Before I get started, I left off two huge albums and one little one. Vampire Weekend is on many lists this year but I listened to it last year mostly since it leaked long ago. I like it a lot. Second, Bon Iver should be number 1 this year but, again it came out last year, well it got released on a major this year but I had it before that. I saw him live this year too and man, great! It had the most plays of any albums I have owned in a long time. From beginning to end I listened to it over and over and that doesn't happen often these days. I have also found a leak of some new songs called Blood Bank and they are also great.
08' Stream Of Consciousness:
The general sentiment of the year is that there are no real standouts. There have been plenty of good albums but nothing really really obvious. I wonder if it has to do with the accessibility of music and the ease of hearing new bands. The good albums have so many other good albums to be compared to. I wonder if this is a trend and that each year the running for standout albums will get more and more diluted. I am not saying it is a bad thing. I love hearing new albums and new bands, it's exciting. As far as a music listener I have become more ADHD, constantly looking for the next band that rules. Now that sounds like it's my own fault, but is it? No matter where you look in the media and on-line there is another band to hear and see. It can be exausting at times but in another way, it's nice to have so many to choose from. You can nurse your favorite little band that you found on MySpace and love it like your own. You can go to their show and expect a huge crowd because you think they are sooooo good and when you get there it's only half full, you are surprised but your little baby band still kill it for you and you know now that you like them even more than before. But these "problems" may just be centered around people like me that are nuts about finding new music. I just wonder if there will be another band that 'everybody' digs. It still happens I guess, like in M.I.A. or Vampire Weekend but they are nothing to like a Nirvana or Styx:) When even you parents have heard of them and you like them then you know it's big, doesn't happen.
PS Two noteworthy albums I left off by accident are Mount Eerie's album Lost Wisdom and Fuck Buttons' album Street Horrrsing (Kyle how did we both forget this? I guess we are brothers and shit like that happens, whoaaa) Both really strong 08' releases.
Oh, and just to clarify these are albums that crossed my radar. They are not "The Best" by all means. They are the ones that stuck with me. I listened to at least 500 bands this year just searching for videos and looking through MySpace and stuff. Some just "stick" to you. Looking at all the lists this year is fun. It's kind of difficult to come up with a list when you are looking at others lists and finding bands that you haven't even heard yet and like them, I guess they get mentioned next year. I almost don't like peoples' top 10 or so albums because they are usually pretty predictable. Furthermore, I enjoy looking at the picks that are toward the ends of lists. That is the place where a persons real musical personality shines most bright. I guess in my case it's Katy Perry, damn.
Here it is:
(If you haven't heard em' them click on their names to get to their MySpace)
20. Midori Hirano: Kio Yuri (Japanese via Berlin. She is a seriously trained musician man, she plays everything on the album very well. The songs are mostly instrumental and very dreamy with layers of electronics, piano, strings and occasionally her soft voice. Good for naps.)
19. Passion Pit: Chunk of Change (These dudes from MA put out a nice little EP that is hard to deny. Electronic pop.)
18. Neon Neon: Stainless Style (This is a dude from Supper Furry Animals and produced by Boom Bip. Every song on this is totally different. There is even some straight up hip-hop on it. I listened to this a bunch, it just never got boring.)
17. Titus Andronicus: The Airing of Grievances (These Jersey boys came out with one of the best catchy lo-fi indie punk albums that are all the rage this year. It has been on my current list all year and never grew tired of their energy.)
16. Santogold/Diplo: Mix Tape (This is better than Santogold's actual album from this year by far. Diplo spices up the beats and even he got her to do a dirty punk song. There are also many guests on the album, from M.I.A. to the B-52s.)
15. Plants and Animals: Parc Avenue (I had this one right when it came out and listened to a bit but then I saw them live I was blown away by their tightness and harmonies. Since then I have played it again and again. This is a keeper.) (Live @ Natural History Museum 1/9)
14. Friendly Fires: Friendly Fires (These dudes from the UK and super good live. Again, I liked the album prior to seeing them live but after I was able to capture the energy they were going for. My lady and I have been grooving to it ever since.)
13. Meho Plaza: Meho Plaza (Local. My band, TPF!, opened for these guys a couple times this year. They also put out a erally unique album that has these crazy distorted drums and eerie guitar lines but never gets slow. It keeps it's energy and has great hooks. Reminds me some early 90's alternative stuff, like Pavement or something. Really good.) (Live @ The Airliner 1/12)
12. Deerhoof: Offend Maggie (Their last album was near the top of my 07' albums and this on e doesn't disappoint either. It still has Satomi's unique voice and the dudes behind her killin it with serious talent. This one is maybe their most accessible album yet, but Deerhoof will never be everyone's cup of tea.)
11. Marnie Stern: This is it... (She was also on my list last year. I like this one even more. She is a ripper and writes catchy tunes. "Defenders get on to your knees.")
10. Port O'Brien: All We Could Do Was Sing (Hippies! This album has one of my most favorite songs of the year on it and the others are pretty damn good too. When I saw them live this year they handed out pots and pans for everyone to bang on. Good hippie/folky fun.)
9. The Night Marchers: See You In Magic (John Reis from RFTC, Hot Snakes and Drive Like Jehu has yet another project that I like. He could poop on a stick and I would have it on my list. It's good.) (Live in Redondo Beach at Brixton)
8. The Very Best: The Very Best Mixtape (Wow, the second mix tape on the list. This year in music was heavily influenced by world beats and rhythms. This takes the best of indie songs we like, like Vampire Weekend or M.I.A. and puts an African dude to sing over their beats. It's is by far the most catchy shit you will ever here and it makes you feel well traveled.)
7. Evangelicals: The Evening Descends (Wow, did this miss the radar or what? Nobody talked about this one except for my friend Chad from work and I. Great live too. I don't get why, but that's fine, I treat it like my little gimp that I keep in my crawlspace, very well.)
6. Why?: Alopecia (I like this album a whole bunch. There is no denying their sound. They have such interesting arrangements and insane lyrics. They all play a ton of instruments too. There is a bit of nostalgia for me in this in that it sounds like, maybe...They Might Be Giants or something like that from the 90s. Give it a bunch of listens, it grows on you.)
5. No Age: Nouns (Locals. This hit most lists this year. They are the lo-fi kings of the year. The Smell bands put out so many great records this year. Seen them a bunch too this year, that's always pretty good too. The got the hype machine going for sure but they deserve because they are modest, nice dudes.)
4. The Mae Shi: Hlllyh (What can I say? This is the best album that "Smell" bands put out this year. It has one hook after another. There is one song in the middle that get a little old but overall it's sweet. I like the way they sound electronic and "indie" on the album but live, they are totally punks. Goodness.) (Live @ The Echoplex 1/21)
3. Ponytail: Ice Cream Spiritual (I waited a long time for this to come out after hearing their songs on their myspace months before they put this out. I was not disappointed. I think the reason I put this so high is because of it's technical prowess. It seems like fun, light hearted jams but the dudes are playing their asses off on these tracks and she is yelping like a female donkey getting hit in the tits. I saw them play one song from the "sold out" door at The Smell. Come back!!!)
2. Sigur Ros: Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (Man, I really wore this one out this year. Like Kyle said, the first two tracks make it all worth it, and there are some other real diamonds in there too. The venture into more poppy tunes is well welcomed. Keep em coming dudes.)
1. Fucked Up: The Chemistry of Common Life (YAY!!!! Thank the musical gods for this release. Just when we thought that hardcore/punk/post-rock wasn't hip anymore here they came and told us to get back on that horse, act like a man, mosh a little, and get Fucked Up!! It's good and smart and has all the right stuff for me. Live is something to behold!!. Thanks guys!!!) (Live @ Echo 2/6)
Watch for my top videos of 08' soon!!