Sunday, January 18, 2009

end of year list #4

Because doing thing on time is so last year.

I have to admit, of my many would-be-hipster activities, this has been the most challenging by far. Many were the hours spent in bitter self-doubt over the simple choice of who would make the list, and who would be edited away into oblivion. As I anguished, the nights rolled by slowly -- taking their toll on my sanity.

I came up with list after list; each one more flawed than the last. I bemoaned my condition to fellow occasional would-be-hipster P.W.C -- and found out he had a top-ten list he had compiled "just in case." Woefully unprepared for the task before me, I implored his assistance -- and though I'm pretty sure such things are considered "abominations" in the holy books of most major religions -- behold the unholy union of our (though mostly his) lists!

ten favorite albums

1 • Lindstrøm - Where I Go You Go Too

This album isn't just "inspired by" the Tangerine Dream/Jean-Michael Jarre/Vangelis/Jan Hammer school of synthesizer bliss, it sounds like it absolutely could have come from that era (if you overlook some sonic trickery which perhaps would be impossible in the late 70s/early 80s). It makes me really happy not only that Lindstrøm made this type of throwback album, but that people understood, respected and enjoyed the album for the wonderful gift it is.

2 • Aradhna - Amrit Vani

Technically this album came out Dec 21, 2007, but since it was only 10 days away from the cutoff, it's here. This is a Christian Indian group primarily focused around acoustic guitar and sitar compositions based off of bhajans, devotional songs to Jesus. The music is challenging, unique, the spoken refrains perfect, and the first and last songs especially are wonderful. "World-Fusion" music is something I am very wary of, but this band is totally legit and wonderful, with very solid production to boot. If you are looking to expand your musical vocabulary, I cannot recommend this band enough.

3 • Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While the Sky is Falling

Woefully underappreciated, this album deserves far more accolade than it received. In fact, Kelley Polar deserves far more accolade than he receives. The indie community needs to get it together and start giving Kelley Polar a lot of serious attention. "Chrysanthemum" is the probably the best song about nuclear destruction I am aware of. And the chorus of "Rosenband" is one of my favorites ever – "And all around us was Elysium, Elysium, Elysium, Elysium, Elysium, Elysium, Elysium".

4.5 • Covox - Infiltrator EP

%100 8-bit. %100 awesome -- I just can't get Kickflip out of my head. Full of sassy hooks, epic-and-almost-narrative 8-bit masterpieces worthy of a 14 karat gold re-release of the original Legend of Zelda cart. I think most poeple are split on the 8-bit music scene -- some hate it, some love it. My list. I love it. Deal with it.

4 • M83 - Saturdays = Youth

A beautiful shoe gaze-y pop album full of earnest 80s sounds.

5 • Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours

The Cut Copy album where it all came together. Some really, really gorgeous pop combining shoegaze, art-rock and filter-disco into one wonderful giddy glowing neon tidepool of sound.

6 • Lullatone. - The Bedtime Beat

The best sleepy-time/bathtime themed album of the decade!

7 • Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles

Though this band has an uncomfortable air of controversy hanging around them, which has cleared up somewhat as of recently, they are undeniably sonically exciting.

8 •Chairlift Does You Inspire You

One part 80's synth-pop, two-parts dreamy lyrics courtesy of secret-weapon Caroline Polachek, three parts oh-so-New-Order guitar riffs, and four parts awesome. I dare you to listen to Territory and not raise your eyebrows. Double dare.

9 • Manual - Confluence

One of Manual's best ambient albums so far. Gorgeous and warm.

10 • Keith Canisius - Ferris Wheel Makeout

Shoegaze bliss pop electronics.

ten favorite songs

1 • Deastro - Light Powered

I hope this guy blows up soon. This single is relentless and insane like a Saturday morning cartoon theme show song. If Sasquatches ever appear en masse and invade North American cities, they should do so to this song. Seriously, this song is RAD. Really, really RAD.

2 • M83- Couleurs

Driving, layered, with a fantastically oscillating drone in the background. Definitely the best M83 song to feature a cowbell ever.

3 • Aradhna - Narahari

Great, swelling production, with an uplifting, soothing group chorus. Highly recommended.

4 • Ladyhawke - Dusk 'Til Dawn

Super catchy, 1980s-styleed pop for teenagers dancing in their bedrooms, from a New Zealand girl named Pip.

5 • Kanye West – Street Lights

I find this the most sonically inventive song I've heard from Kanye yet, with an intro riff that seriously sounds like it could be a My Bloody Valentine song. Really. Great vocal melody, too.

6 • Johann Johannson - The Rocket Builder (Io Pan!)

Beautiful neoclassical piece, great sound and weight. Really worth getting right now.

7 • Hearts of Palm UK – Goodbye

A great song off a great album. Makes me all sniffly.

8 • DaedelusMake It So

Sleepy-eyed vocals, great filtered disco feel, probably the best single I've heard yet from LA-based Victorian-electro performer Daedelus.

9 • Beach House - Some Things Last a Long Time

Those thunderous drums and the most reverb-drenched tambourine of 2008.

10 • Chris Schlarb – I

From Twilight & Ghost Stories, this is a great slab of ambient beauty that would make for excellent company on a rainy morning spent inside with books. Music like this makes me feel very blessed to live in an age where we have music like this.

5 Bands People Should Talk About More:

Slow Dancing Society.


Kelley Polar.

Paul Hardcastle.

Orange Crush (the Norwegian electronic musician, not the pop punk band).

Top 3 shows of 2008

1 •m83 @ the henry fonda

the lights were bright, and beats were loud, and the crowd was wild. I loved the energy at this show and m83 had a few new tricks up its sleeve hot on the heels of it's new album release, Saturdays = Youth. Really memorable; really awesome.

2 •chairlift @ the echo

my first review for the would be hipsters, and you'll be glad to know the law of beginners luck was in full effect. These guys were great. When Caroline Polachek started singing over those sweet, sweet synths... and the guitar riffs... and the awesome.

3 •dungen @ the echo

partly because they were so different than most bands I go see, partly because they put on a great show and partly because of the large drunk man who stood behind me a good portion of the time shouting at the top of this lungs, this easily makes the top three.

In 2009 I might:

Release an album of my musics. Raise 3kmonies for AIDS and ride a bike to San Francisco. Get married or decide to spend the rest of my life alone. Learn to play a saw. Figure out why Chicken salad is so delicious. Release a few zines. Have a few art shows. Move to Portland and revel in the glory of the Hipster God, an ancient alien entity enshrined deep beneath the surface of the earth and mother to all hipsters; she watches over us, even her would-be children, with love and everlasting grace.

1 comment:

heidi hough said...

your 2009 resolution list eerily matches the one scribbled into my personal diary.