Monday, December 22, 2008

Favorite and least favorite records of the year

If you need any more shopping suggestions, perhaps you'll consider - and/or reconsider - some of these titles for the music lover in your life.


1) Girl Talk - Feed the Animals (Illegal Art)

(Warning: adult language)
The most fun, surprising record of the year continues DJ Gregg Gillis' streak of putting together new songs from hundreds of old songs. Who else can make people go crazy, tearing their clothes off while dancing to samples of The Band and Metallica, amongst lots and lots of rappers and pop singers?

2) Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)

Proof that there is nothing more necessary than human voices working together to make something beautiful. It's hard to believe that almost no one outside of their hometown knew who they were a year ago.

3) Kasai All-Stars - In the 7th Moon, The Chief Turned Into a Swimming Fish and Ate the Head of His Enemy By Magic (Crammed Discs)

Africa is a continent, governor, and this group makes a sound big enough to fill it from north to south. Their long, trance-inducing grooves should be the definition of "jam" music.

4) Sun Kil Moon - April (Caldo Verde)

Leader Mark Kozelek has been writing great songs for 15 years or so, but hit a new high with this gorgeous collection. (Local note: fan and colleague Will Oldham sings backing vocals on some songs).

5) Lucky Pineapple - The Bubble Has Burst in Sky City (Noise Pollution)

Louisville's most inventive and diverse band, LP continues to evolve with this collection of dark and light pieces that make you think while you're dancing.

6) Los Guachos - Filtros (Sunnyside)

Guillermo Klein's little big band do amazing, weird and wonderful things with jazz, Latin rhythms and other, less identifiable influences.

7) Brothers and Sisters - Fortunately (Calla Lilly)

A strong sophomore collection from this group, who filter their pop and country influences from the '60's and '70's into a gorgeous sound and lyrical point of view all their own.

8) Ron Owen - "Ready Or Not" (self-released)

The most surprising local album of the year came from this older singer-songwriter, whose songs of faith and inspiration are more than worth seeking out. This has been and might still be available at ear x-Tacy, the Unity Church of Middletown bookstore or the Unity of Louisville bookstore, or by contacting him at

9) Department of Eagles - In Ear Park (4AD)

What seems at first to be some obscure grad school project is quickly revealed to be some catchy pop songs surrounded by lovely, heartfelt and yes, artsy trappings.

10) Grupo Fantasma - Sonidos Gold (Aire Sol)

The best and music fun dance group in the Americas and the pride of Austin, Texas, this bunch brings their tropical roots up to date and unites the generations and races through some expertly executed rhythms, riffs and grooves.


Discussing these isn't really worth my time or yours. If you disagree with me, then just listen to them again. You'll hear how bad they are, sooner or later. Seriously.

1) Metallica - Death Magnetic (Elektra)

2) Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend (XL)

3) Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea (Drag City)

4) Jewel - Perfectly Clear (Valory)

5) James Taylor - Covers (Hear Music)

6) G. Love & Special Sauce - Superhero Brother (Republic)

7) James McMurtry - Just Us Kids (Lightning Rod)

8) John Hiatt - Same Old Man (New West)

9) Brightblack Morning Light - Motion To Rejoin (Matador)

10) The Black Kids - Partie Traumatic (Columbia)

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