Arts Desk

Music 2008: Red Onion Goes To 11

Josh Harkavy, owner of the record/book store Red Onion, e-mailed me this: his favorite, or some of his favorite records of the year.

Josh explains: "This is by no means a top 11 list, just 11 albums I listened to a lot in 2008.
Let me know if you need more info or anything. I hope you don't mind that I went to 11."

We don't mind at all.

Irma Thomas: Irma Thomas Sings (Mississippi Records)
While it's tough to choose one favorite Mississippi Records release, this is probably the one I play the most, especially in the store. It seems that whenever this album starts up, somebody ends up buying it.

Cotton Jones Basket Ride: The River Strumming (St. Ives Records)
This is truly my favorite discovery of the year. 300 pressed and I am so happy that I own one. Funky, folky psych from Maryland. More people need to hear this album.

Eddy Current Suppression Ring: Primary Colours (Goner Records)
I know the lead singer kinda sounds just like Mark E. Smith from the Fall, but that's ok.

Gary Higgins: Red Hash (Drag City)
Since I'll probably never find an original, I was happy when this was properly reissued by Drag City. And it came with a bumper sticker!

Cold Sun: Dark Shadows (World In Sound)
Quite possibly the most expensive new record I have ever bought, but worth every penny. Twisted Texas psych fronted by autoharp wizard Bill Miller. This band later went on to back Roky Erickson. Sooo good.

Monotonix: Body Language (Drag City)
I still have not seen Monotonix live even though it seems they have played DC about 6 times this year. I have listened to the 6 songs on their first release way too many times this year. Phil Lynott lives!

Crystal Stilts: Crystal Stilts (Woodsist)
I like this creepy Brooklyn band's self-titled EP a bit more than their Alight of Night LP. It's just the right amount of songs. Whenever I hear this EP, it makes me want to make music like this. It seems so easy.

Hear, O Israel: A Prayer Ceremony in Jazz (Trunk Records)
How this recording came to be I will never know. Herbie Hancock, Grady Tate, Ron Carter and others perform a Sabbath prayer concert written by 17 year old Jonathan Klein for his synogogue in 1968. Maybe it is best not to ask why, just to enjoy the sounds.

Atlas Sound: Let the Blind Lead..... (Kranky Records)
Creepy techno bedroom recordings from Deerhunter's Bradford Cox, and you can dance to it!

Relatively Clean Rivers: Relatively Clean Rivers (Phoenix Records)
The description of this lost early 70's west coast trip referenced both the Grateful Dead and the Velvet Undergound. I didn't believe it to be possible, but this might be the long lost love-child of those two groups.

Vivian Girls: Vivian Girls (In The Red)
I'm a little biased on this one since I used to go to garage sales with one of the members. It's a little uneven, but this is another one of those albums that I wish I could have made.

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