Posted tagged ‘2008’

2008 Galore, pt. We’re there! 10 – 1

27 December 2008

So, I’ve made two friends fight (see comments of my big contest-post), I’ve made people go berserk from the waiting, but now we’re there. The following ten albums are the best of this year, in my humble, but very advising opinion. If you haven’t heard any of them, you should keep on listening Britney Spears.

10. Chad Vangaalen – Soft Airplane (Sub Pop Records)

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Sounds like: someone at a concert told me Neil Young, and suddenly i realized Chad Vangaalen is the Electric Neil Young for the Unwashed Yuppie generation.

Vangaalen has been on my radar for the last couple of years, and now he’s on many. Understandable, cause with his falsetto voice and his scrummy lo-fi guitar noise singer-songwriter pop whatever, he’s made one of the best albums of this year. And the third winner in a row. It’s just waiting until he gets in his gospel period before he really stinks.

Chad Vangaalen – City of Electric Light

Chad Vangaalen – Willow tree

9. The Dodos – Visiter (French Kiss records)

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Sounds Like: Hit it with your rhythm stick, hit it! hit it!

The most important thing about The Dodos’ music? The percussion. It’s this tsjakka tsjakka tsjakka sound, combined with folky folky songs, that  are catchy as hell. But still complex. It’s like the best tasting yoghurt ever, but you first seem to get the grasp of this brand new lid system. And they’ve got the refreshing taste of An Animal Collective that’s not too heavy on the acid.

The Dodos – Jodi

8.  Ladyhawk – Shots (Jagjaguwar)

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Sounds like: Testosterone melancholic rock, magnolia el. co

I’m not fond of heavy electric guitar engineering. No Black Sabbath, AC/DC or other rock bands for me. But Ladyhawk seems to pull it of. They seem to go, in a songs ohia kind of way, manage to use the electric power for their benefit, instead of making dull rock songs. And because of that i greatly honour them  with the number 8 spot.

Ladyhawk – S.T.H.D

7. Okay – Huggable Dust (Absolutely Kosher)

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Sounds like: a bug with a romantic soul.

IF there’s one band in this top 10 that you may not really dig, it’s Okay. His voice sounds like that of a dying moth, and his songs are repetitive till nuissance. But oh my god, if you just keep on listening, you’ll probably hear through this facade. And you’ll find out that this is amazingly sweet, romantic, fantastic, bloody wow.

Okay –  Beast

6. The Tallest Man on Earth – Shallow Graves (Gravitation)

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Sounds like: everyone says bob dylan, so i’ll say Bob Dylan too.

It’s true. The Tallest man on Earth sounds a bit like old Bawb, but he still has his own distinctive voice. And then again, when did Bob release anything worthwile for the last time? (woohoo, let the pro-old-bob front prepare to bash me!). TMOE is a bit more lo-fi, there is a bit of noise on the back, but apart from that, the songs are amazingly good. This is roadsong music. Something you listen while you drive home from a good evening with persons you love, or a bad evening in which you just had a fight. As long as it’s night and you’re behind your steering wheel basically.

The Tallest Man on Earth – I Won’t Be Found

5. Wolf Parade – At Mount Zoomer (Sub Pop)

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Sounds like: a combination of Sunset Rubdown, Handsome Furs and other great canadian indie. Heck, it is a combination!

Okay, maybe this record in the overal greatness of great albums isn’t really worth the number 5 spot, but i’m a sucker for this sort of indie music. Every Spencer Krug project let’s say. So, eerie voices, heavy indie rock and baloney music. Damn, this is good.

Wolf Parade – Call It a Ritual

4.  Ane Brun – Changing of The Seasons (DetErMine Records)

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Sounds Like: my favourite female singer-songwriter from Sweden makes another heart-breaking record.

I’m really fond of Ane Brun. And as long as public radio doesn’t play her, i’ll keep on loving her (just joking, i don’t care about radio, cause i don’t listen to it). So, the best voice around, or one of the best and a really good talent of writing songs that hti you like a rock during national rock throwing day. You want to be hit, cause that’s the whole point. No mp3 (big label, scary!) , but a youtube link.

3. Johnny Flynn – A Larum (Vertigo Records)

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sounds like: Old irish folk in a brand new 21st Century jacket.

I think this album is the one i’ve played most during the entire year, just because there doesn’t seem to be a mood not fit to listen to this. Flynn just uses an old formula, but succeeds in surprising me with it. It’s strange: i’m known as a singer-songwriter fanatic, and i’ve heard quite the lot of them, but it keeps on mesmerizing me how people can come up with new snogs that bedazzle me. that’s a lot of difficult words in one piece. Just listen will you? (By the way, also listen to his girlfriend Laura Marling. the UK Folk scene is alive and kicking)

Johnny Flynn – The Box

2. The Morning Benders – Talking Through Tin Cans (Self-Released)

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Sounds like: The Shins, the Beatles, the pop, the sixties, the summer, the amazingly amazement singalong.

So, you want an album that you can listen to while barbecuing your veggie burgers? You need something that can serve as a soundtrack for that great summer where you will write a novel about in the future? The Morning Benders debut album is the one you need. They ended high in my promising artists list last year, and they amazingly met the expectations. This is heartwarming summer breeze pop for when you love the shins, but hate their popularity.

The Morning Bender s- Heavy Hearts

1. Why? – Alopecia (Anticon)

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Sounds like: Anthems of a indie generation.

I don’t think most people realize how amazingly good this album is.  On the level of lyrics, there is nothing better released… it’s funny, witty, street poetry. But also musically it’s soo well organised that it even beats Chinese Government drills. There isn’t a sound out of place,. Those two stuff combined, together with the overal quality of the songs, makes this the album of the year for me.

Why? – Fatalist Palmistry

Thanks for your attention. Maybe there is more stuff coming up tomorrow, otherwise i’ll be gone until at least 3d of January. And then i’ll try to be a regular blogger again.

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2008 galore!, part 2: The Most Beautiful album covers of 2008

16 November 2008

I must admit i don’t spend that much time in selecting my album covers of 2008 as i spend time finishing the list of lists. Therefore, i sometimes end up selecting album covers that may not deserve to end up in this list, because there are way better looking artwork cd’s out there. Then again, if there is one thing about lists that is certain, that is that they are temporary, useless, and futile.

So, bearing that in mind, i present to you: the nicest album covers of 2008.

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10.  Ass – My Get Up And Go Just Got Up And Went

I’m craving obsessions, and lately i’ve been developing this obsession for old picture book pictures. This cover seems to fulfill this need. Whilst reading a journal, Mr. Theodore Contagious heard someone ringing at the door. He thought: ‘ it must be my brother’, but when opened the door, he saw it was the devil in person. – and there is this whole story about how a simple peasant tricks Satan. In combination with the funny title it even gets better.

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9. Grand Salvo – Death

There used to be this show on television where animals were cut out of paper, and then they played shadow performances with it. I never watched it though, and i only saw it during one of my many zap rounds. But it’s nice how just the contours (is that even english?) of an object/animal can give us an idea of what we’re looking at. This one on number 9 to honour the great art of silhouettism let’s say. (I’m positive that silhouettism is definitely not a real world)

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8.  PWRFL Power – PWRFL Power (EP)

I don’t think many people will agree with this, but they haven’t seen the album in reality. It’s been standing on top of my cd shelves for over six months now (its size to big to put inbetween the other cd’s), and it’s really intriguing. Mine has got a green background intstead of this pink one though. There is something about that look in his eyes that fascinates me. I can show you it in real-time; then you’ll know what i mean. You can give me a call.

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7. Cloud Cult – Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-partying through tornados)

Franktly, this one could’ve been with my worst album covers as well. It’s real kitsch, but it fascinates me, and in the end i realized that i enjoy watching it. I’m not sure why.

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6. James Yorkston – When The Haar Rolls in

Another one to fit my child book pictures fetisj. (That fetisj is made up just for the purpose of explaining why this picture is in my top 10). Pictures that contain stories, they are my favourite. Well, i could blab on about this one forever, but i won’t bother you with that.

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5. Human Highway – Moody Motorcycle

If you like retro, you have been treated amazingly well this year. Albums that seem to come straight out of the sixties or seventies, it seemed to be a trend. And that means the album covers got this old look again as well. This one was one of the most succesful, but the best retro cover will come a little bit later.

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4. Mumford And Sons–  Mumford And Sons

As in now…. this is pur sang retro, and an album cover that would look really amazing on poster format on your wall. I want it.

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3. Matt Bauer – The Island moved in the Storm

This album cover tells a story as well. A story I haven’t had the time to listen to up until now, so i have no idea whether it’s a good album, but the cover looks just too great not to include into my list.

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2. Women – Women

Woohoo! Chinese Communists! And they are doing morning gymnastics! This is not only a great album (how great? just wait and see), it’s also a great cover. Old pictures, nostalgia, etc. (god ,i have no idea what to say, maybe i just have to let the cover tell its story)

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1. These United States – A Picture of the Tree Of Us at The Gates of The Garden of Eden

Is that your number one? It’s boring! Yes, it is. but, if you just know what the title of the album is (and you know, cause it’s right above this text!) then this is definitely my number one. Simple, to the point and the perfect correlation with the rest of the album. Hallelujah.

Feel Free to use the comments to tell the rest of the world which album covers mesmerized you!

2008 galore!, part 1: Worst Albumcovers of 2008

13 November 2008

So here I am. I’ve been climbing mountains of albums (and still not really reached the top, but just keep that to yourself) and came back with my list of lists. For the next weeks (let’s hope it won’t take too long anymore) I will entertain you with some stupid lists summarizing the musical year 2008.

Let’s first start with the dumbest of them all: the ugliest albumcovers of 2008. I’m not an illustrator, nor am i a guy who is really sensitive about design (after all, i practice the fine art of Paint Art, which is just the lo-fi version of Photoshop). Then again, i don’t release albums into the wild, or at least not charge people for it. I don’t have to care. But the following artists should have:

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10. The Ruby Suns – Sea Lions

But inside out sock, why…isn’t this a nicely drawn picture of a kid standing on a bunch of big emeralds? Well, the reason why this made my list, is because it reminds me of Manga. Now, i do have some manga comics i like, but the problem with this cover is that it’s imitation manga, drawn in some Korean sweat shop, where kids were trained exactly one day and then they had to reproduce a 200-edition series of Kandru, the little warrior. His special powers are the things that come out of his body. It surely will scare his enemies. If they don’t die laughing.

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9. Noah & The Whale – Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down

There once were the seventies. And in those days, they published books with covers just like these. They were called “Igor, the fiddle player and Margarita Sjotlzestinin”. Yep, this reminds me of communist Russia, and though I am a communist (just not a russian one), i just don’t like this one. It’s bitterly disturbing (even to me). There is this banjo player – i know it’s not a fiddle – and his headless girlfriend, and a big comical looking tree in the back. And then some ghost like leggy type. And the colours are those that as a kid i refused to use, because they scared me.

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8. Adem – Takes

Again those russian seventies colours. Mix that with geometrical figures (i tend to hate covers that are just a bunch of geometry. I used to have nightmares about squares and perfect circles to attack me. Seriously by the way).  This looks like a ground plan for a parliament, or a theoretical elaboration on the study of colours. The alternative theory.

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7. The Sound Of Arrows – Danger EP!

On the 9th day, God decided to come down on a blue lightning which he had stolen from a 80’s record which no one would buy because the cover was too ugly. Everyone ignored the Lord – because of the lightning, that’s for sure – so he started his own hair metal band, and conquered the world again. but behind his back, people kept making fun of him. (Disclaimer: Sound of Arrows is no hair metal, that’s the worst)

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6. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

The big problem with all the covers I’m listing here, is that they all are sort of pretentious without being funny. Now, MGMT is a bit pretentious, but they do have some nice songs (they are not in my big list..not even close), but this album cover – i think it’s the European one, or maybe just not -seems like a bad teenager’s photoshop. The green dots are indeed globes, and there is an angel in there, and the sun. Oh my god, it’s just about hippies. I just don’t get the big piece of fish in the front. (Jesus the fisherman). MAybe it’s christian propaganda.

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5. The Shaky Hands – Lunglight

Rohrsach-tests, woohoo! I see a two headed mole, that’s been run over a couple of times and has been bleeding orange blood ferociously (moles indeed have orange blood). What do you guys see? You see a dot of ink that’s been pressed together so it would create a mirror effect? You guys must be nuts.

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4. 31 Knots – Worried Well

Puppet shows for adults. That’s what i think of. Does that exist? The puppet version of Fight Club or the godfather? I would like that. And it would be cool if those puppets looked like the one on this cover. But puppets with bleeding noises AND some strange hat.. Now that i take a closer look…is it even a puppet? A very old man that got beaten up, so it would look good for the picture. yikes.

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3. Megapuss – Surfing

Devendra Banhart used to be a big hero for me, but he sort of lost track of himself along the way. I’m no longer eager to go out and buy his newest albums (i must admit, i only was up and until Nino Rojo). His sideproject called Megapuss has a really strange album cover. Ok, i must admit it is sort of funny, but just a mere smile funny. Two longhaired guys nakedly attacking each other, and then calling themselves Megapuss and making sure we all know that… it’s just too much.

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2. Warmer Milks – Soft Walks

Yep, this is an album cover, and not some weary picture of an ex-girlfriend. Everyone has his fair share of photo’s that make every photographer run out and weep “why, why?”, but again, we don’t use them as album covers. We cherish them at night, when we’re silently weeping underneath our blankets, sobbing “why, why?”. I’m sure this girl looks amazing in real life, but now she just will be known as that stupid picture on a Warmer Milks-cover

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1. Islands – Arm’s Way

If there is only one album which cover I really realy really really think is awful, then it’s this one. It’s the motherload of kitsch (and sadfully the music is going that way as well). In-A-Gadda-Vida, seventies progrock, a new age picture of Paradise and its inhabitants. I just don’t know what to think of this, but i do know that it’s the ugliest album cover of 2008.

Albums that won’t make my End of year list of 2008 and will appear in many others

26 October 2008

So, still not completey listened all records of 2008 (and new ones are added every day, damn frustrating hobby of mine), but i’m getting there. And i’m pretty sure that there are lots of records that just won’t make the list, although all the indie kids are screaming that these records are the best in evolutionary history. But no, the following records that could’ve made into my list if I hadn’t listened to them (meaning there were some expectations), didn’t get into my holy realm:

1. Tv On the Radio – Dear Science

Ok, i admit it. I like this album. It’s funky, it’s danceable, and there is a certain excitement to it. But it’s just not good enough to compete with the other albums that will make my list.

2. Conor Oberst – Conor Oberst

I used to be a very big fan. a Very big fan. I had all the records (well, not all legal), i looked for new songs, i even won his albums, concert tickets and a bottle of his favourite wine because i had written a piece about him. That peace ended with “i hope the hurricane won’t ever stop”. Unfortunately, he did. He started slowing down after I’m Wide Awake (which was a good record), and right now, i feel like i don’t ever wanna listen to him again. His solo-album was so boring and middle of the road, as if Oberst has lost his urge to make music. He’s trying too hard now, instead of just doing. That is most of the time deadly.

3. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges

‘Highly Suspicious’, what the hell was that about? A joke? It was shocking. It made me stop listening immediately. It took me a few weeks to gather the courage to listen to the rest. Skipping the hated track, i found out that My Morning jacket has gone the same way as Conor OBerst. While the official press (all guys older than 36, mind you) gives much praise to the new direction (because they are old and in love with middle of the road music) the band has chosen, i think it’s just not heartbreakign enough anymore. I don’t get goosebumps. This band is after Z adn this record of the list too.

4. Cat Power – Jukebox

Damn, three in a row, and three times the same story.  Chan Marshall used to be a drunk, she used to be loud mouthed, emotional, making intense songs. And then she got sober, got jazzy and while the big mob was discovering her nice voice (which she still has), the guys who knew her early records took their money and run. Well, i did.

5. Bon Iver – For Emma, and Ever Again

Dear insideoutsock, Bon Iver, is that too commercial as well?  Well no, dear children. Bon Iver was in my list last year (hear me brag), and in that way is excluded from this year’s list. But, after having known it for almost a year, I can say that it would probably just make the real list, or maybe it just wouldn’t. The album isn’t as heartbreaking after a few spins, and i’m really wondering whether this guy will be able to amaze us with a second album. I think he won’t. But we’ll see.

And to conclude, songs that prove Cat Power, Bright Eyes and My Morning Jacket used to be way better.

My Morning JAcket – Bermuda Highway (At Dawn)

My Morning Jacket – I will be There When You Die (The Tennessee Fire)

Bright Eyes – Something Vague (Fevers & Mirrors)

Cat Power – Nude as the News (What Would The Community Think?)

Cat Power – Werewolf (You Are Free)

The Story of a Maniac

9 September 2008

I saw all the music of 2008 i had on my computer and my cd shelves and god knows where else, and I thought: “well, that’s really a lot..time to start listening only to 2008 stuff, so i can make a well-balanced top 50 list”.. It’s at these times when you realize you’re a freak.

I spent two months on my list last year and eventually came up with this my last year’s list… completely out of date  by the way.

Things that are missing:

–  Breathe owl breathe – Canadian Shield

– Emily Jane White – Dark Undercoat

– Ferraby Lionheart – Catch The Brass Ring

– Fishboy – Albatross: how we saved..

Jumbling Towers

Misophone – Where Have Our Grandparents Gone.. (would be my number 1)

– No Age – Weirdo Rippers

– Pale Young Gentlemen

– Paul Baribeau – Grand Ledge

–  The Avett Brothers – Emotionalism

– The Shaky Hands

Which means the next 11 should go out:

Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire, Mice Parade, Glenn Jones, The Shins, … errr Dolorean…

well, okay, i would have had an even harder time to make the list at this moment.

I by the way also had a “Big Talent list”, which can be found here: BeatBeat Whisper made a good second album, David Vandervelde didn’t really live up to the Standards, Morning Benders did a very good job and Bon iver.. well, you may have noticed i put him in my eventual list as well..

That’s what kind of freak I am… But well, I enjoy it bigtime!

P.S. More information about my top 50 list of last year and what the bands sound like, can be found if you go diggin’ in my Last.Fm Journals..This year, i’ll just use my blog to do that… but that’s still pretty far (though not very very far) in the future