Sunday, December 28, 2008

top records of 2008

I believe this is the third year I have been doing this. I think this is pretty helpful for finding good music. I have asked a few of my music loving friends to give me their top 10 records for the year. the only rule was that the record had to be released in 2008. for last years list click here.

two notes: I'd love to add hyperlinks for you, but I don't have time, and you have google, so there. also, feel free to add commentary, or your own lists in the comments section.

my list first, then my friends (notice I am quick and to the point):

Brian T. Murphy

sun kil moon - april
foals - antidotes
ryan adams - cardinology
ray lamontagne - gossip in the grain
cut copy - in ghost colours
beck - modern guilt
sera cahoone - only as the day is long
jon foreman - summer
coldplay - viva la vida
red mountain chuch - silent night

*wanted to include the bon iver record but can't because I got it in 2007.

Clint Wells

1. Ryan Adams - Cardinology
I promise this was not my top record of the year just because it's Ryan Adams. It's the sound of the Cardinals growing and weaving together through beautiful landscapes of deep, dark awesomeness. Download Immediately: Crossed Out Name, Sink Ships, Evergreen.

2. Hot Chip - Made In The Dark
This is a dance/techno band from Europe (where else? sheesh) that actually have really GREAT pop songs hidden beneath their beautiful walls of electronic sounds. Download Immediately: Ready For the Floor (top song of the whole year), Shake A Fist.

3. Metallica - Death Magnetic
Um, the POWER is BACK!!! This is for anyone who misses the ...And Justice For All days mixed with a bit of Black Album and Load/ReLoad era. A happy record for those of us who have waited patiently for Metallica to remind the world that they are the seminal soul destroyers of metal goodness. Download Immediately: The End of the Line, That Was Just Your Life.

4. Counting Crows - Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings
The first half of this record rocks like no other Crows record. The second half is typical sweetness reminiscent of August and Everything After. Download Immediately: Sundays, Washington Square.

5. Coldplay - Viva La Vida or Death and all His Friends
This record has grown on me a lot. I know Coldplay is really uncool to like now...but when the hell did that happen? They are undeniable. Download Immediately: Lost (OMG, fucking amazing tune), 42.

6. Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
The first time I heard Grapevine Fires I nearly crapped my britches. Enough said. Download Immediately: Grapevine Fires.

7. Jon Black - Goodbye Golden Age
This record has some songs that have truly haunted me. Songs my soul has continued singing long after the record has ended. That means a lot to me and so does this collection of songs. Download Immediately: The Ghost of Elvis, Nothing But a Fire.

8. Al Green - Lay It Down
Surprisingly amazing record. Produced by ?uestlove. Sexy, tight, withheld. WAY behind the beat slow jams. A legend...and this record reminded me why. Download Immediately: Too Much

9. Ron Sexsmith - Exit Strategy of the Soul
What a sweetheart this guy is. Wow. LOVE his voice. LOVE his band. LOVE his tunes. Download Immediately: This Is How I Know, Thoughts and Prayers.

10. Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords
These songs are funny, sexy, surprisingly verbose, and of course, very smart. Download Immediately: Business Time, The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)

Alex Mason

1. Evil Urges - My Morning Jacket
2. Microcastle - Deer Hunter
3. Tha Carter 3 - Lil Wayne
4. Dear Scince - TV on the Radio
5. Hercules and Love Affair
6. Department of Eagles
7. Feed the Animals - Girl Talk
8. Dig Lazarus Dig - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
9. Fleet Foxes
10. Injustice Dance Party - East Buddha

Price Mason

Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago
The Walkmen- You & Me
Dennis Wilson- Pacific Ocean Blue (rereleased)
Deerhunter- Microcastle
Cut Copy- In Ghost Colours
Magnetic Fields- Distortion
Beach House- Devotion
Gza- Protools
Fleet Foxes- Fleet Foxes
Lil Wayne- Tha Carter III

Nicholas Fiedler

Phantom Planet, Raise The Dead
Death Cab, Narrow Stairs
Ray LaMontagne, Gossip in the Grain
Nine Inch Nails, The Slip
Coldplay, Viva La Vida
Flight of the Conchords, Flight of The Conchords
Jon Black, Goodbye Golden Age
Nick Lowe, Jesus of Cool
Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
Ben Folds, Way to normal

Benj Pocta

1. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
2. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
3. Ray LaMontagne - Gossip in the Grain
4. Sarah Jaffe - Even Born Again
5. Theater Fire - Matter & Light
6. Samamidon - All is Well

Jon Black

10. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
09. Hayes Carll - Trouble in Mind
08. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
07. Weezer - The Red Album
06. Ben Folds - Way to Normal
05. Aimee Mann - @#%&*! Smilers
04. The Whigs - Mission Control
03. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
02. Alejandro Escovedo - Real Animal
01. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
01. Jon Black - Goodbye Golden Age

Brad Lyons
In no particular order.

1. Ben Folds-Way to Normal
2. Gossip in the Grain-Ray LaMontagne
3. Narrow Stairs-Death Cab
4. Only By the Night-Kings of Leon
5. Cardinology-Ryan Adams & The Cardinals.
6. (*)For Emma, Forever Ago-Bon Iver
7. Fleet Foxes-Fleet Foxes
8. Viva la Vida-Coldplay
9. April-Sun Kil Moon
10. Beck-Modern Guilt

* Yes this album was released independently in '07, but the national release was '08. Cut me some slack.

Larry Holt

in no particular order:
Magnetic Fields, Distortion
American Music Club, The Golden Age
The Raveonettes, Lust Lust Lust
Sun Kil Moon, April
Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes
The Gutter Twins, Saturnalia
REM, Accelerate
Santogold, Santogold
Kanye West, 808s & Heartbreak
Guns N Roses, Chinese Democracy

(I thought that Bon Iver record sucked.)

Shawn Avery

top 10 (-5)

i tried to come up with 10 albums, or even 10 artists that i really liked this year and i failed. i don't buy music anymore, or seek out new music. i'm long gone from the hungry-hipster habit of buying several cd's a month. i've been buying albums for 25 years... eventually, you get sick of the search, although i'm greatful when a good song finds me, which luckily did happen this year.

modern music releases are ubiquitous these days. we no longer have to seek out music. it finds us. my favorite album this year was released by one of the biggest rock acts in history... for free... on no label.

tangibility is dead, and so goes with it any true application of the album as we know it. when juxtaposed with the year 1968 - with rock, folk and soul music exploding out in ten million directions, pollinating the entire planet or 1978 - with the gigantic genre shifts of punk, new wave, heavy metal and early hip-hop... 2008 shuttered at it's own cultural irrelevance, and scurried away to some dark cubicle underground.

even 2007 seems like a great year compared to this one. history is dead, but that isn't neccessarily a bad thing. here a 5 decent albums that i haven't even finished listening to yet, but probably deserve a nod. there was definitely more exciting art being made for the eyes than for the ears this year...

nine inch nails - the slip
mgmt - oracular spectacular
santogold - santogold
empire of the sun - walking on a dream
radiohead - in rainbows

Carla Jean Whitley

Cardinals, Cardinology
It's far from my favorite Ryan Adams, but like I said, this is the year of the fan girl.

Tristan Prettyman, Hello
I can't help but smile when I'm listening to Tristan. This was a perfect spring CD.

Peter Bradley Adams, Leavetaking
Apparently this was also the year of dark, moody CDs... And Birmingham folks. This list is disproportionately skewed toward the locals.

Matthew Mayfield, The Fire EP
I am really excited to see what's ahead for MM.

Act of Congress, Declaration
One of my favorite local bands, and even better live.

Sandra McCracken, Red Balloon
This is my favorite in years from Sandra.

Sam Phillips, Don't Do Anything
Again with the moody CDs... there are a few moments when the light breaks through, but the dark, moody feel makes it for me.

Red Mountain Music, Silent Night
What's a year without a Red Mountain CD on the top 10?

Tift Merritt, Another Country
This CD can fight its way into the top 10 on the strength of "Broken" alone.

Punch Brothers, Punch
I was prepared to be devastated by Nickel Creek's "hiatus." Then I heard Chris with these guys. I think I'll be OK.


My favorite album of 2008:

Portishead - Third
Sweet mother of mercy, this is a beautiful album. Like swimming across a lake at sunset. Seamless, thrilling, suspenseful, sensual, transcendent. Best listened to from one end to the other, in its entirety.

Honorable mentions:

My Brightest Diamond - A Thousand Shark's Teeth
Deerhunter - Microcastle
Beck - Modern Guilt
Pylon - Gyrate. This one actually came out like 30 years ago. But it's new to me. And this may just be what I've been missing all my life.

Brett Echerd

Foals - Antidotes
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Paper Route - Are We All Forgotten
Brooke Waggoner - Heal For The Honey
Red Mountain Music - Silent Night
Coldplay - Viva La Vida
Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
Sigur Ros - Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust
Weezer - The Red Album
Beck - Modern Guilt

George Edema

Coldplay - Viva...
Pretty good. I like the energy. I put this one in whenever I can't think of anything to put in.

Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
I really liked this album. It is unique sounding, and super catchy (which turned to annoying on one or two tracks).

Counting Crows - Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings
I was very disappointed with this one. Nothing stood out in a good way at all.

Juno - Soundtrack
Great compilation, Any soundtrack that has both a Kinks song and a Velvet Underground song is okay by me.
my retro pick for this year is Liz Phair's Whitechocolatespaceegg - cool voice, interesting delivery, super creative lyrics, and brilliant insight into the painful nuances of life.

Brian Barrett

I actually have 7 and they aren't all good:

1. "Cardinology" - Ryan Adams. "Easy Tiger" had lots of great hooks and singles - they grabbed you at first listen. "Cardinolgy" is a much more subtle album - and for some reason felt strange the first few listens with short songs and abrupt endings - but these songs are so incredibly solid and compete... yes - simple is usually more beautiful that complexity. And jumping out on a limb here: the Cardnials are the best touring band in the world right now.
2. "April" - Sun Kil Moon. Wow.
3. "Viva La Vida" - Coldplay. Chalk one up in the "redemption" category. "X&Y" - while it had some bright spots - was such a lame follow-up to "Rush of Blood" that I'd pretty much written Coldplay of as a creative entity. "Viva" flows well, sounds great and is full of nice elements (weird tag shifts on many songs). This one is a pleasure to listen to. Caveat: the videos for this album are less than creative, as was their extended SNL performance this fall.
4. "Narrow Stairs" - Death Cab for Cutie. Nice bass parts (guitars too).

Going to purchase with Christmas $. I've been streaming these and just haven't bought yet:
1. "Fleet Foxes" - Fleet Foxes. Kind of Autumn Defensey, Midlakey and Jim Jamesy...
2. "Volume One" - She & Him.

Disappointment of the year:
1. "Way to Normal" - Ben Folds. I have to say something about this one. Ben's last outing (2005's "Songs for Silverman") was a well crafted album & I enjoyed every track. It followed a year of 3 EP releases, also each full of great songs. I'm not sure what happened to Ben over the past 3 years but his muse must have skipped town. Do yourself a favor and skip this album.

Jeff Irwin

J. Tillman Vacilando Territory Blues
Mirah Location Temporary
Dawn Kinnard The Courtesy Fall
Peter Bradley Adams Leavetaking
Thad Cockrell To Be Loved
The Two Man Gentlemen Band Heavy Petting
Stephen Gordon Almond EP
Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago
Coldplay Viva La Vida
O'Death Broken Hymn, Limbs, and Skin

Chris Copeland (official winner of 2008 verbose awards)

I know you like it short but sweet Murph, but I like the commentary and Blogger gives you the space for free. I’ll try to keep it shorter than Jacob (from last year).

#10 Air France, No Way Down & The Deep Vibrations, Veracruz

A slight cheat here. Because these are EPs I am combining them as one album. These groups couldn’t be more different. Air France is techno pop and very enjoyable. The Deep Vibrations is southern rock (more like Ryan Adams than Lynard Skynard) and if Veracruzhad been a full-length record it might have cracked my top 3. These are very well conceived songs.

#9 The Joseph Arthur Cornucopia

Another cheat. Arthur got bit by the Ani DiFranco / Prince / Ryan Adams bug and released A LOT of music this year: 4 EPs before a full-length record in September. Unlike DiFranco though (a few absolutely killer five star songs and a few absolute throwaway one star spngs) these releases are all solid three and four star songs. Nothing mind blowing and nothing bad, just good music and a fun departure on the 2nd EP into psychedelic rock experimentation. The strongest songs actually come on the simple, first EP, Could We Survive.

#8 M83, Saturdays=Youth

The sugar cereal of my musical year. Tasty synth-pop straight out of a Molly Ringwald film; the final track is so ballsy-11 minutes of two synthesizer chords.

#7 Laura Gibson, If You Come to Greet Me

This record requires a certain mood or environment. They are sparse (most songs are just her vocal and a classical guitar) but pretty folk songs.

#6 MGMT, Oracular Spectacular

Is it possible to place an album in the top 10 on the strength of one song? If so, this could be it. The opening track, Time to Pretend, I just never want to stop playing. Good thing the rest of the album is excellent as well.

#5 The Black Keys, Attack & Release

The hard driving counter to Laura Gibson.

#4 David Byrne & Brian Eno; Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

Because of what he has accomplished with U2, Brian Eno is a producer of god-like proportions. But I recently listened to the Talking Heads album Remain in Light (which Eno prooduced with Byrne) for the first time and I thought it kind of sucked, despite it’s “seminal” status. I guess the 30 years in between was a good time of maturing, because this album has lost none of the experimental sounds and rhythms yet is so incredibly listenable. I bought this album on sale “just to see” and it has turned out to be one that stays on the iPod.

#3 TV on the Radio, Dear Science

A great example of a band taking a fantastic record (Return to Cookie Mountain from 2006) and tastefully improving upon it.

#2 Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago

Just plain awesome. Will become the cliché choice, but who gives a damn?

#1 Matthew Ryan, Matthew Ryan Vs. the Silver State

My favorite of the year. I wonder how this guy made 10 records before I heard of him. This one is so close to perfect I am scared to delve into the past ones. Doug Lancio (of Patty Griffin fame) played guitars and produced this with the same kind of Daniel Lanois / ethereal thing going on. The songwriting is solid, reminiscent of Ryan Adams, and the music is simple four chord progressions made awesome by the underplayed yet just right backing parts. Ryan’s voice is Dylanesque in that it is texturally bad but fits so well with the songs and he sings and writes his lyrics with the authority of someone who has put his time in.

Jacob Tubbs

I was thinking Dead Confederate was an EP, but it’s actually a full length. That album is the best full-length I heard all year, and it is solid start to finish, with only 2 tracks that lose focus, and detract from the whole.
Coldplay’s new one is close. I am still a big Coldplay fan, and I think that album is very good start to finish.

Lykke Li – Little Bit EP (the album doesn’t improve at all)
British Sea Power – Krankenhaus EP
Avett Bros – The Gleam EP
MGMT – Time to Pretend EP (Oracular Spectacular comes up short as an album)
We Were Promised Jetpacks – WWPJ EP (includes best song of the year: Quiet Little Voices)

Good albums on my aborted list:
Wax Fang – La La Land is a solid album, but has some pretty bizarre moments (1000 kazoo harmony part comes to mind)
Black Keys – Attack & Release has a few killer tracks and a bit of filler in between. Epic moments.
M83 – Saturdays = Youth is the same.
Kings of Leon – Because of the Times – same. 3 of my favorite tracks of the year, but some real crap mixed in.
Hold Steady – Stay Positive – same. Several great songs, the best guitar solo of the year, and a couple clunkers (including Navy Sheets, the worst song they’ve ever made).
Ryan Adams – Cardinology – one of the most listenable albums of the year, but not “great” in my mind. Some very good tracks on there though.


evan said...

I guess my poor record choices from years past resulted in my being left off the list of people to ask about top records of '08. I promise I'll do better! Give me another chance!

Cope talks too much

I love that Foals record.

Clint Wells said...

Dear Shawn Avery - I friggen love you.

That is all.

Oh except props to Brett for Brooke Waggonner. And props to Irwin for Thad Cockrell....sheesh what an amazing record. And props to *E* for abortions.

Robert said...

Evan = snubbed

You know, its hard to pick good records if they've only come out that year. My most listened to album this year was from 2002. Chances are none of the folks here have discovered the best of 2008 yet.

Maybe you could do a top 10 from 2000-2005 or something.

With that said (from 2008), I thought Watershed by Opeth was pretty dang good.

Zach said...

I'll have some good songs to download now.

I have to add this of the best I've heard, and it helps that it's from my favorite Artist:

Andrew Peterson - Resurrection Letters Vol II.
Best songs on the album: All Things New, Hosanna, The Good Confession

CK said...

Shawn - whatever, man.
(Just kidding. I'm with you, especially about this particular year anyway.)

Robert - um, exactly what are you insinuating?

Clint - I just listened to Hot Chip and they are awesome. Love it.

Sounds like I'll also have to check out Fleet Foxes, judging by their popularity with this particular stratum of music-loving folk.

I can't believe I missed the British Sea Power EP. Egads!

Jeff Irwin said...

Girl Talk has changed my life. It's like audio Red Bull.

The Echerds said...

there's some great music here. personally, though, i prefer to discover good music by connecting my ipod to other friend's computers and totally robbing them of their sweet tunes.

Brian T. Murphy said...

evander - your absence is unintentional. if you have a list, please do post.

clint - remember when we were in an awesome band with shawn? we should do that again sometime.

robert - I think it is safe to say that we have definitely discovered the best of 2008. what the hell is opeth? good to see you last night.

zach - I don't know who andrew peterson is. never listened to him.

ck - clint played me some hot chip and I was 1. surprised clint dug it, seemed like something I would be more into and 2. unable to get into it. also, I can't seem to get into fleet foxes.

irwin - alex has turned me on to a lot of good stuff. I need to check out girl talk.

brett - such a good method.

shawn avery said...

great lists! and great comments. and thank you clint wells, i love you so hard.

robert made a great point... often i get around to a great record a year or two after the fact... and to clarify... 2 of my 5 were released initially for free... but nin / the slip was the only truly free release.

i'm going to get the new ryan adams and check out more of this fleet foxes thing... sounds like they are both solid.

viva la spots!

Liz said...

i spent this whole year listening to a lot of older records... apparently i am really late getting in to good music.

best of 2008, not from 2008:

aenima - tool
favorite tracks: Eulogy, Pushit, H., 46 & 2, Aenima

the greatest - cat power
favorite tracks: the greatest, willie, living proof

kind of blue - miles davis
the whole record is seamless and amazing.

growing pains - mary j blige
favorite tracks: work that, just fine

Carla Jean said...

Liz--me too. My favorite band of 2008 was the Beatles...

Jon Black said...

Liz - That Tool record is one of the best albums to come out of the 90's. It's 12 years old and is still something I listen to.

Clint - Thank You.
Nicholas - Thank You

Brian Barrett - I didn't care for Songs for Silverman but I loved Way to Normal. It's okay though, I still think you're cool.

BTM - Thanks for posting these. I love to see what I'm missing out on.

George Edema said...

Thanks for the lists, everyone.

Thanks, Brian, for including me and my meager 2008 music experience.

One late addition (and it is somewhat speculative), I heard a free download of "Sold! to the Nice Rich Man" from The Welcome Wagon and love it. As soon as I can scrounge up enough money I am going to buy the album.

Here is a link to the free song -

And here is a link to a magazine article about the band.

George Edema said...

I don't think those links worked. here they are again, except tiny-er.

Brian T. Murphy said...

george - I have that record. asthmatic kitty sent it to me. 5 copies, actually. I think I might even have an extra copy for you if you want it.

jacobtubbs said...

amendment to my previous non-list list:

I'm listening to Dear Science by TV On The Radio and dang is it a good album.

See, that's the problem with this 2008 best-of list in 2008. Us working stiffs have a hard time keeping up.

The Echerds said...

cope i just bought saturdays ='s simply gorgeous

also fyi for you is having a $5/album mp3 download sale today for 50 albums. some on this list are there.

CK said...

I was surprised about Clint / Hot Chip, too. And that he would say that "Ready for the Floor" was his top song of the whole year. But I like people who keep me guessing.

I, on the other hand, have always had a terrible penchant for catchy dance music. I hate being predictable.

Chris, et al - Scott is way into TV on the Radio, but I haven't been able to get into them. He likes to think that he has better taste than me because of this. He could be right.

Natalie_S said...

Something tells me that country never even made it to the race.........

Clint Wells said...

Natalie - If anyone actually made country records anymore I'm sure one of us would have found it. We need some posthumous hank sr. or johnny cash releases or something.

CK - "Ready For The Floor" just friggen captivated me. It still does, I listen to it almost everyday. I love the lyric. I love the beats. I love the guitars. Man. Song of the year. Fo' Sho'.

Mary Brocato said...

Brian Barrett, you're ON THE MONEY with She & Him- my favorite in a long time (recommended to me by the Holcombes).

shawn avery said...

some notes on genre favorites:

my favorite older somewhat country song i listened to in 2008 = torn & frayed by the rolling stones

my favorite pop/dancy track of 2008 = walking on a dream by empire of the sun --- this is also my favorite video of the year...

my favorite rock song of 2008 = 1,000,000 by NIN

the biggest surprise to myself in 2008 = i like more than a few kyle minogue songs.


Andrew and/or Amy said...

"i tried to come up with 10 albums, or even 10 artists that i really liked this year and i failed. i don't buy music anymore, or seek out new music. i'm long gone from the hungry-hipster habit of buying several cd's a month. i've been buying albums for 25 years... eventually, you get sick of the search, although i'm greatful when a good song finds me, which luckily did happen this year."

I couldn't have said this better.

George Edema said...

Thanks to Clint's recommendation I have spent at least a couple of hours watching youtube clips of Flight of the Conchords... The tears flowed mightily and I came close to gagging a couple times from laughing so hard.

I also bought Fleet Foxes based on the reviews here.

Fleet Foxes = My Morning Jacket + The Shins with a dash of harmony and a pinch of Jethro Tull. Not a bad recipe for a band.

Jon Black said...

Natalie - Might I suggest Ryan Bingham's album Mescalito and Hayes Carll's Trouble in Mind from this year. Both are stellar country records full of reflection and great songwriting.

Bingham's is a little darker.

Hayes is a the perfect blend of Robert Earl Keen and Lyle Lovett.

the stones said...

First of all - how does one get on the submission list? Second of all - I hate you all because I just dropped a bunch of money on iTunes for some great music. third - a mixture of Lyle Lovett and Robert Earl Keen.... wouldn't that be "The Porch Song"... My children are lullabied to their music. The Boat Song... the Front Porch Song... I'm Coming Home. MAN ... I need a ShinerBock

Anonymous said...

Jon and Jacob--

I am disappointed that you overlooked THE BEST ROCK ALBUM of 2008, DBT, Brighter than Creation's Dark...tsk, tsk

jeremy s.

木須炒餅Jerry said...

That's actually really cool!亂倫,戀愛ING,免費視訊聊天,視訊聊天,成人短片,美女交友,美女遊戲,18禁,