my 2008 best of (and some shared experiences)

Well Merry Christmas and happy holidays everyone, hope the capitalist season is treating you all well.  Music this year was just incredible, lots of new players on the scene; some good, some not too good.  But no one can argue the fact that there have been some incredible additions to your music libraries all across the genre board.  I have thought about these choices carefully, and hopefully I don't eventually realize I forgot something big (but probably will, I never seem to account for everything).

Honorable Mentions (in no specific order):

Devotion - Beach House :
This album opens up so beautifully with "Wedding Bell".  It carries on well with "Gila" following two tracks later as the obvious single.  The rest of the album is great as well, but as I initially thought about Beach House when I first heard their premier album it all gets convoluted and each track drones on to sounds some what the same.  I got to see them twice this year (quite recently) and they were really good.  Very intimate.  They are also really cool people, I got to chat with them for a bit... mostly small talk but at least they gave me the time of day.  I'd say the reason this is not in my top ten is because it took seeing them twice to really get past the similarities of all the tracks and listen to the album fully.

For Emma, Forever Ago - Bon Iver :
Usually I am not that into the whole acoustic singer/songwriter stuff, but this album really got to me.  Read up on the story behind this one if you haven't already because it really gives it some substance and explains a lot about the title.  If you are ever having a shitty day, month, year just get onto this tip and you'll be alright.

Water Curses EP - Animal Collective :
I was so excited when I got to hear Animal Collective music that followed Strawberry Jam.  "Water Curses" is just incredible, a friend of mine had a moment with it last winter and told me he was pretty sure it was the greatest musical creation of all time.  I was not to keen on that because my personal favorite off this EP is "Street Flash" mainly for those insane screams right back into that wacky-ass keyboard echo of the chorus.  The last two tracks are mellow Animal Collective at their best... it is so hard to say something bad about them, so I'll just leave it at that.

Drippers EP - Black Moth Super Rainbow :
I was really disappointed when I heard this for the first time.  "Ah damnit, they got really corny" is all I could think when i first heard "Zodiac Girls".  But after giving it another chance I enjoyed the change of pace and addition of the marching-like tempo.  Songs like "Happy Melted City" and "We Are the Pagans" exhibit their psychedelic simplicity perfectly, which is what has made these guys one of my favorite bands as of late.  Tobacco is brilliant, straight up.

Top 10:

10. Made In the Dark - Hot Chip :
This was exactly what I was expecting for a follow up to The Warning.  Their electro-pop feel is developing nicely.  If you haven't bumped "Shake A Fist" as loud as possible yet I suggest you do so right now.

9. Feed the Animals - Girl Talk
I was not a fan, nor did I think I ever would be, when I first heard of Girl Talk.  But when I was in my friend's hazy garage this summer and he popped this album in fresh off its release I was blown away.  First I heard The Unicorns snare beat, then the classic Spencer Davis Group bass line, all topped with trashy hip hop lyrics.  This album got me to understand the genius behind Gregg Gillis and his sense of community through his ability to mash together the entire music scene.  Fucker put a T-Pain verse over The Velvet Underground... pretty fearless!  People can still hate on it, but using 300+ samples to form one cohesive song that is almost an hour long is pretty insane.

8. Street Horrrsing - Fuck Buttons
This album totally rocked me.  I am a huge fan of noise and am always happy to see new players on the court.  "Sweet Love for Planet Earth" is definitely a key track on my lifetime soundtrack.

7. Nouns - No Age
There is something about this album I cannot put my finger on.  I want to say its unique, but really it is rather ordinary.  Maybe it is because they are from LA, I don't know.  This was another noise album I really enjoyed from this year.  I always appreciate rich and fulfilling sound from only two people, and on this album every space seems to be explored ("Eraser").  I almost saw them this year; I stood through High Places (which was really painful), after showing up late and missing Abe Vigoda (huge mistake), and then got to hear their first note (which was an amazing, graceful blow of feedback) while I was stumbling out of the place with the help of a few friends... very stupid move, god damn cheap vodka.

6. Los Angeles - Flying Lotus
This album is so damn good.  I'll bet anyone they'll find themselves involuntarily dancing (or moving one of your limbs in some kind of sporadic motion) while listening to this album.  The remixes that come off this album are going to be so dope.  So far I have heard one, The Hood Internet mashed up "Parisian Goldfish" (awesome video directed by Eric Wareheim of Tim & Eric Awesome Show Great Job!) with Common's "Universal Mind Control" and it is so nasty.  FlyLo definitely knows how to drop beats untraditionally, which is what I respect most about his album Los Angeles.  I have never heard anything like it, rhythmically speaking.  "GNG BNG" is one of my favorite tracks of this past year, that song swallows me whole.

5. Wavves - Wavves
I have spent the least amount of time with this album out of all on my list, but I have a lot of confidence in it.  Nathan Williams, the brains behind this Sonic Youth, Beach Boys, Times New Viking sounding music project, hit all the right lo-fi notes to make an incredible album.  Total innocent, happy music with just the right amount of poppines.  The variety of songs is also another thing that really impressed me about this virgin entrance into the music scene.  I have written a bit more and also posted a few songs in a previous entry if this sounds enticing.

4. In Ghost Colours - Cut Copy
I don't have too much to say about this one.  I put it high up on my list because any album that can make the '80s cool and keep me listening to it for a straight month deserves some recognition.

3. Visiter - The Dodos
I really like these guys.  They encompass so many bands I listen to (Animal Collective, Beirut, The White Stripes, etc) in this album, the influence just pours out.  This was some of my favorite new music of the year.  The first 6 tracks all sounds so incredibly cohesive together, the middle is great too, but the end does drop off in my opinion.  I mean the whole album seems to be about self-apathy and destruction through a lost relationship, so there is definitely a lot behind this powerful compilation and I think that is what I like the most about it.  "Fools" is definitely a stand out, beautiful song that is just arranged so well.  I never thought such gentle music could stand out so much to me, but there is always something around to prove you wrong...

2. Fucked Up Friends - Tobacco
WOW.  When I first discovered Black Moth Super Rainbow I was fascinated with them.  The secrecy of their identities only made me want to uncover who they were.  Names like Power Pill Fist, Father Hummingbird, and Tobacco made them somewhat untraceable on internet search engines which really pissed me off, but also made me respect the whole exclusivity of their creative process ("recording somewhere in the deep, rural woods of Pennsylvania").  When I found out that the "singer", Tobacco, was also doing things on his own I really wanted to hear it.  First track I heard was "Dirt" ft. Aesop Rock which was so ill.  The beat he drops crackles, bumps, and stutters in all the right ways.  When I finally discovered the album it belonged to I was so upset it was only in DVD form.  The videos are really silly, some are just annoying, so I was pissed that such interesting songs were lost forever.  As I searched for an audio version I began to lose hope, until I heard it was being released on vinyl and cd.  I immediately ordered it as a vinyl and waited very impatiently for it to come.  FINALLY, it arrived and I took an extra long lunch from class to listen to it.  BAM!  "Street Trash" rolls in with the base line followed with the sun-kissed "la's", then comes the disco-synth ballad of "Truck Sweat", followed by "Hairy Candy" which sounds like a stripped down BMSR song of only the good parts.. "eat the sun, chew your gum": the lyrics still mimic his obsession with childhood memories.  I could go on about every song, but fuck that- just go and get it.

1. Microcastle/Weird Era Continued - Deerhunter
This album comes off as timeless to me.  Certainly the most genuine of 2008.  I got it as a vinyl for Christmas and popped it on while we finished opening presents and everyone from my 17-year-old sister to my 68-year-old grandfather were digging it.  Bradford Cox is just such a cool dude, he seems to have his head on straight and can write some incredible music.  This album, as a whole, is just so peaceful.  I feel as though listening to it at my age is like being sung a lullaby when I was just a kid.  I cannot wait to see how they grow in the studio, their next release should be one to look for.  "Calvary Scars II/Aux. Out" is one the most moving songs I have ever heard... this is actually music worth spending money on.

Let me know what you think because this was the first time I have ever done anything like this.



  1. Omg. Yes.

    So the tops on your list:

    Beach House. Yeah, a great album, I wouldn't say my favorite though, it took me a couple of listens to really appreciate them.

    Animal Collective: Could be the most amazing band I will come across in my lifetime. But hopefully not.

    Fuck Buttons: Street Horrrsing is probably on my top five favorite albums. It is truly beautiful, and I'm not easily impressed when it comes to noise music. This is one of the few albums I can listen to over and over again and still be in love.

    Ok, I could keep going but yeah, No Age, Cut Copy's amazing retake on 80's synth, and especially Deerhunter's beautiful album. Have you read the lyrics? I don't think it can fully be appreciated until you have, it's just as amazing as the music. I would highly suggest it :)

  2. its crazy you say that about the deerhunter lyrics, bc usually when i fall in love with an album i go right to the lyrics.. but i was listening to them today thinking: "wow, these lyrics are amazing and i dont even know what he's really saying, i should probably look them up" weird. im gonna go do it now, u just reminded me. thanks!