The year 2008 will go down as great year for music, if you were prepared to go beyond the surface of what the music industry were determined to force-feed you.
failed to reinvent music, Late of the Pier did not breathe fresh life
into it, Weezer released yet another crap album and Nickelback failed
to keep their promise of going the hell away; yet 2008 threw us some
real gems, some of which may have needed a
polish or two, but once you scratch around beneath the mainstream,
2008 really didn't suck that badly. More of a soft inhalation.
Yes, there is discontent engulfing the blogs and the indie world regarding the lack of a "break-out" band, a band like the Arctic Monkeys who could score number one albums, date Page 3 models and generally looking like absolute prat-heads once they've completed their first album. But thankfully, we don't belong to that world.
We've argued, flared each other's tempers and beaten one another to a bloody pulp here at Strange Glue, all to provide you lot with the top 50 albums you must at least listen to for 2008.
Over the course of the next few day's we'll release, ten at a time, the albums that have squatted in, pulled, torn and unremittingly impressed our dainty little souls during the course of the year, and will probably do so for many more years to come.
Enjoy, and let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Traditional America music is pulled into the 21st century with their refreshingly original and daring take upon the campfire sound. Operating as a duo, Logan Kroeber contributes his stunningly exceptional percussionary skills while Meric Long donates his sharp focus on melody. The resulting portrait shows an image awash with technicolour glory.
Were the adventures of Xenu ever to be soundtracked, we daresay this is what it would sound like. With influences ranging from Pink Floyd, to The Doors and then through to Black Sabbath, this is one religious experience that you won't have to pay $300,000 for. Couch jumping optional.
The ease at which Moya manages to combine supposedly contrary musical ideas and use the clashing attributes of each, to his own advantage should make Die Hard stand out from the crowd if it were to find its audience. Given that the whole LP is available completely free-of-charge (not even an email address required) we can see no reason why this album isn't being downloaded to your computer this very second.
Keith Wood has surfaced all over the place in the last few years, in Six Organs Of Admittance, Sunburned Hand Of The Man, releasing extremely limited split singles with Wooden Wand, joining Voice Of The Seven Woods on stage to bruise a Greenman soundsystemâ€¦On this record he surprised many by surfacing from Dozemary Pool, singing in that eerie falsetto and blasting the demented country riffs of â€˜Goneâ€™ out of his guitar (distorted with the rust-dust of long gone Excalibur), before settling on the high mountains of Snowdonia to sing homage to his grandmother of West Virginia on â€˜Rue Hollowâ€™, one of the finest songs this year. And the cover is a blast too.
The alter-ego of Steven Ellison came up trumps again as he continued his excursions into unique sound construction. Drawing from jazz, electronic, Brazilian and hip-hop sources, these were all ploughed together in the name of organic, yet metallic music which naturally unfurls itself further the second you think you understand the nature of the beast.
With one final act before retiring to the pet cemetery, the facially obscured super-group stripped the band back to its core quartet. While such projects are usually prone to indulging every flight of fancy which may encumber the mind of each contributing musician, (see: Zwan) TSOAF sign off with an often astonishing, masterfully woven album which concentrates eagerly on the task of entertaining the audience as opposed to 'challenging' the participants.
Perhaps once a decade, a band comes along who make an astonishing leap in musical progression. Japanese sextet Mutyumu combine the essence of post-rock, classical, indie and heavy metal all overseen by the mesmerising vocals of classically-trained and elegantly beautiful front-woman Hatis Noit. Once the shock of the unique sonic-nature wears off though, you still have one of the most profound collections of modern rock which can convey a myriad of emotion without you needing to understand a word... which is fortunate really.
This record is one on which Steven R. Smith took to singing, which his fans will know is a first (to my knowledge). His electric guitar tones are cracked and faded and fuzz, antiquated gales that came back for another go. It blows around you and blusters, shifting like desert sands which Smith sings over, but not with or against. It takes something to pull that off. When a clear melody rises, instead of seeming out of place it seems like some precious coincidence, or unveiling. This music puts me in contact with something very still and necessary, Smith has patience and heart but heâ€™s got that apocalypse dream too.
Blogs the world over consulted their censorship policy as the Bristol duo tossed their first full-length effort into the ring. 50 minutes of progressive noise/drone experimentalism later and the results were unanimous. Bristol had itself resident rock-royalty; we're told that Illegal Seagull were sad of their impending abdication.
This collection of haunting loops is not a cohesive record, and itâ€™s not diverse. Itâ€™s more like a music box built by the Atlanteans to make up for not getting to see the Doors, that washed up on a Californian beach (and not one with people on it). It is transfixing music, echoing and lurching on, single-minded loops of guitar, analog synth, whir and clatter that Asa Osbourne (also of Lungfish) compiled. Someone wrote on a blog â€œit wonâ€™t win Asa any new fansâ€ and although we had never heard of him before this record, theyâ€™re absolutely right, it appeals to something old and immobile in us, the part that sits in the dunes.