Here are my top ten albums for 2008. Pretty much all of them have at least some kind of psychedelic flourish, but I do run a psychedelic blog. With all the older music I review on this sight, I think it's important to keep in mind all the great music that's being released in the present. I've included a few of my own recent compositions, too. It's not that I think they're the best of the year as I do with the other tracks, it's just my shameless ploy to get more listeners.
Here's a rundown (in order) of my favorites from 2008:
10. Alegranza by El Guincho - With the electronic freak-folk of Panda Bear's already classic "Person Pitch" as a starting point, El Guincho turns psychedelic atmospherics into a wild, percussive party in the pulsing heart of Barcelona.
9. Real Emotional Trash by Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Malkmus seems to be comfortably settling into some kind of indie jam band mode. I'm not typically one for jam bands, but his songwriting is top-notch and I have to admit that I prefer this to Malkmus' former band, Pavement.
8. Smile by Boris - Boris continues to be the best current metal band out there, and the psychedelic accents, especially on the tracks with Ghost's guitarist Michio Kurihara, really make this the thinking man's metallic noise. While this album is exceptional, it still doesn't compare to their live barrage of sound. See them if you get the chance.
7. Preteen Weaponry by Oneida - These in-your-face walls of mostly instrumental sound produces an intensity that no one else quite matched this year. Bury your mind under these sheets of guitar and pounding percussion. It ends up in a sweet spot between post-rock and noise band aesthetics.
6. High Places by High Places - With plunking production and cute-in-a-good-way female vocals, High Places' debut LP comes across as island music transmitted from Neptune.
5. Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel by Atlas Sound - Brandon Cox (of Deerhunter) shifted his main band's guitar driven atmospherics into the world of electronics and managed to create what may be the trippiest album that showed up this year.
4. That Lucky Old Sun by Brian Wilson - Brian Wilson may never again scale the heights of "Pet Sounds" again, but at age 66 he has managed to make music that matches the Beach Boys' 1965 pop prime, and that's more than good enough. This is the best sunshine pop you'll hear in the 21 century.
3. Microcastle/Weird Era Cont. by Deerhunter - Deerhunter takes their hazy guitarscapes and blends them well with 60's AM pop sensibilities. It's like being stuck between two amazing radio stations. See them live for an even more mindbending experience.
2. Skeletal Lamping by Of Montreal - Kevin Barnes' stumbles into uncharted territory as he melds his trademark psych-pop and electro-pop with his deranged alter-ego of a middle aged, transsexual, black funk singer. The disturbing thing is it works really well. The music changes often and drifts through about every possible pop genre, so hold on tight.
1. Just a Souvenir by Squarepusher - These are the electronic results of a wild and trippy dream about a surreal 'ultragig.' The results do not disappoint, nor do Squarepusher's phenomenal string bass skills. How could you go wrong when your concept revolves around a giant, glowing coathanger?
This are new releases, so I will not be treating you to the full albums, but you're more than welcome to the following sampling:
1. The Release Will Come Soon - Glaze of Cathexis (3:02)
2. An Eluardian Instance - Of Montreal (4:35)
3. Vision's the First - High Places (3:37)
4. Operation - Deerhunter (4:04)
5. Antillas - El Guincho (5:28)
6. Planet Gear - Squarepusher (4:02)
7. Gardenia - Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks (2:53)
8. Live Let Live/That Lucky Old Sun (reprise) - Brian Wilson (2:34)
9. Paradise Drone - Damaged Tape (4:19)
10. Cold as Ice - Atlas Sound (3:33)
11. Flower Sun Rain - Boris (5:35)
12. Preteen Weaponry Part 2 - Oneida (11:26)
Total Time: (55:08)
Listen To Me:
Dr. Schluss' Best of 2008