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Laurence Station's Top 10 Albums of 2005

1. Sleater-Kinney: The Woods (Sub Pop)
Why? Because it destroys, being a feedback-drenched monolith erected to the rock gods of yesteryear. Sleater-Kinney working out a hard rock jones while retaining their indie cred is no small feat.
 
2. Sufjan Stevens: Illinois (Asthmatic Kitty)
Wonderful songcraft and a theatrically engaging sense of schmaltz meld to make Stevens' second 50 States release a genuine pop treasure.
3. Eels: Blinking Lights and Other Revelations (Vagrant)
Blinking Lights is a cathartic, revealing work that moves from despair to hope while avoiding the pitfalls of whiny self-pity or overemotional aggrandizement.
 
4. Spoon: Gimme Fiction (Merge)
Britt Daniel and Jim Eno refuse to stop evolving in the name of milking an easily identifiable sound. Gimme Fiction explores a wealth of styles yet remains cohesive thanks to the talent of its creatively restless mainstays.
5. The Decemberists: Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars)
Victorian sensibility and pop civics lessons converge on this musically cheery but lyrically harrowing collection.
 
6. The Mountain Goats: The Sunset Tree (4AD)
Arresting examination of the living room battlefront, where abuse and redemption are just as epic as those found in the trenches of Europe during the Great War.
7. My Morning Jacket: Z (ATO/RCA)
If the country groove of early My Morning Jacket is A, then Z is just that, far removed in sound but still the same band, progressing whether its core fan base wants them to or not.
 
8. Broken Social Scene: Broken Social Scene (Arts & Crafts)
The shambling, scattered sound of previous BSS efforts has been tightened and more cannily sequenced to reveal something resembling an actual band and not just a hit-or-miss co-op of shared musical interests.
9. Lightning Bolt: Hypermagic Mountain (Load)
After The Woods, Hypermagic Mountain is the finest crush of concussively forceful rock released this year.
 
10. The Books: Lost and Safe (Tomlab)
Political without being preachy, Lost and Safe is an album that speaks to the state of the world without browbeating its anti-administration message.
 
Notable near misses:
 
Top 10 Songs of 2005
 
  1. "Gold Digger" Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx (Late Registration)
  2. "I Turn My Camera On" Spoon (Gimme Fiction)
  3. "John Wayne Gacy, Jr." Sufjan Stevens (Illinois)
  4. "The Engine Driver" The Decemberists (Picaresque)
  5. "An Animated Description of Mr. Maps" The Books (Lost and Safe)
  6. "Fuel for Fire" M. Ward (Transistor Radio)
  7. "Hast Thou Considered the Tetrapod?" The Mountain Goats (The Sunset Tree)
  8. "Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole" Martha Wainwright (Martha Wainwright)
  9. "Galvanize" The Chemical Brothers featuring Q-Tip (Push The Button)
  10. "The Matter (Of Our Discussion)" Boom Bip featuring Nina Nastasia (Blue Eyed in the Red Room)

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