Thursday, December 04, 2008

A voluminous list of music you might want to check out

I was going to wait to post this end of the year list until, well, the end of the year but since Christina posted her list I figured I should follow suit. To say that I hate making list is a vast understatement. The thought of having to narrow things down, number them from best to worst, it makes me nervous. I feel like a list will never be complete, and revisions will always be made. BUT, I suppose you have to draw a line somewhere, so here goes. Ready?

City and Colour - Bring Me Your Love

Two words. Dallas Green. The heart, mind, and soul behind City and Colour (get it? dallas = city, green = color? yeahhhh you get it). Bring Me Your Love came out early in the year and I fell in love with it on the drive home from Dearborn Music. Relatively unknown until this year, Dallas Green's softer side project has been dominating my ipod since early '05 (sweet brag!) If don't like buying albums without hearing them, listen to "The Girl". If that doesn't make your heart smile, you're probably dead inside.

The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound

If I could force everyone in the world to listen to one band this year, it would be The Gaslight Anthem. I was supposed to write an article on them when their new album came out, but laziness and stress from work got the best of me. Another reason I avoided the article like the plague is that I simply cannot put into words how much I love this album. Simply put, this album is incredible. Think about if early Springsteen and Social Distortion had a child, and that child smoked and watched Cassablanca every day for 20 years. That's how good this album is and sounds. Just LISTEN.

Good Old War - Only Way To Be Alone

Anyone remember Days Away? Yeah, most people don't. Days Away was one of the most underrated and under-appreciated bands on a label full of carbon copies of the latest trend (I'm looking at you Fueled By Ramen). Instead of disappearing into the great abyss, Keith Goodwin and Tim Arnold of Days Away formed a new band, and Good Old War was born. They've got kind of a Simon and Garfunkel vibe, the kind of music made for a road trip.

Joshua Radin - Simple Times

I once read an interview with Joshua Radin where he explained the reason his music was so quiet was because he was trying to write and record it in his apartment without bothering the neighbors. In a way, it was probably best he had such ahole neighbors. I loved his debut, but felt it lacked in a few areas. This album feels a little bit lighter, and a guest appearance by Meiko doesn't hurt. Plus the video for the first single was directed by Zach Braff (or Matt Graff according to Dennis).

Lydia - Illuminate

I first heard Lydia on a compilation a few years back. The song was good, but not great enough to get me interested in hearing more. Then I saw them open for Saves the Day. Illuminate is one of the most beautiful albums I've ever heard. If you could put a rainy sunday, heartbreak, and loneliness in a blender, it would sound like this. "I Woke Up Near The Sea" is probably my favorite song that was released this year.

Nada Surf - Lucky

Nada Surf was one of those bands I always knew about, but never really got into. As ashamed as I am to admit it, they got a little pigeonholed in my mind because of "Popular". When Christina told me to check out this album, I said I would, but never thought I'd get past one listen. The moment directly after I heard "Are You Lightning?" I knew I had made a terrible mistake writing this band off. I think since getting this album over the summer, I have put "The Film Did Not Go 'Round" on at least 5 mix cds. Perfect fall album, soft and cold, if that makes sense.

Thrice - The Alchemy Index Vol 4: Earth

Technically, the second portion of the Alchemy Index consists of Vol. 3 and Vol. 4 but it's my flippin list and I can do what I want. Fans of Dustin Kenrue's solo stuff will definitely love this disc. It's a VERY stripped down side of Thrice that nobody has really heard before. It goes well with the name of the element the music is meant to represent. It's dark, gritty at times, and moody. Kind of makes you feel like you're the only person in the middle of a forrest. Easily the best disc of the 4 EP's.

Valencia - We All Need A Reason To Believe

What would an end of the year list compiled by me be without some good, wholesome pop-punk. The thing is, this is what pop-punk should sound like. It's unfortunate these guys don't get as much credit as they deserve, just because they get grouped into a genre of music that has become so over-saturated with shit that its hard to sort the good from the bad (Metro Station). A band that cares more about the music they make than the image they portray. A great summer album for sure.

Straylight Run - Un Mas Dos

I know, I know, EP's have no business being in a best of list, but the honest truth is this year was kind of a dissapointment. That's not to discredit Straylight Run though, after being dropped from a major label and losing a key member, they bounced back with 3 of the best songs in the band's short career. The last track, "Ten Ton Shoes", has some of my favorite lyrics to date. It's a quick listen, but definitely one you should at least give a chance to.

Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs

I think this album gets a lot more hate than it deserves. Plus, I think with the help of Ben Gibbard, I'm totally bringing back the flannel. All guy-love aside, Death Cab continues to cement its place as one of my favorite bands ever. The band simply cannot do any wrong in my eyes. They could put out a techno record and I would just have to put on "The Ice is Getting Thinner" and all ill-will would be wiped clean. I especially like how straight-forward the lyrics were on this album, it made the songs a little more real feeling.

Death In the Park - S/T EP

Another EP?!?! Blasphemy! I finally got a hold of their EP and I love it just as much as I thought I would. Nothing real surprising musically with this one, just a very solid release from Hot Rod Circuit 2.0. Also, I heard rumors of the Get Up Kids touring next year in support of the 10 year anniversary of "Something To Write Home About" and opening for them is Hot Rod Circuit with the original lineup. Hello Vagrant Records 6 years ago!!!

Honorable Mentions:
Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
Forgive Durden - Razia's Shadow
Ryan Adams - Cardinology
Girl Talk - Feed the Animals

Biggest Dissapointments:
Weezer - The Red Abomination
blink-182 not getting back together

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