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Okay, my turn... top 20 albums of '08

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert Beveridge (xterminal) Best-of lists that encompass a single year are pretty much doomed; after all, it's impossible to listen to everything released in a year by the end of it. (That's why my book list is stuff I read in a given year, rather than stuff released in that year; read everything? Insane.) So think of this is "the 20 best albums that I got round to listening to released during 2008", eh?

20. Current93, Birth Canal Blues (Durtro). Gets rid of a lot of the oh-so-goth fug David Tibet has found himself in recently and promises a return to the band's apocalyptic-folk glory days.
19. Fucked Up, The Chemistry of Common Life (Matador). Who knew hardcore was still a viable medium? Who knew the band who were going to breathe life back into it would come from Canada, of all places? Fucked Up have quietly made themselves into one of the world's premiere hardcore bands over the last few years, but really take it to a new level melodically on The Chemistry of Common Life, which has been showing up on quite a few best-of lists this year.
18. Theresa Andersson, Hummingbird, Go! (Basin Street). The Scandinavians have had all the good pop albums recently, even the ones transplanted to New Orleans. Andersson comes up with a disc that manages to be lively, radio-friendly, and still smart, an almost impossible combination in today's overproduced mass-production pop market. Check out the youtube video for the first single, "Na Na Na", and you'll have it stuck in your head for days.
17. Fuck, the Retarded Girl, Abuse (Hoarse). FTRG have been around for years, but just started releasing their particular brand of ultra-brutal powerelectronics in album form seriously in 2007. If they continue on like this, it will be the rare year that an FTRG release won't make it into my Top 20.
16. 833-45, Tunguska (Musica Excentrica). I didn't listen to this too hard when I first got it, assuming it was along the same lines as the rest of Musica Excentrica's releases-- really minimal ambient stuff. Oh, how wrong I was. I dragged it out last night and "Pools of Goliath" came on. WOW. Old-school industrial (think SPK here, not Skinny Puppy) vocals against looped harshness reminiscent of the pure industrial acts of the seventies and eighties (NON, Einsturzende Neubauten, etc.). Fantastic.
15. Indian Jewelry, Free Gold! (Lovepump United). Pink Floyd on megadoses of acid-laced Ecstasy with a ketamine chaser, and oh, my, is it delicious, just like every other album Indian Jewelry have released in their relatively brief career. This one is a little less dissonant than their previous albums, which to my ear makes it a little less fun, but Indian Jewelry are still one of the best bands working in America today.
14. Jason Zeh, Heraclitus (C.I.P.). Former n-tron frontman Zeh has got himself new home-built instruments and tweakers, and produces sounds reminiscent of the early days of Merzbow, but with a dark ambient feel.
13. Korperschwache, The Healing Power of Paranoia (Cut Hands). Autodidact side project Korperschwache, founded ten years ago, has turned out to be bigger than the band that spawned it. Gargantuan guitar drone (along the lines of Sunn 0))), Khanate, Boris, etc.) with a decidedly anti-Christian bent.
12. Ballboy, I Worked on the Ships (Pony Proof). At first, I Worked on the Ships sounds like every other neo-shoegazer band you've ever heard (that all sound like all the old shoegaze bands you've ever heard-- Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, blah blah blah). Then you start listening to the lyrics, which are out-and-out fucking hysterical, and are far more appropriate for a powerelectronics or death metal album than these pretty little melodies. Established Ballboy fans (I'd never heard of them before) say this album sounds like everything else they've done. I have no idea. I just know it's awesome.
11. 404_Error, Flickerman (Coffee Hut). If you don't know about the 8-bit music revolution, this album will have totally passed you by-- and you'll probably listen to it and wonder what the hell these kids were on.
10. Aborted, Strychnine.213 (Century Media). More melodic than their earlier efforts, but still DOOM DOOM DOOM. This is what power violence should've been. (Do I detect a touch of Man Is the Bastard influence in there...?)
9. Robedoor, Shrine to the Possessor (Music Fellowship). The endlessly prolific Robedoor released ten(!) albums in 2008, as well as the amazing collaboration with Pocahaunted (below). Shrine to the Possessor is the best of them, I think, blissed out and drony but still savage.
8. Boris/Merzbow, Rock Dream (Southern Lord). I'm cheating a bit, as this first came out in 2007, but SL did themselves proud with this three-disc reissue of the fifth collaboration between noise god Merzbow and freakout-drone bad boys Boris.
7. Martin Bladh and Bo I Cavefors, Three Studies for a Crucifixion (Firework Edition). Bladh has been haunting the edges of the ambient/industrial movement for years now, but didn't release a full-length until 2005's Umbilical Cords. The three years since have seen a frenzy of activity, with this being those second-most-recent release (I'm desperately trying to hunt down the newest, Dirge: The Peter Sotos Files). Thick, almost cloying ambient, with that touch of nasty industrial dirge that marked the recordings of such long-dead stalwarts of the genre as Mauthausen Orchestra, Metgumbnerbone, and Maurizio Bianchi.
6. Sikhara, Anduni (URCK). Far too few drum recordings these days, and Sikhara have been blazing the way for ten years. The new album, based extensively on Armenian folk opera, is another step forward in the band's evolution.
5. Robedoor/Pocahaunted, Hunted Gathering (Not Not Fun). One of the members of drone/ambient kids Robedoor and one of the members of psych-rock kids Pocahaunted are married, so this was a pretty obvious collaboration. As one would expect, it's psychedelic drone, but it's a lot more Robedoor than it is Pocahaunted. Still, since I love both, it's a natural.
4. Merzbow, Tombo (Fellacoustic Records). The master releases his first analog album in nine years (since 1999's Springharp), as usual on a hot new label looking to make a name for itself. If you know Merzbow, you know what to expect from this one-- loud, chaotic, looped layers of sound that will throw you up against the wall and slap you around.
3. Burning Star Core/Prurient, Ghosts of Niagara (Hospital Productions). A limited edition of 100, priced at $100 apiece, in order to raise money for the expansion of the Hospital Productions store in Cleveland. But this is not the "I just threw something together" fundraiser, as one should expect from the brilliant C. Spencer Yeh (BSC) and Dominick Fernow (Prurient). Sounds nothing like either band, which is quite a surprise. Twenty tracks of deep, meditative ambient, field recordings, and the like. It's sold out-- a friend of mine got the very last one while I was standing next to him-- but is easily findable at various torrent sites, and is a must-own.
2. Robert Turman/Aaron Dilloway, Untitled (Hanson). Great atmospheric noise. Solo from Turman on one side, and a collaboration between the two on the other. (Turman's solo side is the trumpet thing.) The cassette is great, but you have to hear it live to get the full effect.
1. Prurient, Time Began in a Garden (Hospital Productions) When I saw Dom in August, as I was buying this, he told me that this was a new Prurient, and indeed it is. Older Prurient releases are brutal powerelectronics, and they're brilliant. This, on the other hand, is low-end noise, growling and ominous. But still brilliant. Prurient rules.

message 2: by Robert (new)

Robert Beveridge (xterminal) I guarantee you can get it all on soulseek, since my entire music drive is shared. :)

(Oh, except for the Turman/Dilloway. I haven't hooked a tape player into the computer to record that yet-- I have to dig one up somewhere...)

You can probably find samples of all of it on youtube if you've worked out that flash problem, and probably on many of the bands' myspace pages as well.

message 3: by Robert (new)

Robert Beveridge (xterminal) Vicki Jean wrote: "no, the flash problem has not gone away. I need time during the week to get it up to the computer store. I should have gone yesterday, I didn't even check to see if they were open. "

Can you at least stream audio?

Oh, wait... gimme a few hours and I'll have something for ya...

message 4: by Robert (new)

Robert Beveridge (xterminal) Vicki Jean wrote: "yeah I can down load audio, though there are many sites on myspace that say that my Java script is turned off? and I can go no further. "

Well, according to sendspace my current upload has another eight hours to go before I can give you a link, but I tossed a track from each album (in the case of Heraclitus, which is all one long track...) into a ZIP file and am uploading it, so you can have firsthand experience of all of them.

message 5: by Robert (new)

Robert Beveridge (xterminal) Vicki Jean wrote: "oh My, you are the best Robert!"

Got hit with a power outage last night that killed it, so I'm reupping. About an hour to go.

yum... almond roca... I'm a sucker for any kind of toffee.

message 6: by Robert (new)

Robert Beveridge (xterminal) Vicki Jean wrote: "oh My, you are the best Robert!"

And here you go:

message 7: by Monica (new)

Monica you guys are amazing I'll save these lists and broaden my knowledge one day.

message 8: by Robert (new)

Robert Beveridge (xterminal) Vicki Jean wrote: "Got it Robert!
Almond Roca has been made & packaged, ready for the post office to open on Monday!"

Sweet! Just what I need after the holidays, more calories! :D

message 9: by John (new)

John (jilsao) Hmmm, I tried, but couldn't come up with twenty 2008 albums I'd listen to again. Maybe like a dozen?

message 10: by John (new)

John (jilsao) Turns out most of those are actually not from 2008, I'm just behind on my music by a year or two. I'll have to check some dates and get back to you....

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