Top Ten of 2008
Andy here, from the Tuesday Evening Mix.
I know, it's kind of late, but here is a list of my favorites from 2008.
1)DoDo's - "Visiter" (French Kiss Records)
I've written about these guys before on here. They are fantastic. Their second full length was a total surprise to me. The melodies are great, but really the best part for me is the percussion. It's loud, forceful, and gorgeous. It sounds like they are just jamming away on whatever they can find to bang on. It's very freeing to listen to that.
2) Hayden - "In Field and Town" (Fat Possum)
This guy just does it for me. Always has. People think of him as being similar to Neil Young, but actually I think he writes amazing 3 minute pop songs when he wants to. Take for example the gem of a single, "Where and When":
"The snow was falling down like pieces of the sky last Friday night
I was outside on the street, and she was inside to a beat
Next thing I know, she's watching me writing to her in the snow
She got up so close, the condensation changed her to a ghost
But she appeared again, as she wrote on the glass "Well, it depends..."
"Where and when?"
Take that and add some hand claps. Fantastic
3) Fleet Foxes - "Fleet Foxes" (SubPop)
Fleet Foxes seem kind of boring. I mean this in the best possible way, though. They are long haired guys with beards who play alot of acoustic guitar. This has been done a million times. In fact, the first few times I listened to them I didn't get it. I thought there had to be more to it. Then I started to realize that there didn't have to be more to it. In fact the whole debut long player is so comforting and good, that it can almost creep by you without notice. I'll be shocked if they can't keep putting out solid releases over the next 10-15 years. It's just feels that good and that natural.
4) The Walkmen "You and Me" (Gigantic)
The Walkmen are a band thats quality, in my opinion, has varied greatly at times. They can put me to sleep with how morose and alike all their songs can sound on some recordings. However, this release reminded me of what I've liked in the past. I think this is the first time they have put out a whole LP that is great from front to back. They are from NYC, and not surprsingly so. The record sounds like walking around NYC at night in the winter time. Or maybe, it sounds like sitting around your house in the winter with friends while having a few drinks. You may have a different opinion of what it sounds like, but I know it will involve winter. It has to.
5) Retribution Gospel Choir - "Retribution Gospel Choir" (Caldo Verde)
Well, I had wondered for a while what would happen if the band Low took it up from 20 bpm, to even like 30, or maybe 40, and just got even slightly angry. Alan Sparhawk, of Low, has done just that with this side project. Produced by Mark Kozelek, of Red House Painters and Sun Kil Moon fame, it sounds like a lost Crazy Horse record. No frills rock n' roll.
6) Spiritualized "Songs In A&E" (Fontana Intl.)
Jason Pierce's output has slowed somewhat in recent history, but the quality has not. This is one of his best. "Soul On Fire" is also one of the under appreciated songs of the year.
7) Frightened Rabbit "Midnight Organ Fight" (Fat Cat)
There is something very comforting about this record. Which is kind of weird, as some of the lyrics are pretty harsh. Maybe that's what makes it comforting, though. Of course, it also always helps to swear in a heavy Scottish accent. It just sounds that much more biting. Not that I think that Americans should put on a fake Scottish accent and start swearing. That would just be obnoxious. Do you think Ryan Adams is going to start doing that?
8) Vampire Weekend - "Vampire Weekend" (XL Recordings)
A lot has been written about these guys so I'm just going to tell a quick story in this place. I have this major problem of forgetting my keys when I leave my house. I do it probably like 5 or 6 times a year. Thankfully my wife works at a hospital about 3 blocks from our house. So, I have upon occasion had to call her and go to the hospital to get her key. One cold day I did this while she was working in the ICU. She explained to me where exactly to go and she would be waiting just inside the main doors to the unit. I walked in and there she was. She then preceeded to turn around and say, "Everyone, it's okay...". The whole unit of staff turned around at this point. "This is my husband. You see, he locked himself out of our house so he had to walk over here to get my keys.", she says. Everyone kind of chuckles and goes back to their business. Kind of unnecessary, right?
9) MGMT - "Oracular Spectacular" (Columbia)
MGMT actually is rather over the top for me. I'm a simple man with simple pleasures. However, If you can write really good melodies that are amongst the catchiest this decade, well to a certain degree you can get a pass. I still may roll my eyes at you on the cover of magazines in neon colored spandex, but I will defend the songs anytime someone brings them up.
10) Beach House "Devotion" (Carpark)
A very subtle release from this duo out of Baltimore. The vocals are really what make it for me. I find myself singing along to it all the time.