Best Songs: 2004 (So Far)

Listen

Halfway through the year and the songs are strong. New artists like Iron and Wine and M. Ward are writing powerful song poems. Their words and beats have the mystery of such revered artists as Wilco, Modest Mouse and Sam Phillips. Before the summer slips by and fall accelerates into winter, we offer this show as a chance to catch up on the great sounds of 2004 (so far).

All Songs Considered show image

Download this show in the All Songs Considered podcast.

Sign up for the All Songs Considered newsletter and we'll tell you when new music features are available on the site.

Best Songs: 2004 (So Far)

Good News for People Who Love Bad News

The World at Large

  • Artist: Modest Mouse
  • Album: Good News for People Who Love Bad News
  • Song: The World at Large

This second release on Sony for Modest Mouse comes ten years after the indie trio first formed in Issaquah, Washington.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
The World at Large
Album
Good News for People Who Love Bad News
Artist
Modest Mouse
Label
Epic

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Transfiguration of Vincent

Vincent O'Brien

  • Artist: M. Ward
  • Album: Transfiguration of Vincent
  • Song: Vincent O'Brien

In this beautifully-crafted concept album M. Ward creates a dark, warm world of sound from the backwoods of an imaginary land.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Vincent O'Brien
Album
Transfiguration of Vincent
Artist
M. Ward
Label
Merge

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Our Endless Numbered Days

On Your Wings

  • Artist: Iron & Wine
  • Album: Our Endless Numbered Days
  • Song: On Your Wings

Iron and Wine is the work of Samuel Beam, a cinematography instructor at Miami college. Reminiscent of Elliot Smith or Nick Drake, Beam writes delicate, hushed songs and records his musical treasures with a four-track at home.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
On Your Wings
Album
Our Endless Numbered Days
Artist
Iron and Wine
Label
Sub Pop

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Escondida

Sascha

  • Artist: Jolie Holland
  • Album: Escondida
  • Song: Sascha

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Sascha
Album
Escondida
Artist
Jolie Holland
Label
Anti

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

A Boot and a Shoe

Open the World

  • Artist: Sam Phillips
  • Album: Boot and a Shoe
  • Song: Open the World

Leslie Phillips was a gospel singer before switching to her childhood nickname, Sam and took on a whole new sound reminiscent of '60s psychedelic folk/pop.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Open the World
Album
A Boot and a Shoe
Artist
Sam Phillips
Label
Nonesuch

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Out of Season

Mysteries

  • Artist: Beth Gibbons
  • Album: Out of Season
  • Song: Mysteries

Known for her beautifully dreary voice as the lead singer for British trip hop band Portishead, Beth Gibbons here joins former Talk Talk bassist Rustin Man for her debut solo release.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Mysteries
Album
Out of Season
Artist
Beth Gibbons

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

A Ghost Is Born

At Least That's What You Said

  • Artist: Wilco
  • Album: A Ghost Is Born
  • Song: At Least That's What You Said

This is the band's follow up to 2002's remarkable Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
At Least That's What You Said
Album
A Ghost Is Born
Artist
Wilco
Label
Rhino

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

It's All Around You

Stretch (You Are All Right)

  • Artist: Tortoise
  • Album: It's All Around You
  • Song: Stretch (You Are All Right)

Check out our previous feature on Tortoise from All Songs Considered episode 8, from July of 2001.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Stretch (You Are All Right)
Album
It's All Around You
Artist
Tortoise
Label
Thrill Jockey

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Circulatory System

Yesterday's World

  • Artist: Circulatory System
  • Album: Circulatory System
  • Song: Yesterday's World

Circulatory System is a retooled version of '90s psychedelic rockers Olivia Tremor Control.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Yesterday's World
Album
Circulatory System
Artist
Circulatory System
Label
Cloud Recordings

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

We Shall All Be Healed

Letter from Belgium

  • Artist: The Mountain Goats
  • Album: We Shall All Be Healed
  • Song: Letter from Belgium

There are more than 100 songs by the Mountain Goats on various compilations and label samplers, most of them recorded on a department store boombox. This collection is their 12th studio album.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Letter from Belgium
Album
We Shall All Be Healed
Artist
The Mountain Goats
Label
4AD

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

Featured Artist

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.