Too Drunk To Dream

…ain’t no drinking when the bottle’s dry…

TooDrunkToDream’s Top Ten…wait… Top Thirty of 2008

It’s about time this list came out. I know that alot of lists have already seen daylight, and I’ve certainly been teasing for a while, but the truth is, I’ve discovered so much music this year. Particularly, in the last two months. If I had already written my list, then I probably would have changed my mind 15 times already!

So without further ado:


Best Of 2008
From the top, I give you:

#01 Frightened Rabbit – Midnight Organ FlightThe Midnight Organ Fight album coverImage via Wikipedia

Instantly memorable and entirely unforgettable, Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit create the album of the year for 2008. Midnight Organ Flight displays a young band in full flight, creating layers upon layers of sound, building in each song from sparse until dense.

The Modern Leper
Old Old Fashioned
The Twist
Good Arms vs Bad Arms

#02 Bon IverFor Emma, Forever Ago

Ok, technically a 2007 release, but this gem saw it’s proper release in the winter of 2008. Justin Vernon’s wintry solo debut, created in the wilderness of Wisconsin, stunned the blogosphere in 2007 and just exploded in ’08, with due cause. There’s no argument that Bon Iver has created a creative, mood-filled debut album for the ages.

Re: Stacks
Skinny Love
For Emma

#03 Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes

A CSNY album for the naughties. With hollow, hauntingly beautiful vocals that sound like they were recorded in a tabernacle, the Fleet Foxes are yet another band to land their debut full-length on the best-of 2008 radar.

From Mojo: The sense of wonder in Fleet Foxes’ songs is matched only by the discipline and talent that created this adventurous, evocative record. One which is already shaping up as an album of the year. [July 2008, p.98]

Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
White Winter Hymnal
Sun It Rises
Blue Ridge Mountains

#04 The Hold Steady – Stay Positive

“Me and my friends are like
the drums on “Lust for Life.”
We pound it out on floor toms.
Our psalms are sing-along songs.”

Anthemic, energetic, straight-up rock and roll…. words that will ALWAYS describe The Hold Steady, regardless of the album. 2008’s Stay Positive proves that Craig Finn and the boys can continue to bring the substance back to Indie music. This band can’t be marketed, they can’t be sold. Their audience is the disaffected, their selling point is their realism. That will always trump money, advertising and glitz….and that is why I will forever be a devotee to their music.

Constructive Summer
Stay Positive
Lord, I’m Discouraged
Sequestered In Memphis

#05 Santogold – Santogold

A late-bloomer for me this year. Brooklynite Santi White exhibits pop sensibility beyond her years and releases an incredible album full of intelligent, concise electro pop. Drawing comparisons to M.I.A., Santogold blows away 2007’s Kala in inventiveness, hook, and delivery. For further display of her star power, go out and find the Santogold and Diplo mix-tape, Top Ranking, which reimagines her music alongside classics from Aretha, Devo, the B52’s, and Panda Bear.

L.E.S. Artistes
Lights Out
Shove It

#06 Okkervil River – The Stand-Ins

The ‘sequel’ to 2007’s The Stage Names (my #1 of 2007), The Stand-Ins exists in it’s own right. With epic lyrics and whimsical pop music in tune with it’s subject, Will Scheff creates an entire underworld of creatures and characters in his albums. The album always leaves me dying to hear what’s next from Okkervil River, as they move into a new era without bandmate Jonathan Meiburg, who left the band to concentrate on his project, Shearwater.

From “Lost Coastlines”:

And see how that light you love now just won’t shine
There might just be another star that’s high and far in some other sky
We sing, “Is that marionette real enough yet
To step off of that set to decide what her hands might be doing?
Ruining the play, to end the ensuing melee escape.”

Lost Coastlines
Pop Lie
Calling and Not Calling My Ex
Bruce Wayne Campbell Interviewed On The Roof Of The Chelsea Hotel, 1979

#07 Ryan Adams and the Cardinals – Cardinology

With his continued sobriety comes greater focus. I’m not gonna talk
about Ryan’s ability to write and record 3 albums in a year. It’s clear
that he can succeed in writing that quantity of above-average material in that amount of
time, regardless of mental or physical health. It’s possible that it is in the
execution of this material where some of wheels have come off in the
past. With Ryan figuring himself out, and dealing face to face with
issues that, a few short years ago he would have confronted with a
barrage of alcohol and pills, the music has finally met the lyrics. And
with the partnership that Ryan has fostered with his bandmates, the
music that is being produced is intelligently written, beautifully
sung, even-keeled, and, as a result, definitely holds far fewer surprises than most of Ryan’s past output. Neal Casal, Jon Graboff, Brad Pemberton, and
Chris Feinstein are all at the wheel, providing Adams with a new sense
of direction.

The Cardinals have created a Ryan Adams album that is best played, not after a trip to the bar, but after a long road of realized self-destruction and regret.

full Ghost of Electricity review


Crossed-Out Name
Let Us Down Easy
Natural Ghost
Fix It

#08 Dr Dog – Fate

Wow, what’s to say about this album. It’s so easy to listen to. Low-fi songs played simply. Shaggy-beard inducing music with a sense of ease and honesty not found in a lot of music. There’s no pretention here, and in many ways, that’s pervasive of my entire list. I think we see that in Frightened Rabbit, Bon Iver, and Fleet Foxes as well. At times, the music’s influence comes pouring out of its songs, by way of John and Paul, or Rick Danko and The Band. As lead singer, Scott “Taxi” McMicken, writes in “The Old Days”:

Let go of the old ones
We’ve got some new ones
Hold on to the good stuff
And let go and get real tough


The Old Days
100 Years
Hang On

#09 Girl Talk – Feed The Animals

Who needs a DJ when we have chop-shop artist Greg Gillis, a/k/a Girl Talk? Greg creatively used 300 samples to reimagine over a dozen songs, mixing 80’s, 90’s and 00’s hip hop, rap, and grunge rock into something so imaginitively unique you’ll have to dissect it for yourself. Here’s your chance. Find “Here’s The Thing” in the IMeem playlist and follow along. Try not to incite a party. I dare you.

Here’s the Thing:

0:01 Chicago – Saturday in the Park
0:01 Quad City DJs – C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)
0:29 The Bucketheads – The Bomb (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)
0:36 ? and the Mysterians – 96 Tears
1:05 Kelly Clarkson – Since U Been Gone
1:16 Nine Inch Nails – Wish
1:45 MC Hammer – Too Legit to Quit
2:08 Blur – Song 2
2:13 V.I.C. – Get Silly
2:13 George Harrison – Got My Mind Set On You
2:19 Elvis Costello – Pump It Up
2:20 Shawty Lo – Dey Know
2:34 Rogue Traders – Voodoo Child
3:01 Peter Bjorn and John – Young Folks
3:13 The Prodigy – Firestarter (which samples “Close (To The Edit)” by Art of Noise)
3:14 Rick Springfield – Jessie’s Girl
3:21 Chris Brown featuring T-Pain – Kiss Kiss
3:21 James Nasty – You So Hawt
3:47 Veruca Salt – Seether
3:52 Nelly Furtado – Maneater
3:52 Three Six Mafia – I’d Rather
4:12 Looking Glass – Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)
4:35 Dude N’ Nem – Watch My Feet

Standouts: Play track one….keep listening. repeat.

#10 The Black Keys – Attack & Release

Pitchfork mentioned that after 4 full length albums, The Black Keys were destined to live in the shadow of The White Stripes. Of course, that description is immediately flawed and unfair (as Pitchfork noted….), but when it seemed that Pat Carney and Dan Auerbach were facing a creative brick wall (after several great but similar albums), along came Dangermouse. Better known for his hip-hop collaborations and as one-half of strange-hop Gnarls Barkley, Dangermouse lends a heavy hand in steering the production of Attack & Release into uncharted territories for the band. The name of the record is brilliant. It describes the ebb and flow of song production here. We have vintage, assaulting Keys (“Strange Times”) surrounded by slower tracks (“All I Ever Wanted”) that allow for the absorption of the music, all exhibiting a breath of fresh air from a band that will NOT go down while lurking in the wake of The White Stripes. No, this band has emerged from the hallows and has yet to hit it’s full peak.


All I Ever Wanted
Strange Times

#11 MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

Infectious, Intelligent, and FUN! I didn’t WANT to like this album…it came SO naturally…


Time To Pretend
Electric Feel

#12 Old Crow Medicine Show – The Tennessee Pusher

The album of their lives. This is their breakout, and it’s nearly flawless. They’ve proven that the bluegrass moniker isn’t one to be typecast… just listen to the Exile On Main Street influence dripping out of “Highway Halo”. And “Caroline”…what can i say about the sesibilities of that song….short, succinct, country-blues backporch genius. I wish Gram Parsons were alive to hear what OCMS have created in 2008.


Highway Halo

#13 She and Him – Vol. 1

M. Ward plus Zooey Deschanel equals an album that hasn’t left my cd player for months. “She” is always there to offer comfort simply by opening her mouth and “Him” gives me chills with his wise-beyond-his-years guitar work. I can’t wait for Vol. 2. Please hurry, I need my Zooey.


Change Is Hard
Sentimental Heart

#14 Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

Successfully merging african poly-rhythms with the NYC indie music scene? Successfully done and Fun, Fun, Fun. Who gives a fuck about the Oxford Comma? I do…..I DO, SIR!


Oxford Comma
Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

#15 MY Morning Jacket – Evil Urges

Here’s the thing…this would have been in the top ten if it weren’t for a few tracks. I’ve got a bone to pick with the (mostly) excellent Evil Urges. The second half (let’s say 2/3’s) of this album plays out like a dream…. somnabulent and lilting, absolutely beautiful. Nice light touches in the guitar sections and the drums are often genius. Nothing is overbearing here and each track feels like it’s been tailored to be an “anti-Z” or at least a departure from MMJ’s monster of a last album. The vision here defies the convention that seems to hang over the band’s heads, that expectation that Jim James and Co. will produce the next huge rock album. And I praise them for not making that album. But the handful of tracks that are front and center on this album are diametrically opposed to the rest of the album, destroying any sort of ebb and flow on Evil Urges. Take those away and what we have here is a nice departure for MMJ, a quiet album that went in the opposite direction from which the band was expected to go. I can’t wait to hear them back on track.


Aluminum Park
Sec Walkin
Smokin From Shootin
I’m Amazed

And…..the rest (sort-of in order):

16 The Avett Brothers – The Second Gleam
17 Jenny Lewis – Acid Tounge
18 Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part 1 (Fourth World War)
19 Conor Oberst – Conor Oberst
20 Black Mountain – In The Future
21 The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely
22 Ron Sexsmith – Exit Strategy For the Soul
23 Lucinda Williams – Little Honey
24 Beach House – Devotion
25 Shearwater – Rook
26 Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
27 Foxboro Hot Tubs – Stop Drop and Roll
28 Kings of Leon – Only By The Night
29 Blitzen Trapper – Furr
30 Mudcrutch – Mudcrutch


1) TV on the Radio – Dear Science: 1st track is great, and the rest of them…..not so much at all.

2) of Montreal – Skeletal lamping : I don’t know…. I just felt it was a hot mess of an album.

3) Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Real Emotional Trash : Meh. LOVED the first three albums and this one had NO hook whatsoever.

4) Times New Viking – Rip It Off : I got through about 3 songs. I need some bass. WAAAAy too much treble going on. If I wanted to listen to a vacuum cleaner….I’d vacuum.

5) Cold War Kids – Loyalty to Loyalty : Sophomore slump. Get back in the studio guys and gimme something with as much passion and feeling as your first album.

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December 21, 2008 Posted by | Black keys, bon iver, Dr. Dog, fleet foxes, frightened rabbit, ghost of electricity, girl talk, MGMT, okkervil river, ryan adams, santogold, shearwater, the hold steady, The Stand Ins, toodrunktodream | 2 Comments

NPR picks Top 10 "Smart Rock" albums, Jameson needs to shuffle his own list some….

In lieu of a potential plagiarism accusation, Jameson may have to re-evaluate his soon-to-be-released/yet-to-be-finalized best of 2008 list.

From NPR : Not Art Rock: Top 10 ‘Smart Rock’ Albums of 2008

There’s indie rock. And then there’s indie rock in horn-rimmed glasses. Not quite art rock, but “smart rock.” According to the lexicographers at Urban Dictionary, smart rock is:

“…music that appeals to a discerning, educated audience … often mellow yet complex … the antonym of “dude rock.

“Instead of studying their AP English Literature homework, William and Sara made out to Smart rock on the couch.”

The only ‘smart’ thing about me is my love of Smart Rock…..

I’ve gonna go. I gotta swing by the library and drop some Decemberists lyrics on some college girls.

Okkervil River – from ‘The Stand-Ins’ – Calling and Not Calling My Ex.mp3
The Hold Steady – from ‘Stay Positive’ – Slapped Actress.mp3
Shearwater – from ‘Rook’ – The Snow Leopard.mp3

December 3, 2008 Posted by | art rock, jameson, okkervil river, shearwater, smart rock, the hold steady, toodrunktodream | Leave a comment

Can we discuss the band Shearwater?

I’m completely on the fence regarding the Austin, TX band Shearwater. Maybe I just need some like-minded junkies’ opinions on the matter. While I find the haunting, reflecting music of Jonathan Meiburg to be brilliant and hypnotic, I can’t say that I’m in love with the vocals. In the last year or so, my eyes and ears have run across countless industry people who fawn over this group, and I’ve tried so hard, keeping an open yet judgmental mind. I’m just not falling in love like I expected. I mean, I’ve fallen for Okkervil River (that was an easy sell) and since Shearwater is directly descended from the band, I expected an easy sell as well.

09 – Shearwater – The Snow Leopard.mp3 from ‘Rook’

02 – Shearwater – Rooks.mp3 from ‘Rook’

05 – Seventy-Four, Seventy-Five.mp3 from ‘Palo Santo’

06 – All The Pretty Horses.mp3 from ‘Sham Wedding/Hoax Funeral’

10 – Hail, Mary.mp3 from ‘Palo Santo’
Free file hosting from File Den

Tell me what you think?? Positive, negative…..hey, I’m an optimist (really?…no way) so sell me either way. ideally, the reason I am still on the fence is because I like them….mostly.

October 10, 2008 Posted by | alt country, indie, jameson, jamesonian, mog, music, okkervil river, rock, shearwater, singer songwriter, toodrunktodream | 5 Comments