I gotta say, 2008 was a pretty fantastic year for music.
There was the continuation of a re-disco revolution (on the heels of last year’s After Dark compilation and James Murphy’s fantastic disco-loving but not exactly disco Sound of Silver) with Hercules and the Love Affair, Air France, hot singles from Juan Maclean, and Air France to name a few. Oh and a little band that could: CUT COPY. Then there was the dominance of a new wave of earnest girly-boy beard rock bands (Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes), bands who made excellent records. We also had bands like No Age and Abe Vigoda smash preconceptions of what noise is and how it relates to pop (they are now one!). And while My Bloody Valentine reunited to blast everyone’s ear drums on stage, new school shoegaze came to the forefront thanks to Deerhunter’s double album and the cheesy oh so cheesy but how can’t you love them amoregaze (new genre?) style of M83.
It was a year where Bob Boilen dro0led over Ting Tings singer and the Vivien Girls (Spirit of Karen O you just won’t die, will you?) while Brooklyn continued to dominate with TVOTR’s new awesome album and Todd P friendly bands like Crystal Stilts (my personal fav), Fuck Buttons, and Titus Andronicus (ok they are from NJ but dude they play in Brooklyn like every fucking day) hanging right below the radar. Baltimore also kept kicking ass post-Deacon with Beach House’s breakout album Devotion and the weird but kinda wonderful Round Robin Tour. Now if only that fucking Animal Collective album would leak…Also speaking of great bands who put out great or almost great records: The Walkman, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey (I loved White Chalk despite her being out of fashion), Spiritualized, Byrne/Eno, Magnetic Fields, and Portished (comeback!).
For me, though, 2008 was not just a good year in music, it was a year where I fell in love with and over music. I really thought that my mid-to-late twenties would mean I couldn’t bank on my interest in music dork trivia or my love of piano in dance tracks to get me a date. But uh, thanks to Cut Copy it sort of did. I must say 2008 taught me you can still fall in love with an LP and a mate at the exact same time. So go get on Nerve.com peeps and get your Beach House and red wine ready!
Top Ten Albums (ok, 11 albums…)
1. Cut Copy: In Ghost Colors
So I remember a few years ago when I was 17 or so my dad had a cocktail party with some of our NYC graphic designer 40-ish gay friends. The gays loved me because I had a New Order pin. “Someone still listens to New Order!” Then they started talking about how they went camping and someone brought a book with the lines “she has gray eyes, she has blue eyes” and they all knew where New Order got that line and they were so excited they all got naked and went night swimming in a lake (0k I made that last part up, but one of these gays is Abercrombie and Fitch’s art director). They were still excited, 15 years later and had a glow in their eyes. Uh, that’s how I feel about Cut Copy.
2. Chad Van Gaalen: Soft Airplane
Dude produced the Women self titled album (which is getting even more press/praise than his album) and he is also visual artist. So there you go. But with Soft Airplane he also produced his own nuanced, abstractly poetic songs with a subtle roughness that somehow feel soft…?
3. Deerhunter: Microcastle/Weird Era
They learned to play live. Bradford stopped wearing dresses. Magic was made.
4. Hercules and the Love Affair: Self Titled
Fuck that I hear this in every Gap store and it’s probably thumping somewhere at a lame meatpacking district hellhole. It’s Antony singing disco and that is the best thing since Arthur Russell’s dance records. When gays get arty and dancey and have a lot of money to produce music it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing. (Giorgio Moroder much?)
5.Department of Eagles: In Ear Park
Not better than Grizzly Bear but certainly more accessible. Also it’s all about the dude’s dad which makes it all that more poignant. “No One Does It Like You” is the breakout song of the year….and a bunch of my buds agree.
7. Grouper: Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill
Best name for album.Fall asleep with me to this…
8. Air France: No Way Down (EP–yeah they count!)
More awesome French disco.
9. Gang Gang Dance: Saint Dymphna tied with Fuck Buttons: Street Horrrsing
Similar yet different. Tribal yet electronic. One has got a chick that sounds like Siouxsie Sioxsie and one has a gameboy player. Can’t decide. Buy/download/steal them both.
10. Disco Not Disco Compilation: Post Punk, Electro & Leftfield Disco Classics 1974-1986
Listen to your history you would be James Murphys of the world! This is not a perfect compilation but it’s got some sick tracks–from “Laundrette” by Vivian Goldman to ‘s “Spine is a Bassline.” There would be no DFA with out this kind of wacked out/highly ignored NYC disco, noise dance autres like James Chance, and crazy British weirdos obsessed with dub like Goldman.
Hot Chip: Made in the Dark
The Walkmen: You and Me
Women: Self Titled
Dosh: Wolves and Wishes
No Age: Nouns
Crystal Stilts: Alight of Night
Nick Cage: Dig Lazarus Dig!
TVOTR: Dear Science
M83: Saturdays = Youth
Fleet Foxes: Ragged Wood LP
Abe Vigoda: Skeleton Punk
Je Suis Animal: Self-Taught Magic From A Book
We Are Wolves: Non-Stop Je Te Plie En Deux
Spritualized: Songs in A&E
PJ Harvey: White Chalk
Sool: Ellen Allien
Atlas Sound: Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
Magnetic Fields: Distortion
Bon Iver: For Emma
Tobacco: Fucked Up Friends
Beck: Modern Guilt
Crystal Stilts, WFMU photo by Farinas
Top Five Songs not on these albums…
1. Little Boots: Stuck on Repeat (Fake Blood Remix)
Best dance song of the year hands down.
2.Kids (Cut Copy remix): MGMT...ok I’m one of those fuck MGMT people (they don’t really have talent although they are witty) but good song thanks to Cut Copy’s touch.
3.L.E.S. Artistes: Santogold
Parts pf Santogold’s album sorta reminds me of Yoko Ono’s “Walking on Thin Ice” period which isn’t bad but it’s sort of misleading since the world wants us to think she’s the next M.I.A. But I do like this song a bunch.
4.Happy House (Original): Juan Maclean (from Happy House EP)
Love those piano parts of disco songs…”I thank you for being so…excellent.” Love it.
5. Invisible Conga People: Cable Dazed
Why won’t these guys put out an album?
For a dose of excellence via MP3 from my best ofs go here (30 fucking tracks!).
**PS this is for fun/non promotional use only, please don’t arrest me since it will only be up for 100 dls and 7 days….