Well, I've spent a good chunk of time on these past few blog posts, hope you've enjoyed my opinions on the music of 2008. Its been fun reflecting on the new stuff that has come out. I wanted to crank these out before Christmas festivities/mad flights to the frozen tundra of the Midwest begin, so here are the best records of 2008:
5. Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago
When craving jangly folk rock with falsetto harmonies I'll take this record over 'Fleet Foxes" any day of the week. Moody melodies, clever songwriting, retro guitar sounds with a very subtle but solid rhythm section. These songs will be spinning for quite a while.
dig: "Skinny Love"
4. Nigeria Rock Special: Psychadelic Afro-Rock and Fuzz Funk from 1970s Nigeria
I usually don't like to include re-issues when talking about new music but listening to this CD is like uncovering a historical document of exciting grooves. Much of this stuff has never been released in the states before so it might as well be knew. While you can hear slight echoes of African funk pioneers Fela Kuti and Hugh Masekela these Nigerian interpretations of Western psychedelic funk are pure gold.
dig: "Adieu", "More Bread To The People"
3. The Raconteurs Consolers of the Lonely
There's a breakdown in the song "Salute Your Solution" where the bass guitar is drenched in distortion riffing in front of incredibly deep drum groove, the vocals enter:
"And I got what I got all despite you,
And I'll get what I get just to spite you ..."
Every time I hear it I want to pump my fist in the air and scream "F***K YEAH!!!" Rock n' roll is not dead, indeed.
dig: "Salute Your Solution", "You Don't Understand Me", "Hold Up"
2. TV On The Radio Dear Science
Probably the most lauded indie record of the year landing it #1 on lists from Rolling Stone, Spin, and The A.V. Club and for good reason. Its so hard to describe TVOTR, I can only try by saying they are an experimental art rock band, they cover so many idioms and reach for so many different things yet are grounded by Tunde Adebimpe's (who starred in the movie Rachael Getting Married as the husband-to-be, btw) haunting falsetto, creative samples, and grinding drums. It is so artful yet groovy, its no wonder why critics love them. 'Dear Science' is their most melodic effort to date proving the band can crank out a hook with the best of them. While the melodies are softened, their edge is not. This is a great record from a truly great band.
dig: "Golden Age", "Dancing Choose"
1. Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band Season of Change
This is my favorite jazz record in a long time. It is unique in that the focus is on the broad, sweeping, and epic compositions. The melodies are song-like and beautiful set behind slow backbeat grooves. Blade is a drummer of the highest caliber and while there isn't as much of a focus on improvisation in most of the tunes, each member of this fantastic ensemble still shines. I can't say enough about the writing and group concept on this album. This is only the second Fellowship record in the past ten years, hopefully we won't have to wait that long for another.
dig: "Rubylou's Lullabye", "Stoner Hill", "Alpha and Omega"
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