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.

2008 contenders

I fear I may have to play by the “best of” rules that everyone else plays by this year. As I have had to rip and encode all of my albums this year, I can’t tell which older releases I bought this year. So here are the 2008 releases:

  • A Sound Legacy: 60 Years of Folkways Records and 20 Years of Smithsonian Folkways
  • Accelerate — R.E.M.
  • April — Sun Kil Moon
  • Bad Case of History — Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians
  • Cheap — Seasick Steve
  • Como Now: The Voices of Panola Co., Mississippi
  • Conor Oberst — Conor Oberst
  • Devotion — Beach House
  • Earth Sciences — Laura Barrett
  • Electronic Projects for Musicians — The Apples in Stereo
  • Everytime! — Sheesham and Lotus
  • Funplex — The B-52’s
  • Holler and Stomp — Dressy Bessy
  • In a Cave — Elf Power
  • Live at the Moonshine Café — Steve Payne with Al Lerman
  • Live! From CarnEGGy Hall — Orriel Smith
  • Luna — The Aliens
  • Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust — Sigur Rós
  • Modern Guilt — Beck
  • Music Tapes for Clouds and Tornadoes — The Music Tapes
  • Proof of Love — Old Man Luedecke
  • Recapturing The Banjo — Otis Taylor
  • Sea Lion — The Ruby Suns
  • Shadow Cat — Robyn Hitchcock
  • Shall Noise Upon — Apollo Sunshine
  • Skeletal Lamping — Of Montreal
  • Soft Airplane — Chad Van Gaalen
  • Spectrum 14th century — Final Fantasy
  • That Lucky Old Sun — Brian Wilson
  • The Living and The Dead — Jolie Holland
  • The Singing Saw At Christmastime — Julian Koster
  • Then We Were Older — Ideal Free Distribution
  • Third — Portishead
  • Turn the Water on, Boy! — The Coal Porters
  • Victory Garden — Laura Barrett
  • Volume One — She & Him