December 31, 2008

Dateline Jan 8th: so, as it turns out, recording an album takes a little longer than a few days (who'd'a thought?), and that whole thing bit a chunk of time out of the days I was planing on writing the last section of the best of. This means the last section will be up tomorrow at some point. Hurray!

December 30, 2008

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, Pt. 1

The Top of the Top list, "Love More Than Music," will be up in a few days, and then, following it, will come my "favorite of the year" post. So stay tuned! Here's this part:

Love More (<3)
Pacific UV - Longplay 2
My buddy JJ once explained to me, when I asked what this band sounded like before he introduced me to them around the time their first one came out, that this band sounds like Explosions in the Sky and Death Cab For Cutie mixed. Well I have to say that I didn't so much hear it on any of their other releases, but such a description fits this band better now than ever. Some of the tracks are mostly instrumental experimentation's in ambiance and the building of a mood through music, but they all sound like they're trying to flirt with making Pop-Post-Rock. If that were to ever be possible, these guys would be the first to do so.
Pacific UV - Alarmist
Pacific UV - Something Told Us

Pee-Pee - Castile Jackine is Vooded at Broonus Mousin: Volume 1
Pee-Pee is a band that wins the award for one of the worst-named-band-almost-ever (I'm certain there are worse ones out there), but it's clever, because it's unforgettable. The idea behind a name like that is lost on this band/project, however, because Pee-Pee's music in itself has always been unforgettable. This album has been years in the making ... well ... more precisely an album has been in the making for years. I got their 5 song demo about 2 or 3 years ago, and they've had a radio set that I was able to download, and they've had a few songs on their myspace that they never really released, but other than those few recordings, Pee-Pee has been mainly a performance band, not an album band. Headed up by Doo Crowder, the band is constantly in flux, but is usually over 9 members and under 15, instruments ranging from pots and pans to singing saws to accordions (also, there's a guitar, but hey, what band doesn't? [don't answer that haha]). Their music is whimsical and haunting, and this album changes none of that. With mostly new songs, I feel the only downside to the album is that it is 1) too short, and 2) includes the "Freakout Jam" and "Pee-Pee Song," two songs that are interesting maybe once or twice, and I've seen them live quite a few times, so I've heard my share of the Pee-Pee Song. If those two songs were replaced by some of the other Pee-Pee standards, such as "Love Is Impossible," then I would have been content to make this album my favorite of the year. But the fact is that I'm kind of unhappy with 1/4th of the album. However, it is 3/4ths perfect, and should be heard by one and all.
Pee-Pee - Love Needs a Quivering, Restless, Aching, Fire To Lay Its Head On
Pee-Pee - I Hope My New House Feels Welcoming For You
Pee-Pee - Jaroline (That jarring sound at the beginning of this song is, for some reason, supposed to be there)

Air Traffic - Fractured Life
There are few albums like this. Each song is very different at first, but all of them are intrinsically Air Traffic. I've said a great deal of good things about Air Traffic in the past. I'll let those things stand as an example of my feelings.
Air Traffic - Charlotte
Air Traffic - Come On

Andrew Jackson Jihad - Only God Can Judge Me
I'm a huge fan of Andrew Jackson Jihad. I remember when I first heard them. I bought this Ghost Mice/AJJ split, mostly for the Ghost Mice side, and fell in love with AJJ. Ever since, I'm a dyed in the wool AJJ man. This EP is a heartbreaking work of awesomeness, as is the majority of AJJ's work. Folk Punk sometimes, just plain folky at other times, each song is a mysterious trip through the strange and sometimes gruesome minds of Sean Bonnette and Ben Gallant. Brilliant, but an EP, so I feel it's a little short.
Andrew Jackson Jihad - Darkest Heart
Andrew Jackson Jihad - Human Kittens

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, Pt. 2

Love More (<3)
You Say Party! We Say Die! - Remik's Cube
As I've said before, I'm always a little cautious of remix albums, but this one was actually pretty good. Considering the fact that I didn't much like YSP!WSD!'s last album very much, I'm lead to believe that maybe the songs just weren't mixed in a way that I really liked, because this album is composed of each song from Lose All Time, remixed, and put in the same order. These songs are dancy and punky and fun and ridiculous. Nice. I still can't really fall for the songs as hard as I'd want to, but I bet their next album is going to be fantastic.
You Say Party! We Say Die! - Monster (RAC Remix)
You Say Party! We Say Die! - Moon (Wallpaper Remix)

You!Me!Dancing! - Wasserloslich
French Electro dance artist, not to be confused with a song by Los Campesinos!, which brings to mind a great deal of artists that I can't doubt have inspired him in some way. A few tracks sound straight up Prodigy Experience inspired, and other sound a little bit like something Crystal Castles may have produced. Dan Deacon slides in there every once and a while, and there might even be a few nods to traditional 90's rave culture. Whatever is driving this French boy by the name of Chris, if he keeps this up, and maybe get a tour or two going, he'll be up there with his idols (Dan Deacon is in his top friends, so I'm left to assume...) in very little time.
You!Me!Dancing! - Mazurka
You!Me!Dancing! - Under the Kraft Paper

The Lisps - Country Doctor Museum
I don't remember the first time I heard them, but their song "I'm Sorry" will forever be one of my favorites. The songs are full of soul and the vocals are so sweet you'll get a cavity. Folky and heartwarming are terms that don't even begin to explain how I feel about these songs. They're perfect, for what they are. I feel like The Lisps, at the point when they made this album, couldn't have done better. I feel like, when I saw them, they were all ready reaching beyond these songs, and if that's true, then this album will quickly be forgotten. Part of me wants that to happen, part of me wants it not to, because I truly feel happy when I listen to these songs. I'm excited to hear their new musical though :)
The Lisps - I'm Sorry
The Lisps - Heaven

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, Pt. 3

Love More (<3)
High Places - 03/07 - 09/07 and High Places
I first saw High Places at Rhinoceropolis 2 summers ago, and I just chalked their sound up to the sound system that Rhino had at the time. But, I was wrong, as it turns out their recordings are pure sonic assaults. Found sounds have never felt so full and tribal. These are not albums that you listen to without really listening to it, because it might be a little bland. I had to delve into it in order to really hear all the subtleties, and once you do so, you find a cornucopia of musical findings and rhythms.
from 7" collection:
High Places - Sandy Feat (7" Version)
High Places - Banana Slugs/Cosmonaut
from self titled:
High Places - Golden
High Places - The Storm

Birdmonster - From The Mountain To The Sea
Pure indie pop genius. I've infrequently touched by lyrics, but the rhythm and the sound of Peter Arcuni's voice just reaches out and grabs you. The instrumentals are unabashedly indie pop, but there is nothing wrong with that, especially when you play the way the members of Birdmonster do. Maybe a runner up for feel good album of the year.
Birdmonster - Born To Be Your Man
Birdmonster - Heart of The Dead

The Good Old Fashioned Sinners/Lil' Slugger - Lil' Slugger/The Good Old Fashioned Sinners Split CD
There are many things I love about Denver. Okay, mainly I love the music scene. These two bands are reason enough. I think Lil' Slugger is one of the most inventive and intellectual bunch of musicians I've come across (just talk to them, you might be surprised). I didn't like their half as much as I liked their full release, but I have to say I'm happy with anything I can get by these guys. The Good Old Fashioned Sinners are not musically as peculiar as Lil' Slugger, I feel, but it's still pretty great. It countryish, yes, but it's super distorted and full of life. The lyrics are, I think, ironic, but I'm not much of a lyrics man sometimes, and the music is what really drew me in. All in all, a good split.
Lil' Slugger - A Cascade of Strawberries, ...
The Good Old Fashioned Sinners - Heavy Doubts

The Accidental - There Were Wolves
I don't fully understand why I enjoy this band as much as I do. The guitar work is not the most intricate, and the vocals are not that unique. But maybe it's a Philip Glass situation: you don't need a lot of stuff to make good music, you just need the minimum, which is a talent for song writing, and some genuine musicianship. This band may not even embody that idea, but all of that jib-jab aside, I find myself drawn to this album again and again. The lyrics stand out quite bit, but not because they don't fit, rather because they are very unassuming and pleasant in nature, but the things that are sung are remotely heartbreaking. I mean, I'm not in tears while I listen to it, but I think that makes it more relatable, because if they were going for tears, it would probably sound too over the top.
The Accidental - Knock Knock
The Accidental - I Can Hear Your Voice

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, Pt. 4

Love More (<3)
Oh Man. there are few things in the world I love more than HEALTH, so a remix album is going to be high up on my list, but since, like I've said before, it's a remix album, it's not going to be the top of the pops. The songs are all sorts of awesome, but that's because the remixers were working with brilliant songs to begin with. That and the list of remixes chosen were done by some of the more inventive remixers/DJ/Producers/etc. out there. Denverite and awesome kid all around Travis Edgy/Pictureplane even has a song on there. Even if you listen to the album without a track list, you'll be able to tell which one is his.
HEALTH - Lost Time (Pictureplane Rmx)
HEALTH - Tabloid Sores (Nosaj Thing Rmx)

The Nextdoor Neighbors - Magic Vs. The Machine
I've been following this Oregon duo since their myspace hit the interwebs ... or at least shortly there after. I'm not saying I happened to be in the know, I don't even recall how I found it. I imagine that it was luck, plain and simple. They had two songs on their site, one of which they changed about and used in this album, the other they haven't used for anything (and it was my favorite of the two :( ). Well after placing (I'm not sure if they won or not, but they ought to have) in a battle of the bands and receiving some well deserved local attention, they recorded and released this album. There are strange and spectacular electro beats and wicked rhymes about ... well about a whole slew of things. The group touches on subjects of the bizarre, relating peculiar metaphors to everyday life things, like love and all that jazz. A very touching album that will make you wanna groove out. Now, I would have liked to place it higher on my list, I know that it's this high because they are two VERY talented filles, and a good portion of the songs on this album are spectacular. Thing is, there are a few I didn't like that much, but there were concepts and experiments in those particular songs that I respect and think are healthy, because without experimentation, we're stuck with pop crap. Nextdoor Neighbors, I beg of you, keep up the good work.
The Nextdoor Neighbors - Town Full of Mannequins
The Nextdoor Neighbors - The Werewolf Song

The Muslims (now called The Soft Pack) - The Muslims
Reminicent of the Velvet Underground in that the songs are pure distortion and rhythmic pulsating madness, with subtle, almost complacent vocals over the whole thing. The songs are sharp, short, and leave you with the feeling that you just got a little greasier. It reminds me of The Raveonettes' first album, which is a good sign. They're a punk band that isn't going to incite a riot with their actions, but, instead, make the riot grow from inside the audience and burn them through.
The Muslims - Nightlife
The Muslims - Extinction

Noah And The Whale - Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down
Folky and instantly engaging. My buddy Dana introduced me to this band when he'd heard them on some car commercial, something that instantly made me a little wary, but I always give things a chance, and I'm glad Dana pushed them on me, because in one listen, I knew they'd be pretty high on my end of the year list. Indie Pop Folk, and it's not ashamed to be so, which is fine, because it pulls it off quite well. I remember seeing a fake play list someone had made on some website, it's purpose being to make fun of play lists in general. Included on this list was a band called "any indie folk band" and the song on this fake list was "another heartwrenching indie folk song that sounds exactly like every other heartwrenching indie folk song." Noah and the Whale might fall under that heading, or something similar, but I don't think they would deserve it. Mainly because it's not heartwrenching. It's actually a little twee ish. but only a little.
Noah And The Whale - Shape of My Heart
Noah And The Whale - 5 Years Time

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, Pt. 5

Love More (<3)
Priscilla Ahn - A Good Day
I think I said it pretty well in my original review. She's a real genuine musician. (see original review)
Priscilla Ahn - I Don't Think So
Priscilla Ahn - Red Cape

N.E.R.D. - Seeing Sounds
The only way I was able to really get into this album was by thinking of parts of it as a huge joke on 80's pop music. Once I got in that mindset, I realized this is a very intelligently composed album. It's weird. and I mean freaking Weird. Even their single was freaking bizarre. But it is a song about coke, so what do you expect. I loved it though. Weird is where I live. It was not stellar, but it was a raucous good time.
Did you see the remix video? swick
N.E.R.D. - Spaz
N.E.R.D. - Everyone Nose

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Dig!!!, Lazarus, Dig!!!
Ex-Birthday Party member Nick Cave has always been a busy man, so it's a little surprising to hear yet another stellar release. This album is reminiscent of the grimier Tom Waits years, but it's still very Nick Cave in nature. The album is a great pulsating beast which is centered around a re-thinking of the Lazarus story, the central question being "how did Lazarus feel about being brought back from the dead?" Pretty epic Mr. Cave.
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Dig!!!, Lazarus, Dig!!!
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - We Call Upon The Author

Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
I think that this band was both highly overrated and highly underrated. You play it a party, you might get some weird looks. Or you'll get that kid who thinks it's the end all be all of music. I liked it. It was almost chiptuneish in nature, but it has pure punk ideals. This duo is grimy and out of control, just the way I like my music. Their music, being mostly electronicy, has the potential to be clean and clear, but they pump up the volume and distort it to the point where our brains are melting. It's not the end all be all, but let me bump it at my party ... pleasenthanks.
Crystal Castles - Untrust Us
Crystal Castles - Alice Practice

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, Pt. 6

Love More (<3)
Fujiya & Miyagi - Lightbulbs
A dancing dream. Fujiya & Miyagi have always mysteriously floated under the radar, which is just not right. Sure in 2003 there was a remix album, but I just don't think enough people have noticed the pulsating electro awkwardness that is F&M. Their sound pulls heavily from Krautrock and the analog sounding electronics of the mid 1900's, and there are fewer electronic artists that sound as warm and inviting.
Fujiya & Miyagi - Knickerbocker
Fujiya & Miyagi - Pterodactyls

Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
I have trouble placing an mash-up album very high on a best of list, because, like my buddy Tom alluded to during a conversation not to long ago, the artist didn't really make the music. But I cannot deny the power of this album. It is the most concise and intelligent and obscure of all the Girl Talk records. He is the master of the mash up. All. Hail.
Girl Talk - (You can get the whole thing right here)

Girls In Hawaii - Plan Your Escape
I find it hard to describe this album because I find myself not wanting to say the same tired things that I always say about soft spoken lyricists and guitar parts that amble about but certainly still have direction. Last time I rated this album I basically said the same thing, but said it with a lack of many words. the fact that there are too many good songs on this album to pick fine one or two to host here for you fine people should say volumes.
Girls in Hawaii - Fields of Gold
Girls in Hawaii - Couples on TV

Richard Swift - Richard Swift As Onasis
Bluesy and hella distorted in a way that can only point to a certain man by the name of Tom Waits. Okay, there are probably 1000 influences, and I know I frequently say that people sound like Tom Waits, but, come on, Tom Waits is a good reference point, because at some point if you're going to make music, you're bound to have at least one song that sounds like him, because he's done it all. Richard Swift, I imagine, has no ambition to try to become Tom Waits, probably because he's too good at being himself. This double EP (one of like 10 in existence ... I think the Beatles did the first one) has a few instrumentals and a few more traditional songs, but all in all Richard Swift is going to do whatever he wants, and that means he'll be distorting his drums and his vocals, but not his guitar, or just go off on some sort of jingly-jangly organ rhythm for a few minutes. Either way, I just adore it. Dirty it up Rich, dirty it up.
Richard Swift - Knee-High Boogie Blues
Richard Swift - The German (Something Came Up)

The Sleeping Years - We're Becoming Islands One by One
One of my favorite album titles of the year. This album starts off on a creepy note, and really doesn't move much from that feeling. I mean, starting off an album by telling people that you're setting fire to sleepy towns is a bold way to begin an album. You're certainly not going to win the normals out there. I was instantly engrossed. Dale Grundle's voice is matched in unimposing intensity only by the instrumentals which accompany them. This album is like a low lying fog that drifts into town and slowly begins to rot people's minds, encouraging them to get into fights with each other and cheat on their loved one or intentionally "forget" to feed their dog.
The Sleeping Years - Setting Fire to Sleepy Towns
The Sleeping Years - You and Me Against the World

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, Pt. 7

Love More (<3)
Xiu Xiu - Women as Lovers
Gosh, what a peculiar band. The album is nothing like their live set. When I saw them live I would have to say I'd compare it to what getting punched in the face while having rabbits scream in your ear. It's not that it's bad, by any stretch of the mind, it's just really intense. The album has the same songs, but not with the same intensity. In true Xiu Xiu fashion, the songs are weird, and sad, and talk about very ... well they talk about topics that are not frequently addressed in popular music. This album has some very good songs, but the cover of Under Pressure just didn't catch my fancy. Oh well, it's fun and dark and has some strange instruments.
Xiu Xiu - Black Keyboard
Xiu Xiu - I Do What I When I Want

Yip-Yip - Two Kings of the Same Kingdom
I was not ready for this album when I heard it. I thought it was just a bad stab as peculiar electro Dan Deacon-y chiptune music. So I watched a few videos, and I discovered that Yip-Yip are two of the most punk kids around. Watch a few and see whats I mean. Then I went back to the album and I listened more intently, and I found some of the most bizarre, but very intricately composed 8-bit epics. No, not for everyone, but maybe it's for you...
Yip-Yip - Anarchist Clog
Yip-Yip - Sprinkle Council

Norther - N
One of the few metal albums that made the list this year, and for a good reason: Metal is getting old. There are only so many things that can be done with the genre unless you start adding sub-genres and other such things. I have a feeling the only reason I liked this album is because it sounded a lot like the albums I used to like back in the day, and maybe it was a nostalgia trip. Yes, it is a brutal album. Yes, it's heavy and full of destruction. But, Metal, it's been done. Even this album has it's betters, and it's a fairly competent album. Do you like metal? If not, skip this, if so, give it a shot, I have no idea if you'll like it. I did, but, frankly, I may not here in a year or so.
Norther - Black Gold
Norther - Frozen Angel

No Age - Nouns
A distorted mess, but playing in the mud can make you feel like a kid again, and if this album is anything, it's a trip down memory avenue. The songs are, almost by a rule, underwhelming and tricky. There is so much sound coming from this record that there is reason to wonder how a duo is capable of such an assault. Whatever their secret, No Age has crafted what I would think of as a mile marker for music. A lot of people took notice of this album, and I wouldn't think very many people would be willing to really grasp on to it. But I think this album shows me that the tides are turning/things are changing/etc. A whole new world.
No Age - Eraser
No Age - Things I Did When I Was Dead

Santogold - Santogold
A lot of people have been comparing Santogold to M.I.A.. Heck, even I'm guilty of that one. I think it's because there are so few things like Santogold's album that I just needed something to grasp onto. It's got this 80's New Wave mixed with mid 90's Hip-hop all with a late 2000's indie sensibility. One second she might resemble M.I.A., but then she'll be rap/singing over something that sounds like the Police. Then it's like Mr. Marley jumped into the producer's body and took over for a second. The album is all over the place, but it's all innately Santogold. Nothing on this album will be a hit, because, I feel, it's all a bit much for people to get down to, but it's certainly something I'd play at my parties.
Santogold - L.E.S. Artistes
Santogold - You'll Find A Way

Portishead - Third
One of the most subtle albums I think I've heard. It's not that all of it was subtle, no there were some pretty obvious drum beats and synth sounds, but I didn't find those parts of the album to be all that interesting. When I'd heard the album by chance in the local (by now, closed) record store when my friend Brian was working I began to notice the small peculiarities about the album, and I went home and listened to it more. There are soft, almost hidden parts of this album that truly make it a wonderful listen.
Portishead - Silence
Portishead - Machine Gun

Langhorne Slim - Langhorne Slim
I cannot get enough of Langhorne Slim. Ever since they did their Daytrotter session I've been all over their work. In fact, there are quite a few songs on this album that were first recorded on that Daytrotter set. I was honestly a little disappointed with the new versions of those songs, but that's probably because I had just grown accustom to the way they sounded before. Regardless, the songs are still very good, and the new songs are even better. The album is a rip-roaring jaunt through the more wild parts of the back country. Straight up.
Langhorne Slim - Colette
Langhorne Slim - Diamonds and Gold

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, Pt. 8

Love More (<3)
The Notwist - The Devil, You + Me
Soft and soothing, but to the point where it begins to scare you. The lyrics are nice sounding unless you hear what they say, and you are a little put off. The Notwist are like what Sigur Rós would sound like if they were to try to be a pop band. The album is full of sweet little string compositions and distortion and electronic hip-hop beats underneath a heavy German accented English singer. It's a very chill album that could not have been more masterfully composed.
The Notwist - Good Lies
The Notwist - The Devil, You + Me

Oneida - Preteen Weaponry
Epic noisey jazzy alternative 70's style instrumental Post-rock opera in three 12+ minute parts. They float in and out of several different styles within each part, focusing on crescendos and other such Post-Rock staples. If that doesn't sound like something you'd be interested in, I don't know what more I could possibly say to get you interested.
Oneida - Preteen Weaponry, Pt. 1

Walkmen - You & Me
This album is a very subtle album, which tricked me at first. The first time I went through it I had it on in the background, and I didn't really notice all the subtleties that are abound on each track of this epic, epic album. The guy my band records with talks about this concept that I think he came up with called "The Holy Grail of Recording," basically referring to the idea that something can sound absolutely perfect, and for each band, each producer, each audience member, that holy grail can be completely subjective. I feel like The Walkmen could not have produced this album any better. It sounds absolutely perfect, for them. The sounds float in and out of one's mind as one is slowly put more and more on edge, to the point where, by the end of the album, you're a little uneasy with your surroundings, though you're not quite sure as to why. There is a lot of emotion and pain behind these songs. Or, if not, they certainly know how to make it sound like there is.
Walkmen - Dónde Está la Playa
Walkmen - Canadian Girl

Oppenheimer - Take The Whole Midrange And Boost It
A very cute and Mega Pop album. So pop it'll make your teeth hurt.
Oppenheimer - Major Television Events
Oppenheimer - I Don't Care What Anyone Says About You, I Think You're Alright

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, Pt. 9

Love More (<3)
Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules and Love Affair
The '08 Disco revolution was short lived. In fact I'm pretty sure that it was entirely confined to this album in fact. The thing with disco and the reason it died was because it was/is lifeless and completely electronic and unchanging. It's like Funk, but without the Soul. Andy Butler saw these the bad things about disco, cleaned them up and pushed a bit of the old xxx into the music and I have to say this is the sexiest album of the year. The song Blind was, and will continue to be for a very long time, my favorite song off this album. It is an epic and fully genius work art.
Hercules and Love Affair - Blind
Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules' Theme

The Indelicates - American Demo
There were few songs on this album that didn't get turned into singles, and for good reason (my count says 6 singles). The songs on this album are all pop hits, even the ones that didn't get pushed as singles or EP tracks. This is a rock band, to no doubt, so it's hard to really delve into what their sound is like without using words that have been used too many times by too many people, myself included. Heck, I even too often say "It's just good," so what do I do? The hits are hits, and the other songs are pretty good too, and I have to say I recommend it. If you go for it, you'll have these songs stuck in your head, fo sho.
The Indelicates - The Last Significant Statement To Be Made in Rock'n'Roll
The Indelicates - America

Tilly and the Wall - O
I think Tilly and the Wall have been flirting around with making album like this for a while now. In their first album, it seemed like they were just getting the hang of playing with each other, and their second album, I felt they were trying too hard to be a rock band, but this album really feels like all of them coming together and just getting comfortable with each other and focusing on sounding like them.
Tilly and the Wall - Cacophony
Tilly and the Wall - Falling Without Knowing

Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell
One of the most consistently good bands in the music business today, in my opinion. Each song on this album is actually fairly short and sweet, averaging around two and a half minutes, which makes me think that a lot of time and energy went into slimming these songs down and making them pure indie rock, with no fat and no cholesterol. The songs are also quite full sounding without sounding over produced. All these things said, I think it's a brilliant album, but I don't find myself being drawn to it, so I can't place it any higher on my list than this.
Tokyo Police Club - Centennial
Tokyo Police Club - In a Cave

The Dø - A Mouthful
This album caught me earlier this year, and every time someone, at some point over the year, asked me what was one of the best albums to have been released this year, I brought this one out. There are indie-hip-hop songs, there are indie folk songs, there are songs that use what appear to be traditional African rhythms, I mean, this album is a fairly hectic album, but the songs flow nicely from one to the other, so it works out in the end.
The Dø - At Last
The D
ø - Stay (Just A Little Bit More)
The D
ø - Tammie

YMCK - Family Genesis
I like Chiptune music. I'm not the biggest fan ever, but I enjoy it. I have a profound respect for a group of people who can get together and make such interesting compositions in such a limited realm. The group is made up of what has become a traditional three-person-chiptune act, meaning one person composes, one person sings, and the third person makes the music videos that go along with the live performances and double as music videos. Think that's doesn't make him a part of the group? Think again. The album is chiptune, plain and simple. If you don't like it, then this is not for you.
YMCK - 錆びた扉の第8天国 (Sabita Tobira No Dai 8 Tengoku)
YMCK - 8番目の虹 (8 Ban Me No Niji)

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, Pt. 10

Love More (<3)
Yo! Majesty - Kryptonite Pussy
Wow. This fine lady has ... well she hasn't exactly turned the tables, but she certainly came out of no where (as far as I'm considered). Remarkably she's a bit of a misogynist. See, Yo! likes the ladies, so her songs are kind of like the songs by male hip-hopper counterparts, except with a woman saying those things. It's a little off putting, and I don't really know what to think about it, but I'm pretty sure I'm not all that okay with it, because it's still misogyny. But other than that one song that she says those things, this EP is quite the ride. The beats are very strange, and the words are quite ludicrous. What's not to love?
Yo! Majesty - Hey There Girl

Islands - Arm's Way
This album took me a while to really love, but on first listen I knew that would be the case, because it's a really dense album, and with dense albums, you need to give it a little time. Being a fan of anything Islands/The Unicorns related, I put that time into it, and I must say it paid off. It sounds like a more full, more fulfilling Of Montreal album, but is still Islands through and through. I feel that the lyrical ability has rocketed up compared to anything else I've heard from these characters, and the music has done nothing but get more complicated and intricate. Like I said, the album is waaay more dense than anything else by these cats, which may make it harder for some people to get into the album, but I charge those people to give it more of a chance, because it's really quite impressive what's been created here.
Islands - In The Rushes
Islands - Creeper

Japanther - Tut Tut Now Shake Ya Butt
This album threw me quickly. It bangs your head for a few tracks, then Crass' Penny Rimbaud does some 10 minute poetry that shakes you to your bones. then it's back to the dance track. It goes back and forth for a while, leaving me quite confuzzeled, but very pleased. Heck even Spank Rock makes an appearance on the 11 track album. I found myself skipping the tracks Penny tracks when I wasn't in the mood, and if you do that, you're left with 6 tracks, which, while good, is a bit of a bummer when all you wanna do is dance.
Japanther - Radical Businessman (feat. MC Spank Rock)
Japanther - Africa Seems So Far Away (feat. Penny Rimbaud)

Jukebox The Ghost - Let Live and Let Ghosts
Stellar piano parts, composed by one of the best piano players I've seen play a club, mixing with guitar and drumming, all brought together with three part harmonies (well, maybe two, but after two, it gets hard to really tell how many people are in that sound). Absolutely one of the best groups I've seen this year, and their album shows people why that is.
Jukebox The Ghost - Under My Skin
Jukebox The Ghost - Where Are All The Scientists Now?

Man Man - Rabbit Habits
Tribal, of course, but not as fulfilling as Man Man's last release. It was nice to finally have a good version of "Top Drawer," and the other songs are just as out of control as anything else Man Man has pumped into our brainosphere, but I just didn't feel it like I did the last one. Fact is everything pales in comparison to their live show. If you're heard their music and love it, I warn against seeing them live, because, while it is one of the best live shows you'll ever experience, the recordings will never live up to it. A lot of bands use found objects as instruments, but only Man Man is bold enough to use actual firecrackers. Their music is like getting swept up in a storm that will introduce toi to the pope's hippie brother. Unusual? oui.
Man Man - Top Drawer
Man Man - Poor Jackie

Lykke Li - Youth Novels
I think the main reason I enjoyed this album was because it reminded me of Roybn's newest work, which I just adore. I like this album more than what Robyn has put out so far, but I think that's because this album is more weird. It's still a little bit indie-club-hip-hop-ish, but it's certainly less conventional that Robyn's stuff (which is saying a lot, because Robyn isn't no Britney). The songs are peculiar in that they have strange beats and her lyrics/flow is not very pop. I don't mean to allude that it's a rap album, but there are a few hints at straight rap. A darn strange record.
Lykke Li - Complaint Department
Lykke Li - Little Bit

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, Pt. 11

Love More (<3)
Neva Dinova - You May Already Be Dreaming
Certainly on the country side of the indie rock continent, but the thing is that when country is done right, it is done right. There is so much soul on this record that I'm afraid my computer may be a little more haunted that it was previously.
Neva Dinova - Supercomputer
Neva Dinova - She's A Ghost

Los Campesinos! - Hold On Now, Youngster...
This was one of the albums that hit early, and then I forgot about until the summer when my friends found out about it and fell in love with it. They played it and I re-fell in love with it myself. Dance Punk almost at it's finest. I say almost because some of the songs don't feel like they were very well put together, and I've never been a fan of songs that have 30 word titles (I know that's a dumb thing to be turned off by, but whatever). Those things aside, these songs are childish (in a good way) and very high spirited. (see original review)
Los Campesinos! - Broken Heartbeats Sound Like Breakbeats
Los Campesinos! - This Is How You Spell "Hahaha, We Destroyed The Hopes And Dreams Of A Generation Of Faux-Romantics"

Hearts of Palm - Demo EP
Denver locals (you may have heard of them by their old name, Nathan & Stephen) that is basically a Denver staple, meaning that if you've not seen them and live in Denver, you've only lived in Denver for about 4 minutes. They've got a history about them, but they've pretty much purged it with the name change (always a risky move as far as I've been able to tell), but with songwriting sensibilities such that these characters have, this is not a huge problem. The songs are just great. I have a feeling that the reason I have it as high on my list as I do is because I have to look out for the locals, but I also have to consider that these guys are such a blast live that maybe the songs don't come off as interesting on record as they do live. Quite the band.
Hearts of Palm - (Full EP Here)

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, Pt. 12

Love More (<3)
The Black Angels - Directions To See A Ghost
Owing more to the Velvet Underground than just their name, I feel that The Black Angels do not, in so many words, rip them off. They are, in my mind, a continuation of what the Velvet Underground were heading toward after The VU & Nico, but didn't go toward. That essentially means this band represents what I would have liked to see from the VU, but didn't. It's like the VU's spirits split after the release of VU & Nico and the half I really connected to was sent to the 2000's, where it formed the The Black Angels. This album is unquestionably The Black Angels' sound, but the distortion, the nonchalant vocals, etc., are all thanks to the Velvet Underground.
The Black Angels - The Return
The Black Angels - Mission District

Black Mountain - In The Future
I said it pretty well the first time. It's still just as epic. (see original review)
Black Mountain - Queens Will Play
Black Mountain - Tyrants

Quiet Village - Silent Movie
This album reminded me a lot of a soundtrack to a film I want to live. The title couldn't be more fitting. It's super sultry and sexier than anything on the dance floor. Ambient at times, but that's because they have to set the mood before they romp on your cerebellum. For fans of Blue States. Hell, Blue States, check out this band, you may like them.
Quiet Village - Circus of Horror
Quiet Village - Pillow Talk

Brazilian Girls - New York City
Another very sexual album, but in an entirely different way. While Quite Village will seduce you slowly, maybe slip you a drink, Brazilian Girls, will win you over with their looks, and if that doesn't do it for you, then surely the fact that this band is pure exotic sex. I don't think anyone will see this band coming when they finally get noticed by the nation. The album flirts with tango rhythms more than anything else (I feel), but they play a lot of different styles that would fit well in any sort of heavily stylized night club. While listening to this album, you expect a waitress in slim fitting dress to come up to your table with pouty lips and say that this person over there, no, over there, just bought you this drink, and they'd like it if you shared it with them. It's, if anything, a suggestive album, and a dancy one at that.
Brazilian Girls - St. Petersburg
Brazilian Girls - Nouveau Americain

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love More, Pt. 13

Love More (<3)
Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
I have to say I was not expecting this album to sound the way it did at all. The first track jumps up and beats on your brain in ways so completely foreign to any Sigur Rós fan that it's bound to have made a few people simple turn the record off. Sigur Rós is known for their spacey, ethereal Post-Rock tendencies, so to see this new, energetic, and all around joyous album is a fairly strange thing indeed. Possibly the most uplifting album of the year.
Sigur Rós - Gobbledigook
Sigur Rós - Ára bátur

Why? - Alopecia
This is one of those albums that I point people to when they tell me that few good albums came out this year. Because of Why?'s atypical rapping habits, people may be turned off by these songs, but I charge you really delve into the irregularities and really groove with it. Why? is another of those rappers that, I have to say, completely confuses me with his lyrics. Why? could be talking about anything. This is another one of those Hip-Hop acts that I will forever have respect for because, behind it all, there's a band, and to think a full band could make such curious compositions is a darn good band.
Why? - These Few Presidents
Why? - Brooks & Waxing

Murder by Death - Red Of Tooth And Claw and Fuego! EP
Daaaaaamn good. There are those who feel that it didn't match up to their older stuff or even to their own potential, but I think it was just fantastic. I had mentioned that Johnny Cash would be proud of these fellas had he had the chance to hear them, but now I'm leaning more toward the idea that they no longer owe anything to Mr. Cash, they've made their own way. Bravo MbD.
from the album:
Murder by Death - Comin' Home
Murder by Death - The Black Spot
from the EP:
Murder by Death - My Baby Shot Me Down (live)

Bryan Scary and The Shredding Tears - Flight of the Knife
Bryan Scary, as it turns out, is a genius. I had mentioned that this album shows certain affinity towards bands like Queen, well after listening to it a few more times, I can safely say that this album belongs along side the Queen catalog and the Who catalog as one of the most epic rock operas around. The virtuosity shown on the album, however, surpasses anything that either of those bands have pumped out. A bold statement, but you have to realize that while I respect those bands, I've never been extraordinarily impressed by them. Bryan Scary impresses me.
Bryan Scary - Flight of the Knife (pt. I)
Bryan Scary - Mama Waits


December 29, 2008

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love, Pt. 1

Stay tuned for the next 2 sections: "Love More" and "Love More Than Music." They'll be up in the next five or so days. Then, after they're up, a post describing my favorite album of the year will be up. Hurray!

Love (<)
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Town Topic EP
Basically anything that Owen Ashworth touches turns to gold. As far as my opinion is considered, that is. This EP is no different. I absolutely adored it. I only wish there was more to it. But next year there shall be! (his next full length is coming out next yr).
Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Ice Cream Truck

Dragonforce - Ultra Beatdown
one could not forgive such a title for an album unless one understood that the band that named their album such was a band such as Dragonforce (i.e. the rebirth of Power Metal.). I honestly think that there will be few bands to follow in the footsteps of Dragonforce in terms of popularity (I'm certain bands like HammerFall are currently scratching their heads asking what exactly they're doing wrong), but that aside, Dragonforce is a damn good band. I'm certain I would have liked the album more if I like the singer more (I believe him to be the weakest member of the group, as good as he is).
Dragonforce - The Fire Still Burns

Aaron Jerome - Time To Rearrange
A very eclectic release, to say the least. Some songs are jazzy, some are straight up Hip-Hop, others are ambient and soothing, others are energetic and rocking. Mr. Jerome is a fantastic DJ/Producer, and this is evident in the fact that, despite the fact that these songs span so many genres, each song just sounds awesome. He knows music.
Aaron Jerome - Reel Time (feat. Voice)

The Roots - Rising Down
Sometimes listening to Black Thought spit rhymes is a little uncomfortable, because he doesn't do things that are stereotypical ... sometimes. He still uses a lot of the stereotypical words, but I can only imagine that's his upbringing coming out. If he were to be completely stereotypical or vice versa, it wouldn't be uncomfortable, but the switching puts me a little on edge. The Roots will always be a great band in my mind because they truly are a hip-hop band, and that's rare, and I think we need to cherish rare jewels like The Roots. This is a Roots album, and it sounds like them, so if you like them, you'll like this.
The Roots - Rising Down

Say Hi - The Wishes and the Glitch
With a name change came a change in how the group approaches music ... at least that's how I saw it. Some people didn't like the new album, some people absolutely adored it. I did enjoy it quite a bit, but it was not an album of the year. the live show was particularly confusing when they didn't appear to be able to get the emotions that were portrayed in the album across. Still, a very touching and great album.
Say Hi - Northwestern Girls

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love, Pt. 2

Love (<)
The Atomica Project - Grayscale
Her voice reminds me of the female vocals in interludes on Scandinavian Death Metal albums that I used to listen to in High school, which is why I was instantly attracted to it. The song writing makes me think that this duo was in a dark place when they were forming these songs. This was a hard album to recommend to some friends, but I can only imagine that's more a fault on my side than the album's
The Atomica Project - Into the Arms of Strangers

Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Everyone went bat ... shit ... crazy over this album. I liked it, for sure. Loved it in fact. But some of the songs just got old over a short period of time, and I found myself skipping songs to get to some of my more favorite songs. I would not doubt that this is one of the smartest albums of the year, but I certainly didn't like it as much as I liked some other albums this year.
Fleet Foxes - Tiger Mountain Peasant Song

The Sound of Animals Fighting - The Ocean and the Sun
Of course, one of the more crazy albums of the year. By far the best studio album that has come out of this little project. I'm glad to say/hear that there really does seem to be a good bunch of music behind all this craziness, but it's still not for everyone. Still, a fun experiment and all that jazz. now sure what I'm talking about when I say experiment? then check out the Wiki on this project.
The Sound of Animals Fighting - The Swan

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love, Pt. 3

Love (<)
The Dodos - Visiter
People went absolutely gaga over this album, and I still think that it is very good, but not the best thing ever. I think the methods of songwriting are very inventive, and the drumming is fantastic, but I was overall kind of underwhelmed, especially considering all the hype surrounding the group. Even live the songs were kind of more drab than I had expected. That said, the songs themselves are heart warming, soothing, and masterfully composed.
The Dodos - Red and Purple

The Alligators - See Ya Later (it might just be called "EP" though...)
Ever since I saw Seve vs. Evan (one of my all time favorite bands), I've trusted anything they think is awesome. The Alligators are on that list. Also from Provo, this group makes some pretty cute electro power pop. It's not the best formed music ever, but that adds to the quaintness of the Alligators and, man, they show a lot of promise, and each song has it's own cutsie qualities that cannot be denied.
The Alligators - Oh Oh Oh

The Heartbreak Scene - The Szabo Songbook
Destroyer's Dan Bejar and Marcy Emery (from various other projects) came together to perform the songs of Mark Szabo, a friend of Marcy's. The songs are very good, and the performance of them doesn't lack depth at all. Yeah, it's an album of guitar songs and sweet singing, and it's honestly only incredibly interesting to fans of Destroyer, but it's still a great little album.
The Heartbreak Scene - Love Outside Movies

Tall Firs - Too Old To Die Young
A great example of stellar musicianship, but ... I dunno ... it didn't grab me as much as I think it ought to have. I really enjoyed parts, but as an album I found it sort of forgettable. Still, when the right parts hit, they were fantastic.
Tall Firs - So Messed Up

Sian Alice Group - 59.59
Long, ambient stretches between songs, but they set the mood for gloriously underwhelming performances. I mean for that to be a compliment, but I just can't phrase it to say what I want it to and say it nicely. I think the slower points of the album are some of the high points, and it always seems like its heading toward a huge build up that it never quite makes it to, but for some reason I really like that.
Sian Alice Group - When...

Showbread - Anorexia
I honestly think this is what Showbread has been building up to for a while. This is their best album by far. Considering the hooky nature of the songs and the energy that they have put into everything I've ever heard by them, there's no way I could have given this album a poor rating. It was awesome. I think it may be the best that this get up can produce considering their sound.
Showbread - The Sky

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love, Pt. 4

Love (<)
The Ettes - Look At Life Again Soon
Fuzzy distortion punky groove rock. This album sounds similar to their first album, but that's just fine, because their first album was pretty darn good. They remind me of The Raveonettes on Whip It On, meaning it's very stylized and intentional sounding. They know what works for them, and they're gonna milk it for all it's worth.
The Ettes - To Arms

Born Ruffians - Red, Yellow, and Blue
I felt that this was another "Carib-indie" album that came out this year (the other being Vampire Weekend), but it, for whatever reason, didn't get as much press. It might be because it, admittedly, isn't as masterfully sculpted as VW's, but I think that's, to some extent, the point sometimes. They're a little more lo-fi than VW, and their songs aren't as full, but it totally works for them
Born Ruffians - Little Garçon

Great Northern - Sleepy Eepee
Great Northern, for some reason, is one of those bands that no matter what they do, I'm going to think everything they touch is gold. Okay, if I honestly don't think that if they were to come out with anything I'd like it, but so far I just seem to have this bias toward anything that they've created, and this EP is one of those things. Ethereal and smokey, the EP is a teaser for me, because, while it's nice to have a EP-reissue of an EP that I'd never be able to get a hold of otherwise, what I really want is a full length (have I mentioned my prejudice against EPs before?). It's good.
Great Northern - Summertime

M83 - Saturdays = Youth
One of the more well sculpted albums of the year, M83 has a firm grasp on what 1980's pop music sounds like. The entire thing is like a bad acid trip remission if I 1) was born in enough time to have done acid in the 1980's and 2) did acid. I had a hard time really getting into it because it was so masterfully sculpted to sound the way it does. It's flawless. Because of that Flawlessness, it's great, and it's not great. Like the 80's? you'll get down to this.
M83 - Skin of the Night

The So So Glos - Tourism/Terrorism
Righteous punk music with a message, as it ought to be. Their sound would have fit well, as far as I can tell, somewhere in the states in the early 1980's (but that's just one outsider's perspective). I really attached to the sound of his voice for some reason. The lyrics are another point that really drew me in, mostly because of their awkward delivery and the lead singer's fairly righteous message haha. Check out my favorite track:
The So So Glos - Throw Your Hands Up

The Kills - Midnight Boom
Man, I really liked this album when it came out, and seeing them at Monolith made my respect for this group shoot up, but after a while the songs kind of seemed to be a little ... empty. There is a lot of fuzz and distortion a la Jesus & Mary Chain, but the substance just doesn't seem to be there. That said, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Kind of a conflicting opinion, but that's why it's not higher or lower on the list.
The Kills - What New York Used To Be

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love, Pt. 5

Love (<)
Lakes Of Russia - Stars Decorate The Fire
Guitar dominated post rock in the vein of Explosions in the Sky, but without the crescendos, so if you like the quite parts of EitS, but the heavy bits frighten you, then this is for you. It's moving and touching and a little on the ambient side, but it's still quite beautiful.
Lakes of Russia - Fireflies

Pomegranates - Everything Is Alive
Unabashedly Indie Pop. Not the most masterful record on the books, but a good effort.
Pomegranates - Whom/Who

Hot Chip - Made In The Dark
Mega dancy, and the joys of repetition have certainly made themselves known on this album, but over all I didn't find myself wanting to go back and listen to this album
Hot Chip - Bendable Poseable

Isobel Campbell And Mark Lanegan - Sunday At Devil Dirt
A very country inspired album, to say the least. I enjoyed it though :_
Isobel Campbell And Mark Lanegan - The Flame That Burns

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love, Pt. 6

Love (<)
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band - 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons
I am a HUGE fan of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, so anything that is even remotely related to that collective is going to be given a stern listen, and is probably going to be favored more so that it sometimes ought to be. This is usually not the case with A Silver Mt. Zion (meaning they're usually pretty good all on their own). This album goes with the flow and really shows where I think SMZ has been heading for a while. It's Post-Rock at it's finest ... maybe. I say maybe because if it truly were at it's finest, I would probably want to listen to it at any point in the day, and sometimes when I listen to this I get a little bored or think to myself that it's really over the top. So yeah, I dunno, It's no GS!YB, but really is anything? no, and I should probably stop comparing things to them...
A Silver Mt. Zion - 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons

Foxy Shazam - Introducing...
Pure madness, but I felt like it could have been focused better. It's a weird album for sure and it starts off with a kick to the ribs. Strange rhythms and awkward lyrics, a clear domination over the last album (which showed promise ... at best ... and hey, it looks like that prediction was right), but it never really cuts the cake for me. Super powerful though, and power that cannot be denied.
Foxy Shazam - Introducing Foxy

The M's - Real Close Ones
There are a few songs on this album that I absolutely delight in because they remind me of my Elementary school Art Teacher (the second one, not Mrs. Day). The other songs are all right, but the couple that make me go all nostalgic-eyed make the album for me.
The M's - Ultraviolent Men

Camille - Music Hole
Dancy and strange, but still fairly popish. She utilizes a lot of vocalization and a cappella techniques to make her beats, similar to Medúlla by Björk, but certainly a lot more dancy and fun than Medúlla. I'm, again, a little biased, because Camille is French, and I'm, for some unknown reason, enamored with the French. That aside, the album is very interesting and certainly very touching. I didn't see Rahzel's name on the list of people who helped out with the album, but I can't help but think that somewhere along the way he had an influence.
Camille - Home is Where It Hurts

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love, Pt. 7

Love (<)
The Pigeon Detectives - Emergency
Man. I adored The Pigeon Detectives' first album. And I think that if I had heard this album first, I may not like the other one as much, because I can draw a certain amount of similarities between the two. But, all in all, I actually think that the first one was weirder, so I liked it more. This one didn't seem to experiment with as many awkward melodies and such, it was more "by the books." Maybe it wasn't though. You decide I suppose.
The Pigeon Detectives - She's Gone

Does It Offend You, Yeah? - You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into
This album, as I've said before, is not a great album. There are 3 songs on it that I would not lump into commercial indie rock that everyone has heard and is well sick of. But those 3 songs are out...standing. I just hope those 3 songs show the direction that DIOY,Y? is going.
Does it Offend You, Yeah? - With a Heavy Heart (I Regret to Inform You)

Ott - Skylon
Again, I have to say that I don't know much about dub or reggae, but I do know that this is a freaking phat album. If you're really into dub, you probably all ready know about this album, but if you're not, maybe check it out this album by the most epic name in Dub, and you'll see whether or not dub is for you.
Ott - From Trunch to Stromness

Tricky - Knowle West Boy
Deep, grimy beats and awesome vocal effects, probably the best produced album of 2008. Tricky is always hard for me to talk about, because his stuff is soooo good, but I never really find myself wanting to go back and listen to it. When I am listening to it, I'm loving it, but when I'm not, I just plain forget about it. I like his messages and the flow of the vocals over the wicked wicked beats though. I must just be crazy. Maybe this is why Tricky isn't insanely popular. Maybe I'm just crazy though.
Tricky - Cross to Bear

Free Kitten - Inherit
The second most (maybe first most, actually) well known Boredoms member, Yoshimi, is a member of this band, and being unrelentingly bias toward anything Boredoms-related, I had to listen to the album. I didn't actually know that Yoshimi was in the band before I heard the album, and after listening to it I only kind of got it. Once I realized it was related to the Boredoms, it made more sense, and I liked it more. Now, I'd like to believe that wasn't a result of my bias toward the Boredoms, and that it was more that I liked it more because it fit into a more understandable frame, but that's probably not true. It's much like a psychrock band meets the Boredoms. Not for everyone. Certainly for me.
Free Kitten - Sea Sick

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love, Pt. 8

Love (<)
Boris - Smile (there are 2 versions, I've got the Diwphalanx version)
Certainly it could be said that I was not expecting this when I first popped it in. I wouldn't exactly say it's Post Metal, but it certainly fits a little bit in the "Post" something area. Hell it's slower and more ambient than Doom metal at times. If anything I'd say they fit more in Drone Metal than anything. There must be something in the water over there in Japan, because you can definitely draw some lines between Boris and The Boredoms' sounds. Not as experimental, I feel, Boris makes a great shot at crafting a masterpiece. I would be willing to bet that once I spend more time with this album, it'll grow more and more on me.
Boris - Messeeji (メッセージ, Message)

Genghis Tron - Board Up the House
I loved Genghis Tron's first few releases because they were out of control weirdness that lived in the same genre as The Locust and The Number 12 Looks Like You, but more electro. Screamy, tempo-changey weirdness. This album kind of lets down in that sense. Most of the songs stay mostly within the same tempo and rhythm. Before they would go from a trip-hop beat to straight up grindcore. Now they're less interesting, but certainly more talented. A strange trade off. I would prefer it if they brought back the awkward, but maybe they're done with that, and that's cool I guess. Maybe I just have to get used to the new stuff.
Genghis Tron - I Won't Come Back Alive

Beck - Modern Guilt
I remember the first time I heard anything off this album. My housemate Joe was listening to it, and I asked him if it was Mogwai, and he said it was Beck. Well, needless to say I was taken a back. I didn't get around to listening to it until waaaay later, but once I did I had completely forgotten what made me think it was Mogwai. All that aside, I think this is one of the smoothest Beck albums he's ever done. All the levels seem perfect, and even when there are strange transitions in the songs, it still flows smoothly. It's almost twee-ish come to think of it. I think the real heir to the Bowie throne is Beck. Hands down.
Beck - Chem Trails

Daniël Lohues - Allennig II
Commercial pop folk BS, but since it's in another language, I'm just mystified by it. I would imagine that if it were in my own language, I would scoff at it. But hey, sometimes you just have to follow your gut. my gut says I like this, so I'm going with it. listen to it's ridiculousness:
Daniël Lohues - Tik Tak

Rome - Masse Mensch Material
This album reminds me so much of what I used to listen to in High School that it's scary. The album sounds like VNV Nation and Apoptygma Berzerk at times, and goth folky when it doesn't. Bands that sound like those bands are instantly going to win a place in my heart, be it big or small. I feel like the album makes fun of the Gothic culture, a culture that stereotypically idolizes death and darkness, and I think that's hilarious, because I don't know very many people outside of the goth culture who could really attach to this album. I think it's noble, if that's the point of the album, because it's like he's trying to get the goth culture to realize they're being foolish. Either way, I enjoyed the album quite a bit.
Rome - Neue Erinnerung

The Twilight Sad - Here, It Never Snowed. Afterwards It Did
For some reason I have this mental link between The Twilight Sad and Great Northern (maybe because of the title of Great Northern's first record?), and, as I've said before, I have a bias towards anything by Great Northern, so The Twilight Sad is dragged along to. That said, they're certainly their own artists with their own ideals and all that jazz, though they, like Great Northern, make fairly ethereal and spacey ... maybe wintery music. This album is the kind of project that I just have to respect. Four of the six songs are off of their first LP, but they've been completely re-worked and re-imagined. I just love the idea of that, and, thankfully, it worked well.
The Twilight Sad - Here, It Never Snowed. Afterwards It Did

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love, Pt. 9

Love (<)
Thee Oh Sees - The Master's Bedroom is Worth Spending A Night In
Thee Oh Sees are a peculiar bunch. I instantly attached to the album, but after a while I found myself only listening to a few key songs. After I noticed that I went back and listened to the other songs and there was nothing wrong with them, they just didn't grab me. This release appears to be the first big release by TOS, so I am excited to hear the stuff they're going to come out with next.
Thee Oh Sees - Ghost in the Trees

Mahjongg - Kontpab
I don't know many people who would really like this album, but that's probably because of the circle of friends I have. The music is repetitive to the point of becoming a churning, living rhythm. The entire album is shamelessly devoted to rhythm and layered beats. It brings you back to tribal moments in your species' history. Masterful. for fans of Fuck Buttons.
Mahjongg - Pontiac

King Khan and The Shrines - The Supreme Genius of King Khan and The Shrines
"My baby's fat, she's ugly." This album is like a mix of James Brown, the Hives, and a psychedelic ska band. Wicked fun and offensive on purpose. I need to see them live. And so do you, I have a feeling.
King Khan and The Shrines - Took My Lady to Dinner

Elks - Elks
A sort of mix of Tool and Foals, Elks is (are?) a straaaange group straight outta London. Their music instantly drew me in, but turned me off. I could tell there were amazing parts to it, but it was hard to get attached. I listened to it many times, and it grew on my like I knew it would, but it's weird that I had to do listen to it a couple times in order to really like it. It's a damn good album though. These guys are talented, and they only reason they're not as popular as Foals is because they're not as pop-y as Foals, and they're not as metal as Tool. these are not bad things.
Elks - London

Varsovia - EP
Indie Rock beginnings are always hard to talk about, because you never know what might happen (*cough* ... The Black Kids). But I think this band has a good thing going for them. They kind of worry me sometimes, because if it doesn't get more inventive than this, then it's not really going to rock my world. That said, the commercial world might just jump all over it. I like them, and I'd like to see them go far.
Varsovia - Monster

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love, Pt. 10

Love (<)
Dresden Dolls - No, Virginia
A B-sides collection that is nothing to be snubbed at. I've always felt a little guilty liking the Dresden Dolls, because, in the end, their existence is 1/2 great music, 1/2 gimmick. To some extent, I don't like that they do what they do in the way they do (gimmick), but it would be wrong for me to say that I don't respect their ability to play out the characters they do. The main reason they're a guilty pleasure is because back in high school a lot of kids thought they could gain popularity by having certain problems with their mental stability. In short, they thought crazy was cool. Crazy is not cool, it's sad and painful for everyone involved, so to glamorize it is ignorant and offensive. I think that the Dresden Dolls could be accused of doing just this, and banking on teenagers who feel they can compare. I do not think that the Dresden Dolls actually do this. I think the lyrics that talk about painful things are actually coming from a very genuine place. This release is not filled with very many stellar songs, but the few that are amazing just blow me away. (see original review)
The Dresden Dolls - Lonesome Organist Rapes Page-Turner

Spiritualized - Songs in A&E
I liked this album a lot more when I first heard it. I found myself skipping to the tracks I liked most than just letting it ride through. Like, I said before, it's a dark album, and it's very smart. (see original review)
Spiritualized - Death Take Your Fiddle

The Flaming Lips - Christmas On Mars
Soundtrack to the best Christmas movie ever. I'm certain you've heard too much about this by now, so I'll keep it short: It is ambient and nothing like the Flaming Lips other albums. It's a soundtrack, thus incidental music. If it's interesting to you, go for it. I liked it.
The Flaming Lips - The Distress Signals Of Celestial

Crystal Castles - Remixed Rewired
Just like "best of"'s, I feel awkward rating Remix CD's, but less so than with "best of"'s because Remix CD's, if they're good enough, can basically be considered their own album. This Remix CD is a compilation of Remixes by Crystal Castles, so it makes it easier to think about as it's own album. Thing is, I still have to consider the original pieces while listening to the remixes, so the album comes off as kind of a cop out. The songs are great though. And it's nice to have all of them in one place.
Crystal Castles - Waist War [Aries Noise vs Crystal Castles]

The Magnetic Fields - Distortion
Man, there are certainly people out there that are bigger fans of The Magnetic Fields, but I can plainly claim that I absolutely ADORE the Magnetic Fields. That said, I was underwhelmed by this album. When I'm used to the soul crushing spectacular that was 69 Love Songs, I ought to have known there would be nothing to compare, but I didn't see this one coming. It's a heavy album, full of sound (as the title would suggest), but it falls short. Fun tracks, but just not what I would have wanted.
The Magnetic Fields - California Girls

The Dears - Missiles
I think I said it pretty well in the original review. (see original review)
The Dears - Missiles

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love, Pt. 11

Love (<)
Sons and Daughters - This Gift
I find myself constantly forgetting what this band even sounds like, and that's not because their music isn't good. I can't really figure it out. But that's certainly one reason the album isn't higher on my list. Sometimes I go with my gut. Well, I always do. Anyway, the music is catchy and dancy and the lyrics are totally "sing-a-long-in-your-car-on-your-way-to-someplace" worthy. I think if they focused themselves they could come up with an epic indie rock album.
Sons and Daughters - Split Lips

Casy and Brian - Catbees
San Fransiscan duo Casy and Brian are electric and peculiar. Sometimes their songs get a little long or a diverge from the dancey nature of their music, but heck, what's a song without a little experimentation? I can't wait until these guys get a little money behind them and get in a good studio so we can hear what they're really capable of.
Casy and Brian - Deux Drumbaclots

Jabee/OB-one - Because I Won EP
Okay, to be honest, I don't know why I liked this EP so much. The lyrics are actually a little dull, and the first track and last track are basically just Jabee talking about all the people he'd like to thank. The beats are good but not phenomenal. I think I attached to it so much because it seemed like there was a lot of promise underneath it all. I dunno. Maybe.
Jabee/OB-one - My Speed

Patti Smith, Kevin Shields - The Coral Sea
This release was a little hard to get through. That's not because it's bad, but because it's dense. A 2 disc set, each disc containing a single live performance of Patti Smith's epic poem The Coral Sea, with Kevin Shields doing improv wickedness behind her. When Patti Smith sets out to say something, she doesn't do so without a little forethought, so the text is deep. Her rich poetry flows swimmingly with Kevin Shields improv compositions. It's clearly a great work, but it's hard to get through unless you set aside some time to sit and listen to it.
Patti Smith, Kevin Shields - Performance I, Part I

Dengue Fever - Venus on Earth
This was one of the albums I attached to early on this year, and I'd forgotten why until a few days ago when I listened to it again. The band clearly knows what they're doing in the music department, they understand that they're basically the only ones making the music that they're making, so whatever they do is probably going to be, on some level, interesting. Thing is, as far as I can tell, they don't stop there, and they decide to make good music. Mixing Cambodian pop, psych, and indie pop, these cats have crafted quite the release.
Dengue Fever - Tiger Phone Card

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love, Pt. 12

Love (<)
The Avett Brothers - The Second Gleam
Nice, heart wrenching, and sweet, like everything else by the Avett Brothers. The problem with these fellas is that unless you listen to their stuff a lot, it's hard to discern one song from another, and, while the songs are always re-listenable, that essentially means that they're not very memorable. Maybe I just don't have the patience for such a task, but all in all the songs are pretty great. That doesn't even make sense. Album good. Fire bad.
The Avett Brothers - The Greatest Sum (Electric)

Pretty Lights - Filling Up The City Skies
Denver locals creating super sick beats and making a Denver boy such as myself very proud to be a Denverite. Grooviest album of the year for sure, but it's a little lacking in depth I feel. The music is perfect incidental music, but sometimes I just want something to bite into. It's like if you took a great big, juicy veggiedog and squeezed it out so that instead of being like 5 inches, it's like 3 feet. The same amount of awesomeness, but it takes you longer to consume it. This double album is like that for me. If their goal was to make a soundtrack to Denver, however, they have certainly succeeded. Well done Pretty Lights. I can't wait for the next one.
Get the double album here for free

Black Moth Super Rainbow - Drippers
Siiiiiick weirdness from the trendsetters at BMSR. An EP, yes, so it feels short (I hate EPs sometimes), but the songs are deep and gloomy with wicked strangeness all around. Not the weirdest thing ever, as the songs seem to have a basic dancy background, but still... similar to the Knife and Múm.
Black Moth Super Rainbow - We Are the Pagans (Dandelion Gum Outtake)

Sia - Some People Have REAL Problems
I think I said it well the first time. (see original review)
Sia - The Girl You Lost To Cocaine

'08's Music to Love More Than Music: Love, Pt. 13

Love (<)
Ayreon - 0101100
I had a lot of trouble placing this album on the list. I knew I enjoyed it, but depending on the day, I either loveloveloved it or I found it interesting but boring. I'm settling with this section of the list because I am in awe of Arjen Anthony Lucassen's many talents. The album makes me wonder what he's going to do next though, because this album marks what would appear to be the final chapter in the storyline that he has been developing since the first Ayreon album. To The Future!
Ayreon - Age Of Shadows

The Raveonettes - The Raveonettes REMIXED + Sometimes They Drop By + Beauty Dies + Wishing You A Rave Christmas EP
I, as a few people may or may not have noticed, LOVE the Raveonettes. These EP's, alone, were all right. Each one had it's own charm, but nothing too lasting. If you put them all together, it's not really a cohesive feeling, but it still feels a bit like a new album, which is what I'm basically always ready for when it comes to the Raves. All in all, the songs are fine, but they kind of feel like songs that they just needed to get out of their system so they could get ready for their next LP. Here's a sample from each:
The Raveonettes - Lust (Trentemøller Remix)
The Raveonettes - Way Out There
The Raveonettes - Here Comes The End
The Raveonettes - Christmas in Cleveland

Yoda's House - Yoda's House
New Mexican sextet Yoda's House is, in my opinion, up there with the big boys of post rock. This being what appears to be their first release ever, I'd say these kids have a fine grasp on what it is to be a musician.
Get the entire Cassette here for free

Various - Not Wave
A very eclectic mix of peculiar music, to say the least. I'd only heard of one of the artists, and that was because I'd heard their cover of Spoon's song "I Turn My Camera On" (which is included in the compilation). The entire albums does sort of accomplish what the compilers wished (to compile music they deem "Not Wave," which is like "New Wave" music, but not [so they say]), but since I the whole thing is kind of vague, I suppose I'm still a little confused. Either way, the comp is interesting and certainly has me on the look out for some of the artists on there, which was the real point I suppose.
Tussle - Elephants Meandering
Freshro - I Turn My Camera On (Spoon Cover)
Welcome Stranger - Smoke Machine

The Raconteurs - Counselors of the Lonely
I had forgotten about this album until just the other day, actually, when my housemate Joe was listening to it. I remembered that my buddy Brian was all over this album when it came out, and I was skeptical. At some point over the summer I decided to give it a chance and by about 1/2 way through I realized it was actually pretty good. A White Stripes fan 'til the end, I liked the Jack White sung songs more, but t'others were pretty good too. A little on the country side, but if you know anything about the band, you all ready knew that.
The Raconteurs - Carolina Drama

Again, make sure to come back for the next 2 sections, "Love More" and "Love More Than Music," and the favorite album of the year post :).