New Zealand isn’t just cool because Flight of the Conchords made it that way. Kids of 88 are sure doing their share to bring it into the limelight. Check out the pictures from their amazing show at the Trash Bar during CMJ RIGHT HERE!
1. The Wooden Birds-Magnolia
From the ashes of the classic indie band, American Analog Set, rose a new project from former frontman, Andrew “AK” Kenny, called The Wooden Birds. Shifting completely everything he’s done musicially, AK has come out with one of the most surprising releases of the year. Creating a record that is more folk than rock, no songs on the album contain any drums what-so-ever. The bass and vocals really take off and captivate you, the listener. The live sets of the song also include Matt Pond on guitar along with songstress Leslie Sisson. I’m not sure I’ve heard such a heart felt and warm record in the past 10 years.
2. Julian Casablancas- Phrazes for the Young
It’s been a long time since we heard from The Strokes as a unified band. A lot of fans were hesitant on the thought of a solo album by the charasmatic leader, Julian Casablancas, putting out music that doesn’t resemble his band at all. What a surprise it was when we found he took his love for a bit of 1980’s dance and incoporated it with his unforgettable voice and lyrics. The end result? One of the coolest records of the year. We’d expect no less from him.
3. James Husband- Parallax 1
It took 10 years for multi-instrumentalist and drummer from Of Montreal, James Husband, to create his solo album masterpiece. Husband is in the spotlight for the first time in his career and wow, is he certainly taking advantage of it. Providing one of the best indie pop records of the past year, he lets out a 60’s retro sound that no one can mess with. The end result is something as charming as it seems. Raw, catchy, and glorious.
4. Alvin Band-Mantis Preying
Rick Schaier is not only an amazing drummer and artist, but he is also an extremely talented singer and songwriter. Schaier who spends most of his time playing drums in The Miniature Tigers has begun a new chapter in his book in the form of ‘Alvin Band,’ this year and completely blew our minds. Blending a retro sound with updated electronics, this is one album you should pick up if you haven’t yet. The catchy hooks and vocals will only leave you wanting more. That my friends, is a good thing!
5. Bishop Allen- Grrr
It’s been a long night since Bishop Allen gained attention by two teenagers named Nick and Norah, and fans were at the edge of their seat wondering what the Brookyln line up would come up with next. Taking a further step into their brilliant indie pop sound, the band did not disappoint at all with Grrr. See it as the next chapter in the Bishop Allen movie, one that is bound to have many sequels in store.
6. Grizzly Bear-Veckatimest
Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you may have heard of a little band called Grizzly Bear. Somehow exploding this year, it was certainly one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2009. Every song is flawless. Catchy yet moody. Beautiful in every way. This album describes itself better than anyone ever could.
7. Bat for Lashes- Two Suns
Completely out of left field, the lovely miss Natasha from Bat for Lashes surprised us all this year with making a stunning, charming, and beautiful record. The combination of her voice and the spacey background music is enough to send chills down your spine. And it does just that. The haunting track “Daniel” captivated the attention of many, and the rest of the album is able to keep you around.
8. Flight of the Conchords-I Told You I Was Freaky
Yes, they are known for writing ‘funny’ songs, but on this record, FOTC became even witty and even more advanced it seems in their writing. Their songs, even though the lyrics are mostly ‘silly’, are composed perfectly from start to end. Jermaine and Bret are really on top of their game with this record. We can’t wait to hear more!
9. Phoenix-Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
This band always makes a great record, and their 2009 hit was no different. Everyone wanted a piece of Phoenix and boy, did they get them. This classic indie dance pop record was a must have for everyone who ‘knew what’s cool.’ Apparently, this was the world.
An unlikely hit, this retro indie duo shocked us all with such a raw and appealing debut album. This lo-fi record filled with melodies, doesn’t need any frills or thrills to make it great. It hold’s its own firmly which is a hard thing to mess with.
11. Cass McCombs-Catacombs
12. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Its Blitz
13. Pains of Being Pure at Heart-Pains of Being Pure at Heart
14. Casper and the Cookies-Modern Silence
16. Japandroids- Post Nothing
17. Cymbals Eat Guitars-Why There are Mountains
18. Kevin Devine- Brother’s Blood
19. Joan of Arc- Flowers
20. Passion Pit-Manners
21. The Antlers- Hospice
22. Loney Dear-Dear John
23. Neko Case-Middle Cyclone
24. The Mountain Goats- The Life of the World to Come
25. Dirty Projectors-Bitte Orca
This year was a great time for videos. Sending off 2009 and the decade with a bang, we chose our favorite 10 videos of the year. We’ll stop talking your ear off and let the videos speak for themselves.
1. The Spinto Band “Jackhammer”
2. The Drums “Let’s Go Surfing”
3. Alvin Band “Temple Pressure”
4. Grizzly Bear “Two Weeks”
5. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin “Glue Girls”
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6. Flight of the Conchords “Carol Brown”
7. MGMT “Kids”
8. James Husband “Windows”
9. Vampire Weekend “Cousins”
10. Bishop Allen “Shanghaied”
Sunday was possibly the last episode of HBO’s hit sitcom, Flight of the Conchords. Jermaine and Bret aren’t quite sure if they want to do a Season 3, so we guess in time we will have to wait to see what they decide. Hopefully this isn’t the last of FOTC on tv. At least we’ll have their live shows and albums (the new one drops next month on Sub Pop). Season two’s ending had the guys acting in a musical written by manager Murray, and the boys ending back up in New Zealand once the authorities found out they were in the US illegally.
The Conchords will also be out on tour starting this month including two stops at New York City’s Radio City. The tour runs from March 31st to May 25th and a lot of the dates are already sold out.
Check the band out on their Myspace
Watch Flight of the Conchords ‘The Musical’
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Its been a big 2008 for Modern Mystery. We’ve meet some really amazing bands, seen some incredible shows, and made a lot of great friends. We know 2009 will bring even more and we’re very excited!
We have compiled our list of our Top 50 Albums of 2008. Though this was by no means easy, we think we’ve included our all of certain favorites of the year. Below our list you’ll see a few more Top Lists of 2008, so check that out as well. Hope you like our Top 50 Albums as much as we do!
1. of Montreal- Skeletal Lamping
2. Morning Benders- Talking Through Tin Cans
3. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin-Pershing
4. Miniature Tigers- Tell it to the Volcano
5. Ryan Adams and the Cardinals- Cardinalogy
6. Sloan- Parallel Play
7. MGMT- Oracular Spectacular
8. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band- Self Titled
9. The Spinto Band- Moonwink
10. Okkervil River- The Stand Ins
11. Chairlift- Does You Inspire You?
12. We Are Scientists- Brain Thrust Mastery
13. Tokyo Police Club- Elephant Shell
14. Ra Ra Riot- The Rhumb Line
15. Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s- Animal and Not Animal
16. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks- Real Emotional Trash
17. The French Kicks- Swimming
18. The Stills- Oceans Will Rise
19. The Walkmen- You and Me
20. Vampire Weekend- Self Titled
21. Wyldlife- Self Titled
22. Jenny Lewis- Acid Tongue
23. Annuals- Such Fun
24. Ratatat- Lp3
25. The Headlights- Some Racing, Some Stopping
26. Department of Eagles- In Ear Park
27. Dr. Dog- Fate
28. Born Ruffians- Red Yellow and Blue
29. Los Campesinos- Hold On Now, Youngster
30. The Little Ones- Morning Tide
31. Mason Proper- Olly Oxen Free
32. She & Him- Volume 1
33. Albert Hammond Jr.- Como te Llama?
34. Death Cab for Cutie- Narrow Stairs
35. Joan of Arc- Boo Human
36. Deerhoof- Offend Maggie
37. Sam Roberts Band- Love at the End of the World
38. Fleet Foxes- Self Titled
39. Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago
40. Atlas Sound- Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
41. Kings of Leon- Only By the Night
42. M83- Saturdays= Youth
43. Helio Sequence- Keep Your Eyes Ahead
44. Man Man- Rabbit Habits
45. Flight of the Conchords- Self Titled
46. Cold War Kids- Loyalty to Loyalty
47. The Mae Shi- Hlllyh
48. Secret Machines- Selt Titled
49. Santogold- Self Titled
50. Tim Fite- Fair Ain’t Fair
BEST EP OF 2008:
Matt Pond PA- The Freeep
BEST REISSUE OF 2008-
Pavement- Brighten The Corners- Nicence Creedence Edition
BEST LIVE SHOW OF 2008:
Of Montreal at Roseland, NYC. Kevin Barnes on a live white horse? Try to beat that!
TOP 5 NEW BANDS OF 2008:
1. The Morning Benders
2. Miniature Tigers
5. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
Yes, we still have some more indie greats joining us at our little Modern Mystery Holiday party! Today sharing with us is Kevin Hilliard of the Small Sins!
Small Sins is one of our favorites over here, and we were lucky enough to see and meet Kevin during his New York tour stop with the great Sloan earlier this year. Kevin of course, had been doing his MRCH dj set as ‘Skip Lowe’ for the Sloan shows, which is by far amazing. He even played the Flashing Lights during his set!
Kevin was kind enough to share with us his Top Songs of the Year and other words of wisdom. We hope there is more Skip Lowe in ’09. Actually, we demand it!
My Top Songs of the Year
1. Dave Marsh – Backstreets (True Love Rules): The best album that you haven’t heard. Why are you still reading this and not buying it? Best lyric of the year: ‘Just another reason/get the fuck outta high school’. Davemarsh.ca
2. Weezer – Troublemaker: Best pop-rock number of the year. Almost negated by ‘Heart Songs’ the worst song Weezer have ever released and almost the worst song of all time.
3. Sloan – Not A Kid Anymore: If only because of the AMAZING clapping and ‘refrigerator thumping’ courtesy of yours truly.
4. Rivers Cuomo – Longtime Sunshine. Written many years ago (so not really from this year) but still a cool tune.
5. AC/DC – Rock ‘N’ Roll Train: I would swim through a river of flames to listen to JUST the amazing drum tracks of Phil Rudd. A true God amongst men. The worst title of all time.
6. Flight Of The Conchords – The Most Beautiful Girl In The Room: Saw the girl (‘Sally’) who played her on the TV show at The Troubadour in LA. H.O.T.T.
** Author’s note: This year only deserves a ‘Top 6’ because of the travesty that is ‘All Summer Long’ by Kid Rock. Holy Shit – this flaming turd hardly counts as a fuckin’ song! It’s like they put a monkey in a cage, threw in a MacBook with ProTools and the monkey shat out this ‘song’. Ring-tone rock! Strictly for ball-capped jocks/retards. You’d think it would take a lot to offend the late great Warren Zevon. Hasn’t he suffered enough? Rollin’ in his grave, the poor bastard.
Heaven help us – fuck you, music industry.
Best thing to happen this year
The birth of Skip Lowe. Google it, people.
Strangest thing to happen this year
The death of Skip Lowe: See it Here
Best Holiday Memory
The year I got the James Brown Box set. I knew Santa was funky, but that funky? He truly did have a brand new bag.