Arts Desk

Music 2008: A Few Forgotten Favorites

Every year there's always tons of records that deserved more time, that flew under the radar or just got lost in my stacks and/or hard drive. Here's a few that I thought were worthy of sharing:

U.S. Girls: Live On WFMU

U.S. Girls is Megan Remy. She plays through messed-up keyboards and loves the sound of a messed-up drum machine. Her myspace page claims she's from Philly. Her music comes from no place. Imagine Bruce Springsteen as a avant-goth kid bellowing through a messed-up microphone. Remy makes noisy anthems for people who hate noisy anthems. [She also does a lot of covers including a dirty version of a Springsteen tune]. This set is a live one done for the famous New Jersey station. I found it as a download on a message board. You can find it on WFMU's Beware of the Blog. The blog claims she's from Chicago. Does it matter?

The blog does have a pretty damn good summation of the U.S. Girls' set up and sound:

Packing nothing more than a reel-to-reel tape deck, a mic, and 2 stomp boxes, U.S. Girls delivered a maelstrom of classic pop filtered through something unknowable and kinda crazy, I don't know what it is.  I'll indulge the facile "A meets B" thing by saying imagine Phil Spector covered by The Conet Project

Listen to her version of the Dave Clark 5 song "Bits & Pieces":

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Children's Hospital: Alone Together (Sacred Bones)

This is the latest project from the avant-wing of the indie world, the A-Frames/Intelligence/Rodent Plague/AFCGT axis (the Stranger has a fine early profile as well). This Seattle duo made my favorite basement doom album. I alternated between really digging the Sacred Bones catalog and, well, being really freaked by its cold-brittle take on early industrial. The '80s ain't just Factory Records. This era has seen its share of '80s retreads (too many to name). It's nice to see a band like Children's Hospital take chances. Its source material comes from bands like This Heat and Throbbing Gristle. I love the album's semi-sour fem vocals, demented clang and brutal guitar scrapes. The band's name makes google searches a little tough, but there's at least one very fine review out there.

Listen to "Unseen":

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The Cool Kids: The Bake Sale (Chocolate Industries)

This Chicago hip-hop duo turned out to be everyone's favorite underground hip-hop act. This EP proved pretty irresistible with its hip-hop heyday beats and sly humor. One of our cool critics loved 'em. Even Kevin Garnett loves the Cool Kids. This song rocked my summer mix.

Listen to "88":

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Beach House: Devotion (Carpark Records)

Two reasons I slept on this album: it came out in early 2008 and the band's performance at the Rock and Roll Hotel was drowned out by all the talkers in the crowd. The show was so terrible it made me not want to listen to the album. That's too bad. Because it's still close to perfect.

Listen to "Holy Dances":

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  • http://n/a Mark Williams

    for some reason the Terminal Boredom guy can't stand her stuff, yet he likes Zola Jesus. I'm with you on this.

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