Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Year End List(s)

Okay, so I didn't get my year-end list in before the end of the year, but since it is a "year-in-review" it shouldn't be evaluated until the year is actually over, right? Anyway... To be honest, I didn't read one year-end list (except Tankboy's, which I really just scanned) and I assume that not many people will read mine, but it's an opportunity for me to look back at the year and appreciate the albums that still hold my attention months later, and that played the soundtrack for significant times in my life.

For Transmission's year-end feature, each writer picked their favorite album and favorite local live show of 2008, so I included my picks here, but it was near impossible to pick just one to represent the whole year, so I've listed my top five for both.

Auf Wiedersehen 2008!

Mich's Favorite Albums of 2008:

The Black Keys - Attack & Release

Attack & Release was produced by Danger Mouse and I'm beginning to think anything he touches turns to gold. I listened to no other album for about a month this spring; at work, at home, on my iPod, on the bus... It has a down home feeling you could just wrap yourself in; raw 70s style rock that makes me feel like it really is sometime in the 70s and there are no cell phones, no email, no google chat--nothing to pull you out of the feeling that you're totally stoned and totally lost in the music. It's almost surprising how much emotion goes into some of those songs, especially "Lies" and "Things Ain't Like They Used To Be." And that's just the slower psychedelic tunes! Then there are the grittier tracks like "Strange Times" and "I Got Mine" (which contains one of my favorite rock lyrics ever: "when I roll, I roll deep"-- is there any other way?) that shine with Dan Auerbach's guitar riffs and gritty vocals. I love the new poppier songs and dance bands of 2008, but sometimes I wish there was a little more stripped down rock and roll (seriously, you can't get much more stripped down than simply drums and guitar...)

Rounding out the top 5:

Girl Talk - Feed the Animals
Party in a box.

Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
Another party in a box.

Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Just beautiful.

Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords
Just hilarious.

Mich's Favorite Live Shows of 2008:

Girl Talk @ Congress Theater

(Photo by Tankboy)
I was lucky enough to see Gregg Gillis twice this year, first at Lolla and just last month at Congress. I reviewed the Congress show for Transmission, so you already know how much I loved it, but here I'll tell you why it was the best of the year. You know those party pictures you see where everyone looks like they're having the time of their lives, but you know that it couldn't have been that fun the whole time? Or that one part where that one song played and the energy just blew up? Well, Girl Talk was like that one part, but stretched out for 3 straight hours. I was part of a music video once that was set at a party and everyone told me, "it looks like you're having so much fun!" In reality we were getting sprayed down with water and dancing for three seconds at a time--not even long enough to finish a musical phrase! Girl Talk live is basically the party that that music video would be if it were real.

Battles @ Double Door

Last year, I started to look forward to the Lollapalooza after-shows more than seeing the artists at the fest. Prime example: Battles. I'd been digging their last album, Mirrored, nonstop since stumbling on the end of their set at Pitchfork appearance in 2007. Compare seeing them in the middle of the day on a side stage to being front and center for Tyonadi's keyboards. I danced my face off.

Spiritualized @ Metro

I saw Spiritualized at the Pitchfork Music Festival in July, but it was daylight and I was, well, not sober. So I wasn't sure that the show was actually as amazing as I thought it was. The Metro show was on a Monday, after a weekend of partying, and it was raining; needless to say we were exhausted, but we went anyway. We were stone sober and guess what--it was every bit as incredible and moving as I thought it was.

Wilco @ The Riviera

This was the Saturday night show of Wilco's five-night residency where they played their entire catalog over the duration. It took me some time to fall in love with Wilco, at first I thought "Alt-country" was too country for me. When I finally tested the waters, I jumped into their most recent release, Sky Blue Sky. This night though, I fell in love with their entire back catalog (I was especially struck by the encompassing sound of "Via Chicago" in that room). I went on to spend a significant amount of time with Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and Summerteeth.

Andrew Bird @ The Hideout

I've already blogged about how much I loved this show, and the opportunity to see him play such a small venue.

Mich's Favorite Songs:
Songs I loved or for one reason or another was crazy about in 2008
(I'm sure I'll add to this as I think of more...)

Hey Champ - Cold Dust Girl
Z-Trip - Party For Change
Peter Bjorn & John - Inland Empire
of Montreal - For Our Elegant Caste
Justice - D.A.N.C.E.
The Ting Tings - That's Not My Name
Santogold - L.E.S. Artistes
Miley Cyrus - See You Again
Rachael Yamagata - Accident
Lettuce - Blast Off

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