To kick off our year end fiesta, this first list is dedicated to a more general “best of”, so no doubt, there will be individual tracks, albums, new artists, concerts, etc. Anyone who constructs such lists must empathize with the plight and time it takes to devote to making sure these compilations accurately depicts who we are as a [loosely] music journalist.
Without further ado…Sheena Beaston’s General Store Best of 2008
10. Designer Drugs
This is the American electronic music duo consisting of Michael Vincent Patrick and Theodore Paul Nelson. The group is most commonly known for their remixes, but in October 2008 released their debut single Zombies. Their remixes of Little Boots’ Meddle, Hail Social’s Heaven and Jupiter One’s Countdown rank amongst the best reworked tracks we heard all year.
9. He Say, She Say – Crash Dummie
The Chicago duo created one of my most played tracks of the year. It's grimy and ripe alll at the same time. Add hand claps and a chunked out under tone and I'm in love.
8. GoldieLocks Bear Safe EP
This was a late addition to the year’s releases (December 8, 2008), but the EP proves the Croydon impresario’s natural talent for creating bangers. Her refix of N.E.R.D.'s Provider is indubitably a must own / play over and over again.
7. The Section Quartet, Muse and Gossip Girl
In Season 2, Episode 6, titled New Haven Can Wait, a familiar tune orchestrated its way into our ears. Enter Muse’s Time is Running Out, as covered by The Section Quartet, a stringed foursome specializing in turning popular rock songs into classical quartet pieces. Bone chilling.
6. The Ting Tings – Blender Theater, December 9, 2008
It’s impossible to deny the infectious blend of pop and rock that this duo creates. Having only once seen them prior (at McCarren Pool…ugh), the much more intimately sweaty setting at the Blender Theater provided an opportunity to be up front, super close, and way personal with the band. The set was, in essence, a live performance of their entire album, We Started Nothing. Oh, they started something this year alright.
I struggled with placing my favorite Swedish dynamo this high, let alone even on the list, seeing as how mentioning her as a “best of in 2008” does hers somewhat of a disservice. Everything you’ve heard from Robyn this year was originally done in 2005 (what!) but only really caught fire at the beginning of this year here in the States. I can’t deny her incredible knack for creating relevant and timely pop classics, and her live shows are nothing short of an amazingly gorgeous time. We saw her twice, bought her album once, and will love her forever.
4. The New Kids in School
We were educated on many a new addition to our musical obsessions this year. A quick rundown.
a. Santogold: she doesn’t get her own spot on the overall list, but you can’t tell me [or her] what to do; unquestionably one of the best albums of the year.
b. Immuzikation: highly talented blender of all the songs you want to hear, in one tidy package.
c. Cof Cof: super cute and talented electropop duo from Spain.
d. Thunderheist: male/female collaboration from Canada that promises to make you Jerk It.
e. Purple Crush: yes, yes, yes and more please.
f. And just because…the newly [in]sane Britney: she’s cleaned up but still has the crazy in her eyes; and we still have yet to stop listening to Circus.
3. Sia – Soon We’ll Be Found (live on David Letterman)
I have yet to make it through this entire performance without choking up. EVERYTHING about it is pure perfection: from the colored hands against a black dress, the band in all white, the arrangement, the Barbara Walters’ filter, and the raspy high notes towards the end of the song. Truly magical.
2. You, the Readers
Sappy time. In all sincerity, without each and every one of you devoted readers, I am nothing. Which begs the question asked most. Who is Sheena Beaston and why does she write as “we”? Honestly, I am but one Beast, striving to make a small name for myself, and sometimes in my conversational style of writing, “we” sounds better than “I” because I don’t like to be selfish…I share all my thoughts, feelings, musings, etc…with you, the reader. It truly is “the royal we”. And I could not thank you all more than enough.
1. The Letter L
Excuse me? Let me break it down. 2008 saw a huge influx of new artists and talents, who by some mysterious synchronization, all have names/projects beginning with the letter L. And it just so happens that these outfits happen to either be many of my most favorites, or old friends returning with new music, from a year blessed with their presence.
a. Little Boots: simply search the archives and you'll find a world of Boots that we cannot quit.
b. Ladyhawke: Pip Brown created the album we wish we knew how to make.
c. Lykke Li: Everybody But Me is still at the top of our playlist, along with every other song on Youth Novels.
d. Ladytron: Velocifero was solid, and their show at Terminal 5 was even better.
e. La Roux: quirky and spunky, 2009 will no doubt see her explode.
f. Lady GaGa: creator of pop that will "never be low-brow", she's the guiltiest of our pleasures.
g. lele[SPEAKS]: grime done right in the form of a tiny blonde female.
In the biggest nutshell ever, it’s been a great, random and most impressive year. Stay tuned for more lists to roll out in the next few days. And again thank you for your continued support of the site. “WE” could not do it without “you”.