A look back at 2008 – part two: the music

I’m pretty selective about new music I’ll purchase and I often times rely on music sent in for review on this site as my exposure to new stuff so I’m far from being hip to all the new releases for the year like some other sites and publications. With that being said here’s the standouts for me in 2008.  I thought about limiting this list to only include stuff that was sent in for review, but I decided to just include whatever it was I liked regardless of if it was sent in or purchased by me. These are in no particular order.

Mouth of the Architect – Quietly
One of the best things I’ve heard all year and one that has been in steady rotation since receiving it. The band has really settled into their own groove and this is without question their best material. Sadly I missed seeing them in 2008.

Ohgr – The Devils In My Details
The singer of my favorite band on earth (Skinny Puppy) surprises everyone with his third solo album and even a tour. Keeping with tradition this sounded nothing like the previous Ohgr records but did sound a lot like a Skinny Puppy record, which is a good thing if you ask me. The live show was my favorite of the year which just made me appreciate this record all the more.

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Jesu/Battle of Mice split 12″
This is the vinyl of the year for me. The Jesu side is as good as any of their other records for the most part and the Battle of Mice side is simply stunning. Just like their album (which I think is the best record I’ve heard in years), I can’t get enough of these Battle of Mice songs. They are so unique and versitle and unlike anything I’ve heard. I pray they will get together and do more material in the future because that combination of musicians is magical.
The Middle Class – Out of Vogue: The Early Material LP
An essential collection of all the best material from this legendary Southern California punk rock band. Their first 7″ is sometimes cited as the first hardcore record. After spending years not being available to anyone without a trust fund, the band’s music has been collected in one handy place for a normal price!
Torche – Meanderthal
I heard good things about this band so I decided to check them out. To say I was pleased woudl be an understatement. I think this band has to be one of the best around currently! They somehow are both extremely heavy yet extremely catchy and melodic all at the same time. I sometimes heard them described at “stoner pop”. I’m not sure that’s an accurate description but I can tell you they will appeal to both those looking for melody and accesibility and those looking for power. This is their third record and the vinyl comes in really fancy packaing and was pressed on an obscene amount of different colors.

That wraps up my look back at 2008. I’ll leave out the personal look back and save that for a different avenue (probbaly my myspace or facebook pages). Here’s hoping 2009 is a better year for everyone.