2008 Wrap-Up Part One

Now that everyone else has had their say, I guess it's time for me to run down my favorites from 2008. The end of January feels a bit late to be looking at the previous year, but to be honest, there were so many killer releases in November and December that I didn't even acquire some of the year's best until a few weeks ago. All in all, I don't think there's been as much amazing music released (and re-released) in one year in over a decade. I felt like a teenager again, struggling to keep track of all the new bands, buying records blindly based on the label, or even straight-up whims, new favorites all the time. What follows is a random-ordered list, part one of two or three, best releases of the year.

Wavves – s/t Lp + Beach Demon/Weed Demon 7" (Woodsist [Lp] / Tic Tac Totally [7"])

I'm not really hearing the surf-rock / 'Beach Boys' vibe that everyone else is, yet somehow the beach/surf/skate thing suits Wavves fuzzy pop songs quite well. The album is really just a demo and I'm stoked as hell for the "real" full-length debut out shortly.

Wavves "Beach Demon" (from Beach Demon/Weed Demon 7")
Wavves "California Goth" (from s/t Lp)

Fabulous Diamonds – s/t 12" (Siltbreeze)

Definitely a noodle-scratcher at first, this mysterious, dubbed-out, drums/organ/sax EP from Australia was fully hypnotic by the time fall hit.

Fabulous Diamonds "untitled six" (from s/t 12")

Nodzzz – s/t 12" (What's Your Rupture?)

I was pretty amused by the Nodzzz demo when I first heard it early last year. But once I got past its wonky charm (goofy lyrics, budget recording, amateur-ish vocals, hell, an 'amateur' vibe in general), the songs were stuck in my head and I began checking for a new release. The demo songs were deceptively simple, sounding off-the-cuff but well constructed. Well, it's the same deal here but the songs are a little more developed and this time around the fuller recording doesn't detract from the songs. But they still sound more or less like the first Feelies album redone by three college roommates with a guitar (no amp), some pot and a 4-track, and the longest song is 2:15, so I'm totally down.

Nodzzz "Is She There?" (from s/t 12")
Nodzzz "Simple Song" (from s/t 12")

Der Teenage Panzerkorps – Games For Slaves Lp (Siltbreeze)

2007's Harmful Emotions soared right over my head, but this one unexpectedly hit just the way I needed it: dark and gloomy jagged punk with a subtle motorik vibe (half the band is indeed German). The soundtrack to my fall/winter. Another win for Siltbreeze.

Der Teenage Panzerkorps "Human Winter" (from Games For Slaves Lp)

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Real Emotional Trash (Matador)

"Down in Sausalito we had clams for dessert / You spilled some Chardonnay on your gypsy skirt". I never liked Pavement anyway.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks "Dragonfly Pie" (from Real Emotional Trash Lp)

Ty Segall – s/t Lp (Castleface)

A perfect companion to the glut of Oh Sees releases this year (and released on Oh Sees' main dude John Dwyer's label). 24 minutes of perfectly blown out, garage-y, one-man-band rock and roll.

Ty Segall "The Drag" (from s/t Lp)

Sex Vid – Communal Living 12" (Dom America)

There are a number of ways for a hardcore band to make moderate success likely, but completely ruin themselves in every meaningful way (youth crew bullshit; straight edge bullshit; lyrics about hardcore/'the scene'; metal; 'emo'; 'arty'; humorless; contrived; stuck in the past; not knowing their place in the musical cosmos; career-motivated; too dumb; too smart; too safe; etc). Sex Vid avoid them all, making it look painfully easy, and I still can't decide if its by way of being totally pragmatic or if they lucked into some magical formula that makes them so obviously better than everyone else. I'm guessing it's a combination of the two, but regardless, I quit buying hardcore records in disgust almost a decade ago and I can't overemphasize how perfectly right this shit is.

Sex Vid "No Room" (from Communal Living 12")
Sex Vid "Footsteps / Cardinal Red" (from Communal Living 12")

Magic Lantern – High Beams Lp (Not Not Fun)

Like Sex Vid do for hardcore, Magic Lantern do for modern psych, cutting through all the bullshit and coming correct with something so obviously right that you can only wonder how all the others continue to get it so wrong. Rippin'.

Magic Lantern "Deathshead Hawkmoth" (from High Beams Lp)

More soon.

Kleenex – Nice

Youtube embedding was disable for this one so you'll have to follow the link. Trust me, it's worth it..

Kleenex "Nice"

Song Of The Day 005

Heya. What's good?

I've got a series of year-end good-shit lists coming shortly, but in the meantime here's a random one (and accompanying video) for you. I never really felt The Fall too hard until I heard this song. Currently listening to it for the 7th time this afternoon. Too killer.

The Fall "Smile" (from Perverted By Language, 1983)