Favourites of 2005, Part 1

This is a track-by-track overview of the songs that I picked as some of my favourites of 2005. For the full track list see beautiful moments, not to be forgotten.

1. John Cale - A Child’s Christmas in Wales

Paris 1919

Every music fan has these gaps in their musical knowledge that they keep meaning to fill in but never get around to. John Cale is one of these gaps for me. This is a bit strange, especially because I used to be a huge Velvet Underground fan, and also because I’ve lived with a number of people who were big Cale fans. But besides owning a few Yo La Tengo covers of his work (like their cover of Hanky Panky Nohow) I’ve never been that familiar with his work.

A couple of months ago my friend Dan loaned me a couple of his albums (1973’s Paris 1919 and the ‘74 follow-up Fear) and that got my interest piqued. A few weeks later, as luck would have it, Cale played a three night stand at a small latin club near my place, and I got a chance to see one of the shows.

Besides being a fitting track for the time of year, this song also represents how 2005 was the year that I was finally exposed to Cale’s work. I liked what I’ve heard a lot.

2. Broken Social Scene - 7/4 (Shoreline)

Broken Social Scene

They’re Canadian, it’s in 7/4 but still grooves like butter, it has a drum beat that injects a serious case of ants in my pants, and it has a glorious fist-raised-to-the-heavens vibe that makes me want to roll around, break shit, and kiss and make up after it’s all over and done with.

3. Novillero - The Hypothesist

Aim Right for the Holes in Their Lives

Novillero hail from my home town of Winnipeg. This fact alone would normally put their latest record (Aim Right for the Holes In Their Lives) on my radar, but this is a bit more special than that. What makes the success of this album all the more cooler for me is just before I moved to Toronto I played in a band for over three years (and lived with) Novillero’s drummer, Dave. So it’s very cool and even a little bit heart-warming to see some acquaintances and friends finally get their long overdue props.

As far as props go, Novillero got a lot of attention this year, including big hosannas from The Globe and Mail as well a groundswell of international acclaim.

This track is a good overview of their sound: driving rhythms, percussive keyboards and horns, a Paul Weller-tinged lead vocalist chock full of passion accompanied by well-placed dollops of ooo-ooo background vocals, and hooks a-plenty. A worthy addition to the Parthenon of great Canadian bands that have achieved success in the past year or so.

4. A Girl Called Eddy - The Long Goodbye

Girl Called Eddy

Erin Moran has one of those torch song voices that makes me want to walk around in the rain in a strange city by myself, with her voice whispering in my ears and an ache in my heart. I discovered this album while doing a cursory glance at the highest rated albums at Metacritic and I’m ironically happier for finding it.

That said, this track is imbued with sadness, but it also has a strength and anger that wells up and pushes back with a ferocity that’s almost unexpected. This song sounds like it was recording in a deep, dark cavern and the sound is absolutely huge. It’s as if the song’s protagonist is rising up against her ex-lover and spitting her tears in his face. Brilliant.

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