Saturday, January 03, 2009

Annual Soundtrack

I've been enjoying the "Best Music of 2008" lists that have been popping up all over the web. Cousin Richard put up a good 'un this week too. I didn't get into a lot of the bands with big indie buzz this year, but I thought I'd collect a sort of a playlist representing of some of my favourite music anyway. Most of it was released in '08 or later in '07 and I only got into it this year. I've put in links to the bands, and links to go searching for a song if you want:
Frightened Rabbit -- The Modern Leper
It was late in the year before I stumbled across these guys from the UK, but their album has so many great songs that it really stuck with me. Not particularly challenging, but great pop/rock in the Counting Crows vein.

Alela Diane -- White as Diamonds
This song is technically going to be released in '09 with her new album, but I've loved pretty much everything I heard from her past stuff and this song is greatness...so looking forward to hearing the rest of the album.

Born Ruffians -- Red, Yellow and Blue
I had a hard time getting into much of their other stuff, but this haunting tune keeps popping up in my playlists. Excellent harmonies.

Wintersleep -- Search Party
Love this band. Pretty much everything they put out is fantastic, and the last album took it up a notch. Perfect for people like me who still think Pearl Jam's Ten was a high-water mark.

Matt Mays -- Never Saw it Comin'
This guy should be a star. Smart, intense rock songs that smolders and drives along in your brain. I could have put four or five songs on here as favourites.

The Constantines -- Our Age
I still need to get the newest album, as everything I've heard off of it has been excellent. So looking forward to seeing them later in the year with...

The Weakerthans -- Night Windows
I think I've blogged this one before. This song is beyond genius...so beautiful and warm and perfect, and it would have fit in great on the last album. I still wish I could embrace the new one more. Stoked to see these guys in a few months.

Tokyo Police Club -- Tessellate
Two-and-a-half-minutes of joy for me. The driving bassline that kicks in through the chorus still gives me goosebumps after hundreds of listens. Dire times call for dire faces.

Beck -- Gamma Ray
This album is fantastic, and is not getting less so after a few months of listening. Highly recommended.

Nine Inch Nails -- Discipline
I couldn't really leave NIN off the list considering how much I've enjoyed them this year. This song from the newest album (released free online) was one of four or five of the best (I thought, anyway), and was amazing live.
Instrumental
I've been listening to a lot more instrumental music this year, mostly because it makes better background music while I'm working. It seems like there's a lot of great instrumental stuff coming out lately, too.
Bablicon -- An Orange Moon
Weird, unconventional, abrasive and intense, this isn't the most relaxing background music...but I love it anyway.

A Hawk and a Hacksaw -- Salt Water
Andrew shared this one with me a couple of months ago and it's become a real favourite. The rest of their stuff is cool too, with a neat gypsy vibe.

Clogs -- Pitasi
Hard to describe, but this sorta classical music has really been capturing my imagination lately. Excellent music to have on while doing anything creative online.

Aceyalone & RJD2 -- A Beautiful Mine
I think of this as soundtrack music, but I'm not sure what the genre really is. Chill electronica? I've been listening to lots of this lately, but often just in the background, and haven't paid enough attention to the artists and titles yet.

Amon Tobin -- Slowly
I've liked this stuff for years, but always as an afterthought. I forget about it for a while, then stumble across amazing songs and wonder why I don't get more of it. Same genre as the song above.
There are hundreds of music blogs, and I do follow some of them, but I depend largely on three sources of new music right now. Thanks to them for keeping my collection from getting stale:
  • CBC Radio 3 -- a Canadian treasure, seriously
  • Pop Tarts Suck Toasted -- incredible depth and breadth in posting music with smart commentary
  • motel de moka -- a more recent discovery, with fascinating and eclectic playlists posted regularly. Old songs mixed with new, crossing genres, obscure themes -- great stuff.

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