Archive for November, 2008

My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #48

November 30, 2008

Number 48

When Mat Brooke decided to depart from one of Sub Pop’s most rewarding groups, Band of Horses, at the very height of their rise after the Everything All The Time tour, it was a surprise to pretty much everyone. When the remaining member of that group, Ben Bidwell, put out the sophomore release with new members, it was obvious that what made the magic of their debut was missing, and although Cease To Begin was certainly a good record, it stood nowhere near the brilliance of Everything. So when Brooke emerged onto the scene for the first time in a while with his new group, Grand Archives, it would soon be known that he was in need of creating music with a lighter, more sunny side. This self-titled debut has spots of of a Band of Horses feel, but that’s only in the guitars and a bit of the melodies. As far as the songwriting goes, this is the happiest we’ve ever heard Brooke, and it’s a very inviting set. Inspired by a wide range of genres, from beginning to end this record switches from pop rock harmonies, to 60’s-induced flare, and so on. It’s definitely a solid debut, and I hope Brooke can stick with this project longer than he has with other groups, because if they can evolve from the promise of this sound (which is at its best on the middle of the record) then he could help the rest of the listening world know that Grand Archives should be every bit as recognized as Band of Horses.

1.Torn Foam Blue Couch
2.Miniature Birds
3.Swan Matches
4.Index Moon
5.George Kaminski
6.A Setting Sun
7.Breezy No Breezy
9.Louis Riel
10.Crime Window
11.Orange Juice


My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #49

November 29, 2008

Number 49

In the opening seconds of their latest record, Sex Death Cassette, Rafter easily make their case to fit like a glove on the strange Asthmatic Kitty Records. Kicking things off is the psychedelic opener, “zzzpenchant”, busting in and making a statement that the record to come will indeed be an open playground for the band to experiment, and you’ll either absolutely love it or severely hate it; there’s no in-between. With the average track clocking in at around a minute and a half, this Cassette does right by giving us 19 songs to journey through, so in the end I didn’t find myself wanting more but rather saw it as just enough. The sound of Rafter is impossible to describe as they paint with every single color in the musical palette on this record, making us scratch our head when we think of what they could possibly throw at us next. They are certainly an acquired taste and a “I need to be in the mood for this” band, and I am definitely on their side after hearing this collection of music. My single favorite track on the record is “Sleazy Sleepy”, and the other standouts I have in bold below.

2.Sleazy Sleepy
4.I Love You Most of All
5.Love Time Now Please
6.Cuddling Raccoons
8.Slay Me
9.Breathing Room
10.Candy Sprinkles
12.Casualty of BOC
16.No-One Home Ever
18.Casualty of Dance Music
19.How To and Why

My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #50

November 28, 2008

Number 50

Though certainly taking a step back after Face the Truth, a record that packed a wallop of brilliant Malkmus songwriting, the indie maverick’s latest solo effort, Real Emotional Trash, still has enough firepower to be included on this year-end list of standout albums of 2008. With just ten tracks totaling damn near the one-hour mark, this time around it is clear that he and the Jicks are targeting an all-out jam session from beginning to end, and by the time the record comes full circle, it has done its job of entertaining, that’s for sure. What is unexpected about the album, though, is the tracks that shine brightest after many listens. For the most drawn-out and rocking album Malkmus has ever made, you’d figure that the 10-minute title track or the numerous other numbers that stretch over 5 to 6 would be the most memorable…but when it’s all said and done, the two shortest provide the biggest punch. “Gardenia” and “We Can’t Help You”, which if both combined wouldn’t even total what most of the tracks on the album clock in to, are among the best songs Malkmus has ever written, and they’re reason enough to not deny Real Emotional Trash a spot on this list.

1.Dragonfly Pie
2.Hopscotch Willie
3.Cold Son
4.Real Emotional Trash
5.Out of Reaches
8.Elmo Delmo
9.We Can’t Help You
10.Wicked Wanda

EP’s Need Some Love, Too

November 27, 2008


01) Another World EP – Antony & The Johnsons

02) No Way Down EP – Air France

03) Freddie and the Trojan Horse EP – The Radio Dept.

04) The Second Gleam EP – The Avett Brothers

05) Black Wooden Ceiling Opening EP – Mount Eerie

06) Water Curses EP – Animal Collective

07) Stay Awake EP – Times New Viking

I Heart Music…Music Hearts Me

November 26, 2008

I have recently decided to start an earlier-than-usual compiling of my year-end lists for music, seeing as the month of December is film’s case-making time frame. All of the essential releases have been put out in the first eleven months of this stellar year for the arts, so in the very near future I will begin the countdown for MY 50 FAVORITE ALBUMS OF 2008.

In the meantime, I am delivering a small list of my favorite EP’s of the year. Check it out and comment if you wish. It gives me something to look forward to if you do.