Monday, December 22, 2008

Lefty's TOP TEN ALBUMS in the Year of Our Lord 2008

1. Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes

2. Ponytail, Ice Cream Spiritual!

3. Benji Hughes, A Love Extreme

4. Girl Talk, Feed the Animals

5. Karl Blau, AM

6. Jamie Lidell, Jim

7. Esau Mwamwaya & Radioclit, The Very Best

8. Erykah Badu, New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War

9. The Hold Steady, Stay Positive

10. Pinataland, Songs for the Forgotten Future, Vol. 2

Given the annoying constraint of choosing only music made or released this calendar year -- an increasingly irrelevant category, the whole "present day" thing -- here they are, all ten. I'd like to have thrown in Bobby Charles, BORIS, Panda Bear, early Bob Seger, the 2007 Blitzen Trapper album and Robert Palmer's 1976 album Pressure Drop. But alas ...

Fleet Foxes
is #1 simply because I kept putting it on the turntable and enjoying it immensely every time, especially "White Winter Hymnal," over and over again (easily the best song of the year).

Listen to it >> HERE << .

Ponytail, who I'm currently in love with, is the distilled essence of everything I love about rock and roll, Captain Beefheart as an exploding cigar that explodes into psychedelic confetti and punk estrogen and Walt Whitman run through a RAT distortion pedal with amps on 11.

LISTEN to "Celebrate the Body Electric (It Came from an Angel)".

Girl Talk
is the best thing you can hear in a moving vehicle, period end of story don't argue. Also, he makes me realize I can love dirty rap music if it has Rick Springfield on it.

LISTEN: "Here's the Thing".

Benji Hughes
is L-O-V-E and he's not afraid to let it show and also he's from Charlotte, NC, and he's not afraid to let that show either (maybe they're connected?).

LISTEN to "All You've Got to Do is Fall in Love with Me."

Karl Blau
makes music so organic and introverted and gauzy and wobbly that you feel stoned even when you're not stoned, which is very pleasurable to hear, especially when you're baked.

LISTEN to "Stream."

I know not everyone can sign on for white man soul stylings, but if you can listen to "Another Day" by Jamie Lidell and not get an instant mood lift, then I must ask: what's wrong with you, pops?

I'll admit, Esau Mwamwaya & Radioclit is the cheap way out: everything that's cool in the indie blog coolplex, but remixed as African music, featuring European production team Radioclit and Malawian-born, London-based singer Esau Mwamwaya.

Download the entire album for FREE right >> HERE << .

Erykah Badu
channels the spirit of Rev. Jeremiah Wright with stoned-out-of-her-gourd, nutbag freak funk. Timely! The Roy Ayers sample on groove #1, "Amerykahn Promise," is just about as mack as you can get. You can hear the original 1977 sample, "American Promise," by Roy Ayers >> HERE <<.

LISTEN to "Amerykahn Promise."

This is the year I came around to the Hold Steady in a big way, even though everyone else decided Stay Positive wasn't as good as the last one and I was late to the party (still, you can't argue with these lyrics: "it was back in the day back when things were way different/when the Youth of Today and the early Seven Seconds/taught me some of life's most valuable lessons").

LISTEN AND WATCH this fan-made montage to "Stay Positive" right >> HERE << .

aren't just any band -- they're friends of mine! Ironically, that makes my judgment on them even clearer, not cloudier. Their 2008 album wasn't given nearly enough publicity or appreciation or, for that matter, exultation and hosannas, so I herewith rectify that error by telling you that they're marvelous. And sui generis. And just plain old generous. Also: melodic, brainy, old-timey and new-timey at the same timey.

You can LISTEN >> HERE << .

[Editor's note: Previously, TV on the Radio's Dear Science was posted as No. 10. I liked the album, but I didn't love it. Though it certainly has pioneering soundz and arrangements, the record lacked emotional resonance for me. They're Tin Men compared to Benji Hughes. Still, I'm giving them the bonus track, No. 11, as a consolation prize for being so popular.]


jonderneathica said...

As a loyal reader, I have some idea of your tastes, and I am convinced that you guys would like the Donkeys. I read on Pitchfork that John Darnielle recommended them to Craig Finn, and that got my attention. Then I read that an eMusic listener called the Donkeys a cross between Television and the Grateful Dead.

The Donkeys aren't quite as accomplished guitarists as Tom or Jerry (ha!) but they are quite good. To me, their new album has a laid back vibe like Bobby Charles. The Donkeys did a Daytrotter session too, so check em out and tell em I sent you.

Anonymous said...

Hey, we beat you to it.

jonderneathica said...

Sheesh. And I call myself a loyal reader...