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Top 10 - indie rock '05


By Nate Buchik
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, December 7, 2005
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Bands make great albums. Albums have great songs. Truly special, however, are moments. Here are the moments that made my year in indie rock.

10. The Mountain Goats, The Sunset Tree, "Broom People" - 2:08-2:15

John Danielle's nasally voice unexpectedly peaks at this moment, right before the song's outro, creating a moment of sheer power in a mellow song that began building from the first notes. While he performed a similar stunt at 1:50 on Tallahassee's "No Children," I'm certainly open to a repeat.

9. The National, Alligator, "Baby, We'll Be Fine" - 2:44-3:11

8. Various Artists, "Do They Know It's Halloween" - 2:25-2:41

At this point in the mocking benefit song, vocal duties are handed off from Arcade Fire to Beck to David Cross. Cross' voice might sound the best of the bunch. Overall, the song isn't the greatest, but this is undeniably a great moment for indie rock.

7. Architecture in Helsinki, In Case We Die, "It's 5!" - 0:00-0:10

6. Wolf Parade, Apologies to the Queen Mary, "I Believe In Symmetry" - 2:22-3:07

5. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, "Is This Love" - 2:30-3:00

An amazing debut album from a band without a label, this is the best breakdown of the year. While they seem to be stealing from the Beatles' "Happiness is a Warm Gun," it's still an amazing musical moment, confirmed by the live performance of the song. The opening gallop of this song from 0:00 to 0:18 gets an honorable mention.

4. Bright Eyes, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, "Land Locked Blues" - 5:12-5:14

It was hard to choose just one moment from this gorgeous folk tune, but when Emmylou Harris's voice gently comes in at this point late in the song, I get chills.

3. The Decemberists, Picaresque, "The Mariner's Revenge Song" - 2:16-2:37

It's a shame that Colin Meloy doesn't get his magnificently unique voice recognized, but this song belongs to the backup women of the Decemberists - each with their own creepy voices. These are terrifying lyrics about a dead mother asking to be avenged on the savage seas. "Drag him to a hole until he wakes up naked clawing at the ceiling of his grave." It's something The Bride would be proud to sing along to.

2. Ted Leo, "Since U Been Gone" - 2:05

In this cover of the Clarkson instant pop classic, Ted is alone with his guitar paying homage to the "American Idol" starlet. That is, until the guitar solo ends and he goes into the chorus of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Maps." Not only is Mr. Leo pointing out how Clarkson's band blatantly ripped-off Nick Zinner's solo, he's putting two great songs together to form one super song.

1. Okkervil River, Black Sheep Boy, "So Come Back, I am Waiting" - 6:23-6:36

The emotional climax of one of the year's best releases, Okkervil River clearly has a handle on how to milk the slow and build until the breaking point. Lead singer Will Sheff's screams crack in several places on the record, but none are more powerful than after the horn solo and a final verse. The drums rise and the instruments kick out at this part, and his hoarse yet beautiful voice reaches back, seemingly grasping for one final note.



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