- America: A History in Verse by Edward Sanders (Blake Route Press). An omnibus CD containing the first five (of nine) volumes of the Fugs' co-founder's' sweeping project, which reads like a warmer and more playful version of Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States.
- Northern Songs - Greg Davis and Chris Weisman (Autumn). A sympathetic mix of Davis's out-there field recordings, drones, and generally ethereal sensibility plus Weisman's deep grasp of Beatlemusik (with a major homespun Vermont DIY vibe). Both put out other great albums this year, too, especially Weisman's Tape Walk (on Davis's Autumn Records) and Davis's pretty much perfect live disc, Midpoint.
- Buddha Machine 2.0 (FM3). The pitch control makes all the difference, for synching with the drone in LaMonte Young's Dream House (to carry the vibe home) or the hum of passing traffic or the pitch of the rain... Like beat matching, but driftier.
- All Tomorrow's Parties. Though the gold-spangled belt I scored at the gift shop (and which kept my pants up all weekend) disintegrated during the Flaming Lips' closing set, ATP was all wowza, no filler. Mostly, I will remember the 11-hour Oneida jam, a rusty merry-go-round singing like a saw, and a signed poster of Lenny Schultz, the Bionic Chicken.
- "Stillness Is The Move" (Domino) + Dirty Projectors' general continued existence. Finally, some indie pop that's as weird and catchy and non-verse/chorus/strummy as what's on, uh, the other parts of the radio. (See also the Solange Knowles version of "Stillness.")
- "Bdaa!!!" 7-inch - Los Peyotes (Dirty Water). Wasn't sure if this was a new song or old (new, turns out), but it's just exactly stupid as the cover suggests. And
- Ducktails & Real Estate, a half-dozen cassettes, CD-Rs, and 7-inches. Boards of Canada meets lulling surf-vibes, in the case of the former. Hints of that plus actual tunes in the latter. Sort of what I've been waiting for, turns out.
- Popular Songs - Yo La Tengo (Matador).
- The Jazz Loft Project by Sam Stephenson (Knopf). An insane sifting of the recordings and photographs made by W. Eugene Smith at the Sixth Avenue loft he occupied in the '50s and '60s in the form of a magnificent 268-page art book.. Equally stunning scholarship, beauty, and history.
Check out other WFMU staffers' year end lists here.