2008 was a different year for me in music.
It was the first year when all of my new music was acquired from blog surfing, the iTunes store, and from links to full album downloads provided by friends. This was in place of browsing and purchasing the majority of my discs at my local record shop. I kinda feel guilty about it, but I know the internet is a funny thing that both enables and disables success in the music industry. In any case, I have been able to hear more music this year, only a portion of which I ended up keeping. Some people despise this as ‘consuming’ music. I say its just being hungry for what’s new and taking advantage of the internet. I also enjoy reading a bit of the conversation about a piece of audible culture on the blogs and want to partake in it all by clicking download.
Meanwhile, efforts started by Geographic North, a music label co-birthed by Atlanta designer Farbod Kokabi, has emphasized the importance of tangibility and design in their vinyl LP subscription-based system of new artists. It has been great to have both and is a refreshing way to experience music in an era of 1′s and 0′s.
After the jump is my top-5 list for this year consisting of music collected from all the sources mentioned above, with a lil commentary for each. This is not based on music I wanted to advertise, but instead a direct result of sorting by iTunes’ play-count. Enjoy!
Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles – Although the album feels like a marble rye of concepts between the girl and the dude, this electro album pulls off being a bit 8bit-core with enough complexity to listen to more than once.
Shh v.1 & v.2- Mixed by Farbod Kokabi – Two epic 45-minute compilations that are seamlessly hand-mixed from spinning turntables. The name says it all, as this music is meant to be listened to ‘alone’ when you want to really feel something. It might be all the atmospheric bass. Couldn’t get enough of this.
Deerhunter – Microcastle- A release from an Atlanta band the year after everyone thought they were breaking up yields their most accessible album yet. It has depth, intrinsic Deerhunter distortions, and an entire hero’s journey flow with an introduction, climax, and resolution.
The Dodos – Visiter – I think I double-clicked this album during times when I needed a boost and a bit of mind-clearing for some good, clean indie guitar jamming with folk flavors and well enunciated lyrics. Papers were wiped off my desk after this album started playing, and my face got 2-inches from the screen as I worked. Concentration.
M83 – Saturdays = Youth – A favorite often played in the EC studio this fall. Although its a bit like the movie Breakfast Club with some modern feelings/scenarios involved, this release from M83 feels like the coming-of-age of a real band. In comparison to their prior albums, this one is complete with vocals and an understandable album concept while keeping all the synthesizers plugged in. Now to work on their live stage presence…
… After-dinner mint: Triobelisk – Zoneplex EP – An amazing small LP I found from a DC-based crew of performer/DJs. This lyric-less electro album has the feel of TRON the movie, sorta like french artist Kavinsky, but unlike Kavinsky (who has great visual branding), Triobelisk is less raw and more listenable. I can’t stress enough the idea of good execution over good concept if you want someone to listen to your album more than once. Plus they get some street cred from being from Barrack Obama’s new home town.
Download: Singles from the above-mentioned albums