Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Well... If I Have To

I've been putting off writing a response to crs's challenge in this post for a week. Honestly, I didn't realize it required a response until I had seen jdb's followup. Since comprehending the meaning of challenge, and this specific one, I've been stuck trying to come up with just what I would list. I've been particularly lax in keeping abreast of new music this year. And somehow I manged to not download very many albums despite having a subscription to eMusic.

Here are the three albums I definitively feel belong in my Top 5 of 2008 list:

  • Elephant Shell, by Tokyo Police Club: Let's get the obvious out of the way first. This is just straight up good indie rock. No one else listed it so I will. There's not much I can say about this one. It just pushed all my indie rock buttons. The album has been in heavy rotation on my iPod since it came out.

  • Offend Maggie, by Deerhoof: If you haven't heard Deerhoof before, reading anything I could write about them is meaningless. I'm not even sure I how to describe them. "Whimsical noise-rock art-band" is about the best I can do. This year they added a fourth member on guitar, then wrote and released this album. It is fabulous. Also probably the band's most accessible release to date.

  • Volume One, by She & Him: The debut of actress Zooey Deschanel(for real) and indie "darling" M. Ward's project She & Him completely captured my heart. This album has been brewing since 2006, but didn't come out until March of this year. While gathering links for this post, I found out that Paste Magazine named this album their #1 of the year. Since I suck so hard at this I'll just quote them, "Produced with touches of girl-group splendor and arranged with a dreamy, old-fashioned vibe, She & Him’s debut couldn’t be more adorable." Yes.

Now to somehow get to five:

  • Hold On Now, Youngster by Los Campesinos!: Indie-happy-indie-twee-indie-pop. I haven't listened to the first LP from this Welsh septet enough to truly call it one of my top 5 albums from this year, but it's up there. I do think it deserves to be on any list of the best albums of 2008 though. Also, Los Campesinos! went and released a second album this year(We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed) that I haven't listened to yet. Maybe it is even better! So call this a conditional pick.

  • Young Team, by Mogwai: What you say!! Yep, Mogwai's first studio album. When cwk picked The Hawk is Howling for his top 5, I was surprised that I had missed Mogwai's latest offering. But after thinking about it, I remembered picking up a Mogwai album earlier in the year. Turns out I had- Young Team was remastered and re-released this summer with a second disc of rare tracks. For something that is supposed to be "post rock", there's some pretty hard "rocking" going on in this album.

OK then! That's 5 albums from 2008. I honestly thought I'd have to post an abbreviated list like jdb. If I hadn't figured out that last pick I had a backup, cheat pick. Maybe picking a re-issue is cheating, so I'll list it anyway.

  • Nigeria 70: The Definitive Story of Funky Lagos: A compilation album that presents some of the best music coming out of western Africa in the 60s and 70s. It came out seven years ago, and it's made of music that is 30-40 years old, but I just discovered this year. Words are not enough to describe how good this set is. If you hear this and it doesn't bring a smile to your face, if not get you out of your seat and moving, then you are dead inside. Don't be intimidated by the price at Amazon, you can easily find this floating around if you look for it.

So there you have it. And it's just in under the wire. Maybe one of my New Year's resolutions should be to pay attention to new music?

[EDIT: Evidently this Blogger template italicizes block quotes. Fixed. -rfd]

No comments: