Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Year in review and top 10 albums (Daniel Jacobs)

Happy Holidays, everyone!

I've really enjoyed the posts so far and am looking forward to checking out a lot of stuff I missed this year. I'm gonna highlight a few random, personal, favorites from '08 and then finish it off with my top 10 albums of the year.

Random Favorite 1: Getting married. What a wild ride...
Random Favorite 2: Recording music. My band, Parklights, started recording 7 songs in February of this year and continued to do so, recording tracks after work during the week or on Sunday afternoons, up until about a month ago, when we finished. We recorded at the KXLU radio station studios. I have very fond memories of drinking tea and gazing out the 4th story windows onto the beautiful Loyal Marymount University campus. But damn if I didn't realize that recording music can be very tedious and discouraging at times. It just makes me appreciate good music and musicians even more.
Random Favorite 3: Culver Palms Church Christmas party. Special shout outs to Angie and Adam Willis for organizing the talent portion this year. I'm confident in saying this was my favorite year. I love Culver by the way. Having a supportive vibrant church family is a huge blessing.
Random Favorite 4: Laker basketball. 2008 was a emotional roller coaster for Laker fans. I remember starting 2008 riding a wave of confidence from their Christmas day victory over their division rivals The Suns). Shortly after that, their blossoming center Andrew Bynum went down with a season ending knee injury. He played such a pivotal role in the Lakers success up until his that point, many fans lost hope. But Kupchak pulled off a miracle. 7 foot, bird-like, Spanish, phenom Pau Gasol came over from Memphis in exchange for the much derided Kwame Brown and others. Incidentally Kwame had a great game against the Lakers on his new team the Pistons recently. So no hard feelings right?
The rest of the regular season and playoffs were amazing to watch. Then I went on our honeymoon and the Finals against the Boston Celtics began. It's almost too painful to recount, but let's just say the Lakes got handled big time. Boston was the better team plain and simple.
I'm going on way too long about this, but this season things are going very well for the Lakers and let's hope for the best come Christmas day (first game against the Celtics, post finals loss) and beyond.

Here are my favorite albums from 2008.

10. Hot Chip - "Made In The Dark"
Aside- I originally acquired this album via download from a not-so-legit website. Someone had inserted these annoying promos of a robotic sounding voice saying "Made In The Dark by Hot Chip coming February 2008" every couple minutes during the songs. It was quite hilarious and I acttualy put up with it for a couple months since I was too lazy or forgetful to get a good copy and because I really enjoyed the songs. If that makes sense...
"Ready For The Floor" is the standout track by far.

9. The Mars Volta - "The Bedlam in Goliath"
Thanks to Tom Ahn for burning me a copy of this one. It's incredibly dense and complex but still rocks, like really really rocks. It's so loud and overwhelming and like nothing else I listened to this year.
I would have loved to have witnessed the recording of this album. It's worth noting that John Frusciante plays on it and you can definitely hear his contributions. Also, the drumming is insane. So good.

7. Lil Wayne - "Tha Carter III"
I listened to this album a couple times driving home from work and I thoroughly enjoyed it. But I probably won't come back to it much in the years to come.
He endeared himself to me by attempting to play guitar during his live shows despite a pretty obvious lack of skill. For some reason I really like that sort of indulgence and quirkiness.

8. Nada Surf - "Lucky"
Slightly Adult Contemporary, but they write some really good songs sometimes. The first few songs on the album are standouts.

7. Sloan - "Parallel Play"
"Witches Wand" is my favorite song in the world. It sounds a good deal like The Kink's "Lola" and it's so catchy. I don't have much a reference point to judge this album in respect to the rest of their catalog but that's something I plan on fixing this year. Thanks to Trevor (who did a video for them) and Paul for hipping me to these dudes.

6. TV On The Radio - "Dear Science"

5. Raconteurs - "Consolers Of the Lonely"
I really dug this album for the first few times through. Then it grew stale. Now it's back. Weird. "Salute Your Solution" is a great single. The crescendo at the end where Jack White's voice gets more and more distorted is very exciting and satisfying.

4. The Walkmen - "You and Me"
Definitely a grower. I remember first hearing it in the morning on the way to work and it was not helping my already drowsy state. But then I heard it again and again and now I really like it. I regret not seeing them play live this year. That's always an EXTREME concert experience. I highly recommended it.

3. Deerhunter - "Microcastles"
Well crafted songs and very interesting sound. I like both cover arts, too.

2. My Morning Jacket - "Evil Urges"
I've listened to this one more than any other this year and I still dig it. I got a soft spot for these dudes. Even the very strange track "Highly Suspicious" is catchy and I find myself singing or humming it. I respect them for treading new ground, musically.

1. Beck - "Modern Guilt"
I love every track on this one. I ain't ashamed to say it.

Dude I should I probably get back to work this took way longer than I expected. See ya next year.


Ricky said...

Good work and thanks for the recommendations. I keep hearing people mention Deerhunter, so I'm going to have to check them out. Peace!

Paul said...

Great list, Daniel. I feel you on all the random favorites, and that was some vindication (although, only slightly so) beating Boston yesterday. W/ the Dodgers and Vanderbilt basketball both having disappointing postseasons, I'm getting tired of my teams stumbling on those final hurdles.

Sloan and Deerhunter will both me making an appearance on my album list. Hot stuff.

I'm warming up to the Walkmen album, but it's just not clicking like the past ones have. I really do feel that this album is a departure, much more so than any departure the music press claimed they made with their 2006 release. "You and Me's" melodies seem to be a bit more inscrutable than usual, and there are few, if any, rock songs. I find it to be very meandering. It's weird: I want so badly to like the album b/c of how much their past albums have meant to me. It's almost sad to have this new batch of songs not click after so eagerly anticipating them.

Thomas McMahon IV said...

It took me a long time to get into the Deerhunter album, but I really like it now.

I need to give the new Beck album a shot. Don't think I've heard anything from it.

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