List week rolls on today with some great lists from our contributors. Each Note Secure got some great contributions this week from a handful of people, and a couple of those folks have been kind enough to provide their favorite albums of 2008 below. Enjoy!
1. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
Jim James and company release their most diverse, eclectic bunch of songs yet, and are rewarded by having their best year, in terms of their ever-growing, cult fanbase and a spot at Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve. Wait, did I just say that? MMJ at MSG? On New Year’s? Wow.
2. TV on the Radio – Dear Science
A perfectly crafted, artful update of the funk and soul music that artists were so adept at creating in the late 70s, done right by a group of modern-day, Brooklyn-based musicians. At this point, TV on the Radio truly carries the torch for modern musical exploration and innovation.
3. The War on Drugs – Wagonwheel Blues
My favorite debut of the year comes not from Fleet Foxes or Vampire Weekend (both great in their own right), but this Philadelphia group. In a year where the influence of Dylan exploded onto the indie-scene, Wagonwheel Blues was the best combination of his Americana with grand musical soundscapes.
4. The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
The Hold Steady produced another fist-pumping, beer-drinking collection of anthems. They truly have evolved into America’s new E Street Band, and with that elite company, how could these guys go wrong?
5. Girl Talk – Feed The Animals
Everyone’s favorite party-starter offered a follow-up as phenomenal as his breakout. Pushing legal boundaries like no other artist, Gillis has created a second masterpiece of perfectly mashed popular music.
6. Blitzen Trapper – Furr
The second of three Dylan revivalists in my Top 10, Blitzen Trapper’s Furr has flown unfortunately under the radar this year, but certainly was one of my most played records of the Fall. Adding eccentric quirks and curveballs to traditional folk music, this band deserves a much wider audience than the one to which they’re accustomed.
7. Portishead – Third
The much-heralded return of this British trio saw a musical leap forward, as the trip-hop days of the late 90s are now behind them. Beth Gibbons vocals are as haunting and gorgeous as they were a decade ago, and Geoff Barrow and Adrian Utley continue to push music to new heights and in directions we have yet to realize.
8. The Walkmen – You & Me
On You & Me, The Walkmen have grown completely comfortable with the space they occupy in the modern musical landscape. Hamilton Leithauser’s guttural vocals shine like never before established on record. This record was the grower of the year for me, with every repeated listen unfolding a new nuance or complexity.
9. Wolf Parade – At Mount Zoomer
This is no Apologies to the Queen Mary, but At Mount Zoomer stands on its own as a wonderful piece of musical affluence. While not as cohesive as their past work, both Boeckner and Krug have grown more confident in their songwriting abilities, making this anything but a letdown of a sophomore effort.
10. Beck – Modern Guilt
After a slight misstep with 2006′s The Information, Beck reached out to Danger Mouse to co-produce this year’s experimental effort, with fantastic results. Underpinning influences of British psychedelia flow through the album, in no small part due to Danger Mouse’s British obsession, and Beck creates songs that fit perfectly into that format.
Peter Adams – I Woke With Planets In My Face
Planets is a lush, beautiful album that channels the organic simplicity of Neutral Milk Hotel with the Eastern European sounds of Beirut. The only drawback to listening to the album may be the overwhelming jealousy when I remember that Peter single-handedly recorded every instrument on the album.
The Dodos – Visiter
I think I was drawn to this album after I heard â€œFoolsâ€ because it sounded like something off Animal Collectiveâ€™s album, Sung Tongs. The rest of the album is equally interesting.. My favorite song changes every time I listen to the album (right now, Iâ€™m stuck on â€œWalkingâ€).
Sigur RÃ³s – Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust
A friend told me that the only time he ever cried listening to music was when he saw Sigur RÃ³s live. As a firm believer in the philosophy that anything Sigur RÃ³s creates is aural perfection, I think I just nodded empathetically.
Ra Ra Riot – The Rhumb Line
Ra Ra Riotâ€™s allure is in a combination of elements that separate them from the other indie buzz bands: the fusion of chamber pop (the band includes a cellist and violinist) and indie, their endless energy at live shows, and Wes Milesâ€™ distinctive voice.
On a side note, I think I was humming â€œToo Too Too Fastâ€ for a straight month.
Pomegranates – Everything Is Alive
Pomegranatesâ€™ full-length debut put the band in the spotlight they deserve. Their spastic energy from the Two Eyes EP is focused into a shoegaze-tinged indie pop album that reaffirms my confidence in the Cincinnati music scene.
M83 – Saturdays=Youth
If Ladytron recorded the soundtrack to a John Hughes film, it would most likely sound like Saturdays=Youth. Itâ€™s a major shift from M83â€™s previous albums, yet somehow the electronic meets new wave thing works without sounding like a novelty.
King Khan & The Shrines – The Supreme Genius ofâ€¦
Iâ€™m still beating myself up for missing King Khan at Pitchfork this summer. From what Iâ€™m told, the ridiculousness of his performance was rivaled only by Les Savy Fav.
The Kills – Midnight Boom
Can indie rock be described as sexy?
I donâ€™t care, Iâ€™m using it as anyway. Midnight Boom is sexy (see â€œCheap and Cheerfulâ€). Like Yeah Yeah Yeahs with a pulsing beat.
Ida Maria â€“ Fortress Round My Heart
I found myself playing this album a lot over the summerâ€¦but only if I was in my car with the stereo up and the windows down. Ida Mariaâ€™s sweet growl and catchy hooks (â€œI like you so much better when youâ€™re nakedâ€? How could you not love this song?) made this a great summer driving album.
Fleet Foxes – S/T
An ideal winter album. Beautiful and subtle, with a chamber folk element that appeals to fans of Grizzly Bear and Bon Iver. I could listen to â€œOliver Jamesâ€ over and over and never get tired of it.