Category Archives: New

Favorite Albums of 2008

Stella Splice has read umpteen year-end lists via Largehearted Boy, and with only one offbeat exception they have all been found wanting. Big time. So it’s my turn to right the wrongs of the listing industry. Cheers.

2008 First Tier
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds ~ Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!
The Raconteurs ~ Consolers of the Lonely (SS)
King Khan and the Shrines ~ The Supreme Genius of… (SS)
Black Francis ~ Svn Fngrs (SS)
Erykah Badu ~ New Amerykah Part One
The Black Keys ~ Attack & Release (SS)
Howlin’ Rain ~ Magnificent Fiend
Fleet Foxes ~ Fleet Foxes (SS)
Al Green ~ Lay It Down (SS)
Trampled Under Foot ~ May I Be Excused (SS)

2008 Second Tier
Dr. Dog ~ Fate
The Heavy ~ Great Vengence and Furious Fire (SS)
TV on the Radio ~ Dear Science (SS)
Devotchka ~ A Mad and Faithful Telling (SS) (SS)
Bob Mould ~ District Line (SS)
Toadies ~ No Deliverance (SS)
The Breeders ~ Mountain Battles (SS)
Bodies of Water ~ A Certain Feeling
Wolf Parade ~ At Mount Zoomer (SS)
Okkervil River ~ The Stand Ins (SS)

2008 Third Tier
Bon Iver ~ For Emma, Forever Ago (SS)
My Morning Jacket ~ Evil Urges
Grand Ole Party ~ Humanimals (SS)
Tobacco ~ Singles
R.E.M. ~ Accelerate (SS)
No Age ~ Eraser (SS)
Dirt Bombs ~ We Have You Surrounded
The Dodos ~ Visitor
Mates of State ~ Re-Arrange Us
Beck ~ Modern Guilt (SS)
Kings of Leon ~ Only by the Night (SS)
Shearwater ~ Rook
The Hold Steady ~ Stay Positive
The Whigs ~ Mission Control

Bands overlooked by Stella Splice in late 2007
Yeasayer – All Hour Cymbals
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings – 100 Days, 100 Nights
[See Stella Splice’s Best-of-2007 list here.]

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Kings of Leon

You can grab a free mp3 Crawl hot off the Kings of Leon‘s September 23 release Only By the Night (thanks for the tip MOKB). Simply go to their site and they’ll send you a link in exchange for your email addy.

Think of the Kings of Leon sound, only maybe if they were making a theme song for Escape from LA and maybe if it were produced by Trent Reznor. Or something. On pills and booze.

If you don’t have the brothers’ (+ one cousin) older albums, gear up by buying them here. Because of the Times is very different from their even earlier stuff, so buy that disc and one older to cover your bases. Sounds like this new one will be a shocker even compared to that broad range.

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New Bond Theme

The rumors have been flying over the past few months, speculating on the theme song for the new James Bond 007 movie Quantum of Solace. But now it’s settled. On November 7th, we’ll hear the first duet in Bond history. Jack White (of The White Stripes and The Raconteurs) and Alicia Keys will perform Another Way to Die while Daniel Craig flashes across the credits. Very exciting.

Jack wrote the song and will also play drums; see here for his other appearances on soundtracks. The soundtrack will be out October 28th, featuring the duet plus the score by David Arnold.

In the trailer, double-oh-Craig appears to be exploring the darker, more troubled, and more vengeful Bond as featured in the Ian Flemming novels. I hope the complexities of the character in this era of the movie franchise are compelling enough to trump the glossy characature of previous years/actors.

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King Khan and The Shrines

You gotta listen to King Khan and The Shrines. It’s an Indian-Canadian dude who with his buddy BBQ turns out explosive German garage funk. It’s like Mick Jagger hung out a lot with James Brown and was backed up by the bass player for Sly and the Family Stone and horns and an organ arranged by Brian Wilson, all jamming in the Stax studios. In other words, so much fun it should be illegal. Watch!

This album, The Supreme Genius Of King Khan & The Shrines, is certainly going to be on my year-end best-of list. Go! Be sure to listen to a couple, because their sound varies, but def wait around for Torture and Took My Lady Out to Dinner.

Download these songs: the sweet little ditty Welfare Bread, Burnin Inside, and I Wanna Be A Girl.

I remember my local record store clerk telling me she was way into the The King Khan & BBQ Show disc, but I stupidly ignored her. Boy am I sorry now. Also, it makes me want to check out these dudes’ former band The Spaceshits.

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MySpace To-Do List

I have a list of MySpaces I need to listen to, and I’m tired of having them clutter up my Firefox toolbar, so I’m sharing them here. You might find something here you love that I may not post about later. Happy listening!

Blind Pilot

Russian Circles

Elephone

Girls in a Coma

The Celebrated Workingman

The Still City

Candle Music

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Black Moth Super Rainbow

I’ve been listening to Black Moth Super Rainbow‘s 2007 album Dandelion Gum. This analog-sourced electronic synth pop drone James-Bond-theme-on-better-drugs whatnot occupies certain parts of your brain so the others can go into overdrive. It’s great stuff to blare while you’re brainstorming. My favorite tune is Forever Heavy.

I bought it because I downloaded the song Sun Lips, which quickly became a staple for all sorts of mixes. I like to pair it with the Air remix of the Beck cover of the Air song Heaven Hammer (Missing).

MOKB alerts me that BMSR is coming out with a new EP in August/September: Dippers (preorder). You can listen to one track, Happy Melted City, here at their MySpace or download the thing from YANP. Download some other tunes, including some old stuff of theirs, from their site.

Also! I have uploaded the tracks the band has released as a promo for Dippers, which they are calling Bonus dippers. The band has all the files zipped for download here, or you can download them individually through the miracle of ones and zeroes from my mp3 page. I recommend Slide 9, Day On a Bike, and Unfinished Sketch 3.

If you’re way into it, check this out. They played SXSW with their buddies The Octopus Project; together the two bands released a disc called The House of Apples and Eyeballs.

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Fleet Foxes

I’m a little behind posting on Fleet Foxes, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been enjoying them. I’m hosting the download of their song White Winter Hymnal here.

Harmonies, rounds, and soaring strings (including a violin bow on a guitar) embedded in the roots of rock makes them sound quintessentially American. I know that trite perspective on this Seattle band is overdone, but it’s as hard to avoid such analysis as it is to find fault in their execution. Here’s what the buzz has been saying:

“studiously rural aesthetic”

“mingling the Celtic and pastoral with Beach Boys harmonies and crashing Americana into moments of real darkness and disarming pop bliss” [the pastoral vibe is emphasized by their self-titled’s cover art, a painting by Pieter Bruegel]

“it was as close to perfect as a band could get in writing a song”

“It is easy to sneer at young men fetishising old music, but Fleet Foxes handle their antecedents with panache … All this musical experience comes couched in a breezy innocence which never becomes cloying.”

To take a closer look at Fleet Foxes, watch the stop-motion video for White Winter Hymnal here. Download He Doesn’t Know Why. Watch their Black Cab Session. Listen to their concert at The Black Cat in DC, courtesy of NPR. Check out their Daytrotter session that features downloads of the songs drops in the River and Sun Giant from the Sun Giant EP, and Sun It Rises and White Winter Hymnal from their self-titled CD.

I think it’s wise to listen closely to the album, and to apply what band member Robin Pecknold told Drowned In Sound regarding the painting gracing the cover of their 2008 release:

“When you first see that painting it’s very bucolic, but when you look closer there’s all this really strange stuff going on, like dudes defecating coins into the river and people on fire, people carving a live sheep, this weird dude who looks like a tree root sitting around with a dog. There’s all this really weird stuff going on. I liked that the first impression is that it’s just pretty, but then you realise that the scene is this weird chaos. I like that you can’t really take it for what it is, that you’re first impression of it is wrong.”

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