Top Shelf 2004

Taro SoundIf you’ve been reading Glorious Noise for a while, you’ll remember that we don’t get too uptight about our top ten lists for the end of the year. We don’t ask our editors and contributors to give us their top 200 releases and assign a point value to each of the releases. We don’t come up with strict criteria for inclusion to disallow compilations, reissues or anything like that. Shit, we don’t even require stuff to be released in 2004—this is just stuff that has moved us this year. As always with these kind of lists, take it with a large piece of salt water taffy. And if everybody forgot your favorite record of the year, be sure to let us know in the comments.

Jake Brown

• Quasar Wut-Wut – Taro Sound (Article, CD Baby, Amazon)

• Mountain Goats – We Shall All Be Healed (Article, Amazon)

• Elliott Smith – From a Basement on the Hill (Amazon)

• Sondre Lerche – Two Way Monologue (Amazon)

• The Libertines – The Libertines (Amazon)

• Loretta Lynn – Van Lear Rose (Review, Amazon)

• Two Cow Garage – The Wall Against Our Back (Article, Amazon)

• The Hives – Tyrannosaurus Hives (Article, Amazon)

• Wilco at Otto’s in Dekalb (Article)

• Sondre Lerche at Double Door, Chicago

• Pixies at the Aragon, Chicago

• DKT/MC5 at Elysee Montmartre, Paris (Article)

• GLONO’s third birthday party (Article)

I Beat Up Jason Von Bondie

• The Letters of Gary Benchley, Rock Star

Kristy Eldredge

We shall all be healed.Mountain Goats – We Shall All Be Healed. Haunting, catchy and beautiful. (Article, Amazon)

VA: Chicago Soul – Soul Jazz. Amazing compilation with some of the coolest covers ever.

Sonic Youth – Sonic Nurse. They continue to rock, and those weird tunings are endlessly evocative, sending us backward through decades of longing. (Amazon)

Hayden – Elk Lake Serenade. Great songs and more lovable aw-shucksness from this Canadian songster. (Article, Amazon)

Garage Rock Festival, Randall’s Island. Best rock show in my memory. (Article 1, 2)

Jane Siberry singing “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” at Neil Young tribute show. Lovely synergy. (Article)

Old 97s – Drag It Up. Oh God. They blew me away in a concert in a high school auditorium and this record has a couple of gems, especially the first two songs. (Amazon)

Cat Power – “Willie Deadwilder and Rebecca” (from Speaking for Trees). Long, meandering song that describes a love affair and a tallying of blessings. In the end, it holds out so much hope that it seems to extend a hand to get us through the darkness of this new century. Plus it’s really pretty. (Amazon)

Jennifer O’Connor – Hearing the rough mix of her new cd. She’s my friend, but she’s also going to be a star. Her new cd is called “The Color and the Light.” Watch for it!

Bob Dylan – “Tell Me, Momma” from Live 1966. The whole album is amazing, but this song has saved my soul at work again and again. The incredible freewheeling energy of it makes it possible for me, almost every day, not to commit sapuku. (Amazon)

Johnny Loftus

Ten great records released in 2004

The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for FreeThe Streets – A Grand Don’t Come for Free (Vice/Atlantic)

Character-driven urban novel with beats sometimes. Simply powerful, cynically funny, and ultimately triumphant. “Aw fucking phones, man!” (Review, Amazon)

Wrangler Brutes – Zulu (Kill Rock Stars)

Long-in-tooth thrash and hardcore vets (Born Against, Monorchid, etc.) team up for spastic acerbic rock fest that’s smarter than any pundit. Zulu – the real no-spin zone. (Amazon)

Gary Wilson – Mary Had Brown Hair (Stones Throw)

Real genius wimp-funk augmented with Big Lots programming and mildly unsettling lyrics. “Gary’s in the dark/And you know I’ll be waiting for you…” (Amazon)

Quasar Wut Wut – Taro Sound (Glorious Noise)

Hometown favorites secure United Center gig with literate, raucous, near-Fauvist third effort. The watertown is invaded by bold colored shapes. (CD Baby, Amazon)

Comets on Fire – Blue Cathedral (Sub Pop)

West coast tinfoil chompers playing howling guitars and an echoplex cranked to “blabbity-flizz”. Moments of grace interspersed mean bouts of migraine vomit are peaceful. (Amazon)

Skye Sweetnam – Noise from the Basement (Capitol)

“I don’t need to read Billy Shakespeare/Meet Juliet or Malvolio/Feel for once what it’s like to rebel now/I wanna break out, let’s go” – Sweetnam’s Noise encapsulates the rush of squeaky clean youth rebellion, the moment when we first felt the pull of slackerdom. (Amazon)

Björk – Médulla (Elektra)

The eccentric Icelandic will-o’-the-wisp does it again with a scary, beautiful, and obsessively-layered a capella album. Like a field recording from Middle Earth. (Amazon)

Sahara Hotnights – Kiss & Tell (RCA)

Kiss & Tell is a true pop/rock album for the 21st century, harking to everyone from Benatar and Petty to the Buzzcocks and Cars, but kicking ass like only our girls can. (Article, Amazon)

Charalambides – Joy Shapes (Kranky)

Experimental, but not in an intellectuals-masturbating-into-rusty-bird-cages sort of way. Joy Shapes is a gently-listing waver of voice, pedal steel, droning backgrounds, and most of all mood. (Amazon)

Terror at the Opera – Snake Bird Blue (No Sides)

Brides of Chucky make whimsical sweetbreads out of poisoned nuts and fingernails. Accordion and gorgeous, idiosyncratic harmonies round out the feast.


Stephen Macaulay

1. Diana Ross on The View. Most people missed this. Especially people who read GloNo. C’mon, forgodsakes, The View? Well, this just goes to show the lengths that we go to here at Glorious Noise to do whatever it takes to keep our thumb on the TV remote for you, when we ought to be doing more reasonable things, like reading Kant. Or working. Anyway, there she was, Miss Ross, with more hair on her head than Parliament Funkadelic. The whole gang. What a sight. A classic artist who is still out there, shilling with aplomb.

A ghost is bored.2. My re-education. Having been severely chastised for my seemingly ungenerous piece about Wilco live in Ann Arbor, I decided that I would have to get straight with the program. So I recorded an endless loop of “Less Than You Think” from A Ghost Is Born, and listened to it for hours on end. Savoring the audio genius. Now I know. And I also have a distinct appreciation of dog whistles and the sound of loose fan belts.

3. Ashlee Simpson. In the last two outings, Britney was referenced. But let’s face it, even if she appeared on the cover of My Prerogative with full-frontal exposure, it’s over. The guys at Esquire still love her, though. Which really nails it. Anyway, while there has been not inconsiderable discussion of the potential of Lindsay Lohan on this site, she’s still got at least a year. Fortunately for Ashlee, her big sister did the heavy lifting for Ashlee. So for ’04, it had to be her. Saturday Night Faked, or not.

4. I Hear Dead People. Nothing like still being able to hear the Who at the start of TV shows about detectives and doctors and the like dealing with corpses in places Las Vegas. Is Entwistle rolling in his proverbial grave? Did they check out his room with one of those lights that show all of the disgusting stains?

Derek Phillips

Loretta Lynn - Van Lear RoseLoretta Lynn – Van Lear Rose. Jack White shows his pimp hand with the white hot production of Lynn’s best album in ages. (Review, Amazon)

Dimebag Darrel Shot and Killed on Stage, Dec. 8, 2004. Blockheads will blame it on metal but it’s really just another case of a lunatic with a gun. The fact that it came on the same day as John Lennon’s death 24 years earlier should prove to people that the genre had nothing to do with the crime, but I doubt it’ll shut the haters up. (Discussion)

Launch of Glorious Noise Records. Finally putting our money where our mouths are, GLONO launches a record label with the release of Quasar Wut-Wut’s TARO SOUND. Something Jake and I have talked about for years.

Just a Fan. Fans of Wilco give a little something back and make a statement on sharing.

The Grey Album. While it doesn’t stand up to repeated listening, the mash-up of Jay-Z’s Black Album and the Beatles’ White album did launch the mash-up craze, which has breathed new life into hip hop and rock. It may also inspire a million bedroom MCs to look back further than 50 Cent for inspiration, and that’s a very good thing. (Article, Free Download)

Glorious Noise Reviewers

Sarah Horne

Here’s mines, in no hierarchical order:

• Call Me Lightning – The Trouble We’re In (Amazon)

• Sondre Lerche – Two-Way Monologue (Amazon)

• Mirah – C’mon Miracle (Amazon)

• Ted Leo/RX – Shake The Sheets (Amazon)

• Q & Not U – Power (Amazon)

• Modest Mouse – Good News For People Who Love Bad News (Amazon)

• The Arcade Fire – Funeral (Amazon)

Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous• Rilo Kiley – More Adventurous (Review, Amazon)

• The Walkmen – Bows & Arrows (Review, Amazon)

• Mission of Burma – onOFFon (Amazon)

Nick Latus

• Destroyer – Your Blues (Review, Amazon)

• Discovering Brian Eno

• The Twilight Singers @ Metro

• Gwen Stefani – “What You Waiting For”

Fiery Furnaces - Blueberry Boat• The Fiery Furnaces – Blueberry Boat (Review, Amazon)

• The Spanish music videos played at Cafe Iberico

• The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free (Review, Amazon)

• Scissor Sisters – “Comfortably Numb”

• The video for “Toxic”

Tristan Loper

Live Music

• Califone – May 12, 2004 at North Star Bar

• Bob Dylan – November 11, 2004 at Messiah College

• Wilco – June 6, 2004 at The Point

Recorded Music

Califone - Heron King Blues• Califone – Heron King Blues (Review, Amazon)

• Mark Lanegan Band – Bubblegum (Review, Amazon)

• Modest Mouse – Good News for People Who Love Bad News (Review, Amazon)

• Elliott Smith – From a Basement on the Hill (Amazon)

• Wilco – A Ghost is Born (Amazon)


• Brent Green – Hadacol Christmas

• ATHF episode 46: Gee Whiz (not AT ALL because it guest stars the Nuge).

Tom Mantzouranis

Things that made my loins shake in 2004

20) Junior Boys – Last Exit (Amazon)

19) Interpol – Antics (Amazon)

18) TV on the Radio – Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes (Amazon)

17) William Basinski – The Disintegration Loops

16) Talib Kweli at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 11/16

15) A.C. Newman – The Slow Wonder (Amazon)

14) Air – Talkie Walkie (Amazon)

13) Talib Kweli – The Beautiful Struggle (Amazon)

12) Death Cab for Cutie at Siren Fest, Coney Island, NY

11) Mos Def – The New Danger (Amazon)

10) The Decemberists at Maxwell’s, Hoboken, NJ 10/16

09) MF Doom – Mm…Food? (Amazon)

08) Rjd2 – Since We Last Spoke (Amazon)

07) Wilco – A Ghost is Born (Amazon)

06) The Walkmen – Bows and Arrows (Review, Amazon)

05) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Of Montreal - Satanic Panic in the Attic04) Of Montreal – Satanic Panic in the Attic (Amazon)

03) The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come for Free (Review, Amazon)

02) Madvillain – Madvillainy (Amazon)

01) Iron & Wine – Our Endless, Numbered Days (Amazon)

Nathan Seltenrich

• Bad Religion – The Empire Strikes First (Amazon)

• The Beta Band – Heroes to Zeros (Amazon)

• Danger Mouse – The Grey Album (Article, Free Download)

Destroyer - Your Blues• Destroyer – Your Blues (Review, Amazon)

• Mason Jennings – Use Your Voice (Amazon)

• Modest Mouse – Good News for People Who Love Bad News (Amazon)

• The Poster Children – No More Songs About Sleep and Fire (Amazon)

• Skrunchface Projects – 3-Headed Monster

• Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – Shake the Sheets (Amazon)

• Turn Me on Dead Man – God Bless the Electric Freak

Previously in Glorious Noise: GLONO’s Top Stuff of 2003 and 2002. Also see Johnny’s round up of 2003 as well as his highlights of 2002 and 2001.

26 thoughts on “Top Shelf 2004”

  1. With a little one at home, it makes me that much more judicious about my purchase decisions. Lists like these make it easier to buy in good conscience.

    That said, I gotta second the Mission Of Burma onOFFon rave, and also add that their concert at Metro was abso-fuckin’-lutely phenomenal. Killer stuff. Thanks GloNo for being a great website all year long…


  2. i would have to add abra moore’s everything changed. a beautiful record that perfectly captures the rise and fall of a relationships. the song the end just fills you up with so much heartache.

  3. I’ll add a couple albums that really made my year.

    Joseph Arthur’s Our Shadows Will Remain(taking him back to the glory that was Come to where I’m From), and Kevin Tihista’sWake the Captain– an album that’s a heavy must to hear. Definitely Kevin’s best and possibly most dysfunctional album yet.

    I also found myself pretty pleased with The Killers album. The first half of it is rather addictive.

  4. No order, but old white guys only.

    Brian Wilson – Smile

    Bob Dylan – Live 1964

    Neil Young – On The Beach

    New York Dolls Live

    Not white:

    The TROJAN box sets

  5. I’ll second the Interpol and A.C. Newman picks. I’d add Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry, its one of his best in years. And the Walkmen’s album is defintely up there.

    And then there’s the other category, that being albums that have been out forever but my always-late-to-the-party self had not gotten around to picking up until this year. For that I nominate Slowdive’s Souvlaki and Beck’s Sea Change.

  6. I second all of the discs on Jake’s list, then to add on some other favourites, I love: Modest Mouse’s Good News…, Wilco – A Ghost is Born, Ted Leo’s Shake the Sheets, the Franz Ferdinand CD (so they got famous, bite me) and I’m sure I’ll love Want Two – Rufus Wainwright, even though I haven’t actually gone and bought it yet.

    Oh, and sometime in February I found the New Pornographers’ Mass Romantic and it’s been in my heavy rotation ever since.

  7. I second Neko’s “The Tigers Have Spoken.” I didn’t buy a lot of stuff released in 2004 this year, because I’m poor, but I got that, and it’s a fantastic album.

  8. 1. Arcade Fire – Funeral

    2. Destroyer – Your Blues

    3. Apostle of Hustle – Folkloric Feel

    4. A.C. Newman – The Slow Wonder

    5. Frog Eyes – The Folded Palm

    6. The Capstan Shafts – Chick Cigarettes

  9. I did a lot of catching up this year, so I’ll probably get around to 2004 by March of 05. But I did love Franz Ferdinand, Wilco and Modest Mouse this year. And The Hives – can’t forget The Hives!

    Also Quasar Wut-Wut – it’s really growing on me.

    Also, I saw Dylan. He didn’t sound that good, but fuck – it was DYLAN!!

    Definitely want to pick up Neko and Sahara Hotnights.

  10. 1.)LORETTA LYNN-“Van Lear Rose”

    2.)MODEST MOUSE-“Good News For People Who Love Bad News”

    3.)FRANZ FERDINAND-“Franz Ferdinand”

    4.)THE FALL-“The Real New Fall L.P.”

    5.)COMETS ON FIRE-Blue Cathedral”

    6.)BRIAN WILSON-“Smile”

    7.)A.C. NEWMAN-“The Slow Wonder”


    9.)WILCO-“A Ghost Is Born”


    11.)JOHN VANDERSLICE-“Cellar Door”

    12.)MORRISSEY-“You Are The Quarry”

    13.)LES SAVY FAV-“Inches”

    14.)IRON & WINE-“Our Endless Numbered Days”

    15.)THE STREETS-“A Grand Don’t Come For Free”


    17.)SONIC YOUTH-“Sonic Nurse”

    18.)TED LEO & THE PHARMACISTS-“Shake The Streets”

    19.)ELLIOT SMITH-From A Basement On The Hill”

    20.)THE HIVES-“Tyrannosaurus Hives”

    Live highlights:

    David Bowie “Reality” tour

    Bob Dylan “Tour That Never Ends” tour

    Video highlights:

    SCTV-Volume 1: 1981 (dvd)

  11. why doesnt ted leo get the respect he deserves in any of the yearend lists ive read so far? no one else is making intelligent, infectious music with pulling an eddie vedder. the fact that he can honestly speak about politics without pretension speaks volumes about him. and was anyone else listening to the faint? wet from birth is an instant synth classic.

  12. He’s at #18 on my list, and that’s all the respect he needs! :) I probably should put him at #16 as I liked the album better than Sonic Youth and Interpol. But I’m an old school S.Y. fan and I just love Joy Division’s “Antics.”

  13. #1 Song That I’m Listening to Right Now: Weezer’s “Tired of Sex”

    #1 Thing That I’m Not: Tired of Sex

    p.s. by the way, I also included Ted Leo in my list, and he kicks ass. “Hearts of Oak” is one of my favorite songs of all time.

  14. here’s my “in no particular order” list of favs for the year

    -Modest Mouse-GNFPWLBN

    -Elliott Smith – From a Basement on the Hill

    -Franz Ferdinand – s/t

    -John Vanderslice – Cellar Door

    -Iron and Wine- Endless Numbered Days

    -Califone- Heron King Blues

    -Black Keys – Rubber Factory

    -Madvillan – Madvillainay

    -Okkervil River – Sleep and Wake-Up Songs

    -Six Parts Seven – [Everywhere][And Right Here]

    Late entry:

    Luna – Rendezvous

    Honorable Mention:

    Kanye West – College Dropout

    The Roots – The Tipping Point


    Iron and Wine @ Abbey Pub

    Pixies @ Aragon/State Theatre-Detroit

    Rediscoveries of all ages:

    Doves – Lost Souls

    My Morning Jacket – At Dawn

    Neko Case – Blacklisted

    Badly Drawn Boy – Hour of the Bewilderbeast

    Nick Drake – Bryter Layer

    Violent Femmes – s/t

  15. Where’s the U2 love, people?? How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is definitely on my best of- list. I also loved PJ Harvey’s Uh Huh Her and Old 97’s Drag It Up.

  16. Here’s some I really liked this year:

    Beta Band – Heroes to Zeroes

    Interpol – Antics

    Polyphonic Spree – Together We’re Heavy

    AC Newman – The Slow Wonder

    Franz Ferdinand – self titled

    Air – Talkie Walkie

    Hives – Tyrannosaurus Hives

    Iron & Wine – Our Endless, Numbered Days

    Wilco – A Ghost Is Born

    Brian Wilson – Smile

    and okay, so I like the Fiery Furnaces’ Blueberry Boat. I don’t know if it’s album of the year, but it’s damn well one of the most fearless albums of the year. A real love/hate proposition.

    Albums that underwhelmed me this year:

    Modest Mouse (the tunes elude me)

    Old 97s (been there, done it better)

    Rilo Kiley (decent, but the hype had me expecting more)

    and, most controversially,

    the Arcade Fire – came very highly recommended. I think it’s very cool the way it is structured, and the lyrical content, and the songs are there. But the vocalist, to my ears, is like the guy from Mercury Rev trying to sing like the guy from the Polyphonic Spree. If someone sang that, well, “unusually” at my funeral, I’d be screaming on the inside. The vox let down an otherwise excellent record.

    Just my opinion, mind you.

    Didn’t get to a lot of gigs this year, but the top 3 might be:

    David Bowie




  17. My favourite albums of 2004:

    Sonic youth; Sonic nurse

    Helmet; Size matters

    The Unicorns; Who will cut our hair when we’re gone?

    Nelly Furtado; Folklore

    Nick Cave and the bad semen; AB&TLOO

    Novastar; Another lonely soul

    Best live gigs;

    Sonic Youth @ Paradiso, Amsterdam

    The Selecter @ Doornroosje, Nijmegen

    Blonde Redhead @ 013, Tilburg

    Kraftwerk @ HMH, Amsterdam

    Explosions in the sky @ Doornroosje, Nijmegen

    Jimmy Summerville @ CSP, Cologne

  18. Scanning through these lists, I am again reminded of how disconnected and otherwise unhip I am. I’m aware of many of these artists in name only because I read music news due to a lack of interest in politics and sports. Yet I haven’t actually heard any of them due to lack of time, gumption, and/or funds.

    I thought long and hard on the topic, and I believe almost all of my faves for 2004 are discs I bought in the late 90s. I need help.

    New Helmet, though. That was nice to have this year. And I’ve recently caught wind of Muse and The Music. Those fellas seem to do alright.

    And, yeah, while I’m here….what IS it with Wilco? Do we all have to like Wilco? I can’t even say that I DON’T like Wilco, ‘coz I’ve never really heard them. Are they gods? Better than Foghat?

    Merry new year.

  19. Not mentioned anywhere is The Aggrolites impressive debut, Dirty Reggae. For anybody whose into those Trojan Box Sets, these guys are sure to please.

  20. records: Like many others, this is the listened-to-in-2004 list, not the released-in-2004 list. Order is order in which I thought of ’em.

    The Dirty South (2004) – Drive-By Truckers

    These guys are now probably my favorite North American band currently in activity. In fact, 2003’s Decoration Day could be on this list, too.

    Lágrimas Negras (2003) – Diego el Cigala y Bebo Valdés

    Mix of Flamenco and Cuban. Groovy and soulful.

    Junco Partner (1976) & New Orleans Piano Wizard: Live! (1977) – James Booker

    Just discovered this late, great great blues/soul/jazz artist this year.

    Live at the Old Quarter (1973) – Townes Van Zandt

    Choose this as my TVZ compilation. Am very happy with it; this could have been on 2003’s list as well.

    Smiley Smile / Wild Honey (1967) & Little Deuce Coup (1963) / All Summer Long (1964)

    Trying to fill in a big hole in my rock’n’roll culture, my cheap-ass self bought these four as two two-fers (When are they gonna do this with Mr. Tambourine Man and Turn! Turn! Turn! like on that vinyl double I had in 7th grade!). Always loved Pet Sounds & Endless Summer. I’ll digest these for a while, then get BW’s Smiley Smile (loved the bootleg of the London show).

    Studio One Soul (2001) – reggae compilation

    Covers of Soul classics by JA stars: “Still Waters Run Deep” by Jerry Jones, “You Keep Me Hanging On” by Ken Boothe, “Groove Me Baby” and “Express Yourself” by Leroy Sibbles.

    Jerry Reed – “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” and “Amos Moses” (1971)

    Mp3s a friend gave me. Great memories, great picking, hot rhythms: Makes me need to buy a compilation.

    Never trust a guy who after having been a punk is now playing electro (2003) – Wampas

    Favorite European band, hands down.

    concerts: most memorable shows I saw this year in Parigi

    Immortal Lee County Killers @ Impasse du Marais, Jan. 15

    Terry Allen @ La Java, April 18

    Trilok Gurtu @ Café de la Danse, May 17

    Jolie Holland @ La Java, July 12

    DKT (“Spirit of MC5”), Tokyo Sex Destruction, Sept. 7

    Ambitronix @ Le Zinc, Oct. 9

    Austin City Limits @ Murphy’s House, Nov. 4

    Xavier Ferran @ Théâtre du Regard du Cygne, Nov. 6 & 26

    Chuck Prophet @ House of Live, Nov 13

    Nick Cave @ Mutualité, Nov. 16

    Mudcat @ Art Puce Café, Nov. 28

    Steve Earle @ New Morning, Nov. 30

    Supersuckers @ Nouveau Casino, Dec. 8

  21. top albums of ’04


    2-XIU XIU









    11-THE DEARS





    16-AC NEWMAN














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