The Top 50 Instrumental Releases of 2005 (10-1)

Posted 01/05/2006 12:57AM by ChaosResolved as Article
01/05/2006 12:57AM

50-41 ~ 40-31 ~ 30-21 ~ 20-11 ~ 10-1

#10
Saxon Shore
The Exquisite Death Of
United States

Website:Saxon Shore
Music:Myspace

Often tagged as "Instrumental music for people who don't like instrumental music," New York native Saxon Shore are still able to charm this instrumental enthusiast. The Exquisite Death Of... shows the band giving their best and brightest performance to date. There's little not to like with the sound produced by this quintet as wandering guitar lines find a home amidst a safe haven of electronic sampling and the occasional call of the piano. A moderate amount of ambience is produced as a byproduct of this mixture, which only adds to the overall appeal of the album. Saxon Shore keeps is concise for the most part; only three songs break the five minute mark, and perhaps this is why they are said to appeal to people disenchanted with the post-rock world. The band doesn't mess around with lengthy compositions and ridiculously spacious segues, but instead boils everything down to the core of the music. It's taken the band awhile to get its sound as perfect as it comes across in The Exquisite Death of, but not that it is here, it is quite the wonderful experience.

#9
This Is Your Captain Speaking
Storyboard
Australia

Website:This Is Your Captain Speaking
Music:Myspace

Marking the top Australian release of the year, Storyboard is an exercise in patience. In a time where bands fight over who can be the most epic, and who can write the longest, most intense songs, This is Your Captain Speaking finds little need to be loud. Repetitive guitars force a hypnotic trance on the listener, who quickly succumbs to a dreamlike trance. If This is Your Captain Speaking ever got loud, they might be comparable to a drone band, that's the commitment it has to its craft, but as it is, the band simply crafts beautiful instrumental music that applies a minimal amount of force and just lets the landscape develop through its natural use of the organic sounds they harvest. Storyboard doesn't initially stand out as a knockout album, but every listen impresses just a little bit more than the previous, and in time the full magnificence of this album reveals itself.


#8
Sigur Ros
Takk
Iceland

Website:Sigur Ros
Music:Myspace

While not exactly an "instrumental" band, Sigur Ros is included on this list more due to its direct influence on just about every other instrumental band on the market. Although it has already charmed over most of the music population who would care about its existence, Sigur Ros continues to deliver angelic music with Takk, which sees them in familiar grounds musically, backed by string support and not afraid to borrow from the horn section during cathartic exchanges. Takk is not as patient as its predecessors, as it continually goes for the cathartic releases much earlier than the band has ever dared to, but this shift in presentation doesn't detract from the whole, which is a much more optimistic offering from the band. And for those of us who don't understand a single Icelandic word, the vocals may as well just be another instrument anyway...


#7
Caspian
You Are the Conductor
United States

Website:Caspian
Music:Myspace

The one-two-three punch of "Quovis," "Further Up," and "Further In" from Caspian's You Are the Conductor is perhaps the best eight and a half minutes of music released this year. It's epic, smooth, unrelenting, and breathtaking all at the same time. Caspian sounds like a lot of other bands, but when you try to really put a finger on exactly who they do or don't resemble, it's difficult to ultimately make that decision. It might be most accurately compared to Mogwai meets Isis, minus the vocals, but I'm reluctant to apply that label for fear of ruining the originality of Caspian. Talent excretes from every pore of this band, and by the end of You Are the Conductor, it's easy to see that the band can, and will, do much better than this. Although it is a brilliant release in its own right, You Are the Conductor doesn't quite do justice to the potential of this band, who should find themselves playing with the big guns soon. Anyone who can sit through "Last Rites" and tell me any different is insane.

#6
Up C Down C Left C Right C ABC + Start
And the Battle is Won
England

Website:Up C Down C
Music:Myspace

After years of fine-tuning its sound, Up C Down C finally connects with And the Battle is Won (appropriately titled). It's albums such as this that make it truly a joy to partake in the post-rock genre. And the Battle is Won is the result of the last four years of song writing, and the selection of tracks on the album could not be any more diverse. At times you might liken the band to Pelican, and at others to Mono, and still at others you might describe them as a space-rock band. Each song adds it's own unique flavor the to album, and no matter what your preferences may be--quiet, loud, long, short, epic, subtle--Up C Down C has it covered. It looks like all of Up C Down C's hard work is beginning to pay off with And the Battle is Won, which shows a stunning drive in the band. It's difficult to say where the band will embark from here, but they've shown that no matter the direction, they've got a good place to start.


#5
This Will Destroy You
Young Mountain
United States

Website:This Will Destroy You
Music:Myspace

No Top 10 list would be complete without a Texan band. This Will Destroy You branch off a bit from their homegrown roots, where it'd be easy to mimic the likes of their predecessors, and instead steadily marches forward with a two-pronged attack featuring energetic, monolithic build-up and cathartic, placating releases. The organic elements of Young Mountain are highlighted with the violin on tracks like "I Believe in Your Victory" and "There are Some Remedies Worse than the Disease", but This Will Destroy You also explores the cold hand of the machine with electronic samples during "Grandfather Clock." This Will Destroy You doesn't really fit squarely into the existing instrumental scene, but instead has to carve out a niche for themselves out of existing archetypes. However, with the creative forces surrounding this group of musicians, this proves to be a trivial task indeed; Young Mountain is one of the more memorable releases of the year.


#4
September Malevolence
Tomorrow We'll Wonder Where This Generation Gets it's Priorities From
Sweden

Website:September Malevolence
Music:Myspace

They've been called the Swedish Explosions in the Sky, and you can only take such a comparison as flattery. September Malevolence leads a booming Swedish instrumental scene with moody, slightly off-beat post-rock that has a perfect insight into the quiet/loud approach that has dominated the genre over the past few years. Top-notch songwriting sets Tomorrow We'll Wonder... apart from the pack, and it's a skill like that which is an indicator that this band is not a flash in the pan.
Tomorrow We'll Wonder... gets darker than one would expect, but this is complemented well by a gloomy atmosphere that looms over the album. While the dark clouds are briefly cast away throughout the course of the album, it's ultimately a losing battle as the intent of the band becomes clear by the album's conclusion. And with that September Malevolence leaves us craving more.


#3
65 Days of Static
One Time for All Time
England

Website:65 Days Of Static
Music:Myspace

Coming back from the critically acclaimed The Fall of Math, 65 Days of Static had no other option but to plow forward in their conquest of the music world with a new album full of erratic electronic instrumental rock. This time around the band embraces a more humanistic aspect to their music and explores the emotional side of its creation, a catatonic hybrid of computer sounds and aggressive instrumentation. While smoothing out the rough edges in the sound presented in The Fall of Math, 65 Days of Static tighten up the routine in One Time for All Time and hone in on perfection. So far it's the only band blazing along this trail, and by the time any copycats care to venture down the same path, 65 Days of Static shall be solidly established as reigning kings of this territory. Oh, and the remixes!


#2
Yndi Halda
Enjoy Eternal Bliss
England

Website:Yndi Halda
Music:Myspace

Yndi Halda presents a devastatingly rich debut release with Enjoy Eternal Bliss, containing three blistering post-rock tracks that feed the instrumental addiction and push it forward to new heights. A cataclysmic journey is portrayed over the three songs that paint a vivid picture of Yndi Halda--one which takes a holistic approach to their genre and leaves no stone unturned. Every note is intricately selected and scrutinized, and the end results is a beautiful portrait of unfathomable radiance. For a group of five young British lads who haven't even broken into their twenties yet, this is a remarkably, nay, amazing work of art. Some would call this a diamond in the rough, but it's more akin to finding a pin in a New York City sewar--it just doesn't get much better than this. One can only guess where the future will take these up-and-coming superstars, but someone has to pick up the pieces of the post-rock world when the current champions graduate to Depends, right?


#1
Samuel Jackson Five
Easily Misunderstood
Norway

Website:Samuel Jackson Five
Music:Myspace

A relatively unknown quintet scores the top album of the year in 2005. Samuel Jackson Five cultivate a jazz-influenced instrumental rock sound that is as smooth as it is furious and as smart as it is wild. Easily Misunderstood keeps the listener guessing; some tracks trudge along with a slow, consistent pace familiar to the post-rock world, whereas others race forward with unforeseen speed and put a dance step in the boots. One thing is certain--the band has fully evolved from their 2004 release and there is no questioning its combined talent. In creating an album that is provocative, fun, and expansionary, Samuel Jackson Five accomplish something that few others have successfully done. This is the hottest instrumental band on the market right now, and as evidence, they took 2005 by storm and claimed it as their own. Watch out for this band in the future, for if Easily Misunderstood is any indication of where it is headed, Samuel Jackson Five is years ahead of the pack.

~Jordan Volz

Comments

Monk 0 Nuggets
01/06/2006
01:10AM
Age: 28
Location
Buffalo, NY
Awesome list dudes, but i think its missing a little band called Tera Melos
sir mix-a-lot
01/06/2006
06:34PM
Location
Sacramento, CA
Monk 0 Nuggets
Awesome list dudes, but i think its missing a little band called Tera Melos

to be fair, that album didn't really get a lot of promotion and came out pretty late in the year. i wish they'd put more of their aggression on that record also. i put it in the first time and was like, "dammit, this is nothing like their live show." expect a review soon. toodles!

I'm not here to make things better; only to observe and pass judgement.

Originally stated by Scott Miller
It's like talking into a mirror!
Lost_in_Translation
01/07/2006
03:21PM
dude. am i missing something or does this list really not include m83? i mean, are you serious? no m83?
sir mix-a-lot
01/07/2006
04:53PM
Location
Sacramento, CA
i'm more offended that miasma & the carousel of headless horses isn't on it. and that caspian beat out tarantula a.d.

i agree that the first three tracks on that caspian album are amazing, but after that, that record falls off like few others.

I'm not here to make things better; only to observe and pass judgement.

Originally stated by Scott Miller
It's like talking into a mirror!
charlatantric
01/08/2006
11:15AM
Jordan,

That is some crazy shit. I was doing some research on upcdowncleftcrightcabc+start yesterday and came across one of your articles here. After reading through a bunch and setting up bookmarks, I decided, "Damn, this is a guy I totally need to talk music with." Just to let you know the coincidence and how the world comes full circle...I'm sure you've come across my mp3 blog: http://www.livejournal.com/users/charlatantric/

I think it's hilarious how we both described Caspian as "the best 1-2-3 punch".
ChaosResolved
01/08/2006
10:40PM
Location
NY/PA
charlatantric
Jordan,

That is some crazy shit. I was doing some research on upcdowncleftcrightcabc+start yesterday and came across one of your articles here. After reading through a bunch and setting up bookmarks, I decided, "Damn, this is a guy I totally need to talk music with." Just to let you know the coincidence and how the world comes full circle...I'm sure you've come across my mp3 blog: http://www.livejournal.com/users/charlatantric/

I think it's hilarious how we both described Caspian as "the best 1-2-3 punch".


I sent you a last.fm message, check the mailbox ;)
ChaosResolved
01/08/2006
10:43PM
Location
NY/PA
Lost_in_Translation
dude. am i missing something or does this list really not include m83? i mean, are you serious? no m83?


I don't know, then I have to include stuff like four tet and minotaur shock and we just open up a whole different door.
Gama
01/12/2006
08:23AM
Age: 29
Location
California
cool list. but i think it's good to open that 'door' you're referring to
GhostHero76
01/16/2006
11:47AM
Location
AZ
I think the minibosses should have been on this list.
lpshinobi
01/18/2006
05:30PM
Age: 26
Location
VT
I think Pelican should have been in the top 10. They've got to be one of the best stoner metal band out there, instrumental or not.

My Top Songs of '09
The Appleseed Cast//as the little things go
Caspian//sycamore
Sunwrae//Chinook Winds
Dredg//down to the seller
If These Trees Could Talk//the sun is in the north
From Monument to Masses//an ounce of prevention
Straylight Run//i'm through with the past


LpShinobi's Post-Rock and Shoegazing Recommendation, via YouTube

Lpshinobi's Post-Rock Band, New Song Posted

thereason00
01/22/2006
09:17PM
wonderful list man. i own a large amount of the albums mentioned in this article, and seeing others mentioned that i've never heard of that are in the same vein excites me to no end, i can't wait to acquire the rest of this fine collection that has been put together. bravo indeed.
aaron
01/22/2006
11:21PM
Age: 32
Location
Atascadero, CA
this is by far the most read article we've ever throw up. props on that.

Decoymusic.com (CEO/Founder)
Blue Reef Design Studios (Web Development)
http://aarontroy.tumblr.com

macca7174
02/27/2006
10:18AM
I have verification from sources close to Yndi Halda that they are on the verge of a major deal.
I have more details on my blog.
http://jamesimcanespy.blogspot.com
ChaosResolved
02/27/2006
12:22PM
Location
NY/PA
They have, I have confirmation from the band :-)
aaron
02/27/2006
06:23PM
Age: 32
Location
Atascadero, CA
someone emailed me to remove something from this thread, which looks like it was done. holy fuck this has been viewed over 8000 times.

Decoymusic.com (CEO/Founder)
Blue Reef Design Studios (Web Development)
http://aarontroy.tumblr.com

Scott Levy Fan
03/10/2006
01:40PM
I think one band that is missing from this list is "El Ten Eleven."It's amazingly good upbeat post rock. Brilliant songwriting. And they are amazing live.

www.myspace.com/elteneleven

aaron
someone emailed me to remove something from this thread, which looks like it was done. holy fuck this has been viewed over 8000 times.


Well, that clearly shows what type of music the people who visit the site are interested in.
ChaosResolved
03/12/2006
06:31PM
Location
NY/PA
Scott Levy Fan
I think one band that is missing from this list is "El Ten Eleven."It's amazingly good upbeat post rock. Brilliant songwriting. And they are amazing live.

www.myspace.com/elteneleven



Well, that clearly shows what type of music the people who visit the site are interested in.


El Ten Eleven came in at #28. You can check it out here: http://www.decoymusic.com/vb/showthread.php?t=6774

I guess you missed them the first time around.
klump55
06/14/2006
01:47PM
This is probably the best thing in the history of the internet.
Inevitable
06/15/2006
02:11PM
Location
Sheffield
WHAT??? No Library Tapes??? Sacrilege..Heinous..Sorry, quality article but missing the only #1 for me..
shelshok
08/27/2006
12:06AM
Saw this thread via THIS WILL DESTROY YOU's myspace page..

has anyone heard of *shels?

Look out for them in 2007.

myspace.com/shels

nice list.

:)
rustycage
08/27/2006
12:13AM
Age: 33
SPAM!



kidding!
Rich
09/03/2006
11:49AM
Age: 28
Location
Leeds, England
Laura's Mapping Your Dreams was my personal favourite, can't believe it was so far down on the list. New album Radio Swan Is Down out next week I believe.

Samuel Jackson 5; I didn’t think was anything groundbreaking, good album but surprised it made it to number one. Greatest band name ever though :).
telefta
10/16/2006
11:33AM
I think that russian circles should have easily been at the top of this list and i think that this band called elephant and castle should be atleast on the list. Agreed on tera melos
Tempus
10/16/2006
11:44AM
Location
Canada
Where the hell did this thread come from?