Simon’s Top 20 Albums Of Wonderment for 2008, The Year Of Our Lord
This required way too much effort. I don’t even know if I can be arsed tagging it.
1. Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing
Patience is a virtue. With opener Sweet Love for Planet Earth coming in at just under 10mins, it is obvious that this album isn’t for those who like their tracks cut to <4mins and full of hooks and, I don’t know, STRUCTURE. Saturated with a distorted noise/wall of sound threatening to overpower the pre-school compliant melodies and toned down hardcore vocals, Street Horrrsing is far and away the best album I’ve heard this year. Just drive around on a summer afternoon with this playing and try not to have an epiphany.
I mean, look at that album cover… This isn’t going to be an easy listen. I feel motion sickness just looking at it.
Pick of the litter: Sweet Love for Planet Earth, but if you need to ease yourself into it, Bright Tomorrow.
2. M83 – Saturdays = Youth
I’m not sure why, but I kept trying to find a way to knock this down the list. It’s not because I don’t think this album is amazing (or ‘epic’ as it was first described to me), but I just didn’t think it would/could end up as my second favourite album this year. <Insert John Hughes references here>. This album is truly epic, and whilst not as original and experimental as Fuck Buttons, it does everything right, and damn it feels good to listen to.
The only place it does falter is the godawful monologue in Graveyard Girl. Seriously, no. M83, stop it.
Pick of the Litter: Couleurs, because building songs (see: All My Friends and The Past is a Grotesque Animal) are the cats meow to me. Check out Pitchfork TV to see a live version that is even better than the album version.
3. The Drones – Havilah
I’ll admit it, I’ve probably listened to this album less than 10 times in full, yet it still ranks in at number 3. It’s bush balladry without being country, it’s rock without being cock, it’s definitively Australian without being bogan, and it’s messy without being shit. When I saw these guys live in September, I ran out and bought the album to replace the MP3 copy I had floating around, because their performance was so inspired, and so ‘I don’t give a fuck who you are, or who you came to see, because there’s only one stage at this festival and we’re on it’, and that sort of ‘Nick Cave school of attitude’ resonates with me, and it’s all over this album.
Pick of the litter: The Minotaur. Normally a reference that will date the song is something I hate, but the line “spends all day looking at porn and playing FUCKING Halo 2” is so excellent it hurts.
4. Snowman – The Horse, The Rat, and The Swan
When I was younger, I had the usual fear of the dark, ohmygodtheresadudeundermybed, and so forth. That went away not long after I graduated college and began to drink my fears away, but thanks to Snowman, oh boy, it’s back. Drenched in the most haunting of reverb, sounding like it was recorded in an abandoned church in the dark with a full moon and a virgin being slayed on the altar, this album kills it, but begins to slow too much towards the end for my liking, but that may be due to Our Mother, She Remembers and We Are the Plague being the most hard hitting openers this year.
Pick of the litter: Our Mother, She Remembers and We Are the Plague. Can’t have one without the other in my mind…
5. No Age – Nouns
There’s not much to write about this album that hasn’t been ejaculated by every indie-type on this planet, so I’ll spare the commentary and just reinforce the fact that this album is killer. A new take on punk, with enough shoegaze leanings and clean Fender to satisfy the indie in me, Nouns is the record that will get a fair beating this summer, I’d imagine.
Pick of the litter: Teen Creeps, but really, Keechie.
6. The Gutter Twins – Saturnalia
Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli > You. The coolest, most badass album made this year, and when you listen to it, you become that aging gothic rocker you wish you were. Your drug addictions that plagued you in the 90’s are now a jaded memory, and your leather jacket, that you stole from the coatroom at CBGB’s in 1987 is your only friend, and that’s ok with you.
Saturnalia has a decidedly religious theme running through it, and we all know how badass God is. OT God, not that namby-pamby NT God.
Pick of the Litter: Idle Hands. The albums themes and badassary can be summed up in this one song, and then complimented by the others.
7. The Warlocks – Heavy Deavy Skull Lover
There was a distinct period where this was my album of the year. Long, patient, noisy, this album had a serious effect on me in the middle of the year, and then… I just stopped listening to it. It’s still good, but it didn’t seem to have the staying power that a lot of other albums did. I still feel it needs to be up there though, since this isn’t “My Top 20 albums of December 2008”.
Pick of the litter: Moving Mountains. Three epic parts = One more than epic song.
8. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Dig, Lazarus, DIG!!!
I loved Grinderman. Shit, I loved Grinderman more than I loved Nick Cave’s other work. Piano ballads are for losers.
That’s not true, at all.
DLD was a continuation of Grinderman, with guitars being the driving force, and Cave’s lyrics being such interesting stories and tales that you can’t help but become involved in the song. This I could dig. See what I did there?
Pick of the litter: More News From Nowhere delivers the best line in this Top 20: “I spent seven years between her legs, and pining for my wife”.
9. TV on the Radio – Dear Science,
Only number nine? Yes. Why? Because this album, whilst really, really, really good, didn’t blow me away like TVOTR can, and does. Personally, the amazing songs like Halfway Home, Golden Age, and Family Tree, are brought down by some of the other songs that don’t stand up to their standard.
You can’t give an album top billing because of their amazing back catalogue, otherwise Chinese Democracy and Metallica would be at the top of the list.
Pick of the Litter: Golden Age. Pure bliss. Clap along people.
10. Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Primary Colours
The Stooges return with their follow up to the critically panned The Weirdness. Iggy is in fine form on this album, and has finally found some subject matter that, whilst focusing on the relatively mundane normality of life, isn’t as boring/weird as songs about ATM’s.
Mike Watt’s thick basslines are amazing, and definitely form the backbone to the flesh that is Ron Ashton’s twangly guitars.
All in all, a solid album that will hopefully help us forget The Weirdness.
Pick of the Litter: I Admit My Faults. So danceable, it’s not funny.
11. Atlas Sound – Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
Ah, Bradford Cox. When not leading Deerhunter, you’re off doing your Atlas Sound side project, and doing it well. Much more on the experimental side of the Cox palette than the other release he was heavily involved with (see below), the whole album sounds like it would be the perfect soundtrack to the next time you’re floating on the ocean.
Don’t electrocute yourself.
Pick of the Litter: Recent Bedroom. So lush and languid I think I could lose control of bodily functions if I relaxed any more than this.
12. Deerhunter – Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.
How in the hell is this number 11? Cryptograms was, and still is, one of my favourite albums, so how did the follow up(s) end up outside my top 10? By dropping the shoegaze.
Whereas Cryptograms was an exercise in noisy shoegaze with pop sensibilities, MC/WEC is sort of the opposite. Easily listenable, and definitely an album I can see myself listening to in 10 years time, just a little too middle of the road indie for my taste.
Pick of the Litter: Never Stops, but Nothing Ever Happened is also really good.
13. Eagles of Death Metal – Heart On
If I could be anyone other than Josh Homme for a day, it’d be Jesse Hughes. Another album, like ESCP and No Age, that will get thrashed during the warmer, party months.
Pick of the Litter: I Used To Couldn’t Dance (Tight Pants) is great, but the best rock star moment is the guitar solo in Cheap Thrills.
14. Nine Inch Nails – The Slip
My most played (new) album of the year, but definitely not the best. Released for free in whatever format your internet can handle, and still available (take THAT Radiohead), The Slip is a landmark in the new digital age of artist/fan interactivity, but will always be overshadowed by In Rainbows.
Pick of the Litter: Discipline for the casual listener, but I’m still stuck on Corona Radiata.
15. Does It Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into
Whilst we’re talking about Nine Inch Nails, the support bands for their tours are quite often found on my iTunes, and DIOYY (amongst others on this list) is one of them. Sometime childish, sometimes playful, sometimes hateful, and sometimes just hugely danceable, YDKWYGYI is more than just a long album title. It’s also a hard-to-say acronym.
Pick of the litter: With A Heavy Heart, I Regret to Inform You, but only to keep the long name thing happening. Alright, it totally slays as a song as well.
16. Black Mountain – Into The Future
Another band riding on a past era’s coattails, but still doing it well. Lagging in some parts (Bright Lights is almost 17mins long and isn’t particularly amazing without psychotropic drugs), but still fun to jump around your room playing air guitar to, even if you’re 23 and questioning why you’re still single.
Pick of the litter: Tyrants. This is the air guitar song, oh baby.
17. The Presets – Apocalypso
To all you nay-sayers, I have a few things to say: Kicking and Screaming, My People, This Boy’s In Love, Talk Like That, Aeons, and Anywhere.
To those who voted this album of the year at the various big name awards ceremonies, I have this to say to you: Yippyo-ay, Eucalyptus, and If I Know You.
Pick of the Litter: I’m still of the opinion that This Boy’s In Love is up there in my top 5 tracks of the year.
18. Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I-IV
36 instrumental tracks recorded in 4 weeks, with no warning, no leaks, Adrian Belew, and a limited edition $300 collector’s package selling 2500 copies in two days. There’s something here for everyone, especially big artists who believe you can’t survive without a record label.
Pick of the litter: 28 Ghosts IV, which sounds much less like a sketch as most of the collection.
19. Girl Talk – Feed The Animals
I have my reservations about this album. As great as it sounds, as talented as Greg Gillis is, and as fun as it is trying not only to figure out what samples are being used, but also where they are being used, is it original? I mean, sure, ECSP and Black Mountain aren’t exactly the most original, but at least it’s their music… Still not sure on the concept, but the results are great fun.
Pick of the litter: Shut The Club Down. Never before have I been able to listen to Avril Lavigne’s Girlfriend and actually enjoy it. Maybe sing along with it too…
20. Ladytron – Velocifero
Mira Aroyo. She will be mine, oh yes, she will be mine.
Pick of the Litter: Black Cat is a great opener, but does go a bit too long. Predict The Day is quite good though. Go listen to that.
Written by saimagery
December 17, 2008 at 7:30 am
Posted in Music
Tagged with and The Swan, Atlas Sound – Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See Bu, Black Mountain – Into The Future, Deerhunter – Microcastle/Weird Era Cont., DIG!!!, Does It Offend You, Eagles of Death Metal – Heart On, Eddy Current Suppression Ring – Primary Colours, Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing, Girl Talk – Feed The Animals, Ladytron – Velocifero, Lazarus, M83 – Saturdays = YouthPlanet Earth, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds – Dig, Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I-IV, Nine Inch Nails – The Slip, No Age – Nouns, Snowman – The Horse, The Drones – Havilah, The Gutter Twins – Saturnalia, The Presets - Apocalypso, The Rat, The Warlocks – Heavy Deavy Skull Lover, TV on the Radio – Dear Science, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourse
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