Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I heard a lot of music I liked during this past year. Here are some lists of what I think is good stuff I heard. There is also some mention of a few items I didn't particularly care for, and a list of some stuff from 2008 that I didn't manage to hear but hope to hear sooner or later. Enjoy!

The Verve


1. Love is Pain - The Verve - from Forth
2. Kim and Jesse - M83 - from Saturdays = Youth
3. Idle Hands - The Gutter Twins - from Saturnalia
4. About Today (live) - The National - from The Virginia EP
5. Mirrorball - Elbow - from The Seldom Seen Kid
6. Coming Home - The 88 - from Not Only... But Also
7. Doves - The Black Angels - from Directions to See a Ghost
8. Lost! - Coldplay - from Viva La Vida
9. Senses on Fire - Mercury Rev - from Snowflake Midnight
10. Kids - MGMT - from Oracular Spectacular
11. Get Better - Mates of State - from Re-Arrange Us
12. White Winter Hymnal - from Fleet Foxes
13. Sometime Around Midnight - from The Airborne Toxic Event
14. L.E.S. Aristides - Santogold - from Santogold
15. Go Go Go - The 88 - from Not Only... But Also
16. Life, Love and Laughter - Donavon Frankenreiter - from Pass it Around
17. Grounds for Divorce - Elbow - from The Seldom Seen Kid
18. Fake Empire (live) - The National - from The Virginia EP
19. Remember - The Ruby Suns - from Sea Lion
20. One Day Like This - Elbow - from The Seldom Seen Kid
21. Sequestered in Memphis - The Hold Steady - from Stay Positive
22. Momma's Boy - Chromeo - from Fancy Footwork


1. M83 - Saturdays = Youth - Emotionally-charged electronic pop/rock, full of depth and longing.
2. The Verve - Forth - Nice "comeback" album from one of my favorite bands.
3. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid - English band never disappoints my ears. Simply beautiful songs.
4. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes - Mossy, fungal reverb-drenched folk-rock in the CSNY vein, from the Pacific NW.
5. The Black Angels - Directions to See a Ghost - More dark psychedelia from the fine Austin, TX band.
6. Coldplay - Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends - Highly produced ear candy. I love it.
7. Mercury Rev - Snowflake Midnight - The Rev dabbles in electronica with pleasant results.
8. Sun Kil Moon - April - Mellow music at its finest.
9. The Ruby Suns - Sea Lion - New Zealand esthetic meets world music. Wonderful stuff!
10. The 88 - Not Only... But Also - Queen meets Styx' Dennis DeYoung meets glam rock meets ???
11. Sigur Ros - Med Sud i Eyrum vid Spilum Endalaust - Another solid album from a great band.
12. Santogold - Santogold - Creative rhythms and vocals, excellent from start to finish.
13. The Gutter Twins - Saturnalia - Simply an excellent rock album.
14. REM - Accelerate - These guys can still do it.
15. The National - The Virginia EP - Collection of rarities and live tracks doesn't disappoint National fans.
16. Foals - Antidotes - Math rock at its finest.
17. Todd Rundgren - Arena - The guy can still kick butt. LOTS of good guitar on this one!
18. Jamie Lidell - Jim - Who says modern artists can't do good soul music and R & B? This guy can. Check out his music!
19. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive - Another solid album from a very good band.
20. Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords - Great comedy from a couple of lovably weird guys.
21. Jordan Zevon - Insides Out - Sounds different from his late father; Jordan is his own artist. Good pop/rock.
22. Shearwater - Rooks - Artsy, atmospheric stuff. Mostly mellow.
23. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours - 80s Dance Rock lives!!! These Aussies are good.
24. Okkervil River - The Stand-Ins - A bit self-indulgent and grandiose, but what the heck, it's beautifully played and sung sincerely.
25. Portishead - Third - An interesting comeback album from one of the odder bands of the last 20 years.
Three of my 2008 Disappointments:
My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges - I like "Highly Suspicious" but not the rest of it. Give me "It Still Moves". Please!
Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer - I love "Apologies to the Queen Mary". I just couldn't get into this latest one as much.
The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath - I liked this one better than their first three, for what that's worth. There are more stretches in this one where you can tap your toe to the music at least.
I might have listed these twelve as favorites or disappointments, but first I need to hear them:
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Real Emotional Trash
No Age - Nouns
The Cure - 4:13 Dream
Spiritualized - Songs in A and E
Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping
TV On the Radio - Dear Science
The Dears - Missiles
Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
The Black Keys - Attack and Release
Beach House - Devotion
Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
Flying Saucer Attack (aka "rural psychedelia")

In an earlier post I talked about My Bloody Valentine, Catherine Wheel, Swervedriver, Ride, and Slowdive. For me, finding all those bands was like discovering a lost gold mine. I also liked:

Flying Saucer Attack - their first CD, aka "rural psychedelia", from 1994. Gorgeous. I submitted a very astral review of this disc at
New Order - the reissue of "Movement" is very good if you like their primitive early stuff.
Brian Jonestown Massacre's "Methodrone" (1995) - Early Stones sound meets drones. Dreamy! Gorillaz "Demon Days" from 2005 - I didn't realize how good some of these songs are when the CD first came out.

I saw a bunch of great bands at the Sasquatch Festival at The Gorge Amphitheater in May, including The National, The Kooks, Mates of State, REM, The Cure, The Flaming Lips, Fleet Foxes, Rodrigo y Gabriela, The Hives, Battles, Rogue Wave, Ghostland Observatory and too many others to count. It's a good festival, I have been to it the last couple of years, and I want to make it an annual trip for a while.
This November I also had the honor of seeing Medeski, Martin and Wood play their brand of interstellar tuneage at the Aladdin Theater in Portland, OR... check out this trio if you get the chance. It isn't jazz, it isn't R & B, it isn't funk, it isn't rock... who knows what it is, but for sure it's great music!

So, all in all my ears had a good musical year. There is lots of good stuff out there.
Happy listening to you, in 2009 and beyond!


Blogger Randal Graves said...

I find it funny when people go "I never heard of half these guys" to one of my lists because now here's my chance to do the same. ;-)

Time to YouTube and check some of this stuff out.

6:32 AM  
Blogger Mauigirl said...

Will have to check out your recommendations!

Have a wonderful New Year!

11:00 AM  
Blogger Sheryl said...

Wow, that's a lot of experimenting. Hope you have a wonderful New Year, Snave!!!

Hugs, Sheryl

2:15 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

I saw Martin Medeski & Wood a few years ago on a PBS special. I thought they were too bland. Not much musical complexity, not much swing or blues or rock feeling. Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind, or maybe the TV cameras wrecked their creativity, or something. I'll go to YouTube and give them another chance.

2:32 PM  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

Great lists, buddy. I haven't heard all of those songs or CDs but I totally agree with you on M83, the Gutter Twins, Todd, Mercury Rev, REM and Coldplay. I also heard a cut off the Shearwater album and liked it a lot.

I was very disappointed with some of the old rockers this year...Lindsey Buckingham, the Pretenders and Guns and Roses all put out crappy stuff in my opinion. I was amazed there wasn't one cut on the G 'n R cd I could really appreciate.

Probably my biggest disappointment was the latest one by the Secret Machines. I thought they had so much potential but they apparently had some major personnel changes.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Mercurie said...

I think my favourite album of the year would have be Todd Rundgren's Arena. Of course, I also agree with a lot of your list, especially the disappointments. What happened to Nick Cave?! He used to be good.

10:06 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

I still haven't heard the latest Cave, but I'm viewing the chance to hear it as more of a chore than as a likely pleasure. A few years ago I discovered a bunch of his earlier material which I still like quite a bit... Tender Prey and The Good Son are favorites. The problem is that I discovered those albums about the time I also discovered I didn't particularly care for the direction he was heading. Of the material released after The Boatman's Call in 1997, I really only enjoy the B-Sides and Rarities collection and a few select cuts from Lyre of Orpheus/Abbatoir Blues, Nocturama and the rest. Give me "The Mercy Seat". I can listen to that oldie but goodie over and over and over!

I don't mind the Buckingham too much. The Pretenders was a bit disappointing, to be sure. I'm not sure I want to hear the GNR, as like with the Cave I might tend to view listening to it as more of a chore than a pleasure. Re. Secret Machines, I liked their first two albums quite a bit but haven't heard their newest. That's one I would be curious about!

The MMW performance I saw was very lively, lots of interplay between the musician, and all three of them displaying phenomenal skills. The style of music might not be everyone's cup of tea, to be sure. Being a musician, I was totally wowed by them!

7:18 PM  

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