along!

Band site:
Separation Sunday

:: 26 ::

Sufjan Stevens | "Casimir Pulaski Day" | Illinois

The saddest song of the year to feature a banjo, a trumpet solo and overt religious references. Bravo.

“All the glory when He took our place, but He took my shoulders, and He shook my face, and He takes, and He takes, and He takes.”

Buy Illinois

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