Jenny Lewis announces tour dates and so does Metric–so excited! Handsome Furs show tonight that I didn’t even know about, and later, more redundant exclamation marks; starting to write in the way that I twitter, watch out Rainn Wilson!

It’s one of those white days where the complete lack of color makes it impossible to tell the time. I’m checking the clock like a speedometer and I can’t find any new songs of theirs that haven’t already been shared. Wondering how many consecutive shows it takes to be a stalker and not just a casual fan. Six?

The Dates…

The 6 Best Albums of 2008

December 31, 2008


This was a momentous year for music collections everywhere. That’s because I believe iTunes reached critical mass several years ago, and the fruits of properly recording Dates Added and Ratings are finally paying dividends–in the form of awesome smart playlists and an ongoing musical yearbook. Albums are the placeholders of the iPod generation, and iTunes is the calendar.

Thanks for noticing the obvious–Chucks? is not even a year old, but this is the internet, and there’s no law against backdating. So if you happen to get hit by economic woes and find yourself with an inordinate amount of free time this winter, consider fixing that clumsy library of yours.

You may wonder why this list includes only six albums has changed to include ten albums. There isn’t really a is a good answer to that: I underestimated several albums, and I was impatient with them. More important than the number of albums on this list, is knowing that I don’t believe it excludes a significant record released this year that it’s greater than six. That said, to the slothful and the cynics, I present the first annual Best Albums of 2008 list. Hopefully it will not be the last.

we started nothing
The Ting Tings We Started Nothing – “Traffic Light”

vampire weekend
Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend – “M79”

modern guilt
Beck Modern Guilt“Gamma Ray”

made in the dark
Hot Chip Made in the Dark – “We’re Looking for a lot of Love”

youth novels
Lykke Li Youth Novels“I’m Good, I’m Gone”

dear science
TV on The Radio Dear Science – “DLZ”

MGMT Oracular Spectacular“The Handshake”

Santogold Santogold“Lights Out”

Thao Nguyen We Brave Bee Stings and All – “Feet Asleep”

Thao Nguyen’s infectious hooks and danceable grooves have (re)defined folk-pop as I know it. The sideways moving guitar rhythms make you move just like Thao would on stage even if you’ve never seen her before. Part of the album’s beauty is Thao’s introspective lyrics that are easily confused with silliness at first listen. For example: “All these years my feet asleep/move them around but they might breathe.” I’m sorry I didn’t listen to those of you who suggested Thao to me years ago, I promise to listen better next time.

acid tongue
Jenny Lewis Acid Tongue“Acid Tongue”

It’s difficult to pay attention to alternative/rock/pop music without at least knowing Rilo Kiley. I knew of them but I’d never before given Rilo, or Jenny Lewis the devoted ear they deserved. I wasn’t drawn in enough until “Silver Lining,” which admittedly isn’t even one of the group’s very best songs. The live versions of “I Love LA” kept me entranced; and once I started paying attention, there wasn’t a voice this year that drew me in and held me so closely*.

So went 2008, the year that I developed a gigantic crush on the woman with a voice that must sound like delicate light shining through clouds. The simple arrangements and basic chord progressions of Acid Tongue allow Jenny Lewis’s voice to dominate. The best example of this is in the title track, which consists of only her, a guitar, and backup singers. Even if you play piano as well as me you could learn a few of the songs off this album, and that is one of the strengths of this recording; it is simplicity executed excellently.

*Except Feist of course.


Who’s responsible for this season? This bleak time between fall and winter of unpredictable cold and wind, but without winter’s most endearing feature. When this time of undecided weather comes again in March, things are looking up at spring, but for now it’s a depressing sign of colder times coming. People like to remind me that I grew up in the blistery Midwest, that I should be comfortable with the cold. But since being in LA, it’s been impossible to accept that cold and sun-less weather should be accepted. One of these pictures was taken in NY, one was taken in LA, both in November. Awww… nostalgia.


Absolutely in love with this live Rilo Kiley track:

Rilo Kiley – I Love LA

Peter Bjorn and John – Let’s Call it Off (Girl Talk Remix)

I’ve been wandering the city with my camera and lately I’ve been finding a lot of graffiti and posters about the election. The best ones are always about Sarah Palin. Wonder why that is…

It’s also become impossible to go out without overhearing a political conversation at least once every hour. This political season it feels like, more than ever before, has become scrutinized by talk show hosts and magazine editors in only the way that we typically talk about celebrities. I have no doubt that this is due to Sarah Palin’s instant “celebrity.” Anyways it’s a good thing that people seem to care about their government as much as their movie stars.

I’m not above the crashing waves of politics and pop culture, and ever since the September conventions it’s been nothing short of an addiction. Seriously though, the internet may explode next Tuesday from all the live-election blogging. Call it political overdose.

Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue