Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Lost Albums Of 2008 (Part IV)...

More albums! And since I used to let you listen to songs, I'm going to do that again- witness the return of the SkreemR mini Media Player...

Department Of Eagles - In Ear Park (4AD Records; released October 7th)

Early last year I was introduced to Van Dyke Parks' 1968 landmark album Song Cycle- it's only now I can see his influence all over the world of music, and Grizzl
y Bear's Daniel Rossen is no exception. His side project with college buddy Fred Nicolaus is equal parts Song Cycle, Revolver-era Beatles and the music he makes in his "day job" band (with help from fellow Grizzlies, it's hard not to say this is a proper release from them). In Ear Park is one of those albums that play well in the early morn over a cup of coffee and the newspaper with the dog curled up at your feet. And the track Teenagers is one of the year's better songs, a churning and rollicking little carnival of sound in a three-minute package.

Department Of Eagles - Teenagers

Found at

The Kills - Midnight Boom (Domino Records; released March 10th)

Equal parts infectious sugar-coated pop and shoegazey down tempo with just a smattering of angry punk rantings and post-teen wasteland paranoia, The Kills made a pretty nice little record right here. Short songs, hook-laden and heavy on the reverb, the "boom" on Midnight Boom may refer to the bottom line as this album has low end bass a-plenty.

The Kills - Cheap And Cheerful

Found at

Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful We Are Doomed (Arts & Crafts Records; released November 25th)
Nevermind the fact that this record comes out only eight months after their debut album, two full-lengths in a year is an exhaustive output for anyone, even thought the average age of this band is somewhere around 22. I think the vim and vigor of life is still interesting to these youngsters, so just give them a few years to get jaded with the industry and life in general. Actually, let's hope not- I love Los Campesinos! pop-timism, and their absolute unwavering from the path of fun and energetic tongue-in-cheek wisdom. They're completely jaded by life (Welsh people are disaffected by nature, as is any culture forcefully colonized by the Brits), but you wouldn't be able to tell from the amount of fun they're having.

Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed

Found at

Nomo - Ghost Rock (Ubiquity Records; released June 17th)

Afro-beat made some serious in-roads this past year, especially in The Musicologists' landscape (
West African-influenced Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut and similarly influenced Dave Longstreth's Dirty Projectors haven't made their respective ways out of my playlists this year) so it's no wonder that these nine Michigan/Chicago-based musicians caught my attention. Jazz-based polyrhythmic danceable African pop music; just a look at some the instruments used on this album is enough to twist up the most cunning linguists' tongue.

Nomo - Brainwave

Found at

Russian Circles - Station (Suicide Squeeze Records; released May 6th)

Instrumental progressive-metal post-math rock(?) from Chicago's Russian Circles' second full-length album. I don't know what to call this since their influences are so far reaching; you can hear bits of King Crimson and Megadeth on here, as well as the swooping indie rock of Explosions In The Sky and the math equations of Don Caballero. I was introduced to this band a few years ago, seeing them open for Minus The Bear; I think their cover of Yes' Roundabout got me hooked. Sprawling and epicly bombastic jams, this is as heavy and densely layered as a production effort I've heard all year- their live sound is captured well on Station.

Russian Circles - Harper Lewis

Found at

School Of Seven Bells - Alpinisms (Ghostly International Records; released October 28th)

Atmospheric and ethereal electronica, produced by ex-Secret Machine Benjamin Curtis with vocalizations from breathy-voiced twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza- an album imprinted with the half-awake imagery of sunless winter light, lofty tales of lucid dreamings and sub-atomic interstellar planetary space travel...

School of Seven Bells - Connjur

Found at

...that's it for my faves of 2008.

New album reviews coming this week!


ColdSoreSuperstar said...

"Midnight Boom" sorta pissed me off.
I was used to the crunchiness and raw quality they had going for them with "Keep on Your Mean Side" and "No Wow."

I'm not against radical departure, but I don't always welcome change with open arms.


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