Beach House, Devotion (Carpark)
The Baltimore pair found a sound on their debut. On their second record, they improved it and grew into it. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally seemed to be operating in some last outpost of melody, where tart country-pop hooks could be heard in a final, furry form before they collapsed. That made Devotion both comforting and lonely.
1. Drive-By Truckers, Brighter Than Creation's Dark (New West)
For starters, DBT are shaping up as their generation's premier bards of booze. When not singing mid-bender, they're suffering through the aftermath or plotting the next go-round. What that really means is that their songs teeter powerfully between the concomitant bitterness and shame. The 19-song Creation was built to have room for all the less proud emotions.
Honorable mentions: Lykke Li, Youth Novels (LL); White Hinterland, Phylactery Factory (Dead Oceans); Kathleen Edwards, Asking for Flowers (Rounder); James Pants, Welcome (Stones Throw); Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
THE FUCKING CHAMPS' TIM SOETE'S TOP 10 2008 RELEASES
1. Various artists, Obsession (Bully)
2. Kurt Vile, Constant Hitmaker (Gulcher)
3. Jonas Reinhardt, Jonas Reinhardt (Kranky)
4. Ariel Pink, Oddities Sodomies Vol. 1 (Vinyl International)
5. Lindstrom, Where You Go, I Go Too (Smalltown Supersound)
6. Bum Kon, Drunken Sex Sucks (Smooch/Maximum Rocknroll)
7. La Dusseldorf, Viva (Water)
8. John Maus, Love Is Real (Upset the Rhythm)
9. RTX, JJ Got Live RaTX (Drag City)
10. Sic Alps, US EZ (Siltbreeze)
CHRIS SABBATH'S TOP 10
1. Godwaffle Noise Pancakes
A cluster of floor-crouching noiseniks + a heaping helping of syrupy waffles hot off the griddle = a great way to kill two hours on a Saturday afternoon.
2. Beth from Times New Viking tells me outside the Great American Music Hall that she likes my cat sweatshirt: And according to her, she only gives out one sweatshirt compliment per year oh, snap!
3. Spire Live, Fundamentalis (Autofact/Touch)
Dynamite double LP compilation of live recordings dubbed in various European cathedrals from the likes of Philip Jeck, Christian Fennesz, BJNilsen, and more.
4. Eat Skull, Sick to Death (Siltbreeze)
Hurrah to the Philadelphia noise imprint for releasing this gem of a debut.
5. Kevin Drumm, Imperial Distortion (Hospital)
The Chicago native once again falls head over heels for the drone.
6. Wavves, Wavves (Woodsist)
I love this kid! Bedroom-spun beach punk in the vain of Beat Happening and the Embarrassment.
7. Common Eider, King Eider, Figs, Wasps, and Monotremes (Root Strata)
If I could fork a Goldie over to Rob Fisk for every time this album made its way through my stereo speakers, he would have a lot of Goldies.
8. Excepter, Debt Dept (Paw Tracks)
The Brooklyn electronic performance troupe sings about burgers, sunrises, and killing people on its new disc.
9. Blank Dogs, On Two Sides (Troubleman Unlimited)
New-wave synths soiled in grime, decayed vocals, and tape hiss galore from this prolific newbie.
10. John Wiese at the Lipo Lounge
Sounded like chunks of metal swelling to the size of balloons and then bursting into my chest for 10 awesome minutes.
PETER NICHOLSON'S TOP 10 TUNES TO DANCE AWAY THE HEARTACHE
1. Yellowtail featuring Alison Crockett, "You Feel Me" (Bagpak)
2. Dave Aju, "Crazy Place" (Circus Company)
3. Jazzanova featuring Randolph, "Let Me Show Ya (Henrik Schwarz Remix)" (Sonar Kollektiv)
4. Grace Jones, "La Vie en Rose (Casinoboy Version)" (Trackybottoms)
5. Mike Monday, "The 11 11" (Om)
6. Recloose, "Catch a Leaf" (Loop Sounds)
7. La Vida Buena, "Humanidad" (Amalgama)