Dec 27, 2008
4. "White Winter Hymnal" by Fleet Foxes from Fleet Foxes
Other than the torrent of vocal harmonies, there's almost no song here. Two or three guitar parts and one drum complete the melody. But that's enough. The two-and-half-minute playtime complements the theory at work here. Fleet Foxes remind us, conversely to most Brian Wilson disciples, that less is more.
3. "Get Better" by Mates of State from Re-arrange Us
"Get Better" is the anthem of 2008, a year when the elections, an economic entanglement, and political scandals trumped all other stories. The married duo's most ambitious song ever proclaims, "Everything's gonna get lighter, even if it never gets better," which is precisely what's happened in the last couple months. Post-election, our problems haven't really improved, but that buzz word "hope" has made out future prospects build like a cathartic drumbeat.
2. "Kim & Jessie" by M83 from Saturday = Youth
Just when it seemed like that whole 80s revival was on it's down curve, Anthony Gonzalez digs up his roots on his 2008 effort. Stephanie Meyer references aside, "Kim & Jessie" is a firmly contemporary track in spite of its retroness. There's a dark optimism here, a reminder of the bliss of teenagedom tinted with the e[c]lect[r]ic struggles of a post-911 world. It's the pop song by J.G. Ballard.
Be sure to comment on your favorite tracks of 2008. Later this week, I'll post #1, as well as the rest of my song and album lists.
Dec 18, 2008
Dec 16, 2008
Dec 14, 2008
Dec 13, 2008
Things have been good for musical comedy lately, mostly thanks to Flight of the Conchords, but some of the best recent efforts have come from the Lonely Island crew/SNL Digital Shorts with their improved production values, especially on their latest effort, "Jizz in My Pants."
You can also check out the results of the Pitchfork Reader's Poll and their Best of 2008 Guest List, featuring picks from some today's best artists. Reoccuring themes include Beach House, Deerhunter, and--my personal pick--Why?.
Dec 4, 2008
May 20, 2008: Dresden Dolls release No, Virginia, the sequel to last year's splendid Yes, Virginia. Basically a collection of tracks rescued from the Yes, Virginia's cutting-room floor, No, Virgina is worthy of some consideration. (A Radiohead's Amnesiac to Kid A analogy my be helpful.) Tracks like "Dear Jenny," and "Night Reconnaissance," and the duo's cover of "Pretty in Pink" highlight the album.
September 16, 2008: Dresden Dolls's lead singer and pianist releases her first solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer? Any doubters of this Ben Folds-produced album were proven wrong by the variety of genres, emotions, and references packed into 12 tracks.
Amanda also produced a video for almost every track, most of which follow a cohesive narrative structure. The cabaret-inspired video for "Leeds United" (see below) has sparked quite the story.
November 22, 2008: Dresden Dolls fanboard The Shadowbox comes alive with indignation towards boy-club, butt-rock-and-metal label Road Runner's feedback about the "Leeds United" video. Amanda says they wanted to edited out her "belly." Her fans reacted by stuffing the net with belly shots. (No, not that kind.)
Palmer has given the label an ultimatum, wishing to be released from her (and I suppose Dresden Doll's) contract. This comes even after the label tried to spin the bad press.
Internet memes aside, 2008 amounts to a great year for Amanda Palmer, who unanimously wins Stoplight Sleep's Artist of the Year award. Congrats! Now don't fill up on cake at the party, you'll never get a new records deal, Ms. Palmer.
I went to football-gang brawl and a post-modern cabaret video broke out!