My Year In Lists, part two: We’ll be the man with the broom if you be the guts of the room.

“Everything that has a beginning has an ending.”

Do you remember how bad the Lord Of The Rings movies were? If you read the books (and loved them, because that’s what happens when you read those books, I don’t care who you are), you knew they, the movies, were shit. Also, if you had taste, you hated those movies too (but that’s just a given), but do you especially remember how bad the last one was? we stole the line from the theatrical outhouse that was The Return Of The King because here we are, bringing you the epic-ness of a fantasy trilogy, all packed into the second of two (we presume, but who knows?) mega posts looking back on music from this past year.

You cannot pass… this up! And here we are, ladies and gentlemen, bringing you:

THE Counterforce SUPER GINORMOUS CRAZY POWERHOUSE UBER-SEXY BEST ALBUMS OF THE YEAR OF OUR BLOG 2008 OR SOMEWHERE IN THAT VICINITY LIST!

part two

Oh yes.

We’re leaving this list un-ranked and from that you can just assume that if the album has made the cut with us thus far, it’s just awesome and that’s that, right? Right. So let’s do this thing, shall we?

Santogold, Santogold.

Lollipop Gomez: If your music is featured on Gossip Girl, then you’ve arrived, baby. This is a great scene because I hate Dan Humphrey and want him to burn in a fiery crash.

Marco Sparks: I’m embarrassed to be quoting Entertainment Weekly here (it’s the kind of thing that douchebag Dan Humphrey would do), but I will with their statement about how “the album is hardly flawless, but in era that retro-fetishizes rock whitewashed pop, Santogold feels both raw and real.” Also, “L.E.S. Artistes” is just a great fucking song (about hipsters and scenesters). And I don’t want to forget to mention that Top Ranking, her mixtape with Diplo, is pretty fantastic too.

Beach House, Devotion.

Marco: This is an album that I love, but in a deeply melancholy sort of way. You know when you hear about a doomed love affair, always looking back at the person that’s no longer in your life, describing them almost as if they’re a ghost who never left? That’s what this album feels like to me, only in the present tense, with the falling embers of future sadness landing all around you.

No Age, Nouns.

Marco: Just a nice, simple, and fun guitar album. Poppy when it needs to be and grungy when it feels like. This is the band performing “Eraser” on the Craig Ferguson show and this is Brittany Julious talking about the album wonderfully as she always does.

The Kills, Midnight Boom.

Marco: You know, it doesn’t escape our notice that there’s a lot of dirty, sleazy guitar all over this list. We’re somewhat ruthlessly cultured people and I promise you we don’t always sit around awash in soundtracks to dive bars, but hot and trashy will always have it’s naughty appeal. Watch this video for “Last Day Of Magic” and just try and tell me you disagree. Just you try.

Here’s Brittany Julious’ wonderful write up on the album.

Cut Copy, In Ghost Colours.

And in a double whammy of weird wildness:

Deerhunter, Microcastle/Weird Era Cont.

Atlas Sound, Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel.

Marco Sparks: Two things. Firstly, I feel like no review of a Deerhunter (Peanut posted one of their videos last week) or Atlas Sound album can seem to escape mentioning Bradford Cox’s Marfan syndrome, which greatly contributes to his somewhat offputting physical appearance (he looks like a walking, talking freak indie messiah, like he should be in a robe and baptizing people in a river with Devendra Banhart), which is cool because I feel like his appearance contributes to his overall presence. You look at him and his image screams “Outsider!” to you and you believe that even more when you listen to his music, so strange and weird and haunting and perfect in all those regards. Secondly, it’s totally and horribly unfair of me to bunch these albums together, both spearheaded by Cox, because they’re completely different and yet compliment each other so nicely. Both have elements of ambient shoegaze drifting in and out of them and both sound like could be epic tales of love and longing and loss, sung by ghosts. One’s just a bit more rocking.

Hot Chip, Made In The Dark.

LG: Made In The Dark was my favorite this year and as my favorite, it’s hard to say why. It’s a dance party in songs like “Ready for The Floor” and “One Pure Thought” and it’s the perfect 3 am and a joint sound with “We’re Looking For A Lot of Love.”

Shugo Tokumaru, Exit.

Marco: This album came out last year in Tokumaru’s native Japan, but didn’t make it’s way over to our shores and into my brain until this year, and I’m incredibly thankful it did.  This is the gorgeous “Parachute” which kicks off the album:

There’s something delightfully atmospheric about this quirky feel good album, sung entirely in Japanese, and definitely carrying a lovely foreign-ness to it, but still feeling wonderfully universal in it’s tunes and harmony. This is something wonderful to get lost in.

Portishead, Third.

Marco: If I had to distill my appreciation for this album down to a simple sentence, it’d be: Totally worth the wait. I’d compare this album to finding a long lost obscure book by your favorite author whose works you discovered years ago… and then you found this. It’s challenging at first, but wonderfully so, maybe not picking up exactly where the previous works left off, but carrying that signature voice. Beth Gibbons’ beautiful and sad voice in this case. I can’t say enough wonderful things about an album that starts off with a little magic, jumps into a car chase, and then pummels me with it’s machine gun.

TV On The Radio, Dear Science.

Marco: An album I had no real expectations of and maybe that’s why it took me personally by surprise? I mean, I only kind of liked their last album, and, well, I really like this one. I’m trying to avoid the cliches you’ve heard about this band and this already, things like “art rock with a face” and “Prince-like,” but they’re accurate. This is a fun album, a smart album, a good album, a rocking album, a sexy album, and an album that can be enjoyed for a long time to come. That’s just my opinion, but maybe I just feel that way because it’s safe for me to do so?

THE Honorable (and maybe not so honorable) Mentions: Peter Bjorn & John, Beck, Death Cab For Cutie, Stars, Fleet Foxes, Deerhoof, NIN, Let’s Wrestle, Gang Gang Dance, Fennesz, Department Of Eagles, Nas (I may be the only person who liked this album, sadly, but I’m okay with that)(also, his mixtape with DJ Green Lantern was awesome too), Shearwater, Wale (which I’m both amazed and pleased ended up on Pitchfork’s best of list), Gnarls Barkley, MGMT, The Notwist, Marnie Stern, Abe Vigoda, The Helio Sequence, BSS presents Brendan Canning, Paavoharju, Fuck Buttons, Basia Bulat, Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, Moscow Olympics, Q-Tip, Sam Sparro, Jay Electronica (but that doesn’t really count since I only just discovered him this year), Annie, Mogwai, Wolf Parade, The Cure, Elbow, Kleerup (everyone loves the Lykke Li on this album, myself included, but I think I like the Robyn track even more), School Of Seven Bells, Fucked Up, The Verve, David Byrne & Brian Eno (“The Bush Era was not a particularly hopeful time for many of us, Byrne writes in the liner notes to Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, “so where did all this exuberance and hope come from?”), Max Tundra, Between The Buried And The Me, Kelli Ali, Be Your Own Pet, Empire Of The Sun, Black Kids, Native Korean Rock, Protest The Hero, The Sea And Cake, Brazilian Girls, Tokyo Police Club, Foals, The Vivian Girls, Bon Iver (mayb? yeah, sure), and of course, Guns N’ Roses. That’s a whole lot of covering our asses right there, isn’t it? :)

Moscow Olympics “Ocean Sign” (mp3)

No Age “It’s Oh So Quiet” (Bjork cover)(mp3)

Ringo Deathstarr “Starsha” (mp3)

Beach House “You Came To Me” (mp3)

The Notwist “Good Lies” (mp3)

Passion Pit “Sleepyhead” (mp3)

Before we leave you with your mind completely blown by our excellent listing skills here, here’s Stereogum‘s 50 mp3s of the year and their 20 albums they’re most excited about in the new year. It’s an interesting list, including The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Doves, U2, and Lily Allen, of course, but surprisingly not including the new Andrew Bird album, Noble Beast, which I’ve actually heard and enjoy quite a bit, nor the next offering from Metric. Take that, Canadians. Then, one my favorite end of the year lists, The Onion‘s least essential albums of  2008. On top of it, Kanye’s possibly been caught lip synching and here’s one couple’s list of rock stars they’re allowed to sleep with.

And now we will depart, slipping out your back door, or slipping in your back door depending on the mood, and we’ll do so while humming our jam of the year:

Counterforce After Dark: Can’t imagine the world without me.

Well, here it is, kids. The long and winding road of Britpop week has lead us here and what a long, strange journey it’s been. And if I could’ve packed that sentence with more references and cliches, then by God, I would have. But for our conclusion, I (Marco) think Lollipop and I would like to kick it old school (like we have all week, really) with just a few more of our favorite songs…

And I’ll let my co-blogger kick it off. Lollipop?

Lollipop Gomez: Yes, we are finally fucking done with London. We have no money, we’ve already gone through every flavor of potato chip, the novelty of buying diagonally cut sandwiches from Tesco for 98p has worn off, Yorkie candy bars no longer make us laugh (yeah we get it they’re not for birds. Shut up!), we no longer jump onto the Tube when she tells us “Mind The Gap!”, and we wear so much black we’ve been asked for directions from 4 different earnest Americans already, so we kind of, sort of feel like we are one with London. It’s time to move on, one last hurrah, one last cup of tea, one last English breakfast, one last curry, one last pack of Silk Cuts.

Ask” by The Smiths.

Marco Sparks: Women, women, women. I think I’ve had probably more failures in romance than I have had successes (especially circa the Britpop era) but I did have one English girlfriend a long time ago and, I’m not going to lie to you, my friends (if I can sound like John McCain for just a moment there), this song…

…more than reminds me of her. That’s “Female Of The Species” by Space, and having never seen Space before watching some of their videos just now, I never knew what chavs they were. But damn talented chavs, for sure.

Lollipop: Like Marco, I haven’t done very well with ladies either. Maybe that’s because I date men. I was dating a man when I was in London. Traveling with someone you are in love with is simultaneously the best and worst thing you can possibly do for your relationship. You’re far away so you feel so close to this person, but you’re also spending every waking minute with them and you want to push them into the River Thames. Or you just want them to leave you alone as you check your e-mail at Burger King (which for some reason, has Internet). But, as you walk through Covent Garden or the cute little shops of Notting Hill or you sit in a basement eating fish & chips with the one you love, you can’t help but feel mostly love. Love that they’re there, love that you’re sharing this experience with them, love that they’re drinking that gin and tonic and they light your smokes in the pub and you can’t help but feel the way you did when you first  met…which is like this song (“Temptation” by New Order):

Marco: Another excellent choice there, Lollipop. Much like the reader, I’m following along on your vacation with you, not so much a tourist in the sense you are, or were, but more voyeuristic, like a tourist on vacation in your memories. I love that you used “Temptation,” an excellent song, and I’m going to use one by the same band that makes me think lyrically of similar experiences to the adventures in your continuing travelogue.

Ceremony” cover by Radiohead on their “Thumbs down” webcast on November 9, 2007.

This is from the last batch of songs that Ian Curtis wrote before he died when the band was still Joy Division and thus it became the first New Order single. It’s an amazing song from a band with a full catalog of amazing songs and I really like cover by the experimental one hit wonder band that went on to have a few more hits and experiments, Radiohead.

Lollipop: I love New Order so much as well as Joy Division that I’m going throw it back, Sparks and give you a little bit of Joy Division. On those nights at karaoke when I’m crying into my Jack Daniel’s, there is no better song to sing than this one. And in any case, it’s so true, love will tear us apart. Again and again and again.

Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division.

Marco: And now it’s become my duty to cheer up Lollipop. Love will tear us all apart, bit by bit it’ll devour our hearts if we let it. But you have to. You have to make yourself available to the cannibal urges of romance, because that special love, that something perfect will only find willing victims and will never, ever sniff it’s way to the carefully guarded cautious boring types. You can’t stay still, you always have to be ready to move again, to get back on that metaphorical dance floor…

Ready For The Floor” covered by Duffy.

There was a new movement thrown together years and years ago called poptimism to semi-ironically combat rockism. Basically, as the afterword to Phonogram states, it was just an excuse to dance, which is something you never need an excuse to do. Right now dancing makes me think of Hot Chip, (I feel honor bound to mention that the singer dresses up like the Joker in that bizarre video because the lyrics refer back to Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the character in the 1989 Batman movie) and gets me thinking of this song, of which I actually prefer the cover by Duffy. Duffy (whose producer on her debut was the guitar player in Suede, thus buying her ample Britpop cred out her Welsh wazoo) is unabashedly an attempt to cash in on a little of that Amy Winehouse train wreck vibe, but personally, I’m okay with that since I’m not really that in the Winehouse club (she looks like something that goes bump in the night, honestly)(bumping for crack!). Duffy strikes me as just as talented, but more enthusiastic about music (despite very talented singers like Estelle and Allison Goldfrapp slagging off on her), and a hell of a lot better looking with a tinge of a young Brigitte Bardot thing, which is never a bad thing.

Lollipop: I’m going to have to disagree with Sparks, as the original version of “Ready For The Floor” is way better. I do an excellent version of it at karaoke (no video exists, but ask me after next Saturday, I may be
able to reproduce it). One way to combat rockism is with hot synthesizers and very few do it better than Dave Gahan and Depeche Mode. Continuing our la-la-la love fest, here is a song about giving in to sin, because well, you have to make this life liveable.

Strange Love” by Depeche Mode.

Marco: Not surprisingly, Lollipop goes and ups the ante on me. But am I scared? No, not at all. Marco Sparks always has an ace up his sleeve. Or, barring any sleeves, he has one somewhere in a pants pocket. And here it is:

A View To A Kill” by Duran Duran feat. Mark Ronson.

I do sometimes have to question if Ronson deserves the level of attention he gets, but another thing you should know about me is that I love Bond films. And as a non-limey, how can you talk about British music/culture and not talk about how the Bond phenomenon has impacted both? I love this live version of one of my favorite Bond tunes (to one of the most ridiculous of the movies) because it’s a wonderfully fresh take on the tune and is preceded by a fancy little Bond theme medley. This is me dancing into the fire and all over Lollipop’s face.

Lollipop: Get your dirty shoes away from me, bitchface! My next song is Pulp’s “Common People” which I stole from Marco by pointing at a shiny object in the opposite direction. It works every time. I stole the song, he started to cry, I slapped him for being a little bitch, he kept crying. I play the song as loud as possible. It’s so good!

Marco: And there’s Lollipop, yet again, trying to use me as a toilet. And using one of my favorite songs to do it. Sigh. You have to admire Jarvis Cocker as a musical icon, despite his essentially having Brando’s voice but with an English accent tacked on, just because he is so very professorly sleazy smart. Plus, there’s the weirdness of “the Michael Jackson incident.”

But I guess that leaves me to end it, and on somewhat of a high note, if possible. Bloody hell! We hope you enjoyed Britpop week as much as we did and are left drooling madly at what new, weird shit we’re cooking up in our sodding TARDIS. Well, as the British would say, Piss off!

…with a great song: “On And On” by The Longpigs.