Another wonderful year of music and a good year overall. I was able to get back to studying Japanese and Spanish and I am well on my way to getting my second degree in communications. I realize that I am a little late in posting this but I have been busy with work, volunteering with Ronald McDonald House, work, and running an afternoon shift as a DJ at WUMR. Hope you enjoy. I realize that opinions, including mine, are like farts and that everyone has them and they usually stink so let me know what you all have been listening to or what you think.
1.Mars Volta"The Bedlam in Goliath" This album is a thrill ride the whole way through with amazing musicianship. So few artists can really compare to this group at its best, and their debut can't be matched. This is a really great CD if you're into their eclectic sound. The drummer sounds like he has four arms.
2.Kaiser Chiefs "Off With Their Heads" A good slick and catchy album that creates a perfect picture ofthe brilliant energetic live shows this band does. I saw them last summer and the show was jammed with energy. Simply, great pop rock. Although last year's "Your's Truly..." was extremely disappointing, the Chiefs rebound with a strong effort that almost surpasses their debut "Employment". Unlike the last record, where the disc was sequenced to save their strongest and hardest hitting tracks towards the end of the disc, "Off With Their Heads" comes out smoking with the first two tracks "Spanish Metal" and "Never Miss A Beat". The rest of the disc bounces between similarly aggressive punk-pop, danceable new wave, and neo-psychedelia. Producer Mark Ronson adds the perfect amount of instrumental color to vary the sound without deviating too far from the Chief's core personality. The band also has a weird British sense of humor which can be heard in almost every song.
3.Trivium"Shogun" I really appreciate the more rhythm bound metal sound that has just a hint of metalcore and some other styles. It's insane how good Matt Heafy is on guitar for someone who just turned 21. Shogun Is so heavy but has this really cool shadow of it that's so mellow and relaxing and builds into mixes of being just pain heavy metal to siht you've never heard before. The clean vocal portion of the choruses (with a hint of metalcore) sticks with you and you are singing it for hours. Don't let the anthemy opening fool you, the songs get raw with a dark growling menacing breakdown powered by traditional sounding gongs and taiko drumbeats.
4.The Cure "4:13 Dream" I could not stand the sound of the self titled album from 2004 and did everything to abuse it short of using the cd as a Frisbee or a coaster. I had almost given up hope that I would feel the way I used to feel when first listening to a new Cure album. But this one is truly inspiring. Underneath the Stars opens the album somewhere between Open and Plainsong. The Reasons Why and The Hungry Ghost bring you back to pre-Head on the Door times while maintaining their own new sound. The Scream could've been placed somewhere on Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. Don't get me wrong: this isn't textbook-heard it all before-Cure... 4:13 Dream has maintained what has always been great about The Cure, while creating a whole new world to get lost in. I still feel as though Disintegration is the best album with Bloodflowers in at number 2. However, that's a personal choice as I prefer that side of the band moreso than the others. My favorite tracks are The Perfect Boy and Underneath The Stars because they are dreamy tracks that create lush orchestras of sound. The Cure is the most diverse band I've ever listened to and are capable of being successful of many styles of music. I think it's great Porl is back and although I prefer Boris Williams over Jason Cooper, I think he's really improved as a drummer. I've heard there is another album on the way containing darker material similar to Bloodflowers and Disintegration and I'm really looking foward to it!
5.Keane "Perfect Symmetry" The first time I listened to the CD, I was in complete shock. Up until the last song, Tom's voice was the only Keane sound I seemed to recognize. By the time the CD had started Spiralling for a second time though, I was hooked. The new album is Keane for happier days. And the essence of Keane is still there - all that passion and raw emotion from H&F and UTIS - as strong as ever and now channeled as an infectious good mood. The melodies, the choruses, the amazing vocals, the meaningful lyrics are stronger than ever. The Keyboards sometimes sound a little polished and disco tinged for me, but that's my only tiny ccomplaint.
6.Cut Copy "In Ghost Colours" No doubt they did some of the best work in 2008. With a very New Order-ish sound, in spite of their name, Cut Copy gives new wave a fresh reinterpretation, introducing electronic elements that turn it into a nu new wave of sorts. No particular track stands out for me: they all are solid electropop songs that will resonate with eighties children as well as with those going through the motions. This album is very good! Every single track is strong and memorable.
7.Slipknot "All Hope Is Gone" Boy was I impressed!!! One of the greatest Metal CDs released this year. A couple of spots of rabid, directionless metal, but over all a well focused and implimented CD. If only all their stuff could be this great. Snuff is perhaps my favorite song. I got goose bumps and started crying because of the beauty and honesty in the lyrics that were easy for me to relate to. There are just a whole bunch of layers to all of these songs and the new percussion sounds and beats just smashed my senses. Dead Memories and Child of Burning Times are also some awesome songs that showcase the melody in Corey Taylor's voice.
8.TV on the Radio "Dear Science" Three albums in, and these guys have me totally convinced. Strong songs, funky songs, slow songs, beautiful songs, all with that David Bowie/Peter Gabriel vibe that somehow manages to sound completely original and new and fresh. These guys are amazing songwriters and I love how the lyric page is framed as a letter ("Dear Science," etc.). I could see how some people might find them pretentious and arty, but so what---I'm not sure how pretentious and arty became such a bad thing. I used to love REM for their pretentious and arty qualities (before they tried doing some subversively simple pop songs...Shiny Happy People, Stand) and I never thought these were bad qualities to have, if you can back it up with talent and vision. TV on the Radio can back it up---they might not grab you 100% at first listen, but give this one a chance and you'll quickly recognize the genius on this CD.
9.Deerhunter "Microcastle" Deerhunter is not for everyone. But if you can handle a noisy and not always clean and neat sound, I would highly recommend this album. What I find most enjoyable is the way that they simply let a chord or riff repeat and gradually reveal its inherent beauty. It is a simple but courageous move, one that demands a sympathetic and patient listener. The single "Nothing Ever Happens" is a track that I find to be typical for my Deerhunter listening. After the intro, a strong bass line dominates the track. At a first listen I was frustrated and found this element almost repulsive. Later in the track, however, it unfolds into a beautiful, hazy guitar chord progression. The beauty is that you cannot have one without the other. Each element really works to make this track a standout.
10.Langhorne Slim "Langhorne Slim" It doesn't have as many foot stomping moments as Slim's last one, but this feels more honest and personal. Its better artistically, but not as fun. It still belong on my play list of damn good music. This is not what i was expecting from him.
( the restof the bestCollapse )