Thursday, January 22, 2009
I've finally come to accept the inevitable tardiness of my yearly list of musical faves, and really, it's only tardy when compared to everyone else's list. Y'see, I listen to way too much music in the waning months of the year, using extra-long workdays and holiday travels to catch up on discs I haven't spent enough time with. A couple of the albums below didn't even hit my ears until last month, but rose quickly above many others. And then I need these first few quieter weeks of the new year to let some sounds settle, to narrow down the contenders and pull together this post. So here it is.
As with last year, I've come up with an alphabetical list of the 20 discs that defined 2008 for me, along with a couple of EPs that stood out. At the bottom I also rattle off some also-rans, albums I either a) liked a lot but didn't spend enough time with, or b) enjoyed some of but had too many skip-worthy moments. These are the ones that would round out a top 30 or 40, but even I'm not that self-indulgent.
I long ago abandoned the futile exercise of numerical ranking, and it should go without saying that these are not the 'best of' the year, just the ones I heard and loved most. And believe me, given my ever-demanding dadly-duties, there is a lot I didn't hear. Hell, I've been listening to something for a few weeks now that should probably be in this list, as it was technically released a couple months back... but I'll save that one for a later post.
With each album listed below you'll see a few things -- the titles of my favorite couple tracks, a link to the record label where you can buy the disc directly, and of course, an artist/label/promo-sanctioned downloadable Mp3 from each album. If an Mp3 wasn't officially made available last year, I've included a link to where you can stream some songs instead.
Keep an eye out next week for a extensive post about the albums I'm most looking forward to this year (I love looking at last year's version and comparing it to this favorites list). Time permitting, I'm also hoping to pull together a list of last year's live shows that moved me most.
But first, the albums...
British Sea Power - "Do You Like Rock Music?"
(on Rough Trade)
faves: "No Lucifer", "Down On The Ground"
Mp3: "Waving Flags"
The Broken River Prophet -
"With Infinite Arms To Cradle The Flames"
faves: "Burned In Place", "She Gives Me Hope"
Mp3: "Burned In Place"
Centro-Matic / South San Gabriel - "Dual Hawks"
(on Misra Records)
Centro-faves: "Quality Strange", "Counting the Scars"
SG-faves: "Kept on the Sly", "Alabama Crusade"
Mp3: Centro-matic - "I, the Kite"
Mp3: South San Gabriel - "Trust To Lose"
Crooked Fingers - "Forfeit / Fortune"
(on Constant Artists, Inc. / Red Pig Records)
faves: "Cannibals", "Your Control"
Mp3: "Phony Revolutions"
Death Cab For Cutie - "Narrow Stairs"
faves: "Cath", "Long Division"
Mp3: "Long Division" (Seattle Session)
Land of Talk - "Some Are Lakes"
(on Saddle Creek)
faves: "Some Are Lakes", "Give Me Back My Heart Attack"
Mp3: "Some Are Lakes"
Mogwai - "The Hawk Is Howling"
(on Matador Records)
faves: "The Sun Smells Too Loud", "Thank You Space Expert"
Mp3: "The Sun Smells Too Loud"
My First Days On Junk - "No Order"
faves: "Count Me In, I'm Good To Go", "Try Hard"
Mp3: "Count Me In, I'm Good To Go"
New Radiant Storm King - "Drinking in the Moonlight"
(on Darla Records)
faves: "Clouds Cover Everything", "Eraser"
The New Year - "The New Year"
(on Touch & Go)
faves: "X Off Days", "MMV"
Mp3: "The Company I Can Get"
The Notwist - "The Devil, You + Me"
faves: "Gravity", "Boneless"
Mp3: "Good Lies"
Plus Minus - "Xs On Your Eyes"
(on Absolutely Kosher)
faves: "Unsung", "X's On Your Eyes"
Retribution Gospel Choir - "Retribution Gospel Choir"
(on Caldo Verde)
faves: "Take Your Time", "What She Turned Into"
Mp3: "Somebody's Someone"
Download: Full live shows @ the Live Music Archive
School of Seven Bells - "Alpinisms"
(on Ghostly Int'l)
faves: "Connjur", "Face to Face on High Places"
Mp3: "Connjur (acoustic)"
(from the Stereogum Decomposed Session)
Sigur Ros - "Med Sut I Eyrum Vit Spilum Endalaust"
(on XL Recordings)
faves: "Inni Mar Syugur Vitlajsingur", "Vid Spilum Endalaust"
Stereolab - "Chemical Chords"
faves: "Three Women", "Vortical Phonotheque"
Mp3: "Three Women"
Sun Kil Moon - "April"
(on Caldo Verde)
faves: "Moorestown", "Tonight in Bilbao"
Stream "Moorestown" at Caldo Verde
and more songs at MySpace
Tokyo Police Club - "Elephant Shell"
(on Saddle Creek)
faves: "Juno", "Listen To The Math"
Mp3: "Juno (Ra Ra Riot/Andrew Maury Remix)"
The Wedding Present - "El Rey"
faves: "Palisades, "The Thing I Like Best..."
Stream songs at MySpace
Wye Oak - "If Children"
(on Merge Records)
faves: "Warning", "I Don't Feel Young"
(more Mp3s at their site)
And a couple of 2008 EPs I really dug...
Bottomless Pit - "Congress" EP
(self-released on vinyl/cd, on Comedy
Minus One digitally)
faves: All four tracks (Hey, it's Bottomless Pit)
Mp3: "Fish Eyes"
50 Foot Wave - "Power + Light" EP
faves: the whole epic 26-minute beast
Stream in its entirety at CASHmusic
(physical release coming soon)
The honorable mentions (aka 'If I'd made a longer list'): The Breeders - "Mountain Battles", The Cure - "4:13 Dream", Frightened Rabbit - "Midnight Organ Fight", Grand Archives - "Grand Archives", Ida - "Lovers Prayers", Magnetic Fields - "Distorion", The Night Marchers - "See You In Magic", Okkervil River - "The Stand-Ins", Shearwater - "Rook", The Stills - "Oceans Will Rise", Nada Surf - "Lucky", Ra Ra Riot - "The Rhumb Line", REM - "Accelerate", Silver Jews - "Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea".
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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