My 50 Favorite Albums of 2008: #10

Number 10

Daniel Rossen and Chris Taylor are members of the now enormously-growing-in-popularity band, Grizzly Bear, who toured with some group by the name of…um…I think they’re called Radiohead, earlier this summer. However, before Grizzly Bear were even an existing idea, the two had a little group called Department Of Eagles, which they formed along with their New York University roomate, Fred Nicolaus, who shares main songwriting duties with Rossen. Earlier this month, I made the mistake of including their new album, In Ear Park, as a part of “My 15 Favorite Debut Records of 2008”, when in fact it is their sophomore release. In 2003 they went under the radar with the release of their debut, called Cold Nose, which garnered small buzz but never broke out and got made more available. I guess the stand that Grizzly Bear has developed in the world of indie rock has grown important enough to make its members’ side-projects worthy of making note of now, as In Ear Park is plain evidence of. I can call myself quite the mighty fine fan of Grizzly, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly when I dare say that Department Of Eagles are an ever better band, at least in my opinion. At first I was infatuated with this record, and then that grew into a real, understanding love for it, so when I thought about where this one had to be on my 50 favorite of the year, there’s no way I could deny it a crack into the ten best. It took the better part of four years to deliver this follow-up to Cold Nose, between finishing school, slaving away at 9-5 jobs, and then having to wait for breaks between Grizzy Bear sessions later on; but In Ear Park definitely benefits from its creators not wanting to rush the experience. Also contributing highly to the record is Nat Baldwin, whose solo release earlier this year, Most Valuable Player, would definitely make a spot on an honorable mention list if I had one this year. His double bass of “Classical Records” is such a nice sprinkle of seasoning. “Phantom Other” has been recognized by many as one of the standout tracks of the year, and for good reason; but it shouldn’t be singled out on an album filled with deeply personal lyrics, oddly enchanting arrangements, and just plain good times. Listen to this.

1.In Ear Park
2.No One Does It Like You
3.Phantom Other
5.Around the Bay
6.Herring Bone
7.Classical Records
8.Waves of Rye
9.Therapy Car Noise
10.Floating On The Lehigh
11.Balmy Night


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