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2008 Wrap-Up (Greg) – The Dreaded List of Albums

In line with tradition, here is my unordered, incomplete list of awesome albums from 2008.  Things seem a bit folk heavy for me.  Interesting.  Do share your thoughts.

Baltimore

Small Sur – We Live in Houses Made of Wood

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MP3: Small Sur – Roots

A subtle beauty, a gentle giant of a release from a local treasure.  Bob Keal is calling us all back to nature; it’s a wondrous journey.

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Zomes – S/T

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MP3: Zomes – Coloured Matter

Warm and addictive melodies make this album glow as Asa Osborne meticulously tinkers with tone and form.

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Arbouretum/Pontiak – Kale Split

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MP3: Pontiak – Green Pool

Two spectacular bands pay homage to the great John Cale, and bring along some of their own material to boot.  Win/win.

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Beach House – Devotion

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MP3: Beach House – Gila

A glittering gem of a release, ornate and lush.  Not to mention all the positive Baltimore PR they’ve been gathering.

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Matmos – Supreme Balloon

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MP3: Matmos – Les Folies Francaises

Our fair city’s resident transplanted experimental superstars.  How can you resist?  You can’t.

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Lo Moda – Replica Watches

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MP3: Lo Moda – Real Real

Never has a band been so hard to pin down, so damn likable and addictive.  The maturity of their songwriting is almost without compare, taut and diverse.

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DC

Imperial China – Methods: EP

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MP3: Imperial China – There is no translation

Picking up where it feels like Q and Not U left off, Imperial China’s EP is a short-but-sweet blast of angular and textured experimentalism that has felt sorely lacking in DC where precious, diabetes-inducing indie-pop and overly ironic rock have prevailed as of late.

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Caverns – Kittens! EP

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MP3: Caverns – Brodown High Noon

A late-comer, sneaking in just under the wire at the end of December, this EP is the visceral punch in the gut and stab at the heart that I was waiting for all year.  For me, instrumental rock doesn’t get much better than this.

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CANNOT BE STOPPED – Mountain

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MP3: CANNOT BE STOPPED – Dull Fangs

I really remained firmly against one-man drum acts.  Until I heard Farley Miller’s CANNOT BE STOPPED project.  Consider me converted.

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The World

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!

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MP3: Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!

Ah Nick, do you never falter?  Probably my favorite in his catalog, hands down.  And that’s impressive.

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These New Puritans – Beat Pyramids

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MP3: These New Puritans – Swords of Truth

An invigorating, underappreciated album filled with mesmerizing beats, a maelstrom of post-punk guitars, and dripping with the influence of dub and hip-hop.

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High Places – High Places / 0307 – 0907

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MP3: High Places – From Stardust to Sentience

One of those times transcendent actually means something, High Places dropped TWO albums of zen-like beauty and inventive experimentalism.

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Shearwater – Rook

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MP3: Shearwater – Rooks

Achingly melodramatic, at times bordering on histrionic.

And I love every second of it.

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Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet – S/T

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MP3: Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet – Strange Things

Redefining how I view globalized music, truly proving that music is a language with universal aspects that can be tapped into, regardless of your culture of origin.

Probably my album of the year, if I had to choose one.

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Horse Feathers – House With No Name

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MP3: Horse Feathers – Working Poor

Folk meets classical amidst the twirling counterpoint of gentle string lines and gorgeous vocals.

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Nina Simone – To Be Free

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MP3: Nina Simone – I Loves You, Porgy

A timeless talent with a luscious voice with near-limitless range that could woo legions of men.  This 3-CD and DVD box set is probably one of my most valuable purchases of 2008.

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The Bug – London Zoo

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MP3: The Bug – Poison Dart

Bass.  Dub.  Love.

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The Rumble Strips – Girls and Weather

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MP3: The Rumble Strips – Alarm Clock

At first I was slightly non-plussed about this record.  But over time it became one of my most frequently spun all year.  A dose of adrenalized, bittersweet joy.

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6 Responses to “2008 Wrap-Up (Greg) – The Dreaded List of Albums”

  1. matt says:

    Nice list greg. The bug! I love that album. The list is a little different than what I expected from you. I would include maps and atlases ep on there, but no other major publications seem to agree. These new puritans ?!, f that band and their chainmail wearing lead singer.

  2. Totally agree with High Places getting the nod…one of my favorite albums of the year!

    Alex said he would be putting together a list of the best shows…where’s it?

  3. Greg Szeto says:

    matt: i don’t feel like i’ve gotten to listen to maps & atlases enough to put it up. it is a solid play though.

    jeff: no idea on that.

  4. Nolan Conaway says:

    I need to get some Lo Moda in my life.

  5. Girl No.1 says:

    I totally love Imperial China- and they are like SO cute!

  6. Caleb says:

    seconds to that lo moda craving.
    High Places rocks my socks.
    and…

    Zomes is my favorite droneyness I’ve heard in some time. Makes me want to get all existential on someones assssssssssss!!

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