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Andrew Bird

Now that 2008 is gone for good it is time to get excited about the new year. I know many people who have said that 2008 wasn’t a good year for music. To these people I say you are crazy. 2008 for me was an incredible year for music. But that is all behind us. We can now look ahead to what is to come.

Thanks to Pitchfork who has compiled a list of albums being released this winter, we now have a better idea of what is to come. And while I haven’t heard of many of the artists or bands on the list there were many that I did know. Here are just a few of the upcoming albums that I am dying to hear:

Andrew BirdNoble Beast (Jan 20)

Or, the WhaleLight Poles and Pines (Jan 20)

AC NewmanGet Guilty (Jan 20)

Of MontrealAn Eluardian Instance EP & Jon Brion Remix EP (Jan 27)

Strand of OaksLeave Ruin (Jan 27)

The Guggenheim GrottoHappy The Man (Jan 27)

Lonely DearDear John (Jan 27)

Antony & the JohnsonsCrying Light (Jan 29)

ZOMBISpirit Animal (Feb 3)

Lily AllenIt’s Not Me, It’s You (Feb 9)

Hot PandaVolcano…Bloody Volcano! (Feb 9)

MalajubeLabyrinthes (Feb 10)

BeirutMarch of the Zapotec (Feb 16)

M. WardHold Time (Feb 16)

Weird OwlEver The Silver Cord Be Loosed (Feb 16)

Maia HirasawaThough, I’m Just Me (Feb 16)

Charles SpearinThe Happiness Project (Feb 16)

MorrisseyYear of Refusal (Feb 16)

Canadian InvasionThree Cheers For The Invisible Hand (Feb 17)

The Boy Least Likely ToThe Law of the Playground (March 3)

Mirah(a)spera (March 10)

ArbouretumSong of the Pearl (March 10)

Bishop AllenGrr… (March 10)

The DecemberistsHazards of Love (March 24)

Great Lake SwimmersLost Channels (March 31)

Grizzly Bear’s new album (March)

MSTRKRFTFist of God (March)

MidlakeThe Courage of Others

Basia BulatTouch The Hem Of His Garment

AnnieDon’t Stop

Golden TriangleGolden Triangle

Sea WolfA Wolf At The Table

Mew’s new album

Imogen Heap’s new album

Mumford & Sons’ album

Camera Obscura’s new album

Akron/Family’s new album

Bell Orchestre’s new album

Doves’ new album

Metric’s new album

Just thinking about all of these upcoming albums is getting me really excited.

To celebrate the birth of new music here are some samples from upcoming albums from some of my favourite bands and artists.

Metric – Help I’m Alive (from upcoming LP)

Andrew Bird – Useless Creatures (Bonus Disc from upcoming album, Noble Beast)

click to listen

Lily Allen – The Fear (From upcoming album)

AC Newman – There May Be Ten or Twelve (from upcoming Get Guilty)

Canadian Invasion – Three Cheers for the Invisible Hand (from upcoming album)

What albums are you most excited to hear in the upcoming year? (oh boy I’m still rhyming)

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Written for the Yellow Bird Project:
December 1st, 2008 by themiddledistancerunner…

Well folks, the year is winding down once again. I feel like just a few months ago we were ringing in 2008, but the truth is that another year has passed us by. This will be my first post in a series of posts celebrating “The Best of 2008”. To start off the series, I’d like to talk about my favourite EPs of the year. There have been quite a few EPs released this year to keep us going while we await new full lengths from our favourite artists. Artists such as Andrew Bird, Final Fantasy, The Decemberists, Antony & the Johnsons, Animal Collective and Coldplay have all released EPs this year. Some have been better than others, but they have mostly been solid. So here is my list of the Best EPs of 2008:

5. Animal Collective – Water Curses EP

Starting out the list is Animal Collective’s Water Curses EP. The first two songs on the 4 song EP are amazing and the last two are just so so, but what makes this EP so special is the title track of the EP, “Water Curses”. This song is among my favourite all-time Animal Collective songs. They could have just put out the EP with this being the only song on it and I would still consider it a great success. I may be building this song up too much. You’re probably going to listen to it and be like…”Ok it’s not that good”. So forget what I just said. This EP is terrible. “Water Curses”? Awful, Awful song….

Animal Collective – Water Curses

Animal Collective Myspace

4. Andrew Bird – Soldier On EP

Next we have the brilliant multi-instrumentalist/whistler extraordinaire, who is back with this excellent little EP to tide us over until his next full length album, which will be entitled Noble Beasts and is slated for a January 27th, 2009 release. I have this feeling that nothing Andrew Bird puts his hands on can turn out bad. I have loved pretty much everything I have ever heard from him and this EP is no exception. “The Water Jet Cilice” is pure beauty in song. Check it out.

Andrew Bird – The Water Jet Cilice

Andrew Bird Myspace

3. Stars – Sad Robots EP

I absolutely love this EP. Stars have always brought the drama and this EP is no different. It is comprised of 5 new songs and a new live version of the Stars classic, “Going Going Gone”. I was also lucky enough to be able to see Stars perform some of the songs from this EP live in New York City a few months ago. I am really eager to hear what the next Stars album will sound like. I really hope it goes in the same direction as this excellent EP.

Stars – Undertow

Stars’ Myspace

2. The Decemberists – Always the Bridesmaid (A Singles Series) EPs

This is a series of 3 EP’s of odds and ends that obviously wouldn’t fit on the new album that the Decemberists are working on entitled Hazards of Love, which will be released in March 2009. Colin Meloy has always been a fan of the EP, releasing a number of them before this one, including his Colin Meloy SIngs series, in which he covered songs of Morrissey, Shirley Collins and Sam Cooke on three EPs. This series of EPs is quite spectacular if you ask me. I really like every song on them. My favourites would have to be “A Record Year” off of Volume 3, and the cover of the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Sticking With You” off of Volume 2. Valerie Plame is also a pretty awesome song. You can find that one of the first volume.

The Decemberists – Record Year

The Decemberists Myspace

1. Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant EP

And the winner is….of course! This one’s a shoo-in. Just an amazing EP from start to finish. “Mykonos” is still arguably my favourite Fleet Foxes song period. It looks like Fleet Foxes are going to clean up this year in most of the “Best of 2008” lists. Check in soon to see if they top the list of best song of the year, or best album of the year.

Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant

Fleet Foxes Myspace

Honorable mention goes to the Another World EP by Antony & the Johnsons, the Plays to Please EP by Final Fantasy, and the No Way Down EP by Air France.

So Fleet Foxes take best EP of the year…what a surprise. These guys are just amazing. I really hope they keep it up on whatever they decide to release next. The next thing I’m working on is my list of the top songs of the year. After that I will reveal my list of the top 20 albums of the year. It’s actually quite fun to look back and see what you really listened to a lot of during the year. You should do it too.

What are your favourite EPs of the year?

Until next week…

The Middle Distance Runner

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