Thursday, December 04, 2008

Top Ten of 2008

10. Langhorne Slim - S/T
I just discovered LS this year and have been thoroughly impressed. Yet another strange voice I am infatuated with...imagine that. A touch of pop peeks through the album's Appalachian folky core. Think Mountain Goats meets Avett Brothers.

9. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
I am not a huge electronic fan, but this one is a no-brainer. MGMT blew my mind and continues to ring in my ears almost everyday. It is definitely psychedelic, but very poppy as well. The first half of the album (1-5) blows out the latter half.

8. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Bon Iver combines the echoing hallows of Jose Gonzalez but adds a woodsy element that is very unique. Excellent indie folk album.

7. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive

The Hold Steady is one of the finest indie acts out there. Stay Positive is almost as solid as Boys and Girls in America. There are only a couple of mediocre tunes, but these are overshadowed by the instant classics. Raise your beer bottle and show your metal fingers for Finn and they boys.

6. Conor Oberst - S/T

Conor continues to prove why he is the Bob Dylan of our time. His songwriting is second to none. I continue to be impressed by his releases, even though this one is without the Bright Eyes moniker. This album is tight from start to finish (minus the kazoo or random horn track). Two of the strongest tracks bookend the album.

5. The Felice Brothers - S/T
The Felice Brothers continue to blow me away with each disc I get my greedy little hands on. I cannot wait for the new album in March. Although this official release contained many of the tracks I already had on another album, the new ones seemed as familiar as the older ones.

4. Fleet Foxes - S/T and if you add the Sun Giant EP
FF perfect the art of harmonizing in a way that left Jim James thinking "why didn't I go that route" as opposed to the falsetto disco. I honestly thought MMJ would have sounded something like this by now. Anyway, enough about MMJ, FF stands on its own two (discs). I combined the full length release and EP in order to ratchet it up to number four. While the album is wonderful, I feel the EP needed to be one of the best releases of the year. I am looking forward to seeing them live.

3. Vampire Weekend - S/T
This album was the breath of fresh air of the year. Unique, unique, unique. Afro-pop or whatever its called, VW delivers. Not a bad song on the disc. Great sunroof album.

2. Deer Tick - War Elephant

This is the surprise of the year. Deer Tick is tough to describe, which proves their originality. The whole album is fantastic. They master the alt-country sound while keeping it interesting with stellar songwriting and catchy tap-your-boot melodies. I probably have listened to "Ashamed" and "Dirty Dishes" at least fifty times since I purchased this ditty. As the Felice Brothers almost did last year, Deer Tick almost debuted their way into the number 1 spot.

1. Frightened Rabbit - Midnight Organ Fight

Scottish indie rockers Frightened Rabbit gets the nod this year. This is a classic album slam packed with a juggernaut of great tunes that remind us what indie rock really is. My top three tracks are "Old, Old Fashioned," "Twist," and "Backwards Walk." The only track I do not love is "Keep Yourself Warm." I personally am not fond of such profane lyrics; call me a softy. Every other track blows me away. Lead singer Scott Hutchinson's rickety vocal chords wrench the emotion out of his brutally honest lyrics. Lines like "whisper the wrong name, I don't care, nor do my ears, twist yourself around me, I need human heat" prove why Hutchinson and his clever songwriting deserve this top spot. His heart was obviously ripped out and sledgehammered, but selfishly, we reaped and continue to reap the benefits from it.