So this Friday, my show will be the Best of 2008! Here it is:
Best of 2008 -- Phil D.
(Friday Breakfast Blend 6-8AM, River City Limits 2nd Saturdays)
Podcast here: http://radio4all.net/index.php/program/30952
Triclops “Out of Africa” (Alternative Tentacles)
Different. Proof that punk is art and just well, damn good! Members of Victims Family, Lower 48 and the vocalist from Fleshies have done a discordantly defiant record in the vein of a Yes album, but way harder, creepier and chock full of fists solidly raised in the air. Musically, it’s a math romp, or noise romp or hardcore romp, it dances along the heavier side of music without the schizophrenia. Vocals are a real gem of oddness here, using studio trickery to squeeze out tones like a baby or add echo to madness ranting. Take the song “Freedom Tickler”, my favorite track, starting as a creeper then going to the straight forward noodle with poignant lyrics written in the form of a comic in the liner notes. “Secret 93” is a dark tale of city in darkness, combining elements of acoustic and throwing it up in the air with some intense sonic angles. Triclops “Out of Africa” is the kind of thematic cd that is bigger than any one song, and is worth repeated listening.
Gogol Bordello live at Toad’s Place.
Plain & simple just read my review HERE.
Best in show in town of the year.
Flight of the Conchords - tv show and Cd (Sub Pop).
Take two comedic guys with panache for dry humor and good musicianship who have been doing the club circuit for a few years, created a fan base, then given an HBO series. Funny. It’s when the show came out, where a lot of the visualizations of their songs were put in focus that people started to flock to the Flight. What could be next but to do a CD with all that comedic Aussie – er uh New Zealand goodness and make it not only the best comedic album of the year, but one of the best musical comedy albums ever. There are at least 5 songs that fans will quote lines to you if you let them. My sad fear is that this is it for them. They’ve peaked and will probably still put out hilarious material, but our gobble and spit out attitude will have “all ready been there, done that”. That’s okay, this is their time, and a great one at that.
Beck “Modern Guilt” (DGC Records).
To me, Beck has never been one to care much about being in the Top 10 of anything with his albums and I personally haven’t gone much beyond the highly regarded Odelay. But when I first heard Modern Guilt, I just had to pick it up. He’s always an obscure, hip poet with colorful songwriting and this album brings that out nicely with balanced grooving tunes co-produced by Danger Mouse. “Orphans” and “Youthless” play like Beatles “Rubber Soul” on funky pills and the lyrics mean SOMETHING, I’m not entirely sure what, but I can identify. Songs like “Gamma Ray” are more obvious in what feels like a take on what modern people are going to do with our pollution and way of living and the environmental concern. Modern Guilt is just a great solid album with some great vibes throughout.
The B-52s “Funplex” (Astralwerks).
Kate Pierson is 60! 60!!!! No member is under 50 in the band now and they are rocking it out better than some boy bands that reformed for the sake of dry humping the cash cow. *AHEM* New Kids on the Block *AHEM* This CD got me through the Jersey Turnpike on a 10 hour trip to South Hadley, Massachusetts, and that my friends, is saying something! The songs are more than their expected party dance stuff, sure there is plenty of that, but they have grown a sharper tongue on the pop culture lifestyle. Take the mall living jab with the title track “Funplex” –a great rip. And although you never really think of the B-52s as being social commentarians on their records, they have plenty to say here, albeit tongue in cheeky. Here is “Keep this party going.” “Comeback” is hardly a word to use here, but works well, just like the B-52s!
Hot Lava “Lavalogy” (Bar/None).
The pop senses tingle with catchiness and the air of lo-fi love just hits you great on this record. Such an album to come out of RVA! Destined for greatness, I say. It reminds me, slightly, of the great moments in The Breeders, but the lava flavor is more satisfying. There is a a subtle 60s pop beach party vibe throughout and the lyrics are wonderful; clever, smart and smart aleck –a great combination that Allison exudes in her distinct vocals. Hot Lava is a band that you will hear on the air and go, “that’s Hot Lava”. This is a distinctive sound that you’re always happy to hear. Local of the year. I heart Hot Lava!
The Ting Tings “We Started Nothing” (Phantom Sound & Vision)
The Kills “Midnight Boom” (Red Meat Heart).
Okay, so here is my theory, The Ting Tings and The Kills are basically the same kind of band, just for different styles of people and a different vibe. Elvis person or Beatles person. Blonde or Brunette. White meat or Dark meat. Old Trek or new Trek. Same thing here. Me? I like em both. Ting Tings definitely offer the best danceable pop around with songs like “That’s not my name” and “Fruit Machine”, sure winners on the circuit. The disco elements of “Shut up and let me go” are perfect for your pop dance floor flavor. At the same time, The Kills offer more for the wallflowers in the dark corner, bobbing heads together in unison, maybe even swaying together. Songs like “Getting down” is unbeatable as a dirty dark dance song. Playing the Ting Tings is like putting Pop Rocks in your mouth, you will move. The Kills are like adding lo-fi cola to the Pop Rocks – providing the element of danger and rawness. Here is my example : both bands (basically each have 2 members; a guy and a gal) have a “fruit” song. Ting Tings is called “Fruit Machine”. Now take the same vibe from that and Kill it and you have “Sour Cherry”. Enough said. Both are great bands and cds so they basically tie for me, depending on the mood.
Polysics LIVE in DC and best vinyl (Karate House/I ate the Machine dbl lp SIGNED!) (Myspace records).
So my pal and fellow BB DJ Anna (Tuesday mornings) head our families up to The Black Cat in Washington D.C. to see the greatest band on the planet Polysics! Here is a crappy video I tried to take with my camera:
Anyway, being the obvious fanboy that I am, I bought the limited edition double album vinyl of Karate House and I ate the Machine, two cds I already own (and the more expensive foreign releases at that), before they even went on stage. Polysics is a band that is huge in Japan, filling the seats and in videos you can see hundred of kids pogo in unison, a sight to behold. Here at the Black Cat in D.C. they play the BACK room full to about 120 people, but 120 dedicated fans that know what the hell they are about and how great they are. Polysics played it out, Hiro, the guitarist/singer started all pressed and nice in his orange uniform jumpsuit but by the end of the show was drenched in sweat. High energy, aggressive without all the jock attitude -- they gave me exactly what I wanted, pure musical HELL YEAH!! Afterwards , I hung around with a few other nerds, gripping my record closely, waiting to see if they would come out and sign it. THEY DID! Every one of them and they were so appreciative of my raining compliments upon them, even though they may not have know much of what I was saying. The music on these records speaks for itself (I play them all the time), amped up new wave, but harder, like Devo times a thousand. Live? Unbeatable! Thank you Polysics, for coming near enough for me to see you live! Come to Richmond!!!
Juana Molina “Un Dia” (Domino recording Co.).
“Un Dia” is such an earthly CD, even though the music is layers and layers of vocals, samples and studio “Magic”. It is a fantastic CD and should be in the collection of anyone who likes the explorative side of music. It’s repetitiveness builds and ebbs and flows like the wind against the trees, touching here and there on loops and and lines that work and well. I know, it sounds kind silly, but it will carry you to other places, spiritually or emotionally. Molina is the ultimate in singer-songwriter ambience. Inspiring songs, like the title track, will carry you through the day with a serene pace that is upbeat and energetic. This is just beautiful music, textured and playful without feeling like the cheese of Enya. It is music for the senses. One of the most talented people out there as far as I am concerned, Juana Molina captures the nature of music to make one of the satisfying albums of 2008.
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!” (Mute Records Limited).
Nick Cave and done the world a great literary service with this album. He has given us something to be talked about in hip coffee shops for decades to come. He has a flair for the beat poets, a 60s guru vibe, some punk panache and a dash of T.S. Eliot all rolled into one hell of a fine CD. Themes of religion (Lazarus raised to live in New York City) he has always dealt with, and here he is at his most delightfully twisted, forming new theology in the modern world. Minimalism type songs sprinkled with off kilter noise and rumbles and solos all while coaxing complex sentiment in the lyrics with hip phraseology and deeper references; it’s nearly musical literature. Despite a mostly cynical vibe, there always seems to be a ray of hope, whether it be the chorus in “Albert goes West” or the carnal pleasure that is expressed in reveling in the life of the city; but hey Lazarus never ASKED to be raised from the dead. “We call upon the author to explain” is a perfect representation of this record. Socially conscious, holding the architects of the way of the world on trial, damning them, then gripping them up and dusting them off. Where “Author” tears it all down, others pick you up again, like “Hold onto yourself”, with some hope in the darkness, even if you have to embrace a sick world a little to do it. Nick Cave is always a blues man at the root, take the final track “More new from Nowhere” for instance, but he also embraces the jive and the weird and noisy and has rolled into some genius of a record here. This is the album of the year.
Okay, Local picks of the Year
Hot Lava DJ Williams Trio Gull
I-Las Way of the Sun Lee Harris & Country Sunshine
Amoeba Men Dead Goats Splork!
so many more!