Let the controversy begin: 2008 Top-20/Next-15 preview; Heartless Bastards tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 6:51 pm November 18, 2008

There’s a good reason why I’m showing you this list a day before the actual Reader Top-20 List is released and in print. Every year I usually write a companion column about how stupid and unnecessary “best of” lists are, while at the same time saying that they can be fun if you don’t take them seriously (which is hard to do if your band didn’t make the list). Here and here are the past examples of that column.

This year I didn’t write a column/comment about the list because: 1) I dedicated this week’s column to two CD release shows going on Saturday and next Wednesday, 2) I killed myself this weekend writing the “guitars” cover story along with a handful of band profiles, and 3) I didn’t think I could improve on what I’ve already said about lists — they piss off more people than they please, they’re also dreadfully entertaining and generate heated discussions. Certainly that was the case when The Reader writers got together and hammered out the list this year (and every year). I know there are bands on the final Reader list that I don’t agree with, but ultimately it’s all about the art of compromise (plus, I know I can print my own list on this site).

Keep in mind that “Top 20” means something different to everyone. To me, it’s the 20 most significant and/or “important” local bands performing in Omaha over the past year, not necessarily the bands that I like the most or think are the best (though most of them are). This year, The Reader switched things up and made “the next 15” the bands to “watch for in 2009.” That’s not how I approached it, however, so my next 15 are the ones that didn’t make it into the Top 20.

So in the spirit of disclosure, here it is, in alphabetical order. Again, THIS IS NOT THE OFFICIAL READER TOP 20 LIST; this is what I submitted as my list:

The Top 20

Brad Hoshaw
Brimstone Howl
Conor Oberst
The Faint
Filter Kings
For Against
Flowers Forever
The Good Life
McCarthy Trenching
Midwest Dilemma
The Monroes
Neva Dinova
The Show Is the Rainbow
Son Ambulance
Thunder Power
Tilly and the Wall
The Whipkey Three

The Next 15

Black Squirrels
Box Elders
Little Brazil
Mal Madrigal
Outlaw Con Bandana
Perry H. Matthews
Sarah Benck and the Robbers
Satchel Grande
The Shanks
Shiver, Shiver
Simon Joyner
The Stay Awake
Talkin’ Mountain

I’ll probably post The Reader‘s list tomorrow, and you can see how much we differed. It wasn’t by much.


A couple shows are going on tonight that may be of interest to you. At The Waiting Room Fat Possum Records band The Heartless Bastards (from Cincinnati) are playing with The Whipkey Three. $10, 9 p.m. Meanwhile, down at Slowdown Jr., Brooklyn band The End of the World is playing with Jake Bellows (Neva Dinova). $7, 9 p.m.

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