PRINT December 2004

Music: Best of 2004

Dennis Cooper


1. Destroyer, Your Blues (Merge Sounds) Sounds like a young Leonard Cohen on lots of Ecstasy.

2. A.C. Newman, The Slow Wonder (Matador Records) Newman, (most of) the brains behind the spookily catchy, detail-obsessed New Pornographers, pares down his sound without losing an iota of the band’s sociopathic genius.

3. Animal Collective, Sung Tongs (Fat Cat) Spin this primo example of corrosive post-psychedelia, then see the band blow it open live.

4. Guided by Voices, Half Smiles of the Decomposed (Matador Records) The final album by my favorite—and, coincidentally, the greatest—rock band of all time.

5. Dissociatives, Dissociatives (EMI International) It’s really sad that singer/songwriter Daniel Johns’s artistic baby steps (on Silverchair’s multiplatinum Frogstomp) stigmatized him as a grunge lightweight. To ignore him would be to dismiss a top-notch adventurer.

6. Xiu Xiu, Fabulous Muscles (5 Rue Christine) This might be the best CD ever recorded by an openly gay man.

7. Prosaics, Aghast Agape (Dim Mak Records) A lot of new bands have banged their heads on the oeuvres of Joy Division and early Cure, but this deep, smart trio is the only band that’s ricocheted.

8. Wolf Eyes, Burned Mind (Sub Pop) Their heady, hellish ruckus is gorgeous and scenic yet not the least bit touristy.

9. Graham Coxon, Happiness in Magazines (EMI/Parlophone) It turns out that unsung ex-Blur member Coxon is the guy who made their early albums so charming, while overrated extant member Damon Albarn is the one who made them a little too snarky and stiff.

10. The Arcade Fire, Funeral (Merge Records) Yet more proof that, music-wise, Canada is the new England. This Montreal-based band smushes glam theatricality, space-rock distension, and ABBA-worthy hooks into sensational amalgams.

Dennis Cooper is a contributing editor of Artforum. His seventh novel, The Sluts, is published this month by Void Books.