Friday, January 5, 2001

McQ's Best of 2008 Recommended Mixes

The 2008 collection is the largest I have ever assembled, due in large part to my trying to work in all the 2007 releases that time limitations had prevented me from including properly in the 2007 collection.  To date, it's the only year I've gone back and re-highlighted albums featured the previous year.

As for 2008, it was far from my favorite year of the decade, but there were still a number of worthwhile releases, particularly Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago, TV On The Radio's Dear Science,, Nick Cave's Dig, Lazarus, Dig, Elbow's The Seldom Seen Kid, and fine self-titled debuts from Fleet Foxes and Vampire Weekend.

As always, each mix is designed to fit on a single 70MB CD at 128 Kb sample rate.

Volume 1 - Nancy's Favorites:
Nancy's started things off with this year's collection, and opens with one of my favorite pop songs of the decade...Goldfrapp's A&E.

Volume 2 - Let 'Er Rip:
Without question my personal favorite of the 2008 collection,and possibly my favorite harder-rocking mix in all the years I've done this, Let 'Er Rip combined the year's best metal, punk, garage. hard rock and jam rock into one relentlessly energized assembly.

Volume 3 - American Pastoral:
Anchored by selects from Bon Iver's and the Fleet Foxes's debuts, this mix spotlighted most of the year's best rustic, folk-flavored rock.    

Volume 4 - Brit Pop '08: Caesar's Minions:
One of two Brit Pop spotlights in the '08 collection, this one focused exclusively on an arena rock vibe (including a couple of American acts that felt most at home here).  Elbow, British Sea Power, Airborne Toxic Event and Frightened Rabbit lead the charge.

Volume 5 - 80's Dance Party:
A nightmare to sequence (I still don't think I got it quite right), this mix nonetheless remains one of the favorites of many of my friends.  Anchored by a quartet of dance-rock divas, Robyn, Lykke Li, Santogold, and Antony of Antony and the Johnsons moonlighting with Hercules and Love Affair, and also including cuts by Cut//Copy, M83, Hot Chip, MGMT and The's an 80's styled extravaganza.

Volume 6 - Culture Thiefs:
World music appropriators were spotlighted here.  M.I.A., Vampire Weekend, Dengue Fever, DeVotchKa, Gogol Bordello, Flogging Molly and The Bug make up the bulk of this one.

Volume 7 - Fat Soul Mamas, Trip-Hoppin' Gansta Boys, and Potty-Mouthed Brits:
A straight-up soul mix spotlighting Britain's white-soul resurgence (Amy Winehouse, Jamie Lidell, Duffy), older American vets (Al Green, B.B. King, Sharon Jones, Betty LaVette), and Kayne's intriguing if inconsistent stab at singing.

Volume 8 - Stick A Pitchfork In 'Em, They're Hip!:
A wide ranging assortment of cuts from many of the influential web site's beloved acts of 2008, including Portishead, Deerhunter, Atlas Sound, The Hold Steady, Los Campesinos, Jens Lekmen, Ra Ra Riots, No Age, Man Man, The Kills, The Do Dos, and TV on the Radio.

Volume 9 - Not Dead Yet:
Old timer's made quite a showing in 2008, and this mix tried to present the best of that work.  Including tracks from John Mellencamp, Paul Weller, Nick Lowe, Spiritualized, David Byrne & Brian Eno, Donald Fagen, Randy Newman, Ray Davies, Beck, John Fogerty, Brian Wilson, and Tom Petty (with Mudcrutch), this mix ended up being the favorite from this year for many of my friends with more mainstream leaning tastes.

Volume 10 - Greetings From Incestuous Canada:
Riffing on the endless intertwining of line-ups amongst many of Canada's most popular bands, I strongly considered subtitling this one "The Many Faces Of Spencer Krug."  Including tracks from Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown, Frog Eyes, Plants And Animals, Feist, Stars, The New Pornographers, Tegan & Sara, The Weakerthans and Swan Lake, this mix ended up with a nice mix of rockers, ballads and artier fare, and a strong overall heartland feel.

Volume 11 - Voices:
Contemporary indie singer/songwriters was the focus here.  Includes tracks from The Mountain Goats, The Swell Season, Joseph Arthur, Yoav, St. Vincent, John Vanderslice, Nicolai Dunger, PJ Harvey, and American Music Club among others.

Volume 12 - Brit Pop '07:
Reaching back a year to highlight many of the UK acts I'd failed to include in the '07 collection, this disk has a much punkier overall feel than the anthem dominated Brit Pop '08, highlighted by the endless foul-mouthed snark of the irrepressible Lily Allen.

Volume 13 - Almost Instrumental:
Electronica, early Chillwave, dubstep, ambient and LCD Soundsystem's 45:33 were all profiled here in this overall very mellow mix.

Volume 14 - East Coast Experimental:
Spotlighting a number of the phenomenal, boundary-pushing acts based along the Northeastern American seaboard, this was one of my personal favorites from the 2008 set, though a bit more challenging that most of the others. Battles, Les Savy Fav, Animal Collective, Akron/Family, A Place To Bury Strangers, Marnie Stern, Gang Gang Dance, Angels of Light and The Dirty Projectors make up the bulk of this mix.

Volume 15 - Get Y'all Some Southern Fried:
Initially just a dumping ground for tracks from those albums I couldn't find another home for, this mix ended up having one of the most cohesive feels, that being of the country-rock variety.  Selects from Kings Of Leon, Silver Jews, Cat Power, Okkervil River, My Morning Jacket, Robert Plant & Alison Krause, Jim White, Teddy Thompson, Calexico and The Drive-by Truckers flavor this one.

Volume 16 - Rap:
No surprises here, just several of rap's biggest hits over the previous couple of years. Lupe Fiasco, Jay-Z, Lil' Wayne, Girl Talk, Clipse, Ghostface Killah, Kayne West, Pharoahe Monch, Q-Tip, Common and J Dilla power this mix home.

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