Hey, I agreed that Bon Iver recorded a good album, but I don’t know if I agree with the way that everyone has been gushing about it. Just about every music blog that I read has to mention him somewhere in their Best of 2008 posts. If recording something in the middle of a bitter Wisconsin winter is all it takes (because that is the one consistent point that all reviewers bring up) then I’ll plug the mic in tonight – it’s well below zero degrees – and you can tell me where to get in line. But instead of being a grump about it and taking out a long, frustrating day on poor Bon Iver (it really is a good album) I’m going to make my own Best of 2008 list. This is based on my very limited exposure to pop and indie culture (compared to the real music bloggers, anyway) and is really just reflective of my own personal experience with music this year. So if that kind of thing interests you, read on!
Deep breath, here goes (in order remembered, no special hierarchy).
1. Jenny Lewis at Epiphany Church | Chicago, Illinois | September 19, 2008 – This show was partly great because of the adventure that surrounded it, but it was mostly great because Jenny Lewis is great. I’ll say this item on the list also includes the release of Acid Tongue, but we heard the live versions of all the songs first and the album was a tiny bit pale in comparison (just a tiny bit). This show also gave my my first taste of new favorite drummer, Barbara Gruska. …stay for the breakdown!
2. Tegan and Sara at State Theater | Minneapolis, Minnesota | October 11, 2008 – Half the fun of this show, as I said in my original “review” was how funny these girls are! The grow-to-love-it Twin-Rock was pretty great too, I mean, that’s the thing that gets you there. Lots of songs from The Con which I love.
3. The Art Table Reunion Show at The Eagles Club | Green Bay, Wisconsin | September 20, 2008
– A year in the making, The Art Table finally got together to make gentle the masses still quaking with mourning. This was a fun show, if a bit rough (my crash cymbal stand was stripped and just about useless) and we played a few new songs inluding Door Mat and Break Up River which will possibly someday be recorded. There is some video from this show that I almost forgot about, which I will put up when I get a chance.
The piggy-back to this item is The Art Table mini-show, when Holly and I played a couple songs at Kristin and Nathan’s wedding at The Train Museum. We both had shiny happy fits of rage…
4. The return of purchasing CDs (forget you, iTunes! I want album art!) Some of my buys in 2008 included: Jeff Hanson – Madame Owl | Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs | Bon Iver – For Emma Forever Ago | Nedelle – From the Lion’s Mouth |Dear Nora – 3 States | The Welcome Wagon – Welcome to the Welcome Wagon | Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue. I would recommend all of them (although I haven’t actually received the Dear Nora discs yet, I pre-recommend them.) This can also include my list of albums on backorder, The Dears – Missiles | TV on the Radio – Dear Science | She & Him – Volume One | Nicole Atkins – Neptune City.
5. Discovery of old Elliott Smith bootleg. Increasing love for Quasi.
6. Growing bored of Mates of State, Tilly and the Wall, and Rilo Kiley. I think this is a significant corner being turned in my musical taste, personally. Of course it could turn right back just as easily (I’ve been known to fall in and out of love) but for right now the power-pop is a little more grating than it is fun. Performances like this do not help their case:
Granted I never picked up MoS or TatW’s new albums, and only “acquired” Rilo Kiley’s disappointing Under the Black Light, but the point isn’t that they aren’t still good bands, just that I have started losing interest in them. It’s not you, it’s me. Speaking of, check out Milwaukee’s own, our friend Mike Mangione! (I think we saw him at The Cup at some point in 2008, so he can legitimately be on this list)
7. Threatening to grow bored of Sufjan Stevens… (also here) Of course I will never really give up on Sufjan Stevens, but we had been getting a little antsy for some sign of life. This was before I knew anything of The Welcome Wagon, though, whose debut Sufjan was busy producing. Yay, Sufjan!
8. The Welcome Wagon – Welcome to the Welcome Wagon – I really do love this. I’ve posted enough links to this band by now, but since this IS my exhaustive year-end list I’ll post it just once more. It’s gospel music!
9. Seeing a free Ra Ra Riot show at The Union | Madison, Wisconsin | I don’t even remember the date. This just kind of fell into our laps, we had never heard of the band, it was before their ship had taken sail, or at least before The Rhumb Line was released. It was awesome. It was totals fun. The Virgins opened.
10. Handel’s Messiah at Christ Presbyterian | Madison, Wisconsin | December 14, 2008. NOT just because I needed to find a number 10, this really was great! I’ve always loved the music at this church, and this performance came at a time when I really needed an angel choir to shout praises in my ear. It’s Advent, y’all! But ah, I didn’t bring my video camera, so watch some other folks perform it!
Oh, there is one other thing that will make this list (I guess at top 11) but it’s not ready to go up here yet. Stay tuned.