Thursday, January 15, 2009

2008: a Baker's Dozen

1. Portishead, Third
2. Spiritualized, Songs in A&E
3. High Places, 03/07-09/07 and High Places
4. Fucked Up, The Chemistry of Common Life
5. Veda Hille, This Riot Life
6. Shannon McArdle, Summer of the Whore
7. Jenny Lewis, Acid Tongue
8. Laura Barrett, Victory Garden
9. Vivian Girls, Vivian Girls
10. Fire On Fire, The Orchard
11. School of Seven Bells, Alpinisms
12. Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes and Sun Giant EP
13. Glasvegas, Glasvegas

Playlists for the next couple:
1/19: Gentleman Reg, Ladyhawke, Animal Collective
1/26: Charles Spearin, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How can I resist this?


The 2008 best list will be up today or tomorrow, getting slammed at work and home.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

2008: Honorable mentions

Much of the stuff from July still holds true, though a final tally will be seen next week. Here's a few others bubbling under:

Juliana Hatfield, How To Walk Away (her best in years)
Giant Sand, proVisions
Ponytail, Ice Cream Spiritual
Caithlin De Marrais, My Magic City
Fembots, Calling Out
Byrne and Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

2008: Best concert

Neko Case at the State Theater in Ithaca was magical, the Fiery Furnaces at the Bug Jar kept heads snapping and spinning, but the once-in-a-lifetime experience could only be My Bloody Valentine at the Kool Haus in Toronto, on my birthday no less. Enough online accounts are available, as are various other media ("My Bloody Eardrums" was my favorite title), and I have to say they are all true, down to the last hyperbole. Not only was it a dream come true to finally see Kevin Shields and co., but the heart-stopping (and I mean that literally) grand finale of ear-splitting racket was unduplicated in my several-decades-plus of concert-going.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2008: Best television

Schedule: Elvis Costello with... (Sundance Channel)

Simply TV's best hour on music. Elvis asks great questions, is a good listener, and even when the subjects are a little laconic (ie: James taylor), their musical performances are relaxed and top-notch. Also points for highlighting some deserved icons, like Elton John mentioning Laura Nyro (and by golly, you can see her influence in his songs now that he mentions it).

Gossip Girl (CW)

No hour on television makes me smile as consistently as this wondrous not-necessarily-guilty pleasure. Ed Westwick's Chuck Bass is a hoot, but it's the magnificent Leighton Meester who carries the show at this point, conveying heartbreak, snark, deviousness, and warmth, sometimes in the same sentence. And New York Magazine's Daily Intel reality checks the following morning are as addictive as the show itself.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

2008: Best reissue

Slits, Official Bootleg (Y Records/Victor Japan)

While Pavement's Brighten the Corners and REM's Murmur are practically slam dunks here, it's this little-seen import that stole my heart, ending a two-decade plus search. Any time i tried to get the original vinyl of this on eBay, I was usually shut out by the annoying gremlins who bid at the last two seconds before the end. Championed by Greil Marcus in Lipstick Traces, it's the sound of punk at ground zero, before the Slits got their label contract and dubbed it all up. The remastering is impeccable to these jaded ears, and the packaging of the 12-inch in miniature is a treat as well.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Best albums of 2009 already

Bruce Peninsula, A Mountain Is a Mouth
Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion

Anxiously awaited: see "woo-hoo" below.

Periodic updates of various bests here to begin shortly. Full list announced on January 12th's show.