We are halfway through our “Great Albums” list but 2004 is just the start for many artists releasing debut albums that year. In 2004 you’ll find Canadian groups of all different sounds, shapes and sizes as well as groups that continue to evolve and manipulate their sound. These albums are in no particular order and are just a few of the great album from 2004.
Arcade Fire – Funeral
Funeral is the debut record to come from indie collective Arcade Fire and was released September 14th. Sadly, the record was given the name Funeral because several band members had lost family members earlier that year. The LP was recorded at the Hotel2Tango in Montreal but it took over a year for the entire process to be finished. The album gained a significant amount of critical acclaim and produced 5 singles including “Wake Up”, “Rebellion (Lies)” and “Neighbourhood’s #1-3”. The record received a 2005 Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album and has the second most appearances on end-of-decade Top 10 list, falling behind Radiohead’s Kid A .
A.C. Newman – The Slow Wonder
Another debut record released in 2004 – A.C. Newman (frontman of the New Pornographers) dropped The Slow Wonder on June 8th. Album cut “On the Table” was featured on the television show the O.C. and made it on to the official soundtrack as well. The Slow Wonder was released through both Last Gang and Matador Records and was met with positive reviews. Pitchfork gave it a glowing review, rating it 8.8/10 saying the album “fits together for a taut 34 minutes without lags or rough spots”.
Junior Boys – Last Exit
The third debut record in a row to come out this year, Junior Boys gave their album to the public on June 7th. It took a few extra months for the LP to make it’s way to the U.S. but it eventually did on September 21st. The U.S. was a little luckier with their version containing a bonus disc with songs previously only available on their EPs. Last Exit was surrounded with critical acclaim. Pitchfork gave the record a rating of 8.9/10 and Allmusic gave it 4.5 stars out 5 highlighting tracks “High Come Down”, “Birthday” and “Last Exit”.
Franz Ferdinad – Franz Ferdinand
Yet another debut record out in 2004, Franz Ferdinand released their self-titled album on February 9th. It entered the UK charts at #3 and had three UK top 10 singles: “Take Me Out”, “This Fire” and “The Dark of the Matinee”. The album snagged the 2004 Mercury Music Prize and was nominated for Best Alternative Album at the 47th Grammy Awards. Since being released, Franz Ferdinand has sold over 3.6 million copies worldwide.
Iron And Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days
This is the 2nd studio album to come from Sam Beam’s Iron & Wine and was released through Sub Pop on March 23, 2004. The album’s title comes from lyrics found in “Passing Afternoon”: “There are things that drift away like our endless, numbered days.” There was a big difference in the sound on this record being the first professionally produced album (The Creek Drank the Cradle was recorded entirely on a four-track mixer at his home). This LP helped to grow the Iron & Wine fan base with a favourable review coming from Pitchfork, rating the album 8.6/10.
Modest Mouse – Good News for People Who Love Bad News
The 4th record to come from the band Good News for People Who Love Bad News was released on April 6th, 2004. This record’s title also comes lyrics found in the album, specifically on the track “Bury Me with It.” It went certified platinum by 2007, selling over 1.5 million copies in the states alone. The record was received well by fans and critics with the New York Times calling it “the best Modest Mouse album yet.” It was also nominated for the 2005 Grammy award for Best Alternative Album and was Planet Sound’s #1 album of 2004.
Animal Collective – Sung Tongs
Sung Tongs is looked at as Animal Collective’s breakthrough release and was made available May 3rd, 2004 through Fat Cat Records. Though the album was released under “Animal Collective” only two of the group’s 4 members (David Portner and Noah Lennox) played on it. This made the LP more stripped down than what we had heard from them in the past, they built the sound around acoustic guitars and tribal-esque drums. This was the record that made critics refer to their sound as “psych or freak folk”. Pitchfork gave the album a rating of 8.9/10 and slotted it at #2 on their Top 50 Albums of 2004 list.
Death From Above 1979 – You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine
Another band to break out on the scene in 2004 was beloved Canadian indie rockers Death From Above 1979. Their debut record You’re A Women, I’m A Machine was recorded in Toronto at the Chemical Sound with additional sessions being done at Studio Plateau in Montreal. Album cut “Sexy Results” got its name from an episode of the The Simpsons. The episode “Pygmoelian” features the running news line “…with sexy results”. The album’s name however comes from a very different TV series, Battlestar Galactica, where Gaius Baltar tells Caprica Six “You’re a woman,” she replies with “I’m a machine”. The album gained the duo a significant amount of awareness with the song “Little Girl” being featured in Tony Hawk’s video game American Wasteland.
The Walkmen – Bows + Arrows
Released on February 2nd, 2004, Bows + Arrows was the sophomore record from the Walkmen. Both “Little House of Savages” and “What’s in It for Me” were included in the TV show The O.C. With the amount of exposure the LP was getting, came critical acclaim with Pitchfork naming “The Rat” the 6th Best Single of the Year and gave the album a very high rating of 9.2/10. The record was noted for its more immediate and focused sound compared to their previous work.
Interpol – Antics
Antics was released on September 27th, 2004 and is the group’s second studio album. The 10 track effort was recorded at Tarquin Studios in Bridgeport, Connecticut and spawned arguably some of their biggest songs including “Slow Hands” and “Evil”. Antics went on to achieve gold status and made it to #1 on the US independent release chart. Most reviews of the album were very positive; the Village Voice said “What makes Antics such an improvement over Bright Lights is how capable Interpol have become at complementing Banks’s lovely ambiguity with an increasingly precise post-punk throb.”