Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

TIG Best Northwest Releases of 2005

{50-41} * {40-31} * {30-21} * {20-11} * {10-1}
{top 100} * {imaginary picks}

Harvey Danger, Little By Little#10 Harvey Danger — Little By Little
(Phonographic Records)
Harvey Danger catapulted back onto the NW stage with the fantastic DIY-style album, self-released and offered up free (donations welcomed) on the band’s website. The striking LP showcases the Harvey Danger’s leaps-and-bounds progression since their five-year hiatus. To boot, Sean Nelson’s acerbic voice grew mightily into a Broadway-worthy, bell-ringing croon that can finally hold the weight of his witty words. {Stella}
{official website} * {buy it} * {review}


Mon Frere, Real Vampires#9 Mon Frere — Real Vampires
(Cake Records)
With their debut release, Mon Frere have grown beyond their EMP Soundoff (the annual underage Battle of the Bands) accolades and proven themselves to be more than three kids from Mountlake Terrace who used their study hall time wisely. This trio have a thing or two to teach us all on how to sum their parts (keyboards, soaring female vocals, and riff-driven guitar) into one mean end. {igLiz}
{official website} * {buy it} * {review} * {interview}


Sleater-Kinney, The Woods#8 Sleater Kinney — The Woods
(Sub Pop)
As far as indie bands go, Sleater-Kinney had it good: a comfortable home at Kill Rock Stars, critical acclaim, and tons of adoring fans. Not needing a makeover, Carrie Brownstein, Corin Tucker and Janet Weiss nonetheless signed with Sub Pop, hired a producer that wasn’t even a fan, and rediscovered Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. Along the way, the band managed to release its most challenging record to date. {ChrisB}
{official website} * {buy it} * {review}


Buttersprites#7 Buttersprites — Buttersprites
(Dionysus Records)
Buttersprites are a tasty musical morsel, and they recognize the importance of snappy matching outfits, sassy live performances, and ironic covers (note the cover of Iggy Pop’s “Dog Food” on this release, worth the ticket price just to hear Haruko Nishimura bark her way through). Their debut punk-pop release brought Seattle props through a coveted spot on All Music Guide, and earned the band a devoted following beyond the Northwest. More fun than Pocky. {igDana}
{official website} * {buy it} * {review}


Blue Scholars, The Long March#6 Blue Scholars — The Long March
Sabzi and Geologic together are Blue Scholars, Seattle’s heir apparent to the Northwest hip hop throne. Critical intelligence floods the narratives of each song’s statement. Blue Scholars explore tough topics, from dayjob futility to the war in Iraq, expressing the doubts, anger, fear, uncertainty, angst, and a myriad of other complex human emotions, yet the tone throughout remains hopeful and upbeat. And you can dance to it. {igDana}
{official website} * {buy it} * {review}


Stars of Track and Field, You Came Here for Sunset Last Year#5 Stars of Track and Field — You Came Here For Sunset Last Year
(Mad Recordings)
With the release of their EP, this Portland, Oregon three piece have cleared the clutter of their influences and pared down to concise electro-gazer. Their brand of fuzz has a pop slant that ensconces the listener in velveteen harmonies. Confident and charismatic, we eagerly anticipate a full-length release on their new label (SideCho) in the coming year. {igLiz}
{official website} * {buy it} * {review}


Slender Means, Neon & Ruin#4 Slender Means — Neon & Ruin
(Mt. Fuji)
After two+ years of playing increasingly packed local shows, Slender Means finally released a stunning debut in Neon & Ruin, a rollicking record of sweeping pop-rock gems. Featuring Josh Dawson’s stunning vocals (the most mellifluous in Seattle, mark my words) and the intricate guitar mastery of Sonny Votolato, the band appears poised on the precipice of super-stardom. {igDana}
{official website} * {buy it} * {review}



The Decemberists, Picaresque#3 The Decemberists — Picaresque
(Kill Rock Stars)
One listen through the Decemberists’ Picaresque will have you pulling out your dictionary faster than if you were at a Scrabble tournament. With each song, frontman Colin Meloy becomes less of a lead singer of a band and more of a bleating narrator painting stories of love, loss, consumption by a whale, athletic injury and other such imaginative prose fit for milk-and-cookies story time. {igChar}
{official website} * {buy it} * {review}



Tullycraft, Disenchanted Hearts Unite#2 Tullycraft — Disenchanted Hearts Unite
(Magic Marker)
It may have been three years in the making, but Tullycraft — founding member of the indie-pop worldwide proletariat — have given us a fresh take on their brand of hook-laden pop: whipsmart lyrics surrounded by guitar jangles, and enough “bah bah baps!” and “ah ah ahhs!” to send us into 2006 spinning cartwheels. Undeniably their best release, Disenchanted Hearts Unite triumphs as a near-manifesto to stellar pop songwriting. {igDana}
{official website} * {buy it} * {review}


Death Cab for Cutie, Plans#1 Death Cab for Cutie — Plans
We’re sure no one is surprised to see Death Cab for Cutie topping the imaginary readers’ poll this year. A major label debut, multiple appearances on The OC, and a Grammy nomination have the local Death Cab boys on their way to becoming a household name. With thoughtful songwriting, pristine production, and vocals that make the girls swoon, Death Cab continues to release unshakably great albums. {igChar}
{official website} * {buy it} * {review}