In blogs past, I've hoisted upon my readers "best of" lists for all the records I bought that came out during the passing year. This year, I've purchased somewhere around 60 albums, only three of which came out in 2008 as original releases (that is, they're not re-issues; bought plenty of those!).
This is an indicator that I'm simply getting old, and that I'm not cut out to count myself among the hordes of 30-something music bloggers who giddily and in most cases precariously sound the trumpets for the next Clash or the new Lou Reed or whatever. I would never be so bold to make such statements, especially since I count the Velvet Underground and The Clash as inimitable, towering fixtures in the rock 'n roll canon that can never be touched.
Do I sound like your dad yet?
All the shows I've attended this year except for two have been to see bands who have regrouped or have been around for at least ten years. What are the kids listening to these days? Definitely not Camper Van Beethoven or Will Oldham or Gang of Four.
However, I do want to praise a relatively new practice in record buying that is actually consumer friendly(!). Over the past year and a half or so, record companies that produce vinyl have given those of us with our beloved turntables reasons to invest in mp3 players as well. In the past, I've had to grapple with the option of either buying the vinyl or the CD. I buy the vinyl because I have a decent stereo system that I take very good care of and in exchange, it continues to play kick ass music with the warmth and spaciousness that you can't get with a CD. But, of course, you can't play a record in the car or on a walk around town.
That's a big conundrum for someone who spends as much money on music as I do. But 2008 has been a year with increasing access to both formats for the price of one. Often, if you buy a new vinyl release, you get a download card so that you can have it in mp3 format as well.
That's love. That says, "Thanks for holding the vinyl torch high. We take a hit because it's expensive to make, but we dig it too and we like that you're spinning our wax at home. Here's a little something for buying our LP. Now you can listen to our tunes on your fucking ipod or whatever. Traitor. I mean, half-traitor. Gah!"
Fact or fiction?: the first band to have a download code with their LP release was Against Me!'s "New Wave." There's a bit of pop music trivia. I'd put it on the wikipedia page, but I don't know if it's true.
Anyway, I wholly endorse this practice and I hope to see more of it in 2009 and beyond. I'll be 40 in less than ten years. That's horrifying.
P.S. Check out Hayes Carll's "Trouble in Mind", Deer Tick's "War Elephant", Vampire Weekend's "Vampire Weekend" and The Courteeners' "St. Jude" for 2008. That's all I got. Really.