Friday, December 19, 2008

The Blazing Top 50 of 2008: 10 to 1 [Day 5]

Drum Roll...

Drive-By Truckers
Brighter Than Creation's Dark
New West Records [2008]

Brighter Than Creation’s Dark
is a great mark in this groups history because it was the first album after the exit of third guitarist and song contributor Jason Isbell, which left Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley as the primary songwriters. I believe this made the two rise to the occasion with equal sharing of writing duties and at 19 songs that clock in just over 75 minutes they clearly were not hard up for material. This also allowed bassist Shonna Tucker some creative room on three tracks which provided an excellent change of pace and an entire new and fresh look for the Drive-By Truckers placing this record into our Top 10!

Drive-By Truckers Review [2/11/08] @ The Fire Note

The Raconteurs
Consolers Of The Lonely
Warner Bros. Records [2008]

I believe our reviewer called Consolers Of The Lonely back in March likely to be the best "true" rock record for 2008. I would say that this premonition held fairly true as this record tried a new strategy with no promos, no videos, no radio singles – absolutely nothing but the album hitting the street. Sales say that approach may not have been the best but it is not because The Raconteurs didn't bring their best effort. Consolers Of The Lonely brought a classic rock vibe that relies on the commanding front vocals from Jack White and Brendan Benson while supplying big guitars, loud drums and thumping bass that is present regardless of the tracks tempo. The timelessness of this record will give it life well beyond this year and will easily be a favorite for quite some time.

The Raconteurs Review [3/28/08] @ The Fire Note

The Gutter Twins
Sub Pop Records [2008]

Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan have been supporting each other for years, whether it is Lanegan showing up on The Twilight Singers records or Dulli lending background vocals to Lanegan’s solo outings, The Gutter Twins seems like a natural progression. The Gutter Twins was exactly what you would expect from the duo with their sinister and richly deep vocal deliveries that take you back with their slow burning strength and the ability to rise into stellar harmonies, making every track a keeper. Saturnalia was a great beginning to what should be a successful partnership everytime the duo have the opportunity to create - hopefully for the fans that will be sooner than later!

The Gutter Twins Review [3/4/08] @ The Fire Note

TV On The Radio
Dear Science
4AD Records [2008]

TV On The Radio is emerging as a band that will have a difficult time making a sub-par record. In fact, after Dear Science fans will be aghast of anything that falls below a Top 10 of the year. Dear Science places the group into career act status as their songs fit perfectly into their structures and have a crisp produced sound with more focus on Kyp Malone's and Tunde Adepimbe's vocals that made it a winner. This album grabbed the listener by the ear and showcased the groups multi-talents while providing a solid listen from beginning to end!

TV On The Radio Review [9/26/08] @ The Fire Note

Carried To Dust
Quarterstick Records [2008]

Carried To Dust took bits and pieces of each previous Calexico album and morphed their sound into a bigger, cleaner, and smarter machine while retaining the traditional components, Western atmospheres and addictive tracks that has made the band so endearing over the years. It is really a perfect example of how a good band from the start can evolve and experiment while retaining their core. It also was nice that Calexico involved some friends like Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) and Douglas McCombs (Tortoise/Brokeback), which only made Carried To Dust that much better!

Calexico Review [9/5/08] @ The Fire Note

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
Anti Records [2008]

Nobody told Nick Cave that he should slow down at age 50 because after last years rockin’ side project Grinderman [2007] and a stylish soundtrack score to the western Assassination of Jesse James [2007], Nick Cave returned with the Bad Seeds and hit us with Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! that is filled with electric guitar, Cave’s howl and the complete collaboration of a well seasoned band. On Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! he replaced his more mature self with an energetic Birthday Party era Cave that lead the listener into a straight forward garage rock album. This is a Cave that took no prisoners - This is the Cave we liked!

Nick Cave Review [4/14/08] @ The Fire Note

Bon Iver
For Emma, Forever Ago
Jagjaguwar Records [2008]

When Justin Vernon created a new musical vehicle called Bon Iver he self-released his debut For Emma, Forever Ago last year and it received a proper launching from Jagjaguwar Records in 2008. We went ahead and said screw the original release date because it contains a stellar 9 songs of indie folk that puts Bon Iver up there at the top with the likes of Iron & Wine and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. Vernon wore his sincerity on his sleeve and the pureness of his imagery shined thru and thru on each quiet but complex track. For Emma, Forever Ago possesses a solid intensity that made repeat listens a must and probably worthy of a Top 10 no matter when it released!

Bon Iver Review [2/15/08] @ The Fire Note

The Gaslight Anthem
The '59 Sound
SideOneDummy Records [2008]

The ’59 Sound
from The Gaslight Anthem is the type of album you wait for all year long. The New Jersey bands sophomore outing is full of Springsteen meets the Replacements that all tell a story and hold nothing back track by track. It was this raw bar band quality that made The Gaslight Anthem so appealing and their style of punk rock completely infectious. The ’59 Sound feels complete, heartfelt and contains 100% effort placing it into the Top 3 of the year!

The Gaslight Anthem Review [8/15/08] @ The Fire Note

Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes
Sub Pop Records [2008]

There are only a handful of occasions anymore when you can pop a record in and it completely takes you over. That was our exact response after taking just one listen to Fleet Foxes self-titled debut. The band draws from the traditions of an array of genres that include folk, choral music, gospel, world and most importantly indie harmonic pop while creating lush and layered vocals that build off each other to create an earthly sound. Fleet Foxes is an album that simply just is perfect for any setting and really is a new classic for a new age!

Fleet Foxes Review [7/9/08] @ The Fire Note

Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend
XL Recordings [2008]

The first great hype of 2008 was New York’s Vampire Weekend. The band was hailed as the next big thing by everyone and their dog not long after they formed back in 2006 and last year the buzz continued with touring and only a simple 3 song CD-R floating around. Vampire Weekend took their diverse preppy Columbia schooling backgrounds and created a laid back smart indie record that had Western Afro-pop melodies and rhythms that creeped in your head and flowed seamlessly. Each song had the ability to stand alone but yet fit perfectly into the album, each track was somewhat danceable but yet really indie and there were many core instruments but around each corner the instrumentation gave you something new from strings, organ and even a little harpsichord. Vampire Weekend not only backed up the hype but they created a record that never gets old and hence it is our number 1 album of 2008!

Vampire Weekend Review [2/4/08] @ The Fire Note

Well that is it for 2008. Feel free to post some of your top albums this year - we would love to see them. Have a great new year and we will see you on January 5th for our first review in 2009.

Thanks for all the support in 2008 and helping make Fire Drills/The Fire Note a success for another year!