Thursday, December 22

Take Out Your Short List.

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You might not be aware of the New Pantheon Award, but you're certainly aware of the Shortlist Music Prize.

The Shortlist Music Prize is an award given to the most creative and groundbreaking album of the year that has sold under 500,000 copies. The name has now been changed to the New Pantheon Award for 2005. Since being started in 2001, winners include:

2001 - Sigur Ros - Agaetis Byrjun
2002 - N.E.R.D. - In Search Of...
2003 - Damien Rice - O
2004 - TV On The Radio - Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes

In December, the "long list" of nominees are announced, eventually being chipped down to a 10 album "short list" by February for the award show, just 2 days before the Grammys. During the award show, a select group of finalists will play live before the announcement of the winner.

Here now, is the long list:

Amadou & Mariam - Dimanche a Bamako (Nonesuch)
American Analog Set - Set Free (Arts & Crafts)
Andrew Bird - Andrew Bird & the Mysterious Production of Eggs (Righteous Babe)
Animal Collective - Feels (Fat Cat)
Antony and the Johnsons - I am a Bird Now (Secretly Canadian)
Aqualung - Strange and Beautiful (Red Ink)
Arcade Fire - Funeral (Merge)
The Ark - State of the Ark (EMI)
Atmosphere - You Can't Imagine How Much Fun We're Having (Rhymesayers)
Bettye LaVette - I've Got My Own Hell to Raise (Anti)
Björk - Medulla (Elektra)
Blackalicious - The Craft (Epitaph)
Bloc Party - Silent Alarm (Vice)
Boards of Canada - The Campfire Headphase (Warp)
Brazilian Girls - Brazilian Girls (Verve)
Brian Wilson - SMiLE (Nonesuch)
Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (Saddle Creek)
The Bravery - The Bravery (Island)
Broadcast - Tender Buttons (Warp)
Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene (Arts & Crafts)
Chad VanGaalen - Infiniheart (Sub Pop)
Charlie Haden - Not in Our Name (Verve)
Clinic - Winchester Cathedral (Domino)
Damian Marley - Welcome to Jamrock (Universal)
Danger Doom - The Mouse and the Mask (Epitaph)
The Dears - No Cities Left (Spin Art)
Death Cab for Cutie - Plans (Atlantic)
The Decemberists - Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars)
Deerhoof - The Runners Four (Kill Rock Stars)
Devendra Banhart - Nino Rojo (Young God)
Elliott Smith - From a Basement on the Hill (Anti)
Emiliana Torrini - Fisherman's Woman (Rough Trade)
Explosions in the Sky - How Strange, Innocence (Temporary Residence)
The Faint - Wet From Birth (Saddle Creek)
Fantomas - Suspended Animation (Ipecac)
Feist - Let It Die (Interscope)
Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine (Sony)
The Futureheads - The Futureheads (Sire/679)
The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike (Sony)
Gogol Bordello - Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike (Side One Dummy)
Inara George - All Rise (Everloving)
Jamie Lidell - Multiply (Warp)
Jamiroquai - Dynamite (Sony)
John Vanderslice - Pixel Revolt (Barsuk)
Kaiser Chiefs - Employment (Universal)
Kasabian - Kasabian (RCA)
Keren Ann - Nolita (Blue Note)
Kings of Leon - Aha Shake Heartbreak (RCA)
Langhorne Slim - When the Sun's Gone Down (Narnack)
Laura Veirs - Year of Meteors (Nonesuch)
LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem (Capitol)
Le Tigre - This Island (Universal)
Leela James - A Change Is Gonna Come (Warner Brothers)
The Like - Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking? (Geffen)
M.I.A. - Arular (XL/Beggars)
M83 - Before the Dawn Heals Us (Mute)
Maria Taylor - 11:11 (Saddle Creek)
The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute (Universal)
Mary Gauthier - Mercy Now (Lost Highway)
Matt Costa - Songs We Sing (Venerable Media)
Matisyahu - Live at Stubb's (Sony/Or Music)
MF Doom - MM..Food? (Rhymesayers)
Mia Doi Todd - Manzanita (Plug Research)
Mike Doughty - Haughty Melodic (ATO)
My Morning Jacket - Z (ATO)
Mylo - Destroy Rock & Roll (Breast Fed)
Nada Surf - The Weight Is a Gift (Barsuk)
The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema (Matador)
Pinback - Summer in Abaddon (Touch & Go)
Quasimoto - The Further Adventures of Lord Quas (Stones Throw)
Ray LaMontagne - Trouble (RCA)
Rilo Kiley - More Adventurous (Brute/Beaute)
Rogue Wave - Descended Like Vultures (Sub Pop)
Roisin Murphy - Ruby Blue (Echo)
Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters (Universal)
Seu Jorge - Cru (Wrasse Records)
Sleater-Kinney - The Woods (Sub Pop)
Sons and Daughters - The Repulsion Box (Domino)
Spoon - Gimme Fiction (Merge)
Stars - Set Yourself on Fire (Arts & Crafts)
Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (Asthmatic Kitty)
Thrice - Vheissu (Island)
Tim Robinson - Money in the Woods (CD Baby)
Tom Vek - We Have Sound (Star Time)
William Bolcom - Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Naxos)
Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary (Sub Pop)
Z-Trip - Shifting Gears (Hollywood)

This, to me, is the most competitive long list they've ever had. There's a lot of truly great albums on here, which got me wondering. If you got to choose, what would your Short List be?

Mine is really no surprise, as 9 of the 10 have already appeared on my year-end list in some shape or form. Besides, I've been taking in Arcade Fire all year like a meth addict with a FEMA-issued credit card:

Arcade Fire - Funeral (Merge)
Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning (Saddle Creek)
The Decemberists - Picaresque (Kill Rock Stars)
The Faint - Wet From Birth (Saddle Creek)
Feist - Let It Die (Interscope)
The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike (Sony)
LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem (Capitol)
My Morning Jacket - Z (ATO)
Sufjan Stevens - Illinois (Asthmatic Kitty)
Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary (Sub Pop)

So, what's yours?

On a similar note, indie cornerstone Pitchfork has released their top 50 albums of the year. Where did the CDP-chosen albums end up on their list?

#42 - My Morning Jacket - Z
#30 - Franz Ferdinand - You Could Have It So Much Better
#26 - The Decemberists - Picaresque
#18 - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!
#10 - Wolf Parade - Apologies To The Queen Mary
#8 - LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
#1 - Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

It would seem that I had a pretty good ear this year. See, kids? I'm still cool! If you want to see where my picks ended up on just about EVERY year-end list, I invite you to check out this link. If I were to venture a guess as to what was the overall #1 of 2005, Sufjan Stevens takes the prize, hands down.

(this post is going to rule; you'd be doing yourself a favor in checking it 'oot.)

Why is the Arcade Pweep on there, didn't their album come out last year?
So did the Faint and that Elliott Smith album. I would think coming out any year that isn't the current year should disqualify an album from being on the year's best-of list. But that's just me.
Allow me to clarify the rules of the contest:

Albums must be single-artist, full-length albums released in the USA. The date of US release must be between July 1, 2004 and June 30, 2005.

It's a full year, but it straddles 2004 and 2005.
Got it. A little weird to think of it like that, but I get it. It's just so much easier to do best-of lists in a January-December context. That way you only need the year of release, and not the month.
I agree, but those Shortlist/Pantheon people can pretty much do whatever the hell they want.

Arcade Fire should have this one in the bag, unless it's too distant a memory for the judges. There really is a lot of good stuff on the list, and Illinois is the only album I can think of that might deserve it as much.
Yeah, I agree it's pretty much between those two albums. Can't go wrong with either, though.
True dat'. Maybe they'll play a show together and have, like 80 people on stage.
Sufjan should definitely take the cake over Arcade Pweep. He actually UNDERSTANDS orchestration and coordination of different instruments. Not to mention he's smoking hot.
I only own two albums from Pitchfork's list, and one of them I didn't end up liking very much. Time for me to start getting my indie cred up, or else just give up and only buy albums when Dave Matthews or Pearl Jam have a new one out.

I was already liking that Neutral Milk Hotel album quite a bit, but my sleep-deprived state of late has quadrupled my enjoyment of it and it's making me have to strap in my brain.

What's the deal with CDP going black on Dec 31? Did you get cancelled?
Yeah, Mr. Stevens sure knows how to play an instrument. It doesn't hurt that he's quite attractive, as well. Everything's going his way.

Pitchfork doesn't know everything. Sometimes they pick albums just for the sake of having an original list. I think that the CDP does a great job of mixing the mainstream with the underground without coming off as too pretentious.

CDP=Better than Pitchfork.

Okay, maybe not. Someday.

NMH will grab a hold of you if you let your guard down. It's in the bloodstream now, and it's becoming a part of you. It's a really good feeling when an album does that.

On the CDP fading to black at the end of the year: You know, it's the strangest thing. I was bought out by Fox News in exchange for a nice record player and some flare pants.

I don't know what they plan to do with the page, but on December 31, they're flipping the switch. Beats me.
Those must be some sweet pants.
Also, I'm probably more likely to trust your opionions than Pitchforks, I saw a lot of your stuff on their list. It's when I see the same albums on multiple best-of lists that I've never heard, I realize I'm not bringing my A-game to the plate.

Baseball analogies are right in my wheelhouse.
That's the spirit.

I see a lot of the kids on Pitchfork and other indie sites just looking for a clever way to forward their writing career; so they make a resume under the guise of an album review.

Then, a million people make a decision on the album based on a completely biased and quite unfair review, and the artist is directly effected by this jerk's selfishness.

I never did that. Nope. Never.
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