Aquarium Drunkard :: 2008: Songs In Review

This year Aquarium Drunkard is wrapping up not only our favorite albums of the year (stay tuned for that) but listing some of our favorite songs from the past twelve months as well. Besides a site re-design, the blog also saw the the addition of a couple of regular contributors, J. Neas and M. Garner, whose lists you can find below my own. While you'll notice some repeat artists (Deerhunter, Hold Steady, etc), there is only one repeat song n the three lists. We can;t hear it all, so hit us up in the comments with your favorite individual songs from '08. - AD

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10. Catfish Haven :: Set In Stone

Now a few releases into their game, "Set In Stone" finds Catfish Haven continuing down the garage rock path while incorporating STAX styled horns and a touch of mid-period Talking Heads into the mix. This is the cornerstone track from an album that revels in sweat, booze, and balmy humidity – a perfect storm where everything just barely hangs together, and in doing so approaches an unlikely dirty perfection.

MP3: Catfish Haven :: Set In Stone
Amazon: Catfish Haven - Devastator


9. The Felice Brothers :: Frankie's Gun

I'll tell ya, if I didn't know better I would swear "Frankie's Gun" was a lost b-side from The Band circa 1970. It's nice to know you don't have to visit Big Pink to get this kind of stuff in 2008. It is no coincidence this track pops up in the next two lists as well.

MP3: The Felice Brothers :: Frankie's Gun
Amazon: The Felice Brothers - S/T


8. The Moondoggies :: Changing

Mmmm, rock & roll. This Seattle outfit delivered the goods this year with "Changing" off their Don't Be A Stranger LP. This is very much back-to-the-basics in terms of both the sound and the songwriting. This is the new Americana. I recommend turning this one up loud.

MP3: The Moondoggies :: Changing
Amazon: The Moondoggies - Don't Be A Stranger


7. Hacienda :: She's Got A Hold On Me

Produced by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, and tourmates of Dr. Dog, it's no surprise Hacienda grabbed my attention last Summer. "She's Got Ahold On Me" finds the San Antonio group milking the highlights of the past four decades of rock and pop. Like a lot of my favorites this year, this one's a smiler that could have easily dropped thirty years ago.

MP3: Hacienda :: She's Got A Hold On Me
Amazon: Hacienda - Loud Is The Night

6. Vivian Girls :: Where Do You Run To

As an old fan of The Raincoats, Vivian Girls had me at first listen with their brand of Phil Spector girl-groups soaked in dirty basement Velvet Underground. "Where Do You Run To," with its multi-tracked vocals, chugging rhythm, and lo-fi coy naivete, will hopefully inspire a whole generation of teenage girls to pick up vinyl and guitars.

MP3: Vivian Girls :: Where Do You Run To
Amazon: Vivian Girls - S/T


5. No Age :: Teen Creeps

No Age's Sub Pop debut, Nouns, immediately reminded me of the first time I heard Sonic Youth's album Evol: a perfect din of noise framed by pop sensibilities that in turn keep everything (barely) hanging together. "Teen Creeps" is the natural "single" from the LP and track I've listened to countless time in '08.

MP3: No Age :: Teen Creeps
Amazon: No Age - Nouns


4. Blitzen Trapper :: Black River Killer

I've been a sucker for story-songs this year and "Black River Killer" is a murder ballad in the grand tradition of Porter Wagoner, and, more recently, Nick Cave. "Oh when, oh when, Will the spirit come a calling for my soul to sin?" This band just keeps getting better.

MP3: Blitzen Trapper :: Black River Killer
Amazon: Blitzen Trapper - Furr


3. Deerhunter :: Cover Me (Slowly)/Agoraphobia

This is dream pop. Track two off Deerhunter's Microcastle, "Agoraphobia" slides in immediately after the opener, "Cover Me (Slowly)," so subtlety it practically feels like an extended coda upon first listen. So yeah, technically it's two songs, but you can't truly experience one without the other. Buy the album to hear why.

MP3: Deerhunter :: Agoraphobia
Amazon: Deerhunter - Microcastle


2. Megafaun :: Find Your Mark

At five minutes and fourteen seconds "Find Your Mark" feels more like an album than a song. The track is a journey, and one that incorporates influences ranging from Brian Wilson to contemporaries Besnard Lakes and Akron/Family. A North Carolina mini-masterpiece. Keep an eye on Megafaun in '09.

MP3: Megafaun :: Find Your Mark
Amazon: Megafaun - Bury The Square


1. White Hinterland :: Dreaming of Plum Trees

White Hinterland, Casey Dienel's 2008 project, saw the artist's vocal approach moving in more of a Rikki Lee Jones/Joni Mitchell (jazz-era) space than her previous work. "Dreaming of Plum Trees," with its aforementioned flourishes and traces of Vince Guaraldi, earned itself the title of "new classic" during the past twelve months. Might I add it is perfect for December.

MP3: White Hinterland :: Dreaming of Plum Trees
Amazon: White Hinterland - Phylactery Factory


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