Hello and Happy Holidays,
To be honest these end of the year best of lists are my worst nightmare. It brings out the darkest side of my manic obsessive-compulsive record nerd self on top of the must make most accurate list possible anal-retentive self. Did I forget something? Probably but I tried my hardest to remember it all. I sorted thru about 300 cds / 7’ers/ and LPs all month and if I don’t post it now…. I will keep messing with it and changing my mind.
Just a few things first; its been a heck of a year for the Tuningfork. We began this site as a joke between friends back in March of this year and here it is nearly a year later and the number of readers went from about 10 a day to up to 2000 a week. We even have our very first press piece about us in the new / out now issue of Black Book magazine. Go figure, I never in a million years expected anybody to find this site no less keep reading and leaving for the most part, really thoughtful comments. I don’t think anybody…including myself thought we could keep this up for more than a few weeks and if anything I feel more passionate about it than ever. While reviewing Pitchfork remains the key focus of this blog I am also pleased to have introduced other kinds of posts to keep the site fresh and to help remind people this isn’t meant to be about bashing one website, this is about a ridiculous love for music and having one place to organize and share those ideas and interests.
I can’t thank my amazing friends enough for helping me keep this blog going…no less dedicating time, energy, and wonderful writing talent no less for free. Secondly thank you nice readers for giving us the time of day. The emails and posts we have gotten thus far have been very kind. It is that sort of support that makes it all the more worth while to keep this crazy blog going.
To a new and improved year and again thank you thank you thank you,
My favorite records of 2005
1. Jesu – S/T – Hydra Head
2. Animal Collective – Feels – Fat Cat
3. Maximo Park – A Certain Trigger – Warp
4. Hood – Outside Closer – Domino
5. Broadcast – Tender Buttons – Warp
6. Life and Times – Suburban Hymns – DeSoto
7. Narrator – Such Triumph – Flameshovel
8. Frost – EP – Southern Lord
9. Doves – Some Cites – Capitol
10. Architecture In Helsinki – In Case We Die – Bar/None
11. Sigur Ros – Takk – Geffen
12. Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary - Sub Pop
13. Part Chimp – I Am Come – Monitor
14. Books – Lost and Safe – Tomlab
15. Bound Stems – The Logic of Building the Body Plan - Flameshovel
16. Sunno))) – Black One – Southern Lord
17. Field Music - S/T – Memphis Industries
18. XBXRX – Sixth in Sixes – Polyvinyl
19. Arab Strap – The Last Romance – Chemikal Underground
20. Efterklang – Springer – Leaf
What can I say, it grew on me:
Art Brut – Bang Bang Rock & Roll – Fierce Panda
Some other stuff I listened to a bunch:
Xiu Xui – La Foret – 5RC
Rahim – Jungles – French Kiss
The Most Serene Republic – Underwater Cinematographer – Arts & Crafts
A Band of Bees – Free the Bees – Astralwerks
New Buffalo – The Last Beautiful Day – Arts & Crafts
Rogue Wave – Descended Like Vultures – Sub Pop
End of the World – EP – Risk the Rock records
Fear Before the March of Flames – Art Damage – Equal Vision
Haemoth – Kontamination – Southern Lord
Le Volume Courbe – I killed my best friend – Honest Jons
Trail of the Dead – Worlds Apart – Interscope
Single Songs I heart:
Low – "Monkey" – Sub Pop
Calvin Johnson – “Rabbit Blood” – K
Growing – “Freedom Towards Death”- TMU
CocoRosie – “K-Hole” – Touch Go
Bjork / Oldham – “Gratitude”- Drawing Restraint 9 - OST – One Little Indian
Akron/Family – “Future” – Young Gods
Black Mountain “ No Hits” Jagjaguwar
Vashti Bunyon – “Here Before” / “Lately” DiCristina
Wilderness – Arkless – Jagjaguwar
Mary Timony “Hard Times Are Hard” Lookout
M83 – "Teen Angst" - Mute
Ruts “ Babylon’s Burning” Rob Smith String remix – Groove Attack
Portastatic – “Center of the World” – Merge
Bonnie/ Sweeny – “I Gave You” – Drag City
Anything Arab Strap
Bands to watch 2006:
Destined to be bigger than HUGE:
Tall Dwarves – Fork Songs/Weeville – Cloud Recordings
Slowdive – Just for a day / Souvlaki – Castle
Mum – Yesterday was Dramatic - Morr
Worst live shows: Trail of the Dead, Mary Timony, Death Cab, Dungen, and CYHSY
Best live shows: Architecture in Helsinki, Calvin Johnson, Municipal Waste, Jean Grae, Kings Of Convenience, Caribou, Ted Leo, Torche, The Double, Sunno))) + XASTHUR, and Khanate
Most overrated: Antony and the Johnsons, CYHSY, Dangerdoom, Broken Social Scene, Sufjan Stevens (Sorry but I like a little less God in my rock)
Best Packaging – Fantomas – Suspended Animation – Ipecac
Favorite music blog : Coolfer
Favorite music website: Trouser Press
Guilty Pleasure music site: NME
Favorite Music Mag: MOJO
Onto the Pitchfork Yays and Nays.
I reviwed each and every Tuningforkmedia post and tallied the number of times a Pitchfork writer was complimented or cursed. Please take note these are not personal attacks, this doesn’t have anything to do with the writers as people, we are only responding to their work. Logically the PFM writers with the highest number of posts written about them have been in turn given this final thumbs up or a thumbs down.
What makes us post against Pitchfork in the first place: The PFM writers who don’t fact check, those who plagiarize, those who use too many A-typical music review phrases or drop too many other band names…no less the inappropriate ones, those who offer negative opinions without backing it up with logical mature useful information, those who simply don’t seem to have any real knowledge of the band they are reviewing, those who pad a review with meaningless paragraphs and there are about a million other ways a record review can go wrong so it is almost silly to try to create a list.
You get the idea so lets move on to the good eggs.
Talent aside there is occasionally a level of humor, care, unique insight, thoughtfulness and knowledge that comes across in a great piece of work and it is important to celebrate those writers too.
Obviously some PFM writers have more reviews published than others so our list reflects that as well.
Which writers we liked the most:
1. Jason Crock
2. Ryan Dombal
3. Ryan Schreiber
4. Mark Richardson
5. Brian Howe
Which writers we liked the least:
1. Joe Tangari
2. Sam Ubl
3. Marc Hogan
4. David Raposa
5. Rob Mitchum
To be honest I really expected Nick Sylvester to make it on this list because his reviews always seem to get a rise out of people but he didn’t even come close to making it.
Favorite PFM post(s):
Portastatic: Bright Ideas[Merge; 2005] Rating: 6.9 - Review by: Brandon Stosuy
TTC: Batards Sensibles[Big Dada; 2005] Rating: 8.0 - Review by: Peter Macia
Thu:11-03: Live: Devendra Banhart by Brian Howe
Least Favorite PFM post(s):
Basement Jaxx: The Singles[XL; 2005] Rating: 9.5 - Review by: Jess Harvell
The swipe at the Astralwerk’s label roster is totally unproffestional bordering on slander and the sales number listed is a total lie.
Many a person found the Mars Volta review to be beyond obnoxious.
The Mars Volta: Frances the Mute[Universal; 2005] Rating: 2.0 - Review by: Sam Ubl
I still can’t believe how often writers basically take direct quotes from one sheets. This is was the worst of the bunch.
Hot Chip: Coming on Strong[Astralwerks; 2005] Rating: 8.0 - Review by: Sean Fennessey
The Kurt Cobain reference is shameful.
Earth: Living in the Gleam of an Unsheathed Sword / Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method[Troubleman Unlimited / Southern Lord; 2005] Rating: 4.9 / 8.2 - Review by: Austin Gaines
Morecredthanyou asked me to include this stinker, typos and all.
Richie Hawtin: DE9: Transitions[Mute; 2005] Rating: 7.8 - Review by: Johnny Loftus
Obviously every person has their favorite PFM writers, review style, and pet peeves so I look forward to reading your comments in regards to favorite or least favorite PFM moments of 2005. TFM writers I welcome you to post your own list of favorite records and your thoughts on any particular PFM posts that moved you in a positive or negative way.
Lastly just a few things I hope to see PFM work on and improve in 2006:
Finding a new person to pick on other than Tim Kinsella or even better, stop using anybody for serious repetitive target practice.
Check your facts: make sure you have some of the basic info right like the label a release is on, what country a release is from, a band’s history, sticking with one form of punctuation style…you know the straight up common sense stuff.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the bonus features on a disc.
Let people know if you are reviewing an import.
Remind writers that rewording one sheets or press releases does not make them a music journalist, it makes them a tool.
And stop picking on old people, we aren’t so bad.