A sure sign that Old Man Time has sent a lot of calendars to the recycling bin is the appearance of staff picks compilations at local independent record stores. During the season when retrospective lists are seemingly being compiled for everything, lists of favorite records can actually be useful beyond inspiring heated debate among music nerds.
For store patrons, the lists can give examples of what other people have been listening to during the year, which, for the store featuring the list, hopefully means that patron will then go ahead and plunk down cash on the barrelhead. If you're planning to spend some Christmas card cash -- here's a wrap up of locations where some suggestions are ready and waiting. Be sure to call ahead, though, because hours can change around the holidays.
viewed online (PDF).
This year's overall most-picked album on the B-Side lists was Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion, which has been bestowed with "album of the year" honors by various critics seemingly since even before its release last January. Runners-up with six votes (out of 18 lists) were albums by The Flaming Lips and Grizzly Bear.
As always, B-Side's lists include a number of local releases. This year there were three picks each for The Mighty Lunge by His & Her Vanities and At the Gates by The Midwest Beat. Other records by local bands, or those with Madison connections, include releases by Archie Powell and the Exports, The Cave Weddings (featuring former Super Eights and Ric-Rac Attack drummer Nathan Meltz), Cougar, Former Ghosts, The Honey Slides, The Hussy, Icarus Himself, Squarewave and Zola Jesus. Appleton's Cory Chisel also appears on one list.
Exclusive Company viewed online. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix takes top honors on four lists, with the latest albums by Animal Collective, Neko Case, The Flaming Lips and Wilco making three.
508 State St.; 255-2433; Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Exclusive's staff lists just went up over the weekend, and are posted along one wall. However, I didn't see any in a handout form which I could peruse and compile, and the shop doesn't seem to have a website, so I'm not able to give much of a wrap up of what they contain. Head to the store and check them out!
viewed online. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix takes top honors on four lists, with the latest albums by Animal Collective, Neko Case, The Flaming Lips and Wilco making three.