January 13, 2009

Top Ten Shows of 2008

Unlike albums which are consistent listen after listen, live shows are consistently changing and nothing is ever the same twice. These were the best shows I saw all year based on my personal experiences. For some these shows may have been better or worse, but these were the ones that stuck out for me.

1. Radiohead - Night One of All Points West - August - New York City
My best friends and I indulged ourselves as we watched my favorite band with the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline glowing behind us. Less than two hours later I said goodbye to my teenage years.

2. Bon Iver - St. Giles In the Fields Church - June - London
During the last week of my semester in England, in an ancient church, at sunset.

3. My Bloody Valentine - Roseland Ballroom - September - New York City
First non-festival U.S. performance in about 16 years.

4. m83 - Webster Hall - November - New York City
Sonic layers at their best.

5. Grizzly Bear - Night One of All Points West - August - New York City
Perfect blend of old goodies and new ones to come.

6. TV on the Radio - Brooklyn Masonic Temple - October - New York City
Killer horns with electric funk and their last hometown show of the year.

7. Battles - London Astoria - May - London
One of the tightest shows, rhythmically, I have ever seen.

8. Fleet Foxes - Webster Hall - October - New York City
White Winter Hymnal into Ragged Wood with Mykonos snuck in at the end.

9. Broken Social Scene - Siren Festival - July - New York City
Before the show I said if they play "7/4 (Shoreline)" it'll make my day. It did.

10. Vampire Weekend - London Astoria - January - London
Two weeks before their debut LP dropped.

January 7, 2009

Top Ten Albums of 2008

Thins got busy in December including school, work, finals, seeing Neil Young, Wilco, and CSS and then the holidays and of course the start of 2009. So in order to kick this year off I'm listing my top 10 albums of 2008.

1. Portishead | Third
Portishead made one of the most daring moves of the year. They could either: return and reclaim their greatness with just replaying all of their old classics or they could attempt to put out their first album in over a decade and hope it matched the brilliance of their previous records. They took the chance and killed all odds. This album touched upon all the greatness that Portishead had left on over a decade ago and went even further. They touched everything from trip-hop on “The Rip” to industrial on “Machine Gun” and finally folkie on “Deep Water”. They took tremendous risks and never looked back, but then again how could you with a voice like that.

2. Fleet Foxes | Fleet Foxes
From the opening harmonies it was hard to deny that this was going to be one of my most listened to records of the year. Everything on it just seemed to flow together so well. The voices are pristine, the rhythms are simple, and the lyrics are touching. It’s folk rock with a southern tinge at it’s finest.

3. TV on the Radio | Dear Science
For the follow up to my favorite album of 2006, TV on the Radio left nothing to chance. Dear Science is everything I love about this band. It’s chopping, crunchy, funky, dissonant and smooth all at the same time. It’s all over the place, but in a concentrated way. They challenge you to listen closely at all they do and they pay the closest attention to detail so why doesn’t the listener?

4. No Age | Nouns
5. Deerhunter | Microcastle
6. M83 | Saturdays = Youth
7. Sigur Rós | Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
8. Beach House | Devotion
9. Vampire Weekend | Vampire Weekend
10. Santogold | Santogold