So we continue on.One by one we’ve covered my Ten (12) Favorite Tracks of the Year and we totally had fun doing it, right? Those were my very favorites. Those were the ones about which I most wanted to write. But there were others. In fact, at last count there were something like 130 songs that qualify as “runners-up.” I’ll save that list for later. Today I want to point out that there were some close calls. There were tracks that almost made it into the top ten, but, save for a quirk in timing or mood or weather, just fell short.
Kick it off by hitting play on the fine, fan-produced Underworld video below and read on:
#13. “Seed of Wonder” by Jesca Hoop. Long touted as one of the cooler live acts in L.A. this song kinda gives you an impression as to why. I haven’t caught her live, but there’s something about this intricate, singsong arrangement that pushes her to the top of my must-see acts for 2008. [official site. cute]
The album is lush and delicate and melodic with just a dash of nostalgia. “Pluto” is an adorable little tune that breaks the news of its demotion to our recently de-planetized satellite and then console it with words of encouragement (” Chin up Pluto, the stars still want you and we down here do too.”) “Pluton” is a reprise of the same tune in which Clare Muldaur’s voice evokes a quiet, spacy theremin inflection. Marvelous. One of 2007’s little-heard gems. [hear the songs on their myspace page.]
I caught Sea Wolf in the same evening as the aforementioned Earlimart/Echoplex gig. I dug them enough to try the album. The song is a perfect little pop jewel, sparkly and quick, with a nice underpinning of strings to hold it down. I couldn’t get it out of my head for days after first hearing it. [myspace]
The timing was just right, I guess. On a late flight bound for Washington, DC, I leaned back in my coach seat, half asleep, headphones on, and this proggy tune drifted into my world. I listened to it several times a day for the next week while hiking through our nation’s capitol in 90-degree humidity. It reminds me of heat and sweat and pandas. [official site]
If I were being truthful, the only reason this isn’t in my top three is because it comes from a movie soundtrack. Don’t ask me to explain that, because I don’t think I can. As for the tune itself? I blithered about it quite enough here.
See video above. A common complaint about “Oblivion With Bells,” the new album by Underworld, is that it sounds like every other Underworld album. I’m not going to argue with that. But when Underworld is as good as they are at what they do, I don’t really mind. It’s not the same without Darren Emerson, and I think it took them an album to figure that out, but this time out, they put together something that holds together really well. [amazon]
I love this song for the feelings it stirs. It feels like an affectionate nod to Eighties synth pop with an energetic rhythm and marvelous, romantic lyrics. Bella is another of those acts that sort of snuck on the scene and dazzled anyone who noticed. [official site. myspace.]
I don’t know what it is about the new album by (ex-Libertines) Pete Doherty and company, but Shotter’s Nation is sooo much more interesting than the last one. In fact, I wasn’t even going to pick this one up (the cover is hideous as well) but the reviews were strikingly good. This tune is exactly my type: a simple build from slow shamble to all-out jam.
As if it weren’t enough that Dälek shared his name with the evil entities of Dr. Who fame, he puts out some really dark, twisted, electronica infused rap. “Tarnished” is a slow, ominous rage against the decay of a society that aspires to gloss and glitter but finds itself wallowing in nightmare. It’s a soundtrack for the disaffected. Check out his music at his myspace page.
Oh hell. Is that more than twenty? Sue me.