The Top 25 Releases of 2004

It’s hard to believe that 2004 is finally coming to a close. The Bush election was painful, but it was a tough year all around. Old Dirty Bastard died. So did Rick James. And Dimebag Darrell’s death last week was the final, morbid icing on the cake. Rest in peace guys. We’re ready for a sunnier 2005.
Musically speaking, it was a disappointing year as well. Everyone we talked to when conducting this poll agreed: there weren’t enough standout releases in 2004. TV on the Radio, who earned our number two spot last year with their debut EP "Young Liars," failed to impress us with their spotty full length Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes. Interpol gave us too much of the same with Antics. (Like many New York bands, TV on the Radio and Interpol both suffer from stellar-EP/anticlimatic-LP syndrome). And Jeff Tweedy continued to ruin his band by including self-indulgent, pill-induced bursts of noise on his records.
In 2004, critics and fans curiously fixated on the word "angular" when describing bands that sound like Gang of Four (see Bloc Party, Futureheads, Moving Units). Art school folkies continued playing whose-the-most-avant-garde table tennis (yes you Bright Eyes and Animal Collective). And New York failed to decide upon a new "it" band to get Rapturous about. The most exciting thing about 2004 in fact, was the Pixies reunion tour. We’d wager that half the people reading this article caught at least one Pixies show, not to mention shelled out 30 bucks to buy the respective live release.
Here at FREEwilliamsburg, we often found ourselves pulling out our old Kinks, Television, Steely Dan, Captain Beefheart, and Ralph Stanley records, frustrated by our inability to find anything truly great in the new release section of Other Music. The critics at FREEwilliamsburg all had different opinions about what should make our Best of list, but we all agreed on two things: 1.) Toad the Wet Sprocket still holds the title for worst band name ever and 2.) 2004 was a mediocre year for music.
But, of course there were highlights ….
FREEwilliamsburg’s Best in Music 2004

25. Weird War
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Bite ‘Em
(Drag City)
When we heard that The Make-Up was breaking up several years ago we were devastated. Thankfully, Ian Svenonius and Michelle Mae continue to pump out the hits under different monikers. This year, they called themselves Weird War. Last year they were The Scene Creamers. We don’t care what they call themselves as long as they keep kicking ass. Their high energy blend of Motown, funk, gospel and punk transports us to some inverted parallel universe where it’s always 1967 and the Punk movement just conquered the US.

24. Luomo
The Present Lover
The first disk by Vladislav Delay under the Luomo moniker (Vocal City) is the one of the best House disks ever made. It was a glitchy, dub-inflected masterpiece. Vocal City was also a fluke since it was intended as a slight side project for the Helsinki-based techno artist. The long-awaited follow-up, The Present Lover is more accessible but not quite as essential. It features more straightforward pop hooks and vocals than its predecessor. Fans of minimal, spacious House music may feel a bit short-changed by this disk when comparing it to Vocal City, but it is nevertheless a danceable delight. Funky, sexy, and a little less patient that Vocal City, The Present Lover would be considered a great record if released by any other artist.

23. Sonic Youth
Sonic Nurse
Everyone needs to cut Sonic Youth some slack. In their heyday, Sonic Youth pushed the envelope with each new record. Now, they’re getting older and notably less experimental.

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Our "leader" shows no empathy

On vacation as usual, George W. Bush has yet to make a public statement expressing his grief over the tsunami disaster. Where are you George? Playing Yatzee? Watching the Gilmore Girls marathon? We suppose only the death of white wealthy men matters in Crawford.
5 days and counting……
Nearly 130 hours after the earthquake/tsunami shakes Asia, Bush finally gives a press conference. You must have been really swamped on the ranch the last 5 days Dubya, especially since you got that Sony Playstation for Christmas.

New Years at Supreme Trading

Didn’t get tickets to the Wilco, Flaming Lips, and Sleater-Kinney show at Madison Square Garden? Check out Supreme Trading instead. (speaking of Flaming Lips — a free stream is available of them covering the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army”)
12hr Party People featuring Beans
New Years Eve Celebration Bash
Supreme Trading
213 North 8th (near Driggs), Williamsburg, Brooklyn
$25 advance, $30 day of party

In the vain of the movie 24hr Party People Supreme Trading is throwing a 12hr Party. 4 rooms of entertainment all night long.
2 Hour Open Bar from 9:00pm-11:00pm
Room 1: Live Performances by:
BEANS(Warp Records) “Beans is the NYC’s own creative genius.” His style of street-hop transcends all musical boundaries by mixing elements of old school hiphop, break beat, indie, electronic, and sampling. His beats are thumping, while his lyrics jump out at you with solid rhymes that concentrate on his NYC surroundings.
Mommy and Daddy (KanineRecords) is the leading New York power couple. With sexy, hard-hitting drum machine beats, dirty, fuzzed-out bass lines and smoldering boy/girl vocals, Mommy and Daddy sounds like a tag team steel cage match between Le Tigre, B-52s, and The Misfits.
Djs Richard Fearless(DeathinVegas), Language(NegroClash), and Scott Mou (OtherMusic) spinning a mix of old school hip hop, italia disco, acid house, electro, soul, and late night party jams.
Room 2: Djs: Gordy(BlocParty), Blake (MovingUnits), Oil(KanineRecords), Aorta(, and Gerald (OtherMusic) spinning a mix of Brit/Indie/PostPunk/Nu-wave/Remix dance music all night.
Room 3: Live wall projections, paintings and sclupture.
Room 4: Outdoor drink, smoke, chat, chill patio where you can go to escape without having to leave.
Free Gift Bags with cds, t-shirts, stickers, music dvds, magazines, buttons, and hats.
Thanks to Jason JPEG Bell for the Flaming Lips tip.

Rumsfeld misspeaks…. Did he tell the truth by mistake?

From WorldNetDaily
The Pentagon is dismissing a comment by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld regarding Flight 93 having been “shot down” over Pennsylvania, saying it was nothing more than a speaking error.
As WorldNetDaily exclusively reported yesterday, Rumsfeld, during his surprise Christmas Eve trip to Iraq, referred to the flight being shot down – long a suspicion because of the danger the Sept. 11 flight posed to Washington landmarks and population centers.
His complete quote was: “I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon, the people who cut off peoples’ heads on television to intimidate, to frighten – indeed the word ‘terrorized’ is just that. Its purpose is to terrorize, to alter behavior, to make people be something other than that which they want to be.”

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U.S. Contractor Pulls Out of Reconstruction Effort in Iraq

WASHINGTON – For the first time, a major U.S. contractor has dropped out of the multibillion-dollar effort to rebuild Iraq, raising new worries about the country’s growing violence and its effect on reconstruction.
Contrack International Inc., the leader of a partnership that won one of 12 major reconstruction contracts awarded this year, cited skyrocketing security costs in reaching a decision with the U.S. government last month to terminate work in Iraq.

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Weekend Happenings:

To Do:
It’s A Wonderful Next Life: A Drag City Christmas party
Featuring Joanna Newsom (pictured), smog, and Weird War
Bowery Ballroom, Saturday Dec. 18, $15
Rising folkie Joanna Newsom’s child-like vocals will either drive you nuts or inspire you, but seeing Weird War’s Ian Svenonius (formerly of the Make-Up and Nation of Ulysses) strut his stuff is always worth the trip.
dress code: A sweater with a knit cap or scarf please

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Pentagon Proposes Loosening Its Environmental Policy

More evidence that Bush is the devil:
Since President Bush took office, the Pentagon has won exemptions from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act and seeks exemption from the Clean Air Act and two toxic waste laws.
… the latest proposal deletes language from the 1996 policy that said the Pentagon would be responsible for:
— “Protecting, preserving and, when required, restoring and enhancing the quality of the environment.”
— “Reducing risk to human health and the environment by identifying, evaluating and, where necessary, remediating contamination resulting from past DOD activities.”
— “Preventing pollution and minimizing adverse environmental consequences.”
— “Complying with applicable U.S. statutes, regulations, executive orders, binding international agreements, other legal requirements, and U.S. environmental, safety, occupational health, explosives safety, fire and emergency services and pest management policies.”
— “Conserving and restoring, where necessary, the natural and cultural heritage represented on DOD installations within the United States.”
full article

Some things to do before the Inauguration

1. Get that abortion you’ve always wanted.
2. Drink a nice clean glass of water.
3. Cash your social security check.
4. See a doctor of your own choosing.
5. Spend quality time with your draft age child/grandchild.
6. Visit Syria, or any foreign country for that matter.
7. Get that gas mask you’ve been putting off buying.
8. Hoard gasoline.
9. Jam in all the Alzheimer’s stem cell research you can.
10. Stay out late before the curfews start.
11. Go see a Bruce Springsteen concert before he has his “accident.”
12. Go see Mount Rushmore before the Reagan addition.
13. Use the phrase “You can’t do that — this is America.”
14. If you’re white, marry a black person; if you’re black, marry a white person.
15. Take a walk in Yosemite without being hit by a snowmobile or a base-jumper.
16. Enroll your kid in an accelerated art or music class.
17. Start your school day without a prayer.
18. Pass on the secrets of evolution to future generations.
19. Learn French.
20. Visit Massachusetts while it is still a State.
(Circulating on the Web)
Add your own in comments….