This is long overdue.
We here at Running Downhill are gainfully employed individuals (i.e. university staff members), for better or for worse. This of course, means that it is not our job to do this, it’s merely for fun and the sake of petty arguments amongst friends. Thus, there’s no way any of us, even collectively, could create a “best of” list, since we couldn’t have possibly listened to everything that came out in a single year. Then again, no one else really could have either, unless they are nuts, so anyone who makes a “best of” list is hereby a lying sack of shit (I’m looking at yall, music publications). (The word favorite is ok, though.)
The following is a fairly exhausting, by no means comprehensive, list of my favorite music that came out this past year, the year of Twenty Aught Eight. I’m also a bit late to the party, seeing now that it’s January, but I started working on this way back in December of 2008 so I figure it’s all good. So yeah, I’m sure lots, if not all, of these albums were featured on something you (the reader) read on the internet relating to The Year in Music, so deal with it. I am only one man who can only listen to so much, so for instance when James Kartsakalis hands me a techno record and I like it that doesn’t mean I’m nothing more than an electronic n00b. Because I am. A more respectable journalist (which I am not either) would try and sum up the year or something, but that’s either hogwash or I’m more interested in last night’s NBA box scores.
Though maybe I’ll try little bit, so some random thoughts: Lots of rock music wanted to sound like and/or be influenced by the 60s this year (though I guess that’s every year). There were a lot of good bands with (purposely) bad recordings. Shoegaze(r) revival is in full effect, possibly to the point of the revival already being over (MBV is touring again…). “Lo-fi” and “garage” were words often used this year, but I’m still not convinced that actually meant anything in regards to genres. The Jesus & Mary Chain might be the new Beach Boys in a plentiful era of amalgamated/pastiche rock. As a Chicagoan, I’m embarrassed by how many NYC bands are on this list. Jagjaguwar is an excellent label, despite Okkervil River, and I still haven’t heard that new Nagisa Ni Te. Woodsist might get the award for most l337 label of the year, with Not Not Fun and a whole bunch of others coming up pretty close. Saw a lot of great shows this year, including lots of bands on this list, and last but not least I saw fucking My Bloody Valentine try and lift off the Aragon Ballroom with a spaceship of noise. And lots, uh, more. Without further ado:
RUNNING DOWNHILL PRESENTS:
FAVORITE MUSIC OF 2008
Astrobrite, “One Hit Wonder” [Vinyl Junkie]
Scott Cortez has taken his own brand of noise-pop so far into the future that it seems everyone has forgotten about him. While devout music fans will remember Lovesliescrushing as an ambient and experimental side note to the movement spearheaded by My Bloody Valentine, I haven’t seen Astrobrite really mentioned anywhere in 2008. Given the amount of musical regurgitation and revival going on now, this is all particularly hilarious since Cortez hasn’t stopped making music since 1990 (or even before) when he simultaneously founded both bands. And with another year came another Astrobrite record, their fifth full length since 2001. And with another record comes a brilliant collection of songs built on droning layers of looped guitar fuzz underlined by undeniable pop melodies (which are way buried but always prevalent). So it goes. Belong, Fennesz, and other (newer) bands can take the critical acclaim and hype of well known music publications, but Cortez and Co. have been at this glitch-bliss-hiss thing for far longer (and they still do it better). While he may be forgotten, he’s not gone, and as DeAngelo Barksdale said, “It ain’t like that. See, the King?…he stay the King.”
Belong, “Colorless Record” EP [Carpark]
I had this record for about 10 months before learning that it’s a cover album. Of course it’s (mostly) inconsequential that the four songs on this New Orleans duo’s second output are covers of Syd Barrett, Tintern Abbey, Billy Nicholls, and July. But knowing what I know now, it makes quite a bit of sense, and in many ways adds to the already mysterious depth of “Colorless Record”, a record that is not only to be listened to, but to be completely engulfed into (i.e. it’s easy to get lost in, completely, if listened to at the proper volume, or with the right amount of drugs). It’s so greatly layered and full of swirling that it sounds like shoegaze from the future sent back in a dusty time capsule, and yet underneath it all (literally) is the vague recollection and haunting memory of songs long forgotten.**
Black Mountain, “In the Future” [Jagjaguwar]
“In the Future” might seem like an odd album title for a band as indebted to the past as Black Mountain, but it’s not so much a statement as a state of mind. The much anticipated follow-up to this Vancouver quintet’s much heralded self titled debut from 2005 is very much a step forward, expanding their Black Sabbath/Led Zeppelin and hash inspired style of 70s riff rock towards a much more complete and assured sound. With ringleader Stephen McBean taking somewhat of a backseat on the vocal front, Amber Webber takes center stage as the bands true sonic anchor, allowing her pipes to soar across 10 beautiful tracks of organ powered drug rock, with the usual welcome accompaniment of heavy metal blues riffs and such. If you spend too much time thinking about present relevance (as I often do), you might find some cerebral backlash come in the way. Please don’t. Just drink more whiskey.
caUSE co-MOTION!, “It’s Time: Singles and EPs 05-08” [Slumberland]
A Beat Happening for the aughts? Perhaps, but does it really matter? We can talk about C86 revival and how these boys don’t use last names (like Beat Happening) all we want, but I’m not sure it gets us anywhere. What might get us somewhere, is recognizing that caUSE co-MOTION! belong in a long line of write-first learn-how-to-play-later bands that starts with The Velvet Underground (John Cale notwithstanding). This album, a collection of singles released on a variety of labels over the past three years, is by no means tossed off, despite its ‘sloppy’ sound (which is obviously deliberate). The simplicity of the songs seem directly correlated to its own awesomeness, as the memorable 2-3 note pop-guitar-riffs of every song, combined with confused-boy vocals are the genius of dudes who aren’t geniuses at all (these boys can write, yo). Maybe I’m a sucker for most things this good and DIY-sounding, but for some reason when lead singer Arno asks “Which Way is Up?” over and over again, it seems way more meaningful and profound than anyone actually making ‘serious’ music.
Crystal Stilts, “Alight of Night” / “Crystal Stilts” [Woodsist / Slumberland]
Like Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez, Crystal Stilts seem a lot lazier than they are. But just because they appear lazy doesn’t mean they aren’t good, or trying for that matter. So much like when Aramis hits 38 home runs and Cub fans complain that he doesn’t care or he’s not trying, one must look beneath the surface. And the surface for the Stilts, who don black sunglasses, clothes, and album artwork, is a visual/aesthetic rip of The Velvets (as if that hasn’t been done before!). But beyond the too-cool-for-school look/attitude is top notch stripped down garage pop in all its mopey glory. So I guess the lesson here, which I fully endorse, is that being lazy is its own type of art.
Deerhunter, “Microcastle” / “Weird Era Cont.”[Kranky / 4AD]
This album(s) is an appropriation of lots of great things (mainly the 4AD, Creation, and Kranky catalogs, with some krautrock thrown in for good measure), and the result is a impressively focused record of psych-pop gems. It’s a bit of a retread sonically from the hazy ambience of 2007’s “Cryptograms”, but sometimes all it takes is for a band to reinterpret the interesting sounds of the past (i.e. the ones I like) to win me over.
Evangelicals, “The Evening Descends” [Dead Oceans]
The last time I saw this band, lead singer Josh Jones wore some sort of odd blue robe, and his demeanor and facial features have the rare ability to go from sinister to lovable inside one second. This says a lot about Evangelicals. Not that they are sinister per se, but Jones has a kind of evil genius vibe about him, which might explain the relentless creativity within an air-tight pop album. (Evangelicals are from Norman, Oklahoma, for the record, so when I say pop I mean Flaming Lips-pop.) This is making good use of horror movie samples, delay pedals, pounds of reverb, and a flair for the dramatic, and on top of it all is Jones’ high pitched, all-over-the-place croon, which makes for some of the most unpredictable and maniacal songwriting I heard this year. Already inventive and accomplished and in their early 20s, I’m almost more excited for future possibilities than I am in listening to this album again.
Fennesz, “Black Sea” [Touch]
I have to be honest. I got this right when it came out, and was all like, “Damn! I love Fennesz. I had forgotten how much I love Fennesz, especially since “Venice” wasn’t that great.” So I listened to this a bunch over the past few weeks, totally dug it, and I guess still do. The problem is that in my excitement I went back and listened to 2001’s “Endless Summer” and then I realized that this album isn’t even half as good as that. Which was a total drag and kind of killed my excitement about “Black Sea”. But like, if you forgot about “Endless Summer”, or haven’t heard it, there’s a chance you’ll be able to avoid this melancholy and enjoy this album quite a bit.
Fucked Up, “The Chemistry of Common Life” [Matador]
Another band who’s had far too many words slung their way these past couple years, so I’d like to give it a rest. Yes, it’s inventive (flutes, bongos, instrumental ambient/noise tracks, guest vocals) and yes, it’s great (as in, rules).
Golden Birthday, “Infinite Leagues” [Rainbow Body Records] / “HLD N2 LV Mix Tape #2” [self-released]
I wanted to use the words “hometown discount” on this one, but that would be selling a good band short. In an effort of journalistic transparency, Chris from Rainbow Body Records is a friend of my roommate, and in addition a totally nice dude. But all that is besides the point. Chicago’s own Golden Birthday, the brainchild of Ryan Sullivan, are one of those rare bands that can manage both upbeat and melancholy at the same time, using pace and mood together as unified forces (as opposed to say, a harsh juxtaposition or something). Built upon tinny, programmed drum loops, layers of cheap synthesizers and off-key vocals, “Infinite Leagues” is a moody trip through love, loneliness, and heartbreak (as far as I can tell). Laziness (which is an art) wants me to write that they sound something like a broke-ass sounding New Order/Joy Division, but I’ll steal this from their MySpace: “cold dark new wave minimal internet radio”. None of these are quite accurate, but this band is sweet.
Grouper, “Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill” [Type]
I’ve got a soft spot for cute girls who play drone songs while sitting on the ground, so it should not be a shock I love this album. Portland’s Liz Harris has released several excellent albums under the Grouper moniker at this point (“Way Their Crept”, “Cover the Windows and the Walls”), but none quite this good. Tape loops, hiss, quiet noise as per usual, but there’s more life to “Dragging…” than previous. It’s moody music for sure, but less isolated than before- her traditional vocals lost in a sea of echo and reverb are more prevalent on the album’s best songs, as are the guitars, making this in some sort of twisted drone way her most ‘pop’ album. Warm and inviting for an album best listened to at 3am in the winter.
Harvey Milk, “Life…The Best Game in Town” [Hydra Head]
2008 was a special year for Harvey Milk (R.I.P.). Not only did Gus Van Sant reward him with a tremendous biopic in “Milk” but the Athens, Georgia metalheads, this time armed with bassist extraordinaire Joe Preston (Melvins, High on Fire, Thrones, and even Sunn O))) occasionally), unleashed this super punishing gem. Sludge. Thrash. Noise. Whatever. Awesome.
Jay Reatard, “Singles 06-07” [In the Red Recordings] & “Matador Singles 08” [Matador]
Prolific doesn’t necessarily equal good, but in this case, I’m letting Jay slide. Not all the tracks on these singles comps are great, or even good, but he’s shown a willingness to experiment (i.e. rip off The Clean) that comes as a breath of fresh air in the world of punk rock without losing the irresistible hooks and riffs of 2-minute long classics.
King Khan & BBQ, “Teabag Party” 7″ [Crypt]
“I’m gonna put my balls on top of your head. Then you’re gonna wish, wish you were dead. Oh teabag. Teabag party tonight. I’m gonna put my balls, on top of your head tonight.”
Let’s Wrestle, “In Loving Memory Of…” [Stolen Recordings]
The catchiest record I heard in 2008. Let’s Wrestle are from London and are that kind of snotty, self-aware British indie pop (vaguely) in the tradition of Television Personalities. The lyrics and melodies of Let’s Wrestle take the front and center, which is about their only ‘set-em-apart’ quality as a band (the rest is pretty generic, up-tempo clean punk stuff). Wesley Patrick Gonzalez’s amusing vocals sound wise (or old) beyond his years, and they walk a thin line between cheeky, cheesy, and are often simple enough to actually carry some weight. The albums first and best song, “I Won’t Lie To You”, starts with Gonzalez simply stating, “No matter how many records I buy, I can never fill this void.” You said it, brother.
Lil Wayne, “Tha Carter III” [Cash Money]
This is a total apology pick to myself and hip hop for not having cared in a long time. I still don’t, but this album is bonkers.
Lindstrom, “Where You Go I Go Too” [Smalltown Supersound]
Favorite album cover of the year? Probably. Favorite 28 minute Scandiavian cosmic disco track of the year?**** Hell yeah.
M83, “Saturdays=Youth” [Mute]
I have to put this on here due to the sheer amount that I listened to it. My personal dislike of Anthony Gonzalez (from M83, not the Colts wide receiver, who I also kind of dislike), along with one of the worst shows I’ve ever seen (at Empty Bottle a few months back) and his creepy “I love High School” tendencies weighed heavily into my consideration here. But in the end, my 2008 wouldn’t have been the same without drunken dance parties to “Kim & Jessie” or listening to “You Appearing” and “We Own the Sky” on a car stereo in the barren wastelands of North Dakota.
Magic Lantern, “High Beams” [Not Not Fun]
Long Beach’s Magic Lantern are, along with label mates Pocahaunted and assorted others (eg. Robedoor, et al), part of a new wave of California based (neo) psychedelic rock that’s worth paying attention to. They can drone with the best of them (see “Vampires in Heat”), and they can bust out some firey licks when necessary (see “Cactus Raga”). Loud, repetitive, and good to take drugs to are three easy ways to a (this) boy’s heart, and they’ve got all that and more.
The Magnetic Fields, “Distortion” [Nonesuch]
2008 might be the year musician’s love of The Jesus & Mary Chain was most appropriately used. This record is a bit too tame given the album title, but Merritt, who I previously was not a huge fan off (with maybe the exception of “Get Lost”), really shows off his songwriting chops (out with the synths!). With ‘distortion’ doubling as thematic fodder for fuzzy pop songs about failed love, hopes, and dreams, Merritt proves that ripping off “Psychocandy” is only trite for a quick cerebral minute if you do it well enough.
Marnie Stern, “This is it and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It is It and That is That” [Carpark/Kill Rock Stars]
Beautiful blend of hyperactive guitar tapping, wide-eyed and blissful pop hooks, and spastic drumming matching her note for note (from Hella’s Zach Hill, who also served as producer). While she isn’t the first (or last) to approach the tap/shred/freakout drum aesthetic (see: Don Cabellero, Hella, Battles, even Maps & Atlases, barf, etc.), as far as I’m concerned she might have the final word on said ‘style’ since her sound/aesthetic seems so complete (and good). Basically, for all the tech showmanship (and there’s plenty), it’s really a well written record.
The Mole, “As High as the Sky” [Wagon Repair]
Far be it from me to know shit about disco/house/techno (or anything nuum, wat), but this album bangs . Huge disco beats and house(y) hooks for days, this is a dance record that can be listened to all the way through sitting down (as in, it’s actually that interesting). It’s real ‘big’ sounding and a smooth ride from front to back, as in, Colin De La Plante can obviously get busy on the knobs. And for what it’s worth, “Baby You’re the One” would be one of my ‘top ten singles’ if I had such a list. (“Hey Girl”, too.)
Mount Eerie, “Lost Wisdom” & “Black Wooden Ceiling Opening” [P.W. Elverum & Sun, Ltd.]
Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie, The Microphones, etc.) has put out so many albums I often find it hard to care. I picked up “Lost Wisdom” because I’ve long been a fan of Julie Doiron (Eric’s Trip, Julie Doiron). And of course, “Lost Wisdom” just what you would think it is — sounds like a Mount Eerie album with Julie Doiron also singing. It’s dreary and slow and Elverum, constantly sad and ponderous, is counterbalanced well by Doiron, and it’s her simple presence on this record that renewed my fading interest in Mount Eerie. Their harmonies make Elverum’s “I’m searching for the meaning of life” lyrics much more swallowable, and in fact it goes down pretty well (especially during any moments of sunshine, see: “You Swan, Go On”). Another record (like Grouper) that’s made for cold, dark winter nights. I picked up “Black Wooden Ceiling Opening” due to this “renewed interest” and it sounds like if Mount Eerie trying to do doom metal, so like, not metal at all, but really heavy and loud.
No Age, “Nouns” [Sub Pop]
If you read the internet, and I assume you do since you are on a website, there’s very little to say at this point about about LA’s most super cool popular hipster noise punks, No Age. They are go-getters with good attitudes, as in, they preach inclusion and community (all ages! volunteering! friendship!) and their slightly off-kilter fuzzy noisey punk rock style is totally good to boot. I saw them live a bit ago and they were really good, and nice, and I talked for a second with Dean Spunt about his Gun Club t-shirt (and “Sex Beat” cover they played). He was nice and I bought the “Nouns” LP from him. He then gave directions to a group of teenagers, re: hangouts/show later. That was also nice of him.
Pocahaunted, “Chains” [Teardrops] & “Mirror Mics” [Weird Forest]
It was a busy year for the Olsen Twins of drone, who released, in my unofficial count, at least 4 LPs this year (“Island Diamonds”, “Peyote Road”, “Mirror Mics”, “Chains”) in addition to whatever other obscure 7″s and cassettes they might have released that are now long gone. I properly fell in love with this band after finding an LP copy of “Mirror Mics” at Parasol Records in Urbana, IL. Self-described ‘tribal soul’ record “Mirror Mics” features two sprawling epics (i.e. sides) which are methodical and repetitive but never boring, building and layering (read: always evolving) until entering pure drone bliss where your (i.e. the listener) patience is rewarded ten fold.
The self-described ‘dark raga’ (a/k/a ‘Pocahaunted does Tom Tom Club’) record “Chains” really blew me away. Using a little more distortion than usual, the first two tracks, “The Weight” and “No More Women” are more or less standard Pocahaunted drone tracks, making good use of the nonsensical chant-vocals, guitar feedback/delay, heavy bass chords, and general percussive clatter, and then all of the sudden the second side of the record gets all fucking DUB on your ass and really starts grooving. (Don’t quote me, but the third track, “Oh Woe” might be the first Pocahaunted track featuring a full drum kit being played like a drum kit and god damn!). And at their best (and oddly, most gimmicky), at about the 10-minute mark on the last track, “Chains”, amidst faded guitar noise and a distant tambourine, emerges the bassline from Fleetwood Mac’s “The Chain” (you know the one). Using John McVie’s bassline as a template, they work their way back into a frenzy, perpetually speeding up for 2 1/2 minutes of glorious noise, and what I’m saying is, I’m in love.
Ponytail, “Ice Cream Spiritual” [We Are Free]
Baltimore is full of weirdos. This album represents some of the best of those weirdos, even if the lead singer looks like a cartoon and is pretty annoying.
Quiet Village, “Silent Movie” [Studio !K7]
When I was filming a movie last year with some friends, “Keep on Rolling” came on as my friend Charlie was filming the plains of North Dakota outside the window of my Mom’s car. Put two and two together. (Also, “Too High to Move”…jesus.)
The Raveonettes, “Lust Lust Lust” [Fierce Panda / Vice]
This record came out in Europe in November, but February in the US, so I get to count it as 2008, which makes me happy. If there ever was a “sound of shoegaze to come” it would sound like a Scandinavian version of The Jesus & Mary Chain fronted by Nico (or someone Nico-esque). This is that. And so is Serena Maneesh, which is convienently listed right below this.
Serena Maneesh, “S-M Backwards” [Smalltown Supersound]
Though they dropped a self-titled full length this year, it wasn’t very good (at worst, nearly as good as this). Which is too bad, since this compilation of early singles/b-sides is top notch. Can I be the first to coin “Scandiniviangaze”? What about “Nordicgaze?” “Nordigaze?” Someone kill me.
Titus Andronicus, “The Airing of Grievances” [Troubleman Unlimited]
Patrick Stickles kind of has the perfect angry-young-man vocal growl, and not coincidentally it happens to work well with existential-despair fueled, Bruce-inspired, New Jersey anthem punk. Chalk full of great lyrical slogans (“The enemy is everywhere!”, “You’re life is over!”, etc.), Stickles is the hysteric driving force behind this stomper, spewing all over every song to the point of having to find oddly creative places to put his “fuck yous”. The whole thing is done with a boisterous, beer-swigging rock’n’roll attitude, and it’s fun as hell. The namesake track has a chorus that sums up what they’re all about, as Stickles delivers his paranoia about nightmarish future possibilities- “There’ll be no more cigarettes / no more having sex / no more drinking till you fall on the floor / no more indie rock / just a ticking clock / you have no time for that anymore.”
Torche, “Meanderthal” [Hydra Head]
Pop goes the metal, in perhaps the best way possible. Ever. I swear. This LP also unfolds into a cartoon of people climbing a volcano.
Vivian Girls, “Vivian Girls” [Mauled by Tigers / In the Red Recordings]
This LP plays at 45 RPM.
Wavves, “Wavves” [Fuck It Tapes / Woodsist]
2008 marked the emergence of two much heralded 22-year-old songwriters in Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes and Nathan Daniel Williams of Wavves. While the former has garnered an absurd amount of praise with cozy four part harmonies and pretending to be outdoorsy, the latter has done so (that is, garnered praise) on a much smaller scale with thrashy, sun soaked beach punk. I draw this comparison because both dudes owe a lot to 60s pop, and because they are radically different. While Fleet Foxes throwback pop seems destined to saddle up in the forgettable ranks of wuss-rock with The Shins, Sufjan Stevens, Vampire Weekend, The Decemberists, ET AL, Wavves’ forward thinking rework of Phil Spector, the Beach (Boys), and garage punk really makes me hope and wish a world of limitless possibilities for Williams. Pop buried underneath layers of distortion isn’t anything new (e.g. My Bloody Valentine), but the kid’s got his head in all the right places, taking inspiration from The Jesus & Mary Chain (fuzz), Pavement (California slacker mentality), The Beach Boys (melody), fill-in-the-blank DIY bands (Williams made the whole record himself on a 4-track), and hoards of other punk rockers (Wipers, Black Flag, Husker Du, ET AL). The bottom line is that Williams’ record collection looks a lot like mine, and he’s put it to good use. (Fuck Fleet Foxes.)
Wilderness, “(k)no(w)here” [Jagjaguar]
Despite a downgrade in recording process (turn up the drums, dudes) and their continuation as re-writers of the same song over and over again, Wilderness still remain an unreasonably relevant band, this album being no exception. Cryptic, paranoid, and full of fear, “(k)no(w)here” is a one song epic (split into 8 “tracks”), making it their their first really coherent piece of work (no duh). For more information in the form of an overblown e-mail conversation, if you can stomach a billion words spilled over one thing, go here.
Women, “Women” [Jagjaguwar]
The only thing that this band has in common with This Heat is that they fuck around a bunch. Which is a pretty good comparison, as far as comparisons go, but I’ve also learned that band comparisons are lazy journalism. Women, like most bands, are from Cananda, and, like most bands, are on Jagjaguwar. They were previously on Flemish Eye with Chad VanGaalen, who produced this record by recording on what sounds like some sort of personal stereo system (good thing). Aside from moonlighting in Azeda Booth, these dudes show (on this record) that they are interesting and interested in doing interesting things, like fucking around (mentioned before). The album takes its cues from 60s-era pop (mostly in vocal melody) like everyone else did in 2008, which is fine, but they also love tape hiss, fucking with composition and structure, and other assorted instrumental clatter/noise, which somehow manages to seem coherent and hold this shit together. I saw them live in October and they seemed sedated.
Carl Craig, “Sessions” [Studio !K7]
Basic Channel, “BCD-2” [Basic Channel]
Gas, “Nah Und Fern” [Kompact]
The Jesus & Mary Chain, “The Power of Negative Thinking: Rarities and B-Sides” [Rhino Entertainment Company]
Pavement, “Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Ed.” [Matador]
Rodriguez “Cold Fact” [Light in the Attic]
CLOSE AND/OR NEED MORE LISTENING BUT ARE WORTH MENTIONING:
2562, “Aerial” [Tectonic]
Abe Vigoda, “Skeleton” [Post Present Medium]
Air France, “No Way Down” [Something in Construction]
Apollo Sunshine, “Shall Noise Upon” [Headless]
Atlas Sound, “Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel” [Kranky]
Blank Dogs, “On Two Sides” [Troubleman Unlimited / Fuck It Tapes]
Brightblack Morning Light, “Motion to Rejoin” [Matador]
Chad VanGaalen, “Soft Airplane” [Flemish Eye / Sub Pop]
Crystal Antlers, “EP” [Touch and Go]
Dead Meadow, “Old Growth” [Matador]
DJ /rupture, “Uproot” [theAgriculture]
Dungen, “4” [Subliminal Sounds]
Earth, “The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull” [Southern Lord]
Growing, “All the Way” [The Social Registry]
Hammock, “Maybe They Will Sing For Us Tomorrow” [Darla]
Hercules & Love Affair, “Hercules & Love Affair” [DFA]
High Places, “03/07 – 09/07” [Thrill Jockey]
High Places, “High Places” [Thrill Jockey]
The Hospitals, “Hairdryer Peace” [Self-Released]
Krallice, “Krallice” [Profound Lore]
The Manhattan Love Suicides, “Burnt Out Landscapes” [Squirrel]
Move D & Benjamin Brunn, “Songs From the Beehive” [Smallville]
Pocahaunted, “Peyote Road” [Woodsist]
Pocahaunted, “Island Diamonds” [Not Not Fun / Arbor CDR]
Poni Hoax, “Images of Sigrid” [Tigersushi]
The Mae Shi, “HLLLYH” [Moshi Moshi]
Nodzzz, “Nodzzz” [What’s Your Rupture?]
Religious Knives, “Resin” [No Fun Productions]
School of Seven Bells, “Alpinisms” [Ghostly International]
Sic Alps, “U.S. EZ” [Siltbreeze]
Spiritualized, “Songs in A&E” [Sanctuary]
Teeth Mountain, “Teeth Mountain” & “Tour EP” [SHDWPLY]
U.S. Girls, “Introducing” [Siltbreeze]
Windy & Carl, “Songs for the Broken Hearted” [Kranky]
Zomby, “Where Were U in ’92?” [Werk Discs]
*Ok, maybe he’s mellowed out a bit, but the sound remains the same, or something.
**Yeah I know the whole past/future thing is cliche, but seriously, I swear, come on.
***Sadly, that’s my fault. Having interest in local bands that aren’t your friends is a lot of work, so I don’t feel that bad. And I wouldn’t have heard of Golden Birthday if it wasn’t for them being friends of a friend, so it all makes sense.
****I’m not sure what “Cosmic Disco” really means, I kind of just stole it from reading Resident Advisor. I mean, it feels right to call it that, so I’m not going to argue.