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.


Early Vacation Housekeeping: Recent Acquisitions and Discoveries

Some time away in L.A.’s offered the opportunity to visit the blog and catch up on posting some things I’ve been meaning to get up on tirado for a while. If there’s anything that these posts indicate, is that unless I just spend hours a day writing, I could never write with a gun or paycheck pressed against my temple.

If anything’s characterized the last couple of months, it’s been a steady stream of book and music-buying. They are the consumer vices I allow myself to indulge in from time to time. Consider this an offline roundup of what I hope to be drawing from a little more deeply in from the future. A short summer reading or listening list, if you will.

  • Gilles Deleuze’s Two Regimes of Madness. It looks like a good introduction to his basic concerns and the trajectories of his though. I’m dreadfully unaware of Deleuze’s work. Given that Deleuze drew the attention of Badiou, Agamben, and Zizek, and is seen to have an influence on thinkers such as Manuel De Landa, he’s worth boning up on.
  • The Tate’s Modern Artists treatment of Julain Opie’s work. So you’ve probably seen his work on St. Etienne and Blur album covers and in various public spaces, including the Northern Avenue bridge in Downtown Boston. His extremely recognizable later work imbues digitally-rendered and animated drawings with eye-catching simplicity. Skimming through the text reaffirms a constantly-held thought: that I am a perpetual beginner when it comes to just about anything. It’s a pleasant retrospective. The accompanying essay is informative, if not slightly pedantic, but worth flipping between different sections of the defectively bound book to read the book from beginning to end.
  • The Confidence Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville. Two immediate associations coming to mind from the title were Roxy Music’s nine-minute trackThe Bogus Man and Agamben’s assertion that the exemplars of the coming community are “Tricksters or fakes, assistants or ‘toons…”. What fun will lurk at the indiscernable turns in the darkness? I’ll find out when I read it. To what extent was Melville’s writing a bellwhether of ascendant American capitalism? Will reading Melville’s work offer more insight into that historical question? Is this text capable of illuminating notions of the Coming Community or Whatever Being? Maybe I’ll let you know in a few months.
  • Miles Davis’ On the Corner. Here we find Miles insistently beating at the boundary distinguishing music and sound. And that a portion of the image on the gatefold is the inspiration for Troubleman Unlimited’s logo is a bonus. It’s long-overdue essential listening.

  • DJ Nobody Presents: Blank Blue, Western Water Music Vol. 2: Elvin Estela’s been plugging away at manufacturing sounds and rhythms for well over ten years now. Blank Blue is his fifth full-length production. His pedigree in underground hip-hop is solid, having collaborated with Project Blowed in the late 1990s and working with Busdriver in the present day. As a producer, Estela is active with Guillermo Scott Herren (aka Prefuse 73) as part of the outfit La Correcion, and is a prolific remixer. He is a regular on dublab.com and he co-hosts the weekly cavalcade of psych-rock on KXLU, She Comes in Colours, consistently touted as one of the best radio shows in Los Angeles. Someone once called his music “Paisely Soul”, and it’s an affectionate, if mildly apt, descritption. In a previous post, I mentioned something to the effect of how the Rain Parade was able to temper psych-rock with doses of punk discipline. Estela’s project weds free floating psychedelic soundscapes and makes them sway with beats that move away from an imaginary center point in the first half of the bar and return in the second. Singer Nikki Randa’s vocals emerge from the aquatic soundscapes to ping Blank Blue’s way through your subconscious.
  • When I was picking up the above three records, I was looking for a Miles Davis record featuring Keith Jarrett. I had no such luck. In an ironic twist (perhaps out of exhaustion), I picked up Jarrett’s Standards in Norway, one of his many straight-forward jazz discs with Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette.
  • W.G. Sebald’s The Emigrants. If I remember correctly, I was introduced to Sebald’s work when I read an article by Benjamin Kunkel mentioning him. In any case, what matters less was the specific written piece than the fact that Sebald became interesting to me. After reading the traversals and intersections of time, images, recollections, fiction, truncated interaction, nostalgia, and reflection that was his Vertigo, I wanted more Sebald. This particular copy was whatever I could get my hands on at the time.

I’ll leave this post with footage of Keith Jarrett getting down with Miles Davis prior to Jarrett’s renunciation of electronically-generated music. He bluntly stated his discontent in the liner notes for his Solo Concerts: Bremen/Lausanne album from 1973:

I am, and have been, carrying on an anti-electric-music crusade of which this is an exhibit for the prosecution. Electricity goes through all of us and is not to be relegated to wires.

In a way, it’s too bad, because what the video below will show that the Jarrett’s got soul in super-abundance. But then again, had he kept on working with electricity, those amazing solo piano concerts of the mid-70s would probably not have happened. At any rate, the electricity hops out of the wires and into his body through the keys while Jarrett plays, coinciding in an ecstatic display. Check him out on the Rhodes for his part of “Inamorata”. (You might have to turn it up to hear…)