Matheson Kamin’s Top 10 For 2008

Matheson Kamin’s Top 10 For 2008

thumbs_upAs I listen to a lot of different types of rock music, my list of the best albums from 2008 contains many different styles of rock. The list includes the albums that I consider the best that I have heard this year:

1 Lemuria- “Get Better” It is an all-too-rare a treat to find an album that speaks to you so loudly that it makes you instantly fall in love with it. An album that has that type of power contains that special something that makes you want to listen to it over and over again. Usually when you happen to find that kind of album, it moves everything else down the list and immediately becomes your favorite album. The album that just recently shifted every other album down the list for me is Get Better, the current release from the band Lemuria.

2 Backyard Tire Fire- “The Places We Lived” Every once in a while, it is good to find a band that is focused on making straight-out Rock-N-Roll. Bloomington, Illinois band Backyard Tire Fire is one such band that is focused on making that good, old-fashioned rock music. With The Places We Lived, Backyard Tire Fire has produced one of the finest albums released in 2008. In my opinion, you need to check the album out for yourself and see if you agree with me.

3 Winslow- “Crazy Kind of Love” There are several ways of dealing with your past: You can run from it, deny it, accept it and move on, or you can learn from it and let it help shape your future. That is just what Kent, OH band Winslow has done with the time the band spent as a cover band that played soul music. It was this time that helped shape the band’s ability to write original soul music. If you are a fan of soul music, this is one album you must check out. The time spent listening to Winslow’s album of Crazy Kind of Love will be well worth it.

4 Red Wanting Blue- “These Magnificent Miles” Red Wanting Blue recently released their eighth release. That album, These Magnificent Miles, is everything their fans were hoping for. With the band’s distinct rock style and singer Scott Terry’s vocal delivery style, this is a release that ended up being worth the wait.You can almost feel the movement of the earth while listening to These Magnificent Miles, like the writing process of the album took place while the band was out on tour. The songs seem to have a recurring theme of ‘traveling’ running through them: “Where You Wanna Go is about needing a change of scenery, “You Are My Las Vegas is a tribute to one of their favorite destinations, “U.S. Bumper Sticker is about having been out on the road for so long, the band begins to feel like they are part of the country, and “Gravity is about not floating off into the cosmos. The packaging for Red Wanting Blue’s These Magnificent Miles album even comes complete with little reminders of places the band has visited while on the road.

5 Walk The Moon- “The Anthem EP” In the music industry, trends come and go. 30 years ago or so, from about 1977 to about 1981, there was a trend in music where bands were putting out what I would call “orchestrated rock,” rock music that came complete with string arrangements. Groups as famous as Queen and bands lost in time such as New England released albums that contained “orchestrated rock.” During this time period, there was no shortage of this type of music. Hopefully, in a little while, Walk The Moon will make it big. But right now, the band is making a name for itself with the Anthem EP.

6 Stever- “Playground Isolator” There comes a point when you might decide you want to change your direction. Musician Karen Stever had reached that point and decided to change the direction she was heading in. She was ready to do something different. Stever, with a lot of help from Frank Gryner, has made a release in Playground Isolator that could easily end up in your favorite albums of 2008.

7 Vary Lumar- “Waiting Room” Vary Lumar is a quartet of musicians from Boston, Massachusetts. As the band has said, the most important thing to know about the music is that the band has various influences that show up in their songs, which helps create the varying styles that show up in the band’s rock music. Vary Lumar is a band that needs to be discovered. And the band’s album, Waiting Room, needs to be heard.

8 The Brakes- “Tale of Two Cities” When you go to record an album, you must look at your strengths and decide what would best represent your sound and music. The Philadelphia band The Brakes decided that for their Hyena Records debut, they would take the unusual step of recording the album live in concert. The album that resulted from live recording is entitled Tale of Two Cities. If you are looking for a good rock album by some talented musicians, The Brakes’ Tale of Two Cities is an album you should really check out.

9 BMZ- “Live at The Winchester” Cleveland band BMZ came together as a group because the members of the band were all looking to do something musically and had nowhere to turn to fill that desire. With Jim Bacha on bass guitar and vocals, Michael Misiak on drums and vocals, and Jerry Zsigo on guitar and vocals, the musicians have created a solid rock band. The band decided to take their best material and attack the songs in a live setting and record the resulting show for future release. That resulting show took place on March 10th, 2007 at the Cleveland, Ohio concert venue, The Winchester. The band has taken the recorded show and put it out on a double CD album, entitled BMZ Live at The Winchester. If you like power rock, this album from BMZ is a MUST for your music collection. This is not only a great live album, it’s a great album all the way around.

10 American Werewolves- “The Lonely Ones” With most of the punk rock music out there today sounding more like alternative than punk rock, it is always a nice change of pace when you come across a band that has made a vow to stay true to the spirit of bands like The Misfits. One such band that is creating punk rock that sounds like punk rock is Cleveland, Ohio’s American Werewolves. And while the band incorporates some hardcore and doo-wop into their current sound, the feeling and spirit of real punk rock is still more than evident in their music. But with hardcore and doo-wop incorporated in their music, American Werewolves have a sound that is theirs and theirs alone. If you are a fan of real punk rock, American Werewolves’ new release The Lonely Ones is one of album you must experience. Let the band’s combination of punk rock, hardcore, doo-wop, and horror themes make a believer out of you that there is still real punk rock being created by bands in the 21st century.



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