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Archive for December, 2008

Favorite Albums of 2008

Favorite Albums of 2008

I’ve been looking at the year-end best-of lists that are coming out now (Fimoculous has a nice list of the lists, and so does LargeHeartedBoy), and I’ve listened to quite a few of the frequent entries (Bon Iver, Santogold) and not listened to quite a few (Deerhunter, No Age), but anyway, here’s my (very short and woefully incomplete) Best Albums of 2008:

7. The Gaslight Anthem, “The ’59 Sound.”  OK, some home-state bias here, but these guys friggin’ rock. If you’re from Jersey and you write a song about asking your girl to leave her parents behind and come out for a ride, either your name’s Bruce or you’ve got some serious balls. None of these Jersey boys is named Bruce.

6. Death Cab for Cutie, “Narrow Stairs”  Another step past “Plans” in the group’s progression toward well-produced not-quite-pop darkness.

5. Fleet Foxes (self-titled debut)  Maybe these guys didn’t hear that Brian Wilson actually completed “Smile,” since it seems like they were trying to do the job themselves. Gorgeous harmonies, blah blah blah.

4. R.E.M., “Accelerate”  Tempos and attitude from “Murmur” blend with snarling distorted guitar from “Document” or “Life’s Rich Pageant” to produce an album that’s startlingly different but instantly recognizable.

3. Vampire Weekend (self-titled debut)  Some of this sounds like a demo for an album that’ll be really great once they get the rest of the instruments, but it’s still awesome.

2. The Hold Steady, “Stay Positive”  I first thought these guys sounded like Elvis Costello if he’d never grown up, but now they’re growing up, and that turns out to be a good thing. Ambitious and epic, burnished with age and experience.

1. Girl Talk, “Feed the Animals”  Ignore the track list, this is one big song — and what a song it is. An hour-long nonstop jam that’s a great big stick in the eye to anyone making the unoriginal claim that sampling is unoriginal. Michael Jackson meets Queen, Busta Rhymes meets The Police, DJ Kool meets Dexy’s Midnight Runners, none of it has clearances, and all of it works. And you can be part of the revolution by visiting the website and downloading the most-likely-illegal album for free and putting it on your hard drive. Play your part.

(Video mashup of Billboard Top 25 by DJ Earworm)

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The 4-week point

So, my world changed 4 weeks ago today, and it’s still changing, and hopefully some time next year it’ll change for the better. Sorry about the lousy video of the Kinks cover band, but I couldn’t find a decent video of “Better Things” by the Kinks, or by Dar Williams, or Fountains of Wayne, both of whom do really good covers of what’s becoming my “keep your chin up” motivational tune.

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LOLbrarians

LOLbrarians  Some inside-baseball librarian humor, and a lot of overlap with traditional LOLcats, but still lots of funny stuff. (via MeFi)

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Likelihood he’ll cheat on you

Likelihood He’ll Cheat On You

 I wish I’d shown this to my wife before Xmas shopping season — not that I can really complain, given the wonderful present she did give me. (from GraphJam via My Confined Space)

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The Trial of Ralph McTell

The Trial of Ralph McTell  Awesome sketch from old British TV show French & Saunders with cameos by Dave Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits, Lemmy from Motorhead, and more. (via MeFi)

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Best. Xmas. Ever.

duty_calls Best. Xmas. Ever. 

I got lots of nice presents (2 out-of-print CDs from my brother, a spiffy hat and warm gloves from my folks, and some other stuff), but the best one was from my wife, who gave me a signed print of the XKCD cartoon at right.

She even framed it, so it’s all ready to hang in my new office or cubicle or whatever I end up at in whatever my next job turns out to be.

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas  For those of you who celebrate it, that is. And it doesn’t get much merrier than penguins in Santa suits playing in the snow.

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