2009 Year To Date Music Review

In 2009, so far at least, the Marlboro Marathon Runners have gone to festivals including Wakarusa and Bonnaroo, we’ve been to shows on rivers, shows in theaters, we’ve seen girls kissing girls (and liking it). 2009 (so far) has arguably been our best year for music yet. Since we took an extended hiatus from this venue, we’re giving you a review of what we’ve had our hands in so far.

FESTIVALS

Wakarusa – Our first festival of the year, Wakarusa was a welcome warmup and break from the overall intensity that Bonnaroo has come to mean for us. With the much more moderate climate, going to the outdoor stages was not quite the hassle it has meant for marathon runners at past festivals, which enabled us to catch some of the best shows of the festival, including Les Claypoon, Joe Purdy, Matisyahu, The Black Crowes and Porter Batiste Stoltz. Other than these less than blistering temperature wise shows, some of the highlights of the festival were Joe Purdy’s first performance under the tent, where he proclaimed his love for the beautiful Arkansas girls. When a man in the crowd doubted him he just said “clearly you are not from Arkansas”. Other highlights included the two nights of Yonder Mountain String Band, with blistering performances both under the tent and on the main stage, and surprisingly spectacular performances from The Hood Internet and previously unknown (to us at least) My Dear Disco, Josh Phillips Folk Festival, Public Property and Northern Lights. From what I gather, Wakarusa’s move from Kansas to Arkansas was an all around plus for the fans and the festival. Certainly this year at least.

Bonnaroo – Truth be told, I was not overly excited for Bonnaroo this year other than the phenomenal lineup (at least for me and fellow marathon runner Kyle). Add a particularly rainy forecast to the mix, and I was downright not very excited. Until the music hit. Passion Pit, arguably the most hyped and loved new band of 2009, kicked the festival off from the headlining slot Thursday with what I contend was the show of the festival. On a night when festival goers were downtrodden with the realization that Bonnaroo was to be a mud pit for the next four days, Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos and crew made people forget that for about an hour and just want to dance like it was the 1980’s again. Friday there was no more rain, but instead a giant 700 mud pit, which was easy to forget with electrifying performances from The Reverend Al Green, who just wanted to dance with the crowd and be united with his fans, The Beastie Boys, who acted as the catalyst for the party that was about to begin, with fan favorites Phish’s first ever appearance at the world’s arguably most jam band friendly festival. And what a party it was. Openig up with Chalk Dust Torture, Trey and company launched into a 3 hour party on the main stage with the best set I’ve ever seen on the main stage at a music festival. Weaving Phish classics in with stellar material off of their upcoming album, Joy (out September 8th), Phish set the stage for the most anticipated Sunday set in the history of Bonnaroo. But before that, it was Boss Time. Bruce Springsteen, my personal music hero, showed the crowd that someone nearing 60 could still take a crowd of tens of thousands captive. While his setlist didn’t start out quite the way I would have recommended for a festival show, he rebounded during the semi-request portion of the show with theri slightly out of place, yet well received version of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town all the way through the electrifying encore with classics like Rosalita, Glory Days and Dancing In The Dark. Before them though, Jenny Lewis, Elvis Costello and Wilco rocked the festival through dusk, with the former two duetting on Lewis’ Carpetbaggers off of her 2008 release, Acid Tongue and Wilco warming up the crowd on the mainstage, with Jeff Tweedy letting everyone know it was quite alright for them to boo today, because they weren’t really booing, but instead yelling “Bruuuuuuuuce”. Sunday rounded up the festival with festival friendly artist Andrew Bird playing at his self proclaimed favorite festival, Erykah Badu and Snoop Dogg working the crowd up to a soul filled frenzy before the Vermont quartet that is Phish took the stage again to end the festival. While this show was not as solid to me as the late night Friday venture, but made up for it, in my eyes at least, when Trey’s (and my, for that matter) boyhood hero, Bruce Springsteen came out to end the first set with Mustang Sally, Bobby Jean and Glory Days. The second set ended with fan favorite Tweezer Reprise and predictably, left the crowd wanting more, but content with what they’d just witnessed. While the weather didn’t quite appease me (or the masses for that matter), the music more than made up for it, which in past years may not have been the case.

The Marathon Runners plan to end the year covering ACL, Phish’s Festival 8 and Voodoo. Stay tuned for reviews of those and various other shows.

MEMORABLE 2009 CONCERTS

Old Crow Medicine Show – On my first day back in the state of Texas after an extended hiatus, me and two of my buddies drove to the capital for a bluegrass show that we anticipated would get put the 2008-2009 school year to rest in the best way possible, and it succeeded. With their unique fast paced, high intensity, drug referencing brand of bluegrass in hand, Old Crow delivered on a hot May night in a way that sent the packed crowd at Stubb’s in Austin into a frenzy. Overall, the night would be remembered for the high octane parts of the show, but my favorite songs included Old Crow’s cover of Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lady and Humdinger, a groover and a mover off of their 2008 release, Tennessee Pusher.

Ghostland Observatory – If you’re familiar with us here at MMR, you know we love Ghostland Observatory and their shows as well. In accordance with this, their second annual performance at Whitewater Amphitheater in New Braunfels was no exception to their repertoire of phenomenal live shows. This show was particularly memorable for the exceptional crowd that surrounded us and Ghostland’s newest foray into the visual stimulants – blindingly bright background lights that, when mixed with smoke and their trademark lasers, enhance the light show to a level I would have never expected for an outdoor show. Mix this show in with Aaron Behren’s solo effort at a benefit at the Beauty Bar in Austin three nights later, and I’m lead to believe that these guys are about to bust through whatever ceiling we might have thought there was for them.

Jenny Lewis – After skipping out of her set early (just before Elvis Costello came out to duet on Carpetbaggers) to claim a solid spot for Wilco and Bruce, I knew I couldn’t pass up an opp with a night of Jenny Lewis. While the crowd was abysmal, interrupting multiple quiet songs and causing Jenny to abort one song prematurely while struggling with the crowd for control during her in crowd encore, they could not completely overshadow the Rilo Kiley frontwoman and former child actress. With songs like Silver Lining and Jack Killed Mom, Lewis wrangled the crowds attention away from chatterboxing and took hold of the venue, and kept control for most of the night (Houston concertgoers are relentlessly terrible for the most part). However, she persevered with a show that I don’t see being beat as one of my favorite club shows I’ve been to.

The Old 97’s – As good as some of the show’s I’ve been to this year were, The Old 97’s were above and beyond anything that those shows meant to me. This may have something to do with the fact that they are now neck and neck with Bruce atop the charts for me personally, but irregardless of that, they put on a phenomenal show near where it all began for them in Fort Worth. Their show at Bass Hall weaved through a catalog that includes songs that are twangy country and songs that are Belle and Sebastian inspired twee pop. The one constant was the quality of the music, which, in my opinion, has the same quality, if not better as any of their studio material.  Lead by the ageless faux teenager Rhett Miller, the Old 97’s worked through songs from their first album all the way up to their most recent effort, 2008’s Blame It On Gravity as well as a track off of Miller’s most recent, self titled album. Topping it off for me was an in song, in crowd proposal during the undeniably heart melting “Question”. The other stand out track (if a stand out was possible) for me this night was Won’t be Home, off of their 2004 album Drag It Up. On the hole, this show left me going away a bigger 97’s fan than I was before, and I think that’s saying something. In general, I think that’s the goal of a show, and it obviously doesn’t always happen. But for me, for that to happen with a band I love as much as the Old 97’s it was truly a spectacular thing.
Look out for more to come from us here at MMR, as we hope and strive to be posting more regularly.
Caleb

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Far – Regina Spektor

Artist:  Regina Spektor

Album:  Far (2009)

Rating:  6

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Regina’s much anticipated new album Far, just came out last week, and by now it has had time to fully sink in for me.  While Far is certainly far from Spektor’s 2006 release Begin To Hope, it is by no means a shabby album.  Even through the layers upon layers of studio sheen put on by the impessive team of producers including David Kahne, Jeff Lynne, Mike Elizondo (of Eminem and Dr. Dre fame), and Jacknife Lee (famous for his work with U2 and R.E.M.), Spektor finds a way to let her creative songwriting and original approach shine through (most of the time).

The album starts out with The Calculation, an upbeat song with lyrics about creating a computer out of macaroni.  As if that wasnt fun and silly enough, through the rest of the album there is plenty of strange vocal inflecitons, a song with a chorus consisting of just the nonsense word “eet,” and a dolphin noise solo.  Once again however, Regina mixes in some more serious and introspective songs.  This time, unfortunately, all of the production covers up the emotions Spektor is trying to convey in these songs.  Songs like Human of the Year, and Blue Lips just down have the same effect as songs like the Flowers and Field Below from previous albums.  Wallet and Human of the Year with thier similar building up of orchestral elements just doesnt blow you away like Begin to Hope’s Apres Moi did.  However Spektor is able to make Genius Next Door work with a slow beautiful rolling piano backdrop behind well-thought out lyrics.  And, once again, Spektor is at home making catchy poppy vocal melodies blend seamlessly with her gorgeous voice on the stand out tracks of the album: Dance Anthem of the 80s and Two Birds.

Overall, Far is a great album to add to Spektors impressive resume, garnering an impressive 6 on the Kyle Scale of Rating.

Wakarusa Updates Coming Soon

Be on the lookout for some reviews from wakarusa from marathon runners in the near future.

Some of the Best Remixers Around

So, I guess this is a little late, but I just listened to Soulwax’s 2007 release.  Soulwax have been a huge influence in house music, especially on bands like Cut Copy and Justice, who both remixed a Soulwax track (NY Excuse) and used their remix of “Phantom Pt. II” in their recent release, A Cross the Universe.   It’s called Most of the Remixes…, and it’s a two-disc release.  The first disc contains 14 Soulwax remixes, including their re-workings of songs like “Dare” by Gorillaz, “Muscle Museum” by Muse, “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” by Kylie Minogue, “Gravity’s Rainbow” by Klaxons and “Phantom Pt. II” by Justice.  Besides those, the Ghent-based Dewaele brother’s crowning achievement is certainly their version of “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” by LCD Soundsystem which is laden with numerous Daft Punk samples.  I know it seems cliche’ but don’t knock it until you hear how they cut up “Aerodynamic”.  The second disc is a continuous mix which includes shortened versions of many of the tracks on the first disc as well as some new remixes, like “Seventeen” by Ladytron and “Ready For the Floor” by Hot Chip.  I’d highly recommend anyone who is even the least bit into electro, or even if you just like a few of the songs I mentioned, get this album some how.  Let’s say it would rank a 6.5 on the Kyle Scale Of Rating.

The Top 13 Albums of 2008!!! – Joey

13.)  The Dandy Warhols – …Earth to the Dandy Warhols… [Beat the World Records] Release Date 8/18/08

dandy-warhols The Dandy Warhols certainly left the world wanting more in 2005 with their sub-par release Odditorium or Warlords of Mars, and finally, they return in much finer form.  It’s certainly no Thirteen Tales but it shows that they’re really trying again, and that’s enough for a solid album if you’re The Dandy Warhols.

12.)  Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours [Modular] Release Date 4/8/08

cut-copy-in-ghost-colours It took me a long time to listen to this album all the way through for two reasons.  First, I hated their first album Bright Like Neon Love, and the first song off the album that I heard was the brilliant “Lights and Music”.  When the rest of the album wasn’t exactly like that song, I was put off.  After a few listens, this album really shines in an 80s new-wave sort of way.

11.)  The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely [Warner Bros.] Release Date 3/25/2008

consolers-of-the-lonely1 I had low expectations for The Raconteurs after their debut, Broken Boy Soldiers, but luckily the band has gotten much tighter.  Fortunately, Jack White also takes more from The White Stripes’ latest album than the previous Raconteurs album when it comes to his guitar sound.  He mixes an obvious mastery of the instrument with strange experimentation with effects.  Altogether, The Raconteurs managed to make a really solid rock album.

10.)  The Kooks – Konk [Virgin Records] Release Date 4/15/08

the-kooks-konk The Kooks’ sophomore release takes its name from Ray Davies’ London recording studio, and the similarities between The Kinks and The Kooks are impossible to miss.  Songs such as “Mr. Maker” are increbibly similar in musicality and lyricism.  However, overall, The Kooks have a much more danceable beat.  The production on the album, from sweeping string to sharp guitar tones, help create dense and rich soundscape.

9.)  The Faint – Fasciinatiion [blank.wav] Release Date 8/5/08

faint-fasciinatiion I have no idea how music this nuts came out of Nebraska!  Having said that, The Faint’s new record feels like a much more complete album than their last, Wet From Birth.  This album may not have gems like the former, but it also has much less filler.  The whole albums works together to make a real glitchy work of art.

8.)  MGMT – Oracular Spectacular [Sony] Release Date 1/22/08

oracular-spectacular I don’t feel like much needs to be said about this album.  MGMT crafted a spectacularly popular album and still managed to lace the whole thing with LSD.  Many songs are reminiscent of 60s psychedelia, especially The Doors, but  a few songs, like “Kids” or “Electric Feel”, make the album a huge hit at parties.

7. )  Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles [Last Gang Records] Release Date 3/18/08

crystal-castles1 Canadian electronic duo, Crystal Castles’ debut album feels like plugging your brain into a possessed Gameboy.  Ethan Kath fires short bursts of synth over the muffled vocals of the incredibly versatile Alice Glass (my personal celebrity crush) who changes over the album from brutal screeching to moaning and crying softly.  The album maintains an emotional sensitivity through the wide variance in vocals, while creating a flowing concept with its instrumental similarities.

6.)  Ratatat – LP3 [XL Recordings] Release Date 7/8/08

lp3 Ratatat’s third studio album, appropriately named LP3, shows the band truly maturing and experimenting with many styles of music from around the globe.  At the same time, the new album maintains that fantastic danceability their first two efforts provided.

5.)  Girl Talk – Feed the Animals [Illegal Art] Release Date 6/19/08

feed-the-animals I had high expectations for Gregg Gillis (a.k.a. Girl Talk) after his last album, Night Ripper, and they were all surpassed by his follow-up.  Girl Talk’s special brand of mash-up-based music blends together samples from artists ranging from The Velvet Underground to Lil Wayne to Hot Chip and mixes with Gillis’ own fast-paced drum beats to create a cohesive, yet psychotic product.

4.)  CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy) – Donkey [Sub Pop] Release Date 7/21/08

donkey-css I personally feel like CSS conceived their second album when they realized that there was a huge shortage of good music to get really wasted to in the world.  Every song makes you feel like downing a fifth of vodka and making an ass of yourself in a public area.  The album is much more polished than the first, but Lovefoxxx’s screaming is a constant reminder of just how wild these Brazilians can get.

3.)  Ladytron – Velocifero [Nettwerk] Release Date 6/2/08

velocifero-ladytron Ladytron’s fourth studio effort picks up where their third, Witching Hour, left off.  Dismissing the glitchy electro-clash of their first two albums for a denser and darker sound, Velocifero has both heavy-hitting synth-rock tunes and hauntingly eerie ballads.  Mira Aroyo and Helen Marnie are both at their best.  Whether singing solo or duet, these two frontwomen can’t be matched in my book.  The first six tracks will blow you away, but don’t let this frontloaded album discourage you from finishing the album.

2.)  Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward [XL Recordings] Release Date 3/18/08

be-your-own-pet-get-awkward2“Breaking glass bottles is oh so fun.  Let’s go and kill someone.”  What can you say about this band?  Their raw intensity captures you early on.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but its the perfect soundtrack for running over pedestrians or starting riots.  The riffs in the album are not always as punk-inspired as one would think.  In fact, the main guitar line in “Becky” is actually the melody of “The Loco-Motion”, but Jemina Pearl manages to make the whole song hardcore shrieking about teenage homicide.

1.)  Does It Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into [Virgin Records] Release Date 3/24/08

does-it-offend-you-yeah Take a little bit of Death From Above 1979, a little bit of Bloc Party, and a little bit of Justice and put it all in a garbage disposal.  That’s probably the best way I can find to describe this British dance-punk band’s debut record.  Three of the albums ten songs are simply instrumental electro-jams, while the rest alternate between majestic rock numbers and apocalyptic future-disco.  Since hearing this album, I have been eagerly anticipating an opportunity to see the band live because their songs sound like they would transfer well into a concert setting and because I’ve been told they frequently cover “Beat It” live.

2008: A Year in Review – Andy’s List

13) Kings of Leon – Only by the Night [RCA] Release Date 9/23/2008

I really felt that this 13th spot on my list could go to a lot of artists; however, after much thought I decided to give it to the quartet from Tennessee’s record “Only by the Night.”  KOL’s fourth studio album is by far not their best effort, but Caleb’s vocals are outstanding and make the record.  

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12) Adele – 19 [XL] Release Date 1/28/2008

This might come as a surprise to some, as it was to me.  I recently starting listening to Adele’s debut album, and I love it.  The 20 year old British newcomer has an amazing, soulful voice that ceases to amaze my ears.  A great debut, and one can only hope she can follow it up in the future.

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11) Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward [XL] Release Date 3/18/2008

The only punk rock record album on my list comes from the kids from Tennessee, Be Your Own Pet.  Fast guitars and loud vocals define this album.  One aspect I really enjoyed was Jemina Pearl’s lyrics which range from getting back at your ex-best friend, starting food fights, and zombies!

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10) Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes [Sup Pop] Release Date 6/3/2008

Fleet Foxes debut album is outstanding work.  It’s a beautiful folk record with impressive vocal harmonies.  The Foxes have an older sound and have been compared to the likes of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  Not bad company at all.

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9) The Black Keys – Attack & Release [Nonesuch] Release Date 4/1/2008

The Ohio-based blues rock duo’s fifth LP is the #9 record on the list.  Dan and Patrick really expanded their sound on Attack & Release featuring instruments such as the banjo, flute, and some synth parts.  However, they haven’t strayed away from their usual soulful blues rock sound that they do so well.

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8)  Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago [Jagjaguwar] Release Date 2/19/2008

Vernon’s debut album under the name Bon Iver is a noteworthy record.  The record has a very organic and minimalistic sound in my opinion.  It is very easy to relax to and enjoy, as Vernon’s impressive vocal range carries you through the album.

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7) Ratatat – LP3 [XL] Release Date 7/8/2008

With their 3rd LP, the NYC electro duo has proved once again why they are on top of the electronic scene in my opinion.  The opening track “Shiller” is a spine-chilling piece that builds up to one of the best tracks on the album, “Falcon Jab.”  A personal favorite on the album is the disco rocker, “Shempi.”

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6) Girl Talk – Feed the Animals [Illegal Art] Release Date 6/19/2008

Greg Gillis 4th record to date is his best yet.  “Play Your Part Pt. 1” begins the nonstop party that Feed the Animals is.  For the next 50 minutes Gillis does what he does best; mix unlikely samples together to create a melting pot of pleasure for everyone’s ears.  GT includes samples from Kelly Clarkson, Metallica, and many more.

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5) of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping [Polyvinyl] Release Date 10/21/2008

Barnes and company had large shoes to fill after Hissing Fauna.  It is difficult to tell if they succeeded, but one thing is for sure is that KBarnes has taken it to a whole new level lyrically.  He has left nothing to the imagination anymore.   All in all, Skeletal Lamping is one of the most fun albums I’ve heard in a long while and I cannot stop listening to it.

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4)  The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely [Warner Bros] Release Date 3/25/2008

The Raconteurs is not just Jack White’s side-project anymore.  Consolers has solidified them as a force to reckon with on their own.  The rock never stops on this record and Jack really shines on guitar and sharing vocals with Brendon Benson.

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3) MGMT – Oracular Spectacular [Sony] Release Date 1/22/2008

Whether or not MGMT’s debut effort should be counted as an 07 or 08 release seems to be a controversial topic, but I decided that it should be on this list.    Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser channel the psychedelic gods throughout the whole record and managed to release one of the top albums of the year.

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2)  Sigur Rós – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust [XL] Release Date 6/24/2008

Sigur Rós’ 5th studio release has the group evolving from their original sound that has attracted so many fans.  They have received some criticism from fans for “selling out,” however, I feel they have made yet another beautiful album that flows easily from beginning to end.

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1) My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges [ATO] Release Date 6/10/2008

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that MMJ’s 5th studio album has made the top my Best of 08 list.  I really can’t say enough about this album.  Jim James and co. has evolved once again and added a more R&B flavor to their southern rock sound.  Although it has been hit hard by some critics, I feel this may be MMJ’s strongest effort to date and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for the Kentucky quintet.  I really recommend everyone listen to this album.

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2008 : A Year In Review – Austin’s List

December is here and the year is quickly coming to an end. Many magazines, websites and blogs are beginning to put out their “Year End” lists for best records of 2008. There have been, in my opinion, plenty of good records put out this year and I want to take this time to take a look back over those records that I most enjoyed this year. So, without further ado, here are my top 13 records of 2008.

13.) She & Him – Volume One [Merge] Release Date 3/18/2008

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A very pretty first effort from M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel. Folksy and reminiscent of 1960’s era girl pop groups, this album was one of the sleeper hits of the year. Let’s hope there is a Volume Two on the way.

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12.) Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward [XL] Release Date 3/18/2008

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The second full-length album from this now defunct Nashville band, is full of the same youthful exuberance that made their self-titled debut so great. Loud, fast guitar work from Jonas Stein and Jemina Pearl’s screeching vocals are the standouts on this album.

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11.) The Mountain Goats – Heretic Pride [4AD] Release Date 2/19/2008

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John Darnielle continues to be one of the most literate songwriters of his day. Heretic Pride is a collection of thirteen songs that, on the whole, are not as sad and depressing as the material on 2006’s Get Lonely, but are every bit as good.

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10.) The Eastern Sea – The Eastern Sea EP [Self Released] Release Date 7/12/2008

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A stunningly beautiful and haunting release from this Austin quartet fronted by Matthew Hines, who is a personal friend of mine. Lush instrumentation and deeply personal lyrics make this one of the most intriguing releases of the year. If you have not heard of the Eastern Sea yet, you soon will.

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9.) Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago [Jagjaguwar] Release Date 2/19/2008

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Justin Vernon’s first release under the name Bon Iver has had an interesting life. Recorded in a cabin in northern Wisconsin, For Emma, Forever Ago, was originally self-released until indie label Jagjaguwar picked it up. Sparse and beautiful, this album is not to be missed.

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8.) Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes [Sub Pop] Release Date 6/3/2008

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Where did these guys come from? This Seattle quintet, fronted by Robin Pecknold, delivers beautiful harmonies and almost seems to take the listener back to a bygone era, which era that is, I’m not completely sure of. Nonetheless, this is a great record from a great band.

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7.) Silver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea [Drag City] Release Date 6/17/2008

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Six albums in and the Jews are still rocking. The fact that head Jew David Berman is a published poet and writer really shows on this album. Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea takes a folksier tone than previous Silver Jews efforts, but Berman’s songwriting remains as good as ever.

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6.) Of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping [Polyvinyl] Release Date 10/21/2008

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One of the most overtly sexual albums of the year. Skeletal Lamping is, in my mind, a continuation of Hissing Fauna, but with less of the deeply personal narratives found in the songs on Hissing Fauna. This album, more than anything, is an artistic statement of immense proportions.

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5.) Deerhunter- Microcastle [Kranky] Release Date 10/28/2008

deerhunter_microcastle-album-artI really don’t understand Deerhunter. Stylistically, there really is not another band around to compare Deerhunter with. Microcastle is a dense record, with some great guitar work, give it a few listens and it will grow on you.

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4.) Okkervil River – The Stand Ins [Jagjaguwar] Release Date 9/9/2008

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Okkervil River’s followup to 2006’s The Stage Names surpasses its predecessor in many ways. Immediately more accessible, The Stand Ins starts up where The Stage Names left off and is a perfect addition to Okkervil River’s growing catalogue.

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3.) Hercules and Love Affair – Hercules and Love Affair [DFA] Release Date 6/24/2008

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The brainchild of DJ Andy Butler, Hercules and Love Affair is comprised of an eclectic bunch of members, including Antony Hegarty of Antony & the Johnsons. The pairing of late 70’s inspired disco and house music with Hegarty’s dark vocals may sound like a strange idea, but it ends up working well.

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2.) Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Lie Down in the Light [Drag City] Release Date 5/20/2008

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Lie Down in the Light is Will Oldham’s seventeenth release under the moniker Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Oldham consistently puts out good records, and Lie Down in the Light is no exception, it may even be his best from the past few years.

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1.)  No Age – Nouns [Sub Pop] Release Date 5/6/2008

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Hands down the best record of the year. It’s noisy and beautiful and complex. Amidst all the feedback, one can clearly hear that there is a lot more to this record than meets the eye, or ear for that matter.

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