Just as in the national releases, the local musicians here in Columbia, SC had a banner year for new music. The biggest trend, from my perspective, was the increasingly professional quality of the CDs from local artists–not just the few with some form of label support, but even the self-released product was of extremely high quality.
The other trend for me was the inclusion of almost all new artists on the list. There were a few ‘veteran’ acts, like American Gun, and solo projects from locals more commonly associated with full bands, but the overwhelming majority of the year’s best music came from rookies like punk upstarts You, Me, and Us. That’s a great sign for the overall health of the local scene, and hopefully it’s a trend that will continue to grow.
Top Local Releases of 2008
Nick Pagliari, Please and Thank You (PalagreenO)
A newcomer to Columbia, Pagliari’s prior experience shows on this tight package of alt-country and power pop tunes.
Hannah Miller, Into The Black (self-released)
The first full length release from this local songwriter combines her spiritual songwriting with some serious pop grooves courtesy of a pro Nashville production.
You, Me, and Us, Beer Can Rebellion (self-released): Punk rock the way it was meant to be—loud, proud, loose, and fast .
The Private Life Of David Reed, Misteps and Miscommunications (Chamberlain)
Former Closer front man’s first solo release, it tones down the band’s pop-rock formula and draws out the emotional core of Reed’s songwriting.
American Gun, The Means and the Machine
The best set of tunes yet from the pens of Donald Merckle and Todd Mathis, Columbia’s best one-two songwriting punch in a single band.
Toro Y Moi, My Touch (Fork and Spoon): One of three separate projects from Heist & the Accomplice member Chaz Bundick in 2008, it’s the loudest and spaciest, drawing Daft Punk comparisons with some funky, unpredictable electronic grooves.
Daylight Hours, How To Make a Mess of Things (self-released): Former Courage Riley front man David Adedokun covers a lot of emotional ground in this first ‘solo’ album; his tender vocals belie real hurt and pain in songs like “The Truth About Girls.”
Marry A Thief, I Am Dying To Outlive You (self-released)
Eric Skelton has an uncanny gift for marrying melody to lyrics that results in the kind of memorable songs on this too-short set.
Daniel Machado, Themes In American Friction (Self-released): Hands down one of the most ambitious rock albums to come out of Columbia in years, and it works beautifully.
Friendly Confines, Remember When ( self-released): I remember a year or so ago when I heard Rob Lindsey was looking for a full band to play with—this is what he found, a sympathetic, rootsy complement to his own unique songs.