December 16, 2008

The Rest of the Best

Here are our next 80(!) favorite albums of the year. These albums were included someone's top ten list, but only once. Many of albums here made or almost made my list. The albums are ranked according to their position on an individual's list and then alphabetically.

  1. Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
    “Saw these guys live at the Independent in SF, lead singer totally flirted with me...and my BF let him!” -April

  2. Hayden - In Field and Town
    "Extremely well-written piano folk ('Damn this Feeling') which broadens out instrumentally to include groovy bass lines ('In Field and Town'), jaunty horns (Where and When'), and Crazy Horse style guitars ('Did I Wake Up Beside You?').” -Jeremy

  3. Jay Reatard - Singles 06-07
    “While Matador Singles '08 was great, his first compilation of the year was even better.” -awmercy

  4. Leona Naess - Thirteens
    “One of my favorite artists. This album was long overdue, but well worth the wait.” -Brasilliant

  5. Little Joy - Little Joy
    “Sounds like the Strokes if they smoked a shitload of grass.” -Alan

  6. Metallica - Death Magnetic
    “A very, very loud album. Of their post-And Justice For All (sell-out shits) era, this is their first album in awhile that sounds like Metallica.” -Kevin

  7. Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
    “Can't stop won't stop playing this album.” -HotCatato

  8. Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
    “I think I liked this album mainly because it was a pleasant surprise. I kind of stumbled across it and while it may not have the most staying power, it's the album I found myself most talking about.” -Jeremiah

  9. The Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead
    “Now with less synth and more vocals.” -Ernesto

  10. Beck - Modern Guilt
    “Listen to this one loud.” -Ari

  11. Boston Spaceships - Brown Submarine
    “robert.fucking.pollard.” -Alan

  12. Coldplay-Viva la Vida
    “I am guilty of falling for Coldplay's mass appeal when their debut album came out almost a decade ago. But I had also succumbed to tiring of seeing and hearing them everywhere. But I have to admit that this album really won me over. There, I said it.” -Jeremiah

  13. Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creations Dark
    “The Rock and Roll Means Well Tour was a dream come true, though I wish DBT had closed.” -Doctor Diggs

  14. Hockey - Mind Chaos
    They perfectly combine my love of gritty soulful vocals, funky baselines, and indie rock. -awmercy

  15. Rachel Unthank & the Winterset - The Bairns

  16. The Weepies - Hideaway
    “Given that the Weepies solidly hold 50% of our "top played 2008 songs" I think it's safe to say this was a favorite. Their sweet melody and melancholy lyrics got me through a very rough spring.” -Brasilliant

  17. Chris Mills - Living In The Aftermath
    “A collection of joyful alt. country stompers that sound more like a call to party than to arms — my election season jams. -awmercy

  18. Earlimart - Hymn and Her
    “Wins the award for ‘Best Make-Out Music Of 2008.’ This album is so good, with or without the making out.” -Mona

  19. Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree

  20. Magnetic Fields - Distortion
    “One of my all-time hands-down favorite bands. I have days I listen to them exclusively. For some reason these days are usually Mondays. Always happy to have a new album from them.” -HotCatato

  21. Mates of State - Re-Arrange Us
    “This was a fantastic way to end 2008, thanks Awmercy! Please refer to my upcoming review.” -ve1cro

  22. Me First and The Gimme Gimmes - Have Another Ball!
    “Most kick ass cover band EVER... if there was a spot for second favorite concert, this would be it.” -Doctor Diggs

  23. My Morning Jacket-Evil Urges
    “I've been aware of My Morning Jacket for years only because I have a good friend who keeps telling me how great they are. Until this album, I really couldn't see what he loved so much. For whatever reason, though, Evil Urges -- especially "I'm Amazed" -- made a believer out of me.” -Jeremiah

  24. Sandrine - Dark Fades into Light
    “She sounds like a young Dusty Springfield and "Dark Fades into Light" never fails to brighten my mood.” -Brasilliant

  25. The Constantines - Kensington Heights

  26. The Goodnight Loving - Crooked Lake
    “I don't often compare contemporary bands to Uncle Tupelo, but these guys made me do it, almost against my will. ‘Small tent’ alt-country is not dead.” -Jeremy

  27. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
    “A gay dance party mix essential.” -Ernesto

  28. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid

  29. Grip Grand - Brokelore
    “I'm not sure this is one here because I really loved it, or it was my most recent purchase and made an instant impact. Anyway, this SF rapper is pretty awesome. Definitely give "Showtime" a listen.” -Jeremiah

  30. Jolie Holland - The Living and the Dead
    “She's kind of like the female version of fellow West Texan Jimmie Dale Gilmore; some great haunting vocals and lyrics here.“ -Jeremy

  31. Lenka – Lenka
    “Upbeat and fun, Lenka's first album had me dancing in the shower, in the car, and on the sidewalks.” -Brasilliant

  32. Passion Pit - Chunk of Change EP
    “This one just squeaked in a few weeks ago! Given a little more time and marination, could have been my favorite of the year. Fun, dancey hipster shit, complete with falsetto vocals and a synth breakdown. I'm excited to bring the house down with this one at a party sometime soon.” -Tex

  33. Paul Weller - 22 Dreams
    “I always get nervous when legendary musicians put out music late in their career. But this album does not disappoint!” -ve1cro

  34. Stereolab - Chemical Cords
    “Put it on your iPod and discover that it's the best IKEA shopping music EVER!!!" -Rain

  35. Caithlin De Marrais - My Magic City
    “Ex-Rainer Maria frontwoman attempts solo shit and puts out something brilliant. I hope she never stops singing, cuz her voice is better than I remember.” -Mona

  36. Dodos - Visitor
    “Love those crazy rhythms.” -awmercy

  37. Nada Surf - Lucky
    “Simple, solid, stellar.“ -ve1cro

  38. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
    “I've almost forgiven him for growing that terrible mustache.” -Rain

  39. Ratatat - LP3
    “Another band that I recently discovered and just instantly liked.” -Jeremiah

  40. Ron Sexsmith - Time Being
    “Ron Sexsmith, need I say more? He can do no wrong in my opinion.” -Brasilliant

  41. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Cardinology

  42. Shearwater - Rook

  43. Tallest Man on Earth - Shallow Grave
    “It took me about two full rounds with this one to get past the Dylan-esque vocals, but felt greatly rewarded by rich lyrical content and soul nourishing guitar and banjo work. Perfectly suited to listening to while riding a bicycle around one's favorite areas of town.” -Tex

  44. The Features - Some Kind of Salvation
    “Nashville rockers giving it everything they've got to shrug off their day jobs and avoid ‘The Temporary Blues.’ Hopefully it works." -Jeremy

  45. Atlas Sound - Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
    “Ambient...” -Ari

  46. Born Ruffians - Red, Yellow & Blue
    “Another reason to love Canadians, aside from the whole mayonnaise on french fries thing. I listened to this record alot, almost to the point of feeling bad to have neglected my other mp3s.” -Mona

  47. Kanye West - 808 and Heartbreak
    “I fucking love autotune.” -HotCatato

  48. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping
    “It's weird to me that one of my favorite albums of the year has a song that starts out with the line.. "I'm tired of sucking the dick of this cruel, cruel city" but what you gonna do? Insane lyrics and amazing music.” -ancientindianwizard

  49. Sam Roberts - Love At The End Of The World
    “Feel good rock 'n roll meant for the open road” -awmercy

  50. Sara Melson - Dirty Mind
    “Her sweet voice and hints of Petula Clark (an instant hit in my book) had me hooked.” -Brasilliant

  51. The Charlatans UK - You Cross My Path
    “I call for a britpop revival!” -ve1cro

  52. Dubstep Allstars: Vol 6 (Mixed by Appleblim)

  53. Gary Louris - Vagabonds
    “I love the Jayhawks and was excited about Louris's solo album. He does not disappoint.” -Brasilliant

  54. Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy
    “I said that this would not make my Top 10; however, this is an excellent album and I am openly a huge GNR fan. Guitar solos. Massive production. Axel's loony vocal range. It's all there.” -Nightrain

  55. Murder by Death - Red of Tooth and Claw
    “Truth be told, I haven't listened to this album as much I would have liked, but everything I've heard I've really enjoyed.” -Jeremiah

  56. She and Him - Volume One
    “Perfect for a lazy Sunday of drinking coffee, crafts, and reading.” -ve1cro

  57. We Are Scientists - Brain Thrust Mastery
    “Danceable indie at its finest. I enjoyed ‘Lethal Enforcer’ and ‘That's What Counts’ a lot while showering before going out, and ‘After Hours’ on the way home from a great night.” -Mona

  58. Belle and Sebastian - BBC Sessions
    “What can I say? I'm a tragic hipster (props to Juan Candlaria...)” -Rain

  59. Flogging Molly - Float
    “I think this album was fine, but none of the tracks really jumped out at me the way past albums had.” -Jeremiah

  60. Greg Laswell - Three Flights From Alto Nido
    “Laswell sounds a lot like Chris Martin from Coldplay, but his songs are much more upbeat. Great Sunday afternoon tracks -- Nightrain does a nice summary in his July review.“ -Brasilliant

  61. John Digweed - Transitions Vol 4

  62. Marnie Stearn - This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That
    “Holy fucking face melter! Rumor has it that she had set up a kissing booth at her show in SF last weekend to help ‘pay for some minor traffic infractions’. And I missed it.” -Tex

  63. Various Artists - Soul Messages from Dimona
    “A reissue of funky bible thumpin' jams from the original black hebrews, now living in Dimona, Israel.” -Ari

  64. Surf City - Surf City EP
    “I love the EP format and this is my favorite of the year.” -awmercy

  65. Wovenhand - Ten Stones
    “This band is considered a ‘Christian Band.’" -April

  66. A Silver Mt. Zion - 13 Blues For Thirteen Moons
    “Stony Canadian brilliance!” -Rain

  67. Cold War Kids – Loyalty To Loyalty
    “A good second album (but not as good as their first).” -Ari

  68. Kaki King - Dreaming Of Revenge
    “Technical guitar wizzardry at its finest, a truly dynamic talent... on record, or even live.” -Mona

  69. Roots Manuva - Slime & Reason

  70. T.I. - Paper Trail
    “Turns out being on house arrest for machine gun charges can produce a good album from this guy.” -HotCatato

  71. Thao & the Get Down Stay Down - We Brave Bee Stings and All
    “I heard about Thao in an interview with her and her mother on Studio 360 (My Podcast of the year) and settled into a steady routine of listening to at least a few tracks, if not the whole album once a day in late spring of this year. I was sure she was going to blow up soon… maybe next album.” -Tex

  72. The Gutter Twins - Saturnalia
    “I loved this album early on in the year, and perhaps it dropped on this list due to its early heavy rotation. Dark, mysterious and very different from anything else that is currently out there.” -Nightrain

  73. The Rosebuds - Life Like
    “Another album that I haven't really given as much of a chance as I probably should. What I've heard, I've liked, but nothing has really grabbed me yet. Although, I'm listening to "Another Way In" right now, and really digging it.” -Jeremiah

  74. Tift Merritt - Another Country
    “This album is a nice alternative to one of my favorite artists, Laura Cantrell.” -Brasilliant

  75. Why? - Alopecia
    “Oakland band, check out the single ‘The Hollows.’” -April

  76. Bitter:Sweet - Drama
    “Sort of Portishead-like without the gloom and doom.” -sandenuts

  77. El Guincho - Alegranza
    Lots of clapping, drum loops, chanting, and spirited Afro beat rhythms. It sounds like a really fun party.” -awmercy

  78. Subtle - Exiting Arm
    “My favorite ‘wtf is going on?!’ album. Indie hip hop, ambient, shoe gaze, post-whatever. It's just a mess of sounds that I don't quite understand, but it works." -Mona

  79. The Gaslight Anthem - The ‘59 Sound
    “Guilty Pleasure Alert! This sounds like everything my dear old punk rock friends back in Maine wanted to do... Springsteen and Petty references, deeply catchy and melodic stories. It just makes me feel things I haven't felt since I was driving my old Golf around in the snow and looking for a side road in the pines to drink on. Viva nostalgia.” -Tex

  80. The Slackers - Self Medication
    “I am probably underrating this album.” -sandenuts

Next up: Our favorite non-2008 albums.


sandenuts said...

Wow, there are some really good albums here. Is it just me, or was it very hard to pick favorites this year?

Mona said...

Yeah, I didn't realize 2008 was such a good year for indie rock. Last time things were this good was like 2005-2006, I'd say.

Great list! But it'll be 2009 before I can finish making my way through this one.