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Kingblind Top 15 Albums on 2005 (The near misses)

In the middle of our countdown we wanted to let you know about the near misses in our top 15 records of the year. They are some fine, fine records that are totally worthy of your hard earned cash. Soooooo let’s take a look.

Beck:: Guero
With this, his eighth proper album, Beck has shed himself of Sea Change’s need to shelter himself in his songs. We have our urban craftsman back, to stir the dust in sampled record grooves and unearth for us, again and again, the new in the old and vice versa. Post-every-post, we have Beck. Welcome back old friend
Que Ondo Guero:: (MP3)

The New Pornographers:: Twin Cinema
Twin Cinema is another great pop album from the New Pornographers, a release that’s crammed with so many memorable melodies that the bumpier moments fade into the background.
USE IT:: (MP3)

Go Team:: Thunder, Lightning, Strike
Thunder, Lightning, Strike is simply amazing. It is filled with boundless, glorious noise, sewing together flamboyance, quirkiness, sturdy sampling, and a well-traveled feel that can take you anywhere you want to go.
Bottle Rocket:: (Music Video .WMV)

Iron & Wine + Calexico :: In The Reins [EP]
If it was a foregone conclusion that the long-awaited Iron & Wine/Calexico team-up wouldn’t result in anything revelatory (or incendiary, as it were), it was almost as inevitable that it would be rewarding all the same; safe, not sorry, sad and elegant as ever.

M.I.A.:: Arular
M.I.A.’s debut record is both intensely urban and aggressively modern. The group’s sole member, Maya Arul, infuses her blend of hip-hop and chunky electro with raw, tribal overtones and a healthy dose of sex appeal. There are elements of world music here, in Arul’s multilingual vocal as well as the tonal shifts and instrumentation (like the drone that opens up “Hombre”). Her delivery uses a variety of yelps and tics full of street-wise confidence and bratty energy. But there’s also an appealing melodic sense, like early Neneh Cherry or Miss Kitten when she’s not in diva mode. M.I.A. doesn’t really sound like anybody; the music is just experimental enough to wiggle out of easy comparisons. The IDM-style bleeps and beeps of “Galang,” for example, give an already catchy song extra punch. The only problem with the record, a common flaw for debuts, is a sameness from track to track which robs it of the ability to surprise. Still, Arul is hugely talented and her abundant originality packs a wallop.