Favorite music of 2005

Like a lot of people, I keep a list of Favorite songs on my iPod. At the moment it totals 97 songs. It’s not literally every favorite in my collection. I’ve mainly added to the list when I’ve heard something I really like, so it’s by no means definitive. And it is focused on more recent music, rather then everything in my collection.

I thought I’d finish the year with at least ONE “best of 2005” list based on this list. You have to do at least one Best Of at the end of the year, don’t you? This one is less about songs that were literally released in 2005, but more about songs that I still really like at the end of 2005, or discovered in 2005.

So here are the 10 from that list that I like the most. If you’re interested in the whole list it’s here.

1. Love Me Like You by the Magic Numbers from the album Magic Numbers. I’ve seen the Magic Numbers live two times in the last year and a bit. They carry so much energy. Great pop.

2. Let Go by Frou Frou from the album Details. I think I found this one through last.FM before buying the whole album..

3. Naked As We Came by Iron & Wine from the album Our Endless Numbered Days. Really excellent band. This one was found through the Sub Pop podcast before I started buying complete albums.

4. Mr Brightside by the Killers from the album Hot Fuss. Awesome, awesome song. And band. Great performance at Live 8. The only one I actually saw.

5. Glenn Tipton by Sun Kil Moon from the album Ghosts of the Great Highway. Don’t know where I found this album. This first track is haunting.

6. The Pioneers by Bloc Party from the album Silent Alarm. I think I had Bloc Party recommended to my by Ario at about the same time I found it on WebJay. Awesome band.

7. Feel Good inc. by Gorillaz from the album Demon Days. I’m late to the Gorillaz game, having never listened to the first album. I have now, but think this second album is quite a bit better.

8. Forever Never by Maerz from the album Wir Sind Hier (thanks to Ario for this one from one of his mixes. Full album is great, too. I’m confused whether they are called Marz or Maerz. I had more luck looking for their songs using Maerz.

9. Up All Night by Razorlight from the album Up All Night. Another Brit Rock track. I can’t separate this band from the Killers, really. Same kind of sound (to me). The Killers just have the edge.

10. He’s Just Like Me by The Proclaimers from the album Born Innocent. I have a soft spot for the Proclaimers. I remember listening to them during art class at school in about ’87. I love how Scottish they sound, how harmonic they are and how great their stories are.

Ah, who am I kidding? In compiling this top 10 I realised I haven’t even got songs from some of my other favorite albums of the year into my Favorite songs list, let alone then on to this list. So, it’s all highly unscientific and in a state of evolutions. Bands like the Editors, Wire Daisies, Syd Matters and so on should probably at least be competing, but they’re not. Still, it’s a list. And I got it in before the end of the year.
If you’re interested, there’s yet another list of albums I’ve bought recently on my wiki…

Too much luck

The National Lottery in the UK is quite amazing. Although it’s basically a form of gambling, since 1994 it’s raised 17 billion pounds (about 30 billion dollars), 28% of which is fed back to “good causes”. These include a huge number of local projects, maintenance of the UKs heritage as well as funding some major new buildings.

I’ve always admired the lottery, taken advantage of the things it’s helped to pay for and recognized what a positive impact it’s had in the last decade on culture in Britain. So in July 2005 I “did my bit” and signed Shannon and I up on their website to play automatically every Saturday, with the funds drawn by direct debit from my bank. We’ve just left it alone knowing that we’re at least contributing regularly.

Since then, though, we’ve won twice. Not huge amounts, but enough to make me feel like I’m not really contributing anything, but instead just milking the cash cow for everything it will give. Sorry.

Podcast that works for me

I’ve been messing around with listening to Podcasts now for about 6 months. They appeal to me because they are so fresh, but most of them don’t really meet the “bite size” criteria that I think you need for media on the go. Most of the time I use my iPod to fill a short space in my day (the exception being when I go on longer “commutes” to Seattle). I think, from my limited exposure, that podcasts are best in small chunks that you can commit to listening through fully in one sitting. This isn’t something I can do with a 30+ minute broadcast.

The podcast I’ve enjoyed the most so far is one that just focuses on releasing single tracks on a regular basis. It’s been a great way to just “try out” new bands. It’s from Sub Pop Records. Through their feed I’ve discovered some great bands, like Iron & Wine and Rogue Wave.

Next year a project called Creative Commons Three Sixty Five will be releasing one free track a day through their feed. I hope it will be as good.

Things about babies

Things I’m learning from the first few days of caring for Madeline:

  1. Kids poo comes in a range of colors, textures and odors.
  2. The stump of the umbilical cord doesn’t just shrink away, it drops off (glad someone warned me that’s coming…).
  3. It doesn’t really matter the size, pretty much everything will “fit” a baby.
  4. Lots of stuff about what breasts are REALLY for.
  5. Our baby likes head massages (as does Shannon).
  6. Watching a baby transmitter for signs of life (i.e. the smallest flicker of an LED) can make you paranoid.
  7. There are no “rules” for caring for your baby, only “things to try”.
  8. You can find someone’s personality in the smallest movement. Or even stillness.
  9. Even a big baby is really small.
  10. You can’t avoid being biased about how beautiful your own child is.

Madeline Eleanor Banks

The end of our 9 month wait came on Monday, a day after our "due" date. Madeline Eleanor Banks was born at 8:40pm, UK time, weighing 9 lbs and 15 oz (4.51 kg) at a length of 22 inches (55 cm). Shannon is doing great and we're both very, very happy.