Music from 2008 – My Picks

In the past decade, I have put together a mix of my favorite tunes from the CDs I bought that year and have given it away to friends and family. Last year, I tried something different by posting the files for download and keeping to the CD-length selection. This year everyone gets this blog entry instead. It is rather strange to not be limited to an 80-minute CD, but I still have tried to keep things reasonable since I buy a lot of music annually. For those of you who know my tastes, you should see some familiar faces here – Beck, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Portishead, David Byrne/Brian Eno, Pat Metheny, Bill Frisell.

The mix starts with some world music from Issa Bagayogo – a great Malian musician. The second track is from one of my favorite new artists (for me) in 2008 – Shearwater. This Austin band is remanisant of Mark Hollis and Talk Talk. Very sweet music. The other new band for me this year that I’m really digging is Elbow. If you’re listening now, and you want to skip around, it starts off a bit mellow, jumps to some rock, and then a series of ambient and jazz material. I hope you’re enjoying it.

Steve Jansen is a favorite and is the brother of David Sylvian from Japan fame. To be honest, I never thought I’d like Coldplay because they sound too much like U2 but I’ve really enjoyed the new release. k.d. lang has got the voice from God and this is being called her “Buddhist” release since she has become a practitioner. Sun Kil Moon is the band of Mark Kozelek, of Red House Painters fame (Bay Area). Kruder & Dorfmeister and Willits & Sakamoto fill in toward the end. And, if you can believe it, Nine Inch Nails put out almost five albums worth of material in 2008 – most of it as a free download.

The mix ends with the downer Spiritualized who writes beautiful music to make your heart ache. Leslie and I were fortunate to see him open for Nick Cave earlier this year at the Hollywood Bowl. Great show. We also saw the David Bryne at the Arlington in Santa Barbara and Beck at the new LA Live venue Club Nokia. Fantastic shows.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the music. What are you listening to this year?