"Friday the 13th" †by Mike Smith
2008 Was A Year to Forget, But--December was a Month to Remember! Part 3 †by William Moriaty
The Yellow Submarine Chronicles Part Seven: Many Years from Now †by ED Tucker
|THE AUDIO PHILES|
Top 20 Albums of 2008 part 1: #20-11 †by Terence Nuzum
|GROWING UP FANBOY|
The Encyclopedia of Horror Movies †by Chris Woods
A-$$-hole .... This Time Itís 4 Real .... Jagodzinski Likes Mccown .... .... .... .... .... †by Chris Munger
Michael Phelps .... Christian Bleeping Bale .... Movie Notes .... Where's Your Messiah Now? .... Owning History .... Oscar Thoughts .... .... .... My Favorite Films, Part 2... †by Mike Smith
|Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review|
Top 20 Albums of 2008 part 1: #20-11
This year was chock full of promising releases and most of them lived up to it. Others were expected to be either mediocre or suck but actually surprised. This year lacked a decent heavy metal album (sorry Metallica) to make the cut, underground and backpack rap seemed to be in hiding (wasn't Cannibal Ox's long awaited follow up to The Cold Vein supposed to be out?)and the UK is nonexistent this year with the exception of two of its elder statesmen releasing what feels like comebacks. So on with the list......here's 20-11.
20. Fucked Up- The Chemistry of Common Life: Fusing surf punk, hardcore, a tad of shoe gaze and even a couple proggy flute instrumentals this is an epic classic of hardcore. Vocals are harsh and too buried under the music to make heads or tails of without the lyric sheet, so in that way it's typical hardcore, but it's the tsunami of guitar feedback and squall that make this as intense as it is. Fugazi if they wanted to sound like My Bloody Valentine playing The Strawbs' A Grave New World.
19.Mudhoney-The Lucky Ones: There weren't many straight forward rock albums this year worth a damn but veterans of grunge Mudhoney made the one. Preening their obsession with the meat and potatos rock of The Stooges, Mudhoney sounded more grungy here than on any of their 90's output. Mark Arm and company pummeling out sludge riffs with the melodies of 60's Detroit rock isn't anything they haven't been doing since 1989 but here in the age of pro tools rock it sounds damn fresh. There is a sound of youth to this band once again. When we need it most who rescues us from the terror of radio rock? Metallica? Pearl Jam? No..Mudhoney. And the lyrics you ask? "Well, the black light was my baby,And the strobe light was my mind,The past made no sense, the future looks tense, I'm Now!" Hell yeah.
18. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals-Cardinology: For the past four years.. ok scratch that...every since he went solo Ryan Adams has suffered with the Billy Corgan curse. His ego has caused his music to be trashed in the press, indie rock circles,and schoolyards in general. It became you either love him or hate him. I love him. Because he is an idiot alot of the time. Because he can make great records. Because he can make shit records. Because his blogs are the most idiotic high school ramblings this side of Paris Hilton. Mainly though because it makes him like one of us. But if you hate him or you are a fan of him it cannot be denied that this is his best album in that none of the superficial parts of his personality shines through. None of it reeks of excess, scenester posing, or delusions of granduer. It humble and its great. It alt-country and its rock. Its miserable and its happy. Its ambitious and its a failure. So in a way its all the things that have always made up Ryan Adams. This time though he leaves his ego home.
17. The Black Angels-Directions To See A Ghost: Naming your band after one of the Velvet Underground's most avant garde pieces is setting yourself up for a lot. The Black Angels definitely got the walk down. They produce the feedback hum and haze of a thousand shoe gaze bands and come on with the drum thunder like Jon Bonham playing as if his life depended on it. What is this? Its fucking epic is what it is. 60 plus minutes of thumping bass fuzz to the head. Don't think this is all Misty Mountain Hop though. The drumming may blow out your speakers but more like the monotonous machine drumming of CAN's skin man Jaki Liebezeit than Keith Moon. Thoroughly trippy, otherworldly, and dense. "It'll knock the wind outta ya sonny"!
16. Crystal Stilts-Alight of Night: These guys seemingly came out of nowhere with an odd mix of Joy Divison vocals and 60's garage rock melodies all recorded as lo-fi as a demo. Not quite Goth and not quite indie this is somewhere in between. Its laced with lyrics that remind of Peter Murphy's glory days in Bauhaus yet the music and singing is too hushed and restrained to be compared. Like a ghostly version of The Chocolate Watchband.
15. My Morning Jacket-Evil Urges: This record is cool .Bottom line. From the high falsetto vocals that are an homage to Prince to roaring country rock busting out of the barn to honor Neil Young, this album is just flat out on. Though MMJ have been giving us good ones for years now this one is something else. Dropping the banner of indie southern fried rock they dabble in Primus like funk metal on "Highly Suspicious" and pop rock on "I'm Amazed" when they aren't aping the purple one. This album proves that there is more to come from these guys right when a lot of us were about to think they have ran their course. Easily the summer album of the year.
14. TV On The Radio-Dear Science: Not as good as their previous album but a blast of genius none the less. The all African American group minus one is a light in a tunnel of mindless radio rap and hip hop and this is their party album. From eclectic soul dirges like "Crying" to the frantic beat rapping bastard dance punk of "Dancing Choose" and "Golden Age"'s intricate math melodies this album shows that along with My Morning Jackets "Evil Urges" that Prince was the idol of choice for indie rockers this year. And that of course is no bad thing.
13. Drive By Truckers-Brighter Than Creation's Dark: After perfecting their Lynyrd Skynyrd from hell masterpieces, and full on rock record, what could they do next? Well they crafted a album that is finally a country album that also rocks. Guitarist Mike Cooley runs the show this time out with his "down on his luck shoot his in laws but sung as pretty as Willie Nelson" country ballads. He also mixes in some Rolling Stone-esque rockers about his almost threesome with some hot twins or as Cooley sings it "25 cents shy of a slice of the doublemint twins..rock n roll never forgets". Also bassist Shonna Tucker writes and sings a couple that are vocally a mix of Patsy Cline and Chrissy Hynde. Of course the usual songwriter Patterson Hood takes a back seat but he stills delivers his fine doom laden domestic tragedies backed by heavy Crazy Horse riffage. Produced to perfection with the Muscle Shoals soulful sound they have made what is probably their "classic" album.
12. The Dirtbombs-We Have You Surrounded: Mick Collins the coolest black guy in rock has been making kick ass garage rock since he first appeared on the scene in the late 80's with this legendary band The Gories. His next band The Dirtbombs have even superceded that. No one can emulate the explosiveness and urgency of garage rock like Mick. With the Dirtbombs he releases not only albums but sometimes singles only tracks just like in the old days. He says he has a plan to release only so many Dirtbombs albums and then it ends when he's done with what he wants to express on records. This time round he postpones his long awaited bubblegum pop record to make a stark concept garage rocker based on Alan Moore's urban paranoia tale "Leopard Man at C&A". The whole album rocks even harder than any he's done and the cover of the Sparks song "Sherlock Holmes" should play on the radio nonstop in a perfect world.
11. Silver Jews-Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea: Though the band broke up earlier this year they laid to wax their best album yet. Berman sounds happy on this one instead of his usual depressing ex addict persona. The whole thing is a mix and match of styles and melodies that make the record seem like the geeky chess club kid with mood swings. One song is a country ballad, the next a quirky stomp resembling a Pavement tune, and even a bouncy Grateful Dead number,but overall it has a country rock vibe that is reminiscent of mid period Dylan (think New Morning and Planet Waves) but with indie rock sensibility. And of course that sort of Looney Tunes playfulness of Berman's lyrics is there as always. The best song is "Suffering Jukebox" which has Berman's wife on chorus and emulates a haunting honky tonk tune from the 40's as if sung by the ghost of Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. The production is another gem which is soft and warm like old Merle Haggard vinyl. Berman who began his band while struggling with alcohol addiction,which permeated his music, now ends his band with class and a sense of closure.
Next Week: The Top Ten Albums of 2008!
"The Audio Philes" is ©2009 by Terence Nuzum. All graphics (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.