The Quest For The Best Albums Of 2008


Who dropped 2008′s biggest polished turd, Axl or Kanye?

I am in serious music listening mode right now trying to go through every album from this year I haven’t heard yet, so here are some of the albums I’ve come across so far. First, multiple people with seemingly trustworthy music tastes have told me that the new Guns N Roses album, Chinese Democracy, is good so I gave it a try. Basically, listening to this album is like going to a garbage dump and looking for treasure; you might find some neat stuff in there, but in the end you are wading through stinky, unappealing junk. Yes, there were a few brief moments where I was like, “that’s a neat production trick”. But then my next thought would be “too bad it is wasted on this terrible music”. To be fair, I never liked GNR when people thought they were awesome, and Axl‘s voice has only gotten more annoying to me with time, but I really tried to like this album, and it pretty much sucks.

Speaking of garbage, I also listened to Kanye West‘s new album, 808s & Heartbreak. First, it’s an R&B record, not a hip-hop record, and Kanye was barely a marginal rapper. His terrible singing is magnified by what I would consider the worst trend in music right now, the auto-tuner. I know that Pitchfork believes all vocal effects are created equal, but they are wrong, and this thing is way overrated and painfully overused, especially by Kanye on this album. If that’s not enough, the lyrics could have been outdone by a fourth grader. And even if his shallow, cliche message were communicated artfully, it is virtually impossible to feel empathy for someone who has a huge, public crybaby fit anytime anyone doesn’t acknowledge that Kanye is the greatest human on Earth. After that Bonnaroo debacle, I hope his ass gets dumped about 100 more times. The true test is to put this album next to The Love Below and it is clear that Andre 3000 is a genius, and Kanye West is a wannabe fraud.

I won’t waste your time with Mp3s from either of these douches, plus they might sue me or something.

In an unrelated story, The Pirate Bay recently celebrated their 5th anniversay.


On a fun side note, Stephen Colbert successfully launched “Operation Humble Kanye” this week (This is hilarious!):


Ok, so how about some good music?



Women

The album I have been enjoying the most over the last couple of months is the self-titled debut release from Women. This almost 30 minute champion of a piece manages to channel just about every good artist of indie music you can think of, but in a transcendental way that displays a deep understanding of so many aesthetics rather than just some collection of stolen ideas. This is easily one of the best records to come out this year, so get it:

Women : Shaking Hands

Women : Upstairs

Buy Women



Lambchop

Lambchop is one of those bands that I had heard about for eternity, but never really looked into. At least until I saw Kurt Wagner, the creative force behind it, open for Yo La Tengo earlier this year. I have still yet to dig deep into their catalogue, so I don’t have much context as to where their newest, OH (Ohio), fits in, but taken by itself, it is one the best alt-counrty-ish albums I’ve heard in a long time. Here is a track from the album and then a live tune from a recent show:

Lambchop : A Hold Of You

Lambchop : You’re A Big Girl Now (Bob Dylan cover from 11/14/2008)

Buy OH (Ohio)



Shugo Tokumaru

One more album I’ve been jamming lately that will probably end up with accolades from me is the newest Shugo Tokumaru album, Exit. For those of you who don’t know, Shugo is from Japan and does some beautiful indie-pop stuff. While Shugo has been making great tunes since about 2004, Exit is the first album available in the States, so take this opportunity to welcome such a gifted musician:

Shugo Tokumaru : Parachute

Shugo Tokumaru : La La Radio

Buy Exit

Bonnaroo 2008 Sunday (Day 4 And Wrap-Up): We ‘Roo Victoriously

After only a few hours of sleep in the hot sun in my van, I was exhausted both in body and spirit. But no matter how much heat, how many beers, how little sleep, or how bad my body aches, there is no slowing down at a party this serious. So it was time to finish this thing with a win.

I barely made it in time to see Broken Social Scene‘s first set at the Sonic Stage. They did three songs from You Forgot It In People and their pro-Obama rally song in both pro- and anti-bong forms. You can download the show here.

After that we headed to The Other Tent to see Ladytron. I had very little familiarity with this band prior to seeing them, but I thought they were pretty cool. This is definitely not a style of music I could get into deep, but very much something worth seeing.

Click here to read the entire post…

Bonnaroo 2008 Saturday (Day 3): Thirty Epic Hours

Bonnaroo always has a momentum all its own and no matter how you imagine your weekend to go, it ends up being a completely different experience. Saturday morning I woke up around 4am in the morning after sleeping through crazy thunderstorms that wrecked our camp. Most of the people in my crew were coming back from seeing late night shows and we hung out and talked about our Friday experiences. The rain continued on and off for the rest of the morning, so I had some beers for breakfast and chilled out under our shelters that hadn’t been destroyed. I caught an hour power nap around 9am, and then headed out for the day. I walked around the campgrounds for a while taking in the atmosphere. The rain had died out mostly by then, and people were out and about in the muddy conditions.


Click here to read the entire post…

Bonnaroo Update: I Ain’t Saying He’s A Gold Digger, But Kanye West Pissed Off The Roo

The fest is almost over, and it has been incredible as per usual. Last night Kanye West‘s performance that was originally slated for 2:45 am didn’t actually happen until 4:30am, so my schedule has been thrown off entirely. I’ll have more on his badly received show tomorrow when I get home and finish my Day 3 post. And then later this week I’ll have the Day 4/Wrap-Up super post. It looks like my experiment with live video streaming didn’t work out so well due to some technical difficulties, but I have lots of video to share with you soon. Time to run and milk the final seconds for all they’re worth!

Kanye West Moves Bonnaroo Set To Late Night

He’s gonna “Glow In The Dark”. Now slated for 2:45am on the What Stage, spun out kids are going to have another great choice for the late late. Unless I’m forgetting something, this will be the first time they have ever done a late night show on the main stage. How about “Flashing Lights”:

Friday Free-Style

In case you haven’t noticed, our blogging has been a little brisk lately as we are enjoying the summer. But don’t dismay as we have a bunch of cool stuff cooking in the lab for you.

We’ll start today off by getting krunk with Kanye West:

Pitchfork Fest has sold out and released set times. While you are enjoying Corndogarama, we will be covering this in Chicago.

John Vanderslice will be at The Earl on September 20th.

Weezer is about to record another album.

In case you don’t, Beach House are awesome, and they be talking.

The Cure are working on the new album still and will be at The Gwinnett Center September 15th.

Band Of Horses are just finishing up their new album.

The Led Zeppelin reunion rumour mill is on again.

Rage Against The Machine will be headlining this year’s Vegoose Festival in Las Vegas. The full line-up will be announced in mid-July.

Here’s Ryan Adams on Letterman:

Here’s an old The Rapture video:

Here’s a Battles video:

Some Cat Power for you:

A Califone video:

Some Girl Talk:

Some The Ponys:

And finally, some Of Montreal: