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1. PAUL McCARTNEY - Chaos And Creation In The Backyard
Go ahead and call me a wanker for liking this (or for any other reason, if you prefer). Without resorting to one damn silly love song, McCartney delivers a genuinely great album of minor key marvels. Like new Beatles music once did, it surprises and challenges at every turn. And to think that this year he’ll rent a cottage at the Isle of Wight (if it’s not too dear).

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2. ROBBIE FULKS – Georgia Hard
The guy who on his first album recorded a song about Nashville called “Fuck This Town” delivers a record that hearkens back to good old fashioned seventies country music, albeit with an occasional wink of his cynical eye. Too country for even hip rock radio and way too smart for country radio.

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3. GOGOL BORDELLO – Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike
From the Eastern European capital of America—Brooklyn—this is what The Pogues might have sounded like if they hailed from Rumania and if they drank grain alcohol instead of Guinness. The year’s most indescribable and fun record.

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The sounds of the garage, a soulful woman singer and obscure sixties soul songs. I never stood a chance.

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5. THE TRANSPLANTS – Haunted Cities
California guitar punk Tim Armstrong meets a raspy voiced white rapper. I’m not sure that description even sounds that appealing to me. Much better than it sounds.

    Buy from Not Lame Recording Co.
6. TERRY ANDERSON & THE OLYMPIC ASS KICKIN' TEAM – Terry Anderson & the Olympis Ass Kickin' Team
Think Rockpile meets. . .uh, Rockpile. With alcohol. Or a brattier NRBQ. Great songs with clever lyrics, a nimble singer and, well, an ass kickin’ band. Inspirational song title: “I Feel A Drunk Coming On”.

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7. PETRA HADEN – Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out
The Who Sell Out was always a fun ride but this one is a smile a minute. I can see for smiles.

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Obviously, they are practitioners of the ‘if it ain’t broke” school of music. Forever dense and quirky. See POOP ’01 and ’04 for the details. Plus I think I’m in love with Neko Case.

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9 . FIONA APPLE – Extraordinary Machine
Far less petulant than on her previous two albums, Fiona even shows a sense of self- effacing humor on the title track. Of the two different versions of this CD, I prefer which- ever one I listened to last.

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10. VARIOUS ARTISTS – Lowe Profile: A Tribute to Nick Lowe
With a catalogue as deep as his, it should come as no surprise that this had to be a double disc. What is surprising is that it is good all the way through—all “winners”, no “doggie’s dinners.”

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11. BETTYE LaVETTE – I’ve Got My Own Hell To Pay
Most people, myself included, did not hear of Bettye LaVette during her first go around. On her “comeback”, she wrings the beauty out of ache while her bruised voice recasts the songs of Sinead, Fiona, Dolly, Aimee and other women singers not as recognizable by their first names (like Joan).

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12. THE FUTUREHEADS – The Futureheads
The Gang of Four-part harmonies. I know it came out in 2004 but no one told me about it until last year’s lists came along.

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13. AMY RIGBY – Little Fugitive
Ever-charming and never afraid to drop a cutesy lyric, Amy continues to mine the ordinary. She could turn a shopping list into poetry. Cutesy poetry.

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14. VARIOUS ARTISTS: Stand-Ins For Decibels: A Tribute To The dB’s
Guitarpop bands with an ear for quirk pay tribute to the masters. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, seek out Repercussions, a desert island keeper for me.

    Buy from SSP
This time Brooklyn delivers a horn and accordion-based European gumbo, recorded (as the liner notes say) “January 4th, 2005, 3:15-7:30 PM with a 45 minute dinner break.”

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16. THE ROLLING STONES – Bigger Bang
Collectively the four core members are 246 years old. They should be playing canasta and talking about Lipitor. Good name for their next tour—The Lipitour!

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17. NEIL YOUNG – Prairie Wind
I knew Neil had a brain aneurysm when I heard Greendale. Welcome back to the POOPlist, Neil.

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18. NIC ARMSTRONG AND THE THIEVES - The Greatest White Liar
Somebody’s been listening to his dad’s sixties records.

OLD ‘97s – Live And Wired
Old 97s get in touch with their inner bar band.

LUCINDA WILLIAMS – Live @ The Fillmore
Her band has a great sound and feel, and Lucinda is Lucinda. Funny, I hated these same songs on her last record but they are something else here.

Impossible to find but well worth the search. The world’s best (and only) New Orleans- style brass hip-hop band.

BOB DYLAN – No Direction Home
In the year that hard rain did, indeed, a-fall (in more ways than one), this DVD remains always intelligent, completely engaging and occasionally jaw-dropping. Kudos to the producers for isolating the concert performances, too.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN – Born To Run: 30TH Anniversary Edition
The 1975 concert is a reminder that before being called The Boss, Bruce Springsteen was a scrawny kid-next-door who really looked like he came from "a town full of losers." Watch the kid using rock’n’roll as his salvation as he’s "pulling out of here to win."

THE CARLISLES – Gonna Shake This Shack Tonight: Busy Body Boogie
VARIOUS ARTISTS – Country Goes Rock N’Roll
The music on both of these pre-dates rockabilly by a year or two but they show that there could never have been rock without the billy first.
VARIOUS ARTISTS – The Songs Of Jackie DeShannon: Volume 1
Sixties artists perform songs of the then-relatively unknown queen of folk-rock. This was released by the Jackie DeShannon Appreciation Society, a group with a limited membership (Kevin).
VARIOUS ARTISTS - A Cellarful of Motown: Volume 2
More frighteningly good stuff from the richest cellar in America.
VARIOUS ARTISTS – Children Of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The Second Psychedelic Era (1976-1996)
A nicely chosen selection of Paisley Pop. With a cantaloupe girlfriend, indeed.