Sign up for our mailing list Real artists creating records on their own terms
Close

Sign up for our mailing list

News

Monday, December 20th, 2004

Tom Waits, Elliott Smith and Nick Cave all make the Pop Matters best of 2004 list.

1. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus (Anti-) Nick Cave's magnum opus, a thrilling pasticcio of magnanimous rock, pastoral folk, and wicked church music, covers more ground in two discs than most artists can in an entire career. God, cannibals, deception, nature, divine inspiration, slaughterhouses, Johnny Cash, mythology, comfort, love, greed, sorcery, and little redemptions in the face of massive tragedies represent just the half of it. Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus is a sprawling "Song of Myself" manifesto, bubbling with piety, fear, and hope. The Bad Seeds sound like they're capable of anything; they use Cave's poetics as kindling to set fire to any stereo willing to risk its mechanical life. This year's gospel.

4. Elliott Smith, From a Basement on the Hill (Anti-) From a Basement on the Hill presents a rawer Elliott Smith than we had recently become accustomed to; its songs are rough around the edges and frequently devoid of Smith's impeccable bridges. Still, the final record of Smith's career is loaded with peerless melodies that guide the lyrics to an emotional resonance lacking pretension. From naked acoustic tracks "A Fond Farewell" and "Memory Lane" to the kitchen-sink absolution of "King's Crossing" and "Coast to Coast", From a Basement on the Hill plays like a best-of collection filled with previously unknown songs.

12. Tom Waits, Real Gone (Anti-) When it comes to Tom Waits, weirder is better. Real Gone reclaims the farmland funkmeister thread of Bone Machine, a sloppy stew of cacophonous percussion and Mark Ribot's Ginzu knife guitar. "Hoist That Rag" and "Make It Rain" groove with weathered authority and knowing futility -- eyes rolling into the back of the head, James Brown singing Kurt Weill, real gone funk stuff. Waits is the undisputed heavyweight of surrealist blues.

href="http://www.popmatters.com/music/features/041206-best2004lundy.shtml" target="_blank">popmatters.com

Facebook | Twitter
 

Browse by Artist

1764All Artists 97Tom Waits 70Mavis Staples 57Neko Case 51Lost In The Trees 50Sean Rowe 48Dr. Dog 45The Milk Carton Kids
41Jolie Holland 40Bettye LaVette 37Man Man 35Tinariwen 33Tim Fite 33DeVotchKa 32Son Little 31Islands 31Grinderman 27Galactic 27Wilco 27Saintseneca 24Michael Franti and Spe... 24Glen Hansard 22Bob Mould 22William Elliott Whitmo... 22Doe Paoro 21Nick Cave & The Bad Se... 21The Frames 20Joe Henry 20Christopher Paul Stell... 20Andy Shauf 19Booker T. Jones 19Sage Francis 18Deafheaven 18Delicate Steve 17John K. Samson 17Yann Tiersen 17Gary V 16Ramblin Jack Elliott 16Jason Lytle 16Xenia Rubinos 15Cass McCombs 15The Drums 14Daniel Lanois 13Billy Bragg 13The Antlers 13Calexico 13The Dream Syndicate 12Xavier Rudd 12Peter Silberman 11The Weakerthans 11Lyrics Born 11Rain Machine 11Mose Allison 11Roky Erickson 11Ryan Pollie 10The Swell Season 10The Melodic 10So Much Light 10Jade Jackson 10Yves Jarvis 9Marianne Faithfull 9N.A.S.A. 9Cameron Avery 9Jeremy Ivey 8Solillaquists of Sound 8Greg Graffin 8Cadence Weapon 8The Coup 7Elliott Smith 7Eddie Izzard 7Dead Man's Bones 7Alec Ounsworth 7Beth Orton 7Kelly Hogan 7Title Fight 7Japandroids 7Girlpool 7Ben Harper and Charlie... 7Richard Reed Parry 7Wynonna 6A Girl Called Eddy 6Busdriver 6Os Mutantes 6Kate Bush 6Broken Twin 6Rafiq Bhatia 6Boy Scouts 6Deradoorian 5One Day As A Lion 5The Field 5Keaton Henson 5Beat Connection 5Foxwarren 5Combo Chimbita 5Darrin Bradbury 5Ben Harper 5Josiah Johnson 4Ersi Arvizu 4Marketa Irglova 4Pops Staples 4Curtis Harding 4Lido Pimienta 4The Good Ones 4Purr 4M. Ward 4Hey, King! 3Danny Cohen 3Sierra Leones Refugee... 3Petra Haden 3Walter Wolfman Washing... 3Mothers 3Marc Ribot 2Various Artists: RANGO 2Jeff Tweedy 2Glitterer 2Christian Lee Hutson 1Tricky 1Joe Strummer And The M... 1Youth Group 1Blackalicious 1Antibalas 1Porter Wagoner 1Various Artists: ROGUE... 1The Locust 1Rogue's Gallery 1Kronos Quartet with Br... 1Simian Mobile Disco 1case/lang/veirs 1Merle Haggard 1Half Waif 1ANTI- Records 1Fleet Foxes 1Danny Elfman
See Full List+