Stranded In Stereo: 2008 in Music So Far, Part 2

Thursday, July 3, 2008

2008 in Music So Far, Part 2

Today we conclude our two-part segement with the other albums that could end up in my Top 10 when 2008 rounds out several months from now.

Mason Jennings - In The Ever
There's nothing I love more than a record that has a down home feeling, the feeling that you are in the room with said artist as they lay down the tracks that make up a masterpiece. That's the vibe Jennings gives off with his first album on Jack Johnson's Brushfire imprint. Listen to the piano clang over to your right on "I Never Knew Your Name"; get your campfire-sing a long-boot stomp game face on for the crowd pleasing "I Love You And Buddha Too." But what makes this album imperfect, or feel more like an EP or collection of outtakes, is the strangely displaced live track right in the middle. What's up with that, Mason? [Buy Here]
Nada Surf - Lucky
As much as I love these guys, I cannot say enough about how this album is missing something. Actually, it's not that it's missing something, it's all there. It just needs to be arranged a little bit better. If anyone has read my review, you'll know that I was upset with how the album was resequenced at the last minute or whatever, moving original closing number "See These Bones" up to lead off which was just totally bizarre. The rest of the first side stayed intact, while someone played 52-pick up with the second side. But at the middle, at the heart of the record is quite possibly their finest moment in "Are You Lightning?" A song I once thought was about impending parenthood is about what I really thought it was about anyway: impatiently waiting for true love to find you. [Buy Here]
R.E.M. - Accelerate
I decided last year that I was going to finally make due on something I had wanted to do for quite a while now. Upon completion of their new album, I was going to finally go and see R.E.M. in concert. Sadly, I did not, but that doesn't mean they haven't made their best album in a decade. yes, the purveyors of the Athens legends are true when they say this is their "return to form" album, I'll totally drink the Kool-Aid on that statement. I read somewhere online how "Man Sized Wreath" reminded them of GBV, so I immediately put it back on and, by God, Peter Buck's guitar licks totally mimic that of Doug Gillard. Or was it Doug that stole from Peter? Haven't we all borrowed from them anyway? They do have the whole Godfathers of College Radio title to hold on to. [Buy Here]

The Republic Tigers - Keep Color
Allow me to be honest - upon first listening, this album did not do it for me. It had great moments, like "Made Concrete" that I had been salivating about for well over the past year. For some reason, I felt Color was paling towards the end. But with every listen I'd find something new to enjoy about it, a new favorite song, a new sound not heard on the last listen. And before I knew it, it became clear that Color wasn't so dull after all - it was bright and full of life. And with this mention, they have to be the band I have blogged about the most so far this year. [Buy Here]
The War On Drugs - Wagonwheel Blues
And from most blogged about to a record (and band) I've yet to even mention here. This album has been under my radar for several months and is one of the best things to come out of my homestate of PA since, well, ever. The 10 minutes that it takes to get through the licks and drones of "Show Me The Coast" are so epic that, thanks to the updates to Muxtape, it'll open a future mix as I'll challenge all to get through it. But it doesn't stop there! The album is covered in swirly guitars and dirges that haven't been displayed with such pinache and style since "Teen Age Riot" 20 years ago. Sonic Youth fronted by The Boss? That's all you can say about them. [Buy Here]

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