Thursday, January 8, 2009

Worthy Of Praise in 2008

I feel like I always wait so long to post on here that my list has become rather repetitive and uninteresting. I'd considered trying to post my favorites of 2009 in order to change things up, but I didn't get it together. Anyway, here are my favorite releases of the year (In some particular order, I suppose, and ending in a very specific top four)

Sixes & Sevens- Adam Green
For my money, he has become Nilsson more and more on each album and although this one isn't really consistent enough to warrant any best of list, it brought me many moments of pure joy. The production is really fantastic and it has a horrible album cover.

Introducing...- Gentleman Jesse & His Men
Somewhat just to bring a new album into the fold of the lists, this was my favorite debut album of the year.

Devotion- Beach House
It is very "one-note" as Paul mentioned, I believe. However, it must've hit the right note at the right time for me. I listened to this album heavily at the beginning of the summer as well as going back to relistening to their first album (which sounds pretty much the same, but I'm partial to this one)

Made In The Dark- Hot Chip
I'd agree with Thom about this album, it could've dropped a few songs and improved. I actually wanted more of the moody, ballady songs than tehir token dance numbers. I'm interested to hear frontman Alexis Taylor's acousticey solo album. "Ready For The Floor" was one of my favorite videos of the year as well.

Arm's Way- Islands
Honestly, I was overwhelmingly disappointed and unhappy with this album when I got it upon release. I was really anticipating it as the first Islands record had become a favorite awhile after it came out. This album has little in common with their previous work and was seemed too dark and a bit messy for me. For whatever reason, I gave it a second chance towards the end of the year and had a change of heart. If you find yourself in a bad mood and with the opportunity to drive fast with the stereo turned way up, this can be a really rewarding listen. A testament to second chances.

Pacific Ocean Blue & Bambu Sessions- Dennis Wilson
This is a reissue, so it shouldn't technically count, but I was so happy to discover the album at the beginning of the year via blog download and then thrilled to have it reissued so nicely. And as an added bonus, I discovered that a song on the Bambu Sessions was an mp3 that I had ended up with years ago without any artist info and had been fruitlessly searching out for some time. "School Girl", check it out.

#4 Fleet Foxes & Sun Giant EP- Fleet Foxes
I didn't get this for awhile, so I guess I missed most of the internet buzz. As a result, it felt like a personal discovery for me. In addition to being a great album for walking around Santa Monica, I also recommend it for driving through the Hill Country outside of Austin en route to Abilene.

#3 You & Me- The Walkmen
I've been a fan of theirs for quite awhile and I would agree that this is close to, if not their best effort. Based solely on number of listens, this album is worthy of the #3 spot.

#2 Volume One- She & Him
It's funny that She & Him and "You & Me" were at the top of the list together. Huh. You know what, I like M. Ward just fine and Zooey Deschanel quite a bit, but it doesn't really sound like a best of the year combo on paper. I thought I would enjoy the album alright and definitely thought my wife would like it, so i bought it. I guess I should technically amend my earlier statement and say this was most definitely the best debut of the year. The songwriting is outstanding and I think the best thing about M. Ward is his production sensabilities. He's better in a group. This year's "Rabbit Fur Coat" I say.

#1 Vampire Weekend- Vampire Weekend
There's no denying it. Every song IS a hit, Michelle. It is 100% a perfect album and I listened to it so much this year that I thought it came out last year. Backlash is to be expected when you make something this good. And look as cool as they do, God bless 'em.

Acid Tongue- Jenny Lewis & Modern Guilt- Beck
Both really, really good albums that I wanted to like a little bit more. Both had an unbelieveable sound of production. That J. Lewis album is a grower.
Age Of The Understatement- The Last Shadow Puppets
Terrible, terrible band name, but some really great songs. My newfound obsession with Scott Walker ought to have meant I would love this album, but somehow it's never quite translated beyond a very big like.
Real Emotional Trash- Stephen Malkmus
I must say, I really loved this album, it might should be on the list above. It sure is close to being there. I liked it a lot more than Face The Truth. He's like a Guitar God now apparently.

"Single Ladies"- Beyonce
Also in my top videos of the year. Pure and simple infectious pop/R&B. I don't get that "If I Was A Boy" song though.
"Ordinary Song"- The Little Ones
I don't know if this was ever really a single and I don't know that it was technically released this year, but this song should've been the number one song in the country. It's legendarily good and it's by some guys from Culver City!
"Viva La Vida"- Coldplay
This song, stolen or not, was soooooooo much better than the album as a whole. It got in my head constantly and reminded me that I once like Coldplay a lot.


Adam W. said...

I don't know why the text gets smaller as the writing continues. maybe eBlogger knew it was too long.

Paul said...

Perhaps we should all go to the Walkmen/Beach House show coming up on the 20th.

Man, I need to get the Gentleman Jesse album. Douchemaster Records might be the label of the year. G. Jesse, the Pets, Carbonas, Wax Museums, etc . . . all good stuff. I dig this new Atlanta scene; kind of reminds me of Goner Records in Memphis (although I think the Wax Museums may be from TX).

I also think of the She & Him record as this year's "Rabbit Fur Coat."

Re: the Malkmus record. You know, it just kind of faded on me. I really like some songs, and the b-side "Walk Into the Mirror" is one his best, but unlike you, I found Face The Truth to be consistently more charming. Also, I don't really dig Janet Weiss' drumming on the record - too messy and busy. I still think John Moen's drumming on Pig Lib is perfectly crisp; had he played on "Real Emotional Trash," I likely would have enjoyed it much more.

Some of those Bambu session songs are pretty far out.

Thomas McMahon IV said...

That photo is glorious. Unfortunately, posting a photo seems to cause some problems with the text. I had to re-do my post a few times because a lot of the returns weren't registering.

Regarding Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor, be careful when you look him up. I attempted to and came upon the website of Alexis Taylor, porn star. And this was at work!

Regarding the Little Ones' "Ordinary Song," they actually did release their debut album in the fall, and that was on it. I like but don't love the album. "Ordinary Song" is, in my opinion, the most extraordinary song (pun intended) on the album.

Adam W. said...

I've marked my calendar for that Walkmen/Beach House show and judging by my list we should most definitely make plans to go to it.

I should probably cede the Malkmus points to you because I think you are most likely a much bigger fan. I quite like Face The Truth, I should listen to them all some more to make a decision about which I prefer. I suppose I just liked R.E.T. a lot more than I expected to perhaps. There's some great sounding Steely Dan-esque guitar on the album.

Thom- I was actually referring to the porn star Alexis Taylor. And when I said album I meant "movie". Porn movie.

I should probably pick up the whole Little Ones album. I listened to quite a bit of it online and would agree that nothing caught me as firmly. That extra-"Ordinary Song" is almost certainly my song of the year.

Anonymous said...

Any idea how credit crunch affected porn?