Saturday, December 27, 2008

The best albums of 2008

In all, I reckon 2008 has been a fabulous year for music. My favorite band, Marillion, released a masterpiece that ranks as my fave record of the year. Below are the best records I heard in 2008, which are uncannily similar that of Uncut magazine.

1) Marillion -- Happiness is the Road
2) Shearwater (pictured) -- Rook
3) Fleet Foxes -- Fleet Foxes
4) Steven Wilson -- Insurgentes (The Porcupine Tree leader's solo record is released Feb. '09)
5) Bon Iver -- For Emma, Forever
6) TV on the Radio -- Dear Science
7) Elbow -- The Seldom Seen Kid
8) No-Man -- Schoolyard Ghosts
9) Goldfrapp -- Seventh Tree
10) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds -- Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!

(In no particular order)
11) Coldplay -- Viva La Vida (Prospekts March version)
12) Richard Barbieri -- Stranger Inside
13) Opeth -- Watershed
14) The Cure -- 4:13 Dream
15) Justin Adams & Judah Caldeh -- Soul Science
16) Drive By Truckers -- Brighter than Creation's Dark
17) Brian Eno & David Byrne -- Everything That Happens
18) Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (did I spell that correctly?)
19) The Mummers -- Tale to Tell
20) Toumani Diabate -- The Mande Variations

Great songs from other albums:

Santogold -- Les Artistes
Verve -- I See Houses
Keane -- Falling Down
Death Cab for Cutie -- I Will Possess Your Heart
Ryan Adams -- Magick
Brian Eno & David Byrne -- Strange Overtones
Gary Moore -- Preacher Man Blues
Joseph Arthur -- She paints me Gold
Peter Gabriel -- Whole Thing
REM -- Accelerate
She & Him -- Why Do You Let Me Stay Here
Jenny Lewis -- Acid Tongue
Oasis -- Shock of the Lightning
My Morning Jacket -- Evil Urges
Metallica -- Broken, Beat, and Scarred
AC/DC -- Black Ice
BB King -- How Many More Years
Sheryl Crow -- Motivation
B52s -- Eyes Wide Open

Sunday, December 14, 2008



As someone who owns the complete back catalogue of both Joe Satriani and Coldplay, I was aghast at reports that the guitarist is suing the band. Satch's claim: "Viva La Vida" uses "substantial" portions of his song, "If I Could Fly." This is the second instance of someone claiming that the song is a ripoff of another tune. An obscure band called Creaky Boards created a similar fuss and even accused Chris Martin of attending of their shows. At this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if Toumani Diabate asserted he'd written "Viva La Vida" first.

But, I gotta admit that the bald guitarist -- renowned for having fingers a stenographer would envy -- seems to have a viable case. This side-by-side comparison, followed by a mashup of the two pieces, reveals an uncanny similarity.

But Coldplay may have a viable alibi. Can you imagine the Brit soft rockers ever listening to a Joe Satriani record? Guitarist Jonny Buckland, who I interviewed years back, seems more likely to have been influenced by The Edge. Moreover, when Coldplay knicked a riff from Kraftwerk's "Computer Love" for its "Talk," they made sure to get permission from the Germany's Max Headroom gang first. Coldplay seem like honest types. I've also interviewed Satriani and he's a standup guy not prone to pulling publicity stunts and, hell, if Satriani called this musicologist to the witness stand it might be akin to the gotcha moment in a Perry Mason episode.