Friday, January 23, 2009

Top 21 Albums of 2008

5. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours

Wow, is mostly all I can muster up when I think of these guys. Four years later after a solid debut they drop this little sophomore album and bang, household name, and don't they just know it. Besides all the semantic bullshit and whatnot, what a fantastic record. I wonder if Bernard gets confused when he hears these guys on the radio.

Key Tracks - So Haunted, Feel the Love, Out there on the Ice

4. Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Real Emotional Tracks

Album number four, and easily Malkmus's most jamset record yet and everything you could ask for in a record.

Key Tracks - Gardenia, Dragonfly Pie, Hopscotch Willie

3. Deerhunter - Microcastle

Well hello again Bradford Cox. Following up on 07's masterpiece yes I said masterpiece Cryptograms, released only a few months after the Atlas Sound record, Microcastle not only arrived with a bang but expanded their fan base even further. This record is departure from the 07 release, focusing on a more poppier sound than noisy landscapes. While it doesnt touch on Cryptograms it was easily one of the best albums of 08.

Key Tracks - Agoraphobia, Nothings Ever Happens, Never Stops

2. Plants and Animals - Parc Avenue

In my opinion, these guys have crafted such a fine set of songs, a debut album putting most professionals to shame. The tracks seem so effortlessly put together and never get tired and are fresh everytime you listen to them. From chugging guitar lines to wonderful harmonies to laid back rhythms to choirs. Get ready 2009 these dudes are coming for you.

Key Tracks - 1 - 11

1. M83 - Saturdays=Youth

It took me awhile to figure out number one, but really after a short time of contemplating there really was no other answer. Anthony Gonzalez breaks through with a brilliant set of songs. Im still unsure whether this will be his masterpiece or not but it's definitely the album where everyone started noticed. Whether it's a nostalgic feel of the 80's or just the fine songcraft and electronic aspects combined with the gaze, the album works on so many levels and continues to astonish and impress listeners everywhere.

Key Tracks - Skin of the Night, Couleurs, Highway of Endless Dreams

Top 21 Albums of 2008

10. Constantines - Kensington Heights

Rock and Roll is what these guys do best and they continue to do it well.

Key Tracks - Hard Feelings, Trans Canada, Life or Death

9. Thee Oh Sees - The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In

A really fine garage rock record with a bit of psych thrown in for good measure, I was immediately impressed with this record on first listen and continues to impress me over and over.

Key Tracks - Two Drummers Disappear, The Coconut, Graveyard Drug Party

8. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!

In all honesty, I'd call this my first Nick Cave album, the first i've paid the most attention to and most i'm familiar with, but that will change soon enough. Keeping in toe with the sound from latest project Grinderman, Cave and the Seeds create a rock and roll ominous atmosphere as Cave snarls his way from start to finish.

Key Tracks - Albert Goes West, Night of the Lotus Eaters, We Call Upon the Author

7. Brightblack Morning Light - Motion to Rejoin

What a record, seemingly went a little under the radar. From beginning to end the album keeps itself swallowed in constant haze. Everytime I put this record on I get internally excited.

Key Tracks - Gathered Years, Hologram Buffalo, Oppressions Each

6. Hold Steady - Stay Positive

Rock and Roll mofo's! Four albums in and Mr Finn and the boys still have it. This album mixes it up a little with some new instrumentation and at first I couldn't see it working, but it does, from one enjoyable track to the next.

Key Tracks - Joke About Jamaica, Navy Sheets, Sequestered in Memphis

Top 21 Albums of 2008

15. Shearwater - Rook

From beginning to end, this is one captivating record. Rook is Jonathan Meiburg coming into his own.

Key Tracks - Rook, Snow Leopard, Century Eyes

14. No Age - Nouns

Still raw but a vast upgrade in production since 07's Weirdo Rippers. From the beginning Randall and Spunt toss out energetic pieces of throw back punk and grunge, it shouldnt work but it does.

Key Tracks - Miner, Cappo, Sleeper Hold

13. British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?

Rhetorical or not, I was compelled to listen to this album for title alone. Always a passing fan of the band - none of their material really ever stuck with me, but three albums in they create a career defining album. Magnum opus? maybe, hopefully. Rock and Roll is alive in 2008 with the likes of bands like this. So yet again the question posed, Do I like Rock Music? Silly question.

Key Tracks - Waving Flags, No Lucifer, A Trip Out

12. TV on the Radio - Dear Science

I still don't think this album is even close to any kind of masterpiece, but boy they are still in fine form. The album doesnt flow as great as it could of but there's quality strewn throughout. Doesnt impress me as much as their past two outings but still great stuff.

Key Tracks - Dancing Choose, Red Dress, Halfway Home

11. Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel

Is there anyone making better music right now than this guy? I'm not exactly what you'd call a Bradford Cox fanboy, so I hardley ever check out all his random material available. BC calls this his solo project which is a slight departure from the Deerhunter sound. At first this album took it's time to show itself but after listen upon listen the magic began to reveal itself.

Key Tracks - Recent Bedroom, Quarantined, River Card

Top 21 Albums of 2008

21. Blitzen Trapper - Furr

The quick follow up to 2007's Wild Mountain Nation, it may not surpass the quality of that record, but the band continue to write great quirky folk-rock songs.

Key Tracks - Gold For Bread, God & Suicide, Fire & Fast Bullets

20. Mogwai - Hawk is Howling

This album took awhile to sink in, but once it does, it is one fantastic record.

Key Tracks - Batcat, I'm Jim Morrison I'm Dead, Scotland's Shame

19. Thomas Function - Celebration

Whimsical rock record from a band that wear their influences upon their sleeves with plenty of hooks and plenty to get excited about, hopefully they get more noticed this year.

Key Tracks - Relentless Machines, 2012 Blues, Conspriacy of Praise

18. Crystal Stilts - Alight of Night

These dudes released an e.p early 08, showing alot of promise before releasing this bombshell. Call it the what, 4th? 5th? coming of Jesus and Mary chain, it doesnt matter - this is a fine collection of distortion filled pop tracks.

Key Tracks - Dazzled, SinKing, Departure

17. Cold War Kids - Loyalty to Loyalty

I never really got into their first record, but they seemed to have \ found a fair bit of success. I almost never checked out this record, but I thought why not. This time around vocalist Nathan Willett weilds a real Rufus Wainwright like vocal performance with some really great piano playing creating some really fine songs.

Key Tracks - Every Valley is Not a Lake, Golden Gate Jumpers, Against Privacy

16. Earlimart - Hymn and Her

These guys keep on keeping on in similar fashion, writing tremendous sweet pop songs. Yes, so what if Aaron Espinoza sounds like the late Elliott Smith, that's probably why I adore it so much.

Key Tracks - Cigarettes and Kerosene, Teeth, Song For

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Part 3 - Pre-top 21 Propaganda

This year was as someone elegantly pointed out was the best year in music since 2007, in which I fully agree with. The difference between 2008 and any other year to date was over exposure, which to an extent is a great thing, but really how well are we really getting to know our music? There's just so much out there at the moment and if you look easy or hard enough it'll end up in your hands. Blogs became more relevant than ever (for new discoveries) as well as other similar style blogs established themselves, thanks sordo. Already 2009 is shaping up handsomly, and we're all probably in for more of the same, so my goal is too try achieve more by listening to less, fingers crossed. Also for anyone who reads this blog i'd like to apologize for the lack of the updates for the past few months as both Simon and I are incredibly busy, but in 2009 I hope to get some more material out there for the very few who read, but thanks to anyone who is, much respect.

Before I announced the belated top albums of 08, here's just a few things I wanted to mention:

Disappointing Records of 08.

Here comes the bashing, where I rage upon the albums that didn't live up to expectations! No not really. People are always looking for new sounds and exciting bands to listen to and discuss amongst friends so really - even when coming to your favourite bands, it's not really much to push aside - pay respects to their magnum opuses and put on something better, here's a few I felt about this year, I could list quite a few but i'll keep it relatively short.

My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

Still a good album - but I just don't think it works as an LP.

Ryan Adams - Cardinology

Easy Tiger part 2, in which that album really didn't need a second part.

Supergrass - Diamond Hoo Ha

As discussed in my earlier review and still yet to change my mind, this album purely blows just in context of following up what was Road to Rouen. I'm sure in years to come it'll be looked upon with more appreciation.

Dandy Warhols - Earth to the...

Just way too long and messy.

Surprise Albums of 2008!

Pretty much, albums that impressed me vigorously, as expectations were pretty low.

Oasis - Dig Out Your Soul

Call it what you will, a return to form or just a great set of tracks, I choose to go with the latter. Just a consistently decent record from a band everyone's kind of forgotten about.

Top Tracks - The Turning, (Get off Your) High Horse Lady, I'm Outta Time

Rem - Accelerate

This record, seemed to be as the press mostly called it the make of break album for the Athens, Georgia veterans as most people know their last few albums have been a tad unexciting and lack any commerical interest, but this time round, Buck gets his distortion on, the songs a little simpler but it's fine rocknroll, it's great to hear Mr Stipe voice swaggering again in such a manner.

Top Tracks - Living Well is the Best Revenge, I'm Gonna DJ, Man Sized Wreath

Wire - Object 47

Like, Mission of Burma who released a pretty good record a few years back, I wasnt expecting anything from this but after a few spins, I found their sound just as fresh as anything else this year, with great guitar hooks and atmosphere. Maybe Verlaine might get his band back together and release something, yeah? It's always great to see bands still in fine form after their master works.

Top Tracks - One of Us, Mekon Headman, Four Long Years

Special Mentions

Here's to a few records much enjoyed throughout the year that just missed out.

Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
Brendan Canning - Something For All of Us
Drones - Havilah

Part 2 - Sean's 2008 Mixtape

This post allows me to highlight on some tracks throughout the year that had some kind of effect on me.

and you will know us by the trail of dead - inland sea
apes and androids - riverside
beck - replica
black milk - the matrix
black mountain - wucan
chad vangaalen - bones of you
chris walla - two fifty
coldplay - yes
department of eagles - teenagers
destroyer - blue flower/blue flame
dodos - paint the rust
dungen - fredag
earth - rise to glory
elbow - mirrorball
fleet foxes - he doesn't know why
grand archives - sleepdriving
gutter twins - the body
helio sequence - can't say no
gza - 0% finance
high places - tree with the lights in it
hot chip - one pure thought/out at the pictures
islands - abominable snow
jenny lewis - next messiah
kanye west - paranoid
koushik - lying in the sun
ladyhawk - i don't always know what you're saying
ladytron - ghosts
last shadow puppets - only the truth
lil wayne - 3 peat/dr carter
my morning jacket - librarian
nas - can't stop us now/sly fox
of montreal - and i've seen a bloody shadow
perhapst - quote
portugal the man - lay me back down
primal scream - uptown
q-tip - gettin up
roots - criminal
ryan adams - natural ghost
scarlett johansson - fawn/falling down
she + him - this is not a test
secret machines - last believer, drop dead
sigur ros - fljotavik
supergrass - 345
tapes and tapes - blunt
titus andronicus - titus andronicus
wolf parade - california dreaming

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sean's 2008 wrap up

To kick things off with recapping the year that was 2008 is listing my top 10 gigs of 08, here it is.

10. Arcade Fire - Jan 20 (Big Day Out, Gold Coast)

9. Spoon - Jan 21 (A&I Hall, Bangalow)

8. Broken Social Scene - Feb 29 - (Zoo, Brisbane)

7. Sigur Ros - August 3 (Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay)

6. Okkervil River - March 1 (Zoo, Alleyway, Brisbane)

5. Caribou - Jan 18 (Goma, Brisbane)

4. Air - March 31 (Tivoli, Brisbane)

3. The National - Jan 17 (Zoo, Brisbane)

2. LCD Soundsystem - Jan 20 (Big Day Out, Gold Coast)

1. Sufjan Stevens - Jan 10 (Tivoli, Brisbane)