21. The Week That Was – S/T
Peter Brewis has always done interesting things with his band Field Music, but the leap forward he takes on this new project makes his other band pale in comparison. This group of 8 tracks from his project The Week That Was, which also features his brother David, and several others (TWTW is a 9 piece band) pushing the pop music envelope.
20. Deerhunter - Microcastle
I’m late to the Deerhunter party, but this album was an undeniable gem. While I have felt annoyed at times by their previous stuff, the early Sonic Youth qualities of this album and the absolute jam that is “Nothing Ever Happened” help it just make my list.
19. Lightspeed Champion – Falling Off the Lavender Bridge
Who knew anything this great could come out of Test Icicles, Devonte Hynes previous band. Dev has the vocal chords of an opera singer and looks like a video game junkie but manages to find a great balance on this debut solo album.
18. Blitzen Trapper – Furr
Somewhere in the great USA, Neil Young and Crazy Horse are jealous, because Blitzen Trapper just made an album that any southern rocker should be envious of. Their sophomore album brings them to full on roots rock status and I like it.
17. Hot Chip – Made In The Dark
The crown for best electro dance pop band was up for grabs in 2008 and no surprise Hot Chip are the champs. It is really not just a couple great tunes, but a collection of dance party hits. And you know I love the hits.
16. The Last Shadow Puppets – My Mistakes Were Made For You
Alex Turner(Arctic Monkeys) and Miles Kane (The Rascals) don’t consider The Last Shadow Puppets anything more than a side venture at this point, but for my money, this album is as good as anything their main projects have released.
15. Beck – Modern Guilt
It’s not that I did not like The Information, but its more like I wish Beck had made an album more like this at that time. It took some help from Danger Mouse behind the decks, but Modern Guilt lives up to the hype and shows Beck is still at the top of his game.
14. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – S/T
Young, unpolished and unproven are all things that describe MBAR. Another description could be brilliant as his debut (which was released thanks to Kyp Malone of TVOTR and Chris Bear of Grizzly Bear) continues to leave me wanting more. His Dylanesque croon and heartfelt lyrics remind me why I love folk singers.
13. Thao Nguyen – We Brave Bee Stings And All
I heard this record in January and knew it would land on my top 20 at the end of the year. Thao Ngyuen made an album that veteran contemporaries like Cat Power and Jenny Lewis should have made.
12. The Notwist – The Devil, You + Me
It seems like forever since Neon Golden, the 2002 album from this German group and lots of times that leaves expectations unreasonably high. However, this slow burner of an album kept me interested and will stand the test of time.
11. Horse Feathers – House With No Home
The Portland duo’s KRS debut and second album overall came out of nowhere in 2008. The hushed tones of Justin Ringle vocal over the delicate instrumention and strings of his band and these songs makes for an amazing listen in the morning, and even better listen on vinyl.
10. The Dears – Missiles
This album had everything you could ask for if you wanted failure. A band in turmoil, the 3rd label in as many albums, and the sounds of their Brit-pop past withering. The result? My favorite Dears album to date, with 4 opening songs that might be the best out of the gate on this list.
9. The Walkmen – You & Me
After two listens to You & Me, I wondered what was wrong with me because I did not get it. For some reason I gave it two more passes and it just clicked. The batch of slow burning achy ballads makes it the best Walkmen album since their debut.
8. Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
Elbow usually comes across as a ‘singles’ band for me, which is fine, but The Seldom Seen Kid had way more staying power. The sheer beauty of songs like “Mirrorball” and “Someday Like This” combined with the foot stomping gem that is “Grounds For Divorce” make this a solid top 10 choice.
7. Sigur Ros – MeÃ° suÃ° Ã eyrum viÃ° spilum endalaust
Their most upbeat and accessible album to date was the perfect progression for an already incredible band. The more upbeat stuff was great the long atmospheric side of the band was present as well on such epic tunes as “Festival”, which clocks in at a very Sigur Rosish 8 minutes plus.
6. M83 – Saturdays = Youth
Not at all what I was expecting form Anthony Gonzalez as he released an album so thick with 1980s nostalgia (album cover included) and I felt like part of the Breakfast Club after listening.
5. Fleet Foxes – S/T
For those My Morning Jacket fans that felt the band stepped away from their beginnings, Fleet Foxes was there to provide the appropriate safety net. Their soft and nearly flawless harmonies were an obvious winner for me and loads of others this year. Don’t be turned off by the massive amount of lists you see this album on this year, it’s warranted.
4. Bon Iver – For Emma Forever Ago
Getting an official release this year makes it a no-brainer to give Justin Vernon top 5 billing in 2008. I just cannot stop listening to this record, no matter how hard I try to. For Emma is almost too simple at first but builds into a briliant piece of music from start to finish.
3. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges
Count me as one of the early MMJ fans that stayed on board for this record which saw Jim James discovering his inner Prince. The full progression which we saw half of on Z was realized on Evil Urges and it made for an excellent all around album. I even loved tunes like “Highly Suspicious”, which raised lots of eyebrows.
2. Foals – Antidotes
Best debut album of the year and nearly the best album overall came from Foals, whos Sub Pop debut Antidotes caught me right away. However it was their energetic live show that put things over the top for me, as they took an early day side stage at Lollapalooza and turned it into an absolute party.
1. TV On The Radio – Dear Science
This will end up on the top of several top albums list this year and justifiably so, TV On The Radio have a sound that right now nobody can match and this album took me from casual fan to dedicated. The songs that are excellent are so many its hard to mention just a few, but “Golden Age” does it for me every time.