Thursday, December 11, 2008

Best Albums of the Year 2008

OK, OK, off topic, I know. But there was some great music out there, and with me working out of a home office most of the time, the iPod shuffle is an important part of my work environment. With no further ado, then, here are the best albums I heard this past year.

1. Nomo, "Ghost Rock." Bleepy analog synthesizers, plinky homemade instruments, killer brass section. Funky as all get out. This album sounded like nothing else I heard last year. It has remained in my car CD stack since summertime.

NOMO Live session from Svetlana legetic on Vimeo.

2. The Helio Sequence, "Keep Your Eyes Ahead." I never figured out why I rarely heard any of these songs on the radio. They rock. Plus, there's a great countrified tune and a swampy-sounding song thrown in for good measure.

3. The Gaslight Anthem, "The '59 Sound." Driving power-pop, great lyrics, allusions to Tom Petty, Miles Davis and (of course) Springsteen, this Jersey band will be around for a long time.

Old White Lincoln

4. The Cat Empire, "So Many Nights." Quieter than their prior effort, less of a party album, more serious. But still a great listen from top to bottom. This Australian band effortlessly combines genres and keeps the foot tapping.

No Longer There

5. Fleet Foxes, "Fleet Foxes." A hint of Crosby, Stills & Nash; a taste of The Beach Boys. On one track they out-My-Morning-Jacket MMJ themselves.

White Winter Hymnal from Grandchildren on Vimeo.

Honorable mentions: REM's "Accelerate" (the best thing they've done since "New Adventures in Hi-Fi"), My Morning Jacket's "Evil Urges" (wanted to like it better than the last two great ones, but simply didn't), "Secret Machines" (ditto), "Vampire Weekend" (a few really catchy pop songs, and some filler. Will look forward to their next one), "Grand Archives" (ditto).

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