Best of 2008: Toshi Reagon, VV Brown, The Thirst, Amplive, The Dears, Seun Kuti, Marla Turner + more!

I think this is going to wrap up the Best of releases lists for 2008.  Thanks all who participated.  Looking forward to catching up on some of these releases and to hearing what's coming in 2009.

Maureen Mahon, Brooklyn, NY, Visiting Associate Professor of Music, NYU

The Dirtbombs, We Have You Surrounded
Gnarls Barkley, The Odd Couple
Passing Strange, Original Cast Recording
Toshi Reagon, Until We’re Done
Santogold, Santogold
Tricky, Knowle West Boy
TV on the Radio, Dear Science

Jon Cropper, NYC, global gent

Kenna – Make Sure They See My Face

Bryan Edwards, Brooklyn, NY, Promoter

VV Brown – Crying Blood, 7'' vinyl single -
Olympus Mons – "Nothing's gonna soil my day today", CD Full length
Champagne Champagne – Champagne Champagne -
The Dears – "Missles", CD Full Length -
Fear Nuttin Band – "Yardcore", CD full length –
P.O.S. – "Goodbye", I-tunes download single -
The Thirst – "On The Brink", Full Length –
Invasion – "Moongazer", 7" Vinyl ep
George Lewis Jr – "Hold Me", CD ep -
New Bloods – "The secret life", CD Full length - 
Peekaboo Theory - "Sy~3nc3 & Pr0gr@m5" , Artist snocap download and Itunes download
Power Douglas – "Power Douglas"

George Kelly, East Bay, CA, blipster.info

George offer his list of Best Black rock moments of 2008:

Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple
Santogold – Santogold
TV on the Radio – Dear Science
Black Kids – Partie Traumatic
Jay-Z at the Glastonbury Festival – Prospekt's March EP
Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
Tunde Adebimpe in Rachel Getting Married
Bloc Party – Intimacy
Kanye West – “Street Lights” from 808 & Heartbreak
Seun Kuti & Fela's Egypt 80 – Seun Kuti & Fela's Egypt 80
The Dears – Missles
The Roots – “Singing Man” and “Criminal” from Rising Down
Fresh Cherries from Yakima
Apollo Heights – Everlasting Gobstopper and Babytalkk EP
(check out the videos he's pulled here)

Onedrop, Brooklyn, NYfine artist – art director – designer – writer

cody chesnuTT – Afrobama (single) 
saul williams - The Inevitable Rise And Liberation Of NiggyTardust!
janelle monaé -  Metropolis: The Chase Suite
tv on the radio – dear science
santogold – santogold
the roots – rising down
roots manuva – slime and reason
keziah jones – nigerian wood
grace jones – hurricane
tricky – knowle west boy
erykah badu- New Amerykah Part One (4th World War)
jay electronica - FWMJ & Jay Electronica present Scratches & Demo Tape Volume I

Boston Fielder, Harlem, NY, Musician and curator, URB Alt

Forbes Graham:  Blackstarships Executing Spacefold Operations (single).
Avant Garde Jazz Trumpet, Death Metal, Classical and Electronics come together to generate a soundtrack to found footage of black extra-terrestrials building the pyramids.

Mills: Jade(single), My Nice(single) and Dog Year(single).
Every once in a while I hear an artist that makes me shake my head in the face of obscurity. Why is Mills not a sensation on par with IMO far less talented electronic artists?  Personal choice?  Timing?  Perhaps we'll find out in 09.

Oh My Goodness:  Money(single) and Bubblebath(single).
This multi-instrumentalist sister knows how to craft a song that laughs at heartache and cries in the face of superficial joy.  Once her live show comes together consistently I suggest mughs look the hell out.

AuntKeKe: Without You(single).
Cheating here because AuntKeKe is still recording the single but I saw her throw down on this live at URB ALT @ CMJ.  I was so moved that I actually got off my butt and cut the video.  lol

Enemy Earth:  The Bull from the Sea(album/DVD).
A very unique experience in that the 5 track CD feels at parts like "On the Corner" era Miles Davis.  The tipping point is that the DVD features the album accompanied by video of incredible sand art by Vervue.  Really an interesting use of 28 minutes of your life.

Monika H. Band:  Disguised As Umbrellas We Slept(album).
Music.

Marla Turner: No Longer Human(album).
This mugh does more with her voice and a one string guitar than the large majority does with a full band and blown out Protools HD suite at their disposal.  Marla is out of the Wax Poetics camp but her personal music is way raw.

Dearling Physique: Impressions of the Night(single).
Composer and Lead Singer Dominic is fast becoming one of my favorites.  All of his songs have something face-skrunching about them that makes me happy.

The Nocturnes: A Year of Spring(album).
An LA based duo that displays a Tori Amos, Sonic Youth and Sprinkle influence.  The Nocturnes album really moves me because it has strong songs, stripped down production and high quality musicianship.  Emma's voice is also very ill.

Rob Fields, Brooklyn, your host

TV On The Radio–"Dear Science".  See DLZ and Love Dog
Passing Strange original cast recording.  A great show full of music that shines light on our humanity.
Gnarls Barkley–"The Odd Couple".  I can't think of a more introspective, and in some ways, existential album put out by a Black artist
Saul Williams–"The Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust". Hard-hitting and truth-telling, especially "Raised to be Lowered".
BLK JKS–"Mystery" (EP)
Amplive – “Rainydayz” (Radiohead remixes)

Honorable mentions
Chewing Pics–"Tarantula" (EP)
California King–"Whalerider" from their album "Adoration of the Boogie Bear"
The Cesarz–”All Hail”.  Kokayi plays all the positions here, and it sounds pretty damn good.
Stephanie McKay–”Kinky” and “Sure Feels Good” from the album “Tell It Like It Is”
Tenderhead – “Tether” from the album “Ooze”
The Knux–"Remind Me in 3 Days…" Just a lot of f
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  • http://www.myspace.com/soulfeast soulfeastmusic@gmail.com

    I agree with you Boston. Jeff Mills should be known and be performing in NYC more than last years performance and signing at DOpeJams.

  • http://www.htdstudio.net HD

    Whoops, fell for the identity music lure. Gotta to give props to Knarls (however LATE) for one powerful joint they put out with ‘The Odd Couple’ (WoW.) Also, big props to N.E.R.D. for ‘Seeing Sounds’; tight, mature production with that distinct Cali feel. Rock on…