Sam Champion

Top 50 Albums of 2008 [Picks 21-30]

by oz on December 17, 2008

We’re knee deep into the top 25 albums of 2008 and this batch features two bands from Alive Records – Left Lane Cruiser and Hacienda. The Rural Alberta Advantage was arguably our biggest surprise of the year, building buzz with nothing more than their music – no label, no publicist.‚ ‚  The Morning Benders and Sam Champion were both in our live session studio, so make sure to check out those tracks if you have a few extra seconds.

21. The Morning Benders – Talking Through Tin Cans (our review)

The Morning Benders

The Bay Area quartet have hints of The Beatles, a dash of Pet Sounds sound, and a little Zombies tossed in for good measure. Thankfully they don’t come off as cheap imitators and instead put forth an excellent effort. A good shot of melodic California pop.

The Morning Benders – Damnit Anna (Hear Ya Live Session version)

The Morning Benders – Waiting on a War (Hear Ya Live Session version)

Hear more from our live session with The Morning Benders.

22. Left Lane Cruiser – Bring Yo’ Ass To The Table (our review)

Left Lane Cruiser

Its filthy, but underneath the bluesy grime are two extraordinarily talented musicians.

Left Lane Cruiser – Wash It

23. Okkervil River – The Stand Ins

Okkervil River

A step down from The Stage Names, but that was to be expected. You’ll find a few gems – just not the transcendent album that its predecessor was. Okkervil’s b-sides are still good enough to land in the top 25.

Okkervil River – Lost Coastlines

24. Hacienda – Loud Is The Night (our review)


Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys produced this album and is preparing his solo tour with Hacienda as his backing band. Dr. Dog performs backing vocals on the album. It’s safe to say that they have the seal of approval from some of music’s finest.

Hacienda – She’s Got A Hold On Me

25. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns (our review)

Rural Alberta Advantage

Imagine Neutral Milk Hotel with the drummer from The National. Yes, its that good.

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Don’t Haunt This Place

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Frank AB

26. Silver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea

silver jews

David Berman continues to put wry, smart, and often humorous lyrics into his most musically ambitious and tightest effort to date.

Silver Jews – Strange Victory, Strange Defeat

27. Black Crowes – War Paint

Black Crowes Warpaint

The Robinson boys deliver their best album since Amorica. Maxim can fuck themselves.

Video: The Black Crowes – “Wounded Bird” on Letterman

28. Sam Champion – Heavenly Bender (our review)

Sam Champion Heavenly Bender

Rolling Stone described Sam Champion’s sound like Ryan Adams covering Pavement’s Wowee Zowee. Need I say more?

Sam Champion – Be Mine Everyone

Hear more tracks at our live session with Sam Champion.

29. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Self Titled (our review)

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

MBAR was homeless and strung out on drugs before cleaning up and focusing on music. The result is folk album with his signature lazy, organic vocal delivery.

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Buriedfed

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – The Debtor

30. Black Mountain – In The Future (our review)

Black Mountain

Best appreciated in a live setting, Black Mountain perform amazingly good psychedelic rock songs that either punch you in the face or get you in a slow groove.

Black Mountain – Tyrants


HearYa Live Session 31: Sam Champion

by Woody on October 16, 2008

Sam Champion’s newest album Heavenly Bender has been playing in my ears all summer, but after spending the better part of a Wednesday in studio listening to them bang out tunes from the same album, I have now a whole new appreciation for the band. In particular, “Lorraine” has become one of my favorite songs of the year.

In the tunes below and at their show at The Empty Bottle following the session, the boys added some new flavors to the tunes. I was in the studio with Shirk and my friend Jefe, and every time something new was added to familiar song, we’d mumble to each other, “oooh, that was cool,” or “oooh, I like that new thing they’re doing.” Hey, listen. We have a very simple relationship. Most of our talking is done through eye contact and grunts.

In a previous post, I said I wanted to be pals with the Brooklyn foursome. After the session I am sure of it. They play music without pretense. They’re just four dudes that kick out great tunes and have fun doing it. In talking with Noah (guitar/vocals) about the positive buzz the band has been receiving, he said it will be the next album that really takes them to the new next level, sort of like The Stage Names did for Okkervil River. That may be true, but why wait? Heavenly Bender is tremendous so hop on board the Sam Champion train early.

Shirk and I brought about 10 people with us to their show later that night. Most had never heard of Sam Champion, but all loved the show and walked away fans. Rarely when I leave a concert do I want to listen to that same band on the drive home. I just really can’t get enough of Sam Champion.

Exclusive: Sam Champion – Like a Secret

Exclusive: Sam Champion – Dead Moon

Exclusive: Sam Champion – Heavenly Bender

Exclusive: Sam Champion – Be Mine Everyone

Exclusive: Sam Champion – Lorraine

Coming up in future sessions: Dead Confederate, Gringo Star, The Everybodyfields, The Rumble Strips, and Ben Sollee.


I reviewed Sam Chamption’s Heavenly Bender back in June. Since then, it’s done nothing but get better and better. In anticipation of the September release, they have been putting out these short videos on YouTube. I have watched the first two of the four part series and have been left scratching my head. These guys are clowns (I mean that as the highest compliment) and I’m pretty sure I want to be pals with them.

Heavenly Bender is available on Amie Street for $3.00 for a limited time.‚  You’re crazy not to take that offer.

Sam Champion – Be Mine Everyone

Here’s the weird video series:

Part I


Part II


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