Best of 2008 – Listening

As always, I’m listening to music most of the time I’m home, so here are are few of the recordings from 2008 that have given me the most listening pleasure (no particular order).  I notice that almost all of these picks are from long established artists, even though I do try to listen to new things as well (I wasn’t sold by the chamber pop of Fleet Foxes, for example).

  • David Byrne and Brian Eno – Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.  Solid pop songs with an  open, positive vibe from Byrne.
  • Lucinda Williams – Little Honey.  A rock and roll record that ends with a nice cover of an AC/DC tune to finish things off (“It’s A Long Way to the Top”).
  • Stephen Malkmus & Jicks – Real Emotional Trash.  The band, now with Janet Weiss on drums, likes to jam.

  • Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!  A powerful, funny, subtle recording, perhaps their best.  Unfortunately I was underwhelmed by the band’s appearance in Portland in September, which was instead  loud and sloppy.
  • Wire – Object 47.  The art-punks from 1977 are still going strong.
  • Stereolab – Chemical Chords.  Another long-time band doing good work.
  • Robyn – Robyn.  Pop/dance music from a young Swede.
  • Most fun song:  “Oxford Comma” by Vampire Weekend.

Older stuff that I enjoyed a lot this year:

  • Van Morrison – nearly the entire early seventies catalog.  What a wealth of music!
  • Bob Dylan – Tell Tale Signs.  A grab bag of material that sounded about as cohesive as any of his records.
  • Bryan Ferry – first solo record of covers was an interesting surprise I hadn’t heard before.
  • Flamin Groovies – Teenage Head.  Sounds a lot like the very early Stones, which is not a bad thing.
  • Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner duets.

Best shows (not that I saw very many!):

  • Three from MusicFest NW held in early September in Portland: Battles, Britt Daniel w/Janet Weiss, and Nada Surf.
  • Michael Moore Quintet @ Bimhuis, Amsterdam – Feb 14.
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