Stay Positive

The end of any given year sees me scrambling to actually listen to all of the music I’ve acquired from emusic, Amoeba, friends’ flash-drives, etc. It’s a euphoric sort of overwhelming; there’s so much that I’ve only listened to once or not at all that I find myself getting up early on weekends just to listen to music.

Of course, now, I have a different sort of problem. Granted, 2008 is young yet, but I’ve heard precious little that I give a shit about this year. I’ve been furiously previewing album after album on emusic (where you can listen before you download, which is how I figured out that British Sea Power’s Do You Like Rock Music? is rock music the way James Taylor’s Mudslide Slim is Delta Blues) and the only thing that’s even remotely caught my interest is an advanced copy of the Los Campesinos! record. And even that ended up in my “Save for Later” pile while I try to decide if it’s just clever enough or pretentiously too clever. This is a real problem for me because I recently discovered that I fucking hate The Moldy Peaches – that too-cutely lo-fi “we’re so cool because we don’t give a shit” thing gets old fast. And I think Los Campesinos might just give a shit. But the jury is still out. And I digress.

There’s plenty of music I’m looking forward to in 2008, but at the moment, there’s nothing that new and exciting. I’m already hungry for a band that can do for me what The National did in 2007: catch my attention at first and then slowly and surely convince me that they’ve made an essential addition to my collection, a great album from start to finish. Just yesterday, in fact, I stopped cleaning when “Apartment Story” came up on Winamp because I had to (right that fucking minute!) figure out how to play it on guitar.

There was some awesome hip-hop in 2007 and there should be in ’08 from Atmosphere and Del the Funky Homosapien (Del’s new album drops in a week and I expect to have it the second it does); R.E.M. is releasing an album on April Fool’s day and I’m cautiously optimistic about it (even though I’m a die-hard R.E.M. fan, even I have to admit that Around the Sun was fucking weak); The Gutter Twins (w/ Mark Lanegan!), Stephen Malkmus, and My Morning Jacket are all releasing albums this year which I expect to make me very happy indeed.

And rumor has it that The Hold Steady (The Hold Fucking Steady to my friend Zac and I) will drop Stay Positive sometime this year. Words cannot contain my excitement about this. I have been accused at times of being something of a Hold Steady zealot, but look: it’s next to impossible to find a band that rocks as hard and writes as well as The Hold Steady. And if you find one, tell me about them, and I’ll tell you why they’re probably still not as awesome as Craig Finn & company.

Combine the aforementioned (potential) goodness with the fact that a candidate I actually fucking believe in might (just might, maybe, barring sneaky tricks, law suits, and all manner of shenanigans) actually get the nomination for the Democrats and 2008 looks like it could be a banner year. Sure as hell’s off to a slow start though.

I’m gonna go listen to those snippets from Los Campesinos! again.

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