Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Everyone Else's Best _____ of '08: Bloggers.

(Toronto, On) - You and Your Deranged Protege
A Playlist for 2008

I won't go so far to say these are the 12 best tracks of 2008, but they're a dozen tracks that (for better or for worse), I keep coming back to. Playlist here (if adding to iTunes, sorting by track # should give you the proper order).

1. "Just Dance" by Lady GaGa: I know, I know, but goddamn if this isn't the catchiest song of the year.
2. "Love is Noise" by The Verve: note: this single is considerably better than anything else on the album, so let's not jump to conclusions and say the Verve is all the way back. Still, it's a welcome return.
3. "Electric Feel" by
MGMT: possibly my favorite tune of '08, as, unlike some of MGMT's other good tunes ("Kids" and "Time to Pretend") it has yet (yet) to appear in every movie, television show, commercial, and video game aimed at 18-34s.
4. "Lost" by
Coldplay: another year, another extremely disappointing album (this one more so than the technically-good-but-just-kinda-dull X&Y) for the band that was--seemingly--once poised to be the biggest in the world, but this, their third single, gets the nod for the pleasing hook running throughout.
5. "Constructive Summer" by The Hold Steady: ...which makes me nostalgic for a time in my life that, strictly speaking, never actually existed.
6. "White Winter Hymnal" by Fleet Foxes: kudos to you, Robbie, for introducing me to these guys (whom I liken to
Whiskeytown if they really, really liked the O Brother Where Are Thou? soundtrack)...and at my wedding of all places! This song is, simply put, gorgeous.
7. "Hang Them All" by Tapes n' Tapes: I'm still sort of baffled as to why these guys aren't much bigger.
8. "Go Easy" by Ryan Adams: ...shocking absolutely no one, least of all you. This is the best thing he's done since Cold Roses three years ago. [Insert joke here about how: (a) that's roughly nine albums ago, and/or (b) that's not saying much.]
9. "Halfway Home" by TV on the Radio: the album you can't seem to get behind is starting to thaw my cold, cold heart. It's no Return to Cookie Mountain, but Dear Science just goes...and never more than here.
10. "In Step" by Girl Talk: really any track from this infectious (in a good way!) album (best described as Jive Bunny meets The Go! Team) is deserving, but I'm going with this one, if only for the inclusion of Roy Orbison in the mash-up mix.
11. "Feel the Love" by Cut Copy: again, lots of songs to choose from on this album, but the lead track may well be the strongest. If you like Melbourne dance punk (and, really, who doesn't?) this album--In Ghost Colours--will be in heavy rotation.
12. "
Jizzed in My Pants" by The Lonely Island: Andy Samberg's tribute to the Pet Shop Boys does something that I previously thought impossible: it (just this one time) beats Flight of the Conchords at their own game.

Bob Battams, (Toronto, On) It's Not the Band I Hate It's Their Fans

1. 'Woof & Warp of the Quiet Giant's Hem' featuring Blitzen Trapper with members of Fleet Foxes and Fox Jaws at the El Mocambo on April 2nd, 2008. This was the last song of the evening and it was controlled chaos at its most chaotic as at least 15 tambourine and percussion wielding band members and fanatics took to the tiny El Mo stage and banged the snot out of their respective instruments while screaming "Yah! Yah! Yah!" at the top of their lungs, resulting in bloody hands and at least one very badly demolished cymbal!

2. 'Against The Wind' featuring Cuff The Duke and members of Bruce Peninsula, Basia Bulat and The Stables at The Horseshoe on August 22nd, 2008. Whatever possessed Wayne Petti to choose this particular Bob Seger cover is beyond me, bit it was a perfect blend of warmth and hillarity as each rotating vocalist strove to muddle through the lyrics in the best way that they could, causing all kinds of warm and fuzzy to waft through the dark Horseshoe air.

3. 'I Need A Life' featuring Born Ruffians and about a dozen or so dancing tweens at The Opera House on November 1st, 2008. There simply was not enough room on the dance floor for the overpacked all ages audience to get their groove thing on so, much to the security's chagrin, the kids made the stage their personal dance floor as Luke, Mitch and Steve reminded us that the kids are alright.

4. ' Marching Backwards' featuring Black Diamond Bay and a wicked awesome Fender strat at The Drake Underground on September 10th, 2008. As Patrick Krief came down off the stage and displayed his Hendrixian chops to the small but enthusiastic crowd, it was contagious to watch everybody try not to air guitar as their faces contorted into several different shades of Jack Black-ness.

5. 'Swimmers' featuring Emily Haines and the 354 members of Broken Social Scene at The Sound Academy on November 28th, 2008. I don't think anyone was expecting Ms. Haines to make an appearance on that night, and although it was great hearing her do 'Anthems,' this song was the real event, seeing as it had been several years since the band played it last. I was close enough to see her mouth the words, "I love this song Kevin," to Mr. Drew, which led me to believe that she was wallowing in the nostalgia of her full time BSS days as much as I was.


(History) Jen (Toronto, On) – Narratives

Best (favourite) Toronto albums of 2008 (of the one's I've heard):

Born Ruffians: Red Yellow & Blue
One Hundred Dollars: Forest of Tears
The Rural Alberta Advantage: Hometowns
Laura Barrett: Victory Garden
The D'Urbervilles: We Are The Hunters

Bonus entry...
Woodhands's Heart Attack. It's not really a listening to at home record (for me), but if you want a dance party...

All this is highly selective, but I listen to these records a lot.


Ack (Halifax, NS) Herohill

Lesser Known Bands that People Should hear ‘08

Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir
Christina Martin
The Speaking Tongues
Azeda Booth
Olivier Jarda
Mt. Eerie ft. Julie Doiron & Fred Squires
Old Man Luedecke

See also, Ack's 10 Best EPs of '08.


Sean (London, On) Everything is Pop

Best Re-Issues of '08

5. The Replacements | Sorry Ma Forget to Take Out the Trash, Stink, Hootenanny, Let It Be, Tim, Pleased To Meet Me, Don't Tell a Soul, All Shook Down

The Replacements have always been near and dear to my heart and I have been waiting for someone to do this right for many years now. Rhino Records have though with this bevy of lavish reissues. It's not necessarily the remastering though that is the big draw this time though. In fact much to my chagrin, some even sound a little worse. (I'm looking at you Pleased to Meet Me). It is however the inclusion of a number of rare and unreleased bonus tracks that make these discs so very essential. Paul Westerberg's early solo home demo for 'You're Getting Married' from the Stink EP and the Alex Chilton produced bonus tracks on Tim really illuminate the greatness and true potential this band truly possessed. So it's with a certain sense of pride that extensive versions of these albums are available for new fans to discover and old fans to love again.

4. Dennis Wilson | Pacific Ocean Blue + Bambu (Caribou Sessions)
This record was one of my most highly anticipated releases this year and it did not fail to disappoint. Long out of print since its original release in 1980 this record finally got its due with this year's double cd package. True, in the thirty years since, Pacific Ocean Blue's reputation has risen with the Wilsonian superlatives lavished up on it by fans such as The Verve and The Charlatans. Similarly,unavailability has also played its part in ballooning the myth – Be assured though Pacific Ocean Blue meets and surpasses even the loftiest of sonic expectations.

Nearly twenty five years after Dennis' untimely death, we'll never know if this version of Bambu matched the creative vision of its creator but it does offer a rare glimpse into a profoundly creative mind. Bearing in mind the fact that this was the same album that had been left abandoned by Dennis himself a full four years before he died in 1983. For the ardent musicologist in all of us, this collection is a treasure.

3. Pavement | Brighten the Corners (Nicene Creedence Edition)

Matador Record's two-disc Nicene Creedence Edition of Pavement's seminal Brighten the Corners goes way beyond the original 12-song release, adding a whopping 31 additional cuts: outtakes, B-sides, compilation tracks, and live radio sessions, all of them top-notch. (When I do my top five song title list "Neil Hagerty Meets Jon Spencer in a Non-Alcoholic Bar" will surely be first and foremost.)

I recall very well when the original release of this album graced our ears. By then Pavement had perfected their slacker ideology with their clever mélange of idiosyncrasy and competence. These guys were such a huge influence on indie music for years since. I've always considered them to be this continent's version of the Fall. High praise, trust me, Mark E. Smith is a demigod in my books.

So get out the air guitar and go Guitar Hero over the seven-minute "And Then (The Hexx)". Pure postmetallicfunkjammingslacker goodness!

2. R.E.M. | Murmur (Deluxe Edition)

You know how sometimes you get that little burst of adrenalin when you get some good news about something you really love. Well I got that burst when I heard about this records impending reissue. When I actually heard it though, it was a whole new ballgame. Hearing this reissue was like hearing it for the first time over twenty five years ago. But the real bonus here is the oft bootlegged live cd from Larry's Hideaway in Toronto. This generation's functional equivalent to Live at Leeds. (IT IS JUST THAT GOOD)

I could write an essay on the importance of this CD in my music pedigree but this time I defer to you the listener to discover its riches. It rarely gets better than this.

1. Otis Redding | Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (Collector's Edition)

On July 10, 1965, Otis Redding took only 24 hours to record ten of the eleven songs that would make up Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, arguably the 1960s' greatest studio-recorded soul LP. Allow me to amend that. It may be the last centuries greatest recorded LP.

This is unquestionably Redding's crowning achievement. The sprawling two CD Collector's Edition of Otis Blue really helps to illuminate that contention. This amazing package includes rarities, live versions of the album tracks, alternate mixes, and the original LP in both mono and stereo. It was pure bliss to discover anew the magic that lies within this record. Not unlike the more extensive Beach Boys - Pet Sounds boxed set this release goes a long way in explaining the back story of this legendary musician.

The music on this disc will affect the way you listen to and interpret music. "Change Gonna Come", Redding's cover of Cooke's civil rights anthem "A Change Is Gonna Come", is the real gem of this package. Emotional, raw and so extraordinarily passionate the hair on the back of your neck will stand on end.

For an album that took one day to create is still a stunning revelation to me- Testimony to the inimitable soul and sublime talent of Otis Redding. This record needs to be in everyone's collection. It deserves reverence, it deserves love. It is a blueprint for all of us to do just that.

Allan (Toronto, On) AW Music

Frightened Rabbit - Midnight Organ Fight

Microcastle - Deerhunter

The Bug - London Zoo

M83 - Saturdays=Youth

Fleet Foxes s/t


Christian (Toronto, On) AW Music

Best Albums '08/Best Songs

1. Deerhunter - Microcastle

2. Department of Eagles - In Ear Park

3. Chad Van Gaalen - Soft Airplane

4. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

5. Women - Women

"Recent Bedroom" Atlas Sound

"Black Rice" Women

"Seal Eyeing" Animal Collective

"Open Spaces" Johnny Greenwood (There Will Be Blood OST)

"No One Does it Like You" Department of Eagles

"The Rip" Portishead

"Gila" Beach House

"Mykonos" Fleet Foxes

Rabid Bits of Time - Chad Van Gaalen

Chemtrails- Beck


U NO WHO IT IZ said...

"An awkward mid-20s person's guide to so-so music"

The R.O.B. said...

Is that really worse than "A Teenager's from a small cities Guide to Music that they think is 'Fresh'or 'sick'"?