Favorite Music of 2008

With the horrendous year we’ve just closed out, it’s easy to forget that other areas of interest exist in this life. I feel it is absolutely vital to keep myself grounded in other interests outside the financial markets for several reasons.  Mostly, it keeps Davy from being too dull of a boy but also, being immersed in the mainstream financial media (WSJ, Barron’s, FT, Bloomberg, CNBC, etc) eventually takes its toll on me (and most other people, I suspect).  It becomes easy to subtly fall into groupthink and herd mentality if I am exposed to it everyday. Sometimes, stepping back reveals the way forward.

Music is one of these outlets for me to rediscover the “inner contrarian”, so to speak. I was a late bloomer and music was the first avenue to self-discovery.  A recent article in the Wall Street Journal posited that music may be good for your health. So below, I list some of my favorite music from 2008, completely for my own self-indulgence (self-therapy is more like it), but hopefully, readers may find it of some interest.

BTW, my tastes run a bit esoteric than most, though I’ve settled in a bit as I age.  As such, many of these albums may be a bit more adventurous (or “crappy” or “weird” in mainstream-speak) than most readers of this blog enjoy. For a sense of my aesthetics, you can download my last band’s album here and see a bit where I’m coming from.  Perhaps readers will see where that contrarian streak comes from!

Without further adieu:

The Hospitals – Hairdryer Peace

Are you kidding me?  This album is one of these things that changes the way you hear music and forces you to get up and start a band (or would if you were 5 years younger and the market wasn’t crashing so badly). So basically, you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it and in both cases, you’re right!  The band has some songs up on their myspace page for you to sample but dear heavens, if you’re going to listen to it on your computer, plug in some headphones to get some resemblence to how the songs really sound.

Jay Reatard – Singles 06-07

Jay Reatard released two singles compilations this year but this one from In The Red Records is hands down my favorite of the two. His Blood Visions album is probably the best place for newbies but this singles compilation dates from that period.  During my honeymoon, we went on a whale watching ship ride woefully undressed and froze our asses off for much of the ride.  Halfway through, we started singing songs from this album and soon, I was feeling no pain (my wife was feeling some shame, however).  Cheesy?  Yes.  Awesome? Totally.

F*ck Buttons – Street Horrrsing

It’s like someone took the underground noise rock scene of the last few years and cleaned it up for public consumption. Maybe I’m getting old but I likey! Very repetitive, hypnotic, heavy, catchy riffs with gnarly vocalizations over the top.  Good for biking!

Mae Shi – HLLLYH

About half of this album is really stellar with great songs and hooks and I even dig the 10 minute dance send-up of every techno cliche you’ve ever heard.  The other half skews more toward their past rawkous screamy sound. But this album and this band is one of my personal catalysts in reconnecting with the music scene.  I went to their show at the Funcastle which got shut down by the cops after 3 songs but came away imbued with a sense of zest and optimism.  I bought a shirt that reads “I’m Glad You’re Alive” and in a scene filled with irony and cynicism, any music that makes me feel like that shirt is to be treasured.

Mayyors – Marines dot com 7″ & Megan’s LOLZ 7″

The band that proved that everything I knew about local music was wrong. These guys rock so hard, it isn’t funny except that it is when you see them live. I think I piss off Dawson when I say the first 7″ is my favorite but they are both excellent.

Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

The album that proved I’m getting old.  I’m sure five years ago, I would have pooh-poohed this album as overly derivative, bland Peter-Gabriel horesh*t for indie kids even if it was totally untrue because that’s what hipsters do!  I mean, even the Wall Street Journal pimped these guys for crissake; how uncool is that? But now — what’s not to love about great, catchy, well-written songs?  Granted, the first song totally reminds me of Liquid Liquid and other comparisons creep in as the album progresses but almost every song here is a keeper. Maybe getting old isn’t so bad.

See y’all in 2009.

One Response to “Favorite Music of 2008”

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