Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Music of the Year + 3 that Got Away

I bought maybe three or four records this year. Two of them from this year. I did get a few freebies and all, but most were ep's or downloads that I only listened to a few times before I lost the copies (which is easy to do in a year when you lose two computers and gain another two...). And although I enjoyed GirlTalk, I'm not drawn into it.

1) Al Green Lay It Down
The Good Rev's return to Stax-sounding soul could be seen as a gimmick, like when modern divas "collaborated" with old dead men or when old classics made "duets" records with present day B-grade stars. But, for the time being, it just feels so right, it's got to be good:

(FWIW, these vids suck - sorry. In this case, the recent concert vids featuring Al suck even more, so I decided not to give my readers a case of motion-sickness and opt for max audio q)

2) She & Him Volume One
After awhile, I think I grew weary of the neo-hipster country ("More slide guitar!" can never replace "More cowbell!"), but there are some wonderful songs on this disc that made me smile. I'm a definite sucker for that wall-of-sound pure pop that made a brief appearance in Arcade Fire's Funeral but then overcame some bighaired girl's record. Here, there is just the right amount and plenty of variety (at least the first several songs, including the Roy Orbison-esque "I Was Made for You"):

Honorable mentions:
I don't have these records... ladies. Or, yet. But I will soon; and when I do, it's over...

Sam Phillips Don't Do Anything
I love her leathery voice. And her penchant for writing poetic yet acidic verse on top of sparse but Beatles-esque pop melodies is unmatched. So, why haven't I bought anything new from her since that Martinis and Bikinis cassette in the mid-90's? Because this album wasn't released until this year, that's why. And here, her skills seem to be in top form.

TV on the Radio Dear Science
I loved the last album so much that I named it my favorite record of the year (actually, it was top 6. But looking back, it may be top 2 or so). And that's when I was able to buy music and a lot of wonderful stuff came out. This one seems to add hip-hop as well as hip-hop optimism. It's like their angry, muted Stax horns are being shared by PM Dawn. And I ain't complainin':

Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago
This is the type of quiet, introspective music that I could probably only listen to after some intense TVotR, but nevertheless, I'm getting old and this is just sounding more and more palatable to my ears. But then again, I can stand some falsettos occasionally. It's been rated high enough by enough trusted ears where I'm giving it some more listens and may take the plunge soon enough.


  1. Not bad. Definitely better than the list I posted! Happy New Year!

  2. And, I've been hearing so much about TV on the Radio... I definitely need to check them out.

  3. yeah, i of course, think they're the stuff. or at the very least, return to cookie mountain was the stuff. if the latest is as good or better (relativity at its peak), then i will deem them high lords of contempo-rock - to the late aughts what radiohead was to the turn of the century and nirvana to the early 90's.

  4. Anonymous1:03 PM

    I bought She & Him too - it's pretty good.

    A friend shared Bon Iver with me, and though I had some trouble with the falsetto at first, the music & writing is good enough that it grows on you. It's very introspective & atmospheric, kind of reminds me of Iron & Wine. Good stuff!

  5. yeah, it seems to me that Bon Iver (which i had only heard of in december) topped the lists of hipsters, pseudo-hipsters and non-hipsters alike. i'm guessing he's doing something right...


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