Cook's Corner: 2008 Year In Review

By: Dennis Cook

While Cook's Corner has largely been absorbed by my weekly offerings in JamBase's CD Review section, I did want to offer a 2008 roundup, along with a few pointers towards the future. I scoff at anyone who says there's "no good music coming out anymore" or anything of the sort. Only the lazy or close-minded would utter such nonsense. 2008 was a grand flourishing of musical talent, another year where new technology and means of distribution signaled the beginning of the greatest, most creative musical outpouring since the 1960s. The problem today is the embarrassment of riches available to us. There are simply not enough hours in a day to listen to it all. At times the deluge flying at one is so heavy it's tempting to ignore it all and retreat to comfortable quarters. Don't. Really. Get to what you can and support it with your dollars and time because there's an opening, a crack in the corporate walls that could produce a new system that actually honors talent, perseverance, live skill and originality. The minute more people stop buying only the music they're told to by the Boob Tube and Mall America, well, that's the minute things get better for music in general.

Cook's Corner Top 21 Albums of 2008

There's something indestructible and life affirming about each of these albums. Each spin reveals new facets, some element that haunts, enchants or disturbs the peace in a welcome way. This happy list is the result of listening through literally hundreds of releases. Without exaggeration, I averaged 1-2 new albums a day in 2008, especially if one factors in archival discoveries. What separates these picks from the herd is the sheer density of creativity or an unshakeable authenticity or probably something more elusive, the unexplainable grip one finds in the best art. The Corner has always been about sussing out terrific music and sharing it with folks that might dig it. Welcome then to the shiniest gold I found in them there hills last year.

Apollo Sunshine: Shall Noise Upon (Headless Heroes)
This subtle, psychedelic mind-bomb explodes in slow motion, entering your bloodstream like a time-release potion, and ultimately revealing their most diverse, unpredictable album thus far. (feature article)

Backyard Tire Fire: The Places We Lived (Hyena)
Ed Anderson could be the next Tom Petty if the world gets around to checking out his relentlessly great songwriting and the punchy, gut satisfying delivery of one of the tightest, toughest trios going. This is rock 'n' roll at its purest. (feature article, album review)

The Black Crowes: Warpaint (Silver Arrow)
The Crowes' first new studio work in seven years showed little sign of these veterans slowing down after nearly two decades. Powerful, melodic, emotionally rich and saturated with rockin' soul, Warpaint ranks with their best. (feature article)

Grayson Capps & The Stumpknockers: Rott 'N' Roll (Hyena)
Rotgut real and shakin' like the bedsprings of a big gal with loose morals, Rott 'N' Roll finds one of today's premiere American songwriters banging away with an intuitive, road hardened band, punching through to the kind of song-based storytelling that classics are made of. (album review, 2007 interview)

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: Dig Lazarus Dig!!! (Mute)
Simultaneously the least and most subtle selection on this list, Cave and his Seeds follow their recent Grinderman side trip with one of their lustiest outings ever. Spitting lyrical fire, Cave pounds a Farfisa and whips his suited dogs with tent revival authority. The balladry and reflection of recent Bad Seeds is ditched for a consciously un-pretty soundtrack to resurrection and redemption that's way smarter than most monkeys will ever be. (album review)

Cold War Kids: Loyalty to Loyalty (Downtown Music)
An album for our times, befittingly dark, spastic and overloaded. My original review explains further but something about our turbulent zeitgeist is captured in this nervy, claustrophobic epic.

Dr. Dog: Fate (Park The Van)
Most bands don't deserve comparisons to The Beatles and Hollies. This one does, and manages to warrant the nods all more by crafting brilliant pop art all their own. Divining humanity's place in the universe has rarely been more tuneful than Fate. (feature article)

Drive-By Truckers: Brighter Than Creation's Dark (New West)
This hurls blows against the rising blackness AND doesn't flinch at the heavy shadows reflected in the mirror. By turns, amazingly sentimental and remarkably unsentimental, Creation's Dark finds this amazing aggregate growing older in all the right ways as they draw insights from parenthood, divorce and other fine, messy human compost. Double record sprawl really suits them, too. (feature article)

The Felice Brothers: The Felice Brothers (Team Love)
Most groups REALLY don't deserve comparisons to The Band, but these New York boys are the closest thing this ragged age has to Hudson, Danko, et al. The Felices excel at one of The Band's unique traits, namely making folks lean in and really focus on soft steps. While they stomp 'n' holler as well as anyone, it's in their delicate reaches one finds the heart of these future American greats. (feature article)

Fire On Fire: The Orchard (Young God Records)
Rattling with the holy roll of Sacred Harp singing, Appalachian pickin' and other homespun yet deeply "other" music, Fire On Fire play their squeezebox all night long in a dance for moonshine wanderers and tall trees, who cry with them, "If we tear this kingdom down/ let it be with a deserving and joyous sound." Rough in all the right ways, Fire On Fire infuse folk with a highly original new logic that crawls up your spine in ways you won't soon forget.

Hot Chip: Made In The Dark (Astralwerks)
This silicone-driven scorcher blindsided me and each spin worked my body like a delighted puppet while simultaneously performing electro-shiatsu on my synapses. Hot Chip finds the humanity inside the 21st century's electrical buzz, showing android dreams and divining the heart inside our metal chests. (album review)

Howlin Rain: Magnificent Fiend (Birdman/American)
Howlin Rain radiate the kind of palpable heat associated with rock's late '60s imagination explosion sans any clinging nostalgia. There's nothing backward leaning or even quasi-futuristic about the Rain – they burn hot in the moment. Intense and fiercely intelligent, Magnificent Fiend is also loaded with gnarly guitars, whiplash turns and other meat 'n' taters pleasures. Best of all worlds really. (feature article)

Gary Louris: Vagabonds (Rykodisc)
Like a warm dream that slowly enfolds you, this Jayhawks craftsman and a handpicked band chosen by empathetic producer Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes) yielded an intoxicating, heartfelt album full of songs to fill working days and lonely nights with something you can really hold onto. (feature article)

Marillion: Happiness Is The Road (MVD Audio/Intact)
Continuing the upward creative arc that began with 2004's Marbles, these masters of gorgeously melodic rock offered up a double CD for their 15th studio effort that nicely encapsulates their many charms – boldness of vision, incredible musicianship, unguardedly emotional lyrics and great skill at long-form composition and sustained themes. A newfound playfulness and looseness has joined their always-heady sound, carried over from recent open-ended studio jamming. Now, rather than sculpting every edge to perfection, they let some of life's natural mess decorate their brainy, musician-y constructs. It doesn't hurt that lead singer Steve Hogarth stands in a direct line with amazing, emotive vocalists like Neil Finn, David Bowie and David Sylvian. And no man in Marillion is anything but jaw dropping talented, and anyone who thinks they're some '80s prog act hasn't listened in a long time. In fact, there is much here I think Phish devotees would love– the massive builds, delicate instrumental curlicues, the bright musical colors, the complex playing and spots of whimsy (Happiness includes "The Man From Planet Marzipan," which seems like something Gordo and Trey might cook up). Happiness is gorgeous, thoughtful, deep feeling and ultimately hope inspiring, and a stunning achievement for a band entering their 30th year. (2007 feature article)

Megafaun: Bury The Square (Table of Elements)
While familiar to Akron/Family fans as the "other three guys" on tour with them much of the past two years, Megafaun is a juicily freaky, oddly curved trio in their own right. Bury works a gentle hypnosis, eschewing attention grabbing bombast for something closer to a lover's whisper. Folksy strains cuddle with bedsit experimentation on this haunting song cycle with a broad sweep that includes chain gang outbreaks and chamber music interludes. The whole thing feels very human yet made by extraterrestrials – kinetic, imaginative, alien, softly insightful.

The Moondoggies: Don't Be A Stranger (Hardly Art)
No other album in 2008 seized me more swiftly than this Seattle-based group's debut. Without being an homage or even expert mimicry, Stranger stirs memories of early David Crosby and Neil Young, the music of cosmic campfires and stoned seaside sing-alongs oozing beautiful truths and kickin' up sawdust at all the right times. (album review)

My Morning Jacket: Evil Urges (ATO)
Once one accepts (and even embraces) how MMJ morph wildly from album to album, the sleigh ride gets much easier. Santa brought something ridiculously catchy and blazingly humanizing this time, and a packed Madison Square Garden showed the people were listening. (album review)

The Notwist: The Devil, You + Me (Domino)
Possessed of the same humming modernity as Radiohead but infused with a gorgeous, minimalist spirit, The Notwist finally fused their glitchy, experimentalism with a welcoming vibe that talks of circling places and locked up spaces and then proceeds to free us from our constrictions. Like a cold star you can hold in your hands, The Devil, You + Me is vast and strange yet deeply personal. There are no casual strokes on this broad canvas, and each line is fantastically placed. (album review)

Otis Taylor: Reclaiming The Banjo (Telarc)
When I asked Taylor about the bold title, inquiring about whom he was taking the banjo back from, he told me, "The white man. Is that too blunt?" Then, he laughed in a way that made my honky ass jump back. Already the most original blues artist of the past decade, Taylor expanded his range into folk, jazz and more on this unbelievably good exploration of an instrument and it's reverberations in popular song. It's fair to say that Otis Taylor makes "Otis Taylor Music," which claws elements from all over the world, this time returning the banjo to its African roots by way of Tin Pan Alley, the Deep South and elsewhere, superbly aided by Alvin Youngblood Hart, Don Vappie, Keb' Mo', Corey Harris and Guy Davis. Taylor is quickly shaping up to be one of THE great musicians of the modern age. Putting things like that can seem empty hyperbole but as a longtime follower of his creative output I know his many amazing albums back up this lofty prediction. He's added another classic to his pile and I cannot wait to hear what he does next.

These United States: Crimes (United Interests)
I sort of nailed my feelings in my album review, and can only really add that seeing them live and further hours inside Crimes has made me love These United States with a goofy passion. They make my brain and bones wiggle and skip, and shit howdy it ain't every day music - even good music - gets that kind of rise out of a man.

TV On The Radio: Dear Science, (DGC/Interscope)
Crackling, immediate, wholly new with viscous roots shooting down into something undeniably human, meaty and machine-y in equal measures, modernity through the romantic sieve of Motown, movie kisses and modern poetry. Describing TVOTR is the definition of dancing about architecture. I ain't ashamed to say this brought a tear to my eye more than once. (feature article, 2006 feature)

And The Rest…

Top 13 Debut Albums of 2008

To my ears, this baker's dozen is the graduating class for this past year - artists one would be wise to keep tabs on because they're likely to be making amazing music in the years to come.

Big Light: Big Light EP
While they've found favor in the jam world, Big Light is really a superb pop-rock outfit that knows how to stretch boundaries and when to sink their teeth into a juicy impromptu moment. This EP suggests the charms that have truly blossomed through regular gigging. Fronted by Fred Torphy, a genuine rock-star-in-waiting (this guy looks like a future groupie magnet to me), Big Light hums with the same dedication to craft and anything-is-possible energy as early MMJ and Dr. Dog. And besides all that, their music makes one feel good to be alive.

Nicki Bluhm: Toby's Song (Little Knickers)
Bluhm strongly recalls young Linda Ronstadt & Bonnie Raitt in power, range and instincts, and aided by her gifted hubby Tim Bluhm of The Mother Hips (more on him later…) her quietly bewitching debut and growing live prowess with her band, The Gramblers, only point to many good things to come. (album review)

Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago (Jagjaguwar)
A haunted, hesitantly hopeful cry from the wilderness to be sure, and one doesn't soon forget Emma or her effect on Iver man Justin Vernon. But, seeing how Bon Iver has become a band, something fuller and deeper than one man's frozen retreat, it is the next chapter I'm most excited about. My nose smells masterpieces on the way. (feature article)

Deer Tick: War Elephant (Partisan)
An old, wise soul resides in 22-year-old John McCauley, who hopped out of the gate with an album a seasoned vet like Springsteen would be proud of. Feverish in its execution, War Elephant weeps and spins with undeniable presence and compelling sureness. (album review)

Everest: Ghost Notes (Vapor)
Taken as a whole, Ghost Notes is really good but as one begins to take it apart, dropping a cut on a mix or having a gem resurface on iPod shuffle, well, it becomes obvious this is actually great stuff able to hold its own against rock's heavyweights. The extended opening slot they had with Neil Young and Wilco last year says I'm not alone in hearing the promise in Everest. All the fundamentals are in place, and they're one or two inspired recording sessions away from popping up on a lot more radars. Get in now while the getting is good.

Liam Finn: I'll Be The Lightning (Yep Roc)
One of the most complete, engaging and wide swinging first offerings by a pop artist in a decade. He's got some of dad Neil Finn's artistry but there's punkier, weirder depths to Liam. (album review)

Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
While perhaps not as completely sold as the rest of the world appears to be, there's something undeniably special about the Foxes, who've crafted an enchanting album that builds nicely on their root sources (Steeleye Span, CSN, Bert Jansch). (album review)

Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit: A Larum (Lost Highway)
With all the punk-folk energy of early Billy Bragg and the traditional music tangling dexterity of Fairport Convention, young Mr. Flynn and his Wit overflow with talent, great energy and a streetwise understanding that's uncommon in the folk field. That this knotted, emotionally barbed music has found a place on the charts in the U.K. just makes me grin broadly. (album review)

Haale: No Ceiling (self-released)
Pregnant with explosive ideas and genre smashing sonics, the music of Haale Gafori and partner in crime percussionist-producer Matt Kilmer engages faith, politics and love in refreshing ways that understand that lovely and terrible things coexist. Haale's inherent poetry leans back to Patti Smith and Rumi, Jefferson Airplane and T.S. Eliot – engagers of the world's saints and sinners that reveal the unseen realm behind all things. (feature article)

Daniel Martin Moore: Stray Age (Sub Pop)
Moore is perhaps the most immediately striking singer-songwriter Sub Pop has snagged since Iron & Wine's Sam Beam. Call that hype if you like but the resonant, unlabored perfection of his songs possesses the same tendrils Beam's early work. If we're lucky, Moore will blossom into the same kind of hyper-talent. (album review)

The Mumlers: Stitches & Thickets (Galaxia)
Will Sprott, the guiding light behind this San Jose, CA band, is another wise-beyond-his-years new arrival. There's so much off-handed grace and unforced sweetness to Stitches & Thickets that it seems the work of an old hand, someone with miles of gigs behind them and a fat notebook of material. There's something of Randy Newman, The Smiths, '75 Dylan and other thick flavors to The Mumlers, who feel like they're just getting started. (album review)

TK Webb & The Visions: Ancestor (Kemado)
If Mick Ronson ran the Spiders From Mars they might have sounded like TK and his Visions. Unapologetically heavy, Ancestor throws lyrical curveballs, going uber-simple one minute and then slicing into the subconscious the next. All the while, the band plays like it's their last night alive and they're going to grind out something the kids will remember. This one just keeps gettin' better over time. (album review)

Nate Wilson Group: Unbound (self-released)
Hugely exciting music that rocks like a tricked out Camaro driven by a hot blond on the way to see Deep Purple and Thin Lizzy in their fighting prime. Assembly of Dust alumni Wilson (keys, lead vocals) and Adam Terrell (guitar) drive this smart, skilled hesher-tastic quartet into tunes I desperately want to cut a laser light show to. One day their live show will have flash pots if I have any say in the matter. (album review)

Archival Release of 2008

Dennis Wilson: Pacific Ocean Blue, (Legacy)
Melancholy, oceanic gospel for the faithless. A masterpiece resurfaced. (Sunday Spin)


Bob Dylan: Tell Tale Signs – The Bootleg Series Vol. 8 (Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006) (Columbia/Legacy)
Put bluntly, I'll take this double disc culling of Bob's late period output over most of the individual albums since 1989. There's more off-the-cuff appeal to these takes and less concern about the "integrity" or "art" worthiness of it all. The man writes a good song and has discovered newfound love for interpreting vintage material. More simply, this is some fine, croaky old Dylan music. If you have him your bloodstream this is a fine fix.

Danielson: Trying Hartz (First Fruits '94 – '04) (Secretly Canadian)
Splendid weirdness encapsulating a decade's worth of peculiar love ditties, outpatient jams and other wonderful, happy-sad stardust that'll make you dance like a five-year-old in a summer sprinkler. Neat!

Vintage Discovery of 2008

A couple real standouts from the past that found me last year…

Bob Frank & John Murry: World Without End (Bowstring)
Some of the purest, deepest American songwriting in recent years, ten death songs full of ragged bullet holes, frozen flesh and even colder hearts. This pairing of emerging S.F. area talent John Murry and veteran Bob Frank carves scenes in fantastic detail, each piece wonderfully arranged and offered with appropriate croak. Originally released in 2006, the album reached wider acclaim in the U.K. in 2007 when MOJO & Uncut took a major shine to the duo. Life is both dear and cheap in their tales - as it is in the real world - but managing this gray area verisimilitude is a real achievement. Enfolded in vibrant soundscapes that suggest graveyards, the afterlife and lonely dawn hours, World Without End is addictive, insightful listening that carries the death song tradition forward a few good miles.

Al Stewart: Zero She Flies (Collector's Choice)
If, like me, you only know "Year of the Cat" and a few other mid-70's hits, there's a whole world of Al Stewart to be discovered, including this lost folk-rock marvel from 1970. Drawing inspiration from Dylan, Leonard Cohen and fellow Brits Fairport Convention, Zero sounds like an unacknowledged forefather to Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and other pastoral rockers, and an album that ranks up there with Graham Nash's Songs For Beginners and John & Beverly Martyn's The Road To Ruin from the same era.

Best "New" Classic Rock Album of 2008 (or "The Zeppy Award")

The Raconteurs: Consolers of the Lonely (Third Man/Warner)

Rose Hill Drive: Moon Is The New Earth (Megaforce) (feature article)
Motley Crue: Saints of Los Angeles (Eleven Seven) (album review)
The Steepwater Band: Grace And Melody (Diamond Day) (album review)

Best Roots Albums of 2008 (tie)

Sammy Walker: Misfit Scarecrow (Ramseur) (album review)

Kathy Mattea: Coal (Captain Potato) (album review)

Most Adventurous Acoustic Music of 2008

Punch Brothers: Punch (Nonesuch) (feature article)

Concept Album of 2008

Bryan Scary & The Shredding Tears: Flight of the Knife (Black and Greene Records)

Hip-Hop Album of 2008

GFE: Broken Time Machine (Granola Funk) (album review)

Best Singer-Songwriter (Foreign Division) of 2008

Thomas Denver Jonsson: The Lake Acts Like An Ocean (Kite Recordings) (album review)

Best Live Album of 2008

The Brakes: Tale of Two Cities (Hyena) (album review)

Toubab Krewe: Live At The Orange Peel (Upstream Records) (feature article)

Best EP of 2008

Todd Snider: Peace Queer (feature article)

Monotonix: Body Language (Drag City) (album review)

Grandly Loopy Album of 2008
Megapuss: Surfing (Vapor) (album review)

The Howling Hex: Earth Junk (Drag City)

25 Songs from 2008 That Will Greatly Enrich Your Life
1. "We Will Awaken" by Sam Champion
2. "Red Ribbons" by Tea Leaf Green
3. "Left Behind" by CSS
4. "Make A Man's Body Hurt" by Brothers and Sisters
5. "Nothing Hides" by James Jackson Toth
6. "Pemberton Steps" by Dave Brogan
7. "Old Turns" by David Vandervelde
8. "Possession" by Thomas Denver Johnson
9. "Show Me The Coast" by War On Drugs
10. "Ginger Tea" by The New Up
11. "Furr" by Blitzen Trapper
12. "Oklahoma" by Elvin Bishop
13. "Blond And Golden Johns" by Larkin Grimm
14. "Smoking Figs In The Yard" by Endless Boogie
15. "Looking For Nothing" by Aimee Mann
16. "Foot By Foot" by Blue Turtle Seduction
17. "Can't Take It With You" by Marah
18. "You Might As Well" by Sera Cahoone
19. "Let's Go Mad Together" by Grampall Jookabox
20. "Misfit Scarecrow" by Sammy Walker
21. "She Don't Mind The Rain" by The Rosewood Thieves
22. "Princes" by Gang Gang Dance
23. "The Step And The Walk" by The Duke Spirit
24. "Stop" by Ryan Adams and the Cardinals
25. "Come On Down" by Jenny Scheinman

A Look To The Future…

Covers There Should Be A Moratorium On In 2009
Both The Talking Heads and The Grateful Dead have MANY other tunes worth exploring, so let's give' "This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)" and "Sugaree" a solid rest in '09. Too many bands are onto these cuts for them to have much more oomph in concert. Really, I'm asking nicely, touring musicians. The Corner suggests y'all explore the rich catalogs of Thin Lizzy, Spirit, The Doobie Brothers and Elton John for some primo, less-traveled fare when looking to juice your setlists.

5 Artists To Watch in 2009

1. Brothers And Sisters
As I've peeled tracks off their sophomore release, Fortunately (album review), for mixes I've found them holding their own against Graham Nash, The Black Crowes and other heavyweights, particularly their slow burners. Full of great harmonies and a swelling melodic bent, this Austin-based group is starting to tour nationally and I sense the road is only going to refine and accentuate the great things one already hears.

2. The Society of Rockets
After being laid flat by 2007's Our Paths Related (album review), I spent the past year digging into their back catalog and discovered one of the most vibrantly & restlessly creative rock bands today. There's so much craft yet also a high-wire kind of experimentalism that makes already top notch songs sparkle in myriad ways. This large S.F. band is working on a follow-up to Our Paths Related, which, fingers crossed, we'll hear before this year is over. In the meantime, pick up all their stuff and then send me a thank you note for the gift I just gave you.

3. Tim Bluhm
Seems like the emerging Bay Area rock scene woke up to this Mother Hip powerhouse in '08. Besides his chooglin' partnership with Phil's fresh-faced boy Jackie Greene in Skinny Singers, Bluhm produced highly satisfying debuts from ALO's Dave Brogan, spouse Nicki Bluhm and is currently helming Hot Buttered Rum's upcoming release. Put very directly, Tim Bluhm has the kind of possessed genius associated with Paul McCartney and John Lennon slathered with something earthier. His own songwriting, guitar playing and singing grow by leaps and bounds each year, and it's a joy to see his fingerprints emerging in lots of places as this rich community takes advantage of this resounding resource in their midst.

4. Southeast Engine
Few bands write about spirituality and mortality with greater eloquence. What Southeast Engine's forthcoming late winter release, From the Forest to the Sea (arriving February 17 on Misra Records), reveals is the musical muscle shown on 2007's stunning A Wheel Within a Wheel (album review) has only grower tauter, leaner, cooler. I'll confidently say From the Forest to the Sea is a dead lock for my '09 Best Albums list, and it's going to be a blast to see what the road does for them as they branch out from their Ohio home. This feels like a band teetering on the edge of incredible things.

5. Red Cortez
Speaking of groups teetering on the edge, the former Weather Underground has been woodshedding their full-length debut after a series of fab EPs (see EP reviews). The urgency and hard slap they showed at last year's High Sierra Music Festival and the unabashed ambition of their vision in the studio convinces me that they won't settle for anything short of greatness in what they offer up next. I'm waiting impatiently, sirs.

JamBase | Huddled Near The Stereo
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[Published on: 1/25/09]

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RothburyWithCheese starstarstarstarstar Sun 1/25/2009 08:42AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Great seeing tv on the radio, drive by truckers, and black crowes on the list. Band to watch in 2009: grand ole party!!

RothburyWithCheese Sun 1/25/2009 08:44AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Also check out buffalo killers. Their album is really solid

Chaloupka Sun 1/25/2009 09:00AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Dennis, you got some damn good taste in music.

aquariumdrunk starstarstarstarstar Sun 1/25/2009 09:23AM
+4 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Hell of a roundup! Nice job, Dennis.

Flat5 starstarstarstarstar Sun 1/25/2009 12:51PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


you buy 1-2 albums a day? thanks for testing 'em out for me!

Daeder star Sun 1/25/2009 01:00PM
Show -7 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
Hotchkiss starstarstarstarstar Sun 1/25/2009 04:03PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Daeder, go through his list and listen to every band. Then come back here and make amends to Dennis for your contempt prior to investigation.

I'm shocked Dennis, no Exiting Arm? or Alopceia?

Hotchkiss Sun 1/25/2009 04:06PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Alopecia, sorry.

snappy Sun 1/25/2009 06:05PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Writer's Note: Knew I'd miss one big one...Yes, Subtle's Exiting Arm should be in the Top 21. Consider it the subliminal backdrop, 21.5 if you will, which fits the subversive, speculative nature of their music. God, how I loves me some Subtle. However, I just plain missed Alopecia but will rectify that soon thanks to your prod. Thank you!

Flat5 starstarstarstarstar Sun 1/25/2009 06:11PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


You forgot the Mudcrutch album. Petty gets back with his old band to revisit his love of country rock . pretty sweet, especially the contribution from his bandmate Tom Leadon, "Queen of the Go-Go Girls". as for the moratorium on cover tunes, please add "Psycho Killer" and "Life During Wartime" for the Talking Heads, and the one that drives me absolutley crazy , "Superstition" by Widespread Panic. What , you say it's a Stevie Wonder song? nah, I don't think so brah, pretty sure JB wrote that one!

Flat5 starstarstarstarstar Sun 1/25/2009 06:14PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


oh, as far as the moratorium on covers, also add "Use Me" by Bill Withers. ok, just saw the Sunday Spin and it reminded me of that. I shall go read it now.

Mr. Brojangles starstarstarstarstar Sun 1/25/2009 06:42PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Yeah, I gotta agree with Flat5 - Mudcrutch should be on this list. My musical tastes aren't as diverse as Dennis, but Mudcrutch was by far the best album I heard in 2008.

1048 Sun 1/25/2009 08:14PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


That Fire on Fire album is definitely one of my favorites of last year.

knibbs Sun 1/25/2009 09:10PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Oracular Spectacular was pretty damn good, same with Skeletal Lamping and that Raconteurs album. Some of the others I also agree with especially Hot Chip's made in the dark.

chuckus starstarstarstarstar Mon 1/26/2009 09:08AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Cool article, Cook! I hope you like your job, 'cause it seems pretty sweet to me!

TraderDan (djc) starstarstarstarstar Mon 1/26/2009 10:17AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

TraderDan (djc)

Props to Nate Wilson Group for making the top 13 debut albums list. Expect BIG things from this quartet in 2009. If you think their album "Unbound" is good, and it is, wait 'til you hear them shred live... these guys are gonna rise fast once people wake-up to what they're capable of.

j-bizzle Mon 1/26/2009 12:06PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


mostly i agree, but Dead Confederate should have made your debut albums list.

futhepharmer starstarstarstarstar Mon 1/26/2009 01:01PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


^^Nate Wilson Group is the new Pink Floyd!

Epic rock tunes that do not dissapoint!

Textured landscapes of sound wrapped around a burrito made of sonically embelished ingredients and wonderfully lush vocals.

Really, I can't express how much you will have your socks knocked off with one listen to this gem!

Actually, it won't leave you alone.

No really.

You take it out of the CD player and crash for the night and when you wake up....BOOM!'s there. Yes, you actually will love this CD so much that you will get up and put it on in your sleep!

epistola starstarstarstarstar Mon 1/26/2009 09:06PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Please stop writing reviews and lists of artists like this. I spend way too much money afterwards.


my wallet

*** Album to watch for in '09: new Super 400

DAMONCORY starstarstarstarstar Tue 1/27/2009 08:37AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I will definatley be checking some of these out. I hardly bought any new music this year. I Spent most of my xtra cash going to shows, but I did pick up the new TV on the Radio, The New Hold Steady, The new Franti w/ Sly & Robbie, & like them alot. The newly released WSP Live From Austin TX & Zappa Plays Zappa DVD's are great too. You are correct, the Talking Heads covers do need a break.

wanda84 starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/12/2009 03:25PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

RED CORTEZ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!