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10. bon iver - for emma, forever ago
i can't decide whether or not i like him more or less since finding out that his name is not bon iver, rather, it is a butchered spelling of the french words meaning "good winter," or "bon hiver." now i feel like a douche for saying "bon iver" like an anglo. ANYWAY. i love his voice and the old gospel-bluesy feel to a lot of his music (seems like it is a trend in my musical taste this year). skinny love is addictive.bon iver - skinny love
9. janelle monae - metropolis: the chase suite
i randomly stumbled upon her myspace one day in july, and was hooked. a dash of classic soulfulness a la nina simone, mixed together with some a great modern flair, janelle monae is a true performer. often described as the female version of outkast's andre 3000, i feel like that is unfair and might be her downfall. yeah, she's stylish in that vintage kind of way, she is a crazy good dancer, and they have the same kind of vocal stylings, they're both sexy and black, but andre 3000 is a rapper first and foremost, while janelle has the fucking pipes for this shit! she is a singer. sincerely jane
sounds like it could have been written sixty years ago, but her vocals make it sound fresh. the perfect amount of nostalgia and homage on this record. yes, it is a concept album, which can make it harder to listen to, but it works!
and honestly, i don't know how anyone can listen to many moons and not think of that 1-2-3-4 song from sesame street.
also, have you SEEN THE WOMAN?
she is amazing!
enjoy: janelle monae - violet stars, happy hunting
8. mt. eerie & julie doiron - lost wisdom
up front, i am a bit obsessed with julie doiron. i've been listening to her for nearly a decade now, and i think i've lost count of how many times i've seen her in concert. for some context, i saw her four times in four months this summer. mt. eerie is also up there on my favourite music makers ever, with the glow
firmly cemented on my nick hornby-esque "top five albums ever" list. it kind of goes without saying that it is kind of impossible for me to be disappointed by them collaborating together! delicate, but not contrived. mount eerie with julie doiron - flaming home
7. rae spoon - superioryouareinferior
morgan and i had a crazy ridiculous fangirl moment at the only when rae told us we could put our coats with his. after our brief conversation morgan turned to me all "OMG CAN U BELIEVE LYKE RAE WAS TALKING TO US." that is what rae spoon does to the queers. we love him. we can't help it. i love rae spoon so effing much.
having seen him like three years ago and then just earlier this month, you can really tell he is just getting better and better as an artist. sometimes i miss the country ho-down feel of songs like "yer trailer door" but after listening to superioryouareinferior i am glad he's just getting better and better. "i'll be a ghost for you" breaks my heart every time! so sweet. rae spoon - my heart is a piece of garbage. fight seagulls! fight!
right click, save as.
6. plants & animals - parc avenue
i fucking love this band. i wasn't sure if they album came out this year, but according to a few sites it did, and i can't believe it's not on more best of 08 lists! the first song i heard from them was a l'orée des bois
, via a mix cd an old crush made me. i knew it would be a long lasting love affair with plants & animals after just that one song! i know i've heard the singer's voice before, but have still yet to place where... another mix cd, perhaps? parc avenue
is a great album from start to finish because it shows that this band can write raucous ballads with a dash of seventies psych rock (see: bye bye bye, keep it real, feedback in the field) and touching lyrics (see: good friend, a l'orée des bois).
i really like songs that tell stories, and all of these songs do that quite well. mercy
, in particular, which i wasn't a big fan of at first, is now one of my favourite songs from this album. "things started looking up when i made it to riviere-du-loup/one of the pom pom girls from the alouettes offered to drive me home!" oh music made by canadians, i love you so.plants & animals - good friend
a timely and beautiful album. this year, there was a bit more discussion in the mainstream media about how we live in a fundamentally racist country. there were calls for immigration reform
, and some shitty bills got passed in parliament. LAL's album calls attention to the way white people are privileged in canada, and how we are so often ignorant of the way the immigration system works to advantage of white people, not of people trying to build a better life for themselves.
it also didn't hurt that i was reading sunera thobani and himani bannerji at the same time, talking about privilege, race, and immigration in canada. this album is the stripped down, less academic deportation showcases LAL's honest, visceral lyrics paired with awesome beats. what more could you want from an album? LAL - hopefulLAL - your body could start a war
4. timber timbre - medicinals
the first time i saw timber timbre, i was sick. and i mean really, really sick. the sickest i've ever been. i hadn't left the house in three days, but on that gloomy april night, i wandered two blocks down the street to artspace to have my mind blown. this shy-looking, balding, plaid-wearing guy starts playing a guitar, while nosferatu
, the vampire movie of vampire movies, is projected on the wall, overtop of him. it is perfection. i am sitting on the floor with friends, transfixed by this insane perfection. jon and simon are looking at me, and i look at them, our jaws dropped, and look back at the stage. there is a video on facebook.
hearing "i've become what i most fear, and i know there's no such thing as ghosts, but i have seen the demon's host" while watching nosferatu was mindblowing when i was as sick as a dog, feeling close to death. [not to mention i am a big sucker from looping pedals and people who harmonize with their own voice]
since buying his album, i've found that timber timbre makes the perfect music for people who are sickly in love with one another and want some beautifully eerie background noise as they neck. a friend of mine also characterized taylor as one of the musicians who is creating "southern ontario gothic" music as a new genre, and she is much wittier than me.timber timbre - under your spell
3. portishead - third
ho. lee. shit. this album is insane. even if you are not a big portishead fan, it is simply a remarkable accomplishment. yeah, everybody talks about "machine gun:"
"an abrasive and jittery electro-industrial number"
"melancholic and delicate, like the soundtrack to a bittersweet epic war film inflenced by Nine Inch Nails."
and my personal favourite:
"this isn't your big sister's trip-hop"
or my mother's reaction just now:
"well that's annoying."
there is a lot of hype, but it is well-deserved. simon bought this album, and we listened to it on the drive from peterborough to québec city, and it blew my mind. at one point, during plastic
, i got freaked out and asked what that noise was; it sounded like we were on the rumble strips, or like a wheel was coming off of the van. but it wasn't. it was the awesome portishead we were listening to.
it is the kind of record you have to listen to from beginning to end, and i find that really rare these days. from the opening radio static on the first song to the ending drone of the last track, this album grabs you and won't let go. i don't really feel like writing more than a bit about it since it's been written about, a lot, and much better than i write:"Keep in mind just how out-of-nowhere this all seems: The notion of a new Portishead album had, for many fans, fallen out of the realm of possibility. If Third had come out in 1999 or 2000, maybe writers would be calling it Portishead's answer to Massive Attack's Mezzanine, another third album by trip-hop icons eschewing dinner-conversation music by embracing anxiety and moodiness. Released today, it instead feels like a staggering transformation and a return to form that was never lost, an ideal adaptation by a group that many people didn't know they needed to hear again." nate patrin
enjoy: portishead - magic doors
- you can't take anyone
i bought this album in july after iris was humming along to a beautiful song in her apartment one summer afternoon, and i knew i needed to hear more. the first time i listened to [and i mean really
listened to] one two three
, i knew i had to hear it again, and again, and again. my top 25 most played in itunes is dominated by this album. i just really can't say express how beautiful this album is. from the opening track, ryan driver's voice on "your hand is a wing" is a perfect compliment to her lilting falsetto as they sing "pine tree, you know how it feels/beetles, you know why we dream/tree trunk, you know how i hug/roots deep, you know why i climb." dark, frightening, and comforting all at the same time. it is so hard to pick just one song for you guys to upload! buy. this. album.
enjoy: castlemusic - you can't take anyonecastlemusic - one two three
and last but not least:
1. tv on the radio - dear science
yes, i know, it's on EVERYONE else's top ten list (see: rolling stone, pitchfork, entertainment weekly, etc etc) and honestly, i don't usually trust the bigwigs, but they got it right with this one. this album is IMPECCABLE. it is perfection. i have not been this impressed with an album since blonde redhead's 23. i love these kinds of albums; one of your favourite bands makes an awesome album that you think they will never be able to top, and then lo and behold two years later they fucking blow your mind. they've gotten better just when you thought there was no way they could get better. with dear science,
tv on the radio have fully established themselves as one of the most inventive rock bands out there today. the horns! the drums! the piano! the lyrics! oh the lyrics.
they're the type of musicians who obviously make music because they love to, and because they are fucking good at it. yeah, they stole my heart with "province" a few years back, but seriously, right from the very first listen, this album took my breath away. it is the album i tell everyone they need to hear. everyone needs to hear this album! i had to listen to it again, and again, and again, until my roommates begged me to listen to something else. family tree
is the kind of song that makes me want to get married. to the song. it is that good.
listen to the whole album.
do it.tv on the radio - family treeshortlist:sigur ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
this is the kind of band i will always love and feel affectionate towards, but i just didn't really get into this album. that said, i think i would have freaked out about this album five years ago. i like the video with the naked people.video with naked peoplevampire weekend - vampire weekend
"m79" is the track that caught my ear, so i went out and bought the album. it is good, but it isn't "great" album in my opinion. great catchy pop songs, though. plus they seem kind of WASPy. i'm a sucker for pop songs with string sections or horn sections, though.
also this video is pretty awesome. godard meets wes anderson meets hipster?fleet foxes - fleet foxes
i've only heard two songs, and i like them both. i just saw them perform on conan the other night and think i need to go out and buy this album. it will probably be one of my favourites that i didn't get to listen to until 2009.mgmt - oracular spectacular
i have to say, their music is really catchy, but they seem like complete douchebags. i just can't get a feel for whether or not their music is satirical. i feel like if they were being ironic about lines like "let's make some music, make some money, find some models for wives. i'll move to paris, shoot some heroin and make love with the stars." etc etc, i still don't know if it would make me like them any more. it's good pop music, but still with shitty douchebag machismo misogyny, even if they are prancing around in neon colours and makeup. (weekend wars is a really good song though, i feel like led zeppelin could have written it 40 years ago)beck - modern guilt
i'm just pissed i was too poor to go see him in concert, that's all. i fucking love timebomb, gamma ray, nausea. but mostly timebomb. i love call and answer songs! we got a cigarette! we got a cigarette! we got a cigarette! na na na na na na! so stupid but i love it!albums released this year i still haven't had the chance to listen to:amadou & mariam - welcome to malierykah badu - New Amerykah Part One: 4th World Wardeerhoof - offend maggie
deerhoof released an album this year and i DON'T OWN IT?
the three artists whose CDS i always buy: deerhoof, blonde redhead, and elliott smith. i really need to check this one out.
others that fall into the "what the hell are you waiting for julia? listen to these albums!!!":of montreal - skeletal lampingm83 - saturday=youthq-tip - the renaissancefinal fantasy - the butcher
i can't believe i haven't listened to this. i haven't heard anything new from this man this year, aside from "excuse me?!" when i drunkenly pinched his bum on halloween.love is all - wishing well
all these people i know with good taste keep mentioning this band, and i've never heard them!sun kil moon - april
i think i'll just feel like i've already heard it, which is why i should pick up the album before judging it. also, look at it! it is beautiful!