Like most music nerds, I compile a list of my favorite albums at the end of each year (here is last year's). Despite the definitive sound of "Best Albums," I don't stop considering the quality of 2004 releases when the ball drops on New Year's Eve. Thus, I present you with my top ten releases from 2004 that I have purchased since the year ended.

1. Aberfeldy - Young Forever

My friend Robbie found an mp3 of theirs by accident while cleaning out his hard drive and, thankfully, shared it with me. I'm pretty sure the song was "Heliopolis by Night," which would explained why I'm completely hooked on this Scottish band. Some would call this twee, but since I don't really know what that means I'm just going to say it's good, light-weight pop. Light, bubbly and aurally delicious.

Official Site
MP3: Love is an Arrow

2. Final Fantasy - Has A Good Home

Owen Pallett, sort-of member of Arcade Fire, is Final Fantasy. I discovered Final Fantasy while in Canada, visiting Robbie no less. The record is almost exclusively Owen and his violin, yet it still manages to be indie rock somehow. Bottomline is that the songs are awesome, my favorite being "Please Please Please."

Official Site
MP3: Please Please Please

3. David Byrne - Grown Backwards

I am a huge Talking Heads fan. It happened relatively recently, but they are definitely one of my favorite bands. Despite this, Grown Backwards is my first David Byrne solo record. I like this record as much as any Talking Heads disc and I'm scared that it's setting the bar too high for Byrne's solo releases. I know this, at least: his records will never be as cute or awkward as his speaking engagements.

Official Site (his blog)
Song Samples

4. The Zutons - Who Killed the Zutons?

I see their name and think of the Zambonis, but these guys are much better (not to knock the 'bonis). I like them for all the same reasons I like the Coral; they've got an unusal, throw-back sound and tons of energy. I'm surprised I never caught on to them when their record was released.

Official Site
MP3: Moons and Horror Shows

5. The Go! Team - Thunder Lightning Strike

This is one of those albums that just finds itself playing all of the time. Before I knew it I had racked up double-digit spins in iTunes. They're most definitely a party band, which usually only works really well live but the record is tons of fun and well produced.

Official Site
MP3: Huddle Formation

6. Death From Above 1979 - You're a Woman I'm a Machine

Loud and in-your-face, which is something you need every now and then. Since I'm not a metal-head, I don't have enough records in my collection for the times when I need to open my windows and let the music blare. This fills my need.

Official Site
"MP3": Little Girl

7. Jens Lekman - When I Said I Wanted to Be Your Dog

I was dragged along to a Jens show early this year because I had nothing else to do and his name was nifty. I got into the show for free, which loosened me up a bit, but Jens would have won me over either way. His delivery and lyrics seduce you. Although I know this is his thing, and he knows it too, I don't care. I'm willing to suspend belief and get sucked in by his songs.

Official Site
MP3: You Are the Light

8. Feist - Let it Die

I guess this officially come out this year in the U.S., but she's been all over the place for a while. Anyway, I flat out missed the boat on this one last year. Sometimes she's a little lounge-singery for me, but it hasn't stopped me from listening to the album...a lot.

Official Site
MP3: Inside and Out

9. The Futureheads - The Futureheads

I've gone back and forth with the Futureheads, thinking that I don't like them, wanting to not like them, but when I take the plunge and start listening I usually listen twice in a row. When I imagine myself as a hip, punk-rocker hanging out on the streets of London, I picture the Futureheads as my crew. They'd totally have my back.

Official Site
MP3: Meantime

10. The Hidden Cameras - Mississauga Goddam

Seeing as these guys are Canadian, it once again comes back to Robbie. He has been extolling the quality of the Cameras to me for a while now, but it finally stuck. Their newest record is beautiful and the songwriting is incredible. While listening again today, I also begrudgingly admit that fans of Belle and Sebastian might like these guys. Oh, and the record has strings, which is always cool.

Official Site
"MP3": I Believe