Because it’s that time of year, I asked a few folks who know a thing or two about a thing or two to send me a year-end music list. There were no other restrictions, so long as it was music-related. Here are the first three, and they’re fairly standard, as far as format. I think we might have something slightly different on Monday. Anyway, after the jump, Hunter Hauk (Quick), Eric Grubbs (Theme Park Experience, POST), and Kris Youmans (Granada Theater, the Paper Chase) have the floor. And comments are ready for yours.
Favorite Local Songs of 2008
1. “The Healer,” Erykah Badu (from New Amerikah Pt 1: 4th World War) When I had the pleasure of chatting with Ms. Badu before the album release, she could barely contain her excitement about this particular song, her minimalist-yet-major ode to hip-hop. She even sang it to me over the phone. Now that I’ve listened to the song dozens of times, I remember that moment and grin like a damn idiot.
2. “Backwards/Forwards,” Sarah Jaffe (from Even Born Again EP): Tough to pick a favorite from this singer-songwriter’s muscular debut. But the vocal on “Backwards/Forwards” never fails to put a lump in my throat. Chris Penn over at Good Records says he sells a copy of the EP every time he plays it in the store.
3. “Slugworth,” Record Hop (from Record Hop): When girls tell me they can’t get into this Denton band because its music is “too hard and fast,” first I sigh heavily. Then I tell them to listen to “Slugworth,” a slow track on which Ashley Cromeens somehow sings tenderly while still packing her trademark punch.
4. “Bjorn Yesterday,” Sorta (from Sorta): For reasons obvious and heartbreaking, the final Sorta record sounded incomplete to a lot of folks. But, honestly, I think it captures some of the Dallas country-pop group’s finest work. I love the simplicity and tautness of “Bjorn Yesterday;” every part is essential.
5. “No Deliverance,” The Toadies (from No Deliverance): Shame on me for ever doubting that the Toadies could be relevant again. An explosion of a song.
6. “Masterbook Theater,“ PPT (from Denglish): The violins, the bells, the beat – Picnic outdid himself on the production of Denglish’s opening track. He, Pikahsso and Tahiti all get substantial rap verses here too. Sad that the group didn’t last, but there’s definitely more good stuff to come from all three of these guys.
7. “Punches,” Collin Herring (from Past Life Crashing): I’ve always thought this gravelly-voiced country crooner from Fort Worth sounded like a male version of Kathleen Edwards, so it was exciting to hear Edwards singing backup on “Punches.” And I love the lyrics: “I used to be a warrior/throwing punches at the night air.”
8. “Pretty Purple Top Hat,” Matthew and the Arrogant Sea (from Family Family Family Meets the Magic Christian): The nonsensical lyrics of this Denton folk collective might come off as indulgent, if the melodies and arrangements weren’t so undeniably great.
9. “Someone Else’s Ride,” Ghosthustler (released online) A month or so after the Denton dance act put out this tasty morsel of electropop, singer Alan Palomo left the group and went solo. Still waiting to see whether remaining members Gray Gideon and Noah Jackson can bring the heat again.
10. “The Feeling You Bring,” Mount Righteous (from When the Music Starts): One of the best tracks from North Texas’ only 11-member marching band/pop group. They do their up-with-people live shows completely unplugged, with nary a mic.
Missed it by that much …
– “Black Market Value,” The Cut-Off
– “Swissex Lover,” Fight Bite
– “Jungle Fever,” Roy G and the Biv
– “Returning to the Air,” the Slow Burners
– “Vegetables and Coffee,” Daniel Folmer
– “You’ve Got Your Heart,” The O’s
– “Dallas,” the Tah-Dahs
– “The Wondersmith and His Sons,” Astronautalis
Three-Way-Tie for Best Live Show I Saw:
1) Chomsky’s surprise return at the Double Wide. Yes, I was that guy going crazy in front of stage left.
2) The Dillinger Escape Plan at the Ridglea Theater. A chaotic, but cathartic show that felt like it was in a basement and not in a large theater.
3) My Morning Jacket at the Palladium Ballroom. The Erykah Badu cameo was great, but the real treat of the night was nearly three hours of incredible songs from one of the best live bands today.
Favorite, records of 08, National:
Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
Crooked Fingers – Forfeit Fortune
Port O’Brian – All We Could Do Was Sing
Secret Machines -S/T
Astronautalis – Pomegranate
Fleet Foxes – S/T
Horse Feathers – House With No Home
The Walkmen – You & Me
The Dodos – Beware of Maniacs
The Mountain Goats – Heretic Pride
Top 10 Texas Records:
True Widow – S/T
Sarah Jaffe – Even Born Again
The Black Angels – Directions To See A Ghost
Okkervil River – The Stand Ins
White Denim – Exposion
Dove Hunter – Southern Unknown
Mount Righteous – When The Music Starts
Teenage Coolkids – Queer Salutations
Centro-matic/ South San Gabriel – Dual Hawks
Matthew and the Arrogant Sea – Family, Family, Family Meets the Magic Christian
Best Show of 2008:
Mucca Pazza at the Ft. Worth Modern