Songs unsung

Jon Whitney’s top five underrated releases of 2008
By SUSANNA BOLLE  |  November 18, 2008

A fest for the senses: The triumphant second coming of Brainwaves. By Susanna Bolle.
One of the hallmarks of Brainwashed over the years has been the very particular tastes of editor, Webmaster, DJ, and proverbial head cook and bottle washer Jon Whitney. Long-time Brainwashed contributor and current site co-editor Lucas Schleicher recalls that for a kid growing up in Missouri with few independent record shops or new-music venues nearby, Brainwashed functioned like that mythical, ultra-cool record-store clerk. “Brainwashed became one of my primary sources of information: the site always seemed to feature something in which I was interested.”

It wasn’t just the content that appealed, it was the form. There’s little poetry in a Brainwashed review, and that’s very much by design. Like Whitney himself, Brainwashed’s prose style is blunt, up-front, and sometimes painfully to the point. But he’s always passionate about what he likes — and that almost always strays from the well-beaten path.

Here are five of Whitney’s favorite releases — lightly annotated — that he feels haven’t gotten nearly enough love in 2008.

VIKKI JACKMAN | WHISPERING PAGES | Faraway Press | “Beautiful, serene piano works from this occasional Mirror collaborator.”

BOMB THE BASS | FUTURE CHAOS | K7 | “Bomb the Bass get amazing mileage from basically one piece of gear: a Minimoog. The best car-driving album of the year.”

BODUF SONGS | HOW SHADOWS CHASE THE BALANCE |Kranky | “Just because there’s acoustic guitar doesn’t mean it’s folk. The music is soaked in creepiness, Lovecraft-style, and is simply gorgeous.”

GRAILS | TAKE REFUGE IN CLEAN LIVING | Important | “Portland, Oregon’s Grails give fewer songs with more focus on each song’s construction and development, making for a brilliant experience.”

THE NEW YEAR | THE NEW YEAR | Touch and Go | “Something about the Kadane brothers’ knack for songcraft and instrumental arrangement makes me come back again and again and again.”

Related: A fest for the brain, Acoustic alchemy, 2008 Listravaganza!, More more >
  Topics: Music Features , Jon Whitney, Jon Whitney, Brainwashed
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   ASSAULT AND BATTERIES  |  February 20, 2009
    After a brief stint in Pittsburgh, guitarist and electronic musician GEOFF MULLEN is back in his native Rhode Island, and the New England music scene is so much the better for it.
  •   SO MUCH IN STORE  |  February 10, 2009
    Australia's the NECKS are the sort of band who thwart classification.
  •   A COMPROVISATIONAL WHAT?  |  February 02, 2009
    Local saxophonist and electronic-musician JORRIT DIJKSTRA combines a variety of styles ranging from jazz to electro-acoustic improv and noise to create his own emotive and often idiosyncratic music.
  •   WINTRY MIX  |  January 26, 2009
    There are so many interesting and unusual musical happenings this week, it's almost more than this little column can bear.
    Although composer JOHN CAGE is best known for 4'33" of silence, he could raise a ruckus when the mood struck.

 See all articles by: SUSANNA BOLLE