[This is my first time to write music opinion in English, please forgive me of any terrible mistakes. ^^"]
[If those players are not working, please come back later for them.^^"]
15.Tearwave - Different Shade of Beauty
Tearwave 第二張大碟, 褪去了以往略帶Gothic-Metal/Darkwave的氛圍, 這次明顯偏向Shoegazing風格靠攏, 背景結他適當地築起空曠而帶點微嘈的音牆, 主旋律結他亦加入了不少精彩的80年代元素, 配合優美的女聲, 整體氣氛營造得飄逸, 迷濛, 深邃, 非常連綿細密, 17首歌之中, 少有冷場.
The second album of Tearwave is more concentrate on blending Shoegazing style and Dream-pop, and faded some gothic-metal/Dark-wave style that they did in their previous. Spacious, amorphous and noisy guitar created the wall of sound at the background, and layered with fascinating melodic guitar which influenced by 80s' style. Together with the glamorous female vocal, the album successfully created a beautiful, foggy and wintry atmosphere that may somehow, lure you to listen to it till the end of album.
14.The Do - A Mouthful
今年最好玩的一張作品之一. 法國與芬蘭的一男一女組合, 2008年為筆者帶來了很有趣而愜意的聆聽體驗. 完全不按理出牌, 每首歌曲的風格迥異, 聽完一首, 完全估不到下一首會怎樣, 雖然是以活潑的Indie-pop為基調, 但卻有"Queen Dot Kong"一首既開心又放縱的Rap歌, 亦有簡簡單單的folk-pop小品"Stay Just a Little Bit More", 更有一首古怪過癮的非洲歌曲"Unissasi laulelet", 而且難得每首歌都保持不俗的質素.
What a playful and funny album! These French-Finnish Duo has brought me a interesting experience of listening. Although base on their unique indie-pop style, the songs of this album are really diverse. They got a hip-hop song like"Queen Dot Kong", and "Unissasi laulelet" is a simple but catchy African-style track, and "Stay Just a Little Bit More" is their folk-pop moment in this album. As from the pitchfork's comment which rate them 7.5/10, they are really not shy to toying with musical categories.
13.The Delays - Everything's the Rush
The Delays這張大碟入圍的原因是再簡單不過, 因為對筆者來說, 裡面首首歌都流暢動聽. 雖然大碟略為褪去以往帶點陽光氣息的迷幻復古樂風, 整體卻加強了搖滾力度, 而且氣氛更為開揚, 弦樂的運用相當具說服力, 最重要的是每首歌的旋律和曲式都是如此爽朗流暢. 如果以往我只留心主音迷人的假音演譯, 這張大碟無疑令筆者對他們的音樂才華重新估量.
This album is not quite a breakthrough for them, but it just reminds me a simple rule of what I think a good album is: If each song in the album which you think it’s good, then that album is probably a good album (for you). Besides the charming voice of the lead singer, all the songs are smooth and confident in terms of the melodies and structures. I just can't skip any songs in this album and that's I think reasonable enough to rank it up here.
12.She and Him - Volume One
She and Him濃濃的懷舊情懷, 陪伴筆者渡過不少寂寥的晚上. 在indie-folk才子M.ward(即"Him")的精心打造之下, 女主音Zooey (即"She")甚具韻味的聲線, 充分配合了大碟不同類型的懷舊風格. 一曲"I thought I Saw Your Face Again"你會誤以為Adele在唱詠, "I Was Made For You" 充滿60年代pop girl band的青春爽朗, "Change is Hard" 悠悠的懷舊folk-pop小品. 大碟充滿不少60-70年代流行元素, 既有輕鬆活潑的復古情趣, 亦有醇厚醉人的氣氛, 那種寫意令人彷如置身Pub裡聽歌一樣.
(新聞一則: Zooey最近與Death Cab For Cutie的主音Gibbard訂婚, 好一對才子佳人, 恭喜他們哩.^^)
This album has received generally positive reviews. Music of She and Him has provided me a good listening experience in lonely nights. The charming voice of Zooey (i.e. She), and the diversely made retrospective music style can make you feel like you were listening to them in the pub. Blending with 60's pop, folk-pop, alt-country, this album outstood the great songs arrangement from folk-rock talented musician: M.Ward (i.e.Him).
11.Bang Gang - Ghosts From the Past
打從第一首歌"The World is Gray"完美無瑕的冰島式流行旋律, 我已經深深被一人樂隊Bang Gang所打動, 很情願地被主音Bardi Johannsson營造的一貫冷調氣氛再次包圍. 有別於前作電子及folk元素的交疊, 這次明顯是以pop-rock的方向前進, 旋律的流暢性進一步提升, 意境如霧似幻, 陰鬱之中散發著一種淡淡的憂愁. 新作無疑令人再次佩服Bardi Johannsson的才情.
With Bardi Johannsson (frontman and musician in this band)’s breathy vocal, smooth and beautiful melodies perfectly melt with the chill and lonely atmosphere. Genius-like frontman of Bang Gang, in this album, further strengthen his Icelandic way of pop-rock song composing. Not a kind of breakthrough, but I bet you that it’s worth repeated listening to, at least it works for me.
10.My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
My Morning Jacket永遠不太討好的大碟封面, 令筆者幾乎錯過這隊相當優秀的復古樂團. 大碟歌曲的風格相當豐富, 糅合了Country-rock, surf-rock, folk-rock, Psychedelic-rock等等懷古元素, 每一種樂風都發揮得相當收放自如, 大搖大滾如"Remnant", 亦有動聽, 美好的一曲"Sec' Walkin", 樂隊主音Jim James可塑性甚高的唱腔絕對見得大場面, 一時彷如Bee Gee式的假音演繹, 更是精彩. 如果你覺得市面上有太多濫竽充數的復古團, My Morning Jacket無疑是你的優質之選.
I didn’t know much about them before until this album. They brought back some styles from the good-old-days. Songs are really diverse in this album like folk, country, surf-rock, psychedelic, etc. And the great singer in the band: Jim James really has contributed a lot. My morning jacket put them all in an overall warm and yet energetic way and it can be one of the good portals for true-listeners to trace back what and who the band imitated.
09.Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
今年最受注目的新團Vampire Weekend處女作每一首歌都是如是鮮蹦活跳, 絕對是只此一家. 節奏靈活多變(不論音色和Patten, 幾乎每首歌都不同!), 而且混合了一點Afro-beat的元素, 歌曲感覺陽光之中帶有校園氣息的輕快爽朗, 雖然大碟只有短短的30多分鐘, 但絕無欺場, 帶給人非常新奇有趣的聆聽體驗.
It’s quite a funny experience to have listened to Vampire Weekend’s debute album. Once you’ve listened to it, you will sure that it would be a one of the best albums of the year. Both the beats and rhythm are different in each song. Cleverly flavoured African music style into their songs; they created a humorous and yet smooth play of instruments.
08.Foals - Antidotes
Foals幾首刺激無比的主打歌曲如"Cassius"和"Ballons"等都能抽動筆者每一個音樂神經, 而且對筆者來說大碟"Antidotes"其實是相當具野心之作. 除了以Math-rock的曲式為基調, 加入Dance-rock元素進一步強化再加速每個節奏, 複雜多變的結構, 加上那種瘋狂急疾斷裂的推進, 整體效果相當令人醒神, 眩目. 而且大碟還加入了不少Dance元素, 歌曲編排得亦很認真, 粗中有細, 緩疾有致.
Sometimes I'm surprised that how can this new band handle this kind of rapid and complicated style of music. Based on Math-rock style, the songs were accelerated by crazy dance-rock rhythm, songs like "Cassius" and "Balloons" are effective enough to make my body shaking along. Better Still, the arrangement of music in this album is reasonable and subtle.
07.Emilíana Torrini - Me and Armini
擁有冰島和意大利血統的Emilíana Torrini應該是今年最令我嘆服的女唱作人. 有別於一般Folk-pop, 除了歌曲溫暖, 動聽, 而且裡面還充滿不少有趣構思, 編曲變化很細緻而難以捉摸, 歌曲滲入如IDM(有點像樂隊Mum之類), Reggae, Trip-hop等等風格, 電子與樂器交錯共融, 時而靜謐, 時而調皮, 驚喜不斷, 大碟給人感覺不拘一格, 玩味之中卻能駕御種各種豐富的元素, 有聲線, 亦有獨到才華, 難怪Emilíana Torrini一直是Rough Trade廠牌的重點歌手之一.
Emilíana Torrini is a talented Icelandic singer. Folk-based songs with some cleverly added ideas of experimentation, which make this album more sustainable for listening.
And she seems can handle different styles like Reggae, Trip-hop, IDM electronic skillfully, and the overall mood created is free, relax and confident.
06.pg.lost - It's Not Me, it's You
pg.lost在這張作品裡證明自己不是只有"Yes I Am"這首佳作. 作為一支結他為主導的Post-rock樂隊, 他們靈活利用了不同的音色和鋪排, 做到那種亦柔亦剛的效果, 即使靜態的部份, 器樂的安排仍然充滿張力, 爆發的部份更能突顯結他分明的層次感, 澎湃激昂, 但旋律依然保持清晰, 而不會給人"爆成一團"的感覺, 編曲時緩時張, 情緒的表達亦很出色. 雖然沒有太大突破, 但各部份表現都相當完美, 稱職, 所以pg.lost仍是Post-rock裡一個值得留意的名字.
In this album, Pg. Lost has convinced me that “Yes I am” is not the only great song in it. The guitar effects are so diverse and distributed satisfyingly in both static part and dynamic part of songs. The layerings of guitar sound are still clear as the emotion burst out, instead of messing up. In general, the album is well-structured, emotional, and full of tension.
05.Portishead - Third
苦候十年, Portishead的新作果然沒有令人失望. 褪去了以往拿手的Trip-hop風格, "Third"滲入了一點工業味的獨特電子, 筆者從未聽過如此變化多端, 且詭異, 離奇的電子節奏和編曲, 氣氛一樣的陰森, 與那種時而不安, 時而急疾的節拍形成奇妙的化學作用, 當然Gibbons那懾人的聲線仍然是主導之一.
What could you expect from a band you had missed for 10 years? “Third” indeed, is truly a good album that worth waiting for. I stunned by their strange, diverse, unique and thrilling electronic beats throughout the album and Gibbons just perfectly, as she did, matched with that atmosphere.
04.Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes無疑己經成為2008年樂評們的新寵. 除了"He Doesn't Know Why"和"Your Protector"等等成為了筆者08年度的心水金曲之外, 大碟整體歌曲的質素也很不俗, Folk的基調下, 糅合了70 年代Soft-rock和Surf-rock的特質, 旋律和諧, 動聽, 流露了點點甜美爽朗的氣質, 令人彷如置身山水或鄉間之中. 相信這張大碟應該是初涉indie-rock樂迷的入門之選.
“Fleet foxes” is really a strong debute album of them. Folk-based music and borrowed some ideas from 70s soft-rock and surf-rock, and in overall, able to use them satisfyingly and cleverly. They has given me some really great and unforgettable melodies, Songs like “He doesn’t know why”, “Your Protector”, for me, were one of the best moments of 2008.
03.Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
一張幾乎由頭到尾都刺激非常的Dance大碟. Alice Glass癲喪的嘶喊, 配合Ethan Kath兇狠得令人喘不過氣的電子音樂鋪排, 令他們成為2008年最受nu-rave樂迷歡迎的組合. 很欣賞Crystal Castles不會過份倚賴他們獨特有趣的遊戲機電子效果, 而大碟裡的非主打作品的質素和可聽性也很高, 至少他們不會重覆自己的曲式, 儘量做到每一首歌的節奏,音色,編曲都不同. 總的來說, Crystal Castles乃是近年令筆者最雀躍的Dance album之一.
The dance music duo has definitely ruled and further stirred the neo-rave sense throughout year 2008. Besides those songs with ferocious and exciting video-game sound effects, they tried to make every songs sound differently in terms of structures, textures, and rhythms. The whole album, in general, is totally fascinating, and has effortlessly freaked me out without any mere intention to skip particular song inside.
02.Coldplay - Viva La Vida
這張大碟幾乎令我忘記往日的Coldplay, 心中有一種要跟以前的他們劃清界線的感覺一樣. 姑勿論抄歌疑雲, 或大碟全賴Producer相助之類, 都不能否認這是一張很優秀的後britpop作品. 最重要的是他們保留個人風格之餘, 亦能在音樂裡滲進不少新嘗試, Ambient化處理, 一點shoegazing元素, 甚至幾乎沾到Post-rock的一點構思, 整張大碟的編排和氣氛都給人很連貫一致, 氣勢恢宏卻又不會過份浮跨. 一點驚喜, 一點突破, 再加上在各方面都平衡得很好, 令筆者心悅誠服地予以第二名.
‘Viva La Vida’ may be the pivot point of Coldplay’s career. Under the producer Brian Eno’s effort, this album was beautifully crafted and undeniably struck the balance between sturdy post-britpop melodies and their idea of experimentations.
01.The American Dollar - A Memory Stream
The American Dollar再一次證明他們要進軍Post-rock一線樂隊的決心. 大碟整體性很強, 音樂結構細膩嚴謹, 美麗的琴音依然是主導, 但結他的表現更是令人耳前一亮, 感覺器樂己經和空靈唯美的電子效果調和得密不可分, 編曲上己經無視靜與爆之間的落差, 整張大碟的給筆者尤如順水推舟一樣感覺自然. 很高興他們這次能夠突破自己, 更進一步, 這大概是我一直在尋求的Post-rock的突破之一吧.
It’s one of the best post-rock albums I have ever listened to. I couldn’t believe that their second album will exceed my position of their debute album, but it does. Beautifully played instruments, (especially the piano) fused perfectly with aerial electronic effects. The lonely mood and the misty atmosphere are so consistent that it has convincingly shattered the traditional song-writing structure of post-rock. Both the gorgeous melodies and the layering of different instruments are sometimes, unpredictable, and somehow scattered over or dimmed with the flow of music. And mean while the changeable percussion keeps stirring it up throughout the album.
This album is worth for the true post-rock listeners to drown in. And The American Dollar has further proved themselves that they are going to be a big thing in post-rock, or have they already in?
Other Serious Recommendations in 2008:
Sigur Rós - Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
Pacific UV - Longplay vol. 2
Glowworm - The Coachlight Woods (thanks Chih for recommendation :])
Glasvegas - Glasvegas
The Killers - Day and Age
Duels - The Barbarians Move In
British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
Erik Hallden - Memories, Oh, the Memories
Russian Red - I Love Your Glasses
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Lightspeed Champion - Falling Of The Lavender Bridge
The Grand Archives - The Grand Archives
Uzi & Ari - Headworms
Beach House - Devotion
Crystal Stilts - Alight of Night
Mercury Rev - Snowflake Midnight
Metronomy - Nights Out
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules and Love Affair
Weezer - Weezer (Red Album)