Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Top 9 of 8

2008 has been odd. The first two months were spent living in NYC, raising my lifetime out-of-RI living to nine months. The last eight months have been spent working at a record, nay, toy store that I've had a twenty year history with. Along the way I've seen some shows, listened to some records (presently side 3 of Exile In Guyville), and generally thought about music, as I tend to do. And since this tends to be the time of year for lists, here's mine.

First, my criteria. The list is mostly recordings purchased in '08, but not restricted to recordings that came out in '08, and performances attended and I stayed away from anything I've typed about before. So..

9) The Police & Elvis Costello ~ Great Woods, July 31st
9) David Byrne & Brian Eno ~ Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

The Police/Costello show was epic for many reasons. For starters, I don't think I've ever known six months in advance that I was going to a particular show. Ever. Kyle texted me in January saying "Clear 7/31" He then informs me, by phone at this point, that the show is a birthday gift. So, the months pass, the show is thought about, forgotten, and suddenly here. I was in the situation of being the least responsible person, so I drank myself silly and got to see an artist and a band that I'd never seen before. Hot Damn!

Dear Brian,
Thank you for throwing us your scraps.
p.s. Tell David he did a pretty good job too.

8) The Residents ~ at the Fucking Mall!!!
As if my third Residents show wasn't a strange enough event on it's own, the show was at Showcase Live at Partiots Place. Yup, the giant fucking mall around the stadium formerly known as Foxboro. The notion started to really sink in upon hitting the parking lot and driving past all the huge brand stores, looking for the cinema multiplex.

7) East Village Opera Company
This disc was in the first employee purchase I made at my job. I adopted it for awhile as a pet record to sell at work. They (EVOC) then put out a new album this year. The combo of me selling the first album and having a new one earned them a header card in our mostly laughable classical section.

6) Dinaresade ~ Traditional Syrian
This one song from the box set Time of the Templars has been an iPod staple. There was a stretch this summer where I listened to this song almost everyday on my walk home from work, whistling out loud and drumming on my man purse.

5) Banter/3.1 ~ Medicinal Reverb
Oh no you didn't! Oh yes I did. While putting your own album on a year end best of list can seem a bit hokey, MedRev earns a place here for many reasons. First was the amount of time and effort that went into recording and mixing. Second, it is one of my proudest accomplishments ever, and certainly the best "album" I've recorded. And lately it has become an album that I simply enjoy listening to. One of the pleasures of making music is creating something that you enjoy.

4) My Morning Jacket ~ Evil Urges
Generally speaking, if someone tells me I should check out a certain band or album I don't listen. And yes, that sounds snobby, but I tend to be very good at discovering music on my own. However, Al mentioned My Morning Jacket and after listening to one and a half songs on MySpace I bought Evil Urges on vinyl. What a simply delicious album. Anyone who sings about sexy librarians and the interwebs is ok by me.

3) Mudcrutch ~ Mudcrutch
Of all the LP's I bought this year, this one is hands down the best object. Simply holding the thing is a pleasure. The artwork gives it the look of a lost album, which in a sense it is. Mudcrutch broke up in the early 70's without having recorded, and got back together to make this album. And the music kicks ass too. A bunch of old guys who know what they're doing layin' it down live in the studio. Sign me up!

2) An Evening of Charles Ives' Music ~ Central Presbyterian Church, NYC
Anyone who makes the mistake of mentioning Charles Ives in my presence is likely to get an hour long lecture. To say that I'm obsessed with Charlie is perhaps the understatement of the year. In January I got the chance to see an evening of his music at the church where he used to be the organist! Not only did that fact make it a special evening, but the performance was the best live Ives I've seen yet.

1) Patti Smith ~ Horses
One day at work Al handed me a pin that said "Horses changed my life." I deemed this most excellent and proceeded to wear it to work on a regular basis. Since this would frequently cause people to ask how horses had changed my life I came up with a series of mostly true stories involving horses and my life. This became the basis, or glue if you will, of a new, Banter related performance that I bagan working on. Now the truth of the matter, of course, is that the pin was a promo item for the Patti Smith album Horses which I don't believe I had ever heard. So a dl and an LP later I can say that is a truly outstanding record.

Well, there it is. The moments that effected me the most this year. Happy Listening.