2008 Artist Favorites!
Laz McCluskey of Bubblegum Lemonade and Strawberry Whiplash

Here is a selection of my favourite hits of 2008. Being a Pop man I tend to take artists on a song by song basis. I especially love it when a great song comes on the radio and I have to turn up the volume and just stand there drinking in every line. I’ve noticed that the best ones have something extra special towards the end, there’s a lesson there for me I think. Songs which will stop me in my tracks are: Don’t Fear The Reaper, Girl Talk, I Am The Walrus, Walk Out To Winter, Oliver’s Army, She Bangs The Drum, etc. But they weren’t released this year…

The Electric Pop Group – I Could See The Lights
Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Everything With You
Beth Rowley – So Sublime
Northern Portrait – Sporting A Scar
The School – Let It Slip
The Hermit Crabs – About You Before
Would-Be-Goods – In Bohemia
Kaiser Chiefs – Kids On The Street
The Killers – Human
Spiritualised – Soul On Fire
The Lucksmiths – The National Mitten Registry
Neon Neon – I Lust U
The Feeling – Turn It Up
Liechtenstein – Apathy
Celestial – Crystal Heights
Future Pilot – Devil Town

Peter Momtchiloff of Would-Be-Goods

17 Hippies: Heimlich
The Research: The Old Terminal

Bob Dylan’s radio show: Theme Time Radio Hour
Malcolm Laycock’s radio show: The Age of Swing

Wilkie Collins: The Woman in White
Robin Lane Fox: Pagans and Christians
Michael Frayn: Spies

The Research at the Bullingdon Arms, Oxford
Le Futur Pompiste at Les Yper Sound, Turku
Monsieur Mo Rio at Club Schocken, Stuttgart
British Sea Power at the Zodiac, Oxford
Richard Hawley at the New Theatre, Oxford
Radiohead at Victoria Park, London
Built to Spill at the Zodiac, Oxford
MGMT at the Zodiac, Oxford
Art Brut at Oxford Brookes University

Noises Off at the Oxford Playhouse
No Man’s Land at the Duke of York, London

Stefan Larsen of Northern Portrait

Here’s a little list of what I’ve been enjoying in 2008:

Favourite records anno MMVIII:
Sunrise EP – The Electric Pop Group
Downhill – Days
Paris & I – Champagne Riot
Japan Air EP (or whatever it’s called) – Japan Air

Favorite concert:
Lars H.U.G in Tivoli, Copenhagen

Favourite lunch establishment:
Fremtiden, Copenhagen

Well, actually ‘Fremtiden’ is now calling, so I have to be on my way.

Marty Donald of The Lucksmiths

Favourite albums:
• Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes
• June July by The Bell Divers
• OH (Ohio) by Lambchop
• The Stand-Ins by Okkervil River
• Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea by The Silver Jews
• Re-arrange Us by Mates of State
• A Loud Call by Holly Throsby
• Death by Grand Salvo

Favourite shows:
• Still Flyin’ at the Laneway Festival, Melbourne
• Still Flyin’ at the Northcote Social Club, Melbourne
• Okkervil River at the Corner, Melbourne
• The Harpoons at The Hopetoun, Sydney
• The National at the Corner, Melbourne

Favourite books read:
• The Time of Our Singing and The Echo Maker by Richard Powers
• On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
• Rabbit, Run by John Updike
• Moon Palace by Paul Auster
• Hateship, Courtship, Friendship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro
• The Gathering by Anne Enright
• When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
• Don’t Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff
• The Big Year by Mark Obmascik

Favourite birds seen:
• Forty-spotted Pardalote (Kingston, Tasmania)
• Beautiful Firetail (Bear Gully, Victoria)
• Crested Bellbird and Chestnut Quail-Thrush (Gluepot, South Australia)
• Turquoise Parrot (Chiltern National Park, Victoria)

Roy Thirlwall of Melodie Group and The Windmills (and now Art Group)

It’s tough for me to make a 2008 best of because in all sorts of ways I’m about two years behind everyone. I really enjoyed matinée 063, 064, 065 and 066. I had them in a little playlist on repeat. I love the Hermit Crabs especially. I think they’re much better than people they sound a bit like. They’ve improved on the formula, which is what pop is all about. But I can’t put them in my 2008 best of (can I?) because they weren’t released in 2008. But I listened to them as much as anything else in 2008.

This year I seemed to like a lot of things that other people like. Though I’m mature enough not to let that put me off. I’ve made an attempt at a 2008 best of though…

The Fleet Foxes LP
Kung Fu Panda film
Joy Division documentary film
British Sea Power gig on Canvey Island
Jim Jeffries comedian at the Palace Theatre
Phillious Williams the singer and guitarist
The European Championships were nice without my team in it
Francis Bacon at Tate Britain
Leonard Cohen at the Albert Hall

Roger Clark of The Guild League

Best Gig – Bluejuice at the Queenscliff Music Festival – those boys expend a lifetime’s energy in 1.5 hours!

Best Record – Basic Shape “Boat without a Sail”

Best moment – the debut of Son no. 2 in January

Best saying – No. 1 Son (3 yrs old) – “Can we listen to some Tali music Daddy? I like Tali music every EVERY day!”

Biggest feeling of relief – Finally getting “Speak Up” out into the world – a long gestation, but relatively painless when put into perspective (see best moment above) – I think it’s cute, and intelligent beyond its years…

Things to look forward to in 2009 – My sis coming to visit all the way from Seattle (yay), TWO Guild League weddings! and Carlton in the finals – GO BLUES!

Richard Preece of Lovejoy and The Snowdrops

A quiet year in many ways, but a significant highlight for me was getting ‘Country Music – Songs For Keith Girdler’ released by our friends in Madrid, Siesta. Featuring many of Keith’s favourite bands it doubles as both a tribute to a greatly missed dear friend and a fundraiser for a great cause, the Martlets Hospice in Hove, Sussex, England. This is of course is a shameless plug for the album which features some great bands contributing exclusive, or at least extremely hard to find songs all of which feature in my top 16 songs of the year!

1. can’t forget you (ST CHRISTOPHER)
2. crush the flowers (THE WAKE)
3. downsizing (PETE FIJALKOWSKI)
4. melancholia (LOVEJOY)
5. down (HAL)
6. soft evening, brilliant morning (TREMBLING BLUE STARS)
7. lazy thunderstorms (LOUIS PHILLIPE)
8. what i’m dreaming of… (CLUB 8)
9. breathe in now (THE CLIENTELE)
10. sold (THE TIMES)
11. i believe you cassandra (THE WOULD BE GOODS)
12. baby i don’t care (ABERDEEN)
13. his london (LOVE DANCE)
14. the lost star (THE ORCHIDS)
15. back to the start (BIFF BANG POW!)
16. 80’s diaries (BLUEBOY)

The sharp eyed amongst you will of course spot several Matinée connections in there as well, one of which, ‘Melancholia’ could well be Lovejoy’s swansong. If this is the case, then I can honestly say it is something I’m really proud of…All the best for 2009, Dick x.

Mark Waudby of The Hermit Crabs

Matinée things:
Like a lot of people, the Guild League have made me sit up and listen this year. Also, I love what I have heard of the Would-Be-Goods album, I’ll definitely pick it up.

Band of 2008:
Shellac. Not notably indiepop, but they were playing while I got engaged. So romantic.

Live shows of 2008:
The Breeders (at the ABC, Glasgow)
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Oh! Custer and The Orchids (all at NYC Popfest)
Skeleton Bob (at The 13th Note, Glasgow)
7 Hertz (at the CCA, Glasgow)
Tindersticks, Public Enemy, Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr, Devo, Stephen Malkmus, Portishead (all at the Primavera festival, Barcelona)

Glasgow bands who should get that damn record out in 2009:
The Pastels
The Obscura
Skeleton Bob
Zoey Van Goey
Wake The President
Body Heat (Fergie’s side-project)

The greatest bands in the world, generally:
Yo La Tengo
Herman Dune
The Pastels
Teenage Fanclub

Mark Monnone of The Lucksmiths

Obviously it would be a conflict of interest to name any releases from Matinée, Fortuna Pop! or Lost And Lonesome, so I guess I can forget about Je Suis Animal, Would-Be-Goods, Club 8, Bubblegum Lemonade, Cryptacize, and Still Flyin’… but here’s a few others:

Dear Nora “Three States”
Glass Candy “Deep Gems”
Deerhoof “Offend Maggie”
Jonathan Richman “Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild”
Stereolab “Chemical Chords”

And I’m sure I’m going to love The Bats’ and The Motifs’ new albums when I finally hear them!

Jimmy Tassos of Matinée Recordings

A selection of fantastic songs released without a Matinée logo in 2008:

Glasvegas – Daddy’s Gone (Columbia)
The School – I Want You Back (Elefant)
Bricolage – Footsteps (Memphis Industries)
Days – A Map of the World (Shelflife)
Tellus About The Moon – Wwwm (demo)
Glasvegas – Geraldine (Columbia)
Sambassadeur – Crooked Spine (Labrador)
The School – All I Wanna Do (Elefant)
The Camerawalls – Markers of Beautiful Memories (Lilystars)
Bricolage – Turn U Over (Slumberland)
Catwalk – Comely (Yay!)
Moscow Olympics – Safe (Lavender)
Je Suis Animal – The Mystery of Marie Roget (Lost & Lonesome)
The Radio Dept. – Freddie and the Trojan Horse (Labrador)
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Come Saturday (Slumberland)
Clearlake – One Of A Kind (Domino)

Chris McFarlane of IndiePages

Favorite EPs of 2008:
1. Simple Carnival — Me And My Arrow EP — cd single — Sundrift
2. Lil’ Hospital — Universe Sucks EP — 7″ — Hugpatch
3. Boat — Topps — 7″ — Magic Marker
4. Tartans — Cats Of Camerford — 7″ — Yay!
5. Northern Portrait — The Fallen Aristocracy EP — cd single — Matinee
6. Catwalk — Past Afar — 7″ — Yay!
7. Tartans — My Baby Doesn’t Care For You — 7″ — Cloudberry
8. Boyracer / Que Possum — split — 7″ — 555
9. Postal Blue — Laughing And Crying EP — 3″ cd — Cloudberry
10. School — Let It Slip EP — cd single — Elefant
11. Surefire Broadcast — When I Need Someone — 7″ — no label
12. Noise Annoys Simon — Peardrop Sweetness EP — cd single — Pop Noise
13. Strawberry Fair — I Can’t Do Anything EP — cdep — Alltid Hela Tiden
14. Forever — s/t — cdep — Happy Happy Birthday To Me
15. Let’s Whisper — Make Me Smile — 3″ cd — Wee Pop
16. Alex Kerns — Clamor On — 7″ — Art Of The Underground
17. Northern Portrait — Napoleon Sweetheart EP — cd single — Matinee
18. Summer Cats — Lonely Planet — 7″ — Cloudberry
19. Electric Pop Group — Sunrise EP — cd single — Matinee
20. One Happy Island — Secret Party That The Other Party Doesn’t Know About — 7″ — Wee Pop

Sorry — The RSVP EP — cdep — 9 To 1

Favorite LPs of 2008:
1. Young Sportsmen — If You Want It — cd — Unsmashable
2. Baskervilles — Twilight — cd — Secret Crush
3. Sloan — Parallel Play — cd — Yep Roc
4. Cause Co-Motion! — It’s Time! — cd — Slumberland
5. Your Heart Breaks — Love Is A Long Dark Road (Love Is All You Need) — cd — no label
6. Bearsuit — Oh:io — cd — Happy Happy Birthday To Me
7. Explorers Club — Freedom Wind — cd — Dead Oceans
8. Good Luck — Into Lake Griffy — cd — no label
9. This Is Ivy League — s/t — cd — Twenty Seven
10. Lodger — Life Is Sweet — cd — Slumberland
11. Lucksmiths — First Frost — cd — Matinee
12. Manhattan Love Suicides — Burnt Out Landscapes — cd — Magic Marker
13. Nana Grizol — Love It Love It — lp — Orange Twin
14. Speaker Speaker — Call It Off — cd — Burning Building
15. Lake — Oh, The Places We’ll Go — cd — K
16. Desmond Reed — 10 Acoustic Demos — cd — Series Two
17. Boyracer — Sunlight Is The Best Antiseptic — lp — 555
18. Anthony Rochester — Music For In The Spaceship — cd — Series Two
19. Cars Can Be Blue — Doubly Unbeatable — cd — Happy Happy Birthday To Me
20. Chris Walla — Field Manual — cd — Barsuk

Runners-up, or the reason it took me over an hour to pare down the list to just 20 (in no order):
Airfields — Up All Night — cd — Humblebee
Bubblegum Lemonade — Doubleplusgood — cd — Matinee
Hari And Aino — s/t — cd — Plastilina
Hulaboy — Olympic Krush On (The) Hulaboy — lp — 555
Muslims — s/t — lp — 1928
Nodzzz — s/t — lp — What’s Your Rupture
Smittens — The Coolest Thing About Love — cd — Happy Happy Birthday To Me
Very Most — Congratulations Forever — cd — Coming In Second
Vivian Girls — s/t — cd — In The Red
Yell County — A Real Fine Hole — cd — no label

Honorable mentions:
Summer Suns — Greatest — cd — House Of Wax
the Series Two Comps
the Cloudberry EPs

Favorite song of 2008: Simple Carnival’s “Really Really Weird”