Stranded In Stereo: 2008 in Music So Far, Part 1

Thursday, June 26, 2008

2008 in Music So Far, Part 1

And here we are again - halfway through another year. This means it is time to look at the best music that 2008 has offered up to us so far. Like last year's inaugural half way meet, I'm offering up a two day fest, predicting what my Top 10 might look like at year's end, but listening them in alphabetical order as opposed to actually predicting their ranked spot.

And for the record, last year's prediction scored a 60%, but this year I think will be different. Different as in less han last year's score. So, let's begin.
Abe Vigoda - Skeleton - PostPresentMedium
You might remember last week when I, uh, how to put this nicely - went ape shit over this album. I could easily just end this paragraph right now, let you click on the words ape shit and you can read my initial thoughts that spewed from my mind, but what fun would that be. Since then, I've listened to this record - a lot (149 plays logged in on the Last FM account, #1 for the week - #2 had 30). I've even told people who I shared the album with, my sheer excitement and joy, that this is my album of the year. I wonder if I'm right - it is even interesting to start off with this, but it's only because of the alphabetical order. I guess we'll see in December. [Buy Here]
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours - Modular
"You must hear Cut Copy, they're all the rage!" is a statement I heard from many a person earlier this year as the band was getting ready to drop their sophomore effort. Message boards I frequent were also getting excited as the release date was looming. So, following all the hype I had to check them out. Although the lead off track, "Feel The Love," streamed off their MySpace unimpressive to me, it grew, and the next track, "Out There On The Ice" was infectious, as was many of the tracks ahead of it that would swerve in and out of each other for the near hour duration. And then I caught them live a few weeks ago, playing to a sold out crowd at the Paradise. And let's just say I don't think they were all there to see co-headliners, Black Kids. [Buy Here]

The Dandy Warhols - ...Earth To The Dandy Warhols... - Beat The World
Outside of the aforementioned Abe Vigoda, this, too, I have proclaimed a premature AOTY statue in its honor. But, this, I have a problem with. I'd hate to give the honor to an all-time favorite, I feel like its cheating. Its like showing a lack of effort for finding a real Album of the Year. "Well, these guys put out the best album of their career, a near flawless effort, I'll just give it to them." What fun is that? But see, it's true. Their sixth album is by far the greatest - after the huge letdown that is Odditorium or Warlords of Mars, the band string together the best songs of their career. The punch of "Mission Control" - "Welcome To The Third World" - "Wasp In A Lotus" - "And Them I Dreamt Of Yes" is immaculate. The band finally made an album you know they've been dying to make for years and it's pleasing to mine, and all of their fans, ears. [Buy Here]
French Kicks - Swimming - Vagrant
Upon first listen of this Brooklyn based band's fourth album, I was let down. Nothing caught me at all: there was no "So Far We Are," no "Knee High," and especially no song that was winner of Rusty's Favorite Song of 2006, "England Just Will Not Let You Recover". This was to be the record they've always wanted to make - a self-produced, self-recorded organic experience that sounded like no record prior in their catalog. After multiple listens, I found the hooks. The fade in of a stifling hi-hat in to their trademark off-kilter beats on "New Man" was the first inclination that there was gold to be mined after all. Was that a ukelele on the beginning of "Love In The Ruins"? And those harmonies on "The Way You Arrive" have to be the prime example of what they were trying to achieve, the whole organic experience fully realized. [Buy Here]
Hot Chip - Made In The Dark - DFA/Astralwerks
The first and only time I saw Hot Chip was at CMJ in 2006, playing to a hot and sweaty bunch of folks at Webster Hall. It would be the first time I would ever get the chance to hear one of the greatest Hot Chip songs, ever, Dark's opening number "Out At The Pictures". It was like nothing I had ever heard before, I can't explain how it was different but it just was. The rest of the album also had its share of 'club bangers' like "Pictures": whether it was the rave-up "Hold On", the striking guitar intro that leads in to near Talking Heads territory on "One Pure Thought", or the side to side sway one could become accustom to on the track "Wrestlers". They wanted to bring their live show to a record and boy did they. [Buy Here]

To be continued . . .


Anonymous said...

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