Thursday, December 18, 2008

Guest List: Top 5 Albums of 2008 (Pancho's List)

OK, here's another guest list for you, this one from my friend "Pancho" (thanks again, automatic name generator). Pancho plays bass guitar and sometimes writes reviews for legitimate music sites. (I can't tell you what, but you've probably heard of them.)

Pancho says:

I don't listen to a ton of new albums. I am an itunes picker and chooser and playlist maker, and I mostly listen to older stuff, but here you go:

1. TV on the Radio - Dear Science . . . Are they more like Earth Wind and Fire or Radiohead? They are most like TV on the Radio and way better than Talking Heads. This group is completely in control of their sound at this point, original and wholly relevant. Incredible concert in Brooklyn this year.

2. Nick Cave and the Badseeds - Dig Lazarus Dig . . . This one really rocks; the Grinderman project wore off on Nick and the result is a really funny, vivid rock and roll album with the literary effect still intact.

3. Karniege and NASA - From the Left . . . Progressive, psychedelic hip-hop in authentic and meaningful form. Like lunchroom boom-bap on acid. Really smart and thought out and tough as hell.

4. Earth - The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull . . . This might be one of the most boring instrumental albums ever made but I still really dig it. I think it's the piano flourishes that do it for me - they add this tiny little metallic sheen. If you have the time to listen to it, go ahead. Did this album even come out this year? Or was it 2007?

5. Kanye West - 808s and Heartbreak . . . . Kanye West fools a lot of people again by hiding a ton of musicianship, thought, and gigantic pop appeal in another somehow fascinatingly self-indulgent album. In case you can't hear the groove, listen to "Heartless" in your car. (If you don't have a car, buy one.) In case you don't catch the pop appeal, listen to the most seemingly retarded song such as "Robocop" twice and then catch yourself singing it on the subway and dying to listen to it again.

Honorable mention to Metallica for Death Magnetic, which you need to listen to more than once to understand what they pulled off. Seriously, it's a miracle that they made not only a decent album but a really good one that basically, jammed alll the way throughout. Kirk Hammet, as someone put it on a youtube comment, "still has the moves," definitely the star of the album and the least irritating member of Metallica.

Shout out to Isaac Hayes who died this year and dwarfs everyone on this list with a shadow the size of Jupiter. "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic" and "Do Your Thing" are a good starting points if you've never indulged in this phenomenal music. The latter finds him as easy to agree with as James Brown (that's right, Ike) and possibly even more so, which is no easy feat.


The first guest list is here.

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