Top Records of 2008

By way of introduction, I present my most carefully considered and powerfully received records of 2008. In years past I have lamented the lack of a unifying artistic theme or musical style linking the exponentially multiplying number of artists the onset of distributed information and cheap personal computer recording has brought to the marketplace of ideas. In years past I have scolded (to very little, er, no effect) the masses, creative or otherwise, for settling into repetitions of pop forms of eras gone by, for shirking the creative and political responsibilities of the day by engaging in playful and harmless anachronistic feats of costume rock.

There is very little unifying my picks this year other than my taste, but the range of amazing recordings that emerged this year differs from years past. In the ever-accelerating slurry of mediocrity abetted by the availability of affordable recording equipment and distribution channels, those just-as-few as ever Shakespeares pushing along the whole project of civilization behind the confused, echolaliac hordes seem to have gotten a lot easier to hear.

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Melt Yer Face with Torche

Torche, from Miami, Fl, play face-melting, satisfying low-end-intensive positive metal that is guaranteed to melt any face it comes in contact with, even jaded faces that belong men of demanding musical tastes like me. Here is a typical scenario:

I cue up a Torche song. I press play. All vestiges of my face are removed by the force, and I begin hopping around the room with a glowing, grinning skull atop my shoulders screaming neon streamers of lipless joy. “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! Motherfucking Torche is melting my fucking face right the fuck off! I’m in outer friggin’ space, right now, man!”

I do this on the subway on the way to work as often as I do it in my bedroom at home, and in either place it is clear that I am not in outer space.

So powerful is the elemental shred of this band Miami bred that I am willing to publicly come off as a guy who believes himself to be in outer space when he might, in fact, be standing in front of the United Nations or standing on a table in the middle of an Olive Garden when this declaration is made.

Look at Torche:

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Click on Torche. They will lead you through the swampy wood to their Myspace page. On that page, you will be able to hear songs from all of their releases.

I think they sing the name of dearly departed, beloved Cubs sportscaster Harry Caray in the song “Vampyro” on their S/T. This is quite amazing.

Look at Harry Caray:


Their most recent record, Meanderthal, released April 8 this year on Hydrahead Industries, and they have since been touring with, among others, Boris and Pelican.
Just, holy shit.