5 Years/5 Songs: 2008

My 5 Years/5 Songs series, done to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of PHW’s existence, continues today with a look back at some of 2008’s lost gems.  In case you missed yesterday’s 2007 post where I explained all of this, what I’m doing is sharing 5 songs a day all week, with each day focusing on its corresponding year.  Yesterday it was 2007, today 2008, tomorrow, well, you get the picture.  As always, the point is discovering worthy music that may have been missed the first time around.  Now go get some:    

Tall Firs / So Messed Up

If “So Messed Up” recalls the more melodic end of the Sonic Youth spectrum, it ought to – it was released through Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label.   Tall Firs conjure up a stoned and slurred version of 90’s alt-rock on Too Old to Die Young, and “So Messed Up” updates the druggy nostalgia of Victoria Williams’ classic “Summer of Drugs” into an anthem for dudes whose summer hasn’t ended yet.

Gentlemen Jess & His Men / All I Need Tonight (Is You)

It looks like 2012 will finally see a follow up to Gentleman Jesse’s excellent debut LP, but until then just throw this endlessly melodic power-pop jam on repeat.

Forest Fire / Slow Motion

This song, from Forest Fire’s debut Survival, was one of my absolute favorite tunes of 2008.  I’ve described it in the past as what The Velvet Underground’s “Heroin” would sound like if it were cut in half and turned into a campfire sing-along. 

A.A. Bondy / Witness Blues

Bondy is one of the finest singer/songwriters working, and his debut, American Hearts, is full of magnetic folk/blues songs that draw you in and hold on tight.  “Witness Blues” – a hymn-like call to arms clearly written during the Bush administration – is worthy of any Dylan comparison you want to throw at it.

 

Bruce W. Derr / I’m Nobody Any Good

BWD is a Pennsylvania singer-songwriter who recently did a tour of duty with Philly’s Marah.  He’s also a sort of home recording savant, unleashing about a dozen albums from the comforts of his bedroom over the past decade and a half.  My favorite is The Time of Day, a collection of 10 tracks he recorded and mastered in one 24 hour stretch soon after kickin’ a drinking problem.  “I’m Nobody Any Good” kicks it off in fine freewheelin’ fashion.  A (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek self-loathing folk anthem, the song’s kind of the anti-“Feel Alright”, Steve Earle’s great re-statement of purpose after kicking off his demons.  As the song proves, Derr’s any good indeed. 

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