The collaboration between Trembling Bells and Bonnie "Prince" Billy is peopled with underwear-clad angels, sinister demons, Johnnie Walker, Merge Haggard, the Grim Reaper, ruined livers and dead anniversary flowers. It sounds dour, sure, but beyond that, the record is damn fun.
Jeff Mangum, Yo La Tengo, Will Oldham, Stephin Merritt, the Mountain Goats, the late Jay Reatard, and dozens more pay tribute to one of the best songwriters no one has ever heard of -- and what a joy it is to listen to.
The most remarkable films of 2008 were small, smart, and complicated. While they're surely worth seeking out for their own pleasures, they also represent the sort of movies that will find theatrical releases even harder to manage in the shrinking economy.
With many indie/international films receiving more and more mainstream approval from unfamiliar audiences, many of the titles here could be considered part of the overall 2008 Best Of. But their individuality and multicultural appeal keep them a quality concept apart.
Twenty talented ladies, 20 performances worthy of multiple little gold men. Unfortunately, as in all years, someone has to come out on top. But after looking over this impressive list, picking the preeminent turn of 2008 seems almost impossible.