Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Best of 2008

Hi Folks! Once again it's time to sum up the past year. The most interesting events in 2008 would be... G'n'R finally released Chinese Democracy and the world economic crisis striked even the music industry :) And yes, we had a plenty of good releases to enjoy in 2008...

In 2008, the number of music submissions to Indie Surfer increased substantially, so I was not able to check them all and answer to them. I'll try in the future to find some way to cover as much submissions as possible, but it will also depend on my free time. So, if you're a music promoter or you have a band, I encourage you to send your submission to Indie Surfer and I'll do my best to check them out.

The albums included on the 'Top 100' list are Indie Surfer's choice of the best albums in 2008. All the albums in the selection are recommended for your listening, so try to check them out (if you already haven't) or at least check the artist myspace page. If you have your favorites not included on the list, please feel free to mention them in the comments.

The Indie Surfer's winner of 2008 is Fleet Foxes' self-titled release, followed by Bon Iver's 'For Emma, Forever Ago' and 'Dear Science' from Tv On The Radio. All those three albums are special in their own way, so any of them could lead the list. I hope the next year will bring us more rocking and less experimental albums, so be sure to check the Indie Surfer Blog, it will try to keep you up to date.

Top 100 Indie Albums of 2008
100. Beck - Modern Guilt
99. Joan As Police Woman - To Survive
98. Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer?
Marnie Stern - This Is It & I Am It...
96. Mount Eerie - Lost Wisdom
95. Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
94. The Stills - Oceans Will Rise
93. Evangelicals - The Evening Descends
The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing
91. Mystery Jets - Twenty One

90. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
89. Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke
88. Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan - Sunday At Devil Dirt
87. The Rosebuds - Life Like
86. Little Teeth - Child Bearing Man
85. The Kills - Midnight Boom
84. Constantines - Kensington Heights
83. The Killers - Day & Age
82. Fucked Up - Chemistry Of Common Life
81. The Little Ones - Morning Tide
80. Delays - Everything's the Rush
79. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Cardinology
78. Destroyer - Trouble In Dreams
77. The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age Of The Understatement
76. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Real Emotional Trash
75. The Morning Benders - Talking Through Tin Cans
74. Dr. Dog - Fate
73. The Raconteurs - Consolers Of The Lonely
72. Eagles Of Death Metal - Heart On
71. Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
70. Lucinda Williams - Little Honey
69. Islands - Arms Way
68. Calexico - Carried To Dust
67. Wild Beasts - Limbo, Panto
66. The Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust
65. The Black Keys - Attack & Release
64. The Dutchess & The Duke - She's The Dutchess, He's The Duke
63. Friendly Fires - Friendly Fires
62. Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea
61. Max Tundra -
Parallax Error Beheads You
60. Blitzen Trapper - Furr
59. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
58. She & Him - Volume One
57. Deerhoof - Offend Magie
56. Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing
55. Lykke Li - Youth Novels
54. Nada Surf - Lucky
53. Magnetic Fields - Distortion
52. British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
51. Adam Green - Sixes & Sevens
50. Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell
49. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
48. Women - Women
47. The Breeders - Mountain Battles
46. Hot Chip - Made In Dark
45. Sun Kill Moon - April
44. Shearwater - Rook
43. Glasvegas - Glasvegas
42. Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
41. Drive-By Truckers -
Brighter Than Creation's Dark
The Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride
39. M83 - Saturdays = Youth
38. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping
37. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
36. Nine Inch Nails - The Slip
35. Hercules And Love Affair - Hercules And Love Affair
34. Ponytail - Ice Cream Spiritual
33. Girl Talk - Feed The Animals
32. The Walkmen - You & Me
31. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
30. Bound Stems - The Family Afloat
29. No Age - Nouns
28. Kings Of Leon - Only By The Night
27. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
26. The Plastic Constellations - We Appreciate You
25. Sigur Ros - Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
24. Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
23. Why? - Alopecia
22. Born Ruffians - Red, Yellow And Blue
21. Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst
20. Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree
19. Atlas Sound - Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
18. The Music Tapes - Music Tapes For Clouds And Tornadoes
17. Beach House - Devotion
16. Cloud Cult - Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-Partying Through Tornadoes)
15. Little Joy - Little Joy
14. Portishead - Third
13. Los Campesinos! - We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
12. Santogold - Santogold
11. Times New Viking - Rip It Off

10. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!!

9. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

8. Okkervil River - The Stand Ins

7. Foals - Antidotes

6. Deerhunter - Microcastle

5. Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight

4. The Dodos - Visiter

3. Tv On The Radio - Dear Science

2. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

1. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

Top 10 Hip-Hop/Rap Albums Of 2008
10. The Game - LAX
9. Gnarls Barkley - The Odd Couple
8. Lupe Fiasco - The Cool
7. Black Milk - Tronic
6. T.I. - Paper Trail
5. The Roots - Rising Down
4. Nas - Untitled
3. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III
2. The Cool Kids - Bake Sale
1. Q-Tip - The Renaissance

Other Genres/Top Albums
The Bug - London Zoo
Flight Of The Conchords - Flight Of The Conchords
Erykah Badu - New Amerykah, Part One (4th World War)
Shugo Tokumaru - Exit
Amadou & Mariam - Welcome To Mali
Grace Jones - Hurricane
Juana Molina - Un Dia
Paul Weller - 22 Dreams
Robyn - Robyn

I expected more from (or 'do it better next time'):
Oasis, Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, Ceasars, Cat Power, Razorlight, The Black Kids, ...

Note: Finally, I wish you all Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I'll continue posting at the beginning of 2009. Have a nice time during holidays...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Dutchess And The Duke

While Jesse Lortz and Kimberly Morrison have both done time in some of Seattle's most rough and tumble garage punk combos, the two found themselves receiving international acclaim in 2008 for their debut album as the Dutchess & the Duke, in which they turned their attentions to acoustic guitars and a cool but honest folk-rock-influenced sounds that recall the work of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones. Lortz and Morrison first met in high school, where they shared an enthusiasm for beer, junk food, and punk rock, and in time both became figures on the Pacific Northwest garage punk scene.

Lortz was a member of the "deconstructionist R&B band" the Flying Dutchmen, and in 2002 he recruited Morrison to play organ with the group. When the Flying Dutchmen called it quits in 2004, Lortz formed the Fe Fi Fo Fums and started an independent label, Boom Boom Castle Records, while Morrison did time with the Intelligence, the Fallouts, and the Unnatural Helpers. Lortz and Morrison found themselves playing together again in a short-lived act called the Sultans, and were inspired to start writing material that would take their music in a new direction celebrating pop music's past. Calling themselves the Dutchess & the Duke ("the Dutchess" being a nickname Morrison picked up in the Flying Dutchmen), the duo worked on their harmonies and began recording material at Magical Basement Studios, a modest eight-track facility in Seattle run by Bryan more... Standridge of the Suspicions.

With some help in the studio from Donnie Hilsdat and Karen Mitchell, the Dutchess & the Duke released their first 7" single on Boom Boom Castle, "Reservoir Park" b/w "Mary," in 2007, and several months later the Sub Pop-distributed Hardly Art label signed the duo to a record deal. Their first full-length album, She's the Dutchess, He's the Duke, was released in June 2008 and received enthusiastic reviews; Lortz and Morrison soon took the act on the road, with additional accompaniment from friends Ruben Mendez and Oscar Michel. Highly Recommended!

The Dutchess And The Duke - Reservoir Park
The Dutchess And The Duke - Daytrotter Sessions
The Dutchess And The Duke @ MySpace

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Gentleman Auction House

It seems only appropriate that youth and maturation are two of the lyrical themes that thread their way through Eric Enger’s songs: His band, Gentleman Auction House, has spent the last year navigating the space where the two words intersect. Formed in the summer of 2005 (with its current lineup solidified in January of 2006), the band itself is still young, with the average age of its seven members hitting just below the quarter-century mark.

GAH spent their first year hitting the stages in St. Louis, MO, as frequently as their schedules would allow, playing shows in front of audiences across the town. As excited performances converted excited fans, the band took its cue and recorded their debut EP The Rules Were Handed Down just in time for their performance at 2006’s Pygmalion Festival in Champaign-Urbana, IL. The self-recorded EP was self-released in October 2006, and had sold out of it’s first pressing by the time the band played their now-annual Christmas show, which happened to score a mention in SPIN magazine’s list of must-attend events in St. Louis that December. TRWHD sold enough copies before the year’s end to make it into the Top 15 best-selling records of 2006 at Vintage Vinyl, St. Louis’ premier independent record store. The EP made the list again a year later, and now has sold over 3,000 total copies to date.

The next year was spent playing local and regional shows in support of TRWHD, and though the feedback was consistently filled with praise, the band’s recipe of boy-girl vocals, dueling drummers, and multi-instrumentation had become standard indie-pop fare. Around every corner loomed a band that bore a resemblance to GAH’s own musical reflection, and every review cited the same touchstone Canadian collectives. Feeling the need to delineate the band’s sound, Enger penned a handful of new pop songs to round out material for what would become Alphabet Graveyard, the band’s full-length debut.

October 2007 found GAH in Washington, D.C., recording at Silver Sonya studios with Chad Clark (Beauty Pill, Smart Went Crazy), Devin Ocampo (Medications, Faraquet), and TJ Lipple (Aloha), who the band hoped would help them audibly infuse the enthusiasm and youthful energy of their live show and contextualize all of the different components of their new record. After two weeks of feverish recording, a robbery at gunpoint, and the unexpected illness of Chad Clark, two records emerged.

May 2008 welcomed The Book of Matches EP, which serves as the thematic and sonic precursor to the band’s new full-length. Due out in August of 2008, Alphabet Graveyard is a record that documents the maturation of a band who has shed the weight of its comparisons and forged a direction all their own to a very new place where solemn folk ballads, epic mood pieces and infectiously danceable pop very naturally find themselves on common ground.

Fresh off of a string of spring tours including a showcase at SXSW and a Daytrotter studio session, the band will spend the remainder of the year touring consistently, including a stop at Diversafest (DFest) in Tulsa, OK, and their third trip to Champaign’s burgeoning Pygmalion Festival.

Christmas is right around the corner and to help spread the holiday cheer Gentleman Auction House's third release of 2008, Christmas In Love, hits stores today. There are six tracks on this EP, of which only one is a traditional holiday classic. Be sure to check out Gentleman Auction House on their final tour of the year where you can purchase the tour only limited edition hand wraped/numbered Christmas In Love CD. If you can't make it to a show just head over to your favorite record store or digital retailer. Merry Christmas! Recommended!

Gentleman Auction House - On The Rooftop
Gentleman Auction House - Home For The Holidays
Gentleman Auction House - Daytrotter Sessions
Gentleman Auction House @ MySpace

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Thursday, December 11, 2008


Odds were one of those bands that slowly worked its way into the consciousness of Canadian music fans. Reviews of the Odds first three albums paint a picture of a critically acclaimed yet underrated band. Singer/guitarist Craig Northey appreciates the kudos, but would like to take a shot at making his own assessment of where their self-produced fourth LP, Nest fits on the grid of Odds releases.

The Odds formed in 1987 and achieved mainstream success with its platinum album Good Weird Feeling (1995), which featured the hits “Truth Untold” and “Eat My Brain.” Other chart-topping tunes from The Odds include “Someone Who’s Cool,” which enjoyed 8 weeks as the number 1 song at Canadian rock radio and went Top 40 in the U.S, and regained some popularity when it was selected as the theme song for the short-lived but critical favorite CBS series “Love Monkey” (2006).

Northey started songwriting after he was asked to write a song for Rosanne Cash and since then has lent his abilities to numerous projects. He co-wrote the popular theme song for a Canadian comedy series “Corner Gas,” and composed the original score for Kids In The Hall’s feature film, Brain Candy and Bruce McCulloch's feature directorial debut, “Dog Park.”

The Odds return with the release of Cheerleader (January 20, 2009 - Second Motion/Red Eye) a fantastic new album packed with 14 alternative-fueled tracks full of dark, intense lyrics, full-voiced harmonies and jangled filled pop melodies that would make even Anderson Cooper want to dance. After a long commercially successful career that includes four standout albums and numerous hit singles, Cheerleader ends the Odds’ 10-year hiatus and marks a return to the bands innovative power-pop and trademark harmonies of Craig Northey and Doug Elliot. Recommended!

Odds - Write It In Lightning
Odds - Leaders Of The Undersea World
Odds - Jumper
Odds @ MySpace

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Friday, December 05, 2008

Home Video

Home Video are Collin Ruffino and David Gross, transplants from the misunderstood landscape of New Orleans, now living in the brooding brownstones of Brooklyn, New York. Here they revel in a self-created world of references to Edward Gorey, Massive Attack, The Brothers Quay, Smashing Pumpkins, and a dusting of Chopin, references that they have been collecting for nearly ten years.

Originally discovered by Warp Records, the label released Home Video's first two EPs in 2004, both packaged in sleeves illustrated by Collin's dark, Gorey-esque drawings. That You Might, a 10" single, immediately picked up considerable attention in Britain from BBC Radio 1 and the NME, while the five song Citizen EP earned the band a feature in Rolling Stone. In 2006, New York based Defend Music released their debut full length, No Certain Night Or Morning. Sasha picked two of the songs from this album to remix for his recently released Involver 2, which also included reworked songs from Thom Yorke, Ladytron, M83, and Apparat.

As electronic-rock producers and performers, they record everything themselves, then adapt it live into a full on rock show with live drums and hypnotic visual projections. After sharing a bill in London at the start of Home Video's first European tour, Blonde Redhead were so impressed that they invited the band to support them for three weeks of shows in North America. Since then they have opened for such diverse acts as Yeasayer, Flying Lotus, Pinback, Colder, Radio 4, and His Name is Alive.

It Will Be OK is the first new material Home Video have released since 2006, and illustrates the band's new direction in both sound and attitude. The new music has a thickness and complexity that their early minimalist work lacked; the gloom and darkness gives way to glimmerings of hope marked by sublime swells of sound. For the first time, they've been recording with their touring drummer, Jim Orso, who brings adds a third dimension and brings new life to the beat.

Surrounded by the trend-infested-quick-high of the New York music scene, Home Video are slow-burning pop that will invade your dreams and memories. Recommended!

Home Video - I Can Make You Feel It
Home Video - Maybe What You Need
Home Video @ MySpace

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Lissy Trullie

With her affinity for bowler hats, punky couture, and imprecise indie pop, Lissy Trullie established herself as a New York fashion icon and emerging musician in 2007. Her well-clad figure graced the pages of such fashion magazines as Elle, SOMA, and Jalouse, while her lo-fi musical demos attracted the attention of several record labels.

Having played around with various lineups in the last couple of years, in 2008 she solidified her band. The past few months have seen her compelling songwriting and on point live performances steadily gain attention and fans around the NY city. The band has been extremely busy putting the finishing touches on the Self-Taught Learner EP which will be released on American Myth Records this coming January! Recommended!

Lissy Trullie - Self-Taught Learner
Lissy Trullie @ MySpace

Lissy Trullie ft Adam Green - Just A Friend

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Since forming in 2005, Wintermitts have delighted and accumulated loyal fans across Canada. Their last album, Cascadia Fault (2007), was released independently in Canada to massive appeal, and with their whimsical exuberance they have shared the stage with acts such as Julie Doirion, You Say Party!We Say Die! and Laura Barret. They completed a national summer tour in 2007 and were featured at Sackville, New Brunswick’s famous SappyFest. In Autumn 2008, they continue their path of merrymaking, as featured artists at the Western Canadian Music Association Showcase and traveling on a cross-country tour promoting their new album, Heirloom.

Boasting a bilingual set and a “musical chairs” approach to instrumentation, Heirloom was produced by Shawn Cole (You Say Party!We Say Die!) and co-produced by Futcher (The Be Good Tanyas). Live or recorded, Lise Monique intertwines English and French lyrics with the ease of elementary school girls braiding each other’s hair in Canada’s schoolyards, while the accompanying music pulls you to your feet or keeps your eyes on the stage. Listeners beware: some tracks on this latest Wintermitts effort will cause a head-nodding hypnosis while others still will leave you wishing you understood French, or with the desire to plant a tree in your front yard.

To ensure that your love for this band will keep growing long after your initial listen, Wintermitts have committed to affecting a crowd on a platform greater than the width of a stage by including a seed packet for Heirloom tomatoes in with the CD – which can grow in most climates of Canada. “We wanted to include something that people can actually see change as a way of educating and promoting personal horticultural awareness,” Lise Monique says. Heirloom’s CD packaging itself is green-friendly and resembles the design of a seed packet. In doing so, Wintermitts strut their West Coast eco-sensibility and provide listeners with music as well as a science project in which there is no danger of a failing grade.

Although they purport to wear different styles of underwear, Wintermitts members are united on the front of sharing handclaps and gang vocals to move you onto the dance floor. Keep an admiring eye on them, as if they were a kaleidoscope; as Wintermitts continue to be held up to the spotlight, their music produces a pleasing, aural spectacle of the most brilliant colours and shapes. Recommended!

Wintermitts - DANS
Wintermitts - Crossing Bridges
Wintermitts - Schoolyard
Wintermitts - Ghost Note
Wintermitts @ MySpace

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Monday, December 01, 2008

Free album release... Matt Pond PA

Matt Pond PA released a new EP available for free download via their offical site.

Mister P. and his party have taken themselves captive to become the their own producers, manufacturers, and distributors. It was a deferential revolt against inertia, a clearing of the throat to answer the quiet. Or maybe it was an inevitable reaction to seeing Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

In adherence to their demands, these songs were recorded in a cabin in Bearsville, NY, as a simple sonic manifestation of their opinions concerning the arguable value of a waterlogged paperback.

A Free EP prospectively titled: The Dawn before the Dark Leaves or Water off a Black Dog's Back or Amazing Life or Butterfly Mornings and Wildflower Afternoons or May we never go go mental, may we always stay stay gentle or The Fear of not Being Afraid or The Warmth Within the Warren or Dreaming of Sleeping or Saying It to Keep It From Happening or This is not the Dark Leaves or Living for Liv Ullman or The Odds of a Sunrise or Whispering Pines or You'll be the Rhythm and I'll be the Beat and I'll be the Rhythm and You'll be the Beat or The Grass Harp or Goodbye Barcelona or Why is my copy of the Moviegoer Floating in a Puddle Beside the Car.

Or simply, The Freeep. Recommended!

Matt Pond PA - The Freeep (album download)
Matt Pond PA @ MySpace

Matt Pond PA - People Have A Way

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