John Donnelly's Top Ten Albums of 2004

It's that time of year when minds turn to lists, and we at CD Times do not like to disappoint. So, without further ado, I give you my top ten albums of 2004.

1. The Streets - A Grand Don't Come For Free

Mike Skinner's take on British life should be familiar to any young-ish person who hasn't been hiding in a bunker for the past ten years; wild nights out, spliffs in front of the box, and relationship woes ending in the tear-jerker par excellence Dry Your Eyes. Like him or not, his music is instantly recognisable as, well, him, which has to count for something in this day and age.

2. Miss Kittin - I Com

With more ideas than any other album I've heard this year, I Com is a masterclass in dance production, jumping from hip-hop to house to electroclash to God-knows-what-else. Miss Kittin's quirky personality holds it together.

3. Rainstick Orchestra - The Floating Glass Key in the Sky

By contrast, a record almost devoid of strong personality, but you wouldn't pour HP sauce over steamed fish, would you? This is minimalist chill-out, touching oh-so-delicately on lounge, jazz and electronica, with just a hint of its creators' home country, Japan.

4. Handsome Boy Modeling School - White People

And the award for record-with-the-most-astonishing-array-of-guests goes to... Not Band Aid 20, but this playful hip-hop album, with standout tracks featuring the likes of Cat Power, De La Soul, and Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos.

5. Husky Rescue - Country Falls

A countryfied Finnish answer to Air's Moon Safari. The perfect warmer for a chilly night.

6. Two Lone Swordsmen - From the Double Gone Chapel

Intensely dark dubby-electro-rock which should satisfy fans of Death In Vegas, Joy Division and Iggy Pop.

7. The Earlies - These Were...

Gorgeous psychedelic pop. Enough to keep Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips and Grandaddy on their toes.

8. Air - Talkie Walkie

A solid offering from the French duo. Highlights include the lovely Cherry Blossom Girl and that insanely catchy whistling tune a.k.a. Alpha Beta Gaga.

9. Mylo - Destroy Rock & Roll

An easy-on-the-ears dance record which bridges the gap between Royksopp and Daft Punk. Features perhaps the year's best swearfest in the shape of Drop the Pressure.

10. The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning, Strike

Defying categorisation, these tracks veer from DIY chaos to what could be themes from lost TV shows, as elements of rock, pop, hip-hop and jazz are thrown into the exhilirating mix.

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