J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Playlists, podcasts and music from WQFS Greensboro's J's Indie/Rock Mayhem

Thursday, December 11, 2008

J's Indie/Rock Mayhem - 10th December 2008
The Top Singles of 2008

[Tonight's show celebrates the best singles of 2008. 'Single' is a term that doesn't mean as much as it once did - now virtually any album track has the ability to be a 'single.' Which is kind of liberating in a way. So really these are my favorite songs of 2008. The beginning of the show just mixes songs together, but the last three sets represent my Top 12 Singles of 2008.

Next week on the show will be the 7th Annual J's Indie/Rock Top 25 Albums of the Year. I'm super excited about getting all that together and laying it out for you. Tonight's show was fun with the addition of Mad Dog in the studio to talk a bit about his favorite singles of the year and mocking me for including the Streets. So let's get to it. Onward.]

J's Indie/Rock Podcast: 10th December 2008 Show

Theme Song - Peaches - "Rock Show"
Benji Hughes - "You Stood Me Up" [from a love extreme. the first of several north carolina artists on the list. i'm fairly sure it's the fact that this song contains the phrase "butterfinger blizzard and some fries" that made me love it so much.]
Dr. Dog - "The Ark" [from fate. despite my constant harping about how i hate their name, dr. dog is truly a force and their latest album is a treat. this song is too.]
the Whigs - "Right Hand on My Heart" [from mission control. the first artist on the list who will definitely be on the top albums list next week. i really, honestly, can't say enough good things about the whigs. they are a rock and roll force.]
Calexico - "Two Silver Trees" [from carried to dust. a gorgeous song that is pretty much right in line with the gorgeous music calexico tends to create. would that i could finally see them live.]
David Byrne and Brian Eno - "Strange Overtones" [from everything that happens will happen today. i cannot get enough of this song. i mean, that's the case with most of the songs on this list, but literally, i could listen to this song on repeat for some time. it's funky and coy and loving and warm and just everything it should be.]
Bon Iver - "Skinny Love" [from for emma, forever ago. the second artist that will definitely be on the albums list next week. also, i heard from somewhere that this guy has moved to north carolina? confirmation, anyone?]
the Raconteurs - "Many Shades of Black" [from consolers of the lonely. there are lots of reason to like this album - i say it's better than broken boy soldiers by quite a bit. but brendan benson is one of the main reasons, as far as i'm concerned. i love that guy's music.]
Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - "Gardenia" [from real emotional trash. artist number three to double up singles/records on my lists. i'm going to keep track of how much overlap there is just so i can yell at myself later for it. or not. good albums = good songs, right?]
Robert Pollard - "The Blondes" [from robert pollard is off to business. mad dog and i both feel that this album is bob's strongest since the end of guided by voices. it's really, really quite solid.]
Lambchop - "Slipped Dissolved and Loosed" [from OH(ohio). i was first introduced to this song on kurt wagner's solo record from last year and i was thrilled when it showed back up on the new lambchop album. it's a decided favorite, obviously.]
Drive-by Truckers - "3 Dimes Down" [from brighter than creation's dark. my analogy of this record is that patterson has written all the deep thinkers and cooly wrote every damn catchy song on the thing. "a ghost to most" is probably a better song, but "3 dimes down" is the catchiest thing on it and i couldn't stop playing it. by the way, artist number four who's doubling up on the lists.]
the Rosebuds - "Nice Fox" [from life like. i threw this on there even though i'm still analyzing the record. there are numerous great singles. this is also the second north carolina artist on the list. and probably the fifth doubler. woo!]
the Streets - "The Escapist" [from everything is borrowed. mad dog really doesn't like the streets, but that's okay. however, "the escapist" is probably the strongest single mike skinner has released in ages. it's a flawless song. that said, everything is borrowed is a flawed record - better than the last one, god, is it ever - but not close to his first two triumphs. this song gave me a lot of hope though for what is supposed to be the final streets album coming up next.]
Horse Feathers - "Working Poor" [from house with no home. this is one of those songs where almost the vocals alone won me over. the harmonies in the verses and chorus - man. great things to come from this band.]
the Foreign Exchange - "Daykeeper" [from leave it all behind. artist number three from the NC! even if it is only half of the band that is. this album is still working its way around my brain. i don't want to say it's as good as connected - in fact i'm sure it's not - but it's also different enough that i hate to compare it. thoughts?]
Megafaun - "Lazy Suicide" [from bury the square. artist number four from the NC! so they put out an EP. it'll match your EP. i like this band a. bunch.]

[Now the countdown of the top twelve begins. I give you..the Top 12 Singles of 2008.]

12. The Walkmen - "In the New Year" : I was late to the Walkmen's bandwagon this year, but this song is so soaring and gorgeous that it's impossible to ignore. It moves in a waltz time which makes the ballroom dance feel of it all the more apparent. In some weird universe, this is the song that the future-McFlys danced to at the "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance. From You & Me.

11. J-Live - "Be No Slave" : I was very disappointed I couldn't make this fit in my top ten singles bit over at Aquarium Drunkard, but it's an amazing song. J-Live's lyrics have always been enticing, but this song howls with an energy and cynicism that is overwhelming at times. From some of the most disillusioned corners of race and art came a truly great statement. From Then What Happened?

10. The Helio Sequence - "Halleluja" : I had forgotten about this album until I started pulling things together for the end of year work. In a year that saw a dramatic shift in American politics, “Halleluja” feels like a song that perfectly nailed that feel of pins-and-needles leading into November. The lyrics - tense, uncertain and pleading - and the music - driven, hopeful and surging - were juxtapositions so natural that listening felt like living the day to day. In hindsight, it is even more uplifting. From Keep Your Eyes Ahead.

9. Birdmonster - "Born to Be Your Man" : There’s something about yearning. If there were a patron emotion of indie-rock, it would probably be ‘yearning.’ "Born To Be Your Man" is one of those songs that yearns like there’s no tomorrow. All in hoping that there is a tomorrow - with you. Yes, you. From From the Mountains to the Sea.

8. Citified - "Read Like a Number" : The fifth North Carolina artist on the list. And certainly another double up on the albums list as well. I have adored this song completely since I first heard it on a demo version nearly a year before this EP was released. It is clearly a song by a band starting to really fire on all cylinders. Majestic is really the word for it. From The Meeting After the Meeting.

7. The Hold Steady - "Sequestered in Memphis" : If you don't like this song, you're weird and I don't know if I like you. There. I said it. Sometimes you just have to draw a line. From Stay Positive.

6. King Khan and the Shrines - "Welfare Bread" : It was their performance of this from this past summer's Pitchfork Music Festival that won me over, but this is a classic song in so many ways. Student of rock? I would say so. Studied student. But man he makes it swing. From The Supreme Genius of King Khan and the Shrines.

5. Julie Ocean - "My Revenge" : A band puts out a debut record that floors you and then breaks up later that year. Regardless, the album is brim full of singles - this was the one I just decided to go with. It's pedal-to-the-floor sugary power pop at its absolute finest. From Long Gone and Nearly There.

4. The Felice Brothers - "Frankie's Gun!" : This was the only song to appear on all three writers' lists for singles over at Aquarium Drunkard. Methinks that says something. This song is like the looser, funkier, more funny version of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” “Frankie’s Gun” is sharp story telling that doesn’t sound forced or anything less than a man, gamely laying on his death bed (death ground?) relating his will one shaggy story at a time. From The Felice Brothers.

3. The Gaslight Anthem - "The '59 Sound" : I was completely taken by surprise by this band and by this song. I wanted to not like it. The band doesn't have the label or cohort pedigree that would usually make me pay attention to a band. I'm a prejudiced listener and a pretentious snob sometime. This song is my comeuppance. From The '59 Sound.

2. The Broken West - "Perfect Games" : This is the second year in a row that a song by the Broken West is my #2 song of the year. I kind of hate that, as both "Down in the Valley" and "Perfect Games" are worth a #1 spot, even if they didn't quite get there. The real importance here is that the Broken West is the real deal. Songcrafters of a high degree. From Now or Heaven.

1. Delta Spirit - "Trashcan" : I was never anything but incredibly shocked by this song. I'd never heard of this band - merely picked them out of WQFS's rotation to give a spin. The result was one of the most funky, engaging and enjoyable listens I've had. Here's what I see when I listen to it - a train chugging along the line, an open railroad car, an upright piano being tickled by a vaudeville looking performer, the funkiest drummer on that side of the 1920s, flashes of electric guitar and bass. The train goes sailing off the end of the track, soars into the sky as the song’s sheer pluck fuels it. It’s so pleasant to still be this bowled over by music. From Ode to Sunshine.

That'll do it for this week. Tune back in next week for the 7th Annual J's Indie/Rock Top 25 Albums of the Year. You know you're anxious. Until then, GO PANTHERS!, and take care.

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