Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sonic Parthenon's The Year In Music 2008: Part 2

The pie-eyed idealistic lyrics may have been dopey even in our cynical-smashing Obama age, but "The News" and "Why Do Men Fight?" summoned the heart and spirit of Mick Jones' and Tony James' old bands, and served as anthems in this volatile election year.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Did the title track of Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! sound corny at first? Yes. Did it grow on you? Of course it did. Did the album turn out to be a smashing success, maybe the best of Cave's illustrious career? Seems like it. Did last year's turn as Grinderman have an effect on the Bad Seeds? One would guess so. Is not "More News From Nowhere" one of the best long songs ever made? Damn right it is. And you knew the live show was going to be good, no questions needed to be asked.

"Bruises" is certainly what this Colorado-based, naturally-Brooklyn-situated Ipod band is known for, but beneath the quick hype and sold out shows is a solid, little sweet natured pop band. Listen to "Planet Health" if you don't believe me, yah.

Based on one single performance at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in July, and nothing more, Celebration made their mark on 2008. Truly mesmerizing and intoxicating, Katrina Ford and company should be coming back very strong very soon.

Clare & The Reasons

The Movie came out in 2007 but no matter, Clare Muldaur is one of New York's signature songstresses, an ambassador of shameless, authentic love and love of sweet, elegant pop music, and the live set at Joe's Pub in June proved it.

Elvis Costello
"Stella Hurt" was the near-gem off of Momofuku, a record inspired by Costello's duet with Jenny Lewis on the fun and fancy free "Carpetbagger" from her Acid Tongue LP. And then Elvis went ahead and became the new great American talk-show host. Another good year for our man Elvis.

With A Mad and Faithful Telling, DeVotchKa returned to the scene but it was their sparkling live show at Terminal 5 that sealed the deal. With a strangely easy mix of showmanship and stealth, Nick and the gang will continue their run in support of the record well into 2009 and we're all better off for that.

The Dirtbombs
The Dirtbombs never really take time off, and they've had their slight share of attention in the past, but in 2008 there was a very strong sense that the band finally arrived. Thanks to We Have You Surrounded, there was a definite uptick in the number of people at shows, with a whiff of significant new fandom in the air. And deservedly so - some of Mick's best ever work now comes from We Have You Surrounded, an album that was too long in coming.
First going on their own triumphant tour before hitching rides with Spiritualized and TV on the Radio and finding time to do not one but two tours of duty in Europe as well as a run Down Under, the Dirtbombs never let up. They even found time to play extra shows in New York (FYI in case you didn't figure it out - despite whatever you may officially be told, New York is the home base for all intents and purposes). The Philly and Bowery shows during the April tour were two of the best nights in a history of amazing nights. Troy Gregory left the band marking the one sad spot in a year of full of highs. It hurt but as with all things Dirtbombs, things keep moving.

Drug Rug
Drug Rug kept popping up in unexpected places in various incarnations but the one thing that was consistent was their incorrigibility. Good for them.

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