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November 16, 2005

Top 40 Bands In America Today

Information Leafblower posted his 2005 edition of the top 40 bands in America today.

I was flattered that he solicited my opinion, here is my submitted top ten list:

1. Sufjan Stevens - With his mix of sincerity, spitituality and humor, Stevens rode the wave of media adoration for his album, Illinois, to a well-deserved crest of popularity.

"Chicago" [mp3]
"Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts" [mp3]

2. The Mountain Goats - John Darnielle finally waxed autobiographical on 2005's The Sunset Tree, and the resulting record was the strongest lyrically for America's premiere songwriter.

3. Antony and the Johnsons - Antony and the Johnsons are so good, the American residents (and citizens) won the Mercury Prize for best album by a British band. Soulful, touching, and sincere, their album, I Am a Bird Now, lives up to its hype.

"You Are My Sister" [mp3]
"Hope There's Someone" [mp3]
"For Today I Am a Boy" [mp3]
"Fistful of Love" [mp3]
"Spiralling" [mp3]

4. Fiery Furnaces - When a band makes an album featuring their 83 year-old grandmother, and the result is one of my favorite albums of the year, they are surely special.

"Seven Silver Curses" [mp3]

5. Bright Eyes - With two studio albums and a live release this year, Conor Oberst led the world in "the next Dylan" references.

6. MF Doom - One of hip-hop's hardest workers (and most intricate lyricists) teamed up with DJ Dangermouse for DangerDoom's The Mouse and the Mask, one of the most anticipated hip-hop albums of the year.

"Mince Meat" [mp3]

7. Sleater-Kinney - The Woods captures the raw, fuzzy, and energetic spirit of one of the best live shows touring today.

"Entertain" [mp3]

8. My Morning Jacket - Always growing artistically, MMJ's Z album showed a poppier side without losing Jim James' signature storytelling knack.

9. CocoRosie - The Casady sisters make intimate music that defies labels.

"Noah's Ark" [mp3]

10. John Vanderslice - This meticulous talent writes, produces and performs with equal flair and talent, and his albums are intellectual song cycles instead of mere collections of tunes.

"Exodus Damage" [mp3]
"Trance Manual" [mp3]

This is obviously not a comprehensive list. Deerhoof, The Hold Steady, Okkervil River, and many other artists could easily have worked their way into my top ten on any given day. To limit a list to only ten hot artists was difficult and surely unfair to all the musicians whose work I adore, but sometimes you have to play by the rules.

See also:

my 2004 top ten list
Information Leafblower's 2004 list of top 40 bands in America
Information Leafblower's 2003 list of top 40 bands in America

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