Listen Up!

Movie critics may already be worrying about a potential Crisis in Cinema, but music geeks, on the other hand, need not worry. If 2008 has not jumped off to the staggeringly good start of 2007, it’s already produced a couple of fine albums — or at least will in the next few weeks. The new Tapes N’ Tapes LP, Walk It Off, for example, is pretty much pitch(fork)-perfect blog-rock. I’ve never been too much of a fan before, but this vintage is excellent: Just a quick sniff in the glass gives whiffs of Bright Eyes, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Arcade Fire, and — just barely — Iron and Wine. I especially recommend the final track, The Dirty Dirty. (You can find their very sharp single, “Hang Them All,” online here).

Last year was an extraordinary good year for music, but even amongst all the greatness, Animal Collective rose to near the top of the pack for me. And if anything, their forthcoming EP, Water Curses, is even better: tighter where it needs to be, more certain of itself, more focused. The first track — also the best — has already hit the Hype Machine.

I’m still trying to figure out what I think of the Fork-promoted Beach House , but I saw Medications play for about 70 people at DC9 the other night, and their new stuff, which adds a bass clarinet to the rowdy, zig-zaggy guitar-driven mix, is fantastic. I really enjoyed their first album, but this is a huge step up.