Every year I host a music swap with my music geek friends where we share our top albums of the year. This year we spiced it up a bit by adding a new component – a mix of your favorite songs of 2008 by artists not represented in our Best Albums of 2008 list. (Ryan’s rules, not mine.) So here it is, my mix of some of my favorite indie rock tunes for 2008. I was struck by a lot of San Francisco local music this year and have noted those artists with an asterisk (**). I enjoyed the emergence of such good music from my hometown and hope you will too. Enjoy!
My first reaction to seeing Brooklyn-based Crystal Stilts take the stage at Bottom of the Hill last night was, ‘Yeah, girl drummer!’. The next was Napoleon Dynamite meets Meg White. That was the visual anyway. Lead singer, Brad Hargett, does evoke a Napoleon Dynamite vibe not only in appearance but also in his emotionless, monotone delivery of each song. It was hard not to compare drummer Frankie Rose to Meg White with her long raven hair, pale skin and stripped down, minimalist drumming style.
The overall effect? Eh. I loved their EP and am really enjoying their new album Alight of Night, but as live performers they leave a bit to be desired. Maybe it was an off night but they seemed out of synch – starting and stopping songs a few too many times. At one point during show the keyboard fell off its stand, causing some commotion and a bit of levity. But overall the spellbinding show I had heard so much about wasn’t there for me.
That’s the way it works sometimes though. I would much rather see Dr. Dog live than listen to their albums. And Crystal Stilts are definitely worthy of a listen. I like it very much. I would just rather listen to their album than see them live.