Thursday, December 18, 2008

Everyone Else's Best _____ of '08: Bands

Sadly, KanYE wasn't able to participate this year, but, luckily, I was able to get a lot of bands that I really like to throw in their two cents about 2008. That was great. In fact, I think at least 4 or 5 of the bands that have contributed in some way/shape/form appear on my own year end Best Albums list plus a lot of other ones I like/should hear more from, etc.. So thank you all.

One thing I want to comment on quickly... just a reply to my long time friend Cali/Geoff, who is the lead singer of the Sea Inside. Geoff wrote - as did many others - a really creative list "Most Personally Ambivalent Moments of '08" which was very, for lack of a better word, cool; which is fitting because Geoff is a pretty cool guy. But, I do want to disagree with his second last point where he suggests that, and I'm paraphrasing (Cali is a much better writer than I, so I apologize if I'm butchering his point) that the internet/increased accessibility of music has created fewer 'rockstars' and because there are no rockstars music is losing its ability to inspire.

I certainly agree on the first part of the argument, that there will be no more Bonos, Cobains, 2 Pacs, etc., but, I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing, nor do I think it means that music can no longer inspire. In fact, I'd say the great thing about the local music scenes - and even in London (On) there is a small one - is that music becomes more personal. I think, when you get to see music up close - and not, say, from a half kilometre away in the ACC/JLC/Corel Centre - its easier to connect to, and be inspired by. Sure, we're not watching icons, but we are watching our "friends" who, typically, are grateful for us showing up and enthusiastic about playing; rather than some ego inflated 'rockstar' who wants their paycheck so they can get on their private jet, do their blow, and move on to the next city.

Maybe I'm the exception rather than the rule, but now, pretty close to all my favourite bands (Ohbijou, Sunparlour, Shad, Black Hat Brigade, etc.) are all local (or close to local), and I like it that way...

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand, now that I've got that out of my system, here's what different bands thought about '08:


Jamie Greer (Montreal, QC) Golden Hands Before God

Top 5 Live Moments of 2008

1. Monotonix (Gus' Pub, Halifax Pop Explosion)
Single greatest live experience of my life. I felt like my brain had been highjacked by rock and roll aliens. Their music is somewhat Stooges meets Black Flag-ish, not entirely unique or original, but when combined with their frantic over the top rock and roll performance - which literally involves the entire audience, the ceiling, anything not nailed down and the adjoining city block - makes for one of the most satisfying rock and roll experiences I have ever sweated buckets for.

2. Fleet Foxes (Magic Stick, Detroit, Michigan)
These guys were unknowns at the start of the year when I caught them. They had just released their debut EP on SubPop (about 6 months ahead of the full length) and were opening for Blitzen Trapper, who I'd gone to see. Their live harmonies were so gorgeously brilliant that I actually ran over and bought their EP - as well as a T-Shirt - simply from hearing the first 2/3 of the first song. Their performances are powerful, like glorious folk music church choirs. Brilliant. If you haven't seen Fleet Foxes live, you're missing out on what beautiful music should sound like.

3. The Golden Hands Before God, HotKid, Vancougar and Bad Uncle (L'Escogriffe, Montreal)
Okay, so this is one of our shows, but the magic surrounding the night was unbeatable. First off, it was our warm up gig before heading to Halifax Pop Explosion, so we were already giddy and ready to rawk. The show was originally just supposed to be us and HotKid. But through some miscommunication, Bad Uncle - a side project of Unsettlers' bassist (and our part-time sub) Santosh Lalonde and his Unsettlers bandmates Darcy Nicholls and Ben Brandes (who is our bassist) - joined the bill. When we were setting up, a group of ladies approached us and asked if they could join our bill cause they'd been cancelled from their own. We said yes. They were Vancougar. They rocked. Bad Uncle rocked. HotKid SLAYED. Shiloh Harrison is one of the most entertainingly talented guitarists I've seen in a while. She's smoking! And then we rocked. Afterwards, we all got loaded and danced the night away. What a great night.

4. Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (Club Lambi, Pop Montreal)
This Chicago 9-piece got off to a slow start - with nine horn players, sound check took some work - but once they kicked in, MAN did they kick in. These dudes have played their jazzy-hip hop sounds for Mos Def and Erykah Badu amongst others, and their professionalism was evident. These guys stole the show that night with their unique approach to the horns and fantastic charisma. A real highlight of the festival.

5. The Unsettlers (The Pound for Halloween, Montreal)
The Unsettlers are brilliant every time they play, and I'm not just saying that because they're dear friends of mine (and that our bassist is the ringleader). Their 10+ piece folk orchestra cabaret act is one of the most entertaining musical ensembles you'll encounter live. It feels like you're in a Russian music hall just before the revolution every time, no matter where you see them. But this night they were all particularly revved up and in costume to boot. Ben dressed up as Britney Spears a la the "Hit Me Baby One More Time" video was kinda creepy. Kinda hot.


Ben Brandes (Montreal, QC) – Golden Hands Before God

Best Live Shows

1) Monotonix at Gus's in Halifax at the Pop Explosion
2) Elliot Brood at Le Divan Orange in Montreal
3) Mark Berube and The Patriotic Few CD release at Cabaret Juste Pour Rire in Montreal
4) David Simard and Brie Neilson at Grumpy’s Bar, Montreal
5) Dark Meat at Pop Montreal


Ben Wilson (Ottawa, On) That’s the Spirit

1. The War on Drugs - Wagon Wheel Blues (Secretly Cdn). I no longer feel guilty putting too much reverb on my snare drum...
2. Beach House - Devotion (Bella Union).
3. Fleet Foxes - s/t (Sub Pop).
4. Snailhouse - Lies on the Prize (Unfamiliar). A fantastic album, possibly my fave of his many releases. Jeremy Gara's mixing/recording work deserves kudos as well...there's a real warm, inviting sound to this record. Lovely.
5. Chad VanGaalen - Soft Airplane (Flemish Eye).

Honourable mentions: Human Highway, The Acorn/Ohbijou split 12", Jolie Holland, Whispertown 2000, Tusks E.P.


Rajiv (Toronto, On) Oh No Forest Fires

Listen, I'm not a huge fan of solo's. Not usually anyway. They're often self-indulgent, unnecessary, distracting- just all around unpleasant. Okay so maybe I'm painting with broad stokes here and probably being way too critical. But it's rare that I see someone take a guitar solo and say to myself "wow that rocked" usually, it's like "that guy's an asshat". However, every so often, someone will take a solo where it gave me goosebumps or at least put a huge smile on my face or maybe it just made the song for me. Anyways, 2008 had a bunch. And after racking my brain for a bit and going through some concert tickets I found around my room I put together my top 5 favourite live solo's I saw this year... and they're not just guitar either. A "mouth-trumpet" and "tambourine" solo made the list too.

Also, I'm not good at ranking. These are in no particular order.

Sebastien Grainger - Sebastien Grainger And The Mountains (Phoenix Concert Theatre, Mar 5 2008)
This was my first time seeing SG's band (and arguably the best, maybe just because it was so new to me). I honestly hadn't seen someone take a guitar solo of this caliber in quite a while, but man oh man, when he ripped into "(I Am Like A) River" and a couple of other gems I was awestruck at the "elbows-up-in-the-air-kneeling-on-the-ground-inches-from-your-amp-I-got-my-O-face-on" solo's this guy took. I'm quoting someone else here but he brought the r-a-w-k. Wow.

Jamie Seerman - Jaymay (Danforth Music Hall, Feb 19, 2008)
I knew nothing about this girl from Long Island prior to her set opening for Hayden at the Danforth Music Hall in the winter of 2008. And her set wasn't even that spectacular or memorable. BUT MAN OH MAN. She did a "mouth-trumpet" solo which just SLAAAYED, it was amazing, and I'll never forget it. Easily a top 5 favourite solo of 2008.

Alex Feder - XYZ Affair (Drake Hotel Underground, Mar 21, 2008)
I became a fan of XYZ Affair when I random heard an mp3 posted on sterogum in late 2007. When I finally got a chance to check them out at the Drake Underground earlier this spring I was not at ALL disappointed. The Drake suddenly felt like an arena, huge sound, made all the bigger by the guitar solo's that could have easily pushed into cock-rock territory but were just restrained enough that he didn't sound like a wanker. Real nice, can't wait to see them again. Apparently the lead guitar player studied jazz guitar in New York under John Scofield! Crazy!

Romesh Thavanathan - Hey Rosetta! (Horseshoe Tavern, Nov 19, 2008)
Normally, this guy just plays the cello in Hey Rosetta. And he's really good at it don't get me wrong, incredible musician actually. But man oh man, when he took a tambourine solo during an instrumental break during HR's november Horseshoe set- it lit the stage up. Dancing as erratically as Iggy Pop, literally pushing other band members and destroying the tambourine against the stage wall, it was one of the highest energy solos I've ever seen. Amazing. Wish I had a video of it. Oh wait I totally do (it starts at 6:38: )

Dale Murray - Cuff The Duke (Hillside Festival, July 27, 2008)
By now everyone knows that CTD are pretty much the perfect backing band for Hayden. Tasteful arrangements and impeccable musicianship add just the right amount of colour to Hayden's otherwise stripped down melancholy songs. However, at Hillside this year, they were definitely more muscular than they'd ever been before, and something about the guitar playing from Dale Murray (and to some extent Wayne Petti) was incendiary! During songs like "Tree's Lounge" or "Home By Saturday" it took Hayden's from being incredibly intimate to jaw-dropping levels of rockness. The perfect sound didn't hurt either.


Dave Norris (Ottawa, On) Dave Norris!

My 5 favorite self-referential lines of 2008.
Scratch that. 5 favorite albums of 2008.

Destroyer - Trouble In Dreams. "I saw you in Swan Lake, you were great!"
Kathleen Edwards - Asking For Flowers. I've been a fan for a while now. I think this is her best. Everything comes together very honestly.
Meredith Luce - Neck Of The Woods. Meredith is a friend and a general awesomefest. Hard work pays off here.
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Lie Down In The Light. "Good earthly music singing into my head." I am in awe of this dude.
Mount Eerie f/ Julie Doiron and Fred Squire - Lost Wisdom. I'd never heard any Elverum, but I'm trying to listen through the catalogue now. I mean actually now. Right now I'm trying to listen to a Microphones record my roommate lent me, gotta go.


Zach Stockill (somewhere, India) Zach Stockill

2008 was a good year for music. Good, not great. I believe time will hold the year of our Lord 2008 much like the final couple of seasons of Seinfeld. Definitely pretty good, not lacking in quality, yet somehow a little tired-seeming and not as good as what immediately preceded them (2006, 2007.) That being said, there were a number of quality albums produced this year. Please excuse the fact that Canada takes up an unfair proportion of my year-end Top-Five albums list - I am proud of my Great White North, despite informing me every day that the government is falling apart. I'd like to dedicate this list to the two Canadians who were killed here in India on the 26th of November in the Mumbai terrorist shootings. All of the places in which the terrorists were shooting people, I visited a matter of weeks ago, so I feel an oddly personal connection to all of these victims, despite never having met them. Anyway, here are my picks for the top five albums of 2008.

HAYDEN - In Field & Town
Now this is an album that truly gets better with every listen. Unique in the Canadian's back catalogue, but seemingly also territory he should have pursued years ago. This album boasts more horns and more piano than anything else Hayden has done, and the record is all the more strong for it. From the hypnotic opening title-track, to the slow burning philosophical speculation of "More Than Alive," to the happy bounce of "Where & When" (DEFINITELY one of the years catchiest singles), this is a record without a single bum track or clicheed musical moment.

JUSTIN RUTLEDGE - Man Descending
Unquestionably a huge leap forward for Justin. While fans of 2006's masterful The Devil on a Bench in Stanley Park may prefer that album's more obvious catchiness, pop-sensibility, and more-full musical backing, Man Descending was recorded in a hurry (three days I believe) - to the huge benefit of the record. This is another album which grows on the listener with every spin; a slow burner in the best sense of the word. I suppose you may classify this record as alt-country, and it is, however the twang and steel guitars which were all over Rutledge's earlier records have been replaced by a more stripped down, intimate-feeling atmosphere, which serves the dark (and light) characters of Justin's narratives remarkably well. A consistently excellent listen.

RYAN ADAMS & the CARDINALS - Cardinology
"Easy Tiger" it ain't. Cardinology boasts a more raw, unpolished sound than its predecessor. It also sounds like the record Ryan has been waiting to make with his band for several years now. After the break-up with his long-time girlfriend, anybody familiar with the man's back catalogue or his blog (guilty of both, I am) were expecting another Heartbreaker, or perhaps more likely Love is Hell. Both fantastic records, but with this album it is apparent Adams has largely outgrown their sentiment. "Cardinology" is a more hopeful record ("Born Into a Light"), while remaining emotionally honest ("Fix It") than perhaps the North Carolinian has ever been. Is Ryan finally growing up? Nah. (Again, seek out his blog.) But perhaps his sound is.

BECK - Modern Guilt
This is perhaps one of the best examples of the rock star-getting-married-having-babies-bored-to-tears? genre. I think this may have been a difficult listen for his wife. There is a sense of...well... guilt permeating the album. When it comes down to it, I don't think you can throw a bonafide rock and roller like Beck into pseudo-domestic bliss and have him not sound like a man wanting to break out a little. Add in top notch production from Danger Mouse, and you have a record that sounds a little like Sea Change lyrically, with a more Guero-esque backbone. All in all, probably the best record from the world's coolest Scientologist in half a decade.

SIGUR ROS - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
This is a record which divided a lot of critics in that it definitely represents a leap forward for the band ("Gobbledigook"), while also spending a good portion remaining in comfy territory ("Ara batur"). Whatever your take on the record, it's difficult to deny its beauty. Sigur Ros themselves are a band which divide a lot of people, and I can see why. But when it comes down to it, despite the band's perceived musical elitism and snobbery, it truly is just about the music on the tape, and few musical acts from the past century are better at building a simple melody into a life-affirming crescendo, a musical orgasm if you will (to quote the Beatles' producer, Sir George Martin.) This album does nothing less, though I will agree with a friend of mine when he said that the band "needs to do something different" on their next album.

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Radiohead - In Rainbows (physical copy)
Van Morrison - Keep it Simple
The Roots - Rising Down
Randy Newman - Harps & Angels

And... Scarlett Johansson - Anywhere I Lay My Head (jokes).

iTunes: Zach Stockill - Songs for the Ride Home


Don Campbell (Toronto, On) Don Campbell

Radiohead - In Rainbows
Eddie Vedder - Into the wild
Oasis - Dig out your soul
Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
Peter Katz - More Nights


Bryan (Brampton, On) The Black Hat Brigade

Favourite Records 2008

5) Deerhunter - Weird Era
- This album surprised me. I liked Cryptograms but didn't really play it that much. I really liked the atmosphere that Bradford and the rest of the gang create on this record.

4) The Walkmen - You and Me
- I loved Bows and Arrows but couldn't really get into A Hundred Miles. I didn't buy this record until I saw The Walkmen play a live video on Pitchfork (which you should all go watch). Fantastic rhythm section.

3) Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
- This album is great. Couldn't have asked for a better 2nd LP from these guys.

2) Chad Van Gaalen - Softairplane
- What pulls me into this record is the diversity in his instruments and vibes of the songs...and Chad VanGaalen sings like he's a ghost.

1) Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
- This album came out of nowhere for me. I'm a big Grizzly Bear fan and hadn't heard of the Daniel Rossen's other band. I stumbled upon it while creeping Grizzly Bear's myspace. I clicked on the profile and found that the album was coming out the next week. I bought it right away. Teenagers and No One does it like you are instant classics for me.

Favourite Shows of the year:
5) Plant and Animals at the Horseshoe during CMW
- I hadn't heard any of their songs but heard their name being tossed around. I saw them 3 time after this show and the CMW set was by far their best.

4) Wolf Parade at the Koolhaus
- I'd never seen them live before and was thoroughly impressed. Vocals and sound were bang on (which I find rare at the Koolhaus)and they played a ton from their early album(s).

3) Tilly and the Wall, Ruby Suns and Miles Anthony Benjamin Robinson at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC.
- I saw this show my first night in NY. All the bands were great but Ruby Suns really impressed me. Great vibe and percussion.

2) Handsome Furs in Ottawa at Mavericks.
- We actually played this show along with Handsome Furs. They played a ton of new songs and everyone had a great time. Fantastic.

1) Radiohead and Grizzly Bear
- 2 of my Top 5 bands on the same bill??? Amazing. I can't wait for the new Grizzly Bear record. And Radiohead are easily the best band I've ever seen play live.


Brett Shady (Burbank, Cali) Brett Shady

Here's my Top 6 favorite songs of 2008 (in no order):

The Dodos - Red & Purple
Ida Maria - Oh My God
Fleet Foxes - Ragged Wood
Let's Wrestle - I Won't Lie to You
Porlolo - Meadows
The Walkmen - In the New Year


Geoff (Toronto, On) The Sea Inside

Most Personally-Ambivalent Music-Related Moments of 2008:

5. The Killers 'Day and Age'/first single 'Human' - I like The Killers, despite my every attempt to not like them. Quite simply, they write some really good (great?) pop-rock songs. Brandon Flowers sings with all the dramatic bravado you would want in the lead singer of a big-sound rock band, and the musical hooks (even drum hooks) seem to be endless on their albums. 'Day and Age' is a great album – perhaps not their best, but certainly the most mature they’ve produced to date (and Brandon Flowers sounds incredibly at home here; his vocals, delivered effortlessly). AMBIVALENCE = the first single 'Human' is really catchy (although not a great song) but includes that annoying, grammatically awkward chorus lyric, 'Are we human, or are we dancer?' - I find it incredibly disagreeable. I mean, let's face it: anyone with half a brain, and who knows of 'The Killers' in any capacity whatsoever, will quite naturally agree that Brandon Flowers takes himself to be 'above' most other people (in fact, this may be why so many admire him); but to position oneself 'above' linguistic guidelines...this is just too much, no? Dear Mr. Flowers: if it's the privilege of the genius to 'break the rules', please don't break the rules. You have a long way to go - very long indeed - before you can even glance toward that group. At this point in your career, the lyric just looks awkward and grossly out of place (even with that obscure Hunter S. Thompson reference). P.S., you have a gift for writing incredibly poignant vocal melodies.

4. Coldplay 'Viva La Vida'/Chris Martin press-brain idiocy - Coldplay, with the help/guidance of the prodigious Brian Eno, have created an absolutely beautiful, singular album. I'm really happy for them. To my mind, no longer merely a 'singles' band, they have finally separated themselves from all those 'Coldplay imitators' out there (I'm looking directly at you here 'Snow Patrol'). Not to say that their preceding albums weren't good – some, in fact, were great. The appeal on those albums, however, consisted in the fact that they offered a number of great singles - put all those good songs together, you're left with a very pleasant listening experience. The new album need not rely on ‘great singles’; it’s a fantastic album, with a completely closed-in integrity all of its own. For the first time in Coldplay's career, I can't separate the album into [songs I love] [songs I like] [songs I don't really like] - I simply love the album itself. AMBIVALENCE = great album, stupid band spokesperson. Why oh why, Chris Martin, did you go on record saying that no band should ever make music past 33 years of age? The only explanation: you are not a very bright person (one who is obviously so self-absorbed, he has no trouble extending the sentiment, 'what's best for Chris Martin' to some kind of universal prescription). Must I go into the plethora of earth-shattering material that was produced by bands/musicians past the age of 33? Must I really do that Chris? One would have hoped you would be intelligent enough to think about that list yourself before you shat that now infamous comment out of your dirty little mouth. How ignominious of Neil Young to produce 'Harvest Moon' at the ripe old age of 47 - what was he thinking? What gall Roger Waters took into the shameful exercise of giving the world 'The Wall' at age 36. Certainly the world would have been musically better-off had Thom Yorke just stopped writing at the Martin-requisite age 33 - we would have been spared that shamefully bad album 'In Rainbows', produced in his 39th year. If I’m being a touch 'over-the-top' with my sarcasm, it certainly fits the bill. Dear Chris Martin: please make more albums with Brian Eno...and then, when it’s done, just shut the fuck up.

3. Smashing Pumpkins Live at Massey Hall/Billy Corgan arrogance – The anticipation was at an all-time high as I approached the front entrance to Massey Hall that Thursday night in late November. Settling into my seat, I could almost taste the glorious nostalgia lying so near in my future (early Pumpkins records have remained a staple in my musical library). Out struts Billy Corgan – a figure who has never had any trouble promoting himself in a ‘larger-than-life’ fashion – swathed appropriately in an attire similar to that of the Egyptian sun-god Ra. The band rip into their first number…“Huh…don’t recognize that one”. Then the second, the third, fourth, etc. – I’m left with the same mildly dispirited response. About an hour into the show (my energy fading), the first notes of ‘Mayonaise’ flutter through the stale air; that song, immediately followed by ‘Tonight, Tonight’. “Ah (a sigh of relief) - here we go…finally” – Nope. After quickly (almost forcefully) getting through those two ‘throw-away’ songs, a return to another hour and a half of long, drawn-out solos – both guitar and drum – on songs that appeared to be more about Billy Corgan than about his fans ensues (an embarrassing rendition of ‘Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun’ was surely the night’s low point). AMBIVALENCE = thoroughly disappointed, the show coming to an end, and ready to chalk this one up to ‘a big waste of 3 hours’, Corgan walks out and personally addresses the audience. (I paraphrase): “We hope you enjoyed yourself; we hope you were mesmerized, tantalized, stupefied. We gave you what you wanted – NO! We gave you what you NEEDED! You see, here at Smashing Pumpkins, we don’t buy into that mentality ‘play whatever songs will allow the fans a nice taste of a life they no longer live’; we aren’t in 1994 anymore, and neither are you. We’re going to make our fans work hard to be Smashing Pumpkins fans. At the end of the day, if we lose fans because of that, we’ll still be much happier than we would be with a bunch of people who have put us, and themselves, into a time capsule”. Needless to say, I felt like a big ass. Dear Billy Corgan: you are an asshole for not giving me the nostalgia I so desired, but you are awesome for coming right out and telling me why I am such a dink for desiring it.

2. The Toronto Music-scene/Technology contra Ideology – As is the case with all things, the more available/accessible something is, the less ‘value’ it takes on. Music is much more accessible now – and, following the formula, it seems too to be losing its ‘value’ (not to mention, and what’s worse, its ‘shine’). Case in point: the Toronto music-scene. We have so many amazing unsigned bands playing every night of the week right here in Toronto - at venues as historic as they are individual - and no one seems to care (exceptions can, of course, be found – thank you ‘The Lonely Vagabond’ of MySpace). Unfortunately, people seem to be bringing a new-found sense of ‘entitlement’ to music – even to live music. Most unsigned bands in Toronto are now relegated to the position of a.) playing to an empty room, or b.) playing to a room half-filled by friends who cannot, by nature of their relationship, see those musicians as anything but friends (and the ‘shine’ dulls even more). AMBIVALENCE = it is certainly a good thing that musicians now have certain forms of media that can assist in the dissemination of their music, but at what cost is this happening? At the cost of the value of music itself? Mine is not an economic point (one so commonly made), but an ideological one. My concern is not with the economic fall-out from, e.g., less album sales, etc. (a capitalist economy has, and always will, privilege the creative and diligent) but with the very ideology surrounding music. The division between ‘the Musician’ and ‘the Listener’ has always been an important component of one’s love of ‘the music’. A mythology exists – it was a privilege to hear the music; to see it played live. With increased accessibility, the mythology dissolves, and what’s left is a consumer who simply wants their goods. The Musician becomes a commodity – to be used and discarded at the whim of the consumer. No longer is the Musician integrated as a part of the whole story of one’s life (the way Morrissey, or John Lennon, is to me). If this trend continues, we will surely lose a very sacred part of music: its ability to inspire. Dear Music Listener: with increased literacy came the leveling down of literature (J.K. Rowling the most successful author of all time? Is this really the image we, as humans, want to promote?) – don’t think the same thing won’t happen to music.

1. Leonard Cohen World Tour/Fly back to the Poet – Leonard Cohen is putting on a long, two-year world tour at the amazing age of 74. His music, and indeed his person, is timeless. Anyone lucky enough to be involved in any one of these shows will be thankful for quite a long time, I’m sure. AMBIVALENCE = it is so inspiring to see someone so legendary still ‘fighting the good fight’, but the tour has taken someone I, and many others, love very much away for a long time. Dear Leonard Cohen: continue to amaze people every night, but please take care of ‘Her Shell’.


Nils (Toronto, On) The Rural Alberta Advantage

Best Discoveries of 2008

So I've decided to focus on the Top 5 things that I discovered in 2008, now just for the record these aren't things that are exclusive to 2008, but instead a list of things that I was more or less oblivious to this time last year.

1. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern
My brother introduced me to McSweeney's in the spring with the statement "As someone who likes quality stuff you should really check out McSweeney's". I've always been a fan of art with a common theme throughout so this pretty much fits the bill.

2. Bruce Haack - "Electric Lucifer"
I guess I have CMG to thank for finding this one. How is it that I'd never heard of this guy until now? He was an electronic pioneer who orginally wrote kids music and built his own synths and modulators out of gadgets and surplus parts with no formal training .... and he's from Alberta ...... WTF!!!
Songs: "Electric to me turn" and "Cherubic Hymn"

3. Dennis Wilson "Pacific Ocean Blue"
Though I had heard of this album it wasn't until the re-released this year that I was actually able to hear it. "Moonshine" kills me everytime .... listening to it is like having a weight dropped on your chest 22 seconds in.
Songs: "Moonshine" and "Farewell My Friend"

4. Paavoharju "Laulu Laakson Kukista"
I think I've purposely tried not to find out anything about these guys because I really like walking around late at night listening to this album and feeling like I'm trapped in a foreign film.
Songs: "Tuoksu Tarttuu Meihin" and "Italialaisella Laivalla"

5. Invincible "Shapeshifters"
Once again I need to thank CMG for finding out about this album .... to be honest I'm not a hip hop guy but this is really really great. "Spacious Skies" was my track for Summer 2008.
Songs: "Spacious Skies" and "In the Mourning"


Scott (Toronto, On) Provincial Parks

5 best musical happenings this past year

spookey ruben playing at rancho relaxo for a no shame show - this show was amazing
the album dead calm horizon by ketch harbour wolves - best album I got this year
the song vultures by hungry lake - my favorite song from this year
the think about life, miracle fortress, amos the transparent and ruby coast show at sneaky dees - best show ive been too in years
and shamelessly, all of the delaware house shows have been amazing, so delaware house - my favorite venue

1 comment:

historyjen said...

This is great!

One edit: Scott's best show is actually Think About Life, Miracle Fortress, Ruby Coast, and Adam & the Amethysts. Man oh man that was an absolutely amazing show. Top one or two for me this year. I came home and physically collapsed on the ground. Stone cold sober.