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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dav's Favs 2008

Drive By Truckers – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark
Who knew you could do so much with just a Big Muff pedal and a bottle of Jack Daniels? Patterson Hood belts it out over (count ‘em) 19 songs chock full of the grit, grime, and southern hospitality that'll remind you exactly why you fell in love with the DBTs to begin with. Released in January 2008, and STILL nobody even came close to touching this album.

The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound
Despite a dumb name, the Gaslight Anthem managed to put together one of the most consistent albums of 2008. Perfect Born to Run-esque grit rockers interspersed with sing alongs raucous enough to make even the pop-punkers blush. The sincerity of punk rock coupled with the chops/hooks of R&B? Yes please.

Re-Up Gang – We Got It For Cheap Vol. 3
Hoooooly shit. This is so heavy. No more production by the Neptunes, but that’s not a problem for Pusha T or Malice. The flow is better than ever, and the beats are from all over (almost all of them recognizable). Never before has dealing coke sounded so attractive. BITCH I SELL 'CAINE.

Lucky Dragons – Dream Island Laughing Language
The title of the album says it all. This is a world music record recovered from some alternate dimension. Beautiful glitches, samples, and field recordings interwoven to create a vision of a world on the brink of self-actualization. Each song on this record is a living, breathing creature, existing as some strange manifestation of our collective unconscious. As gorgeous as it is troubling, as fantastic as it is organic, Dream Island Laughing Language is by far the Lucky Dragon's best effort to date.

Lykke Li – Youth Novels
This time it’s okay to believe the hype. A blogger fav for sure, Ms. Li manages to craft an altogether enjoyable dance pop album twee enough for the indie poppers but with just enough cynicism to make it palatable for the rest of us. Sugary sweet hooks, simple orchestration, and a super pretty voice.

Oasis – Dig Out Your Soul
Say what you will about Oasis (self-absorbed/racist/sexist/jingoistic/narcissistic assholes?), but the fact remains that they managed to come out with one of the best albums of the year. If you’re expecting another What’s the Story, you’re in for a bit of a surprise - this album is THICK. Remember that Simpsons episode where Bart and Milhouse get the squishee made out of straight syrup? Yeah. It’s like that. Dig Out Your Soul is instantly heavier, more drugged out, and dirgier than previous efforts, but just as sweet as Oasis has ever been. Reminiscent of Ladies and Gentleman-era Spiritualized or early Verve.

Blank Dogs – On Two Sides
Great noise-pop out of Brooklyn. Perfect pop melodies hidden under a layer of android guitars, buzzy synths, and muttered vocals. Dude clearly listened to a lot of New Order/The Fall/Marc Almond while recording the album, and who can blame him? Blank Dogs recorded the best New Order demo tape of 2008. Certainly not for everyone, but then again, what is?

Caleb Stine and the Brakemen – I’ll Head West Again
Baltimore’s own Caleb Stine crafts gorgeous country-western ballads with a sincerity that belies the fact that he grew up miles away from the nearest cactus, and probably has never even seen a tumbleweed. Regardless, this album is roots rock at its finest, with a singer that has the ability to channel Merle, Conway, and the Louvins with equal success. This is by far the album I’ve listened to the most this year. Chicken soup for the urban cowboy in all of us.

Q-Tip – The Renaissance
Six long years in the making, and well worth the wait. The flow is smooth as ever, and the beats are TIGHT. This is the Midnight Marauders of the 21st century. Q-Tip can rap circles around just about any other hip-hopper out there, and can make it sound effortless in the process. This is the perfect summer cruisin’ album.

Foxboro Hot Tubs – Stop Drop and Roll!!
This album kills. Awesome garage-rock revival full of sneer, swagger and swank that pays equal debt to The Who as it does to Something Else-era Kinks. This album would be right at home on a Nuggets comp. Hard to believe that these are the same guys that wrote American Idiot.

Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)
Wow. Suuuuper drugged out, hazy, ethereal vocals with some serious beats and guest appearances by ?uestlove, Madlib, and 9th Wonder, amongst others. Equal parts Curtis Mayfield as it is Georgia Anne Muldrow, this is an album that reveals itself through repeated listening. Too bad nobody even noticed. What a shame.

Paavoharju – Laulu Laakson Kukista
Gorgeous pop ambient from the brothers Ainala, Laulu Laakson Kukista is contender for best headphone album of the year. Beautiful songs that flow seamlessly from grainy crackles and hisses to the most blissed out, perfectly orchestrated soundscapes imaginable. This is an album of forgotten fairytales, fantastic voyages, and interrupted daydreams. Beautiful.

Honorable Mentions

Department of Eagles - In Ear Park
Sun Kil Moon - April
Al Green - Lay It Down
British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
Times New Viking - Rip It Off
Spiritualized - Songs in A & E
Eat Skull - Sick to Death

Friday, November 28, 2008