Category Archives: Year End Lists

The Top 13 Albums of 2008!!! – Joey

13.)  The Dandy Warhols – …Earth to the Dandy Warhols… [Beat the World Records] Release Date 8/18/08

dandy-warhols The Dandy Warhols certainly left the world wanting more in 2005 with their sub-par release Odditorium or Warlords of Mars, and finally, they return in much finer form.  It’s certainly no Thirteen Tales but it shows that they’re really trying again, and that’s enough for a solid album if you’re The Dandy Warhols.

12.)  Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours [Modular] Release Date 4/8/08

cut-copy-in-ghost-colours It took me a long time to listen to this album all the way through for two reasons.  First, I hated their first album Bright Like Neon Love, and the first song off the album that I heard was the brilliant “Lights and Music”.  When the rest of the album wasn’t exactly like that song, I was put off.  After a few listens, this album really shines in an 80s new-wave sort of way.

11.)  The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely [Warner Bros.] Release Date 3/25/2008

consolers-of-the-lonely1 I had low expectations for The Raconteurs after their debut, Broken Boy Soldiers, but luckily the band has gotten much tighter.  Fortunately, Jack White also takes more from The White Stripes’ latest album than the previous Raconteurs album when it comes to his guitar sound.  He mixes an obvious mastery of the instrument with strange experimentation with effects.  Altogether, The Raconteurs managed to make a really solid rock album.

10.)  The Kooks – Konk [Virgin Records] Release Date 4/15/08

the-kooks-konk The Kooks’ sophomore release takes its name from Ray Davies’ London recording studio, and the similarities between The Kinks and The Kooks are impossible to miss.  Songs such as “Mr. Maker” are increbibly similar in musicality and lyricism.  However, overall, The Kooks have a much more danceable beat.  The production on the album, from sweeping string to sharp guitar tones, help create dense and rich soundscape.

9.)  The Faint – Fasciinatiion [blank.wav] Release Date 8/5/08

faint-fasciinatiion I have no idea how music this nuts came out of Nebraska!  Having said that, The Faint’s new record feels like a much more complete album than their last, Wet From Birth.  This album may not have gems like the former, but it also has much less filler.  The whole albums works together to make a real glitchy work of art.

8.)  MGMT – Oracular Spectacular [Sony] Release Date 1/22/08

oracular-spectacular I don’t feel like much needs to be said about this album.  MGMT crafted a spectacularly popular album and still managed to lace the whole thing with LSD.  Many songs are reminiscent of 60s psychedelia, especially The Doors, but  a few songs, like “Kids” or “Electric Feel”, make the album a huge hit at parties.

7. )  Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles [Last Gang Records] Release Date 3/18/08

crystal-castles1 Canadian electronic duo, Crystal Castles’ debut album feels like plugging your brain into a possessed Gameboy.  Ethan Kath fires short bursts of synth over the muffled vocals of the incredibly versatile Alice Glass (my personal celebrity crush) who changes over the album from brutal screeching to moaning and crying softly.  The album maintains an emotional sensitivity through the wide variance in vocals, while creating a flowing concept with its instrumental similarities.

6.)  Ratatat – LP3 [XL Recordings] Release Date 7/8/08

lp3 Ratatat’s third studio album, appropriately named LP3, shows the band truly maturing and experimenting with many styles of music from around the globe.  At the same time, the new album maintains that fantastic danceability their first two efforts provided.

5.)  Girl Talk – Feed the Animals [Illegal Art] Release Date 6/19/08

feed-the-animals I had high expectations for Gregg Gillis (a.k.a. Girl Talk) after his last album, Night Ripper, and they were all surpassed by his follow-up.  Girl Talk’s special brand of mash-up-based music blends together samples from artists ranging from The Velvet Underground to Lil Wayne to Hot Chip and mixes with Gillis’ own fast-paced drum beats to create a cohesive, yet psychotic product.

4.)  CSS (Cansei de Ser Sexy) – Donkey [Sub Pop] Release Date 7/21/08

donkey-css I personally feel like CSS conceived their second album when they realized that there was a huge shortage of good music to get really wasted to in the world.  Every song makes you feel like downing a fifth of vodka and making an ass of yourself in a public area.  The album is much more polished than the first, but Lovefoxxx’s screaming is a constant reminder of just how wild these Brazilians can get.

3.)  Ladytron – Velocifero [Nettwerk] Release Date 6/2/08

velocifero-ladytron Ladytron’s fourth studio effort picks up where their third, Witching Hour, left off.  Dismissing the glitchy electro-clash of their first two albums for a denser and darker sound, Velocifero has both heavy-hitting synth-rock tunes and hauntingly eerie ballads.  Mira Aroyo and Helen Marnie are both at their best.  Whether singing solo or duet, these two frontwomen can’t be matched in my book.  The first six tracks will blow you away, but don’t let this frontloaded album discourage you from finishing the album.

2.)  Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward [XL Recordings] Release Date 3/18/08

be-your-own-pet-get-awkward2“Breaking glass bottles is oh so fun.  Let’s go and kill someone.”  What can you say about this band?  Their raw intensity captures you early on.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but its the perfect soundtrack for running over pedestrians or starting riots.  The riffs in the album are not always as punk-inspired as one would think.  In fact, the main guitar line in “Becky” is actually the melody of “The Loco-Motion”, but Jemina Pearl manages to make the whole song hardcore shrieking about teenage homicide.

1.)  Does It Offend You, Yeah? – You Have No Idea What You’re Getting Yourself Into [Virgin Records] Release Date 3/24/08

does-it-offend-you-yeah Take a little bit of Death From Above 1979, a little bit of Bloc Party, and a little bit of Justice and put it all in a garbage disposal.  That’s probably the best way I can find to describe this British dance-punk band’s debut record.  Three of the albums ten songs are simply instrumental electro-jams, while the rest alternate between majestic rock numbers and apocalyptic future-disco.  Since hearing this album, I have been eagerly anticipating an opportunity to see the band live because their songs sound like they would transfer well into a concert setting and because I’ve been told they frequently cover “Beat It” live.

2008: A Year in Review – Andy’s List

13) Kings of Leon – Only by the Night [RCA] Release Date 9/23/2008

I really felt that this 13th spot on my list could go to a lot of artists; however, after much thought I decided to give it to the quartet from Tennessee’s record “Only by the Night.”  KOL’s fourth studio album is by far not their best effort, but Caleb’s vocals are outstanding and make the record.  

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12) Adele – 19 [XL] Release Date 1/28/2008

This might come as a surprise to some, as it was to me.  I recently starting listening to Adele’s debut album, and I love it.  The 20 year old British newcomer has an amazing, soulful voice that ceases to amaze my ears.  A great debut, and one can only hope she can follow it up in the future.

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11) Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward [XL] Release Date 3/18/2008

The only punk rock record album on my list comes from the kids from Tennessee, Be Your Own Pet.  Fast guitars and loud vocals define this album.  One aspect I really enjoyed was Jemina Pearl’s lyrics which range from getting back at your ex-best friend, starting food fights, and zombies!

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10) Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes [Sup Pop] Release Date 6/3/2008

Fleet Foxes debut album is outstanding work.  It’s a beautiful folk record with impressive vocal harmonies.  The Foxes have an older sound and have been compared to the likes of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.  Not bad company at all.

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9) The Black Keys – Attack & Release [Nonesuch] Release Date 4/1/2008

The Ohio-based blues rock duo’s fifth LP is the #9 record on the list.  Dan and Patrick really expanded their sound on Attack & Release featuring instruments such as the banjo, flute, and some synth parts.  However, they haven’t strayed away from their usual soulful blues rock sound that they do so well.

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8)  Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago [Jagjaguwar] Release Date 2/19/2008

Vernon’s debut album under the name Bon Iver is a noteworthy record.  The record has a very organic and minimalistic sound in my opinion.  It is very easy to relax to and enjoy, as Vernon’s impressive vocal range carries you through the album.

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7) Ratatat – LP3 [XL] Release Date 7/8/2008

With their 3rd LP, the NYC electro duo has proved once again why they are on top of the electronic scene in my opinion.  The opening track “Shiller” is a spine-chilling piece that builds up to one of the best tracks on the album, “Falcon Jab.”  A personal favorite on the album is the disco rocker, “Shempi.”

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6) Girl Talk – Feed the Animals [Illegal Art] Release Date 6/19/2008

Greg Gillis 4th record to date is his best yet.  “Play Your Part Pt. 1” begins the nonstop party that Feed the Animals is.  For the next 50 minutes Gillis does what he does best; mix unlikely samples together to create a melting pot of pleasure for everyone’s ears.  GT includes samples from Kelly Clarkson, Metallica, and many more.

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5) of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping [Polyvinyl] Release Date 10/21/2008

Barnes and company had large shoes to fill after Hissing Fauna.  It is difficult to tell if they succeeded, but one thing is for sure is that KBarnes has taken it to a whole new level lyrically.  He has left nothing to the imagination anymore.   All in all, Skeletal Lamping is one of the most fun albums I’ve heard in a long while and I cannot stop listening to it.

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4)  The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely [Warner Bros] Release Date 3/25/2008

The Raconteurs is not just Jack White’s side-project anymore.  Consolers has solidified them as a force to reckon with on their own.  The rock never stops on this record and Jack really shines on guitar and sharing vocals with Brendon Benson.

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3) MGMT – Oracular Spectacular [Sony] Release Date 1/22/2008

Whether or not MGMT’s debut effort should be counted as an 07 or 08 release seems to be a controversial topic, but I decided that it should be on this list.    Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser channel the psychedelic gods throughout the whole record and managed to release one of the top albums of the year.

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2)  Sigur Rós – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust [XL] Release Date 6/24/2008

Sigur Rós’ 5th studio release has the group evolving from their original sound that has attracted so many fans.  They have received some criticism from fans for “selling out,” however, I feel they have made yet another beautiful album that flows easily from beginning to end.

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1) My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges [ATO] Release Date 6/10/2008

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that MMJ’s 5th studio album has made the top my Best of 08 list.  I really can’t say enough about this album.  Jim James and co. has evolved once again and added a more R&B flavor to their southern rock sound.  Although it has been hit hard by some critics, I feel this may be MMJ’s strongest effort to date and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for the Kentucky quintet.  I really recommend everyone listen to this album.

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2008 : A Year In Review – Austin’s List

December is here and the year is quickly coming to an end. Many magazines, websites and blogs are beginning to put out their “Year End” lists for best records of 2008. There have been, in my opinion, plenty of good records put out this year and I want to take this time to take a look back over those records that I most enjoyed this year. So, without further ado, here are my top 13 records of 2008.

13.) She & Him – Volume One [Merge] Release Date 3/18/2008

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A very pretty first effort from M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel. Folksy and reminiscent of 1960’s era girl pop groups, this album was one of the sleeper hits of the year. Let’s hope there is a Volume Two on the way.

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12.) Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward [XL] Release Date 3/18/2008

be-your-own-pet

The second full-length album from this now defunct Nashville band, is full of the same youthful exuberance that made their self-titled debut so great. Loud, fast guitar work from Jonas Stein and Jemina Pearl’s screeching vocals are the standouts on this album.

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11.) The Mountain Goats – Heretic Pride [4AD] Release Date 2/19/2008

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John Darnielle continues to be one of the most literate songwriters of his day. Heretic Pride is a collection of thirteen songs that, on the whole, are not as sad and depressing as the material on 2006’s Get Lonely, but are every bit as good.

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10.) The Eastern Sea – The Eastern Sea EP [Self Released] Release Date 7/12/2008

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A stunningly beautiful and haunting release from this Austin quartet fronted by Matthew Hines, who is a personal friend of mine. Lush instrumentation and deeply personal lyrics make this one of the most intriguing releases of the year. If you have not heard of the Eastern Sea yet, you soon will.

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9.) Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago [Jagjaguwar] Release Date 2/19/2008

bon_iver-for_emma_forever_ago-new1

Justin Vernon’s first release under the name Bon Iver has had an interesting life. Recorded in a cabin in northern Wisconsin, For Emma, Forever Ago, was originally self-released until indie label Jagjaguwar picked it up. Sparse and beautiful, this album is not to be missed.

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8.) Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes [Sub Pop] Release Date 6/3/2008

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Where did these guys come from? This Seattle quintet, fronted by Robin Pecknold, delivers beautiful harmonies and almost seems to take the listener back to a bygone era, which era that is, I’m not completely sure of. Nonetheless, this is a great record from a great band.

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7.) Silver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea [Drag City] Release Date 6/17/2008

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Six albums in and the Jews are still rocking. The fact that head Jew David Berman is a published poet and writer really shows on this album. Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea takes a folksier tone than previous Silver Jews efforts, but Berman’s songwriting remains as good as ever.

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6.) Of Montreal – Skeletal Lamping [Polyvinyl] Release Date 10/21/2008

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One of the most overtly sexual albums of the year. Skeletal Lamping is, in my mind, a continuation of Hissing Fauna, but with less of the deeply personal narratives found in the songs on Hissing Fauna. This album, more than anything, is an artistic statement of immense proportions.

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5.) Deerhunter- Microcastle [Kranky] Release Date 10/28/2008

deerhunter_microcastle-album-artI really don’t understand Deerhunter. Stylistically, there really is not another band around to compare Deerhunter with. Microcastle is a dense record, with some great guitar work, give it a few listens and it will grow on you.

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4.) Okkervil River – The Stand Ins [Jagjaguwar] Release Date 9/9/2008

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Okkervil River’s followup to 2006’s The Stage Names surpasses its predecessor in many ways. Immediately more accessible, The Stand Ins starts up where The Stage Names left off and is a perfect addition to Okkervil River’s growing catalogue.

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3.) Hercules and Love Affair – Hercules and Love Affair [DFA] Release Date 6/24/2008

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The brainchild of DJ Andy Butler, Hercules and Love Affair is comprised of an eclectic bunch of members, including Antony Hegarty of Antony & the Johnsons. The pairing of late 70’s inspired disco and house music with Hegarty’s dark vocals may sound like a strange idea, but it ends up working well.

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2.) Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Lie Down in the Light [Drag City] Release Date 5/20/2008

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Lie Down in the Light is Will Oldham’s seventeenth release under the moniker Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Oldham consistently puts out good records, and Lie Down in the Light is no exception, it may even be his best from the past few years.

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1.)  No Age – Nouns [Sub Pop] Release Date 5/6/2008

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Hands down the best record of the year. It’s noisy and beautiful and complex. Amidst all the feedback, one can clearly hear that there is a lot more to this record than meets the eye, or ear for that matter.

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