Let me start by saying that I think this was the best year of the decade for new albs, mebbe. Thus it’s necessary for me to produce this mammoth and tripartite survey of 1) the very good, 2) the great, and even the things I haven’t heard but that I suspect 3)might be very good/great. The Godfather II in our trilogy, today’s installment plums the chasepack of “honorable mention” albs that rocked, sure, but aren’t going to be making it to the big, final bestuv 2008 post ahead. Lemme encourage one and all, please, to tell me what I’ve missed (including but not limited to the entire stoner-metal/drone/sludge fleet of 2008 albs. Who the hell is Torche? Is Hydra Head about to become my new Dad, as labels are concerened?)
moscow olympics cut the world. ah, another part of the world that tonevendor allows me to see. more very pretty guitar music to play while looking at your shoes. this has some genuine, moody gtr-pop action on it that i associate with the (god-like) likes of versus. you should know about it.
gary louris vagabonds/marc olson salvation blues. the two jayhsawks guys made solo albs that are competent and intelligent, etc. but more than harboring any strong identification with these albs, i listen to them mostly in anticipation of their impending duo record. together again, huh? everybody’s doin’ it. seeing how 2005-2008, like 1971-1974, seems to be doused in/shot through/permeated by singer-songwriter albs (like mine), even good ones like these can’t win their own full blurbs out of me. ‘glad to see chris robinson (black crowes) is keeping his hand in the production world, though. right.
drive-by truckers brighter than creation’s dark. ‘finally checked out the truckers this year when chance had it that i saw both singer Patterson Hood and the full DBT band on seperate occasions in Portland. it’s very much music to drink beer and whiskey to, you know? and Cooley, the other songwriter, has this way of going right up to the line of being “too too”…without succumbing to being mere ‘humor’. seriously, there’s a randy newman comparison in there, somewhere. throw some well-toned 70s guitars, slides and pedal steel in the mix and you’ll find yourself livin’ somewhere between Good Old Boys and The River.
dead meadow old growth. just not as good as feathers, which is maybe in my top 10 for the whole wide 2000s. it’s not bad, though. but feathers is the one that’s perfect for me, cuz it’s got the most seductive distribution of bardo pond AND mazzy star elements. those bands feature ladies, tho. this band’s a bunch of dudes.
sea and cake car alarm. to say this is “more of same”-y is also to say “i need these chords, these vamps, in order to breathe.”
ted leo rapid response. what’s not to like? with ‘i’ve got your number” – and let’s not forget, “the world is in the turlet,” written by Ted and Tom Scharpling – clearly being hi-lites of 2008 for me, this holdover, benefit ep foreshadows what so many say is going to be a genuine chinese star of a new pharmacists’ alb in 2009. great damned ep, fella.
todd barry from heaven. now we’re talking. as you have no doubt noticed, i’ve become quite the follower of the comedy these days. believe me, nobody’s more surprised than me! it’s just that this form is finally yielding so many products with the wise-ass-y tone that this blog sometimes seems to champion above all. count todd barry is the shop steward from NYC, and then watch what “happens” when he explores his own, weird, understated comic diction.
ilyas ahmed the vertigo of dawn. so sad and messed up, tho there are less gtrs on this one. ahmed is, for me, “the guy” – when it comes to the post-New Zealand, post-Table of the Elements, post-Opprobrium crop of new, weird suicide-troubadors. his usually less-than-verbal squawls dress up his blood-red gtr lines like they were so many veal candy canes.
magnetic morning a.m. now we’re talking (,again). adam franklin and the drummer from interpol continue their contributions to my delinquency with a very song-y, stately alb of contemporary strum-and-drum beneath the synth-y, foxy haze. these days i find it necessary to apply a fine lather of such music to my neck, tongue and mouth. it’s an elixir. it’s my life-paste. it makes me writhe uncontrollably on thrift store couches like the album cover lady pictured above [ed. note… apparently, LP/CD copies of this dojo won’t be on the streets and the roads until Jan of 2009… it’s Emusic for you, until then]
dreamtiger glisten. oh isn’t it just romantic! boy/girl, sorta lethargic and washy from all the gazing at the cleats that’s going on in here. that said, it’s less gtr-ish and more like (my beloved) flying saucer attack. does anybody wanna come over and listen to shoegaze records with me? i’m going to draw a Sprite bath…
breeders mountain battles. bigger than the sum of its parts, because even if only 2 or the three of the songs are really all-the-way lovely…. there’s still that weird, dramatic Breeders _vibe_ that has defined their underrated enterprise since Pod, which I might argue is the best record besides Spiderland to feature an ex-member of Slint. anywho, this is not Pod. but it is eerie, beautiful, and well-recorded by a Mr. Albini. imagine if you were reduced, in the manner of a paul bowles story, to working as a man-servant/harlequin/groom/lover for a fat, golden dragon who spoke english. this music is the sound of the dragon waking you from sleep, licking his lips and chirping. would you rather he killed you or cooed at you?