Hot Hot Heat / Half a Year in Song

Nineteen-hundred miles later, I’m back in the swamps, ringing out my shirts and screaming about football.  I love Louisiana so much it hurts sometimes.  It hurts when I drive through Baton Rouge, past my old house in the Garden District and the little clap house on State; it hurts when I talk to my friends about football season and they make plans without me.  It doesn’t hurt so much to go into CC’s; that actually felt kinda nice.  It really hurt taking LA-190, cutting through all of the little Cajun towns with names like Port Barre and Krotz Springs, stopping and trying to buy boudin from a gas station only to learn that they’re all out (of course they’re out of boudin; it was eight p.m.).  That may have hurt the most, because there is nothing in the world like Small Town, Louisiana (or maybe ‘T Ville, Louisiana).

So, I burned halfway across America in three days (never do that; it’s a hard racket, even if you do eat fry bread in New Mexico and see the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for the second time in as many months), and now I’m sitting in Louis Armstrong International Airport, getting ready to travel another 1,200 miles to Philadelphia, NJ, and NYC for the week, then off to Newport, RI, to cover the Newport Folk Festival for AD, then home to see the Hold Steady at Chelsea’s, and finally up to Grand Rapids, where I do not plan on moving out of my seat for at least a month and a half.  Fun experiences, to be sure, but completely exhausting.  I can’t tell you how appealing it sounds to sit on a couch and watch TV and not move an inch for at least three days.

Anyway, because I haven’t really had the time to think much about music, here’s a list of my favorite songs of 2008, so far:
wale – the opening monologue
wale – the kramer (both of these are from his mixtape about nothing; the first one attacks hip-hop culture for not caring about anything, the second attacks racism; mos def’s waters to be sure, but wale is more clever, and his beats are fire)
sam sparro – black and gold (this song was all over indie 103.1 in los angeles; i don’t usually [read: never] go for dance-pop, but something about sparro’s voice and the production of this track grabs me.  it reminds me of a poppier TV on the Radio, with searching lyrics)
no age – teen creeps
no age – eraser (both of these are on the nouns lp; eraser is poppier and more fun to listen to, but the melody and thrashing on teen creeps kills; great noisy pop-punk from the current kings of LA)
silver jews – strange victory, strange defeat
silver jews – suffering jukebox (both from lookout mountain, lookout sea, my second favorite record of the year so far; i’ve been very overwhelmed by great lyricists lately [craig finn, will sheff mostly], and david berman’s words strike deep)
the whigs – right hand on my heart (great throwaway thrash-pop; the whigs were the first band I saw in los angeles; alarmingly intense and disarmingly melodic; shades of nirvana)
atlas sound – recent bedroom (druggy bedroom noise, but oddly soothing)
lil wayne – la la la (oh my goodness.  this may be my favorite song of the year so far.  i’m a sucker for anything louisiana-related (duh), and weezy never disappoints there.  really just a good song about growing up)
plants and animals – feedback in the field (montreal indie pop with a spiky wah solo)
hold steady – slapped actress (best song of the year, period.  nothing will beat this.  i plan on writing something very long on this very soon, so i won’t go into it.  just listen to it.)
okkervil river – singer songwriter
okkervil river – on tour with zykos (both from the forthcoming stand-ins lp; will sheff with an eye on indie culture)
sigur rós – gobbledigook (too much fun to not be counted; like animal collective on ice)
roadside graves – far and wide (sounds like front porches and college)
felice brothers – frankie’s gun!! (soulful country music that tells a story [my  grandfather’s requirements for a good song], dark but a total party, sorta like louisiana)
destroyer – my favourite year (a grower; i gave trouble in dreams 3 1/2 stars, but this is its best track; i like when dan bejar calms down a bit; i wish he’d do it more often)
dodos – jodi (weird and percussive folk music; some say they sound like animal collective “with songs,” (i’m looking at you, jones), but i think that AC has plenty of songs, so i’m not judging)
abe vigoda – dead city/waste wilderness (AWESOME concept for a band: tropical punk music; i haven’t heard the record yet, but if it keeps the breakneck party-pace of this track, i’m all about it; vampire weekend with fangs)
drive-by truckers – the opening act
drive-by truckers – two daughters and a beautiful wife (both from brighter than creation’s dark, a record that  will probably be overlooked when everyone makes their year-end lists since it came out in early january; patterson hood just tells good stories)

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