Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Music of the Year (2008), or, Still On a Physician's Timetable

Without much introduction, let's just talk the best music of last year.

7. Alison Krauss & Union Station – Live. This is #7 only b/c it is not new this year; it came out in 2002. However, it is deservedly on the list because I discovered it this year. Ms. Krauss & Co. have been on my many years, but I am embarrassed that I’d never listened to this album before. It is chock-full of awesome. Just listen to “Everytime You Say Goodbye,” even with the crappy Youtube sound, it’s still awesome.

6. Mates of State – Re-Arrange Us. I was turned on to this awesome group by the awesome radio program, This American Life, (which you should all be into). The band has a really fun up-beat sound in nearly all of their songs, but manage to not get repetitious. I think you will like them too.

5. Bishop Allen – Rain. Actually, if you want an album you can listen to start to finish, This Broken String is one of the best on this list. The songs cover the spectrum from just up-beat pop-fun in “Middle Management” to the more eclectic sound of “Like Castinets.”

4. Mike Doughty – Here's another one not discovered in 2008. Mike Doughty is the former singer of Soul Coughing. It's not often you get a real bass singer, and this guy pulls it off really well.

3. Band of Horses – Cease to Begin. This band has a great ephemeral sound to them, as well as some great harmony.

2. Ingrid Michaelson – You’ll all recogonize “Unbreakable,” and justly so. It’s a fun pop song. But the rest of this album is great too. The last half of “December Baby” for example, is great in its point, counter-point architecture.

1. The Mountain Goats –Heretic Pride. From start to finish, this album is ridiculous. I mean, who names their band after those shaggy animals? Have you ever seen one live? They are ridiculous looking. The band also has a ridiculous number of albums released. And they make ridiculously awesome remakes.

As for my favorites from this album, it’s difficult. The first song, Sax Rohmer #1 is really difficult to improve upon. The nasal vocals even work with everything else. Can you see it coming RIDICULOUS.

The title track is equally awesome. The simple piano background just pops out, the song grooves along, and you can’t help but love this song.

How to Embrace a Swamp Creature – besides an awesome title, this song also brings out a sweet piano theme in the bridge sections. The slow crescendo through the entire song is also great.

The quiet serenity of Marduk T-Shirt Men’s Room Incident is also great. There aren’t any videos with even marginal enough sound quality to post here. But I think you get the point. This album is awesome. Get it now.

And as a sneak peek of next year’s entry here is The National. Can you get a more plaintive, melancholy song than this?

As always, I’d love to hear your suggestions or thoughts on music. Is my list too pop-centric? Not enough feeling? However, if you point out any flaws, please bring a new/better song or artist to the table.


Ranteumptom said...

It saddens me that we had the same band as our #1 for 2008. It's like the bonding will never end.

Amy Buff said...

Bryce I'm super excited to discover these people along with you! I've loved Allison for a long time, its about time you join us. Also Ingrid has this super fun song, "You and I" that get stuck in my head and I love it! ( *at the very bottom). I will puruse this list more and tell ya what I think! Thanks for the fun post!

peetie said...

Chris, that cuts. You want the bonding to end?

Buff, good to hear from you. Ms. Krauss has been a staple of mine for years. She's just unbelievably talented, as my roommate used to say. You'll have to pass along more favorites.