Eric Fine Poop 08

As I now go back and decide which records moved me the most in 2008, I realize how stark and bleak all of it was. A musical colon cleanse is in order. Where is that late night infomercial when you need it? It used to be for every brokenhearted album, I’d find a ray of shinning musical light. Not this year. Has the doom and gloom just taken us over, or have I just not realized it’s been like this along? My pointer finger has become hardened by skipping songs on the iPod that do not work for the mood. Unless the mood includes a deep conversation about being misunderstood, a broken relationship, or bottle of whisky, none of which I think should apply to me (with the exception of the occasional whiskey.) I have a son…he loves to dance…I want to dance with him…I want to like the same music… is this possible? So, as I review my year’s listening, I will try to end the music of 2008 by purging myself of music that makes me want to crawl under the blankets and be left alone, one last time:

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Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
Forgive me if I overuse the word stark on this list, but it is hard not to conjure up images of alone time in the woods. Haunting and captivating. Atmospheric and spacey. Intimate and sparse.

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Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
I am sure the My Morning Jackets comparison must get old for these guys. They are less one dimensional – a complete band who wears their influences on their sleeves – the hippie bands I grew up with. I also see them withstanding the test of time.

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Wye Oak – If Children
If Children what? Lush and layered, shocking it is only 2 people. If Robert Wyatt were a bit more accessible, a bit younger, and oh yeah, more of a girl, this is what it would sound like.

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Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
Who, you might ask??? Typical rock star history: drug addicted, homeless, skeptical and sarcastic about the world…“Oh the unshakeable stench of cliché that surrounds me”. Give a listen, if you are not moved; I will give you your money back.

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Tokyo Police Club – Elephant Shell
Alright, here is where we get our indie rock on! In case you did not know, they are not from Tokyo, but Ontario. Being Canadians notwithstanding, they do the whole Killers/Strokes/Interpol thing better than the others.

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Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs
I know, too “mainstream” for some. Perhaps that is what I like best about them. Until Built To Spill decides to make a new record, we will have to settle for this band to grace us with 8 minute opuses.

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Calexico – Carried To Dust
Always solid, the ultimate house band. Strip away the dustbowl (I know, hard to do) and they are a solid, tight band.

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Mike Doughty – Golden Delicious
Finally, we have a record with a sense of humor. Never a big Soul Coughing fan, it’s hard not to walk down the street humming “More Bacon than the Pan Can Handle” or “27 Jennifers”.

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Erykah Badu – New Amerykah
I really loved this album. Soulful, diverse, mature. I hope this a sign of the future of RnB, ‘cause I sure don’t get the rest of it.

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Barry Adamson – Back To The Cat
One of the most underrated, creative artists of our time. A master at creating soundscapes.


My Morning Jackets – Evil Urges; Sun Kil Moon – April; American Music Club – The Golden Age; Bob Mould – District Line; The Firemen – Electric Arguments; The Annuals – Such Fun; Portastatic – Some Small History; Lambchop – OH (Ohio); Q-Tip – The Renaissance; Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend; Paul Weller – 22 Dreams; Elvis Costello – Momofuko

Reissues, Concerts, Box Sets, Soundtracks, Blah, Blah, Blah…

The Clash – Live At Shea Stadium Using The Clash and Shea Stadium in the same sentence alone should be enough, but luckily the music is good too.
Philip Glass – A Nonesuch Retrospective A comprehensive overview of his entire career; I spent an entire month only listening to this.
David Bowie – Live in Santa Monica ’72 At his peak; punk freak out, Velvet Underground influenced; pure pop gold.
The Replacements – (All albums) Finally remastered and clean. Start with Let It Be, and go either direction from there.
Neil Young – Sugar Mountain: Live At Canterbury House 1968 You feel nervous for him, even listening to this masterpiece 40, I repeat 40 years later!
Flight Of The Conchords – S/T Pure genius. Where do I begin: “Four De Fafa”, “Think About It”, “Ladies Of The World”, “Mutha’uckas”.
Juno – S/T Smart, hip soundtrack. Classic covers from Sonic Youth and Cat Power, and a little ditty from VU.

Special shout out to my concert and TV show of the year. I do not get out often these days, but I was lucky enough to relive one of my favorite albums live… The Meat Puppets, opening up for Dinosaur Jr, opening up for Built To Spill, performing their Perfect From Now On LP in it’s entirely. I could not think of a more perfect evening. On the TV front, I resisted the Elvis Costello show for shear fear of disappointment. I was pleasantly surprised by how engaging it is. The show and performance with The Police is timeless. I hope we get a new season with some younger guests.

And as always, all the love I can muster to my wife and son… you are both the reason I come up from under the blanket each day.

Eric Fine New York, NY