2008 Music Wrap Up


With the year quickly coming to a close, here’s tirado/thrown’s list of albums/songs/tracks that made their way into regular listening rotation over the last year.  While most of the titles below were released in 2008, your dear author/editor cannot pretend to scoop up new records and love them as quickly as a number of people picking up records and writing about them.  At times, he wishes he were so adventurous.  Be that as it may, the list follows:


  • Crystal Castles, Self-Titled, Last Gang Records: A record of 8-bit-inspired madness teetering at the point where self-control and its loss become difficult to distinguish.  It is music to the tune of neurons alternately seizing up and firing at various intensities, making shards and blobs of circuitry-toned noise for your pleasure.


  • Anavan, Self-Titled, GSL: Manic, tight, post-punk.  Danceable and disciplined, this record will mercilessly cut you right down the middle.


  • TV on the Radio, Dear Science, Interscope: As close to a perfect album as you can get.  Just. Go. Listen.


  • El Guincho, Alegranza, Young Turks/XL Recordings: Dense, infectious, rhythmic loops of joy.


  • Las Malas Amistades, Jardin Interior, Psychopath Records: The record (and band) I’ve been waiting for to offer Latin America’s response to Sebadoh’s Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock.  Not quite new, but it was a 2008 discovery here at tirado/thrown.


  • Nobody, Presents Blank Blue: Western Water Music, Vol. 3, Ubiquity Records: Lush, slow burning, deep grooves from L.A.  Oftentimes Nobody’s psychedelic arrangements move the music along like fog moving at the boundary between air and water, smoother and cooler than an iced bong hit.  


  • Chico Sonido, Various Mixes, available at www.chicosonido.com:  Outstanding mixes of vintage Latino tracks that just teem with soul.  He’s an outstanding selector, and part 2 of a set he recorded for dublab in 2006 is proof.  Finding records under pyramids indeed.


  • Various Artists, The Roots of Chicha, Barbes Records: Irresistible late 60’s cumbia drenched in reverb-laced guitars.  Inspired by the wave of psychedelic cumbia rocking South America (esp. Zizek) as of late, I somehow managed to come across this ancestral document.


  • School of Seven Bells, Alpinisms, Ghostly Records:  Most of what I read about them invokes the term shoegaze or dreampop, which I find a pretty lazy analogy.  Said genres don’t carry a groove or run vocals the way SVIIB’s Alpinisms does deftly mixing the sonic landscapes of Spiritualized and rhythms of late 80s freestyle to entirely original results:  earnest, serious, groove-laden, and striving for a level of feeling in songwriting that treads perilous musical territory and comes away glowing.


  • Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Daytrotter Sessions, Available here.  There’s a fragility and vulnerability in Robinson’s voice and songwriting that is just arresting.  The four songs featured on the Daytrotter sessions are rather magnificent in themselves as well-performed pieces of rock.


  • Baltimoroder/Die Young, Cat/Back Around, Dopamine Records: A slick but downright grimy track coming from Boston’s finest DJ, Baltimoroder.  It’s much like something you’ll hear him spinning during peak dancing time at one of the many nights he’s a part of.   

A few more records from this year were in the running, but in the name of a measure of integrity, they’re excluded them from the list since said author/editor hasn’t listened to them. They are worth mentioning as records that are eagerly awaiting listening:

  • Flying Lotus, Los Angeles, Reset, 1983, Warp Records/Plug Research
  • Abe Vigoda, Skeleton, Post-Present Medium
  • Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Self-Titled, Say Hey Records

I’ll leave with a little piece of pre-holiday cheer that came my way from tirado/thrown favorite Caro at Sound Taste.  It’s Gael Garcia Bernal getting his norteño on in with a rendition of, well, you’ll recognize it, by you know who, as part of an upcoming film, Rudo y Cursi.  Judging from the trailer, the song gets its work in. Were I Bun E. Carlos, I would be impressed.


Late March NYC Weekender
March 27, 2008, 12:26 am
Filed under: art, Music, Rock | Tags: , , , , ,

Light Cycle Explosion

There are times when there’s enough available time to squeeze in a quick weekend jaunt. In this case, circumstances are such that a quick 36-hour trip to New York City is materializing. Since I’m expecting to arrive at around 3:30 or 4:00 on Saturday afternoon, I have to be hasty as to reach my first destination before it closes. And the weekend should be pretty busy from there. Some things I’m eager to check out on my short trip:

  • Anavan at Glasslands. L.A.-based Anavan counts among its members long-time KXLU DJ Bret Berg, whose rather quiet disposition contains a volatile admixture of near-mawkish camp and a keen ear for post-punk. His radio show Egg City is no longer, but he’s been actively nurturing his audiophilia at his blog, aptly titled Egg City Radio. Anavan’s music comes from a home-grown part of the L.A. underground that began sinking roots after the demise of Jabberjaw in the late 90s and found a home in places like the Smell.  Anavan channel the spirits of bands like Chicka-Chicka, the Fall, and Blank-Wave Arcade-era Faint and allow the dirty pop to follow as a result.
  • An evening and morning in Bushwick: That means staying with friends and visiting the panaderia to get a stash of pan dulce for the ride home and maybe, just maybe, grabbing some fruta, limon, y chile in the vicinity of Maria Hernandez park, where there’s likely to be plenty of activity on a late Sunday morning.
  • Cai Guo-Qiang- I Want to Believe at the Guggenheim: Since missing his show at MassMoCA in 2005, it’s been a priority to catch any exhibition of his that’s possible to attend. Luckily enough, this retrospective of his work is a great chance to take in a good sampling of his extensive and intricate body of work. Far better videos and samples of his various works than the one narrated by bloviating Guggenheim muckety-mucks can be found on his website, which contains a pretty comprehensive catalog of his projects.
  • The 2008 Whitney Biennial: There’s a chance I won’t make it, but it’s worth an attempt, mostly to see what people in the art world seem to be excited about in American contemporary art. Exposure to overwhelming amounts of work serve less to get me caught up than to realize the possibility that contemporary art is less about trends than to perpetually experience oneself as a beginner with limited opportunities to find a point of entry. L.A. seems to have some solid representation in the exhibition, with names like the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, Daniel Joseph Martinez, and Mario Ybarra Jr. included in the artist roster.

    All in all, it’s an art-intensive trip with possible fodder for future posts. I’m open to suggestions for a good place to eat lunch on the Upper East side between the Guggenheim and the Whitney on Sunday, or dinner between Chelsea and Brooklyn.

    Image Credit: Cai Guo-Qiang, Light Cycle: Explosion Project for Central Park, Central Park, New York, USA, 2003. Original location: www.caiguoqiang.com