Wild Beasts

At the end of each year I delight in reading a ton of “best albums of the year” lists on blogs and in magazines to find everything that I’ve missed over the year. I think I listened to quite a bit over the last 11 and a half months, so I’ve decided to publish my own best of 2008 this time around. It was a hard to choose, but I finally got it down to 20.

20 | Wild Beasts – Limbo, Panto

I’m starting off my top 20 list with some fauve British guitars. I’ve been following Wild Beasts from their early EPs and singles and what’s great is that they didn’t lose their raw sound on their debut album, Limbo, Panto. Angular guitars, falsetto vocals, and unconventional percussion make this a weird but rewarding listen. Matisse would be proud.

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— , December 16, 2008    10 Comments

Fleet Foxes

It’s funny how every interview or article I’ve ever read about Fleet Foxes has made a point to mention that the Seattle-based band are NOT, in fact, hippies- despite their penchant for uncut hair and fully bearded chins. Physical appearance aside, it is pretty difficult to not associate their sundrenched, nature-lovin’ tunes with flower children of decades past:

Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
Fleet Foxes – Ragged Wood

See what I mean? In terms of other bands I love, I’d put Fleet Foxes as a hybrid of the folk-rock acoustic sounds of The Acorn or Plants & Animals, the harmonious vocals of Iron and Wine, and a little country twang a la Wilco. And speaking of the latter, Fleet Foxes aren’t doing much to dispel the hippie image with their recent collaboration with Wilco, which finds them teaming up to cover Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released” in support of the upcoming American election: Vote!

Combining politics and acoustic guitars “on a summer’s night in Oregon” sounds pretty “Summer of Love”-esque to me, Fleet Foxes, so don’t think you’re fooling anyone. (Note: at the above link, you have to pledge to vote in the November election in order to get the link to the song.  I figured that since us Canadians have an election of our own coming up in October, the pledge totally counts for us too.)

As the former tambourine player in a university production of Hair, I know a thing or two about hippies and I’ve gotta say: after listening to the rest of their debut album, it’s all a person can do to keep from sporting leather headbands and organizing sit-ins for peace – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Now where is that tambourine…

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— , September 29, 2008    4 Comments