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Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

Top Ten "Musical Experiences" of 2008…

As music becomes distributed through various mediums, I think, for better or worse, the activity of sitting down and listening to a record is becoming only one of many access points for interesting music in our lives. I would argue that these days, as a music consumer, the new forms of musical input and access are just as exciting as the creativity embodied in the musicianship and songcraft of recorded sounds. Not to marginalize the wonderful bands as mere “content providers” at all, I just believe that for an individual with music always on his mind, there are unique ways to summarize this past year than just exclusively songs or albums.

So expand your horizons and please contribute… you’ll get the idea of where I’m going with this with my list below. You don't have to be as long-winded as me!

1. My Bloody Valentine – Aragon Ballroom, Chicago – September

I almost didn’t make this, but thanks to the tenacious effort of my friend to be on the ball to get tickets I got to enjoy and thrilling, and maybe (hopefully not) once in a lifetime concert experience. The most haunting effect is how your memory of the constant motifs on MBV’s albums help you make sense of the aural assault the band was giving you. You know how now and then, your brain plays music that you’ve listened back to you? I felt that way listening to the performance, making the concert an experience that really got inside of me.

2. Leaving directly from my office to see Deerhoof 70 miles away at the Metro Chicago – October

I had to make a tough choice for my career and move 70 miles from Chicago a year and half ago, causing me to miss out on numerous essential live shows. Deerhoof, one of my favorite active bands, was playing a rather early show on Friday night, and I wasn’t going to let geographic distance (or lack of available vacation hours or personal time) keep me from missing another Chicago concert. I left after 5:00pm directly from my office, only changing choose to make the drive more comfortable. A nasty traffic jam near O’Hare (which I could have avoided if I planned better), and numerous parking and transit issues, but I made it 15 minutes before they started. Another great concert (my 5th Deerhoof show), and I was rewarded with my troubles with an invitation from some of my friends to a party afterwards. I miss Chicago.

3. Fleet Foxes

There’s no doubt what is going to be my favorite album of 2008. With an epic but down-home sound, Fleet Foxes’ music was so soothing and seemed tethered in a place unburdened by the crushing and tangible economic and global problems in the world. I’m a sucker for any Beach Boy harmonizing, and the Foxes did it perfectly but added an indie-rock Pitchfork-credentialed vibe to the vocal experimenting. Hearing an mp3 or two online, my enthusiasm was sparked seeing them at the Pitchfork music fest in July and continued when I heard their full self-titled album on Rhapsody. When I finally checked out the physical CD at my local library I was completely taken in. Like the best records, there’s something for every mood on the Self-titled full length, and I haven’t even listened to the mp3 yet.

4. “You Set the Scene” – Love

Fortunately, I finally got to listen to Forever Changes. After seeing the documentary Love Story (on Pitchfork.TV) I could not avoid it any longer. The words said about this record were so true, and I hope to dive into it more deeply. I keep coming back to the final track, though, in part because I like to be different and Alone Again Or gets all the attention, but also because I can’t stop wanting to hear the cinematic lushness, the groove, and the distinct parts that would make a single song essential, but folded into a mutli-part suite that never wears out it’s welcome becomes one of the most incredible closing tracks ever. There’s a certain air of conclusiveness you expect from an album closer, but “You Set the Scene” has the extra weight of being the swan song of Love’s most essential lineup, and it meets that high bar incredibly.

5. Rhapsody

Thanks to suggestions from folks in this forum, I finally agreed to pay the minimal fee for a Rhapsody subscription service and it was such a good move for me, financially and musically. In my early high school years, as I was becoming a music junkie, I think I thought to myself that the one wish I would want granted would be to have my own music store, so I could listen to everything and anything I wanted. Now that wish has been granted. It’s quite overwhelming and has made me question whether all these years it was the quantity of music that I preferred over the quality. That will be an ongoing issue, as I no longer give many records their traditional two full listens due before finding something else that I’ve always wanted to hear. But I think, all things considered, I’d rather live in a world where I can sample a variety of classic and obscure records from all eras, rather than just read about how awesome they are and hope that I come across friends with records or music store bargain bins before I can hear them with my own ears.

6. Eighties Indie Rock

A couple years ago, I bought the book “Our Band Could Be Your Life”, chronicling the stories of several influential indie rock bands and their rise in popularity from 1981-1991. Unfortunately, when I first purchased the book, I wasn’t able to hear any of these crazy raw sounds these iconoclastic and sometimes downright scary musicians were making. Thanks so much to AM’s 80s Album Poll, Rhapsody, and a few hidden gems in my local library, I have received a serious injection of gritty unique music from a decade I had written off as only belonging to Prince, R.E.M., and some synth-pop gems by one-hit wonders. With Black Flag, Husker Du, the Replacements, and the Butthole Surfers, I heard a soundtrack to the off-the-radar counter-culture of the Reagan years, that formed the attitude that shaped the nineties alternative wave that was such an important part of my adolescent years.

7. Purple Rain

This could no longer be avoided, thanks to Rhapsody and the AM eighties poll, but could this Prince classic be that good? I had enjoyed major parts of Dirty Mind, 1999, and Sign O’ the Times (the latter being the first eighties prince I listened to a couple years ago), but there were parts that dragged and songs that were occasionally forgettable. I could appreciate Prince’s ambition and bringing boundless creativity to the often bland world of 80s mainstream pop, but some of his indulgences seemed to be for hard-core fans only. But there’s a reason why Purple Rain is considered one of the best albums of all time. The sharp and crisp sound, the compact running length, and the incredibly variety and catchiness of the nine songs just exploded, and I was glad that I finally caught up with this classic. Any album that can include ballads like Purple Rain with funky oddities like Computer Blue, reflect a artistic courage that Prince embodied. Now that I have internalized Purple Rain, I can see it as a jumping off point to further appreciate the rest of Prince, before and after 1984. Purple Rain was the perfectly formed crystal of a record and the rest are equally respectable variation of that perfection.

8. Getting NIN’s The Slip for free (legally)

After the 2005 album With Teeth, I was beginning to lose some confidence that every NIN record would be a major event. Trent Reznor’s sonically ambitious dark sound was still incredibly compelling, and the variations he made on that sound in the long years between 1994’s Downward Spiral and 1999’s The Fragile showed that he was full of new directions the music could go. But by Year Zero, the dynamics and especially the lyrics were getting a little too repetitive to bear. How much self-loathing and screaming declarations of metaphors of love as a prison can one take before it gets stale? Then, Trent Reznor began offering his new music, for free. I tried to get my head wrapped around the concept, and when his instrumental Ghosts collection was being offered I still hadn’t jumped on the free music bandwagon, thinking that it would just be a tired collection of marginal recordings that would clutter up my hard drive. Less than a year later, The Slip was offered free with no strings attached, and rather than fretting, as I did in the past, about whether to buy a NIN record or not (or any later-era album by a once ambitious alternative artist, for that matter) Trent Reznor’s new model took that concern of money and commitment out of the equation. There was absolutely nothing to lose. Was the Slip very good? Well it had its moments and it was brief enough to not wear out it’s welcome. I gave it the full listen it deserved, and I’m sure I’ll find more parts to appreciate, but for now I’m fully on board with this new free-music dynamic, and hopefully artists can explore this avenue of a direct, legal music sharing between musicians and fans, and still make a living.

9. Palladia

A very recent entry, since I just got my HD cable box hooked up, but this is a generally shout-out to how wonderful HD concerts look. Palladia is an all HD music channel, and there are old shows and new shows. The old shows by bands such as the Who I’ll never get to see are great, but for the active bands the visual quality is so amazing that I can almost see preferring watching this channel than shelling out the bucks for the front row seats these cameras are situated at. The only downside is that now I’m pressured to get some nice TV speakers to fully enjoy this channel. I’ll have to resist for a while, as my electronic indulgence fund increases a little bit more.

10. Pitchfork TV

Finally, this is not saving the best for last, but kudos to Pitchfork for enhancing the indie music fans experience and providing many links and openings to the above nine items. I can hardly remember when MTV (or MTV2) not only showed music videos, but music videos by bands that I like. PitchforkTV provides modern visual music marvels in a non-clumsy way so I can view them on my own time. The music documentaries they offer for free for a week or so at a time were so varied and interesting, I mostly ignored the videos anyway. All of this was high-quality and commercial-free. I’m glad that the Internet has allowed little niche corners for music fans to truly immerse themselves in everything away from mainstream channels of mass-marketed music.

What music experiences defined 2008 for you?

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

I don't like Rhapsody. They advertised in an mp3 player I got with a free month subscription but they wont let me download anything. I had 30 songs ready to download but I'd get rid of a song and I couln't even replace it let alone download anything. They totally screwed me.

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

P2P sites and torrents got me into music in a big way and Rhapsody took that one step further. Subscription plans are amazing. Well worth the monthly fee.

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

best gigs :

Rage Against the Machine - Rock en Seine, August, Paris
I felt just like I was a teenager again and spent all the gig singing, jumping, screaming... and damn it felt good !

I'm From Barcelona - Bataclan, November, Paris
Funniest concert ever, the music of this band is made to be shared by a crowd of people, and balloons and confettis kinda helped.

Albums/Bands I've had the great idea to give a second chance :
The Knife - Silent Shout
I think I made a confusion between it and The Field, which I found totally boring, since I get the 2 albums at the same time, because they get the same reviews and because they are both electronic... but that album is a masterpiece, the highest entry on my top 100 on the year, so full of paradox : dark and welcoming, challenging and dancing, gloomy and fun...

Animal Collective's albums before Strawberry Jam
I hated Feels the first time I heard it... but when I listened to it in the dark of my bed, everything changed... it is so evocative, it is the only music which really give me visions. And the Purple Bottle might be the cutest love song I have ever heard.
Listened to Sung Tongs and Here Comes the Indian since, and I just want to say that Leaf House is one of the greatest songs ever, just wonderful.

Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced ?
I thought he was "just" an incredible guitar player, but most importantly he is a marvelous songwriter

Old albums I have discovered and adored :
Kings of Leon - Youth and Young Manhood
Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over the Sea
Violent Femmes - Violent Femmes
Eminem - The Marshall Matters LP
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot / Summerteeth

And to finish, great youtube year :

the other cutest and geekiest love song of the world :

Most regressive song of the year :

Best cover in the middle of the woods of the year :
guess Nicolas will like it !

Best cover by a choir of the year (I know, those are quite stupid categories), ex aequo with the cover of Leaf House by the same choir :

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

Nice work catching My Bloody Valentine and RATM...I'd dish out some dough to catch them if they ever play nearby and if they ever tour again.

Favorite Concert I went to:

The Meat Puppets w/ Built to Spill @ the Trocadero, Philadelphia PA.

This happened in September a few nights after both bands played the ATP Festival. I showed up a couple songs late for the Meat Puppets’ set, but I got there in time to hear a 10 minute version of “Up on the Sun”, plus they played “Plateau” and “Lake of Fire”. They were very fun to watch live, mainly because of Cris Kirkwood’s goofy stage presence. They sounded great too, and I have a new found appreciation for “Look At the Rain” off of Huevos. After the Meat Puppets, Built to Spill came out and played all of Perfect From Now On. For their encore they played Going Against Your Mind and finished with an extended version of Car with the Kirkwood brothers and Dean Ween from Ween. I found a couple of clips of the performance off of youtube (Apparently you can download the entire show off some site provided in the second clip).

Favorite Records Purchased:

The Replacements Reissues

I’ve picked up Sorry Ma…, Hootenanny, and Tim so far and I think they did a great job remastering them (that guitar intro in “Dose of Thunder” no longer pierces your brain). I wasn’t alive or too young back when they were around so the bonus tracks were all finds for me (“If Only You Were Lonely”, “Nowhere Is My Home”, and the early version of “Can’t Hardly Wait”).

Band That Got A Second Chance:

The Flaming Lips

I listened to The Soft Bulletin a few years ago and was not a fan, but ears change over time so I decided to give them another shot. I hadn’t heard anything else from The Flaming Lips except for “She Don’t Use Jelly” and I thought it was an alright song. So I decided to listen to a couple of their early records and I found them immediately accessible. I began working my way through their discography and when I reached The Soft Bulletin I realized how dumb I must have been when I heard it a few years ago. Thinking back I probably would have been a Flaming Lips fan earlier if I started with something like In A Priest Driven Ambulance rather than something as dense as The Soft Bulletin.

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

Neil Young show, Wilco as opening act.

2008 was a year where I filled in a lot of gaps in my 70s-90s music collections, and I heard a lot of great music for the first time.

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

Yes, yes, too long, I know…

Favourite concerts of 2008:
1) LEONARD COHEN, Benicassim, July 2008: a gentleman. He even took off his hat every time one of his (excellent) musicians played a solo, he listened attentively and at the end he made a slight head bow in sign of approval. He played a sublime repertoire including “Suzanne” or “Hallelujah” in front of a young indie audience (that really came to see My Bloody Valentine) that listened to him with absolute respect and even reverence. A master.
2) THE CURE, Valencia, February 2008: a lot of people gathered around the stage to see The Cure for free in a cold cold night (quite inappropriate for a concert outdoors). And they responded with a great concert, not avoiding the many hits of the band but centring the repertoire in hidden gems, presenting three new songs that later surfaced in “4:13 Dream”.
3) ENRIQUE MORENTE & LAGARTIJA NICK play “OMEGA”, Benicassim, July 2008: Spanish gig of the year for Rockdelux, Morente & Lagartija Nick teamed again 12 years after to follow the trend of playing live a historical album. While 2/3 of the audience (the British ones) went to see Richard Hawley, the other 1/3 (the Spanish ones and the most curious of the Europeans) enjoyed an unforgettable experience with their mixture of pure flamenco and noise-rock.

Favourite albums of 2008:
1) NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS “DIG!!! LAZARUS DIG!!!”: in a year with interesting debut albums I’ve chosen instead an album from a veteran like Nick Cave (this is his 17th album including his works with Birthday Party and Grinderman but not including live, soundracks and spoken words). And it’s because it’s a proud return to form (well, only if we consider that he ever lose it).
2) ROKIA TRAORÉ “TCHAMANTCHÉ”: probably 2008 will be remembered as the year of afro-indie, a trend lead by Vampire Weekend that fused joyously African music and indie rock. But if you don’t mind I prefer to put the accent on “afro” than on “indie”, that’s why I choose this awesome work by Mali singer Rokia Traoré. Other equally interesting options could have been Femi Kuti or Toumani Diabaté, the fertile music fields of African has rendered an abundant harvest during 2008.
3) FLEET FOXES “FLEET FOXES”: why the (probably deserved) #1 AM Forum album is not my #1 album too? Because I’m tired of seeing the critics (especially the British ones) overpraising the debut albums of a given band just to immediately forgetting them and don’t giving them any chance in subsequent albums. Probably Fleet Foxes will release an excellent third album but only a few people will pay some attention. This album is excellent but there are some flaws (unnecessarily complex song structures, some sounds not influenced but directly copied) that for sure they improve in successive works. But will someone give them a chance after the hype?

Favourite movies of 2008 (well, premiered in Spain during 2008):
1) NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN: a perfectly designed movie, with every detail perfectly placed courtesy of the brothers Coen in their better moment. And what a stunning performance from “our” Javier Bardem!
2) WALL-E: as a father, the only movies I’ve seen on theatres during the last 10 years had been children movies. Thanks to Pixar Studios it hasn’t been such an awful experience as I expected. Wall-E is one of the most risky (and successful) movies from this factory. God bless Pixar Studios!!
3) THERE WILL BE BLOOD: a great soundtrack, an impressive performance of Daniel Day-Lewis, an excellent cinematography at the service of a disturbing and excessive story about the corrupted roots of many great fortunes.

Favourite books that I’ve read during 2008:
1) SÁNDOR MÁRAI “EMBERS” (original Hungarian title: “A gyertyák csonkig égnek”): two friends meet again forty years after a difficult last day together that determined the rest of their lives. And one of them (called Henrik by the way) wants answers. Betrayal, revenge, regret, hate and friendship. Or more exactly the impossibility of friendship.
2) OSCAR WILDE “DE PROFUNDIS”: the long letter that Wilde wrote while he was imprisoned to his former friend and lover Lord Alfred Douglas ‘Bosie’, a essay on despair and degradation, on longing for happiness, on bitterness of regret but also on hope for renewal.
3) DINO BUZZATI “THE TARTAR STEPPE” (original Italian title “Il deserto dei Tartari”): a novel with influences of Kafka and Camus about a military regiment that watches the steppe from the walls of the fortress year after year, awaiting the days of glory when the enemies came. And one day…

Favourite musical facts of 2008:
1) SPOTIFY: thanks to Henrik I’ve been able to listen legally to many music that always wanted to listen. It’s not perfect, there are notable absences but anyway it’s surely the future. Maybe one day we actually could listen to any thing we want without commercial impositions and for an accessible amount of money.
2) 80s POLL: although it’s evident that we were not able to “convert” anyone of the recalcitrant anti-80s within the forum, it was a refreshing exercise coming back to the 80s and rediscovering some albums involved in my “sentimental education” like the sophisti-pop albums. And next is the 70s. Wow!
3) TEACH YOUR CHILDREN. I’ve got high hopes about my children, I’m waiting for the day they show me new bands, new music (and not only in that, I hope). Lately we went to the record store and I said, come on, you can buy an album each. My daughter choose Miley Cyrus (yes, Greg Rumpf, you’re not the only one that listens to Miley on the forum) and my son The Jonas Brothers. Sorry, kiran, my daughter is not into The Residents yet. Obviously it’s not the music I was expecting, but I’m patient enough. Teach your parents well…

Favourite non musical facts of 2008:
1) OBAMA: of course, Obama. I must applaud the Americans for their new president and share with them the joy and the hope before the deception comes. Yes, it will inevitably come, especially when all the people seem to consider him a saviour of the world or something like that. Anyway, congratulations, you elected well. A black man, wow! An intelligent man, double wow! Who knows, maybe in a few decades even an agnostic could become president of the USA (only kidding, no offence intended).
2) FINANCIAL CRISIS: well, not really “favourite”, but finally the masks fall down and everybody could see the tremendous lie that hide inside the bank doors, the lack of foresight, the irresponsibility, the malpractice of the financial world. But instead of changing the paradigm, the occidental governments gave money to the banks, money coming from the taxes that we pay! Unbelievable.
3) And the most important, Spanish team winning EURO CUP SOCCER 2008!!!

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

Hey no complaints about long comments here... thanks for all your thoughts. I mostly wanted a free-form discussion of the most meaningful ways music has been injected to your daily lives.

And Honorio, you're welcome for Obama. Please forgive us collectively, if you can, for that other guy (thank goodness I'm already starting to forget about him). I wish I could be there overseas to see what it's like to have the U.S. be looked at in a mostly good light.

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

My top musical experience of 2008 was turning my six year old son into a legitimate Beatles fan. He loves them now. He sings along with all of the tunes and keeps telling me that they are the greatest band ever.

(I tell him that Dylan was better, but he just looks at me strange when I say that, since he doesn't even know what "Dylan" means. That time will come later, when he is ready.)

It's nice knowing that he will probably grow to share my love of music. And The Beatles are as good a foundation as he possibly could have.

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

I've heard a lot of good albums in 2008. The other day I saw Les Inrockuptibles' editor in chief at a conference, and he said that there were dozens of very good albums in 2008, but maybe no outstanding ones. But the average level was very high, especially in folk-rock and African music (not the hype).

- Folk and country rock : Fleet Foxes was a real discovery. I've said enough about that album, so I won't insist. Drive-by Truckers, unknown in France (there is a sort of suspicion towards Americana, due to that f… anti-americanism in the intellectual circles), is IMO a damn good rocking band, probably excellent on stage. And there is The Tallest Man On Earth… this guy is amazing, he drank at the same well as I did for a long time (prewar blues and country), he's a damn good guitar player and songwriter but like FF, needs to improve : sing more naturally and give up that dirty sound. I got the point, he wanted to sound like those 20's records but now we're in 2008 and hearing scratching noises doesn't add to the songs.
- African music : I've gone deeper into Fela's music, and it is a gold mine, I've heard his son's records (Seun sounds promising, Femi more accomplished). And I loved Toumani Diabaté's album (Honorio you really should try this if you haven't yet), who transcends all kinds of music (African, classical, flamenco, pop) with this unbelievable musical talent on his instrument.

And there's this big question mark about the future of the music industry. Internet is very good for music, I mean it helps you discover so many things , but I hope that many artists (not only the big ones) will find a way to last more than 2 or 3 albums...

Concerts/ movies : I have 2 little kids, and going out is very difficult (but it will only last a couple of years). But I've managed to see Bruce (decent) and Tom Waits (very good, but I had bought the cheaper tickets and I was too far from the stage). I've missed Femi, Fleet Foxes and The Hold Steady…
Movies : hardly anything, but I've seen all the Sopranos seasons and it was GREAT.

Another great discovery is Cormac McCarthy : if you're into books, you really should read "The Road", one of the best books I've ever read. It's about a father and his son who find themselves left alone among the rare survivors of an apocalypse. It is both scary and beautiful, like the world we're living in : few hopes, lots of violence, but humanity is still there, like a little flame, in the ties that bind us.
And then "No Country For Old Men". I've seen the movie first (and loved it too Honorio), but reading the book afterwards was not a problem. The Coen bros have been very faithful to the story (the first pages are almost like the script), but Mc Carthy, at the end of the books, puts an emphasis on the Sheriff's relationship with his wife (here again, ties are our only treasure), which is not shown in the movie. And in the book we learn a little more about the killer.

And last but not least, I am now a regular writer for the etat-critique site and for my blog.

My only regret : not making enough music myself. That's bad. So I took my guitar to the shop to get it fixed (action is too high), and I promise I will get back to it, and hopefully, write a few songs.

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)


and Paul, I'm proud too cause my 1-year old son loves singing and banging with his hands on every surface he can find like a percussionist !

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

Sorry for the narcissism in advance.

10. Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea

I'd never heard the Silver Jews before, but the first time I listened to this I thought it was awesome and I was happy to hear an album I liked for the first time.

9. "Umbrella" in the rain

On my way to my first day of grad school orientation it was raining and I didn't own an umbrella. So, I bought one and then I listened to this song a few times...it was great.

8. Dear Science

I had a four way tie for favorite album of 2008 between Dear Science, Stay Positive, A Mad and Faithful Healing and Dig! Lazarus! Dig! Dear Science was the most interesting because I had lowered expectations for it due to the fact that I'd previously found "Cookie Mountain" so overrated. This is an album of fun and beautiful songs and was a great surprise of 2008.

7. R.E.M. @ Red Rocks

My last show in Denver before moving to DC, and I went with my pops. An okay show that was made better by the familial experience (and The National's opening set).

6. Iginition (Remix) at some random party in DC

At some random party with a bunch of people I didn't know, this song came on and I decided to sing the entire song with a bunch of other random people I didn't know. It was a brief moment of solidarity among strangers that was wonderfully enjoyable.

5. The Hold Steady/The Pretenders in Baltimore

My first concert since moving to the DC area and the third time I'd seen my favorite band of the new millennium. Sure, I like The Pretenders, but watching the crowd clear out after their set, leaving the venue mostly empty for The Hold Steady was great b/c of how close we got to the stage. Then, they decided to put on the single best set I've seen them preform (ending with "How A Resurrection Really Feels," forget about it). It was a great introduction to music in the DC area.

4. My girlfriend getting into New Order

So, I love New Order, but in 2008, my girlfriend got into them, possibly more than I have. This was awesome since we shared so little in common musically. So, her unabiding love of New Order (thanks to a mix CD I made her before we dated...so High Fidelity) has given us something else to share and enjoy in our relationship. I mean, it really is great to be able to talk to someone about how great "Temptation" and "Ceremony" are.

3. Echo & the Bunnymen

While, I loved the fact that my girlfriend fell in love with New Order in 2008, it's the personal experiences that really affect me with music. Echo & the Bunnymen was the greatest band I discovered this year that everyone had already discovered or didn't care to discover. "Ocean Rain" has made my top 100 albums and three of their songs threaten to make my top 200. I just love this band and can't believe I didn't listen to them before 2008.

2. Finally getting A Mad and Faithful healing while walking back from Metro

Being from Denver, the home of The Fray and The String Cheese Incident, I try to listen to DeVotchKa, the band from Denver that actually isn't lame. So, one night while walking back from the Metro, I randomly put on the new DeVotchKa album after trying to get through it a few times. Lord knows why, but upon this listen it was like that time OK Computer finally clicked, or when I saw the genius in The Queen is Dead. No, this album isn't as good as these two, but while roaming the streets of a different city, this album served in 2008 as a reminder of the city that is my true home. The far off sounds of Eastern European music represent the epitome of Denver music for me and for some reason connected me back to my home city. It was a very satisfying walk home.

1. Dan Deacon at the Hirshhorn Museum

Moving to D.C. from Denver was the biggest adjustment of this year that required a lot of personal adjustments. The most affecting was leaving behind all my friends and family, bonds that have grown tighter over the past few years. At their apex, I decided to break these bonds, move across the country and try something else. It was hard, and as with any move, I had trouble adjusting. About a month and a half after moving to DC, I attended this show.

The show was held in the courtyard of the Hirshhorn Museum, one of the "lesser" Smithsonian museums. However, the weather was the perfect, and the lighting played wonderfully off the circular setup of the venue.

Although Dan Deacon isn't my favorite artist, as a live musician he is amazing. The show kept everybody happy and everybody dancing and through some feat of magic, got a bunch of D.C. bureaucrats to join together in dance and communal expressions. This show was therapy and relief, serving to alleviate the major fears that had dominated me since moving to a new city. Among the people in the crowd, I saw random faces that also just wanted to enjoy themselves on a Friday night, a distant expression of the career-oriented people I had typically met in DC. Plus, I was happy to share the experience with new friends in the city.

Upon moving, I've always been struck by two competing experiences: excitement over what's yet to come and regret over what I've left behind. This concert was the point when the former began to matter more than the later.

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

Great stories, Slush !
I knew the HS were huge on stage, but in France they're not so popular and they played in a rather small venue, so I really regret I didn't see them even alone (in fact I was about to go but the friend that was coming with me dropped me and I gave up)

I love those threads, I mean stories about music and life.
Good luck for your studies in DC, you've chosen a great major (I did political science). So in a few years you'll be in the CIA ?

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

...actually I can't talk about that

You may have missed Hold Steady, but I'm incredibly jealous that you got to see Tom Waits.

I also love these sorts of threads as the personal connection to music seems to separate the casual fans from the true believers.

Moments to be on the 2009 list:

Garth Brooks at the Inauguration concert

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

Yeah, the Tom Waits concert was great. The sound quality was excellent, but the tickets were very expensive (more than 100 dollars to be in the orchestra seats, it was an old theater with balconies and I was at the top, so TW was the size of a post stamp.
But in the end I managed to go to the edge of the balcony, and it was really great.
Next time I'll pay the full price, no matter the coast.

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

Living in Paris and all, why would you have to go to the coast?

Re: Top "Musical Experiences" of 2008 (songs, concerts, genres, anything)

that was a mispelling
I meant the cost