Posted tagged ‘best of 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!, Pt. 743 (i lost count): 30- 21

9 December 2008

And here we are again, for just the following 10 of the list. Yes, It takes a lot of time writing these posts, which is the reason why i postpone it, but i need to finish this. So, off we go:

30. Final Fantasy – Plays to please/Spectrum, 14th Century (Blocks recording club)

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Sounds like: Indie, the musical.

How vaudeville can you get, is a question that you can ask if you listen to these two teasing EP’s by Final Fantasy. They are released on something that i’m not even sure is a label, but i could be wrong. I got it the illegal way, but still I’ll all advise you to go out and buy these two little gems. If you like previous Final Fantasy-releases you get more of the same. Spectrum, 14th Century is filled with nature recordings as an extra, but it’s ‘Plays to Please’ that is really amazingly good. Vaudevillian all the way, so to speak.

Final Fantasy – Nun or Bawd (From ‘Plays to Please’)

29. Cloud Cult – Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornados) (Earthology Records => self-released)

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Sounds like: A combination of everything that should make a band really big in evil, big indie-worshipband land

Really, guys. If you like Arcade Fire, you can not not like Cloud cult. That’s like saying you don’t eat chocolate, but you have this craving for chocolate pudding. Cloud cult is witty, rocky, elektronic, folky, muddy, don’t know how many more words i have to put here until someone stops reading and just listens to the song.

Cloud Cult – Everybody here is a cloud

28. Pete Molinari – A Virtual Landslide (Damaged Good Records)

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Sounds like: The 50’s version of Turner Cody, Richie Valentine? (50’s middle class Rock-‘n-roll..my parents dig this)

Retro, retro, retro! I can’t stress it  enough, but 2008 was in my opinion mostly retro. Take Pete Molinari e.g. He sounds as if he’s on some tv-show, black & white, in the fifties. People don’t really know what internet is, and they aren’t yet familiar with never stopping consumerism. Pete Molinari is on, and his innocent singer-songwriter romantic songs fit the times. They aren’t as wild as Elvis, they are middle class white “gosh, Pete is a very fine singer. that boy is gonna be big if he doesn’t die in a plane crash” songs.

Pete Molinari – Adelaine

27. Mount Righteous – When The Music Starts (Self-Released)

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Sounds like: Big Band Hippies

I’ve written about this band before, and so you all should already know them. For those who weren’t aware of my blog at the time: Welcome! Mount Righteous is a big band hippie Texan band, which sounds a bit like the polyphonic spree, but better… if you like this kind of party music where everyone sings along, claps his hands and dances with each other, try this.  And because i’m lazy, i’ll just repost the song i gave away back then.

Mount Righteous – Licorice Night

26. Ezra Furman & The Harpoons –  Inside The Human Body (Minty Fresh Records)

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Sounds like: Finally, we can get rid of Bob Dylan (and clap your hands say yeah)

Ezra Furman was in my list last year, on the number 5 spot, and if I listen to this album just a bit more (cause i haven’t really listened to it that much, not used to the songs yet), I know this album will end up much higher in the list. Ezra should be the one stepping into Dylan’s footsteps. Not “gosh, why did i become so boring” Conor Oberst. This is great Neil Young, Dylanlike Singersongwriter southern rock songs/singersongwriter stuff! Just listen to the song, and notice the background choir. Fucking goosebumps.

Ezra Furman & the Harpoons – Take Off Your Sunglasses

25. The War on Drugs – Wagonwheel Blues  (Secretly Canadian)

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Sounds Like: Bruce Springsteen goes Sonic Youth

ok, i stole that comparison from vaaaaarious other blogs, but it’s really accurate. The War on Drugs has made an album of which you know that it will sound timeless all the time. They’ve made solid songs the springsteen way (and i don’t even really like springsteen), but added a bit fuzz and distortion to them. Adding to that, a great singing voice, and we’re all there, in our farmer shirts and our no wave-hairdo.  It’s like they say: you can not go wrong with Secretly Canadian (you can though).

The War on Drugs – Taking The Farm

24. Raz Ohara & The Odd Orchestra – Raz Ohara & The Odd Orchestra (Get Physical)

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Sounds like: Indie R&B

Damn, another band i already discussed here. this osunds as i’ve said like an R&B version of the Notwist or the Go Find. eeeeh, what else can i say..go buy it? you can read all the rest in the previous post!  or listen to the song.

Raz Ohara & the Odd Orchestra – Kisses

23. Women – Women (Jagjaguwar Records)

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Sounds like: Living on a garbage belt, and getting bored, so let’s make some noise.

I saw Women live a few weeks ago, together with their producer Chad Vangaalen. Thought they were boring. That doesn’t help appreciating the music on the album, but I’m still really enjoying this. It’s sometimes Animal Collective, sometimes lo-fi No Age, sometimes something else. I know everyone with a moderate taste in music would call this absolute rubbish, but I enjoy the fact that you have to look for songs between the noise. Long live layered lo-fi! (there are some more quiet songs on there too)

Women – Black Rice

Women – Group Transport Hall

22. Ratatat – LP 3 (XL Recordings)

Sounds Like: An Electronic Walk through the land of Oz.

I don’t listen that many purely instrumental or electronic music. Mostly because most albums don’t interest me. I know that’s quite the prejudice, but i don’t care (you also won’t find kayne west, or any other hiphop-soul-whatever guy or girl in this list, just to show how amazingly diverse i am. I’m not) Anyway, I got the ratatat album to write a review about it, and to my own amazement really liked this. These little miniature songs take you on a trip through a sort of miracle lollipop land. I imagine this land is Oz, but it could also be Alice’s wonderland (no it’s not weird enough for that), or the land where Mary Poppins live when she’s not taking care of some annoying kids.

Ratatat – Black Heroes

21. Mount Eerie – Lost Wisdom (P.W Elverum & Sun => self-released)

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Sounds like: the great winter depression of lo-fi (and did Jason Molina of Songs: Ohia turn back to its roots?)

I must admit that although i’m very lo-fi minded, the projects of Phil Elverum are always a bit hard for me to grasp. I think you must really listen to it day and night to really find it amazing the way the real Microphones-fans do. Then again, it’s great stuff. And if you ask the wonderful Julie Doiron to accompany on your album, you just know that it’s gonna be amazing. Lost Wisdom is sad, but wooden cabin sad. It’s the christmas melancholy, when you know the last fire is burning and after that you’ll freeze to death.

Mount Eerie – What?

Drowning in Lists

19 October 2008

I checked it. Last year i had a list by the end of Oktober. What kind of list? A list of the best records of 2007, and a list of the 9 best upcoming bands, and then 2 lists of the most beautiful and ugliest album covers. I even had a list of bands that wouldn’t make my lists.

Yep, lists is the keyword here. I’ve been spending the last three weeks relistening the 314 (!) albums of 2008 on my computer, taking into consideration that i have thrown away a lot, but also that there are always new albums added onto the list. It’s fighting a music tsunami, for no clear reasons.

Right now, i’ve got a shortlist of 85 bands (for 50 places), and I also have around 120 albums to listen (plus two new albums a day) …sigh, you all must think i’m mad. and then there are some very good albums coming out later this year. The New album by Misophone is for the middle of november, and the debut album by Fire on Fire for December. They just won’t make the list.

So, why should I bother? Why being so strict about it? No idea. It’s something in my genes i think. I’ve been making lists since i was a real small boy (back then i made lists of soccer teams, soccer players, and I started making new lists every month or so). It’s something I do and want to handle as punctual as needed. Until I get tired and just make up stuff.

Anyway, somewhere in November, the lists will appear here somewhere. At the end of that month, the big list. It will be not complete, i’m sure about that.