Nov 16 2005
The Top 40 Bands in America Today - 2005 Edition
And we're back!
It's time for this year's edition of THE TOP 40 BANDS IN AMERICA TODAY.
For those of you that are new to the process, here's the back story. Two years ago I read a piece from The Guardian that ranked what they thought were the 40 best bands/acts in America. I wasn't impressed with their results, so, on a whim, I emailed a bunch of blogger friends and we made our own list. Last year we did it again, only on a slightly larger scale. It caused quite a commotion all over the internet and provided a stark reminder that, hey, people actually read these things (and some of them take it a little too seriously). Well, ever the gluttons for punishment, we're back and bigger than ever this year.
THE PROCESS: I emailed over 40 "music/MP3 bloggers" (since we are our own genre now) and asked them to send me a list, ranked 1-10, of the 10 best American bands that they've seen or heard in the last year. The purpose of this list is to reward bands for generating buzz in the year 2005. This isn't a ranking of career longevity. I wanted to know who people are using their bandwidth to talk about. Once I got the lists, I gave each slot a corresponding numerical number (similar to the way MLB tallies their MVP voting), and the list was born. In case of a tie, the higher slot was awarded to the artist with more votes (i.e. someone with 15 points from one vote was ranked lower than someone with three votes of 5).
THE PANEL(in no particular order):
Gorilla Vs. Bear, Largehearted Boy, Music for Robots, 5500, My Old Kentucky Blog, Catbirdseat, Central Village, Bradley's Almanac, Chromewaves, Dceiver, Byron Crawford, Catherine's Pita, Tuning Fork, Jason and Rajeev from One Louder, Brooklyn Vegan, Soviet Panda, Melody Nelson, Seeking Irony, Coolfer and myself.
A FEW THINGS TO CONSIDER:
Just a few things to get straight so I won't have to repeat them ad nauseam in the comments section.
1) This process has inherent flaws. It rewards bands that have released records or toured recently. A band that played Pianos four times in the last month might do better than a band from Portland that managed one national tour in February. We know this. For instance, I might have nominated The National, but for some reason they hate Washington DC and refuse to play here even though they've played NYC approximately 47 times this year.
2) There is quite a bit of indie rock on this list. What, music bloggers like the indie rock? Well, obvs. For the record, I tried very hard to address this problem this year by reaching out to a number of hip-hop and dance bloggers, asking them to participate. Unfortunately most of them, for whatever reason, chose not to. So be it.
3) Due to the large number of panelists, the more popular bands rose to the top. That's the whole point, right? Just keep in mind that the 21 panelists (including myself) nominated over 114 bands, so don't blow a gasket if your favorite band isn't in the Top 40. Chances are they were nominated but didn't get enough votes. I will reveal the complete list of nominees tomorrow. Also, last year a number of panelists revealed their own lists on their personal blogs, so if you read something you like, click through on the links provided and chances are you can see the other bands that panelist nominated.
4) I tried to link to (legal) MP3's when possible, but if you know of any more floating around, leave it in the comments and I'll try and update the post. If you're a band or label and you want an MP3 taken down, just email me.
5) Due to a Movable Type malfunction, the first draft of this intro was lost before I could completely finish it. It was quite witty and flowed better than this attempt, but you'll just have to trust me on that. Remember, save early and often kids.
So here is this year's list. Numbers in parenthesis indicate a band's ranking on last year's list:
1) Sufjan Stevens (19)
- What can you say about Sufjan Stevens except that this is the year he went huge. Illinoise may not be his best album, but it has to be the most talked about indie record of 2005. - 5500
- Illinoise is the album of the year, hands down. - Gorilla Vs. Bear
- With his mix of sincerity, spirituality and humor, Stevens rode the wave of media adoration for his album, Illinois, to a well-deserved crest of popularity. - Largehearted Boy
"Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts" [mp3]
2) The National
- There is no better band in the US today than these five (and sometimes six) boys from Columbus, OH. Alligator is --start to finish-- the best, most complete album of the year. - Music for Robots
- Seeing this act live will convert even the uninitiated. Watching so much pathos on display is almost draining, but then the chorus of "Mr. November" kicks in and the only thing you can do is bang your head. - 5500
- Perhaps the most underrated band in America. - Central Village
[video] Daughters of the SoHo Riots
3) Kanye West
- Kanye's just too dynamic to not make a top 10, ya know? It's so obvious, but so necessary. - Music for Robots
- The proof of his heat is self-evident when you consider the fact that he went on live TV to excoriate the President and nobody even attempted to knock him off the block. Kanye came out more beloved than ever, appearances and sponsorships intact. Dan Rather wishes he were that untouchable. - Dceiver
- Kanye West is probably going to rule the world. Literally. You can't go from hit producer to a Grammy-grabbing debut rapper, and then release a hit sophomore album the VERY NEXT YEAR, scoring tons of singles, sales, and the cover of TIME. That just doesn't happen. Bill Gates better watch out. - Soviet Panda
4) LCD Soundsystem
- "Daft Punk is Playing at My House" should be playing in everyone's house. - 5500
- Ground-breaking singles, a classic debut album, live shows that turn venues around the globe into discos, a refreshing sense of humor, exciting videos… Much more than the sum of its parts, - Soviet Panda
6) The Hold Steady
- The Hold Steady rammed an adrenaline shot into the heart of rock and roll with an absolutely peerless album in 2005. That album, Separation Sunday is the anti-Weezer. It is, for emo, an extinction-level event. It returns the glories of rock to the corner-bar boozers, the Chilton-heads, the Springsteen acolytes, and people who prefer their music to take precedence over trendoids and fashion icons. - Dceiver
- Separation Sunday is so epic you can't hear it enough times. - Byron Crawford
- No other band is so original, or so powerful. Craig Finn takes his old band Lifter Puller's world of burnouts and vagabonds and creates a parallel universe, rife with drugs, sex, and classic-rock riffage. This was the year the world woke up and noticed: they made the cover of the Village Voice, received endless hosannas for their second album, Separation Sunday, and won a boatload of venue-packing new fans eager to be rocked silly. - Catherine's Pita
Go here to download some Hold Steady MP3's
7) Green Day (26)
- Green Day may have some haters, but there can be no doubters. These guys are the most important American rock band as of this moment, and if you beg to differ—well, you’re wrong. Hell, in the wide world, only U2 can plausibly claim to be a bigger band. Now, a year removed from the release of American Idiot, these guys are still embedding themselves in our cultural consciousness. But more importantly, they’ve branded themselves as a beacon of integrity. - Dceiver
- They've revitalized a played-out genre, made a conceptual, political record that is miraculously unpretentious, regained their original fan-base, scored props with critics, and won over the hearts of TRL watching America. And did you see them live? They had fire. FIRE!!! - Soviet Panda
8) The Fiery Furnaces (5)
- Yes, Rehearsing My Choir was crap. Doesn't matter. The FFs are one of the most important bands of our time. - Catbirdseat
- 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. - Largehearted Boy
"Seven Silver Curses" [mp3]
9) The Decemberists (20)
- They came through New York so many times this year it would be easy to get completely sick of them, but from the Colin Meloy shows in January that got me hooked to their most recent set in October (which was the best I've seen them do), this year was defined for me more so by The Decemberists than any other band. - Central Village
10) Spoon (10)
- They continue to be the perfect union of Prince, Wire, and the Kinks, distilled down until only the important stuff remains. Long live Britt Rock. - Catbirdseat
- In my first ever blog post I wondered why Spoon wasn't the biggest band in the world. I'm still wondering. - ILB
11) The Mountain Goats (14)
- John Darnielle's been around for so long, it's tempting to take him for granted. Still, The Sunset Tree is such a masterwork, taking it for granted would be nothing short of a crime. - 5500
- John Darnielle finally waxed autobiographical on 2005's The Sunset Tree, and the resulting record was the strongest lyrically for America's premiere songwriter. - Largehearted Boy
Go here for some Mountain Goats MP3's
12) My Morning Jacket
- "A Wordless Chorus" does better than any song to reflect the feelings of this fucked up nation. It's nervous and delicate and dangerous. These guys are doing it right. And the live show? Holy sheeaattt. - Music for Robots
- Always growing artistically, MMJ's Z album showed a poppier side of the band without losing Jim James' signature storytelling knack. - Largehearted Boy
16) Kelly Clarkson
- This nomination belongs in part to the Swedes who produced "Since U Been Gone," but since they're not eligible, Kelly gets it all for choosing the right songs and singing the hell out of them. - Seeking Irony
17) Death Cab For Cutie
- These guys are determined to be an important band, and they’re going door-to-door gathering followers and playing some peerless, beautiful music. - Dceiver
- Nice guy better than average smart indietronica has never sounded so safe and inoffensive. In turn this makes Death Cab perfect for the brooding masses to gobble up and worship. - Tuning Fork
18) Animal Collective
- Feels is one of the best records of the year, and these guys refuse to do what anyone else is doing. A one of a kind band. - Gorilla Vs. Bear
- Animal Collective manages to sound absolutely retarded and brilliant at the same time, and they keep getting better. I don't understand why people like them so much – including me, which is a good thing, I think. Also, the band should be recognized for an approach to live shows that differs from almost any other rock band, today or otherwise. - Soviet Panda
- Not only is Feels one of my favorite records of 2005 but also I predict if AC remains on this path to blissful trimmed down epic pow-wows they could be the biggest commercial crossover success story since Modest Mouse. - Tuning Fork
19) Ryan Adams
- Nobody had a year this good since the year Jose Canseco did Madonna. - Byron Crawford
- Everyone thought he'd gone soft and lame and self-indulgent, and let's face it, he often is. But Ryan Adams created his best record in years with Cold Roses, full of those sweetly melancholic songs he showed us back in his starless years. He's a heartbreaker all right. - Catherine's Pita
20) Crooked Fingers
- The Big E is fully out of the shadow of his old band and flourishing. But I still yell Archers requests whenever I see him play live. - ILB
21) Kings of Leon
- Calling these guys the “Southern Strokes” was probably meant to be complimentary but feels more like a write-off, especially after the release of Aha Shake Heartbreak, which finds the band in expert control of some elemental rock power. They match revelry with regret, power with vulnerability—you get the feeling that the world is open to these guys. - Dceiver
- Aha Shake Heartbreak has to be in the conversation for album of the year. - ILB
22) We Are Scientists
- Their upcoming debut album is everything I wanted Hot Hot Heat's sophomore album to be, and more. The next big thing to make the indie kids dance. - Seeking Irony
- I can't remember the last time I heard a three piece with such a full and rich sound. I'm still talking about the show they played in DC last month. A lock for a high ranking on next year's list- ILB
25) MF Doom
- I'm still trying to get my head around the Danger Doom record. - ILB
- 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. - Largehearted Boy
"Mince Meat" [mp3]
26) Gwen Stefani
- I nominated her last year, but it was hard to imagine the way she'd flat-out take over. - 5500
- As a 15-year-old, I was singing along to "Just a Girl." Ten years later, I'm singing along to "Hollaback Girl." - Seeking Irony
27) Andrew Bird
28) Black Keys
30) Two Gallants
- It's amazing what these two are able to do at such a young age. The upcoming record on Saddle Creek should boost their stock tremendously. - Central Village
- Two dudes bashing out raw folk-punk tunes about self-destruction, longing, and boozing. The true heir to the throne of Modest Mouse, They played two of the most thrilling shows I saw all year. And they got signed to Saddle Creek. Respect. - Catherine's Pita
Amplified subsonic vacuuming tones have not only sprouted forth into the realm of popularity thanks to this band but Sunno))) has redefined black and blue and doom all over. Metal isn’t just for metal heads anymore, it can even earn a top chart position at Other Music. - Tuning Fork
34) Giant Drag
- With singer Annie Hardy's little girl voice and bizarre storytelling, you love 'em or you hate 'em. I love 'em. - Seeking Irony
- Another band that just blew me away with their live show. Annie is a rock star. Sure, she comes off as a tad deranged, but she knows how to work it to her advantage. Yes, I have a crush on her. - ILB
36) Wilco (2)
37) Antony & the Johnsons
- Buzzzzzzz. Although eligibility for the Mercury Music Prize might make this act apparently ineligible to be called American, I'm not buying it. Hauntingly gorgeous. - 5500
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 and Now, lives up to its hype. -Largehearted Boy
"You Are My Sister" [mp3]
"Hope There's Someone" [mp3]
"For Today I Am a Boy" [mp3]
"Fistful of Love" [mp3]
38) Out Hud
- Music that appeals equally to body and mind. A live show where the band is having just as much fun as the audience, and everybody's dancing. Reinvention, innovation, and great songs (with the best titles). Whether its instrumental or the girls are singing, Out Hud is a great fucking band. -Soviet Panda
39 John Vanderslice
- The "Nicest Guy In Indie Rock" has put out 5 of the best albums of the past 5 years. - Catbirdseat
- Those who haven't yet absorbed the exquisitely beautiful Pixel Revolt really don't know what they're missing. - Catherine's Pita
- 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. - Largehearted Boy
"Exodus Damage" [mp3]
"Trance Manual" [mp3]
Many thanks to each of the panelists that took time out of their busy schedule to participate in this year's list. Cheers. I think the list is pretty representative of what bands the blogging community was talking about this year. If you look at last year's list you'll see that a large number of bands were left off of this year's list, which is the whole point of this little exercise. Keep an eye on the bands near the bottom of this year's list, some of them may be due for a big 2006. Just look at Sufjan Stevens and Green Day as examples. Stevens was just beginning to build some major buzz during this time in '04 and Green Day had just released American Idiot. Quite a few indie rockers cried bloody murder at their inclusion in the list last year, and look at the year they had in 2005.
Again, keep in mind that there were 74 other bands that were nominated. The complete nominee list will be revealed tomorrow.
Until then, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
For some reason, the permalink isn't working for this entry. Ok, permalink and comments have been fixed. Many thanks to Tom from unrequited narcissism for the tech support. Cheers.
What about the Flaming Lips or the Whitstripes?
Posted by: danfun at November 16, 2005 11:11 AM
I find the lack of Ted Leo & Rx to be disturbing. Green Day #7 and no TL&Rx????? Blasphemy.
Posted by: Chris at November 16, 2005 11:13 AM
Not that I'm arguing for it, but I really would have assumed CYHSY would have shown up here. Is the backlash that great already?
Posted by: Darnald at November 16, 2005 11:19 AM
The Flaming Lips didn't really do much this year did they?
Both Ted Leo and the White Stripes got votes but not enough to make the Top 40. I was a bit surprised at the exclusion of the WS, but I think alot of people didn't vote for them because they assumed everyone else would. Same for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Posted by: information leafblower at November 16, 2005 11:29 AM
Or maybe because it's the White Stripes 2005 album wasn't that good.
Posted by: seeking irony at November 16, 2005 11:34 AM
kelly clarkson, gwen stefani, green day??? man this list is shit .. or at least that portion of
Posted by: callmemickey at November 16, 2005 11:41 AM
I've lost interest in the White Stripes with the past two records, and the list emphasizes what musicians are doing this year, not their past laurels.
Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani, and Green Day make this list special, it's not just another Pitchfork-approved generic collection.
Posted by: david at November 16, 2005 11:50 AM
Am I the only one having trouble viewing this page? I'm on IE5 and lots of text looks like it either has a white strikethrough or has sunk below some sort of horizon. I second the outrage over Ted Leo + Rx. His cover of "Since You Been Gone" was at least as good as Gwen's Fiddler on the Roof stuff and, oh yeah, all his other songs are better.
Posted by: Steve at November 16, 2005 11:50 AM
I see what you mean Steve, I have no idea why it's rendering so weird in IE. But if you go to the main page and look at the entry there, it looks fine.
Also, I'm one of the biggest Ted Leo fans there is, but I was a bit burnt out on him this year. Probably because I went so apeshit for his record and subsequent tours last year.
Posted by: information leafblower at November 16, 2005 11:56 AM
Kelly Clarkson really just had the one song. It's a good 'un, but c'mon...
Speaking of backlashes, though: props for not being cowed into excluding Bright Eyes.
Finally, I think Wolf Parade are considerably more interesting than, say, Kings of Leon, and lord knows they got plenty of buzz this year.
Posted by: tom at November 16, 2005 12:00 PM
Wolf Parade are Canadian.
Posted by: ryan at November 16, 2005 12:07 PM
Ah. Missed the "In America Today".
Posted by: tom at November 16, 2005 12:11 PM
Kelly Clarkson's two singles following "Since U Been Gone" do not have the hipster cross-over potential that "Since U Been Gone" did, but they're good mainstream pop songs.
Posted by: seeking irony at November 16, 2005 12:13 PM
Posted by: danny at November 16, 2005 12:22 PM
Felt inspired so I made a list of my top ten fav Canadian bands (not necessarily "of" 2005):
1. Broken Social Scene (just got tix!)
3. Arcade Fire
4. The Most Serene Republic
5. Godspeed You! Black Emperor
6. New Pornographers
8. Wolf Parade
9. Do Make Say Think
10. Apostle of Hustle
Posted by: Chris at November 16, 2005 12:29 PM
Danny, the Arcade Fire are Canadian.
Remember kids, reading comprehension is a very valuable skill for life.
Posted by: information leafblower at November 16, 2005 12:36 PM
damn, i cant believe you guys didnt hit up aaron carter? What the fuck?
Posted by: howard sterns nose at November 16, 2005 12:42 PM
Odd that a band is only as good as its last album...even though it may still tour and received the adoration of the press and do music for Pepsi and work with other artists. I'm talking mainly about the White Stripes, but there are others. I think TWS one of the best and most important bands in the country right now. Whether or not a band's last album was good or its best -- or whether or not the band even released an album in 2005 -- shouldn't weigh so heavily, in my opinion. What this list ends up looking like is a "Best/Favorite Albums of 2005" list rather than a "Best Bands of 2005" list. There's a difference.
On a side note, the way people voted and commented shows that the album format is still very much alive and is still very important. Bands aren't measured by the quality of the free MP3s found on the label's website, or the iTunes Sessions EP it recorded and sold a few thousand of. The album is still the measure of a band's worth. Did anybody comment on how good a band's live show was in 2005, or was it all comments on albums?
Even if they didn't do a damn thing in 2005, the Flaming Lips are still a better band that just about any on this list of 40. Just by existing they're superior to a lot of the indie rock stuff on this list. Same goes for Jack White. Even if he did nothing but breath air in 2005 he's better than most on this list.
Posted by: Coolfer at November 16, 2005 12:43 PM
Posted by: patrick at November 16, 2005 12:44 PM
What about Robert Pollard / GBV???
Posted by: scott at November 16, 2005 12:46 PM
I specifically put Giant Drag and We Are Scientists on my list because they blew me away when I saw them in concert.
Subsequently, I left The National and The Hold Steady off because they didn't play a gig in D.C. this year.
Posted by: information leafblower at November 16, 2005 12:47 PM
I too think that it is rediculous to judge a band on what they have done lately. But it seems to agree with indie rock ideology that bands are expandable. Because eventhough the Flaming Lips didn't do much this year they have made better album and put on a better show than 90% of the abnds on this list. And eventhough people are "losing interest" in the Whitestripes it doesn't stop them from being the top performing band of the year. They put on the best live show out there. And the Whitestripes will be rememebr a lot longer than most of the bands on this list.
Posted by: danfun at November 16, 2005 12:49 PM
where are arctic monkeys, tom vek, and aberdeen city? tsk tsk tsk. Everywhere blog i went to there they were - and derservingly so.
Posted by: Jax at November 16, 2005 12:52 PM
The Arctic Monkeys and Tom Vek are in England. And thus, NOT ELIGIBLE. Jeezy Creezy.
I liked Aberdeen City when I saw them live, but they're not better than any of the bands listed above. They could be in the future though.
Posted by: information leafblower at November 16, 2005 12:55 PM
Kelly Clarkson is fantastic pop music. There is not a bad song on her album, and yes I own it.
Posted by: lboogie at November 16, 2005 12:56 PM
IMHO, The White Stripes are way overrated and their latest album is ho-hum/stale (probably won't even make my top 50 for 2005), regardless of how impressive their live show is. Quite frankly, I was happy to see The Black Keys on the list instead of TWS, because the Keys are a much better band, have released much better albums, and have a much better live show. There, I said it.
Posted by: Chris at November 16, 2005 1:10 PM
To answer Coolfer's question about the live show thing:
(from my list)
7. The Wrens - Yes, it's been years since their last record, but there's no way I ever miss a chance to see them and their big, beautiful, broken mess of a live show.
Posted by: ryan catbird at November 16, 2005 1:18 PM
Also, Glenn, it seems like you (and Bklyn Vegan)(and probably others too) are complaining about how the list seems to almost read like a "favorite albums of 2005" list, when in fact, the criteria that was sent explicitly stated:
"...a list of the 10 bands FROM AMERICA that rocked your world in the calendar year of 2005, ranked 1-10, with 1 being the highest. This is not a longevity contest rewarding a band for having a great career. It's more immediate. In fact, it's entirely plausible that the bands you nominate for this list might not even be mentioned next year (or ever again)."
It stands to reason that people's choices would therefore obviously gravitate toward artists who released/were promoting an album in 2005.
Posted by: ryan catbird at November 16, 2005 1:23 PM
Folks is this The Top 40 Bands in America Today, or Top 40 Artists, cause last time I checked, Kelly Clarkson is solo. Am I being picky? No. And somehow you guys have her at No. 16 and The Boss doesn't make the list?
I am ok with Green Day and Stefani, though they aren't my cup 'o tea.
"I wanted to know who people are using their bandwidth to talk about."
How many music bloggers are going on and on about Kelly Clarkson? Anyone? Beuller?
Posted by: Matt at November 16, 2005 1:27 PM
Once Ted Leo covers your song, I think you're indie cred is established.
And if you look at the list, you'll see that there are plenty of solo artists on the there. In fact, one occupies the top slot.
"Bands" includes solo artists/MC's/DJ's/electronic acts, anyone making music. Sorry of that wasn't clear.
Posted by: information leafblower at November 16, 2005 1:30 PM
Thank you, Ryan. I was instructed to list the 10 bands that had the greatest impact on me in the last year. That's all I did. I sorta regret leaving off the White Stripes (and the Wrens, actually), but I just couldn't justify taking anyone else off.
Posted by: Jeff at November 16, 2005 1:32 PM
No R. Kelly???????
Posted by: Joe at November 16, 2005 1:43 PM
What about the Rosebuds? I just heard their album, "Birds Are Good Neighbors." It's great, spooky Southern rock music that has an early-R.E.M. quality to it.
Posted by: Daniel, Esq. at November 16, 2005 1:45 PM
Just to give you an idea of my contribution...My Top 10 was this...based solely on their 2005 releases and live shows...I saw all but 2 of them live, so that had significant impact on who I chose...
The Black Keys
My Morning Jacket
VHS or Beta
Sam Beam/Iron & Wine
Death Cab For Cutie
If I was doing a best american artists of all time, the list would be vastly different, but that's not what this was. I took this as a list of artists who impacted me in 2005. I too regret leaving the Wrens off, as their live show was one I enjoyed beyond words this year.
Posted by: Dodge at November 16, 2005 1:48 PM
Oooh, good one Joe. I'm surprised he didn't garner any votes. Plenty of people were talking about him, bit I don't think alot of people listened to the music.
Personally I was susprised Brendan Benson didn't make it.
Posted by: information leafblower at November 16, 2005 1:49 PM
No Will Oldham (Superwolf) or Deerhoof? They both put out better records this year then a majority of these artists.
Posted by: Leif Erikson at November 16, 2005 1:49 PM
ILB--good job putting this together, by the way. Interesting, and at times, frustrating reading.
Posted by: Matt at November 16, 2005 1:50 PM
and obviously mine is slightly regionally skewed as well.
Posted by: Dodge at November 16, 2005 1:52 PM
and looking back i shouldn't have left Benson off the list either...damnit.
Posted by: Dodge at November 16, 2005 1:52 PM
Ryan: save the Wrens for next year's list. They're recording, you know...
Posted by: tom at November 16, 2005 3:00 PM
Posted by: annonymous at November 16, 2005 3:26 PM
No R. Kelly???????
Posted by: Joe at November 16, 2005 01:43 PM
*this is not the top 40 bands/artists who like to pee on people list
Posted by: btezra at November 16, 2005 3:32 PM
well, technically Canada IS America.... even if it's North America.
Maybe you should call it top Bands in the U.S. today.
Posted by: kristen at November 16, 2005 3:39 PM
well done ILB, interesting and sparking conversations all over the place.
but no Shakira?!
oh wait...that's LATIN america.
Posted by: EAR FARM at November 16, 2005 3:49 PM
are you fucking kidding me?
where are the walkmen?
Posted by: shjdhj at November 16, 2005 4:10 PM
i think they're in the studio. betcha $2 they're on next year's list.
Posted by: EAR FARM at November 16, 2005 4:15 PM
Posted by: Gatrios at November 16, 2005 5:24 PM
m83 are french.
Posted by: d at November 16, 2005 5:25 PM
Posted by: rjb3 at November 16, 2005 5:39 PM
good list, thanks for doing this. I keep thinking of bands/artists to bitch about and then realize how much kickassery is from Canada and the UK.
Posted by: kevin at November 16, 2005 6:04 PM
yes, I know they're Svedish, but I dug the Perishers album. it was kind of..sweet. representing w/my 2c for the all the chicks in the house.
Posted by: natalie at November 16, 2005 6:09 PM
i posted my list here
i will post more thoughts later on, too
Posted by: peter at November 16, 2005 6:27 PM
The National are formerly of Cincinnati, not Columbus.
Posted by: robert duffy at November 16, 2005 6:38 PM
You should've just limited it to rock bands and not invited Byron Crawford, but you didn't and now it looks like you have two "tokens" on your hands. I could name perhaps 5 rappers from Osh Kosh, WI that are better than say...The Juan fucking Mclean.
Posted by: nofrontin at November 16, 2005 6:47 PM
shit. i always forget they're from cincinnati. it's a chronic problem. when i worked their merch table i told lots of people the wrong answer before someone corrected me. i should just keep my mouth shut.
Posted by: robot mark at November 16, 2005 7:41 PM
No Pernice Brothers?
Posted by: Jon at November 16, 2005 10:04 PM
dude, no beatles? WTF.
Posted by: omg at November 16, 2005 10:24 PM
what about clap your hand say yeah thats one of the best albums int he past 30 years ....
Posted by: sonny at November 16, 2005 11:27 PM
Surely Beck had some votes???
Viva Voce? Comas?
Posted by: John at November 16, 2005 11:35 PM
Sup holmes..no RJD2? No Blackalicious? um..didn't Prince release an album in '05? Nice touch w/the MF Doom nod though..he's a real SLEEPER..haha. No seriously..the Wu had a comeback recently..should have put the Muggs/Grandmasters album up it's amazing. Nice choice w/Giant Drag though I love "Slayer"..Ryan's album is def. my fav of the year. HOLLA
Posted by: ComeClean at November 16, 2005 11:38 PM
explosions in the sky and my morning jacket. v. much agreed here.
Posted by: melina at November 16, 2005 11:39 PM
Very cool list...I've decided to make a Canadian version, so if you have a music/mp3 blog and you want to participate (and I haven't e-mailed you), come over to my site and contact me...
Posted by: matthew at November 17, 2005 12:50 AM
Wow, this list sucks.
Posted by: Johnny X at November 17, 2005 1:45 AM
I'm happy to see that Andrew Bird made this list, even if no one explained why he is so fantastic.
That man can whistle like nobody's business.
Posted by: kristen at November 17, 2005 7:05 AM
This is a great list. They're an unknown among the indie rock blogger types, but the new King's X album/tour is amazing.
Posted by: Captain Pipes at November 17, 2005 8:48 AM
Can't please all the people all the time, eh?
Ok my two cents worth.
Devin Davis, maybe Luke Temple
Rogue Wave. I mean please.
Slender means Oh yes you will know them soon.
Kudos for havin' the stones to put Kelly Clarkson on the list. LOL
Posted by: MerchMikey at November 17, 2005 8:58 AM
Centro-matic is better than all of these bands combined
Posted by: Karla at November 17, 2005 9:03 AM
Suprised The Shins, Burning Brides, and BRMC didn't make the top 40 ... Was thinking about what would be in my top ten and realized it was more a list of artist deserving wider recognition, compiling a top 40 of those would be interesting. Here is my start http://www.micropop.net
Posted by: kosmo vinyl at November 17, 2005 9:08 AM
Thanks for letting me be a part of the list, KG.
A "deserving of attention" list would be interesting, indeed. I'd put De Novo Dahl, We Versus The Shark, Robbers on High Street on it.
Also, there's this guy named Brendan Benson...
Posted by: DCeiver at November 17, 2005 9:51 AM
Modest Mouse? Come on guys... how can you not have Modest Mouse on this list? By far more celebrated with a catalog of far more great music than almost all of these bands...
Posted by: Thom at November 17, 2005 10:04 AM
i of course completely blanked on including DC popster Your Pal on my deserves attention list. The guy has his own manifesto for christ sake.
Posted by: kosmo vinyl at November 17, 2005 10:04 AM
Four Austin bands. Not a bad showing.
Posted by: Dan at November 17, 2005 10:48 AM
Outkast? ok, not terribly prolific this year - but surely a spot in the overall top 40 would be warranted.
Posted by: drewo at November 17, 2005 11:08 AM
Posted by: . at November 17, 2005 11:09 AM
deerhoof? deerhoof? deerhoof? deerhoof? deerhoof?
Posted by: deerhoof at November 17, 2005 11:59 AM
Wow, everyone keeps bringing up Brendan Benson. I guess I'm in the minority here, but I say while Lapalco was definitely awesome, this new Brendan Benson disc just sounds like the worst sort of AOR crap. But then again, everyone seems to like Kelly Clarkson and Gwen Stefani, so I guess it makes sense.
Posted by: rjrnabisko at November 17, 2005 12:06 PM
i love how everyone actually cares if a band they like isn't on some list (albeit a pretty awesome list and idea kyle...thanks)...nothing is perfect. Speaking of nothing being perfect allow me, if i may, to give my top 5 live shows of the year (that i made it to):
1) LCD Soundsystem -- i think i almost passed out from dehydration and head jerking, high hat is the new cowbell
2) NIN -- under looked album of the year, and i have been waiting for 10 years to see him live, and i got to with 60,000 of my closest friends at coachella
3) Bloc Party -- Speaking of coachella...bloc party's performance there was euphoric. one big moving sweaty mess of people. Most hipsters i have ever seen dancing at once...looked to the sky to ensure pigs weren't flying
4) Sufjan Stevens -- Much different than the dancer-ific bands at the top (sorry, i am partial to dance-inducing bands) but genius. You can see the guy playing and the wheels cranking in that head. The whole band was exceptional at instruments, cheers, and the always fun superman props.
5) The National/CYHSY/Nicole Atkins -- Not to be overlooked, Nicole was a great opener, at some times leaving my mouth agape listening to her voice. CYHSY really good for an album i can only take in doses (read: his vocals weren't so overbearing), and the national....well...i love that album, so seeing it live was great. they didn't disappoint...
Posted by: ryan97ou at November 17, 2005 12:06 PM
Without The White Stripes and Tool this list is meaningless. I saw Kanye West and Wilco this summer and both of them sucked.
Posted by: Captain Poopchute at November 17, 2005 12:17 PM
I think comment about Green Day by Soviet Panda could show a void between blogging and the real world. Most of their original fan base left them a long time ago. They may have gained back parts of the fan base they lost over the past 5 years, but original fans have jumped ship and swam to better lands.
Part of this is because their original fan base has grown up and part of this is because American Idiot is a bad political record, not to mention all of the songs I've listened to are pretty boring. Now, that's just my opinion.
My original point: Most of the original fan base still isn't going to the shows or buying the record.
Posted by: Mark B. at November 17, 2005 2:14 PM
I'm surprised that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Brian Jonestown Massacre aren't there. They are 2 of the best bands around.
Posted by: Joanna Whapp at November 17, 2005 2:23 PM
Wow. If Green Day's original fan base really isn't supporting the band right now, then Green Day's original fan base is absolutely for shit. Well...in that case, they aren't missed!
Posted by: DCeiver at November 17, 2005 2:27 PM
And what "original fan base" are you talking about for Green Day? The fans that liked the band when they were on Lookout! or the one's that discovered the band because MTV played that song about masturbation? Your "rant" rings hollow.
Just last year one of the panelists said they loved Green Day because they were the only band that never let them down with a bad record.
I am by no means a fan of the band, and never have been, but they are shit hot right now for new fans and old.
I also find it hilarious that everyone is up in arms about Kelly Clarkson but not one person has said anything about Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, a band I had never even heard of before this list, making the top 30. I guess it's OK if unknown indie bands make it, but not established artists with crossover hits.
Posted by: information leafblower at November 17, 2005 2:31 PM
Add these bands to the list.
1) Darkest Hour - DC's homegrown metal band. They took swedish melodic metal and added American influences to make it their own. That has to count for something
2) Isis - Huge riffs and yet still compelling. They've influenced even major lable bands like Thrice.
Posted by: Alex_Pastepunk at November 17, 2005 3:07 PM
Wow, what a fall for Ted Leo. I feel like his shows keep getting bigger, and they're kind of developing a bizarre (but cool) communal aspect. People are excited to see him, and excited to share the experience...it's not your standard indie show.
Still, thanks for putting this together, it's always a fun read.
Posted by: employee megan at November 17, 2005 3:15 PM
uhhh, no Interpol???? Are they Swedish and no one told me? I'm so confused.....
Posted by: robertsc at November 17, 2005 3:33 PM
somewhere, The Mars Volta is crying because they've been left off this 12 yr old teenybopper's list...
Posted by: jah at November 17, 2005 4:13 PM
apologies for not submitting for this year's list. busy busy busy & i forgot to put together a list until tuesday nite - clearly too late. i'd still like to participate next year again, so i hope you think of me again. my favs? here goes, if anyone's interested:
1) dangermouse (topping 04's grey album with both gorillaz & dangerdoom, has anyone had a better year? don't think so.)
2) sufjan stevens (illinois is just flat out remarkable.)
3) kanye west (late registration, cover of time magazine, "george bush doesn't care about black people", snl parody - heckuva 05)
4) james murphy (lcd soundsystem finally fully unleashed, dfa also drops juan maclean, black dice & delia/gavin lps)
5) hold steady (separation sunday finally breaks craig finn, who rocked it & rocked it hard w/much love for mpls)
6) gogol bordello (live show is still the best around, eugene hutz is blowing up & gypsy punks is the most underappreciated album of the year)
7) sleater-kinney (the ladies are still a force to be reckonned with, releasing the ballsy woods lp & tearing it up on tour)
8) spoon (gimme fiction proves once again that britt daniel is one of america's very best rock songwriters)
9) stephen malkmus (face the truth tops pig lib & participation w/dave berman's fantabulous silver jews album puts him on my list)
10) decemberists (while they certainly aren't the sexy pick this year, picaresque is a great disc that got plenty of playtime on the ipod in 05)
low (great destroyer was a long time ago, but still in 05)
fiery furnaces (ep was solid, but rehearsing my choir is a mess & their live show wasn't what it was in 04)
ted leo (no album in 05, but shake the sheets still gets play & his mpls show was one of my very favs of the year)
rana (my personal favs, who had a rather quiet year while side ventures like sam champion & king of france made progress)
beck (he's beck, but guero wasn't the hotness i'd hoped it'd be)
Posted by: mr g at November 17, 2005 4:16 PM
its amazing, the time you all put into tearing and picking at music, building and yelling over and over about which bands hype means what to which blog on what sphere o' all talking the same crap out the ass.
go back to your jobs at the bank, go make something.
Posted by: m at November 17, 2005 4:43 PM
ill bet that the indie rock kids voted for kanye west.
goddamn, was "actually making good music" and "not being a complete douchebag" not considered when making this list?
Posted by: djxplicit.blogspot.com at November 17, 2005 5:35 PM
you stupid assholes dont know a damn thing! Kanye West? please. Gwen Stefani are you kidding. and you didn't even aknowledge the White Stripes, probably the most important american band right now. For shame, it is a dark day in music
Posted by: chuckypatch at November 17, 2005 5:50 PM
For the record, I did in fact acknowledge how awful The White Stripes new CD is.
Posted by: DCeiver at November 17, 2005 6:11 PM
seriously, i don't even know where kids get off declaring how "important" the white stripes are. "important?" what?
it is amazing that someone's had the common sense to bring up darkest hour, but i dunno, it feels like it'd be a few years too late. instead - circle takes the square, funeral diner, or members of majority rule and pg99 coming together to form haram? hot cross? meneguar kind of taking up where q and not u left off?
so much goes over people's head unless it's hyped to them through standard outlets first.
Posted by: marcus at November 17, 2005 6:48 PM
I appreciate the kudos. And I also forgot to mention. Where the fuck is CONVERGE on that list?
Also, I'm guessing you caught that CTTS/Hot Cross show at the Warehouse last night.
Posted by: Alex_Pastepunk at November 17, 2005 7:59 PM
Interesting that there's no mention of any of the Anticon acts. Personally I consider this label to be some of the most important music going on currently in the US.
Posted by: brenden Beu at November 17, 2005 9:43 PM
No Les Savy Fav, Wrens, or Ted Leo??
Posted by: jcn at November 17, 2005 9:59 PM
I will PERHAPS pick myself off the floor.
But, only when Fall Out Boy (vomit in my mouth a little) is taken out of contention... and GWEN STEFFANI (vomit is now everywhere and must call cleaning lady to come make sense of my house) -- and can she BE on this list for The Love of God Alone -- has been permanently removed from this website.
No New Pronographers? Killers? Brendan? ANNIE? WTF.
Posted by: kev at November 17, 2005 10:50 PM
Kev, get over yourself. The New Pornographers are Canadian and Annie is Swedish. Learn to read. And comprehend. The two go hand in hand.
Posted by: information leafblower at November 17, 2005 11:16 PM
wow. is CYHSY already in the hate bucket? i thought there album was good, at least an exciting discovery for the year.
good list, but a strange omission. guess it doesnt matter. thanks for teh sufjan tunes.
Posted by: jkg at November 18, 2005 2:11 AM
I love your list! Hats off to anyone to attempt such a thing...
A couple of things:
* I totally agree with all the commenters... It's really sad The White Sripes are not in the top 40! WTF!
* The National at Number 2? I mean, come on... where is CYHSY then?
* BRMC really belonged in there this year. Their album is outstanding...
You should really change the list name to "The Top 40 Bands in the USA Today"! Too many people are getting this s*it confused, or are too stupid... Wolf Parade is from Canada!
I smell a big comeback by these kids called "The Strokes" in the coming year...
Posted by: Rock 'n' Roll Star at November 18, 2005 3:36 AM
Animal Collective and The National, most certainly! But where are The Wrens..........???
Posted by: Cathi at November 18, 2005 5:19 AM
No Modern Life is War?
Posted by: Ipso at November 18, 2005 1:19 PM
I agree that the white stripes most recent album was probably their worst, and the fact that they recently sold out to coke isn't all that nice eiter, but they're certainly better than green day!! They deserved the top 40, at least. Jack should get extra points because I think he has started to wash his hair. If from some reason england could be included, Tom Vek OWNS a spot here.
Posted by: alice at November 18, 2005 2:07 PM
You gotta be fucking kidding me with this list. I guess i'm getting old because ii see alot of suck on there. Although, it is "the biggest" and not "the best."
I know one thing though, the layout of this page blows smurfs.
Posted by: Chet Bizzaro at November 18, 2005 6:51 PM
I'm just happy that my boy Suf is on the top o da list. Y'all need ta stop complainin'.
Posted by: Nick G at November 18, 2005 8:18 PM
I do not know the nationality of these bands but what about:
The Cloud Room,
The Go! Team,
The Good Life,
TV on the Radio,
Dirty On Purpose,
Posted by: phil at November 19, 2005 2:51 AM
Sure, they are "played out" or some such nonsense. But I saw Interpol twice this year, and they are getting better and better and better. Love them.
But they wear suits...
Posted by: Tristram at November 19, 2005 3:36 AM
the Killers should've been in that list
Posted by: mischa at November 19, 2005 5:41 AM
I had the National in my second ten. The two times I saw them with CYHSY, they blew them off the stage, even after half the posers left when openers CYHSY left the stage.
Posted by: david at November 19, 2005 4:47 PM
(on the subject of the more mainstream music:) white stripes seemed to have made more of an impact two years ago, than this year. and Green Day and Kanye West have made a bigger impact this year. (I totally agree with peter's assessment of Kanye). So, i think good picks on putting them where they are.
also, for the most part, i agree with the bands on the chart but would have probably put them in a different order. Like, kelly clarkson&stefani on the bottom and LCD soundsystem&bright eyes. closer to the top (eh, i'm a BE fan.)
Posted by: al at November 19, 2005 7:13 PM
lol death cab are indietronica now?
maybe tuning fork should buy the album, i think their postal service id3 tags are mixed up (or they are just stupid?)
Posted by: thewebguy at November 19, 2005 7:39 PM
so uh what about coheed and cambria?
Posted by: killingtimetilldeath at November 20, 2005 10:28 AM
Coheed and Cambria should be on that list.
Posted by: Alex at November 20, 2005 9:29 PM
Coheed? Absolutely not. Maybe 3 years ago when Second Stage Turbine Blade came out. But this new album is so bloated and boring, that it would be anathema to put them on a list that celebrates artists who are doing something interesting and enjoyable.
Posted by: Alex_Pastepunk at November 20, 2005 9:55 PM
My comments about Green Day's original fanbase not really still listening was based on the kids that I am friends with (so yeah, not everyone) that were with Green Day from the beginning. These are the kids that are still into real punk rock and still going to shows. They stopped listening to Green Day along time ago and it wasn't cause they were popular...they just stopped putting out good punk records. The same kids who are also into the political punk thing seem to think that Green Days foray into punk is a joke.
I haven't really ever been a fan of Green Day. I'm not the returning fanbase. I thought the Blvd of Broken Dreams was a boring song. That's me. That's one person. My friends and other kids I've talked to...that holds more weight, but it's still just kids from Chicago who love their Mushugana's 7ins. Not representitive of the original Green Day fanbase as a whole.
But Information Leafblower your reason that the original comment by the Soviet Panda is good is because one of the panelists. I'm speaking of a void between bloggers and the rest of the kids. Maybe that panelist was from NYC (like most seem to be, but i know that must not be true) and there is actually a void between the Chicago and NYC kids.
I can't help but agree that the band is hot shit. There is not denying it, but i contend that the original fanbase isn't back. Some may be, but just because a band is hot shit doesn't mean their fanbase is back. Just because a panelist says they have always loved all of their records doesn't mean the original fanbase is back.
Posted by: Mark B. at November 20, 2005 10:15 PM
Brendan Benson has to be included. The Alternative To Love is a great record. Out Hud? Crooked Fingers? I don't recall seeing much on those bands. Rememember lots of posts/buzz on CYHSY.
Posted by: Fernando at November 21, 2005 11:07 AM
Not a bad list, not a great list. I think it's not a BAD list of good bands to look out for if you haven't been listening to a lot of new music, however, I can't justify the follow things about the list:
1. Inclusion of Gwen Stefani (and I LOVE the old No Doubt)
2. The Inclusion of Kelly Clarkson. I'm sorry, American Idol sucks.
3. The spots where you have Kayne West and Explosions in the Sky. Try reversing them.
4. Ryan Adams is so friggin overrated... but everyone seems to like him... I can't understand why...
5. Not including the following bands:
a. Mike Doughty
b. Blockhead (or in his place RJD2)
c. System Of A Down
d. Jack Johnson
6. Not talking about Explosions in the Sky or Andrew Bird
Things you did right:
1. Included Antony and the Johnsons (god they are AMAZING)
2. Explosions in the Sky
3. Fiona Apple's new album is wonderful, especially the DVD that its packaged with
4. Sufjan is the king of the indie scene.
5. Didn't just include indie bands.
Posted by: Derek at November 21, 2005 12:07 PM
Ray Lamontagne, people, Ray Lamontagne.
Real music with real emotion.
Posted by: Luke at November 21, 2005 6:26 PM
upon this tidal wave of young blood by CYHSY is pretty much the strongest indie single of the year...
but I have to agree that sufjan is on top of his game now. I am partialized towards the national but hey, #2 ain't bad either...
PS what about devendra banhart?
Posted by: instantdan at November 22, 2005 1:38 PM
RE:I do not know the nationality ...
I don't know about all of them, but Sondre is Norwegian. I do love him, though. New Pornographers are Canadian, The Go! Team is from the UK, The Walkmen are American, and the Pixies are American.
I agree wholeheartedly with Sufjan's listing, as well as Kelly Clarkson, and most others. Yes, I'm admitting it.
Whatever happened to the Shins? Why haven't they released a full album since 2003?
Posted by: Lindsey at November 26, 2005 2:07 AM
RE:I do not know the nationality ...
I don't know about all of them, but Sondre is Norwegian. I do love him, though. New Pornographers are Canadian, The Go! Team is from the UK, The Walkmen are American, and the Pixies are American.
I agree wholeheartedly with Sufjan's listing, as well as Kelly Clarkson - yes, I'm admitting it. Many other good picks as well.
Whatever happened to the Shins? Why haven't they released a full album since 2003?
Posted by: Lindsey at November 26, 2005 2:08 AM
seriously, if the only hip-hop you're going to list is MF Doom and Kanye West, then leave it off your list. Great records, but nothing says "I'm whiter than pale" than only listing the "safe" hip-hop records.
Posted by: Derek Evers at November 29, 2005 11:55 AM
blackalicious? mike doughty?
otherwise i think your list is alright.
Posted by: sarah at December 1, 2005 5:16 AM
Posted by: Julian at December 2, 2005 2:00 PM
Posted by: progosk at December 2, 2005 2:01 PM
oops: here's the daughters of the soho riots one again.
Posted by: progosk at December 2, 2005 2:03 PM
Interesting to see what how the American Zeitgseist reviews its own. Here in Europe, you'd get a lot of votes for the Flaming Lips, Low, Sparklehorse, Yo la Tengo, Brendan Benson, Mercury Rev, Spain, (to name but a few) and of course the band that made that influenced Nirvana, but are still going - the Pixies!
Posted by: gotimmy at December 2, 2005 5:06 PM
I think this is a pretty good list. I don't agree 100%, but when have any of us seen a list of this sort that we *DO* agree with completely?
Here is the real test - if there were a radio station in my hometown that played these 40 folks, I would be THRILLED!
Posted by: chris at December 3, 2005 12:12 AM
Kelly Clarkson?? Are you joking? Doesn't she represent everything that indie rock is supposed to be against? Slap an image and wardrobe consultant on someone with a nice voice and ta-da! instant success? As if!
Posted by: jared231 at December 4, 2005 10:20 PM
Seeing that 'indie' is becoming the new prep, I don't really see how Clarkson is 'everything indie rock is supposed to be against.' Is Indie rock supposed to be 'against' anything? Kelly Clarkson put out a decent record this year. Good for her.
Saw Mercury Rev this summer. Thought they were horrible, but to each his own. Can see the difference w/ the European crowd. Agree with folks on the Pixies, entirely. Enjoyed the list for the most part. Thanks Leaf Blower!
Oh, and The Killers should not be on the list. K, thanks.
Posted by: Kate at December 5, 2005 9:06 AM
What? A music review site that doesn't jizz all over the faces of Arcade Fire? Incredible... and refreshing.
Posted by: will at December 5, 2005 10:54 AM
Or is it that they are just considered Canadian?
Posted by: Will at December 5, 2005 10:55 AM
All amazing artists
Posted by: soulsister at December 15, 2005 2:43 PM
"Nobody's Strange in LaGRange"
Posted by: Cory at December 16, 2005 11:48 AM
Great indie band out of Ga
"Nobody's Strange in LaGRange"
Posted by: cory at December 16, 2005 12:02 PM
Posted by: bubba at January 20, 2006 10:14 AM