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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

2008 memorable music (not entirely of 2008)

completely inspired by ervin, someclouds, and edgar's combined 6 cents on the state of (pop) music at the cusp of a new year, i feel compelled to throw in my thoughts on memorable musical moments, not new albums, from the past year (i dont think i even listened to 10 new albums, much less 50...what can i say, im a crate digger). forgive me for coming in a bit from left field, but i dont even know what fee-pork is except in the context of this site and i think i looked at it once, and promptly looked away.

love / hate / two thousand / eight

hercules and love affair - blind
i was drinking a beer at a bar on the end of a pier in Genoa when i first heard this song, and its really one of the most memorable moments of that incredibly rushed trip to Italy that i have. Instantly fell in love with it, and with all the love its getting from so many diverse places, i suppose we ALL owe it to ourselves to listen to this album.

oasis - falling down (chemical brothers remix)
this one really surprised me. the original is pretty good too, but the chemicals are definitely the modern masters of psychedellia and they really make it work in addition to bringing the beats on this track. history proves that any chemicals / gallagher collaboration is going to render an original, energetic, and god damn catchy as HELL track (who dare deny 'setting sun'). anyway, this got me REALLY pumped for the new album, which then really didnt have any other tracks like this. go figure. there are some good tracks on the album though, notably get off your high horse lady and i'm outta time. the original falling down is probably my favorite.

the dream - i luv your girl
the falsetto + 808 bass in this track make it an instant winner. high melodic content, somewhat jazzy electric piano line (those chord modifications sound great), and pretty lol worthy lyrics at times come together to bring us r&b the way its supposed to be. bonus for all you track manipulators out there, play this one screwed out and barry white will walk the earth again. their album love/hate pretty much sticks to this formula so i aint complaining.

lil wayne
im really hesitant to mention this cause i dont really like to bitch (the internet makes it so easy)...but WHAT THE FUCK?!?! totally weak ass rhymes...i mean i appreciate it wayne that you realise 'a is LIKE b', but thats a pretty standard formula in rap music today and almost every other track on the radio has equally as blatant and mediocre musings. on second thought, i guess a lot of rap on the radio might NOT even be as clever as this, which is just a sad case in point as to why someone like this can tell everyone he is so great, and without a proper reference, people believe it. the beats on his album are at times completely ridiculous and amatuer. theres a huge difference between simple and banging (read mobb deep, daft punk), vs. lazy and crap. rap albums are generally the worst offenders of bullshit ass filler material just to get $18 for a single or 2, and what ive heard off this album is a good example.
now the caveats to my profound disbelief at waynes success...'mrs. officer' is fucking great. for once the 'a is like b' formula is pulled off with cleverness and bite (rodney king baby beat it like a cop). beats in this song are standard r&b fare too which is better than i'd ask of mainstream weez. 'lollipop' reminds us why we love autotune, but i have to say the best version of this was a totally raunchy electro version i heard on someone's xm radio once and have never been able to find again. also, the similarities to that 3-6 mafia song are pretty awesome and that song rules too...i wonder which came first because its pretty blatant they are copying / competing with each other.
grammy's though? really? multiple? just goes to show how much lil wayne is a product of the machine. pass. hey white people love it!

portishead - 3rd
all i can say about this is i havent listened to it at all. what is strange is that fact itself, as portishead have delivered pretty amazing records and im surprised / a bit let down that nothing on this one has drawn me to even give it the chance it deserves. i heard clips from one track that sounded ok...mediocre...and the single i guess i cant even remember. thats probably not good. sad.

ukuleles of halifax
this is from the 70s. its like a middle school or elementray school ensemble of, shit, sounds like 30+ ukuleles playing songs like 'country roads' in perfect choral unison, backed with, did i mention, A MILLION UKULELES. incredible...and i havent been able to find much asides from the few straggler mp3s my friend gave me.

nine inch nails - ghosts I-IV
all instrumental jam sessions from a guy who knows how to integrate technology perfectly. total bong-ripping material here...and 1000 times better than 'the slip' he released shortly after.

king tubby - essential dub
king tubby as the selector puts reminds us that johnny greenwood is only that AMONGST other things. what else can say about this other than it's solid, go listen to it. completely untainted.

autechre - quaristice
more music less math this time around. the most brilliant thing about this stellar album is that its actually, what, 5 albums? they came out with so many bonus / deluxe / alternate versions and they're all so completely different. not to mention, i throw this one out there just to express my love for one of the best live shows ive ever seen, which was when autechre brought the digital grime to the mezzanine in sf. KILLER sound system, ZERO lights, and gut pounding granular bass for 2 hours straight. why aren't all touring acts this professional?

lusine - emerald ep + push ep + serial hodgepodge
this has been a huge year for me and lusine...i keep finding his shit in the used bin and he keeps delivering. saw him live at Yuri's night which was a bit more ambient than i expected but really awesome nonetheless. technically i think i picked up emerald and push ep in 2007, but i dropped them in all my sets of 2008, so it fits here. really tight beats, an ear for melody, ambient when it needs to be, and just weird enough to keep it interesting.

miss kittin - radio calorline: vol 1
finally picked this deliciously eclectic and beautifully blended mix up this year. the best part about it, besides the really smooth tracks, is the internal dialogue from caroline herself as she muses on her life thus far, which lends itself to more subdued parts of the music and ties the album together as whole. casual, as well as more hardcore, fans of house will appreciate this as she really shows djing is 99% about programming, though her technical skills are up to par as well.

bill cosby - silver throat: bill cosby sings
i dont know if this should be called 'bill cosby sings' or 'bill cosby completely shits on songs you might have known'...most offensively 'i got a woman'. the great thing about this album (besides the cover), is that the whole sounds just like bill cosby singing. his voice is unmistakable, and well, while this is amusing, i much prefer his jokes. 'bright lights, big city' is the highlight.

couch - figur 5
my good friend turned me on to this german instrumental track 'sawei streifen im blau', and the album delivers more of the goods this track promised. some might call it post-rock but its too electronic for that, and definitely doesnt have the trendiness most of that stuff has. it stands on its' own and works both as 'hey check this shit out' album and a 'wow the ambiance of this room in regards to the frequencies bouncing around it really make me feel groovy' album.

emhu - so real
i dont care if it aint kosher to cream over a contributors' collection of criminally-awesome songs, but this is definitely one of my favorite and most listened to albums of 2008. and thats NOT counting the two months i spent listening to it over and over again. even AFTER that, it stuck. too tongue-in-cheek to be singer songwriter, and too indie to be country, this album finds it's own place and just plays on smiling for those lucky enough to hear it.

sam cooke - night beat
best sam cooke album, period. this is the sound of the cooke who might have gotten shot by a hooker within hours of church service. 'trouble blues' is one of thos songs that you can just loop the intro and be fine for years.

murcof - ulysses remixes
nobody else in my mind has come this close to crafting what i would call classical music in a modern framework than mexico (ensenada i believe, maybe tijuana) based murcof. this shit is DEEP. the remixes here definitely groove/glitch it up a bit, but the whining strings and pulsating bass in such a somber mood really work to deliver one of the most emotional pieces of work i've heard all year.

Here's to 2009, maybe i'll actually get some new music.



  1. Great call on not only Night Beat, but "Trouble Blues"--one of my favorites and one of Sam's more underappreciated tunes.

    Erik Greene
    Author, “Our Uncle Sam: The Sam Cooke Story From His Family's Perspective”

  2. Yeah, Sauce, I did. Sam's oldest sister was my grandmother. Sam's accomplishments were so underappreciated and there were so many misconceptions surrounding his death and business dealings, I felt compelled to write "Our Uncle Sam."

    Sam Cooke was truly a wonderful artist and like Aretha said "a Prince of a man."

  3. Thanks for reading! I'm going to read your book.

  4. J touched a nerve when he mentioned his love for "Trouble Blues!" I use a clip of that song on my website's intro.

    Sauce, thanks for the support.

    Keep up the interesting discussions!