It’s weird enough for the first quarter of the year to yield some really strong contenders for the year-end favorite list. It’s weirder still when many of those releases came out in January, a traditionally slow month where releases are concerned.
Something tells me some of these releases were squeezed out of the fall schedule. I think the fall schedule would have been much more interesting if some of these titles had been pushed up.
I don’t have very high hopes for the second quarter, but I very much enjoyed this first quarter of 2008.
MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS, MASS OF THE FERMENTING DREGS
This debut crams a lot of music into a mini-album. It’s easy to drop a lot of names in comparison: condor44, NUMBER GIRL, mono.
The Magnetic Fields, Distortion
A noisy mess of a record, filtering Stephin Merritt’s classic pop writing through a Jesus and Mary Chain lens. Heartwarmingly sinister.
Chris Walla, Field Manual
Death Cab’s Plans tried to sound epic, when it shouldn’t have. This album doesn’t try to be epic, but it is.
hey willpower, P.D.A.
More indie bands should be inspired by Rhianna.
Bob Mould, District Line
When I grow up, I want to write rock songs with dance beats like Bob Mould.
I like these albums, too, but I’m not sure they’re so strong as deserve a shot in the top favorites. I might graduate a few of these titles if nothing turns out terribly thrilling next quarter.
- ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION, World World World AKFG go for a more conceptual sound.
- BUGY CRAXONE, Good morning, Punk Lovers Sorry, I will scream here.
- Fuji Fabric, TEENAGER They got the whimsy back.
- Leo Imai, Fix Neon Despite Imai’s penchant to write the same choruses over and over, his mix of post-punk and New Wave feels vintage without sounding vintage.
- Yorico, Negau Yorico dials back the hard rock gestures of second VERSE.
- Terry Riley, The Cusp of Magic (Kronos Quartet and Wu Man) Incorporating toys into the score sounds preposterous on paper, but it really does work for the piece.
And what would any first quarter be without some stragglers from 2007?
- Osvaldo Golijov, Oceana Dead Can Dance wishes they recorded this album.
- Steve Reich, Music for 18 Musicians (Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble) Spunky.
- Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson, Sings Peter Lieberson: Neruda Songs Moving.
- Darren Hayes, This Delicate Thing We’ve Made Double albums are an invitation for indulgence, but damn if Darren Hayes managed to keep it all together through 25 songs.
- Annie Lennox, Songs of Mass Destruction I think this album is the first solo Annie Lennox album I’ve really liked.