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Location: Charlottesville, Virginia, United States

Friday, January 13, 2006

3 - 6

03. The Streets - A Grand Don’t Come for Free
I'm a sucker for concept albums. I don't listen to this disc as much as I do some of the other albums on my top 10, in part because I like to hear it best when I can take it all in at once, but that doesn't mean Skinner's irregular vocals don't lead to some classic numbers especially "Fit But Don't You Know It." Tops Original Pirate Material, which makes me think looking back over this list that 2004 was a good year for artists not only avoiding the over-hyped sophomore slump, but actually making follow-ups that beat already respected debuts/breakout albums.

04. John Vanderslice - Cellar Door
One of the most perfectly-produced rock albums I own, which alone would make it deserve some credit, but song after song is fantastic, even when he sets Byron to music (usually the rocker using old poems is a bad idea, but here, and on Time Travel Is Lonely Vanderslice makes it work. This is the type of albm -- no, actually the album -- I sometimes push on people. This is my definition of songwriting skill and album-making craft.

05. Iron and Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days
Critics say this one's boring. They're impatient. It's beautiful, smart, poetic, cohesive, full of imagery, and moving. None of that = boring.