Wednesday, January 7, 2009

1/8/09 Best of 2008

These are my favorite/ Top 10 records of 2008.
The decisions were hard (note two #1 records), a ton of great records were left off the list. I think I display a mélange of genres and perhaps different levels of obscurity and popularity with this list. I would recommend any of these records to anyone I care about. Share music! When you like something, tell everyone. Let your friends know when you’re going to see a band, bring friends. These records are too good not to share. I think everyone NEEDS to hear these records. Perhaps you won’t like all of the selections I have made for you but I guarantee there is at least one record in this list for everyone. Give them a listen, let me know what you think. Also, I'm pretty sure no one read this, but if you do. Lets talk about music! What were your favorite records, and why?

10. Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend (XL Recordings)
I do not lose credibility for liking this because the whole record is so GOOD. Every single track has something special about it. It is perfect pop, there is nothing to hate. The drums and guitars are nothing less than perfect. As much as I want to pretend that I'm not in LOVE with this record, I am. I bought it on vinyl. I like Vampire Weekend, and I'm proud of it! AND WHAT?

My favorite tracks:
Walcott- The string section is art!
Oxford Comma- The high pitched vocals and the drums build perfectly.

Listen to Vampire Weekend

9. Flight of The Conchords: Flight of the Conchords (Sub Pop)

Is it hard to take joke music seriously? I don’t think so. The most important thing about music is whether or not it comes from the heart. This record is about how fun it is to make music. Nothing is lost in the fun and funny lyrics on this record, it is about loving creating music and sounds. Jemaine and Bret nail every genre the dabble in, every track is so on. Don’t be a pretentious music person, give Flight of the Conchords an honest listen.

My favorite tracks:
Boom- I'm a sucker for the reggae beat.
If You’re Into It- Technically not on the record but you have to listen to it. Wonderfully hilarious.

Listen to Flight of the Conchords

8. Ponytail: Ice Cream Spiritual (WE ARE FREE)

I saw Ponytail on Halloween this year. The lead singer dressed up as the Kool-Aid guy and she busted through a brown paper “brick” wall. That is Ponytail. I guess Ponytail would be considered an experimental band. They use “woops” and tongue rolls, beeps and cha’s in their music, the vocal stylings of randomly chirping. The unapologetic rawness of this record is what makes it memorable. Ponytail are fun and they spread that fun.

My favorite Tracks:

Beg Waves- It is full of all those great sounds I was talking about.
Celebrate The Body Electric- Every party should be like this song.
(If you like this stuff check out the acoustic versions on Daytrotter, very worth it.)

Listen to Ponytail

7. Frontier Ruckus: The Orion Songbook (Quite Scientific)
They’re as good as Neutral Milk Hotel, that is what I think of Frontier Ruckus. Imagine the best parts of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea magnified, expanded, and created by different people--That is Frontier Ruckus. A lot of people don’t like the folky-kind of whine-sing that bands like Frontier Ruckus have but I don’t find it in any way grating. They play the saw too, the saw! Maybe it is cliché, but I love music that is made out of jagged metal. I can’t stop listening to this record and I don’t feel at all bad about it. You might find you like it more than you think, that is what happened to me.

My favorite tracks:
What You Are-A sad and perfect ballad.
Mount Marcy- I want this to be my new banjo theme song.
Orion Town 2- It is a real walk-down-the-street song. My favorite by far.

Listen to Frontier Ruckus

6. Rainbow Arabia: The Basta (Manimal Vinyl)

There are only two of them! TWO! Do you hear all of those sounds? Two people.
Often times, I think, music that sounds any tiny bit “world-musicy” is at first listen, incredibly interesting, but beyond that it has no value. Rainbow Arabia are totally rad, and that is my professional opinion. Each track is cohesive to the record while still standing on its own as a distinct song. This is only the ep! The whole record is absolutely unique (and not in the way you call something unique when all you are thinking is WFT? Mate.)

My favorite tracks:
I know I see I love I go- Ballywood meets dance pary
Omar K- Bells! Bells! Bells!

Listen to Rainbow Arabia

5. Crystal Castles: Crystal Castles (Last Gang)
Say what you want about Crystal Castles, but this band is a party. The beats in the songs on this record are like a tidal wave- they grab you completely and take you away with them. The record and you are one, you move together. Alice Glass’ vocals have the ability to compliment the beats while not detracting from the feeling of each track. I think what is the most amazing is how the basic electronic format of each of Crystal Castles’ songs manage to sound completely different. Their live show feels like you’ve gone back in time, the crowd becomes a mass, together, in music. Also, I love the crunchy computer sounds they make. Best Crystal band EVA’!

My favorite tracks:

Xxzxcuzx me- The yelling and “randomness” is mastered
Crimewave- I think this track should be the new anthem of our time, seriously. And no, I don’t know what the lyrics are and it doesn’t matter.

Listen to Crystal Castles

4. Experimental Dental School: Jane Doe Loves Me (Cochon Records)
If the name didn’t catch your eye, then you are a stronger person than I. I love when music seems to make no sense; Experimental Dental School make no sense and tons of sense all at the same time. I wonder how a record like Jane Doe Loves Me is written. Listening to this record makes me feel like I'm in a spy movie. Experimental Dental School succeed in taking the listener to some opposite dimension where bits of sound join together perfectly to make not only incredible art, but incredible music. The live show doesn’t capture the power of the record, but a different kind of intensely amazing zing.

My favorite tracks:

Jane Doe Loves Me- Speedy and seemingly confusing preciseness.
Plant Plenty- An old school style jammy groove.

Listen to Experimental Dental School

3. Deerhoof: Offend Maggie (Kill Rock Stars)

Deerhoof are quite possibly my favorite band, we have been through a lot together. Offend Maggie, in the scheme of Deerhoofness, does not disappoint. The tunes are a lot more beat oriented that older Deerhoof. What the hell are you talking about? you’re asking. Well Deerhoof always had a swirling tension within their songs, this record has graduated past that, for better or for worse. It still has the bunny aesthetic of Deerhoof in the past and a type of movement that I fall in love with again and again. Go see Deerhoof live, you’ll never believe those sounds came out of four little people.

My favorite tracks:
Basket Ball Get Your Groove On- All of the great things about Deerhoof and now with a new tweaked sound. Bunny JUMP!
The Tears Of Music And Love- This is the first one I heard of this record, how I knew it was still love.
Fresh Born- listen to the guitar!

Listen to Deerhoof

1. Marnie Stern: This Is It & I Am It & You Are It & So Is That & He Is It & She Is It & It Is It & That Is That (Kill Rock Stars)
Every song on this record will blast you in the face with powerful goodness. The sound that comes out of Marnie Stern’s mouth and guitar respectively is like nothing I have ever heard. It is easy to call Marnie Stern a shredder, she moves her fingers about the fretboard and you expect to hear face-peeling metal. The vocals are simple and melodic, but powerful and incredibly telling. The live performances keep getting better and better, if the sound-guy is having a good day you will certainly have an experience. Every song on the record is like one of those kung-fu jump kicks in the air. Nothing sounds like this.

My favorite tracks:

Ruler- The future is yourself FILL THIS PART IN
Prime- I love songs that start off with just vocals, this is one of those songs.
Roads? Where We’re Going We Don’t Need Any Roads- just listen to it.

Listen to Marnie Stern

1. Amanda Palmer: Who Killed Amanda Palmer? (Roadrunner)
I never wanted to like this, I never wanted to like Amanda Palmer. This record, the records before, all of the music, the live shows, the person… I'm in love, I have been for a while now, and I can’t help it. There is something about the record and the music, but especially the live show that will capture you. If you experience Amanda Palmer and you get it you will never be able to give it back, she will have you forever. See her live every chance you get, just expect to fall in love, hard. Listen to the record on repeat.

My favorite tracks:

Leeds United- My favorite part of the record is on this song. The voice crack on the “and” of “law and order,” most people don’t just go for it like that, Amanda Palmer does.
Astronaut- (Sometimes referred to as “Mother Fucking Astronaut”) There is nothing that isn’t perfect about this song. The “YES” towards the end gets me every time.
Have to Drive- I really dislike most slow songs. This song makes me really glad about who I am. I fear I'm overusing the work perfect, but this one is, deer.
Also, every other song is just as rad.

Listen to Amanda (Fucking) Palmer