Jun 25, 2008

2008; A Look Back; A Reflection; Or Why Wolf Parade Have My Heart On A Platter...

Oh, Wolf Parade, you had me at Soldier's Grin. How does a band come to exist so perfectly? Truly, they have perfected the art of the rock song and 2008 belongs to them and no one else. They manage in each and every song to make me feel excited and rewarded. This year has existed of counting down the days until their second album was released and I am pleased to say that "At Mount Zoomer" is an unqualified success. In a world of often banal music this Montreal band manage to make music that crashes your eardrums and wraps a warm blanket around your heart. Besides their musical talent, the thing that I love about them is that they reek cool. But not in a 'Look at me, aren't I great' kind of way, but in a 'we do what we do and don't really care if you like it or not' kind of way. I mean, they don't have a website or a producer, they regard their music highly and shun any form of hype or hysteria. To me, they represent everything that is great about music.

Well, having said that, there has been much to enjoy in 2008. In the live music arena, we experienced a run of shows from January to March that we are unlikely to ever see again. It seemed that every night a great band was coming to our town. I will give a full list of my top shows at the end of the year, but right now my top three shows have been Explosions In The Sky, Okkervil River and Arcade Fire. And it will take something other worldly to top that band from Austin, Texas. As far as albums go, I would say that 2007 was an overall better year than what 2008 has dished up. A couple of bands have produced disappointing albums, such as My Morning Jacket, but there have been great discoveries, such as The Dodos. So, to be brief I have listed my top ten albums so far. At the end of the year, I will produce a top 50. Yes, I did say top 50, I just like to make lists. Also I will list some albums that I am looking forward to in the coming months.

Top Ten Albums of 2008 (So Far)
1-At Mount Zoomer-Wolf Parade
I think I like this band. No, really. This album just gets better and better with every listen. More ambitious and grand then their first, it is the sound of a band reaching for the stars and then landing in another universe.
2-Visiter-The Dodos
Six months ago I hadn't heard of this band. Now I can't get enough of them. Simple song structure, but played with such excitement and joy, that these songs become second nature to you.
3-Trouble In Dreams-Destroyer
Has Dan Bejar ever written a bad song? One of the supreme songwriters of our time returns with another collection of startlingly good songs. I love Dan.
4-Arm's Way-Islands
THE dramatic album of 2008. An epic kaleidoscope of sound. Songs that bend, but never break. A truly unique statement.
5-Fleet Foxes-Fleet Foxes
Universally acclaimed and rightly so. Just a beautiful tapestry of melody and harmony. Vocals that never quit and music set to become timeless.
6-The Midnight Organ Fight-Frightened Rabbit
A clear and honest portrayal of human frailty. Achingly honest lyrics combine with hummable melodies make for a winning combination. And that Scottish brogue gets me every time.
7-Red, Yellow and Blue-Born Ruffians
This album is just fun with a capital F. I never tire of its infectious melodies and poppy rhythms. Any time of day this album will make me smile.
8-Lie Down In The Light-Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
On each and every day on Earth we should all be grateful that Will Oldham walks amongst us. The man is an icon and just a superb writer. This album just solidifies his reputation.
9-Parc Avenue-Plants And Animals
The only album on this list that I haven't fully reviewed. Why? Because I only just realised how great this album is. It just snuck up on me. A rich and varied album, full of delights and wonders. Damn those Montreal bands.
10-Langhorne Slim-Langhorne Slim
Langhorne makes me smile. End of story.

Five honorable mentions
Heretic Pride-The Mountain Goats
For Emma, Forever Ago-Bon Iver
Street Horsssing-Fuck Buttons

Songs that I have loved
Language City-Wolf Parade
White Winter Hymnal-Fleet Foxes
Fools-The Dodos
Foam Hands-Destroyer
Leviathan, Bound-Shearwater
The Modern Leper-Frightened Rabbit

Things to Look Forward to in the Coming Months
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson-Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
Stay Positive-The Hold Steady
Something For All Of Us...-Brendan Canning
Fate-Dr Dog
Conor Oberst-Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band
You & Me-The Walkmen
The Stand Ins-Okkervil River
Soft Airplane-Chad VanGaalen
Carried to Dust-Calexico
The Hawk Is Howling-Mogwai


  • At July 02, 2008 , Anonymous dave said...

    Hey Wayne - always good to read your lists. i might have to make Wolf Parade my next band to check out. What's the best album?

    Loving Destroyer. Foam Hands is good but my fave on the album is Shooting Rockets. 'A chorus is a thing that bears repeating' - funny! (esp in a song with no chorus)

  • At July 02, 2008 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Thanks Dave.
    Ah, Wolf Parade, a band I can't imagine not being in my life now. Well, they only have two albums. The new one, and 2005's "Apologies to the Queen Mary" which is quite frankly a masterpiece of melodic indie rock. I would try that and then the new one. Both are equally great and I can recommend both highly.

    Yes to Shooting Rockets too. An epic song. I can recommend his previous album "Destroyer's Rubies" if you wish to explore the world of Dan Bejar further.

  • At July 03, 2008 , Blogger Bill said...

    Great list. I forgot all about Islands -- don't know how I missed it on my list. Great words about Wolf Parade. Couldn't agree any more of course. I haven't checked out the The Dodos enough to make a verdict, so I think I'll do that.


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