Thursday, December 25, 2008

Paco's Top 56 Albums of 2008: 45-35

I forgot to mention on the last list that, for no apparent reason, this list excludes compliations. Therefore, although there were lots of good comps out this year, I didend putem 'ere. Perhaps, I will make a sweet comps list if I have time. But also maybe not...

This is where things start to get really good. And to be honest most of the selection from here on out could probably be in the Top 10 on any other day. That's how good this year was! Booyah!

45. Drip House - 1 and 2 (Night People) : Did I mention tapes, the Night People label, or Raccoo-oo-oon yet? Daren Ho of said dudes first solo releases. Both of them are equally good and about equal length ('round about 12 minutes). Get' em while you can.

44. Windy & Carl - Songs for the Broken Hearted (Kranky) : Drone/Ambient Masters (finally!) return with a new full-length album. If you are familiar with the ambient couple (think about being married making drone together! what a dream!) then there is nothing much new to report. It's more of the same good stuff, although perhaps with the emotion ratched up a notch. If you didn't care about them before, you won't care about them still. But they are definetly dedicated.

43. Abe Vigoda - Skeleton (Post Present Medium) : See, I like indie rock still! Presumably named after Abraham Charles "Abe" Vigoda, Abe Vigoda are pals with trendy Pitchfork loved (but also good) bands like No Age, Health and other LA rockers who play at The Smell. While still kinda lo-fi/punk, they are a lot more straight forward (less shit-gaze/lo-fi sounding) than many of thier friends, as well as darn catchy. For some reason everywhere on the innernettes referes to them as "Tropical Punk Rock." I don't know about that but they've got some nice lix.

42. Sparkling Wide Pressure - Touching Pasture (Students of Decay) : Enough with Night People what about Students of Decay! They are cranking out the his. I have no idea how to classify this aside from quiet, hazy, awesome, and free. The album art picture there kind of does it as well as any words could. Frank Baugh is certainly a student of decay.

41. Dan Friel - Ghost Town (Important) : “Electronic noise and catchy melodies totally have raging boners for each other, and have since the ’60s,” he says. “Think about Hendrix, Sun Ra, Velvets, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, etc. I’m just following their lead, and reducing it to all simple electronics.” (Did you know that Friel also released a tape once on Night People? haha!)
40. The Foreign Exchange - Leave it All Behind (Nicolay) : I'm still disappointed that there is only one actual rap verse on this followup to perhaps my all time favorite hip-hop album (2004's Connected). It seems like all the rappers don't like rapping no mo. Well, in any case, Phonte is not actually that bad at singing and Nicolay is still dropping unstoppable beatsmithery. Matt will be happy to note that this is exactly the kind of neo-soul album I would have hated about 5 years ago. My how times have changed. Still, this is should have been closer to #1, not #39. On the other hand, it probably will move up later as it is pretty new.

39. Damien Jurado - Caught in the Trees (Secretly Canadian) : "Gillian was a Horse" is one of the best Wilco songs he's ever written and "Trials" is the best Elliot Smith song he's ever written. The rest of the album is highly decent, consistent ol' DJ. The deciding factor is probably that my girlfriend likes it a lot, which ranks it up pretty high.

38. Manual - Confluence (Darla) : I had sort of forgotten about Manual. His 2002 "Ascend" was the kind of solid post-rockish-electronic-glitchy-quasi-ambient-morr-music type album which really hit me at that time. I didn't listen to 2005's Azure Vista much finding it fairly disappointing and New-Agey (Ty would probably disagree with me). Then one day in 2008 I was browsing me mp3 blogs and wham! This album just popped up out of no where. And It's incredibly good and probably the best thing he's ever produced. It seems he's gone (either now or in the past when I wasn't watching) true good news ambient and this is aa beautiful and quiet album, free from all the cheesy sounds of yore.

37. Seconds In Formaldehyde - Suchness #3 (Gears of Sand) : While it was released in 2008 it was techincally recorded in 2007 live at the Auerworld Festival. Apparently just one dude with a guitar, it does not sound like that at all. This dude is especially good at "Creating Moods and Atmospheres with just one chord or one single Note that stretches across time and space," and "Building a Wall of Guitar Harmonics and Subnotes and let them flow into Infinity." These are both things that I am really into, especially the first. Suchness is a 40 minute track cut into three. Soak your brains into thee pure guitar sound.

36. Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Lie Down in The Light (Drag City) : I've always like BPB slightly depressed more than happy, but really he can do whatever he wants and I will love it. I've also always been suspicious of singer/songwriters but ol' BPB, a true gentleman, can do as he pleases. Good job here.

35. Claudio Rocchetti - Another Piece of Teenage Wildlife (Die Schachtel) : This release is all over the place, but everwhere it goes is good. In fact, its so varied it almost sounds like a compilation or best of sort of album, as it lacks the cohesiveness we normally associate with full lengths. Rather than describe the album let me just show you the linear notes:

Claudio Rocchetti: voice, guitar, turntable, cassette, field recordings, piano, percussion
Valerio Tricoli: voice, tape loops
Margareth Kammerer: voice
Madame P: voice
Xabier Iriondo: guitar, mahai metak
Massimo Carozzi: ghost electronics

or this: "The work of Claudio Rocchetti is a deep plunge into thick sound, investigating its innermost workings. Using a variety of devices such as turntables, audio cassettes, samplers, radios, and microphones, often incorporating other objects and traditional instruments, Berlin-based Rocchetti builds compelling structures that employ sound as sheer matter, mass, and impact. 'I have a very direct approach to sound, trying to act on instruments and devices,' he says."

If that or anything else you might read about him doesn't get you going, then you need to get real. This is an awesome album. Plus "I miss you like hell," aside from being a great song title, is a pitch perfect Rip-off of the best kind of Stars of the Lid spell for the first 7 of is 16 minutes.


  1. Sounds like you must have at least been semi-convinced by the new DJ

  2. Well, if it made my list that means I thought it was pretty good because there were a ton of albums that I loved this year. but yeah. I don't know how it really ranks up with his other albums (probably a list to be made!) but it doesn't suck. and non-sucky/decent damien jurado is better than lots of other things.

  3. And even though I compared the first two tracks to other bands, I was kind of joking, and I really love those two songs a lot. Especially "Trials". And also jonny is right about "everything trying" which is also a hilarious sounding engrish title don't you think, bryce?

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