While looking back at 2008’s year in music, I decided that for the first time I didn’t want to make a list of just albums. Now that most of the money I spend on music is either via vinyl or mp3s, it didn’t make sense to keep it that limited. So far that reason, I’ve mixed up albums, singles and live performances into one list. Equal ranking, no handicaps.
Another first in this list is the addition of a lot of Columbus music to my overall picks. Previous years there might have been one or two locals that made appearances, but this time around there’s a total of 5 Columbus hits out of 13. I was never was good at math but I think that’s like 123.b3%. It’s a great time to be a fan of music and living in Columbus.
With each entry you’ll find buy/video/mp3 and stream links. Give ’em a click and maybe you’ll find a new favorite too.
1. Florence and the Machine, Live @ SXSW & Kiss With a Fist (single)
It’s been nine months since SXSW, and Florence and the Machine’s performance still echoes in my brain. It was a demonstration of fire and energy, of putting all of your soul out there and giving the audience something to remember. Click here to see a video of the show.
Kiss With a Fist is a perfect song of rage and revenge without apology. Florence’s voice reminds me Dorothy Love filtered through Karen O’s artistis sensibility and goddamn if this song isn’t catchy as hell. I think I read on the BBC website that in parts of London you can actually not be charged with assault if you tell the police that you were inspired by this song.
While other albums that came out this year certainly were amazing, nothing could beat this single song as my top choice of the year. Buy Vinyl on Amazon | Buy from Label
Kiss With a Fist Video
2. The Dodos, Visiter (album) Visiter is such a rich album to listen to, it’s hard for me to do anything else while playing it on my headphones. It’s rare that I actually notice the drums or banjo or backup vocals in beautiful detail, and that’s what helps makes this album such a standout. MP3: Red and Purple | Buy on Amazon
3. Times New Viking, Rip it Off (album)
The first time I saw Times New Viking was when they opened up for The Arcade Fire in Columbus. (To put it in perspective, the show wasn’t even halfway sold out of a 400 capacity venue). My initial impressions were “okay i don’t get it.” Everything started to make much more sense as time passed and I was able to see them live more. Songs are fuzzy and distorted and recorded on equipment that might have been recovered from a basement flood, but they have enough kick in them to fill an arena. These damaged pop songs make up one of the most important albums in recent Columbus history. I can’t wait to hear what they do next. MP3: Drop Out | Buy on Amazon | Donewaiting.com Interview
4. Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple (album)
It would have been easy for Gnarls Barkley to try and recreate the success of “Crazy”, but instead they took an artistic and far more interesting turn. I love the slow burn of this noiry lounge album. Cee Lo’s voice still goes down nice and smooth and Danger Mouse knows how to assemble the right beats and instruments to wrap around it. Don Draper approves.
5. Los Campesinos!, Hold On Now, Youngster and We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed (albums)
It’s not fair to other bands when one band comes around and puts out two amazing records in the same year. The nerve! Anyway, both are a logical extension of the modern Belle and Sebastian discography but with more distortion and just slightly more energy. See…. music can be fun and challenging at the same time. MP3: Don’t Tell Me to Do The Math(s) | Buy on Amazon
6. Columbus Discount Records, The Columbus Discount Singles Club Year 1
You’ve got to have a lot of confidence (and a twinge of insanity) to be a small label and decide to commit to a year-long vinyl singles club (run of 250 each). The gamble paid off both financially (the club sold out within weeks) and musically, with bands like El Jesus de Magico releasing some of their finest work. Still to come in the series: The Unholy Two, Psychedelic Horseshit, Mike Rep and many more. Forget trying to create bullshit slogans like “Indie Art Capital of the World,” Columbus Discount Records should be looked upon as a true banner of inspiration to the entire arts community in Columbus. Message Board Discussion | Buy Online — sold out!!
7. Langhorne Slim, Langhorne Slim (album)
When I was relistening to this album as a primer for the list writing, I finally realized that most of the songs on this album hover around the 2 and 3 minutes mark. It struck me as interesting because in each short song an incredibly detailed picture is painted with Slim’s lyrics. Call it hit and run songwriting maybe. This album is a great example of a band living in the Americana genre but not sounding completely cliche. MP3: Hello Sunshine | Buy on Amazon | On Letterman
8. Alina Simone, Everyone is Crying Out to Me, Beware (album)
I can just imagine Alina’s pitch… “Okay, here’s my idea… I am going to do an album of all covers. And they’re songs written by a Russian musician. And yeah, I am going to sing all the songs completely in Russian…. Oh and I am going to put her photo on the cover and not mine.” While this album may be sung completely in Russian, it only enhances the impact. Desperation and longing and hope pour out of Alina’s voice with each song, making it one of the most emotional albums released this year. MP3: Half My Kingdom | Buy on Amazon
9. Two Cow Garage, Speaking in Cursive (album)
On Two Cow Garage’s fourth album, they’ve finally hit their side. You can hear the confidence in their songwriting and singing. Always on the road, in both Europe and the US of A, chances are Two Cow Garage is playing your home town this weekend. People need to throw away their Kings of Leon albums and listen to this instead. MP3: Your Humble Narrator | Donewaiting.com Interview | Buy on Amazon
10. Envelope, Shark Bolt (album)
Blueprint reigns supreme over the Columbus hip hop scene, but Envelope has quietly slid into the #2 spot. With the release of his second album, this blue collar rapper has shown he’s got what it takes to mix it up in the big leagues. The national press are starting to take notice and things are coming up Envelope in 2009. MP3: Straight Up (featuring Hugs and Kisses) | Buy on Amazon
11. Vivian Girls, Vivian Girls (album)
This album makes me want to go drag racing and get tattoos and road trip to Austin TX and find those vampires from that one Tarantino movie and stab them in their undead, vampire hearts. While all the locals thank me for taking care of their vampire problem, the Vivian Girls will be blairing out of my vintage Mustang.
12. The Hold Steady, Stay Positive (album)
Craig Finn’s cast of characters are back in more episodes of discouragement, dead ends and hopeful dreams. I’ve totally bought into the world he’s created. I want to know everything about the people he sings about and would pay at least $20 for a companion book that expanded upon the songs. And man, there’s so many lyrics casually tossed off that just stick around my thoughts for a real long time.
13. Moon High, Moon High (album)
If you didn’t know that Moon High was from Ohio, you might think they make their music somewhere on a secluded California beach, dividing time between recording and exploring the rock formations in the ocean. There’s a casual beauty that sweeps the entire record that feels warm and breezy. A perfect album to get us through the winter. MP3: Gathering Song | Buy Album
Normally, I keep most things seperate. But tonight is pretty special. A close friend of mine, Lev’s, and his father Eric Moore are performing at Carabar. Yes, the Godz,Mike Rep,Envelope and and the Bootleggers are sharing the Carabar stage. Read the article I wrote about it in the Alive. Guns and fucking roses dood.
Last time I wrote about Columbus rapper Envelopewas a review of his release party. I put something out there that that might have sullied his image as the most likeable person in Columbus because it seemed more interesting than me repeating the press release SO..i figured he could answer any misconceptions that I may have created herre. I mean I never want to see a rapper take a dive like Greg Loughanis on my account. Just trying to keep it right. Continue reading →
For a few years in Columbus, it seems like the most anticipated release has been the debut album by Brainbow. Their intricate music and epic live shows have made them a crowd favorite for a long time, drawing comparisons to everyone from Mogwai to Explosions in the Sky.
I’m happy to say that the time has come and it’s been worth the wait. They’re releasing the album Saturday, October 11 @ Skully’s. Joining them will be Sword Heaven and Envelope. Full details here. There will be lots of people. Get there early.
Columbus rapper Envelope dropped a cd recently called Sharkbolt. You should buy it. It’s not a very costly entertainment expense. The theme of the album is that as long as you do drugs, or drink you will be able to bond with your friends. 17 dollars should get you a cd, a square meal, and a 40. Does 30 dollars still get you a ten strip these days?
On getting back to the Washington Beach area, our party remained in the road because because Thought Set and Cashola were sparking an L on the corner of Medary and ?????. (Even though I don’t smoke weed, I still can’t recall the intersection.) My completely ancient ringtone that has Jim Jones yelling at me to “pick up the phone stupid” screamed on me at about 3:45 am . After answering my phone to quiet the Capo, on other end was an angry Envelope wanting us to come help him fight. Weed makes people peaceful we didn’t make it there. So Envelope came to us.
Envelope shows up with a bloody hand from punching out a car window. He was obviously upset, so Cashola goes inside his home and finds a computer to break in the residential area’s street. Continue reading →
Columbus’ number 1 son, Envelope, is finally dropping the follow-up to his local classic, Insignificant Anthems. The new album Sharkbolt comes out July 8th. Lope will have a release party July 11th at Skullys here in Columbus..
I don’t want to give too much at this point.,,, But I can say it is produced entirely by Blueprint, and Shark Bolt is much darker than his previous album. Dood also got a little cynical. Shit a lot happened in the past couple years.
Blueprint is giving away his new EP, Blueprint vs. Funkadelic, for free on this and a selected few sites. The cd is a limited run of 500. It can be purchased on Weightless.net and a couple stores around the country. I chopped it up with Print a couple nights ago as he prepared for his Wednesday release party at Cafe Bourbon Street in Columbus. We talked P-Funk, Aliens, the future of Weightless, and the Sean Bell Verdict.
I used to hate on the West Coast for using so much Funkadelic in the Early 90’s. Its kinda died down now. What made you gravitate towards devoting a whole project to it?
I felt it was kind of played as well, but what I think the difference is that a lot of what they sampled was actually Parliament, and not Funkadelic. Granted, they’re both groups that George Clinton started and lead, but the Funkadelic catalog wasn’t pillaged as much as the Parliament catalog because Parliament was more successful than Funkadelic.
Until recently I personally didn’t really know the difference because people always referred to them as P-Funk as if they were the same, but as I started to listen to Funkadelic’s catalog i realized it’s a lot different than Parliament’s catalog, and it also sounds different. Truthfully, I didn’t even put much thought into the creation of it. One day I was listening to an album of theirs and I heard all types of good breaks that hadn’t been used. That by itself changed my opinion about Funkadelic and made me really see how different the two groups were.
Whats the difference between Blueprint vs. Funkadelic and a Mash-up?
Well i think the standard “mash-up” is basically about taking vocals or lyrics that aren’t really new, and are fairly popular mixed with instrumentals that are already sort of popular and bringing the two worlds together. The stuff I’ve done with the Greenhouse vs Radiohead and now with the Blueprint vs Funkadelic project is more from a fan and producer’s perspective. I sit around listening to these records and I do them as a fan first. I just start making beats out of everything that i think is usable then i start putting rhymes to it. Sometimes the rhymes are songs that I’ve had lying around for a while, and other times they’re things i write to the beats. Sometimes there may be something that I start on a record like this and eventually flesh out and take a little bit further on another project I’m working on. It’s something that only takes me about a week or so to do because I try to really be in the moment with it, but sometimes the looseness of it is what really helps it comes together. I don’t want it to sound like i really thought it out. I want it to sound really fun and as lo-fi as possible. The only thing that prevented this project from coming out sooner was that I couldn’t find any audio interviews of the members of the bad talking for a while, but after I found that it really helped bring it together.
Who Flipped P-Funk The Best?
I’d say the D.O.C “Diggy Diggy Doc.
Your last solo album, 1988 sold like 15,000 copies. What did you decide to do a run of cd’s limited to 500 and give it away as a free download?
Truthfully it’s kind of an experiment. When I first started doing records i had this tendency to hold back for a special situation or time before I put things out, but I dont think that’s really necessary anymore because the model for getting music to people has changed so much.
Personally, I’m not into holding things back anymore. I love doing music too much. As an artist or label, you can determine the scope of a release much easier now than you could before and that’s kind of what I’m doing this for. It’s primarily for people who last heard me on 1988 and have been waiting on something new from me. Right now, I look at it as just one release of many that will start seeing the daylight. I want to see how people respond to this and hopefully people download it and share it with their friends if they like it. Continue reading →
The techies over at HipHopcolumbus.com put up video of The Catalyst’s release party. Its got clips of Envelope doing “Motivation” and “Daydream Nation” off his upcoming album Sharkbolt, dropping June 7th. There is footie of Fly Union doing their curseless version of the “Fuck the Police” mantra called “Hate The Five-O”. Of course, The Catalyst rounds out the videos boasting about how will fuck your girl and insult your mystery god. 400 people attended this event. The Next Ups did good.