The Mae Shi headline the Beat Kitchen tonight. I can't speak for them as a live act, but they recorded two of my favorite songs of 2008: "The Lamb and the Lion" and "Young Marks." The former is probably my favorite song from last year. To me they sound like some combination of the Minutemen (short, virtuosic, literate songs), Jane's Addiction (just because the lead singer sounds like Perry Farrell), Parts & Labor (noisy, melodic electronics), and the Thermals (preoccupation with apocalyptic Christianity--the lead singer is a born-again Christian, IIRC*). HLLLYH is just a great album, and I can't imagine that a loud, transcendent quasi-dance-punk band wouldn't be a good live show.
Hedging my bets on other best songs of 2008, since I don't like to commit to that sort of thing: Charles Hamilton, "Windows Media Player" ("not feelin' how I explore / ALT+F4"); Marnie Stern, "Shea Stadium".
* Some interesting discussion of the band and HLLLYH vis a vis Christianity in the comments on Idolator. Indie Christian music is slowly becoming a pet interest of mine, and the best resource seems to be Just Pete, who runs the blog/podcast The Bored-Again Christian.
The Mae Shi, Yea Big + Kid Static, Post Honeymoon, 9:30 PM, 2100 W Belmont, $10.