Friday, 12 December 2008

Ein paar vergessene Lieder

I listened to NPR's All Song Considered Podcast, an episode dedicated to a review of 2008, featuring among others Carrie Brownstein. And what could be cooler than hearing about one of your favourite artist's favourite songs and bands and surprises of the year? I already wrote about my favourite records of the year, but I realized something: this was actually a year of songs, not of albums. Naturally, my list differs from most of those flying around in the blogs these days since I put Austrian artist Gustav on top, simply because "Verlass die Stadt" is one of those records I can listen to from beginning to end without wanting to skip a single song. The two records of well established artists I liked this year, "Third" by Portishead and "Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!" (The disturbing "Machine Gun" and the title track of the Nick Cave record) provided outstanding, great singles, and a couple of songs I probably wouldn't want to listen to regularly after the year ends. The Mountain Goat's "Heretic Pride" was excellent and maybe their best new record since my favourite 2002 release "All Hail West Texas", but mostly for two songs: "In the Craters of the Moon" and "Lovecraft in Brooklyn".
The same applies to some of the other things I enjoyed this year: I like songs on the "A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night" by Love is All and "HLLLYH" by The Mae Shi, but getting through the entire record at once is something I find difficult (despite the fact that the latter is a concept record with a theme). "Extraordinary Rendition" by Rupa and the April Fishes is one of those really nice and easy records you can share with your friends.
Then, there is a number of singers I only discovered this year: Scary Mansion probably stands out most, "Every Joke Is Half The Truth" is the record I expected Cat Power to make in 2006 and it has a number of really haunting songs, especially "Sorry We Took All Your Money", but this is probably the record coming closest to perfection. Alina Simone released "Everyone Is Crying Out To Me, Beware", Frida Hyvönen put out a follow-up record to "Until Death Comes" called "Silence is Wild", I discovered Jessica Lea Mayfield. Jennifer O'Connor's "Always In Your Mind" is one of the most beautiful songs (on "Here With Me") this year, which also came with a heartbreakingly precise video. Kaki King is always amazing and "Dreaming of Revenge" is no exception.
Some of the records released by artists I just always come back to were good as well, but nothing really stands out. Ben Fold's "Way To Normal" was forgettable except for "You Don't Know Me" featuring Regina Spektor, which, as I mentioned, reminded me of "Dr Horrible" (the best soundtrack of the year, by the way). I didn't really like the new Monochrome record "Cache" which is why I never mentioned it. Psapp's "The Camel's Back" had a video reminiscent of "Happy Tree Friend" ("The Monster Song") but I'll probably not come back to it too often. Calexico's "Carried to Dust" was good, once again probably the best release since 2002's "A Feast of Wire", but this wasn't the year in which I enjoyed this kind of music. The new Breeders record "Mountain Battles" was kind of disappointing and doesn't show up on anyone's list, and the new The Kills ("Midnight Boom") and Sons and Daughters ("This Gift") didn't really live up to the previous ones.

Some records I have passed over because I did not have the time to do them justice: Juana Molina's "Un Dia", Joan As Police Woman's "To Survive", "Still No1" by Slut, the new Aimee Mann, Adam Green, Ani DiFranco, Lambchop, Travis, Tilly and the Wall (I would argue that the Mates of State release "Re-Arrange Us" is probably the better "O") records.

But now, a couple of songs I have passed over. The above mentioned podcast reminded me of the fact that despite the fact that I've listened to a lot of music this year, I ignored many bands other people found especially exciting this year. It confirmed some of the decisions I made (like, MGMT and Vampire Weekend, I don't know, I like catchy but I have limits). But I can't deny that I like the Fleet Foxes song played in the show, and the single from the new TV on the Radio is also amazing, although I don't really get the other songs on the album.

Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal (auf "Fleet Foxes")

TV on the Radio - Halfway Home (auf "Dear Science,")

Now, just a couple of things that I can't share because, well, there are no videos on YouTube and the available live versions don't do them justice. The first song is from Conor Oberst's first official solo release (there is one circulating on the internet from when he was, like, 15). It's called "I Don't Want To Die (In the Hospital)" and at the end of the song, he sings the word "moon" and you'd swear it's Bob Dylan. I had troubles getting through the whole record just as I didn't enjoy Bright Eyes' "Digital Ash" and "Cassadaga", but this song is outstanding.
Blitzen Trapper is a band from Portland, Oregon. My favourite song on "Furr" is called "God and Suicide", but since it's not available, here comes on of the runner-ups: the title track, with really disturbing lyrics, performed live at the Conan O'Brien show.

Final Fantasy didn't release a full-length record but an EP titled "Spectrum, 14th Century". The outstanding song among the five is "Oh Spectrum" which sounds like Danny Elfman wrote it. At least here I can hope for more - the "Thieves EP" by The Organ merely collected a band that seems to have fallen apart violently and professionally recorded the material that was still floating around to provide closure. And that's it - a great band with a limited number of songs which I all enjoy ending with one of my favourites, "Oh What A Feeling".

No comments: