Monday, December 22, 2008

YE-LID Year In Review: Top 50 Albums Of 2008 (50-41)

50. Los Campesinos! – Hold On Now, Youngster…



This was one of the most assured debuts of the year, which was a little surprising. EP Sticking Fingers Into Sockets was indeed excellent, but it lacked a certain maturity; at that point, Los Campesinos! (exclamation point necessary!) seemed content to just sing what you liked as long as you shouted it right back at them.

That’s why Hold On Now, Youngster… was so shocking. The band was suddenly writing sincere songs about love, life, and heartbreak. As an early fan, I was expecting them to write this kind of album for at least a couple years. And it only got better from there (see farther up on this list for the reason).

- Your Ex-Lover



49. Bound Stems – The Family Afloat



After a solid debut with Appreciation Night in 2006, Bound Stems were ready to breakout onto the indie scene. Unfortunately, this album didn’t get nearly the recognition it deserved, but it wasn’t for lack of quality.

The Family Afloat toned down the intensity a bit this time around. Their song-writing is clearly sharper here, though, with more immediate hooks and higher production value. ‘Happens To Us All Otherwise’ was arguably the catchiest song of the year; I dare you to listen to it through once and not feel the need to hum “she says we’ve got one foot out the door” the first instance no one’s watching. This was a fantastic sophomore effort. It’s just too bad no one noticed.

- Your Ex-Lover


48. Cadence Weapon – Afterparty Babies



Cadence Weapon (aka Rollie Pemberton) is what everyone thinks Common is: a real rapper. While the definition of “real” rapper can and has been argued for decades, the point is that Pemberton is just, well, smart. You can hear it in his wordplay, you can feel it in his rhymes. Dude just knows what he’s doing; he clearly understands his influences and how they affect his music.

And while labelling someone as a “smart” rapper can also translate to “boring” rapper, Pemberton is no such thing. Tracks like ‘Getting Dumb’ and ‘Real Estate’ both have something to say, but they’re also fucking jams; especially with ‘Getting Dumb’, you’ll be popping your booty while at the same time thinking about what Pemberton’s saying about mass consumption. He finds a happy medium between preaching and partying, making Afterparty Babies one of the best rap releases of 2008.

- Your Ex-Lover



47. Nada Surf - Lucky



Nada Surf has come a long way since Popular and this is heard best in their February 2008 release of Lucky. Lucky pumps out a more matured, more emotive, more mellowed sound. But it's still the same pop/rock Nada Surf that you know and love.

Speaking of love, the track "Are You Lightning?"; it gets me every time. The songs on Lucky are each little anthems for life targeted at different groups of people in different situations. And that's why it's an album that can extend to and touch so many different audiences on a personal level. It's an album to listen when you're having a good day, and it's an album to listen to when you're having a bad day. Nada Surf has successfully found that medium in Lucky and that is why it is being
recognized as one of the top 50 albums of 2008.

- A Reminder


46. Gang Gang Dance - Saint Dymphna



If there's any album that came as quite a surprise to me this year, it was Gang Gang Dance's Saint Dymphna. The whole album is a colourful trip from start to finish, with each song flowing into the next lifting you to your next destination. From the yowling of "First Communion" to the hip-hop sounding, "Princes (featuring Tinchey Strider)" Gang Gang Dance pulled off some truly unique music that has moved me in several different directions.

- roygbiv



45. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles



You either love them or hate them. We here at YE-LID happen to love them.
This album truly should have sucked. Early leak ‘Alice Practice’ was killer, but there was no way that should’ve worked over an entire album. And yet somehow it did, somehow it never got old. It’s because that these aren’t just 8-bit ditties, these are real songs. Despite its eccentricities, Crystal Castles plays like a classic pop album, with some wicked singles (‘Courtship Dating’, ‘Crimewave’, ‘Air War’ just to name a few) surrounded by a bunch of solid tracks.

The album is weird, for sure, but it’s also a party album, the kind you put on when all your friends come over and get asked, “Who is this?” all night long.

- Your Ex-Lover



44. Tokyo Police Club – Elephant Shell



This was the closest we got to a new Strokes record in 2008 without actually receiving a new Strokes record. Elephant Shell is short (just past half an hour), but it doesn’t need to be any longer; the entire album is classic indie pop songs fit into under three minute packages.

As a voyeur of the hype machine, I was a bit surprised by how good this album really was. It’s not often that bands without a proper album under their belts and this much momentum actually make a stellar debut, but that’s exactly what they managed to do. Their career can go in so many different directions from here. TCP have already tasted mainstream success, especially in Canada, so it will be interesting to see if they try and parlay that into a more mainstream sound. In the meantime, though, I’m more than happy to continue listening to Elephant Shell, knowing that this is a band with a bright future.

- Your Ex-Lover



43. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Dig Lazarus Dig!!!




Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! was the first Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album I had a chance to listen to. It won me over pretty quickly, and definitely deserves a spot on this list. The whole album has a very "western" feel to it. You can easily hear that the whole band is in sync on every track, and playing "together" very well. The music video for the title track isn't half bad either.

- roygbiv



42. Santogold – Santogold



What do you do when everyone just considers you an M.I.A. clone? You make a fucking killer record, filled with songs that either separate you from that image or try and do M.I.A. better than M.I.A. Welcome to Santogold’s world.

The comparisons were bound to be made. As a black, female rapper/singer, Santogold was pretty much stepping into M.I.A. territory the second she released this record. First single ‘Creator’ decided to give a big middle finger to the haters; instead of trying to distance herself from M.I.A. as much as possible, she made one of the best tracks of the year that would’ve fit in seamlessly on Kala. The rest of the album is more about making her own sound, but ‘Creator’ was a powerful declaration that she wasn’t going to take any bullshit.

Santogold is like a genre orgy, with pretty much everything making an appearance. This makes for an exhilarating ride, one you’ll want to take over and over again.

- Your Ex-Lover


41. Q-Tip - The Renaissance



After nine years, Queens based rapper Jonathan Davis (aka Kamaal Ibn John Fareed, aka Q-Tip) throws it all down and is gettin' it all up with his November 2008 release of The Renaissance. Q-Tip went on a nine year hiatus after releasing his debut album Amplified. He came back strong scoring many positive reviews and selling over thirty thousand copies within the first week of the album's release.

It's been said that The Renaissance is what Amplified should have sounded like. I wasn't a fan of Q-Tip in '99, but after hearing both albums this year I can't agree with that statement. Each album is a unique experience in a definite sense. Amplified is a powerful spanked up 90's hip-hop album. The Renaissance is more of a loungy, more chillin' album. This sound is best demonstrated in tracks like 'Gettin' Up', 'Official', 'You', 'We Fight/We Love', 'Dance On Glass', 'Life Is Better' which features Norah Jones, 'Believe' and 'Shaka'. I've pretty much put down the whole track list with that statement, but that's exactly my point.

- A Reminder



Stay tuned. Numbers 40 to 31 will be posted soon. Aren't you excited?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Daily Mixtape: "DRUGS"

one more helping


D/R/U/G/S/

1. PJ Harvey - The Slow Drug (2004)
2. Phosphorescent - Cocaine Lights (2007)
3. Wilco - Handshake Drugs (2003)
4. Nico - It Was A Pleasure Thing (1967)
5. Panda Bear - Take Pills (2007)
6. The Velvet Underground - Heroin (1967)
7. Tommy James & The Shondells - Papa Rolled His Own (1968)
8. AFX - Batine Acid (2006)
9. Of Montreal - Lysergic Bliss (2004)
10. Elliott Smith - High Times (2007)
11. Margot & The Nuclear So and So's - A Children's Crusade On Acid (2008)
12. Pink Floyd - Brain Damage (1973)
13. Compr3ssion Warrior - LSD (2006)
14. Portishead - Numb (1994)


just one

Friday, December 19, 2008

Track Review: Crystal Castles - Air War

Pitchfork finished up their top albums list today, and the most surprising entry (in my opinion) was Crystal Castles' self-titled debut at number 15. Not that it didn't deserve to be there - because it most certainly did - but most people seemed to have dismissed it pretty quickly based on the 8-bit nature of its production.
I was one of those who loved the album all year, mostly because Crystal Castles is one of those rare groups who create dance music out of something you wouldn't normally dance to. Take 'Air War' for example. The beat is simple enough, with various vocal samples playing in the background. But my god, does this not make you want to fucking dance? I put this on at work one time, and one of my distinctly non-indie loving co-workers said, "I feel like I'm at a sweet party."
And really, there's no better way to describe Crystal Castles, especially when listening to 'Air War'; it's like getting a VIP pass to that exclusive afterparty where all the cool kids are hanging out. I guess that's one of the reasons why so many people hate them, too, but personally I'm ready to grab a drink and mingle.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Daily Mixtape: "TIME"

tick


T/I/M/E/

1. Radiohead - 4 Minute Warning (2007)
2. Brian Eno - Golden Hours (1975)
3. Broken Social Scene - Cause = Time (2002)
4. Belle and Sebastian - Sleep The Clock Around (1998)
5. Caribou - After Hours (2007)
6. Atlas Sound - Scraping Past (2008)
7. Cat Stevens - Time (1970)
8. Askeleton - The Future (2000)
9. The Moondoggies - Long Time Coming (2008)
10. M. Ward - Four Hours in Washington (2005)
11. Taken By Trees - Hours Pass Like Centuries (2007)
12. Albert Hammond Jr. - Borrowed Time (2008)
13. Chad VanGaalen - Rabid Bits of Time (2008)
14. Stereolab - 1000 Miles an Hour (1998)


tick
----
P.S.
Awesome find Darren, I'm absolutely loving that Mates of State song

Track Review: My Only Offer - Mates Of State

I'm a bit a late to the Mates Of State train. Okay, more than a bit late. They've put out five albums, and while I considered listening to latest release Re-Arrange Us, I decided that if I was going to get into Mates Of State I should probably start with some of their earlier work. I kind of forgot about that plan, and life moved on.
Anyways, we play some pretty sweet music at my place of work, and there was this one song I particularly loved everytime it came on. After three months of singing along to it, I finally decided to google the lyrics last night and add it to my collection. Little did I know that the song was "My Only Offer" by Mates Of State, and I've had it on repeat for the past 24 hours.
It starts off with an incredible piano hook that plays throughout, and once the harmonies kick in in verse two I'm completely sold. It's one of the prettiest pop songs I've heard this year bar none.
Like I said, it's off their latest album, Re-Arrange Us. Check the equally pretty music video for it below.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Daily Mixtape: "ROADMAP"

it's okay to stop


R/O/A/D/M/A/P/

1. Deerhunter - Hazel St. (2007)
2. Margot & The Nuclear So and So's - German Motor Car (2008)
3. Chad VanGaalen - Traffic (2005)
4. The Magnetic Fields - Drive On, Driver (2008)
5. Iron & Wine - Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car (2007)
6. Bright Eyes - Classic Cars (2007)
7. Beirut - Un Dernier Verre [Pour La Route] (2007)
8. Nujabes - Plazma Avenue [feat. Five Deez] (2003)
9. Sun Kil Moon - Harper Road (2008)
10. Fog - 10th Avenue Freakout (2005)
11. Valet - Streets (2008)
12. Animal Collective - Sweet Road (2004)
13. Boards of Canada - Left Side Drive (2006)
14. Belle and Sebastian - Mornington Crescent (2006)


so stop

YE-LID News: Ben Kweller Goes Country

His 2006 self-titled album kind of hinted at it, but now Ben Kweller isn't hiding it anymore: he's a country boy. His yet to be released 2009 album Changing Horses is a full out ho-down, with country influences on all the songs. Many of them feel like Conor Oberst at his most country-fied.
The album comes out February 3rd. In the meantime, here's a preview via a live performance of one of the new tracks, "Gypsy Rose".

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Daily Mixtape: "FAMILY"

And we're one big


F/A/M/I/L/Y/

1. Sufjan Stevens - Decatur, or Round of Applause for Your Step Mother! (2005)
2. Wolf Parade - You Are A Runner and I Am My Father's Son (2005)
3. Voxtrot - Mothers, Sisters, Daughters & Wives (2006)
4. Annuals - Father (2006)
5. Beirut - My Family's Role In The World Revolution (2006)
6. Grizzly Bear - Little Brother (2007)
7. Akron/Family - Lake Song / New Ceremonial Music for Moms (2007)
8. Department of Eagles - Family Romance (2005)
9. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Neon Syrup for The Cemetery Sisters (2007)
10. El Ten Eleven - Bye Mom (2005)
11. Animal Collective - Brothersport (TBR 2009)
12. Neil Young - New Mama (1975)
13. Nico Muhly - Mothertongue: III. Hress (2008)
14. Andrew Bird - Oh Sister (2007)

is one

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Daily Mixtape: "HUMAN BODIES"

Human shells and


H/U/M/A/N_B/O/D/I/E/S/

1. Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention - What's The Ugliest Part of Your Body? (1968)
2. Hylozoists - Elementary Particles (2006)
3. Bowerbirds - Human Hands (2007)
4. Deerhunter - Vox Humana (2008)
5. The Rapture - Pieces of The People We Love (2006)
6. The Arcade Fire - My Body Is A Cage (2007)
7. In Civilian Clothing - Out of Body (2006)
8. Talkdemonic - Human Till Born (2006)
9. Cloud Cult - Everybody Here Is A Cloud (2008)
10. Animal Collective - People (2007)
11. MSTRKRFT - Bodywork (2006)
12. The Smiths - Half A Person (1987)
13. Radiohead - Bodysnatchers (2007)
14. Black Kids - Listen To Your Body Tonight (2008)

We're born into them and we eventually die in them

Your Ex-Lover Recommends: First Aid Kit

I don't have time to do the write-up that these girls deserve, but I want to get the word out there. They're currently best known for a YouTube circulated Fleet Foxes cover. In the future, they'll hopefully be best known for they're other-worldly harmonies and down-to-earth lyrics. Johanna's voice (you'll know which one it is when you hear her) is one of the most unbelievable things I've heard in a long time. She's like the best parts of Joanna Newsom and Feist all rolled into one.
Here's First Aid Kit performing my personal favourite song of their's, "Our Own Pretty Ways". Seek out their album called "Drunken Trees" and you won't regret it. When these girls become famous, just make sure you say you heard them here first.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Daily Mixtape: "THE WEEK"

Day after day after day


T/H/E_W/E/E/K

1. Neil Young - Out On The Weekend (1972)
2. Colonel Bagshot - Six Day War (1971)
3. Pale Young Gentlemen - Saturday Night (2007)
4. Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks (TBR 2009)
5. Alaska in Winter - Rain on Every Weekend (2007)
6. Beirut - A Sunday Smile (2007)
7. French Kicks - All Our Weekends (2008)
8. Jens Lekman - Friday Night at The Drive-In Bingo (2007)
9. MGMT - Weekend Wars (2007)
10. Tegan and Sara - Monday Monday Monday (2002)
11. Why? - Good Friday (2008)
12. Tommy James & The Shondells - Sugar On Sunday (1968)
13. The Rolling Stones - Ruby Tuesday (1967)


Each week repeats itself and we cannot do a thing to stop it

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Watoo Watoo: "Perdu"

French indie pop, husband & wife duo, Watoo Watoo, caught my eye (or ear, so to speak) a year or so ago with the song, "Picture of a Lost Friend"

Then they took the time to leave a comment on the blog, about another freely downloadable song of theirs. "Perdu", the first track on their 2007 album, "La Fuite" is very loungy / jazzy / Stereolab-esque and the whole thing just makes you want to smile. Very different from "Picture of a Lost Friend", but a great pop tune all the same. For those interested, click on the title to check it out.


Look into buying one of their albums, when you get the chance. You won't be disappointed.

Daily Mixtape: "LUNE ET SOLEIL"

As the wolf howls and rooster crows, the sun and moon will always be


L/U/N/E_E/T_S/O/L/E/I/L/

1. Paul McCartney - Monkberry Moon Delight (1971)
2. Pink Floyd - Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun (1968)
3. The Flaming Lips - Oh, My Pregnant Head [Labia In The Sunlight] (1993)
4. Deerhunter - Moon Witch Cartridge (2008)
5. Grandaddy - The Warming Sun (2007)
6. The Oaks - Message From The Moon (2007)
7. The Elected - Sun, Sun, Sun (2006)
8. Nick Drake - Pink Moon (1972)
9. M83 - Lower Your Eyelids to Die with The Sun (2005)
10. Modeselektor - The Dark Side of The Sun [feat. Puppetmastaz] (2007)
11. The Black Ghosts - Full Moon (2008)
12. Deadbeat - Sun People [Dub Divisionaire] (2008)
13. Neil Young - Harvest Moon (1992)
14. Radiohead - Sail to The Moon [Brush The Cobwebs Out of The Sky.] (2003)


G o o d d
N i g h t t

A Reminder Recommends: Jesca Hoop

Look who Tessie turned me on to. Tom Waits' nanny! Check out her 2008 release, "Kismet". I'm liking it and you might too.





Jesca Hoop

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Reminder Recommends: Scott Hansen (aka Tycho)


Wednesday evening. I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon the website of Tycho. Tycho is a musician who is currently running with Ghostly International. The fellows who bring you your Mobius Bands and your Matthew Dears. Tycho seems to produce a bit of an IDM sound. Similar to Boards Of Canada almost. Yeah, I dig it.



Tycho

Track Review: Brooklyn (We Go Hard) - Jay-Z Feat. Santogold

If you ignore the 808s & Heartbreaks debacle - which I suppose we can't, but whatever - Kanye West's discography is pretty spotless. His production credits aren't quite as strong, but he's been steadily improving. 'Swagger Like Us' slayed with it's M.I.A. sample. Apparently deciding not to mess with a good thing, Kanye has now produced a new track for Jay-Z called 'Brooklyn (We Go Hard)' which samples M.I.A.-lite Santogold and her song 'Shove It'.
Luckily for West, the hook is just as addictive. 'Now please tell me what the fuck harder than this?' Jay-Z asks, and while I can think of many answers to that question, I get his point. Jigga murders the beat just like he did on 'Swagger', name-dropping Jackie Robinson, Mr.T, and Annie in a matter of minutes. His flow is smoother than usual, though; he's never been one to let a beat ride him, and he doesn't here, but [ironically] his delivery isn't as hard as normal, which works.
I'm assuming this is from a future album, so keep an eye out for it. Until then, click the title for the song.

Your Ex-Lover Is Making You a Mixtape: Rikka-rikka-REMIX

If you havn't noticed, we're baaaaaaaaaaack.
While we havn't morphed into a strictly mixtape blog, it's fucking exam period and I don't have the time or energy to write anything witty or intelligent. So here's my addition to the recent YE-LID mixtape collection: some awesome remixes.

1. Day 'N Night (Crookers Remix) - Kid Cudi
2. Electric Feel (Justice Remix) - MGMT
3. I'm A Flirt 7/4 Shoreline - R Kelly vs. Broken Social Scene
4. D.A.N.C.E. (MSTRKRFT Remix) - Justice
5. Starstruck (Diplo Remix) - Santogold
6. Good Friday (Boards Of Canada Remix) - Why?
7. Knife (Girl Talk Remix) - Grizzly Bear
8. Kids Don't Stand A Chance (Chromeo Remix) - Vampire Weekend
9. Cheap and Cheerful (Fake Blood Remix) - The Kills
10. Bounce (Bloody Beetroots Remix) - MSTRKRFT
11. Kids (Soulwax Remix) - MGMT
12. Your Ex-Lover Is Dead (Final Fantasy Remix) - Stars

Enjoy, yo.

Daily Mixtape: "EYES"

Can you see me?


E/Y/E/S/

1. Black Kids - I'm Making Eyes at You (2008)
2. Volcano! - Pulling My Face In and Out of Distortion, I Blink Too Much (2005)
3. Broken Social Scene - Looks Just Like The Sun (2002)
4. Boards of Canada - Oscar See Through Red Eye (2005)
5. Animal Collective - Seal Eyeing (2008)
6. Dirty Projectors - What I See (2007)
7. Cat Stevens - I Think I See The Light (1970)
8. Nujabes - With Rainy Eyes [feat. Emancipator] (2007)
9. Madagascar - All That Spring You Could See Hailey's Comet (2005)
10. The Magnetic Fields - I Looked All Over Town (2004)
11. Chad VanGaalen - 1000 Pound Eyelids (2005)
12. Explosions In The Sky - Look Into The Air (2000)
13. Stereolab - Caleidoscopic Gaze (1999)
14. The Triangles - I've Had Eyes For You (2007)


Open your eyes and the world will open its heart to you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Daily Mixtape: "LOST"

In a barren room of an unusually busy hospital down a rocky dirt road, we find this blog, struggling for survival, gasping for air.

This is my gasp.



L/O/S/T/

1. Comus - In The Lost Queen's Eyes (1971)
2. Sigur Rós - Sæglópur (2005)
3. Joy Division - She's Lost Control (1979)
4. Grandaddy - Lost On Yer Merry Way (2003)
5. Cut Copy - Nobody Lost, Nobody Found (2008)
6. Of Montreal - How Lester Lost His Wife (2004)
7. Watoo Watoo - Picture of a Lost Friend (2000)
8. Sleepynaut - The Lost and Secret Art of Metallurgy (2005)
9. Lior - Lost In You (2008)
10. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Lost, Picking Flowers In The Woods (2007)
11. Liars - Nothing Is Ever Lost or Can Be Lost, My Science Friend (2002)
12. John Parish & Polly Jean Harvey - Lost Fun Zone (1996)
13. Gorillaz - Don't Get Lost In Heaven (2005)
14. Coldplay - Lost! (2008)


This is for all of you who have ever felt lost at any point. Let's hope this music finds something beautiful in you and vice versa.