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GLAM-OU-RAMA : Best Of 2004

So another year draws to a close and we look back on the best albums and bands. Personally I found 2004 a little underwhelming, last year I had about a 100 albums that I loved (over 60 of them listed here), this year it's been more like a couple of dozen. I don't know if this is some sort of reflection on the state of the world, general apathy and disbelief at the continuing effects of war, or just a coincidence. Or maybe I'm just getting too fussy!

So we asked you all to vote for your favourites of 2004 and here is the resultant 'Best Of 2004' as voted by GLAM-OU-RAMA members.

Music - Albums
The Dresden Dolls - The Dresden Dolls
Well for me they were band of the year in 2003 (when their debut album was released in their native America), but with the 2 small UK tours & the album being released here in November the Dresden Dolls have deservedly claimed the number one spot with the members on GLAM-OU-RAMA. For those new to the band, check out our review of their album here and our interview with them here.
Official Site
Morrissey - You Are The Quarry
After a 7 year break the queen of misery returns with his most accomplished and focused album yet. Living in California has brightened his sound, put some sun into his melodies, but his lyrics are as cold and cynical as ever. Taking pot shots at England, America, Police, Politicians, Judges & Jesus, nobody is safe, least of all Morrissey himself. It's a superb snapshot of society all wrapped up in eerily catchy melodies. A deserving second place on the GLAM-OU-RAMA chart.
Album microsite - Official Site - Morrissey Solo (fansite)
Interpol - Antics
A more mature sounding Interpol return with their second album, the same New York cool, but now moving on more from their inspirations, sounding more like Interpol themselves than Joy Division, the single 'Slow Hands' filled up many a dancefloor and there's plenty more like it on the album itself. Comfortably gaining the bronze medal on our chart.
Official Site
With their Smiths influenced sound GLAM-OU-RAMA regulars Villette have been gaining a following amongst the GLAM-OU-RAMA crowd and their sublime demo on their website shows why. With each gig they tone and improve their sound and 2005 should be a very interesting year for them. I think only a matter of time before they also grace the stage at Club Bohemia (we're still working on getting the top 3 to perform as well!)
Official Site
Pink Grease - This Is For Real
Yes it most certainly is for real. A very deserved place in our end of year top 5 as Pink Grease not only came up with one of the best albums of 2004, but they also put on the craziest, energetic, raw and emotional shows of just about any band these days. Sheffield is the new sex, first Pulp, now Pink Grease. If there's any song guaranteed to get me onto a dancefloor its 'Fever' and the album and their singles contain many more gems. Why they've not had a greater commercial breakthrough really surprises me, they should do what I suggested to them months ago, cover 'Raspberry Beret', I can already envisage them performing it on Top Of The Pops...
Official Site
Die So Fluid - Spawn Of Dysfunction
By far the most rocking album on this list, powering it's way into number 6 come one of London's best loved but in some circles unknown bands. Moving on from her britpop days in Feline (who I still adore) Grog has crafted a chilling and catchy riff laden album which didn't get nearly as much attention as it should, but with another tour planned for February it's fairly certain that 2005 will be their best year yet.
Official Site
Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
No doubt the winners on most end of year polls, but only number 7 here at GLAM-OU-RAMA for these catchy art-school influenced Glaswegians. This is the true meaning of pop, not all these horrible manufactured bands. 2004 was their year, scaling the charts in Britain, American, Japan, Australia and just about everywhere else that sells CDs. Brilliant stuff, but possibly too simplistic, or just too commercially successful to get more votes here!
Official Site
Manic Street Preachers - Lifeblood
Well they've moved on a lot from their early angst ridden days when they could be forgiven for having terrible lyrics because they were young and they had some great tunes. How they get away with it now I've no idea. Still, somebody liked this or it wouldn't be in our top ten. Sorry, but I could only stand to hear a little of this at a friends' house before giving up, so I can't give this a fair (or unbiased) review.
Official Site
Shard - InPerfection
A great performance at Septembers' Club Bohemia and indeed many venues all over England this year brought Herefordshire's most glittering band to the attention of many people on GLAM-OU-RAMA. Like a young and glittering Ziggy & The Spiders playing Cure songs their InPerfection album has appealed to many people here and deservedly gets into the top 10 alongside the larger and more established commercial acts. As 2005 starts with them still playing gigs all over the south of England their star can only continue to grow.
Official Site
Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters
Well everyone loves the Scissor Sisters don't they? Any band that can make Pink Floyd sound like the Bee Gees and actually be good has to have a lot of talent. Probably nobody expected such a camp and flamboyant act to have such a commercial impact as they have - it really doesn't seem like mainstream material - but it just goes to show that there's real skill behind all their glitz & camp pop.
Official Site
The Faint - Wet From Birth
For many Wet From Birth didn't shine as highly as Danse Macabre, but that is mostly because it lacked any stand-out tracks like Agenda Suicide. However, heard live you appreciate this album as one of the most danceable albums of 2004. From that point on you are hooked and the album has a whole new resonance. So while it probably won't bring them many new followers those already sold by their previous efforts are all happily dancing in the aisles.
Official Site
Bloc Party
After playing with Franz Ferdinand last year Bloc Party were heavily touted as a band to watch for 2004 and they pretty much lived up to those expectations. Singles like The Answer & Banquet were as good as anything else in the charts and with a similarly art-rock manifesto and sound as Franz Ferdinand the release of their album (Silent Alarm) in 2005 could well see them coming close to emulating the remarkable success of FF.
Official Site
The Killers - Hot Fuss
No band these days is truly original, indeed right at the top of our charts sit Interpol who constantly get criticized for copying Joy Division. The same holds true with The Killers with their rip-off of Marion and other Britpop acts of 1995. But where Interpol have skill and subtlety The Killers are blatant and add nothing new to the table. Catchy and fun they might be, but had they released this back in 1995 they'd have been laughed at or sued. Personally I'm still laughing but enough of you disagree with me for them to make it to number 13 (lucky for them) in our chart.
Official Site
Antony & The Johnsons
There was quite a lot of talk of Antony & The Johnsons on our forums back in the summer, personally I'd never heard of him at that point even though he'd only recently completed a European tour with Lou Reed. But when I heard his music I (and it seems enough other members of this site) fell in love with his music enough to get it to number 14 in our charts. It's probably the most beautiful album I've bought this year (though first released in 1997!) and one which can easily move me to tears. With touches of Brian Eno-esque Roxy Music and a voice that tears your soul apart in a way similar to Jeff Buckley, it's like a heartbreaking & slightly camp version of the Velvet Goldmine soundtrack.
Official Site
The Modern
Adding a touch of theatrics to their shows rises The Modern above the host of bands these days that are updating the 80s synth sound. Taking some of the best bits of bands like Duran Duran & The Human League has deservedly made them favourites at many electro-clubs around London this year. 2005 should see them touring far more extensively and if they find time to complete their album, then hopefully they can be as successful as the bands that inspired them.
Official Site
Marilyn Manson - Lest We Forget
We didn't forget and since he always makes such a splash I doubt the rest of the world did either, but this year saw the God Of Fvck, Antichrist Superstar or whatever he's calling himself this week release his 10 years Best Of... compilation. There's probably not been a GLAM-OU-RAMA night when we've not played one or more of his songs, so it's nice to be able to just bring one CD when DJing, but otherwise there's nothing new here worth shouting about, even his cover of Personal Jesus was a bit pedestrian. Still a vital compilation if you don't have the albums.
Official Site
The Arcade Fire - Funeral
I was quite surprised to find this made the top 20. It was one of my favourite records but I didn't think it was widely enough known to get enough votes. But looking at some end of year polls on other websites I noticed it made nearly all of them, so I guess I just didn't realise just how many people had fallen in love with it. I find it hard to describe, imagine a slightly more upbeat Mercury Rev, throw in some touches of The Flaming Lips, even some Belle & Sebastian, a beautiful and lush album that really must be heard to be fully appreciated.
Official Site
The Dears - No Cities Left
Another band that take their template from Britpop (see The Killers at 13), Canada's the Dears take a slightly more subtle (and in my opinion far more skillful) brush to the canvas. While they may sound like a slightly morose blur (or maybe Damon Albarn singing Smiths, or maybe even Gene, songs) they add enough new twists to rise them above saccharin copyists like The Killers and while not as commercial sounding (and thus further down in our charts) probably far more deserving of their place in our top 20 this year. But this is just my opinion, you've put them 5 places further down the charts, and that's where they remain, but if you liked Britpop the first time around then this in my opinion is a far better homage than that of The Killers.
Official Site
Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster - The Royal Society
I have to admit I don't know nearly as much about 80s Matchbox as I should. One of those bands that people keep telling me about and yet I never really find enough time to listen to properly. I heard one track from their debut album, thought they sounded like the Cramps but never listened to it properly. I still haven't really and nor have I given it's follow up The Royal Society enough spins to do it justice. I know I'll love it just like the rest of you who voted it into the top 20 when I finally do though...
Official Site
PJ Harvey
Even worse than 80s Matchbox, I've not even gotten around to buying this yet, let alone listening to it. I'm sure like all the rest of Polly Jeans output it'll be amazing. I'm glad you all voted it into the top 20 cos now it's reminded me that I really have to get this...
Official Site

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