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best of 2008

Best albums; and yeah, even in order of preference:

  1. Shall Noise Upon — Apollo Sunshine: came to this completely cold, having never even heard of them. Stylistically all over the place: whisky and hellfire on one track giving way to mellow dippiness that I think even McCa would blanch at. Ultimately, it’s Singing To The Earth (To Thank Her For You) that sold it to me.
  2. Funplex — The B-52’s: worth the wait from 1992. Fun dance music with gleefully smutty lyrics. Now my very favourite B-52’s album.
  3. Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes — The Music Tapes: look, it’s got Freeing Song By Reindeer on it. If it doesn’t make you shed tears of joy while you caterwaul Ride the elves’ cloven-hooved horsey … along with Julian, there’s something wrong with you.
  4. Proof of Love — Old Man Luedecke: Chris Luedecke just gets better and better as a songwriter, and his self-deprecating stage persona as Old Man Luedecke is a hoot.
  5. Recapturing the Banjo — Otis Taylor: great banjo work from this bluesman.
  6. Everytime! —Sheesham & Lotus: the high-steppin’, cake-walkin’ fiddle, banjo and harmonica duo release their first official album, recorded in crackly faux-78 “Sepiatone”. Almost as much fun as seeing them live.
  7. Earth Sciences — Laura Barrett: Toronto’s queen of the kalimba‘s second EP wins out over her full length release (Victory Garden), in that the EP has Robot Ponies, and doesn’t have the annoying final track which appears to be all of the other tracks layered on top of one another.
  8. Luna — The Aliens: Piper-era Floyd mixed with the Beach Boys, all fed through a special Fife filter.
  9. Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust — Sigur Rós: I still have no idea what they’re singing about, but I wish they’d keep doing it.
  10. Then We Were Older — Ideal Free Distribution: another slab of catchy psych-pop from Kentucky.

Near Miss: Holler and Stomp — Dressy Bessy: angular bubblegum pop, quite delightful.
Definitely Demented: Live! From CarnEGGy Hall — Orriel Smith: seriously, coloratura chicken impersonations. Beyond weird, and beyond brilliant.
It Came Out Last Year, So Now It’s All Car Ads: Oh, My Darling — Basia Bulat: despite that, it’s great. And she plays autoharp.

1 reply on “best of 2008”

1. For Emma, Forever Ago – Bon Iver: Stripped down acoustic gorgeousness with multi-tracked falsetto vocals & some heavy duty Cher Pedal on “The Wolves”. Sublime.

2. Workout Holiday – White Denim: Deceptively subtle & complex psychedelic garage punk, if such a thing exists.

3. Sunday At Devil Dirt – Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan: The best album Johnny Cash never made. Only sexier.

4. Dig, Lazarus, Dig! – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – A righteous return to form. Smart, funny & scary all at once.

5. Jukebox – Cat Power: Proof positive that Ms. Marshall is probably one of THEE best interpretive singers of this generation. Worth it for “New York” alone.

6. Dear Science – TV On The Radio: Funkier than previous albums but no less experimental. I could happily listen to Tunde Adebimpe singing the ingredients to Coco Pops.

7. This Gift – Sons & Daughters: Glasgow’s finest purveyors of guilt-ridden, Velvetsesque country rawk. Saw ’em in Paisley Town Hall last month & they were stunningly good.

8. In The Future – Black Mountain: Synth-heavy, Canadian stoner rock. This is obviously a VERY GOOD THING.

9. Saturnalia – The Gutter Twins: Mr. Greg Dulli & Mr. Mark Lanegan finally release their long-awaited (by me anyway) collaboration which sounds almost exactly as you would imagine it would were you familiar with their previous endeavors.

10. Strangers Almanac (Deluxe Edition) – Whiskeytown: Technically a reissue of an album from ’97 but I’m including it because it’s my list & I make the rules. N’yah! Visiting Portland this summer I took my iPod with me &, despite having 11000+ songs at my disposal, played only this & Bon Iver the whole time I was there. An awesome reminder of how good Ryan Adams used to be.

Happy holidays!

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