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Rockin' Our Turntable: The Best Local Music of 2008 According to Lizz Kannenberg

By Lizz Kannenberg in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 23, 2008 6:20PM

Oh, Chicago...thank you for giving us two of America's most eye-catching and compelling political stories from 2008, one spectacular baseball playoff collapse, a glorious summer (met by an unusually nasty, early winter) and a cache of talented local artists to comb through. Without further ado:

1. The Interiors
2008_12_interiors.jpgThe Interiors
It’s been a while since Chicago produced a great guitar rock band, until now. The Interiors are a trio of slackers-come-serious students of rhythm’s effects on dissonant melody and self-searching counter melody, and interest in their fascinating brand of shoegaze, 60’s garage pop, and whiteboy reggae is on the verge of piquing.

2. Joe Pug
2008_12_pug.jpgNation of Heat EP

A grainy delivery and smart, mature melodies may initially turn the critical spotlight on Nation of Heat, but it's Pug's impressive lyrical turn of phrase that'll keep this record viable and potent for years to come.

3. Tom Schraeder & His Ego
Lying Through Dinner EP

2008_12_schraeder.jpgIn just under two years, Tom Schraeder has gone from playing only the dives he bartended at to rocking CMJ and Lollapalooza before he’d released a record, garnering critical acclaim from just about every publication in Chicago, and being invited to play at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Now that he’s solidified his rock-solid band and realized some of the potential of his voice, the precocious heartbreak of LTD is finally coming to life.

4. Fall Out Boy
2008_12_fob2.jpgFolie à Deux

Vocalist and primary arranger Patrick Stump is one mature 24-year-old, and both his attention to pop theory and his impressive pipes are more centrally displayed than on any other FOB effort. The result is a decidedly non-emo record that will appeal to curmudgeonly critics and casual rock fans alike.

5. Dianogah

The Chicago post-rockers’ fourth full-length displays a newfound attitude towards the heavily layered, melodic drive that’s defined the band for the bulk of its 13-year career. The usual propensity towards oscillating rhythms and challenging composition has given way to playful experimentation with vocals and additional instrumentation.

6. The Poison Arrows
2008_12_poison.jpgCasual Wave EP

This hometown trio follows firmly in the post-rock steps of Touch & Go alums like Girls Against Boys, and their 2008 effort combines thick, dirge-like cough syrup pounding with elements of shoegaze and orchestrated pop.

7. Big Science
The Coast of Nowhere EP

bigscience.jpgMinimalist late 80s post-rock (think Replacements, Pixes, etc.) meets power pop and the occasional college quirk rock. In a retrospective version of Our Band Could Be Your Life, these guys would have a chapter.

8. Inchworm
Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing
2008_12_inchworm.jpgPlenty of warm tones and meandering, heartland rock with pretty, calculated swells of melodic interplay define these club scene vets’ ’08 offering. Saloon piano-driven marches of dusty, stomping minor key troubadouridry, and summer’s day harmony-laden treats of sweet, ’60s inspired pop.