When I asked the very intelligent and capable talent buyer Eli Anderson of the soon-to-be-reopened Crocodile Cafe, I was expecting a list of ten records he liked. Instead, he had sent me several well-written lists and deserves countless bonus points because he even showed his work.
Now, I need to find a copy of The Shop Assistants' record immediately.
Here's Eli's best of 2008 lists:
The “I WORK IN THE INDIE ROCK INDUSTRY” Top Ten of 2008 List:
1. Tallest Man on Earth – “Shallow Grave”
The best description I can come up with for this record makes it sound terrible, but here it goes anyway: Swedish, Dylan-esque singer-songwriter. But, seriously, totally amazing record that I couldn’t get enough of this year. A really neat recording too. You can hear birds chirping and cars driving by on some of the tracks.
2. Born Ruffians – “Red, Yellow and Blue”
Super compact, spazzy, Canadian pop. Insanely infectious.
3. Dr. Dog – “Fate”
The most American band making music today. They manage to take everything great about 60’s and 70’s pop and boil it down into something that is simultaneously new and classic sounding. God that was a lame sentence. Sorry.
4. Dutchess & The Duke – “She’s The Dutchess, He’s The Duke”
The runout groove on their latest 7” says “CAMPFIRE PUNK” and that is fairly accurate. Sounds like demos for a Rolling Stones record that should have come out in 1963.
5. Vivian Girls – “Vivian Girls”
According to my iTunes, this was my most listened to album of the year. That probably has something to do with the fact that its 22 minutes long. But it’s fucking good too so there.
6. Kanye West – “808’s & Heartbreak”
Total genius who can’t take no for answer. I love how he 100% flaunts the fact that he can’t sing AT ALL by slathering the vocals in auto tune. And then he has the balls to write 10 of the catchiest songs of the year and they are all about Bright Eyes –level shit like walking around in the snow and crying.
7. Jay Reatard – “Matador Singles ‘08”
Supergrass, high on speed, in a closet, writing commercial jingles. Can’t get enough.
8. Spiritualized – “Songs in A & E”
J. Spaceman has written the same song more times than Marc Bolan. But, unlike Marc Bolan, it’s great every time.
9 . Throw Me The Statue – “Moonbeams”
Fucking, pop music man! Who can get enough of this stuff? This is bury your mind catchy too.
10. Young Rival – “Tour EP”
The best new band of the year for me. I expect big things from these boys in 2009. Especially if I get my way and put out a record by them myself.
The THREE THINGS THAT COULD HAVE MADE THE ABOVE LIST IF I’D ACTUALLY LISTENED TO THEM ENOUGH List:
1. Thee Oh Sees “The Master’s Bedroom is Worth Spending a Night In”
2. Ponytail “Ice Cream Spiritual”
3. Andre Ethier “Born on Blue Fog”
The “HEY LOOK, WEIRD/OLD STUFF” Top Ten of 2008 List:
1. John Baker “The John Baker Tapes Vol. 1 & 2”
If you don’t know what “radiophonics” are, this is a great way to discover one of my favorite styles of music/composition. Dude was a serious serious genius. Some nice piano jazz on here as well
2. Rodriguez – “Cold Fact”
Groovy, soul, protest singer stuff with tons of sweeping string and weird burbly keyboards.
3. Natural Snow Buildings – “The Snow Bringer Cult”
BUUUUUUUUUUUUUZZZZZZZZZ OOOOOoooOOooOOOOOooOooooO DDDDDDRRRRRRRRROOOOOOoooooOOOoOoONNNNNNNNE. I swear this “band” put out like, 7 records this year. And they are all super good.
4. Fennesz – “The Black Sea”
Guitar-based electronic compositions from pretty much the only guy from whom I’ll put up with this sort of ponderous garbage. I mean that in a nice way.
5. The Shop Assistants – “Will Anything Happen”
This is that Vivian Girls record but about 15 years earlier.
6. Porter Wagoner – ‘The Cold Hard Facts Of Life/Soul Of A Convict”
Hey look, Eli likes a comically depressing songwriter with and amazingly low voice! SHOCKA!
7. Chico Magnetic Band – “s/t”
A real face-melter this one. French band fronted by some Algerian super freak who ate his metric weight in pills and apparently took a bath on stage while doing his head-scratching Jimi Hendrix vocal impersonation. I don’t pretend to understand this one at all. I just love it.
8. All Those LPs I Bought on Mississippi Records esp. “Fight On Your Time Ain’t Long”
This label can do no wrong.
9. Scott Walker “’’Til The Band Comes In”
The sort of kinda lost piece of the Walker puzzle for me. And it’s good! Lots of standards-style jazz backed right up against the traditional Walker doom n’ gloom.
10. Wavves “Wavves”
This easily could have fit on the indie rock list, but I heard it too late in the year and that list was full, so here it is! Mad noisy pop music with a slightly goth, skater edge and insane, blown out drumming. They (or is it just a he?) already have another record coming out in Feb ’09 so be on the look out for that.
The “BEST FORMAT IS THE 7”” Top Ten of 2008 List:
1. The Barbaras – “Summertime Road” b/w ”Day At The Shrine” & “Flow”
2. Wounded Lion – “Carol Cloud” b/w “Pony People”
3. The Strange Boys – “Woe Is You & Me” b/w “Baby Please Don’t Go”
4. The Race Mixers – “Jackson” b/w “Let The Good Times Roll”
5. Times New Viking “Stay Awake EP”
6. Sexy Kids – “Sisters Are Forever” b/w “Drown Me”
7. Jacuzzi Boys – “Island Ave.” b/w “Dream Lion” & You Should Know”
8. caUSE Co-MOTION – “I Lie Awake” b/w “You Don’t Care” & “Cry For Attention”
9. Demon’s Claws – “Fucked on Ketamine” b/w “Always Be My Friend”
10. Dirtbombs “Sherlock Holmes” b/w “Nothing To Do”
The “REALLY REAL” Top Ten of 2008 List:
7. Not Sleeping
9. Puppy Cam!
The Crocodile Cafe will be reopening in early 2009 and we will post more details as soon as we learn them here on the TIG blog.