Top 10 2008
Album of the year
- MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
- Vampire Weekend - Eponymous
- Bon Iver - For Emma, forever ago
- Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
- Tindersticks - The Hungry Saw
- Burial - Untrue
- Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
- Portishead - Third
Live band of the year
Film of the year
- No country for old men
- There will be blood
All time Contributors
Top 10 albums
The Presets - Apocalypso
Bruce Springsteen - Darkness on the Edge of Town
Tom Waits - Dime Store Novels Vol. 1
Death Valley - unreleased - Portland band that would have RULED this land if their singer hadn't moved to LA. bastard.
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Portishead - Third - can get the droning out of my head
Eef Barzely - Lose Big
Flight of the Conchords!!!
The Heavy Hearts - A Killer of Snakes - Sounds like a return of McLusky!
The Tea Cozies - Pretty Pages/Reglous - great local seattle band
The Black Keys - Attack and Release
Dizzie Rascal - Maths + English
The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
Bruce Springsteen in Seattle
My buddy was able to score us floor area and then magically got us in to the pit. *shhhhh* 2nd row. First time to see Springsteen. Truly an amazing show.
The Old '97s - Tractor Tavern
I think they were billed as the Satellite Riders for this small club. Great show, then stayed up until 4am drinking beers with 'em at the speakeasy under the Sunset.
The Hold Steady/Drive-by Truckers - Showbox Sodo
First time to see the hold steady. For some reason, I drank too many 24 oz PBRs. When my friend said to wait to see if there was an after-party, I forgot and grabbed a cab home. Got a text at 4am hearing about his chat with Craig Finn. Dave's such a slut.
The Whore Hands - Some guy's white basement on Capital Hill
The Whore Moans and the Hands are 2 of Seattles great up and coming bands. They sometimes play together - all 10 of them - as the Whore Hands. Great chaos.
((( selector sound )))
4622 s genesee | seattle, wa 98118
1. Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
Listened to the cd for the first time in a hotel room in Korea, heard it live first in Parco della Musica in Rome, but the best moment was dancing around a muddy field at Electric Picnic with the kid and Bren & Edel. Soundtrack to my year.
2. Zwan - Mary Star of the Sea
Criminally overlooked album, dug it out of the cd collection and had it on the mp3 player for ages. Completely blocks out annoying Ryanair announcements, no noise cancelling headphones needed!
3. Go-Betweens - Ocean's Apart
Up there with their best stuff, especially Grant's songs - tragic to think this is their last album.
4. Sarah Mohr-Pietsch on BBC3's breakfast programme
Amazing music and what a voice that woman has - check it out online
5. Beatles - Red Album
Couldn't find the blue one for a few months, made me appreciate the earlier poppier stuff more. Paperback Writer!
6. Friendly Fires - Jump in the Pool and Paris
Shoegazer guitars combined with manic groove drumming, why did nobody think of this before? And songs about wanting to live in Paris - what more d'ya want?
7. The Enemy - Away from Here
What is it about England that kids growing up in a toxic shithole like Coventry can still find the will to make music as good as this? Lyrics and attitudes of the year!
8. Radiohead - In Rainbows
I know it's last year's, but I still can't stop listening to it.
9. The Notwist - The Devil, You + Me
Really lovely stuff, especially Good Lies
10. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - Master and Everyone
Just for the first song...
1 Portishead - Third
2 The Notwist - The Devil, You + Me
3 Adebisi Shank - This Is The Album
4 Jape - Ritual
5 Jonny Greenwood - There Will Be Blood OST
6 The Jimmy Cake - Spectre and Crown
7 Mogwai - The Hawk Is Howling
8 Sigur Ros- Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
9 MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
10 Lite Phantasia
1 Mad Men
2 The Wire
3 Generation Kill
4 The Shield
5 BBC Imagine Documentaries
6 Charlie Brookers Screenwipe
7 The Mighty Boosh
8 Sons of Anarchy
1 My Bloody Valentine - Manchester Apollo,
2 Wilco - Electric Picnic Festival
3 Adebisi Shank - Boom Boom Room, Dublin
4 Jape - Electric Picnic Festival
5 Sigur Ros - Electric Picnic Festival
6 James Blackshaw at The Chapel, Trinity College Dublin
7 Isabel at Sunset - Ballroom of Romance, Lower Deck, Dublin
8 Dan Deacon - vicar st. Dublin
9 Faust - Electric Picnic Festival
10 Lite - Whelans, Dublin
2008 Highlight? That's easy - two weeks in the outskirts of Accra, Ghana helping to rebuild a junior school in an area of abject poverty. Incredible kids - football games at lunch (they were barefoot) - staring in the windows at us working for AGES - fasination at their photos on digital cameras. Great bunch of people - unfortunately won't be going in 2009 - others from ESB will be getting that honour.
Also, my first time since Feile '93 to camp at a festival. Electric Picnic certainly was not the experience I remember from Thurles 15 years ago - much more grown up and refined and not a drunk teenager in sight. Looking forward to EP '09 already. Right so.....
Blocker's Top 10 Albums 2008
- Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Sunday at Devil Dirt
Difficult to believe that Lanegan's bass and Campbell's whispering vocals were recorded on different sides of the world, such is the chemistry. Beautiful bluesy melodies, with a wonderful dark undercurrent in every tune.
- The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
The follow up to Broken Boy Soldiers and more of the same in your face classic rock - no complaints there.
- Robert Forster - The Evangelist
Emotional first release since the tragic death of Grant McLennan - although his influence is more than apparent on this record. McLennan had written some of the music - Forester completed those songs after his death. 'From Ghost Town' is the particularly poignant closing track.
- Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Simple, stripped down acoustics from an isolated Wisconsin cabin. Delicate layered harmonies makes this a refreshing variation to the tired 'singer/songwriter with guitar' format.
- Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
One of my favourite artists over the past few years - whether it's in Rilo Kiley, with the Watson Twins or here on her own. Elvis Costello and M Ward guest, but there's no doubt who stands out most on this recording.
- Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
We've waited 3 years for the follow up to their fabulous debut offering 'Apologies to the Queen Mary'. This is more of a grower and less instantly memorable, but still a fine art school pop record.
- MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
Unrepentant rock stars sing of excess - 70s synth pop music springs to mind - Bowie, T-Rex, Roxy Music all seem to have music and style influences here.
- Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark
Jason Isbell is gone, his ex and bassist Shonna Tucker steps up. Down from 3 to 2 guitars, there's some great stories and aunique southern sound from these alt.country stalwarts. Who else could get away with a song titled 'You and Your Crystal Meth'?
- Sigur Rós - Med sud I eyrum vid spilum endalaust
The band's fifth album and maybe didn't get the reaction of the previous four as we've come to expect original genius. Still, there's some incredible tunes and even some lyrics in English! Mesmorising live.
- Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
Debut from this New York band is a catchy, pop recording with a world music feel without being at all pretentious or over serious. You gotta love any song that starts with 'Who gives a f*@k about an Oxford comma?'
- Bonnie Prince Billie - Lie Down in the light
Just realized that I missed out Bonnie Prince Billy's album - probably his
best in years. I knew that there was distinct lack of country on the
- Willard Grant Conspiracy - Pilgrim Road
- Portishead - Third
- TV On The Radio - Dear Science
- Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
- Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!
- Glasvegas - Glasvegas
- British Sea Power - Do You Like Pop Music
- Teddy Thompson - A Taste of What You Need
- Spiritualized - Songs from A&E
Gigs and live events
- Tom Waits
Massive expectations for his first gig in Ireland for over 20 years. In my opinion, the most incredible musican and performer of our time. 'Heart of Saturday night' was an unexpected treat.
- Leonard Cohen
What charisma. What a legend. Went on the third night of three - regardless of ticket prices, should have gone on nights 1 and 2 as well. Amazing.
- British Sea Power - Whelans
Fab gig that ended in chaos as the crowd invaded the stage and banged on drums, keyboards, guitars and anything that made a noise for about 10 minutes until finally the bouncers succeeded in clearing the stage. The band finished the song and left the stage - rock 'n' roll lives!
- Band of Horses
Personal favourites since I first heard 'Funeral' - Everything All The Time was my favourite album of 2006. They deliver in style here - incredible energy from the time they arrive on stage.
- Robert Forster
Bizzare opening (place half empty and he had to plead with the stage hand to put on the stage lights and turn off the house music), then an aucoustic set followed by 90 minutes electric. Grant McLennan did vocals on the recording of 'Quiet Heart', Robert's version tonight was emotional to say the least.
- Teddy Thompson
Went to this show in Whelan's on the strength of his performance for the Leonard Cohen tribute night in the Point. Great performance - fantastic voice.
- Electric Picnic
Where to start? I didn't know that The Gutter Twins were Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli - unexpected surprise was a highlight - watch out for their show in The Academy in January. That Petrol Emotion rolled back the years with some manic pop thrills. Wilco were the highlight of the main stage for me. Had never heard of Ra Ra Riot but they belted out some great songs in the Little Big Tent early on Saturday. Micah P Hinson was incredible even if the musos around me reckoned 'He was much better last year'. Didn't see LOADS of acts that I had planned to - but that was fine as the abiding memory was just soaking up the athmosphere, relaxing and having a great time. Credit must go to both Dave and Tom for refusing to take no for an answer and bullying me constantly until I finally agreed to go! If only there was a hotel on site.....
Happy Christmas and have a great 2009.
Top Ten Albums
- Santogold – Santogold
- Slime & Reason – Roots Manuva
- Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
- Oracular Spectacular – MGMT
- Juno Soundtrack – Various Artists
- Remind Me In 3 Days – The Knux
- Stainless Style – Neon Neon
- The Renaissance – Q-Tip
- Attack & Release – The Black Keys
- Fight With Tools – Flobots
- Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords
Top Ten Gigs
Only 2 this year - but both absolute crackers!
- Roots Manuva – Birmingham Academy 2
- Vampire Weekend – Birmingham Academy 2
Top Ten Films
Not that many watched this year, and quite a few classics i finally caught up with. Second daughter being born means i'm yet to see The Dark Knight!
- Spirited Away
- No Country For Old Men
- Bourne Ultimatum
- This Is England
Top Ten TV
- The Wire - finally finished season 5, the best TV series ever! Turns you into a Wirevangelist, trying to get as many people as possible to watch!
- Mad Men
- Dead Set
- Flight Of The Conchords
1. chromatics etc - after dark
2. alice russell - under the munka moon
3. deerhoof - failed opportunity
4. muscles - guns babes lemonade
5. mercury rev - snowflake midnight
6. white stripes - icky thump
7. soledad brothers - live
8. deerhunter - microcastle
9. hercules and the love affair
10. mcclusky - the difference between you and me is that i'm not on fire
live (all in san francisco)
dave alvin & the guilty women
1. The Who – Sell Out
2. The Kinks – Face to Face
3. Conor Oberst – Conor Oberst
4. The Shins – Chutes too Narrow
5. The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of the Understatement
6. Esbjörn Svensson Trio - From Gagarin's Point Of View
7. Andy Partridge – Fuzzy Warbles
8. Julian Cope – Black Sheep
9. Fiest – Let it Die
10. Ida Maria – Fortress around your heart
Mountain bike Trail
- Burial - Untrue
- Burial blew my mind, way up there for this year's musical trip. So good played LOUD. A clean, dense, liberating sound. His identity was only revealed a few months ago.
- MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
- Laurent sent me a Facebook video from their Dublin show before I understood. But it was thanks to John Morrissey during the summer raving about this album that I picked it up. A peach.
- Vampire Weekend - Eponymous
- Thanks Brendan, became a big favourite on the SwiMp3
- The Breeders - Mountain Battles
- Keeps delivering at every listen. The twins wrote this in the RV Kim used touring with the Pixies.
- Burial - Eponymous
- Tindersticks - The Hungry Saw
- The Good, The bad & The Queen - Eponymous
- Nick Cave - Dig Lazurus Dig
Song of the year
- Fleet Foxes - Eponymous
- Mercury Rev - Strange Attractor
- Mercury Rev - Snowflake Midnight
- MGMT - Time to Pretend
- Malie (20 months) absolutely adores this, from the first note, she is jumping. I do too. What an amazing opening track, just perfect. I saw the other week it was a single this year...didn't hear it on the radio, so the magic was not killed for me with overplay.
Electric Picnic finds
- My Bloody valentine, Roundhouse, Camden, London, 20 June
- Not counting their 2 private warm up gigs the week before this was their first gig in 16 years. Had never seen them play before so this was a magically evening. First night of the tour and they sound was not worked out but that didn't matter so much. Looking around during the gig people had their fingers in their ears, why did they not take the free earplugs at the door.
- Mercury Rev, Electric Avenue, Waterford, 30 October
- The boys opened their world tour in Waterford, doing the promoter of their first gig in London in 91 a favour. I saw them 3 nights later in Vicar Street and it was not a match on the experience of seeing them at arms length. Pinch me I'm in heaven time during Holes.
- My Bloody valentine, Electric Arena, Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Louth, 31 August
- George Clinton,Main Stage, Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Louth, 30 August
- The Roots, Main Stage, Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Louth, 31 August
- The Breeders, Electric Arena, Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Louth, 30 August
- Sigur Rós, Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Louth, 29 August
- Tindersticks, Cork Opera House, 22 November
- The National, Olympia, Dublin, 15 May
- Tindersticks, Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Louth, 30 August
- That Petrol Emotion, Crawdaddy stage, Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Louth, 30 August
- I was at their last gig in 94 before I moved to the states so that was a real nostalgic trip.
- Ibrahim Electric, Jazz Tent, Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Louth, 31 August
- The last gig of the festival and a very memorable surprise, before they burned the temple and the heavens opened. Or so I thought, I it seems The Orb played in Body and soul around then too.
- Ra Ra Riot, Little Big Tent, Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Louth, 30 August
- These New Puritans, Little Big Tent, Electric Picnic, Stradbally, Co. Louth, 31 August
Big screen films
- No country for old men
- Written & directed by the Coen brothers
- There will be blood
- Written & directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
- Synecdoche, new york
- Written & directed by Charles Kaufman
- Directed by Jason Retman, Written by Diablo Cody. Seen at the classic Presido Theatre, San Francisco
- The Dark Night
- Seen at San Francisco IMAX
- Pineapple Express
Scenes of the year
- Seen at San Francisco IMAX
- Written & presented by Bill Mager
Turkey of the year
Small screen films
- Last scene in There will be blood - "I'm finished"
- The Wire Series 1 & 2
- Believe any hype you read. Superb writing and direction. Indeed.
- A little gem of an Irish film
- Darjeeling Express
- Written and directed by the ridiculously talented Wes Anderson
- Fitting In - Des Bishop
- Into the Wild
- Along with Atonement & Garage I saw all these on a flight to San Francisco. The best in flight entertainment ever!
- Forgetting Sarah Marshall
- Sive, Inda (UK) production, Belltable, Limerick, 26 April
- An unexpected pleasure to see John Morrissey on the stage again in my home town.
- Climb, Red Kettle production, Garter Lane, 16 Oct
- Very imaginative minimal set design
- Des Bishop, Forum, Waterford, 13 June
I read a bunch of mostly sport books this year
Most disappointing read
- Back from the brink - Paul McGrath with Vincent Hogan
- A mind blowing read into one man's survival. How me somehow managed to still be a giant on the field is testament to his awesome talent.
- Black Postcards - Dean Wareham
- The life of a man whose music has meant a lot to me, who's been able to scratch out a living in this cruel business.
- The Kings of September - Michael Foley
- Being from Offaly I am biased, but a fascinating story into how Offaly took down Kerry, the Kings Of September, in 82.
- Game of Shadows - Mark Fainaru-Wada & Lance Williams
- A real insight into how some people cheat in sport.
- Dreaming in code - Scott Rossenberg
- For coders only. A fascinating glimpse of a few years of the real world Chandler project.
- The Mutt: How to skateboard and not kill yourself - Rodney Mullen with Seam Mortimer
- Hawk: Occupation: Skateboarder (Skate My Friend, Skate) - Tony Hawk with Sean Mortimer
- Silent Gesture - Tommie Smith.
- It's one of the most iconic moments in Olympic history was not a black power salute but a stand against human rights. I had not realised Tommie Smith was such an outstanding athlete, the Usain Bolt of his time. However, I had to let this book go half way through as the constant repetition of personal issues between him and 3rd place runner John Carlos gets incredibly tiresome.
- Barack Obama's acceptance speech, experienced in a wall to wall jam packed bar in the Filmore District in San Francisco where you could hear a pin drop. Spine chilling, I will remember it for the rest of my life. The day was tinged with one of the disappointments of the year, the passing of Proposition 8, 52% saying yes to change the California Constitution to add "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognised in California." c$40million was spent on both sides of the campaign.
- Rondeslottet, Rondane National Park, Norway, 12 August
- Eldridge Grades, Mount Tamalpais, Marin County, California, USA, 8 November
- Mt Tam in Marin country, where mountain biking began. No visibility unfortunately but long bursting climbs and fantastic undulating descents.
- Ballinastoe Mountain Bike Trail, Ballinastoe, Wicklow, Ireland, 24 May
- Out riding with the Limerick boys and Paul Roche. A special day.
- Carrickbyrne Woods, Wexford
- My first MTB-O (Mountain bike orienteering event) finally. Had always thought about doing this in England and finally gave it a go this year. Was sure I came last but some lad did not finish!
- Norway, 9-23 August
- Tahoe , 1-3 Feb, 1-3 August
- Had 2 outstanding trips there this year, one in winter and one in summer. We were up in Heavenly for a weekend on the lifts and woke up Superbowl Sunday to a serious snow in. Then in the summer I did a magically hike in Granite Chief Wilderness - beside the Squaw Valley (1960 Olympics) boundary - up to 5 lakes where we went swimming in the most perfect mountain lake.
- Hiked up 5 or six times, a magical spot. We live 30 minutes drive from the car park for the 45 minute hike up.
- All Ireland Hurling Final, Waterford V Kilkenny, 7 September
- I was there supporting Waterford but sitting there in the Nally stand with Kilkenny coming right at me for the 3 in a row, the standard was awesome, I'm not sure Hurling can be played better.
- Sunderland V Arsenal, Stadium of light, 4 October
- A weekend to remember with Martin, Dave and Garbhán. Keane's last big game with Sunderland and he nearly had a famous victory before Arsenal equalised in injury time.
The rest were all tv witnessed:
- Nadal beating Federer in Wimbledon Men's final
- Will remember this day for the rest of my life. If there is a better tennis match in our life time we will be very fortunate. Malie took her first step during the match, we only made a quick acknowledgement as the match was so engrossing!
- Giants winning Superbowl XLII
- Only saw the last 2 minutes due to being snowed in at Tahoe, but what a 2 minutes, with the helmet catch and the giants getting the winning touchdown with 45 seconds left, meaning quarter back Eli beat the opposing quarter back, his brother Payton, to a ring.
- United winning Champions League
- So sweet for Ferguson to win it again.
- We were in Norway but fortunately the mountain hut we rented the first week had satellite tv, though unfortunately the Norwegians like a lot of Olympic Handball! Phelps was unreal. Only saw Bolt really when we got home, I still have a look at his runs every so often, Mind blowing. Please let history show him clean.
- Munster winning Rugby European Cup
- Munster were worthy second time winners & they added another page to their amazing history with their B team nearly beating the All Blacks, who had to bring on the big guns to win it.
- Spain winning Euro 2008.
- Finally they delivered on the big stage.
- The Musak
Ok, 2008 was not a big record buying year for me.
My excuse: As ever, late on the technological uptake, I started to use an ipod, so rediscovered so much music I hadn’t listened to in an age….
The only new releases I got hooked on were
Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago
Robert Forster, The Evangelist
- The Gigs
My Bloody Valentine The Roundhouse, 24 June
Robert Forster Carling Academy, Oxford, 22 September
Martha Wainwright Oxford Town Hall, 4 November 2008
Café Tacuba (caught the end!)Barbican, 3 May http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=uMrrTtiGPJY
Laurie Anderson Barbican, 3 May
Funkadelic Southbank Meltdown, 21 June
Nitin Sawney Carling Academy, Oxford, 7 November
- The Movies
Lars and the Real Girl
I’ve Loved You So Long
Happy Go Lucky
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Top 10 Albums 2008.
1. Wedding Present - El Rey
2. British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
3. Okkervil River - The Stand In's
4. Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
5. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
6. Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond
7. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
8. Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
9. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
10. Mogwai - The Hawk Is Howling
Top 10 gigs 2008.
1. Built To Spill @ Whelans
2. Band of Horses @ Tripod
3. Iron & Wine @ Olympia
4. Bon Iver @ Crawdaddy (moved to Tripod)
5. Magnetic Fields @ Vicar St
6. Wedding Present @ Andrews Lane
7. Okkervil River @ Paradiso
8. Broken Social Scene @ Vicar St
9. American Music Club @ Whelans
10. British Sea Power @ Academy
Lucas' Top 10 CDs of 2008
1) Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead
2) Mercury Rev- Snowflake Midnight
3) Kathleen Edwards - Asking For Flowers
4) Nada Surf - Lucky
5) Longwave - Secrets Are Sinister
6) Kings of Leon - Only By The Night
7) Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
8) Scarlett Johansson - Anywhere I Lay My Head
9) The Gutter Twins - Saturnalia
10) Hayes Carll - Trouble In Mind
Top 10 Singles1) Kings of Leon - Sex On Fire
2) The Killers - Human
3) Duffy - Mercy
4) Yoav - Club Thing
5) Crystal Castles - Vanished
6) MGMT - Time To Pretend
7) Katy Perry - Hot N Cold
8) Lee Ann Womack - Last Call
9) Willie Nelson - Gravedigger
10) Ferras - Something About You
Favorite Amazon.com "In-Store" Performances of 20081) Duffy
2) Paddy Casey
3) Billy Ray Cyrus
4) Ashton Shepherd
5) Ingrid Michaelson
6) Charter's Chord
8) Darius Rucker
10) Marie Digby
Our music team's in-office live acoustic performances from up and comers that made the cubicle world all worth while.
Top 5 Artist Interviews conducted in 20081) Scarlett Johansson
2) Hayes Carll
3) Mike Doughty
4) Randy Travis
5) DJ Spooky
I would post more, but I didn't get many more than this completed in 2008. There should be some more posted on Chordstrike.com soon.
Top 10 Albums
1. Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
Once I got this I didn't listen to anything else for weeks - this band do strange things to me. Don't be put off by the prog-rock excesses!
2. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
Absolutely irresistibly catchy tunes - great for dancing with the kids in the kitchen. Album cover of the year as well.
3. Sigur Rós - Med Sud... blah, blah
The soundtrack for the summer holidays
4. British Sea Power - Do you like Rock Music?
My epic rock album of the year
5. Tinariwen - Aman Iman
The token "world music" album from Mali - some really powerful songs
6. Spiritualized - Songs in A & E
I had lost track of Spiritualized for the past few years and only really picked it up because I liked the album title - was glad I did though.
7. Frank Black - Honeycomb
The album he recorded in Nashville a few years back, well worth a listen
8. Dinosaur Jr - Beyond
This one brought me back! As good as any of the albums from their hey day, which says a lot in my book
9. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
Probably shoudn't have liked this as much as I did
10. Bon Iver - For Emma, forever ago
Just got this last week, it's obviously great, so it might appear again on next year's list
Low - Christmas (great cover of Little Drummer Boy)
TV on the Radio - Dear Science,
Panda Bear - Person Pitch
Battles - Mirrored
Glasvegas - Glasvegas
Tom Waits - Small Change (I'd somehow missed out on this before now - one of his best, imho)
Top 3 Jazz Albums
(this is an attempt to mess up Tom's elaborate scoring system)
1. The Jimmy Cake - Spectre & Crown
The Jimmy Cake really deliver on their promise with this album, it really rewards repeated listening. Definitely my favourite Irish band by a long way
2. The Neil Crowley Trio - Loud... Louder... Stop!
I saw them play the opening track of this album "His Nibs" on Jools Holland and was blown away. The rest of the album isn't quite so immediate, but great nonetheless
3. Polar Bear - Held on the Tips of Fingers
More experimental and takes a bit of effort, but well worth it
My Bloody Valentine - The Roundhouse, London, June 20th
This was really special, the first of their reunion gigs. Yes, the sound was dreadful (couldn't hear Shield's vocals) and the crowd strangely subdued, but it really was amazing to see them again. The noise level for 20 minutes of "You made me realise" really was a unique experience
My Bloody Valentine - The Electric Picnic
Second time around I was a lot drunker, so I don't remember much other than that I really enjoyed it.
The Silver Jews - Cypress Avenue, Cork, May
Another of my favourite bands that I never thought I'd see live. Seeing them in such an intimate venue was terrific
Sigur Rós - Electric Picnic
Had great fun dancing like mad things with Orlando and Declan
Lou Reed - Marquee, Cork
My first time to see him, and since he was doing the Berlin album I didn't have the highest of hopes. But I was very pleasently surprised - he actually seemed to be enjoying the gig
Ibrahim Electric - Electric Picnic
An unexpected pleasure late on Sunday night in the Jazz tent, looking forward to seeing them again
The National - Olympia
My expectations for this were probably a bit too high, but it was still very enjoyable
Wilco - Electric Picnic
Another nice surprise - I didn't think they'd make an impact on the main stage, but they were terrific
The Lost Marbles - French Quarter, New Orleans
Saw this amazing jazz band playing on a street corner on a Wednesday afternoon - was the highlight of an otherwise dull work trip
Best Gigs I missed
Tom Waits - this is still painful
Leonard Cohen - how stupid not to make the effort for this...
Mercury Rev in Waterford - yes, really... should have listened to Tom
Spiritualized in a cathedral in Kilkenny - I had tickets but just didn't make it
Daniel Johnston & friends in Whelans - bought tickets, but clashed with holidays
This year has a mix of albums I missed from last year and saw on other people's top 10s, some usual
suspects and then some stuff discovered in an effort to broaden my musical horizons.
||For Emma, Forever
||Without a doubt album of the year for me. just when you thought this type of low fi home made singer song writer
album couldn't be done again in a meaningful way up steps Justin Vernon. Every song beautifully crafted record of an end of a relationship.
By all accounts he is over emma now, but it's great that he's still playing the songs.
||We Are Beautiful We are Doomed
||Artic monkeys without the hype? Well this is teenage indie pop at its best, clever funny lyrics, lots of great bedsit stories reminded me of Belle and Sebastian. Any band that can work Tony Cascarino into a song has to be worthy of note.
Shambolic and beautiful at the same time.
||I have Caroline to thank for getting me into these guys. If the kids are listening to this then the musical world is alright inspite of all the X factor
shite that abounds. High energy electro grunge with serious attitude, very catchy.
||Les Inrockuptible readers pool 2007 had this at No.3, those french can really pick their tunes. This fella comes from Sweeden and when
you hear it, you'll say where else, yes it's more sensitive sweedish pop. A lighter version of Jay Jay Johanson, sometimes voice can verge on the Gibb brothers, ouch,
but in a good way if that's possible. Infectious melodies summed up by Saturday Waits and Hard Days, just couldn't stop listening to these, only problem is they're too short.
||Close to Paradise
||I have my brother Francis to thank for this one, and Les Inrock readers pool 2007, this one came in at No.4. It also
made me realise that Pitchfork may not always be right. Rich layered magical songs, lots of bells, accordians and pianos and a voice not that
different to Jeff Buckley at times. If Luscious Life doesn't make you feel good about life then you do have real problems.
||Lust Lust Lust
||This came out at the end of last year, 3D glasses included. It has the Raveonettes going back to where they started
creating sparse harsh noisey guitar songs, voiced over with sweetness. It works for me again. Still some 50s sounds creeping in along
with some Jesus and Mary Chain and a dose of the Velvet Underground, not a bad combination. Was a treat to see them live in the village
earlier in the year some smashing drumming although I miss the guitarist they used to have.
||More moustached madness from Denmark, a little more eccentric than their last album. Lots of choral sounds,trombones, trumpets and seashells, slow building
melodies mixed with eerie noises, dreamlike soundscapes. Easy to get lost in all of this. They are fab live if you get a chance to see them in full danish fisherman attire.
||American Music Club
||The Golden Age
||In the top ten courtesy of the brilliant Windows of the World, what a superb tribute to the twin towers, a tribute in a way only Mark can do. Seeing him sing this live is
a treat, he almost raps ala LL Cool J, it's hillarious. Saw him 3 times this year, each one was wonderful.
||Carried to Dust
||Back to a more conventional Calexico album compared to the last one, some great mariachi influenced tracks, lots of political comment and some great instrumental songs too. The usual images
of dusty dessert skies in searing heat conjured up, I wouldn't have it any other way.
||The Hungry Saw
||Their first album in about 5 years, with only 3 original members of the band, but it's very good. A little less produced than the last couple of albums. Plenty of
dark lyrics to keep the fans happy.
Other albums that got a lot of play this year worthy of a mention included
The Notwist - Never reaches the heights of Neon Golden, but still lots of catchy jingles.
Sun Kil Moon - April - A real grower, took me a while to get into this but some really beautiful tunes particularly Bilbao
Elvis Perkins - Ash Wednesday - Anthony's son, singer songwriter in the vein of Elliot Smith, All The Night Without Love is a standout song
Bonnie Prince Billie - Lie Down in the light - Very melodic, not as stripped down as some earlier albums, a nice warm sound, mad lyrics as per usual, never heard "picking scabs" in a sing before.
The Do - A Mouthful - French Indie band heavily influenced by PJ Harvey, some excellent songs on this one
Baby Dee - Safe Inside the Day - Musically a bit like Tom Waits, if you're not into the affected voice it's not for you but I really liked the stage show quality of it.
Giant Sand - Provisions - Lots of off key singing but that's why I like him, excellent version of PJ's Desperate Kingdom of Love
Bon Iver @End of The Road - A sunny afternoon didn't seem like the best environment to hear this music but the band were superb, got everyone singing along to Wolves
Bon Iver @National Stadium - it was nice having this across the road from us. Venue worked well, there's even a tuck shop for your emerald sweets there. Could hear a pin drop during the show.
Crystal Castles @ Academy - Mental Crowd, mental band, bouncers had a tough time stopping her crowd surf. 45mins of pure magic.
Raveonettes @Village Great - Loud sound and they looked great too
Morriessey @Royal Hospital Kilmainham - Supported by with what's left of the New York Dolls. Super show, great mix of old and new tunes.
Sun Kil Moon @The Academy - Mark was in top form, great to hear Make Like Paper Sounds live again, forgot how good it was. Lots of attitude, someone was shouting for a song,
Mark shouts back, how about I play whatever the fuck I want? How about that one? Can I do that?
Broken Social Scene @ Vicar St. - They thumped out the hits to keep the crowd happy, they showed it was possible to recreate that great sound from the albums.
Bonnie Prince Billie w. Baby Dee @Vicar St. - Baby Dee was her eccentric best and Will had a nice little
American Music Club @ Whelans(Feb) - brilliant version of Patriots Heart, what a song. @End of The Road Voice was top notch and I wish I had videod Windows of The World for Mark's moves
Dirty Three @EOTR - Hadn't seen them live before, what a showman Warren Ellis is, was great to hear those tunes live
Calexico @EOTR - On top form, finished off a great set with a great version of Crystal Frontier.
Tindersticks @Vicar St. - Mostly new stuff but that wasn't a problem, the new songs are very good. Great to hear She's Gone and Travelling Light live again though.
Micah p Hinson @Crawdaddy - Didnt know any of this troubadors music, but I really liked his show, a great voice kind of like Vic Chestnutt.
Wolf Parade @Vicar St. - All first album songs were brilliant, second album didn't work so well but was still great to see them live.
Top 5 gigs:
1. Leonard Cohen, IMMA, Dublin, 14 June
2. Grinderman, Electric Picnic, Stradbally, 31 August
3. Mercury Rev, Electric Avenue, Waterford, 30 October
4. Tindersticks, Electric Picnic, Stradbally, 30 August
5. Grace Jones, Electric Picnic, Stradbally, 30 August
Nate’s favorite listens of 2008 (in no particular order):
Bowerbirds – Hymns for a Dark Horse
Invincible – Shapeshifters
Onra – Chinoiseries
V.A – Quantic Presents The World’s Rarest Funk 45s
Diplo and Santogold – Top Ranking
Aus – Lang
Rhythm & Sound – s/t
Fleet Foxes – Ragged Wood
Dan Dyer – s/t
Jacaszek – Treny
Why? – Alopecia
Top 10 Gigs
1. The Go! Team. Latitude 2008. I proposed to my girlfriend during 'Everyone's a VIP to someone'. She said yes. I think this has to go first.
2. My Bloody Valentine. The Roundhouse, 24 June 2008. I went a second time after being a bit disappointed with the opening night of their comeback tour.
This time, the sound was perfect, and the entire experience was mind-blowing. I came as close to the gates of paradise as I've ever been in this life.
3. The Go! Team. Primavera Sound 2008. Their set really was ridiculously good. I was off my tits on red bull, but still. Incredible fun.
4. Man Man. Primavera Sound 2008. Only went to see them because we liked the name. Turned out to be one of the highlights of the festival.
Psychotic jazz. Tom Waits with a chainsaw.
5. Holy Fuck. Primavera Sound 2008. Again, I hadn't heard of them before the festival, but there's something about the name...
They put on some show. Far better than the Fuck Buttons, who played the same night.
6. Sigur Ros. Alexandra Palace, 21 November 2008. These guys were the highlight of Latitude this year. This was the better show though for me.
7. Morrissey. Hyde Park Festival. He's still got it. A great performer. And he played six Smiths songs. SIX.
8. Quilapayun. L'Auditori, Barcelona, 1 June 2008. A fantastic Chilean folk outfit happened to be playing in Barcelona while I was in
town, so I went along. They were wonderful, very moving.
9. MGMT. The Forum, 27 November 2008. I saw these wonder kids a few times this year. This one was the best, although they played exactly the same set as they
did in the Astoria in May. Looking forward to hearing some new material.
10. The Notwist. ICA, 6 June 2008.
Top 10 Albums
1. Oracular Spectacular. MGMT. Blasted onto the scene with 'Time to Pretend'. Incredibly, the album didn't disappoint.
2. Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. Sigur Ros. They just keep producing the most beautiful and exhilarating music.
3. Sexuality. Sebastien Tellier. Made the Eurovision Song Contest seem cool and sophisticated. Who is this man?
4. Neon Golden. The Notwist.
5. The Devil, You + Me. The Notwist. Or should this be no.4?
6. A Mouthful. The Do.
7. Rabbit Habits. Man Man.
8. Fleet Foxes. Fleet Foxes. The Beach Boys go to church.
9. We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Modest Mouse. Johnny Marr making some decent music with our friends from over the water.
10. Distortion. The Magnetic Fields.
Top 10 Films
(I didn't get out to the cinema much this year, so many of these are older films I saw on dvd.)
1. There Will Be Blood, dir. Paul Thomas Anderson. Amazing stuff from our man Day Lewis.
2. The Man Without a Past, dir. Aki Kaurismaki.
3. No Country for Old Men, dir. The Coen Bros.
4. The Corporation, dir. Mark Achbar, Jennifer Abbot.
5. Enron, The Smartest Guys in the Room, dir. Alex Gibney.
6. Lazy Days, dir. Jesus Ponce.
7. OSS 117. Cairo, Nest of Spies, dir. Michel Hazanivicius.
8. Kung Fu Panda, dir. Mark Osborne, John Stevenson.
9. Be Kind, Rewind, dir. Michel Gondry.
10. The Orphanage, dir. Juan Antonio Bayona.
OK... 2008. It's been a busy year all round. Here is what's been floating my boat this year. As usual I'm writing it retrospectively, so I'm bound to have missed a few gems and will kick myself later... but... in no particular order;
1 - Cage The Elephant - 'Cage The Elephant' - A top recommendation from Mr Livesey this one, and it has been on the stereo ever since. Not ground breaking, but then what is these days. Good honest funky rock n roll, and there's a briliant remix of 'Ain't No Rest For The Wicked' floating around that is mixed with Max Romeo's 'Chase The Devil', which is probably my tune of the year...
2 - Gallows - 'Orchestra of Wolves' - This is maybe a little full on punk for a few of you gentle Irish souls... but stick this on your headphones when you're on your mountain bike, snowboard, or going for a run, and it is perfect! These guys have a very individual sound and hail from Glasgow. They do a good cover version of 'Staring At The Rude Bois' too.
3 - Quincy Conserve - 'Aire of Good Feeling... The Best Of' - A great discovery this. These guys are a New Zealand band from the 60s, which might sound dubious, but I aquired this album and it is classic! The title track is just begging to be on a Tarantino soundtrack.
4 - Juno - Original Soundtrack - Juno is one of those films that comes around every now and again, where the soundtrack breathes a life of it's own, and the tracks on it become forever associated with that soundtrack... 'Good Morning Vietnam' was one, 'Pulp Fiction' and 'Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels' were others, and Juno now nestles amongst them. Two mates of mine and Jo's did their first dance to 'All I Want Is You' by Barry Louis Polisar, and it was perfect, and it's probably done wonders for Kimya Dawson and The Moldy Peaches retirement fund.
5 - The Bronx - The Bronx (II) - Another punky offering, which has been on my headphones a lot this year... a little more mellow than Gallows, but not much. There is a new Bronx album coming out as I write, and they have also recorded a Mariarchi album called 'El Bronx' to be released next year, which I can't wait to hear!
6 - Opensouls - Kaleidascope - Brilliant kiwi soulful hip hop... a slow burner for me
7 - Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords - If you haven't seen Flight of the Conchords, the series, yet, then get on it... This is the music from the series, and it stands up amazingly well, even though it's a comedy record... This has made me chuckle all year. Just listen to 'Bowie' and tell me it's not genius!
8 - Michael Franti & Spearhead - All Rebel Rockers - The thinking man's hi-hopper returns with a reggae influenced album... everyone needs a good skank every now and again!
9 - The Hot Grits - It's too Drunk to be this Early - An album of good honest funk from this kiwi band
10 - (International) Noise Conspiracy - Survival Sickness / The First Conspiracy - I got these albums at the same time and so they've kind of merged into one. Great rock with a pinch of organ for good measure!
1 - 'Shadow Of The Wind' by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - One of my books of the year. A book full of everyday magic, and definitely written by a book lover, for book lovers... even to the extent where he has drawn up a suggested map of a walk around Barcelona to visit many of the locations that are featured directly, or indirectly, in the book. A great read!
2 - 'The Time Travellers Wife' by Audrey Niffenegger - I've just read that a film is coming out of the book, which will no doubt put me off it... However... This is an amazing, and original love story about a guy who has a genetic illness that manifests itself itno time travel... he arrives in various stages of his life, naked and starving, and has an ongoing relationship with both himself, and his future wife throughout there lives... It is written brilliantly written so that all the chopping and changing of time, etc, doesn't interupt the flow of the story. I do hope they cast the right people in the film... not fucking Tom Hanks to get a big name, like they did for the Da Vinci Code, regardless of whether he was suited to the role or not... we'll see!
3 - 'The Testament of Gideon Mack' by James Robertson - Does he really meet the devil, or is the whole book a tale of Gideon Mack's slow descent into madness?... you decide. This is a tale of Gideon Mack who despite not believing in God, follows in his father's footsteps and enters the Ministry. Why hasn't an atheist Minister got a place in todays society? Surely they still have a lot to offer? Again... one of my books of the year.
4 - 'The Pilo Family Circus' by Will Elliot - A very black comedy about scary clowns and alternate realities. This is a modern cult classic in the making, and would also translate into a fucking great film in the right hands... Robert Rodriguez, or the such like.
5 - 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak - A fantastic character driven story set amidst Jew persecuting Nazi Germany, and narrated by Death.
6 - 'Emperor...' x4 by Conn Iggulden - Easy to read, and pretty un-put-downable quadriligy (... is that a word?), set in Roman times... I won't tell you who it's about, because if you don't know already, then not realising is one of the gems of the first book.
7 - 'Emergency Sex (And Other Desperate Measures) by ... oops.. sorry, can't remember! - Intertwining autobiographical tales from three United Nations workers in a number of horrenndous humanitarian nightmares. They cross each others paths, and become friends, or more, whilst steadily becoming disillusioned with United Nation's political pussy footing in the face of some unbelievable human atrocities, such as the one depicted in the film 'Hotel Rwanda'. A good book for someone like myself, who doesn't read the paper and has never voted, so has fuck all clue about what's going on in the world.
8 - 'Baltimore, or the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire' - Mike Mignola - Beautifully illustrated, and original novel about a sodier's unfortunate encounter with a vampire on a First World War battlefield, and thei ensuing cursed and vengeful relationship that transpires between them. An unexpected delight.
9 - 'Open Up and Bleed - Iggy Pop' by Paul Trynka - How is Iggy Pop still alive? He completely and utterly wipes the floor with all takers in his relentless and self destructive punk n roll lifestyle. This books draws out the contradiction between his obvious intelligence and thoughtfulness, and his narcissitic masochistic druggy tendencies.
10 - 'Anansi Boys' by Neil Gaiman - The main character is painfully embarressed by his father's antics, but upon his father's death discover's he was a God. Easy reading and originally humerous book from Neil Gaiman, who also wrote 'Stardust'.
Apocalypto - Missed this when it came out and was absolutely blown away by it when I saw it this year... fuckin' amazing!
Death Proof - Classic Tarantino! Stick with it to the end where the girls kick some serious butt!
Planet Terror - Classic Rodriguez! I Love the way Tarantino and Rodriguez have made a whole package in their homage to the 70s B-Movie, even down to constructing trailers for movies that don't exist...
Black Snake Moan - Samuel L Jackson plays a tormented old blues player and Christina Ricci a nymphomaniac who spends the majority of the film in her knickers... what more reason could you need to check this film out!
The 3 Burials of Melquiades Estrada - Fantastic character driven movie, beautifully made!
Juno - Definitely one of the biggest films of the year for me!
Once - Low budget film about an Irish busker who gets a kick up the arse by meeting a pushy foreign girl... probably don't need to tell you Irish about it. Starring Glen Hansard of The Frames.
The Darjeeling Express - Classic Wes Anderson... awkward character driven quierkiness...
Sunshine - Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Alex Garland... Great science fiction film that doesn't rely on special efects and whatnot.
Stardust - Light hearted fantasy film. From the book by Neil Gaiman.
OK... There we have it... I'll try and keep a record as I go along this year. rather than trying to remember it all at the end...! Enjoy!
2008: Great hikes in the Mournes, Comeraghs & Scotland. Mountain biking in Ballinastoe & Ballyhoura, and some new recruits among old friends. The year of the Kombi - from washed out in Fanore, to sweltering on the beautiful beaches of North Wexford. Another Electric Picnic, Richenda's first, and lots of old friends there too. Two magical weeks in Sicily - at the 2nd time of asking (tip: check your passport expiry dates). Another C.L.E.C. (the C stands for Carlingford, the E stands for endurance, no irony here). In between, plenty of new music, more gigs than I can remember, and not as many books or movies as I would like. Another Heineken Cup win for mighty Munster - we should have gone. OK, Here we go...
Albums of the Year
2008 releases mostly
- Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig! He just keeps on doing it
- Bruce Sprinsteen - Magic. Really enjoyed this, lots of plays
- Tindersticks - The Hungry Saw. Beautiful, smooth, silky - you know the deal
- Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid. Mercury prize winner, lives up to the hype
- Robert Plant & Alison Kraus - Raising Sand. A gem from this unlikely couple
- The Dodos - Visitor. Indie-folk-rock, whatever. This is quality
- Bob Dylan - Modern Times. Still going strong
- Blonde Redhead - 23. The best band you've never heard of. Check them out
- Sigur Rós - Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust. Really got into this after seeing them at the Picnic
- Portishead - 3. Is it really 11 years since no. 2? In that case, worth the wait
Albums: Honourable Mentions
Close, but no cigar...
- The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of Understatement. Fantastic 60's vibe to this
- Microdisney - From Daunt Square to Elsewhere (compilation). Better late than never
- Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
- Ida Maria - Fortress Around my Heart
- Robert Forster - The Evangelist
- The Breeders - Mountain Battles
- The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
- Hot Chip - Made in the Dark
- Beirut - The Flying Cup Club
Electric Picnic - another great weekend. The rain stayed away, the setup just gets better every year. Great to hang out with old mates, and brought 'Wanda' too. Other musical highlights in no particular order...
- Sigur Ros - Electric Picnic. They blew me away, what a show
- Bonnie Prince Billy - Vicar St. He was on top form here
- Radiohead - Malahide Castle. Beautiful summer evening, easy on the crowd pleasers but I really got into this
- Tom Waits - Phoenix Park. The consumate entertainer, great to finally see him. Pity about the venue
- Neil Young - Malahide Castle. He's a living legend and put on a great show here. 'Old Man', spine-tingling
- Richard Hawley - Vicar St. Just does what he does, and the crowd loved it
- Iggy & the Stooges - IMMA. One big mosh pit, mental
- The National - Olympia. Mr. November, Fake Empire, wow
- Stephen Stills - Vicar St. Stephen who? Crosby, Nash and Young were his mates
- The Breeders - . Great banter from Kim and Kelley, a fun gig
- Band of Horses - Tripod. You will not see a band with better beards
- Eels - Vicar St. - didn't quite take off
- Terry Callier
- Juana Molina
- George Clinton
- The Roots
- My Bloody Valentine
- Get Cape, Wear Cape, Fly
- Scotland - 2 day hike and camp in the Mamores with Paul Roche, up to the Ring of Steall in a blizzard, then it cleared. Heaven.
- The Mournes. Easter trip, hiking with Aster. And yes, I confess we did pop into Ikea. Hooked up with Kev & Liz too
- The Comeraghs. Beautiful hike to Coumshingaun with Tom, Christine & Malie, blessed with the sun. The last time I carried Ruby on a hike
- Sicily - food, sun, beaches, history, architecture and the friendliest people you will meet
- Three Rock and Blue Light. Midweek pedal with Paul - pints, trad and king crisps in the Blue Light. I may have been drunk cycling home.
- Carlingford multisport race - Cormac stepped in at last minute, legend. Kev McG played a blinder. A tough day, we'll crack the 7 hours yet!
- Heineken Cup - OK, so we weren't there, but warmed up with a group bike ride in Ballinastoe, and finished with creamy pints in the Blue Light
- Van Trips - Fanore weather was truly frightening. 2 fantastic weekends free-camping in Wexford and the obligatory few breakdowns in between
- Ballycotton, Trevor's Stag. Great company, good pints, lovely spot.
- Ballyhoura Mountain Biking - 3 trips (Willie, Kev McG and Richenda for company) this year. World class trails. Check it out if you don't believe me
- Olympics - Bolt, Phelps, unforgettable
- Hurling - Some great games -Clare/Cork, Tipp/Waterford, Galway/Cork. Pity about the final. And Clonlara win the Clare senior title
- Football - Wexford's oddessy, and one of the best finals in years
- Newcastle - 2 great nights with Tom, Martin and Garbhan. The Cumberland, what a pub, I could live there
Not many cinema trips this year again. Yep, kids'll do that. But I enjoyed all these:
- No Country for Old Men
- Man On Wire
- The Visitor
Looking forward to reading everyone else's contributions. I used '07's list for some DVD renting inspiration a few weeks ago.
- Robert Fisk - The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East. Epic, one of the best books I've ever read
- Things the Grandchildren Should Know - Mark E. Everett (Eels). What a life
- Give Me Shelter - Ian McKeever. Wicklow man climbs the Seven Summits in world record
- The Sportswriter - Richard Ford. A great American novel, first of a trilogy
- Ham on Rye - Charles Bukowski. The poet-laureate of Skid Row
- That they may face the Rising Sun - John McGahern. One of the greatest Irish novelists
- The Grass is Singing - Doris Lessing. Nobel prize winning writer
- Fleet foxes is album of the year for me all the way
- Belle and Sebastian - The BBC Sessions. These are on a loop at the moment - with bonus live track...next years no. one i'm sure!
Thanks again to Tom for keeping the Top Ten going. Another year, lots of fun, music and travelling and
just hanging out with good friends.
||various madlibing that came my way from several Stonethrow albums |
|Manons Mellow EST mix
||Esbjörn Svensson died tragically this year, this beautiful mix captures his genius|
||Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumental 1969-1974|
||New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War|
Festivals and Gigs
Highlights of the year have to be The North Sea Jazz Festival again, and the afterparty at Kevs place with Jermaine iPoding the tunes.
I also discovered the Big Chill. This festival is an electronic picnic, highly recommended. Standout gigs throughout the year were
Jose James, Herbie Hancock Quintet, Roy Hargrove, Soil and "Pimp" Session, Matthew Herbert Big Band, Fink, Jill Scott, Acoustic Ladyland, Bootsy Collins, Leonard Cohen, The Bays, Thievery Corporation, Roisin Murphy, Little Dragon, Nitin Sawney, Asian Dub Foundation, The Orb.
I guess I can't live without my books, and our little Stream Of Consciousness bookclub has been great again this year, pints of ale in front of the Cumberlands roaring fire in the depths of winter with animated discussion about the latest read
Every year you discover a new author that you can't get enough of. For me it is Josef Škvorecký and his masterpiece "The Engineer of Human Souls", go read it.
Some book I read
|The Engineer of Human Souls by Josef Škvorecký|
|The Border Trilogy by Cormac McCarty|
|Nostromo by Joseph Conrad |
|The Master and Margerita by Mikhail Bulgakov|
|Light in August by Willian Faulkner|
|In Cold Blood by Truman Capote|
|The Jungle by Upton Sinclair|
|Red Sorgum by Mo Yan|
|The Ballad of Lee Cotton by Christopher Wilson|
|New York Stories by Paul Auster|
|Palestine by Joe Sacco|
|Veniss Underground by Jeff Vandermeer|
|Kingdom Come by J.G. Ballard|
Some favourites films from this year
|Linha de Passe at the Tyneside Cinema|
|Gomorrah at the Tyneside Cinema|
|Slingshot HipHop at the Tyneside Cinema|
|Autumn Ball at the Tyneside Cinema|
|Im Lauf der Zeit at the Tyneside Cinema|
|The Naked City at The Side Cinema|
|Django Legacy at The Side Cinema|
|The Blue Kite at The Side Cinema|
|12:08 East of Bucharest at The Star and Shadow|
|Go with Peace Jamil at The Star and Shadow|
|Tsietse My Hero at The Star and Shadow|
|No Country For Old Men at The Tyneside|
I spent a lot of the summer on my new old road bike, long evenings and the beautiful countyrside in Northumberland are great for after work cycling. I took part in the Cyclone Challenge along with 1500 others, a 100k trip through the countryside, and the Loch Ness First Monster Challenge, a team biathlon up in Scotland, but the stand out trip was cycling around England and Wales, 1200km in 10 days riding, a bike touring adventure, unforgettable times.
Bike touring in Conwy, Wales February 2008
Some gentle days with Pete and Hannah up in Conwy, lovely! Some
photos hidden at the end here
Glenfinnan, Scotland February 2008
Our winter trip to Scotland, some serious weather and great walking with the lads
Glenfinnan to Inverie, Scotland Easter 2008
The third annual Easter egg race took place on this magnificent walk through the valleys and passes that connect Gelnfinnan to Inverie, staying in bothys and tents along the way. The only way out is by boat to Mallaig! Some
The Cyclone Challenge June 2008
A 100km tour around Northumberland with 1500 people out for a day of fun on their bikes.
Euro 2008, Basel June 2008
A couple of weekends in Basel, hanging out with Michelle, and the 100,000 dutch fans that descended on the city for a weekend to remember. Pity they lost!
Le Tour 2008 August 2008
Newcastle to Norwich to pick Tim up and then across to the west coast of Wales, everyday was an unending adventure.....
First Monster Biathlon September 2008
Teams of 4, 120k around Loch Ness, no specific training, 3 pints the night before after a long drive up there, hanging with Chris and Sarah and the Welsh girls...and our official photographer Stu, not much sleep, a few smokes to kickstart my body at 5am and we still finished 27th out of 200 teams, a superbly organised event, spectacular route, and such friendly participants of all ages and abilities, we will be going back next year for sure...
TOP 10 ALBUMS
I've lost count of the number of times I've listened to the Crystal Castles album. Definately the theme of 2008, with Foals a very close second.
1. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
2. Foals - Antidotes
3. Sun Kil Moon - April
4. Tindersticks - The Hungry Saw
5. The Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust
6. Sons & Daughters - The Gift
7. Baby Dee - Safe Inside the Day
8. Coconut Records - Nighttiming
9. Seasick Steve - Dog House Music
10. Burial - Untrue
TOP 10 GIGS
Mark had to be practically kicked off the stage at EOTR. Some very nervous folk on the sidelines when the guitar solos went way over time. Tindersticks in Vicar Street were incredible. Only trouble was the girl who fell asleep on my back and had to be removed. Billy flirted it up big time with Nurse Julie and cracked up all the way through their set
1. Sun Kil Moon - End of the Road Festival
2. Tindersticks - Vicar Street
3. Wild Billy Childish & Nurse Julie - End of the Road Festival
4. Sons & Daughters - Feb The Village
5. The Raveonettes - April The Village
6. Tindersticks - End of the Road Festival
7. Bon Iver - End of the Road Festival, Dorset
8. Interpol - Oxegen
9. Bonnie Prince Billy & Baby Dee - Vicar Street
10. Revenge of Shinobi - End of the Road Festival
1. Rescue Dawn
2. No Country For Old Men
4. Lets Get Lost
6. Burn After Reading
7. Paranoid Park
8. There Will Be Blood
9. Annie Liebovitz
My Top 10 is laced with the experience of four months in South America, and my renewed love for the Jazz Piano.
Happy New Year
1. E.S.T - Leukocyte
Essbjorn Svensson's untimely death from a diving accident has made this an epitaph of sorts, but its a piece of electronic flecked jazz, and shows his unique style.
2. Seu Jorge - America Brasil o Disco
Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful. Unashamedly happy. We all need this.
3. Jolie Holland - Springtime can kill you
A Be Good Tanya who is very, very good.
4. Adriana Varela - Encaje
>From Argentina - beautiful tango sang with a four pack of Marlboros a day habit
5. Alma Luma - Luma & So do Samba
>From Salvador, just nice songs set to relentless Afro-Brazilian rhythm
6. Moriarty - Gee whiz but this is a lonesome town
Heartbreaking French cabaret-folk
7. Marcin Wasilewski Trio - January
Another of European Jazz's great pianists. Intuitive connection with his trio
8. Edu Lobo - A musica de Edu Lobo por Edu Lobo
A flavour of Brazil from the 60's, but a collection of great tunes by
9. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
My guilty pleasure of the year, but what a nice revelation - a rock star who has actually moved on.
10. Seasick Steve - I started out with nothin and still got most of it left
I loved his homespun logic, intuitive guitar playing, and the fact he still lives in a Caravan. Then I found out he has an apartment in Norway....The Bastard
1. Skinny Love – Bon Iver
2. White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
3. Two Daughters And A Beautiful Wife – Drive-By Truckers
4. Suffering Jukebox – Silver Jews
5. Demon Days – Robert Forster
6. Lost Coastlines – Okkervil River
7. Crick In My Neck – Cass McCombs
8. Mansard Roof – Vampire Weekend
9. St Peter’s Day Festival – Ra Ra Riot
10. The Roof Top Song – Port O’Brien
11. Waving Flags – British Sea Power
12. Never Stops – Deerhunter
13. It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry– Glasvegas
14. Grounds For Divorce – Elbow
15. I Heard Wonders – David Holmes
16. Family Tree – TV On The Radio
17. Electric Feel – MGMT
18. Christopher And Anthony – Jape
19. One Pure Thought – Hot Chip
20. Untrust Us – Crystal Castles
That time of year again eh! Struggling to get a list together I have to say. Family life not very condusive to seeing 10 movies a year, not to mind having a top 10! Anyway, did me best. I'm still keen on the cd thing even though there wasn't much interest last year. I think the cd compilation is the best part of the whole deal but I guess to be fair it is a bit of hassle. If there's a few keen this year i'd be up for it.
Music (lots of good music around New Zealand at the moment- 3 well deserved bands in list with 08 releases)
1- SJD : Dayglo Spectres
Easily the standout album of the year for me. Kiwi lad. 40's . Married with kids. Little known in New Zealand and totally unheard outside NZ.Has made an album that evokes LCD Soundsystem/ Sound of Silver but only alot better. Saw him play to 100 or so people in Christchurch and thought- shit if only he got a few festival gigs overseas he would take off big time. His last 3 albums are generally accepted as being amoung the best music made in New Zealand in the last 20yrs. Checkout out tracks 'No telling where' and 'Fire in the Crawlspace' or just get the whole album on itunes.
2- Vampire Weekend : Vampire Weekend
Every song a Talking heads style feast and great fun, no weak track which is unusual this year. alot of other highly rated albums had a good few weak tracks .
3- Steven Wilson : Insurgentes
prog rock/indie/jass/Krautrock/electronica- at least someone is mixing it up !,great stuff
4- Bon Iver : For Emma,forever ago
Late night,chill out ,down time. It's no Astral Weeks but a fine debut
5- Luka Buda : Vesuvius
Singer/songwriter with Wellington band The Phoenix Foundation. Guy loves his 70's trippy rock and it shows. Great fun. Anyone who can write a song called 'Empty eyes,generous thighs' is good enough for me.
6- Tigertones : Tigertones.
Christchurch bebut, early Cure/new Order style .
7- David Byrne and Brian Eno : Everything that happens will happen today.
A gospel/folk/electronic album form these legends- strange but true
8- MGMT- Oracular Spectacular
Time to Pretend- anthem of the year, no doubt.
9- Band of Horses : Cease to begin
10- SJD: Southern Lights
- After the wedding
can't think of any other film that had the emotional punch of this one. Have missed alot of movies this year. Too busy with kids!
1- SJD : Christchurch Oct 08
honourable mention: Steve Earle- Christchurch Nov 08
1- Munster v AllBlacks.
Average year for sport otherwise.can't think of much else that will last in the memory.
1. No country for old men
2. The dark night
3. Head on
4. Hellboy 1(on dvd, while not released in 2008 in saw this on dvd and it is a classic)
6. Iron man
8. Black Snakes moan (while not released in 2008 in saw this on dvd, Samuel L. Jackson is outstanding)
9. You kill me
10. There will be blood
1. Iron and Wine: Our endless numbered days
2. Penny Black: Chequeboard
3. Kings of leon: Only by the night
4. Alela Diane : The pirates gospel
5. Beirut: Gulag Orkestar
6. Eluviam: Copia
7. Killers: Sawdust
8. Holly Throsby: On the night
9. Ray Lamontagne: Till the sun turns black
10 Modest Mouse :the moon and Antarctica
11. Mice Parade : Dem vinda Vontade
1. George Clinton, Electric Picnic
2. The Roots, Electric Picnic
3. Sugar Butt Tiger Burlesque show Electric Picnic
4. Morrissey, live at the marquee
5. British sea power, Cypress avenue
6. Massive attack, live at the marquee cork
7. Tindersticks, cork opera house
8. Dermot byrne: Glebe House Baltimore
2008: The good, the bad and the ugly
The Good, 2008 for me will be remembered by the Partnership for change conference I organised in cork, Ireland, with amongst others a live interview with Dr James Hansen and a standing ovation by near 300 people at end of day. Getting a full page article published in the irish examiner on climate change was another highlight along with receiving the cork environmental forum individual award for 2008. Obama winning the presidential election in the USA, was a joy to watch. 2008 was also the year that I set up with Serena the Bandon film Society, a local not for profit community cinema. Last but not least the purchase of the love nest.
The Bad was the sad passing away of a number of amazing people including Aoife Halpin.
The Ugly included the rot within political and financial system in Ireland and the failure of our society to provide an effective alternative Government and transparent leadership.
Bests wishes to all in 2009.