the state

-of music in ’08; the new 6 by jgrimsrud
Sunday, 14 December 2008, 16:44
Filed under: -of jgrimsrud, -of sound

i warned you; now it’s high time to declare my favorite music of the year.  i want to contribute to the flurry of year-end listing (& i’ll be tuned in for the sound opinions list in the next days) with my own:

¡favorite albums of 2008!

as i explained in my previous post, i think that the usual calendar-year-restricted lists reinforce commercial popular music’s ageism (that the only music important enough for real attention is either a few months old, or is on a rolling stone top-100-whatever list).  i feel much more excited about putting together a list of the music i was most obsessed with this year (and interested in others’ takes on the same premise).

my list includes new music, newer music that i finally found or connected w/ this year, and a couple of records that came roaring back into my ears in ’08.

part 1; the new 6

slim cessna’s auto club: cipher

this record was guaranteed to be my favorite when i saw the auto club at the showbox in seattle in march.  it was the 3rd or so date on their record release tour & they were already sold out…

singers slim & munly go at each other and the crowd like baptist preachers gone horribly awry, and the band does exactly what it’s supposed to (i.e. rocking pedal steel & velvet-covered-double-knecked guitars, running banjos through fender twin amplifiers, cranking out the beat for the down-home-punk-messiah-revival-vibe, etc.).  if you have the chance to see them in the flesh, don’t miss it, and if you’re local record shop doesn’t have the double-lp vinyl of cipher, ¡special order it!

nick cave & the bad seeds: dig!!! lazarus, dig!!!

another great show (at the 930 club in october), another great album.  i can’t say enough about the sound nick cave has found since the grinderman album in ’06, and a big part of my envious blabbering is devoted to dirty three violinist (etc.) warren ellis.

the man who blurs the line between violin and lead guitar (via beautiful, minimalist soundscape)

brought his whole bag of tricks to his work with nick cave, and the resulting loops, tones, skreaks, etc. seal the deal for one of the best bands around.

by the way, the lp is a must, but the b-side “accidents will happen” is worth a trip to Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! - EP - Accidents Will Happen.

tv on the radio: dear science

i fell in love with “new health rockTV On the Radio - New Health Rock - EP - New Health Rock” back in 2004, obsessed on desperate youth, bloodthirsty babes, and lost a little interest with return to cookie mountain. dear science hit me immediately as both a return to clarity and a new direction, and with their raw rhythms, schitzo falsettos, and even horns (¡feat antibalas!).  catchy is good.

sigur ros: med sud i eyrum vid spilum endalaust

(“with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly”).  sounds too familiar (remember the ear plugs, kids).

i’ve loved this band for a long time, and i’ve wondered how they could find a new direction as exciting as their last albums.  the answer, evidently, is two-fold: the craziest (gobbledigook) and most intimate & brief (íllgresi, fjótavík) songs yet from the band.  the start of the record caught my attention, but now the last half keeps me coming back.

i hope they’re weathering iceland’s economic crisis, and i hope i get a chance to see them again soon.

damien jurado: caught in the trees

damien jurado was a small part of my own move to seattle; together w/ david bazan (pedro the lion, etc.).  created a post-punk, post-seattle sound that seemed well worth living near.

i’ve held ghosts of david in higher esteem than damien’s other work, and i still have a love-hate relationship w/ damien’s songwriting philosophy (or at least, his asshole interview persona), but this record is great.

neil young’s fuzzy guitar is there, & damien’s wry voice may pack the most soul in pacific northwestern music.

cat power: jukebox

cat power’s latest cover record won me back over (after the greatest underwhelmed).  she brought me back in w/ her backing band: judah bauer (jon spencer blues explosion) and matt sweeney (chavez, and the great superwolf w/ bonnie prince billy), and especially jim white of dirty three (un)fame on drums (see my post on the dirty three and associated projects).  her best cover is of herself (“metal heart” which actually featured jim white back on 1998’s moon pix)

that’s my new 6 for 2008; next time i’ll explain my old 4, and give a hint of my state of music in ’08 playlist.  ¡cheers!


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