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Best music of 2008 so far


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Did your GF's bro enjoy himself?

A few of my friends went and said it was an utter shambles. Dangerously packed- to the point of people being crushed, and full of tossers.

Glad I gave it a miss !

At 18 years of age and out there with all his mates, I'm sure he loved it. In fact, I'm told he really loved it, and that he didn't leave the Ed Banger-centric Orange Room once (he and his mates are massive Ed Banger fan boys, apparently). From what I heard straight from the horse's mouth, however, yeah, the place was rowdy and full of wanks. Any British attendees were being met with hostility galore, and some crazy German dudes almost battered him and his mates, and stole some posters off them that they'd managed to tear off walls. Sounds minging, but at 18 I'm sure the novelty of being intimidated by mad krauts is exhilarating.

It was also apparently a MAJOR sausage fest. I'd be disappointed to hit a big sweaty event on the continent and not be greeted by exotic swinging tit, ya know?

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Hehe. That all sounds about right. I love Ed Banger as well, but a lot of the rest was a bit too banging straight-up-techno for me.

Unfortunately it seems like almost any non mainstream musical event is a sausage fest. I'm not trying to create/reinforce any stereotypes here but the evidence is pretty clear. As soon as you get on the live music/clubbing scene in ANY non-mainstream genre, you're going to see a massive male:female ratio shift towards blokes. I'm not sure why it is - blokes tend to be more obsessive about their hobbies in general perhaps?

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Mine, in no order. Will probably change.

British Sea Power - Do you like rock music.

Lightspeed Champion - Falling of the Lavender Bridge

Hold Steady - Stay Positive

Elbow - The seldom seen kid

Coldplay - Viva la vida

Feeder - Silent Cry

Friendly Fires

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Had a quick scan through the iTunes there, only to discover that I haven't even got 10 albums from this year :wub:

I'm sitting on 9, with one more downloaded just. So, this isn't so much as "my best of 2008" as it is "The Only Shit I Got in 2008."

These are:

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Hot Chip - Made In The Dark

Really good, completley solid wee album. Brilliant synth-pop moments and some sweet wee ballads. It's funny - at the time I was initially surprised (gutted?) at how many ballads were on there, but over the course of the year, they're probably the tunes that have stuck with me. During listens, the sweet electro pop wins, but away from the album, it's the ballads that stick in the mind. 7/10. Shake A Fist

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Sebastien Tellier - Sexuality

Just flipping BRILLIANT. Amazing, minimal, moody, atmospheric, cheery, smooth, cheesy and everything. Big Seb's a real weird dude, as are his songs, but the Guy-Man Homem De Christo production puts all that genius through an added genius machine and the whole shit comes out with an almighty bleep that splits the sky. The synth melodies in this, the tight, crispy drums, and the sleazy falsetto singing completely destroy me. 9/10. Sexual Sportswear

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Hercules And Love Affair

Just mad poofed-out. INCREDIBLE production. It's all bongotronics, disco strings, triumphant brass and yet more super synths. It's the type of shit I imagine they'd have played back in the day, up in that Studio 54. Total disco/house sparkliness. Yaaaas, 8/10. Hercules' Theme

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Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War

Really disappointed at the complete lack of this appearing in any list I've read so far. I'm sure Pitchfork will set it straight with a dodgy little nod in the mid-40s, however. It's amazing. Roy Ayers, Madlib, Karreim Riggins, 9th Wonder and Sa-Ra Creative Partners did the production, taking it back to an acid-fuelled, dust-smoking 70s psychedelic blaxploitation style. She's schizophrenic, militant, political and poignant all over the shop. 9/10. Honey

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Neon Neon - Stainless Steel

Good collection of synth-pop parodies, with a shit-hot concept (life and times of the Delorean dude). Loads of good tunes and sounds. A bit silly and shallow, however. Will probs not stand the test of time. I put it up there with, like, a Gorillaz album or something. It was fun at the time, though. 6.5/10. I Told Her On Alderaan

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The Roots - Rising Down

Some total bangers as they took a pure class, dirty, synthed-out, dark and angry approach to their tunes, but too much skippable filler in there. I only really flicked through about 2 or 3 tunes that I really liked, so I got to admit to not giving it much attention. It's likely to be a grower, like all of their stuff. But, yeah... it's only getting 6/10, though it does feature my #1 hip-hop track of the year. Get Busy

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Kool Keith - Dr Dooom 2

Kut Masta Kurt supplies the dramatic horror b-movie soundtrack, while Keith raps about wiping his ass on your hat. 6.5/10. Simon (a motherfucking SIMON COWELL diss-track)

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Madlib - WLIB AM: King Of The Wigflip

Fucking shitloads of tunes on this one, with Madlib trying out all his different styles. He's got some brilliant neo-soul/R'n'B tunes, stoned-out mystical tunes, filthy bangers from the gutter and bizarr-O sci-fi synth shit. It's excellent. 8/10. Parklight

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Q-Tip - The Renaissance

I've already said too much about this album. It sounds like A Tribe Called Quest morphed into Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Prince and Can. 9.5/10. Jonny Is Dead

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Grace Jones - Hurricane

It sounds like cyberpunk reggae about robots and The Matrix and shit. It's NUTS. The production actually blows minds, while the lyrics are like some hilarious pretentious art shit. Eno, Sly and Robbie have made full sci-fi terrains completely out of sound. Like I said at the time, it's got a really dark and dubby sound. It reminds me of Mezzanine-era Massive Attack and Rhythm & Stealth Leftfield. 8/10. Corporate Cannibal

That's pretty much everything I've checked.

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The following list is all the other albums I really want to get, but haven't yet:

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I still need to check the whole Kanye West album, which I'm now expecting to love like my CHILD.

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Common's got a new one out this month too. It's called Universal Mind Control, which is a really fucking cool, Afrika Bambaataa electro style title. It's gonna be mostly produced by The Neptunes, with a proper slant on exploring electro sounds. STOP IT, DADDY. I've read that he's dumbed-down a lot of his lyrics, unfortunately, but I'm more psyched about The Neptunes sound just now than I am with Common rapping about sanctimonious smoothness. He's been needing to give it a rest.

And, yeah... Other albums I've been meaning to check:

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the Crystal Castles album

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the Heartbreak album - sorta 80s-out electro synth pop stuff

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the new one by Black Milk (called Tronic) - he's apparently gone all vocoded and synthesised. What with him being a Dilla protege, I have high hopes for Tronic being to Black Milk what Ruff Draft was to Dilla. It's guaranteed awesome.

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Product of the 80s by Prodigy (the Mobb Deep rapper). He's got so many brilliant producers to give him a bunch of minimal, no thrills burners. It's totally inspired by Giorgio Moroder's Scarface score. Supposed to be coked out of its box. He's a paranoid fucking mess and in jail. I LOVE him :wub: Just check out this banger: Cold World B)

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The Lindstrom album, Where You Go I Go Too. I actually streamed this back to back loads at the time of release and really love it. I'd put it in my top 10 albums of the year for sure. Totally epic disco, though that word sells it way short. You all listened to it yourselves, though. It was amazing.

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I've Got My Eye On You by Syclops. It's a totally weirdo synth-funk oddity produced by the house dude Maurice Fulton. It's ultra-secretive and pretentious, but from what I heard it blows minds. Reminded me of Liquid Liquid. It's on DFA, but unfortunately I can't find a single Youtube of it. See if you can download a song called 'Where's Jason's K' - totally amazing.

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Eine Kleine Nacht Musik, which is a side-project of Riton. It's like a modern piece of dance music inspired and molded 100% by krautrock. Everything I've heard from it has been EPIC. Totally immense production.

PS - If we were including EPs in this thread (which we're not, seeing as I'm an album nazi), then the Cool Kids would have made my list with The Bake Sale EP:

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These dudes are the best new hip-hop act I've heard this year. They sound like Rick Rubin-era Def Jam, with a spacey Neptunes twist. Just big fuck-off drums and stabs in the production, basically, with funny, nerdy lyrics about Street Fighter and hi-tops. Boys after my own heart.

'88

EDIT - If I had to rank my favourite albums in order, it'd probably look like this. I'd throw in that Lindstrom album, which bumps out Dr Dooom 2, even though I don't own it. In fact, I don't even own Dr Dooom 2, so... cool.

1. Q-Tip - The Renaissance

2. Sebastien Tellier - Sexuality

3. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War

4. Lindstrom - Where You Go I Go Too

5. Hercules And Love Affair

6. Grace Jones - Hurricane

7. Madlib - WLIB AM: King Of The Wigflip

8. Hot Chip - Made In The Dark

9. Neon Neon - Stainless Steel

10. The Roots - Rising Down

Kinda fucked up. That bottom 3 probs wouldn't have gotten anywhere near previous Top Ten Albums of the Year that I've come up with.

Like I said, though, there are still 4 or 5 albums I'm destined to love that I've not actually heard yet. I can see me revising the list somewhere down the line.

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You know what, I could probably pimp further some credible tracks I've been done pimping this year, but on a pop tip seeing as I listen to my fair share in the office, that Take That track that's all over the shop at the moment is one catchy arse record. Also 'Spotlight' by Jennifer Hudson is just fucking brilliant.

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Here is my round up for 2008. I listened to (and enjoyed) far more old music than new but it was still a good year I think. First up some info on my choices for the 'Best Albums of 2008' thread:

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01 - Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling

I thought this was amazing, listened to it so many times and never got bored of it. I loved his first album and so I was equally excited/nervous about how the second one would turn out. Much more weird and wonderful that his debut but it still sounds unique and so obviously Kelley Polar. Love it from the opening vocoder of 'A Feeling of the All-Thing' to the closing strings of 'In Paradisum' with so many great tracks and little moments in between.

Stream on Last.fm

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02 - Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours

Another I love from start to finish. A great mix of guitars, drums, synths, vocals and effects with catchy hooks, great melodies and spine tingling moments a-plenty. Numerous tracks slap a massive grin on my face with every listen. Stand-out tracks include 'Out There On The Ice', 'So Haunted', 'Far Away' and the best sax solo of 2008 award winning 'Hearts on Fire'.

Stream on Last.fm

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03 - Morgan Geist - Double Night Time

More synth based songs from the studio perfectionist Morgan Geist (of Metro Area) featuring vocals from Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan. Beautiful sounds, wonderfully arranged. Hard to pick highlights when all 9 tracks are great. Try the synth pop of 'The Shore', the disco of 'Most Of All', the lazy groove of 'Ruthless City' and the cosmic instrumental 'Palace Life'.

Stream on Last.fm

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04 - Lindstrom - Where You Go I Go Too

Epic. Progressive. Cosmic. Synth! WYGIGT sounds like nothing anybody else has put out recently. It probably has more in common with the music of old to be honest - the early synth pioneers, krautrock and the more electronic end of the disco spectrum. But Lindstrom takes these ideas and rather than ripping them off or poorly imitating them, he expands them; weaving their influences into his own unique style of music. The mid section of 'The Long Way Home' is just pure bliss.

Stream 'The Long Way Home (Prins Thomas Edit) on RCRD LBL

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05 - Sebastien Tellier - Sexuality

Yet more excellently produced synth-pop stuff. Sexy and sleazy; and often cheesey. I dare you not to love the thick synth funk of 'Kilometer'. Other highlights include the slow grind of 'Pomme' and 'Une Heure' and the epic layers of arpeggio's on 'Sexual Sportswear' and the almost annoyingly catchy 'Manty'.

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06 - Jamie Lidell - Jim

I enjoyed about half of his previous album but felt that it was spoilt by the inclusion of some really weak tracks. 'Jim' rectifies this with a whole album of goodness. The guy's got a great voice and a soulful sound that I really dig. How about this for a feel good album opener: 'Another Day' - if that doesn't put you in a good mood you must be dead inside! My other two favourite tracks are 'Figured Me Out', which makes me wanna dance across the room every time I hear it - funky beat, great chord progressions, a swinging chorus and even a sweet little synth solo! Things are a bit smoother on 'Green Light' but again, lovely chords and little melody hooks and a great vocal delivery.

This has taken longer than I expected so more later, including might have beens plus top singles and other random tunes....

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The new Portishead, Gang Gang Dance, Madlib, Deerhunter, Boris and Nick Cave albums were all good/great.

I don't know how much else I've heard from this year (that I've liked anyway).

I need to pick up Offend Maggie, the new Bonnie Prince Billy, and a few others.

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A few albums I've picked up since these lists reminded of releases are Crystal Castles, No Age and The Bug, which I don't think will affect my own top 10 list. But I've now got Black Mountians - In The Future, and I'm absolutely in love with it. I really liked their previous album, but because I missed on getting the latest album as the limited edition 2 disker because I couldn't find it for a decent price at release, then forgot about it. Regretting that now. This is an epic album.

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My album of the year is this:

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Todd Rundgren - Arena

An album so good he could tour with it and play it in its entirety live - Bardo

Bringing up the rear is

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Right up my street. An eccentric band with great tunes and the luxury of having two brilliant singers, one of whom is tapping into the same leylines that Billy Mackenzie drank freely from.

The Devil's Crayon

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Bringing up the rear is

Right up my street. An eccentric band with great tunes and the luxury of having two brilliant singers, one of whom is tapping into the same leylines that Billy Mackenzie drank freely from.

The Devil's Crayon

I've given up on finding someone even a tiny bit as good as Billy Mackenzie - his "Outernational" is the greatest lost album of all time - but I'll give these guys a go...

EDIT: Ordered on the strength of that clip. Beautiful...

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This has taken longer than I expected so more later, including might have beens plus top singles and other random tunes....

My previous post covered the best albums but these were all very good too.

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Quiet Village - Silent Movie

I was quick to dismiss this when it came out in the summer. I'd loved most of the tracks they had put out on 12" but on a first listen I found the album to be slow and dull. And so it sat in the overflowing 'UNSORTED' folder on my hard drive for months until I noticed a large number of people on the DJ History forums naming it as their album of the year. The beards over there aren't always right but I thought it was about time I checked out the album again with new ears. Turns out it was actually a really nice selection of downtempo grooves and psychedelic funk, albeit borrowed from somebody elses old record(s).

Stream selected tracks on the Quiet Village microsite

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Q-Tip - The Renaissance

I've not had this long but it's clearly a great album. More time with it may have led to it being in the previous post of 2008's 'great' albums rather than this section of merely 'very good' ones. There are still a couple of tracks I've not fully warmed to yet but there is certainly no bad tracks to worry about. Q-Tip is sounding great as ever with that perfect combination of interesting, well delivered lyrics and funky, catchy beats. Looking forward to hearing it next summer already.

Stream the album on last.fm

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Ezekiel Honig - Surfaces of a Broken Marching Band

This is some late night mood music, which for me works best at a low volume; heard only in the background. Everyday sounds are decontructed and reconstructed and mixed with organic and electronic instruments, overlaying the soft rhythmic patterns. Reminds me of Loop-Finding-Jazz-Records by Jan Jelinek and Le Fumeur de Ciel by Julien Neto; two of my favourite albums. Real minimal music, minus the techno.

Stream the album at Anticipate Recordings

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Midnight Juggernauts - Dystopia

Probably the second best electro/indie mix-up of the year after Cut Copy. It opens with the big trio of Ending of an Era, Into the Galaxy and Shadows and doesn't tail off too badly. It's a track too long for my liking (Nine Lives would be the one I'd drop) but you can't argue with the quality of the production or the variety in the songs.

Stream the album on last.fm

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Twilight Moose - Embrace The Loneliness

More old school electro/ambient/soundtrack stuff from Legowelt on his own Strange Life Records. Feels more like a collection of tracks than a proper album (it possibly is) and so although most of them are good it does drag a little. Still, nobody else is really putting out this kind of stuff as far as I know and it's nice to support the guy's doing their own (deep and hypnotic) thing.

Stream album clips from the Strange Life Shop

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