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    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2008
    So as I was working on compiling my Best Of 2008 list and looking at the music I've been listening to lately, it occurred to me that for some reason this year I have been discovering a lot of music from the past, rather than getting into new records, for instance, this year I really, truly discovered the genre of Afrobeat.

    Here's some other discoveries of my past year: (also, please hesitate before berating me for never having heard your favorite band until a few months ago even though they are, like, the biggest thing to come out of Tuscaloosa, AL in the mid '70s southern-goth-prog scene*)

    Amanda Woodward/Aussitot Mort/Children of the Fall/French/Belgian hardcore: There is something really excellent about these bands, a friend of mine almost exclusively listens to European post-hardcore and turned me on to this stuff recently, bad ass riffs and pissed off dudes yelling in French. In one Amanda Woodward song the singer yells, "CLANDESTINEMENT" over and over again which makes me really want to know what he's talking about.

    My other Francophilic tendencies have led me to get into old Cajun music. Rounder Records has a couple of really great compilations called "Louisiana Cajun French Music from the Southwest Prairies" which led me to the discovery of this guy named Edius Naquin who someone dug up in the boondocks of Louisiana in the 60s. He plays fiddle and sings and has the most bizarre voice. Also the Balfa Freres are another discovery from these comps, the music is incredibly strange and mostly out of tune which apparently is an aesthetic of Cajun music.

    Bix Biederbecke/ Red Nichols/ Muggsy Spannnier/ 20s jazz/swing
    For some reason this music has been obsessing me, especially the Biederbecke stuff because in general there's more of a lyrical presence. Makes me feel like I'm living in an old cartoon.

    Bruce Springsteen - Nebraska
    Pre-Born in the USA record. Really stripped down. Beautiful stuff, somehow this had escaped my radar until just recently.

    Goblin - Suspiria
    An old co-worker of mine turned me on to this band in January. They almost exclusively soundtracked Italian horror flicks. Plenty of erratic percussion, fat, squelchy synths and eerie textures.

    Warren actually put me on this particular track when he posted about Keijo Virtaanen who employed some techniques of Tuvan throat singing. From what I can gather Huun-Huur-Tu is one of the premier traditional Tuvan groups still performing today.

    First Wave Ska
    Ok, so I knew that first wave ska existed for quite some time and had even heard some (Desmond Dekker, Toots & the Maytals) but I didn't truly get it until I picked up a Souljazz compilation called Studio One Ska. It's, as far as I can tell, a pretty comprehensive compilation of the new music of Jamaica from 63-65.

    Konono No 1
    Again, thanks to Warren on this one, he wrote about them more eloquently than I could on his blog about a month ago.

    Neurosis - Given to the Rising
    Had Times of Grace for a while (I am a sucker for bands who employ droning, annoying instruments, can you tell?) but Given escaped my radar last year and I picked it up right before my tour in May, good night driving metal.

    Van Morrisson -Astral Weeks
    I was just recently reading a biography of Joe Strummer and he talks about what an influence this record was to him when it came out. The only thing I knew about Van Morrisson was that he did "Brown Eyed Girl" which makes me want to throw up when I think about it. However I picked up Astral Weeks at the beginning of November and it is just a bizarre/heartbreaking record.

    What did you discover this year?

    *if you know anything about this music genre, let me know.
  1.  (4316.2)
    If you want some great first wave ska you try the Trojan records boxsets. They're pretty cheap and full of brilliant stuff. The rocksteady one and the ska one are my favourites.

    I started listening to The Hold Steady around the start of this year after meaning to check them out for ages and now they're probably my favourite current band. Wonderful literate lyrics and classic riffs.
  2.  (4316.3)
    i was lucky enought to see AMANDA WOODWARD with THE OFF MINOR three/four years ago. so good. this year i saw LA QUIETE, who are italian emoviolence in a very similar vein to AW. you might want to give them a shot.

    new bands i discovered that actually blew me away were fewer this year than the past couple years. i would say that out of all of them PHOENIX BODIES by far were the most "holy shit!" of all of them. especially because i went to the show basically out of boredom and my friends in RED QUEEN playing! it ended up being one of the best nights of the year (it was the same show i saw LA QUIETE at).

    also, i know i have talked it to death lately, but goddamn that FAILURES record is amazing.
    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2008
    Thanks for the suggestion on the Trojans, there's so much stuff to go through and it's nice that Souljazz and Trojan have sifted through a lot of it and put out those comps. My friend Bobby plays drums for the Hold Steady, Stay Positive was his first record with them and I think he's really added a lot to that big arena sound they have, even if Stay Positive isn't my favorite HS record alltogether (that honor goes to Separation Sunday which just slays track to track). Also, if you like Hold Steady for the lyrics check out Lifter Puller which was Craig and Tad's band in Minneapolis before they moved to NYC and started the Hold Steady, very similar in content and delivery, a little more post-punk-y and less bar rock-y though.

    Yes, I will check all of these things out.
    • CommentAuthordot_xom
    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2008
    My two biggest discoveries this year were Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (I never bothered with their stuff before, but this year, checked out Let Love In and was HOOKED. Since then, picked up Murder Ballads and Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!) and Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys (the only album that even comes close to having a similar impact on me was Dark Side of the Moon. This just floored me with how utterly perfect it is.)
    • CommentAuthorScottS
    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2008

    Nebraska has long been one of my favorite Springsteen albums. I believe he recorded the whole thing in his garage, just him, his guitar and harmonica (if I'm recalling the history behind the album correctly).
    • CommentTimeNov 29th 2008

    I had a similar experience with being a latecomer to the Pet Sounds scene, I couldn't believe it took me so long to check it out because I was instantly hooked.


    He did it all on a fourtrack which is absolutely amazing. The song Atlantic City just boggles my mind.
  3.  (4316.8)
    Goblin are cool, but they never got any better than the Suspiria soundtrack.

    If you´ve never seen Suspiria, get hold of an uncut widescreen version, smoke some weed (seriously) and enjoy. Magnificent.