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For full album reviews of most of these go to the Reviews '04 section. This is just a list of my favourite albums of the year, and a quick sentence or so about why I liked them so much

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus
Storming from start to finish. These two albums are uplifting, rousing, dark, brilliant. Mr Cave has just absolutely nailed one!

A Ghost is Born
It doesn't exactly grab you right away, this one, but once it starts growing on you there's no stopping it.

The Killers
Hot Fuss
I honestly don't care whether or not they turn out any good in the long run, or any of that 'real music' debate bollocks. This is just a brilliant album with, ahem, killer tunes, great riffs and the sort of energy that means you just can't ever play it loud enough.

Modest Mouse
Good News For People Who Love Bad News
How this has finished so low on every other 'Best of '04' list is beyond me. Catchy, quirky and inspired. And clearly loves Tom Waits!

The Dears
No Cities Left
Another grower, this one. Sounds for all the world like Damon Albarn, but dark, epic, moody, brilliant Indie songs. And they're Canadian too, which is always good.

Grant Lee Phillips
Virginia Creeper
Dreamy, summery acoustica carried by the sort of tunes that Lambchop wish they could write. He's clearly done very well to ditch the Buffalo.

The Walkmen
Bows & Arrows
Atonal and almost anti-tune. Very reminiscent of the first Interpol album. Another tense, brooding record.

Andrew Bird
Weather Systems
Playful acoustic album distinguished by meandering, violin. Something of a surprise favourite.

James Yorkston & the Athletes
Beyond the River
Takes quite a few listens, this one. Once you're there though there's a gentle, wistful melancholy pervading the whole album. Lovely.

Tom Waits
Real Gone
More songs like Trampled Rose, Make it Rain and Hoist That Rag and this would have scored much higher. Just a little too much that sounds like filler though. Not vintage Tom, but some great songs nonetheless.