In this entry, I'll talk a little bit about albums I caught onto a little too late in the year., or albums that I underappreciated and am now finally coming around to. They may have made the top ten if I had heard them a little bit earlier, but that's the way it goes. Seriously give these a listen!!
Grouper-Dragging A Dead Deer Up A Hill
With a collection of songs that sound as though they're coming at you from beyond the grave, maybe a deep, underwater grave, Portland Oregon's Grouper, aka Liz Harris, has created one of the year's most gorgeous, reflective works of art, one that I will be listening to well into the winter and through the spring. Drenched in reverb, ethereal and ambient noise, memories, stories and regret, this is more comparable to the sound of waves crashing onto an empty beach the night of a full moon than it is to Tara Jane O'Neill, Mirah, or any of her Portland contemporaries. Perhaps if Darren Aronofsky had directed "Titanic," he would have gotten Grouper to do the soundtrack instead of Celine Dion. That only makes sense once you listen to this.
I saw this band play three summers ago with Rachel Jacobs and Karmella's Game, and I did not find them particularly memorable at the time. Little did I know that Lemuria would make one of the best punk albums of 2008! Get Better takes pretty clear influence from Dear You era Jawbreaker, Superchunk, and some Husker Du. The leadoff track "Pants" ended up on my streaming seeqpod.com playlist sometime during my friday while at my dayjob, doing data entry at the AFL-CIO downtown, and it put an instant smile on my face. I felt like I had heard the song before, even though I hadn't, and I soon discovered that's how the rest of this album is. Instantly recognizable, instantly relate-able, as if you've been listening to and loving this band for years. Maybe you could have dreamt it up out of some longing for that perfect summery pop punk record, cause you've been stuck on Through Being Cool and Jersey's Best Dancer's for years and you want something new. Whatever your reason, this is pretty undeniable and irresistable for the young at heart, great pop punk/emo/power pop out of Buffalo, NY. Not to be missed!!