Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Best Music of 2008: Part 2 (33-26)

33. Thao with The Get Down Stay Down - We Brave Bee Stings and All

We Brave Bee Stings and AllI almost eliminated this one from the list because I got frustrated trying to figure out if they're called Thao Nguyen with the Get Down Stay Down, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down, just Thao Nguyen or simply Thao. Her (their?) web site settled my dilemma.

32. Nada SurfLucky

LuckyAnother questionable pick by critical standards, but this one is just pure pop pleasure. "Beautiful Beat" provided the perfect accompaniment to an episode-closing moment of self-realization for Ted Mosby on my favorite television show, How I Met Your Mother. "I Like What You Say" also painfully reminded me that we don't always learn from our mistakes.

31. My Morning JacketEvil Urges

Evil UrgesDespite including possibly the worst ever ode to a librarian--a train wreck of a song that I just had to listen to one more time as I write this--I really enjoyed this band's genre-bending efforts this year. There are moments here where I could swear that MMJ front-man Jim James thinks his first name is Rick.

30. Kathleen Edwards - Asking for Flowers

Asking for FlowersI was surprised to learn that Kathleen turned 30 this year. Regardless, she's still the hottest chick in alt-country, in my opinion. I offer no apologies to Neko Case, especially since I like her power-pop oriented part-time band, The New Pornographers, much better than her country inflected solo work.

29. Alejandro EscovedoReal Animal

Real AnimalI mentioned in Frequent Spins that Alejandro was celebrating the fact that George W. Bush was leaving office, but also lamenting that he'll be returning to the state--Texas--that both men call home. This was, of course, prior to the major defining moment of 2008--the election of Barack Obama--a moment that provides an added bonus to the departure of the worst president in our history.

28. Cat PowerJukebox

JukeboxChan Marshall starts off this fine collection of mostly cover tunes with a soulful version of "New York, New York". The album was released two days after the Giants defeated the Green Bay Packers to advance to the Super Bowl. Her version is hardly Sinatra-esque, but it certainly beats Liza Minnelli's.

27. SamAmidonAll is Well

All is WellAn entire album of re-worked Appalachian folk tunes seems like a rather trite concept. But, the subtly orchestrated arrangements of these songs make each of them sound fresh and new. In fact, "O Death" being the only one that was instantly recognizable to me, I didn't even realize this at first. As I said in Frequent Spins, "Saro" is stunningly beautiful and one of my favorite songs of the year.

26. Kate NashMade of Bricks

Made of BricksI seem to discuss this every year, and 2008 is no exception. Six female-fronted acts comprise spots 26 to 40, but it pretty much ends there. One male/female duo and a few with significant female contributions are all that we'll see from the fairer sex in the top 25.

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