Friday, December 12, 2008

Top 10 Albums of 2008

2008 saw the release of many fantastic albums. Here are my personal top ten favourite albums of 2008. Hopefully they help turn you on to some new music.

1. My Morning Jacket- Evil Urges
Evil Urges helps to further prove why My Morning Jacket should be considered the American Radiohead. Every record the band has made has been considerably different from the last, and Evil Urges is no exception. The album covers a wide range of genres from the band's classic folk sound all the way to disco. Listen and hear why Jim James is the greatest front man in rock and roll today.
Key Tracks: Evil Urges, Touch Me I'm Going To Scream Pt. 2, Highly Suspicious

2. The Black Keys- Attack & Release
Ever wondered what The Black Keys would sound like if they had a few other band mates? Famed produced Danger Mouse seemed to be curious of this himself. By adding keys, ominous tones, and even banjo to some of the tracks, the band has a fuller sound to compliment their signature hard rocking blues.
Key Tracks: All You Ever Wanted, So He Won't Break, Psychotic Girl

3. Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago
Bare bones production and haunting vocals (think Jim James crossed with Thom Yorke) are beautifully displayed on this 2008 masterpiece. The album was written in solitude in the middle of winter and after the breakup of Justin Vernon's old band. His emotions clearly set the tone of this lonely yet often optimistic album.
Key Tracks: Flume, Skinny Love, For Emma

4. Brad Barr- The Fall Apartment: Instrumental Guitar
One of the most underrated and inventive guitarists of our generation. Barr gets back to his roots by playing some of his favourite cover tunes and a few originals as well. See my review below for a fuller description of the album.
Key Tracks: Bouba's Bounce, War, Heart Shaped Box

5. Fleet Foxes- Fleet Foxes
The folky sound and lush harmonies make them a sort of new age CSNY, if they were singing on the top of a snowy mountain. The Foxes bring the cool back to modern folk music with vivid lyrical imagery that makes you feel as though your running through the woods in the middle of winter, which seems to be the theme of 2008.
Key Tracks: White Winter Hymnal, Ragged Wood, Meadowlarks

6. Vetiver- Thing of the Past
Although this album is entirely made up of cover tracks, they are fantastically played, re-imagined and sung. The band has the tenacity to cover Jerry Garcia's often overlooked side project the New Riders of the Purple Sage, as well as legendary country/folk singer Townes Van Zandt.
Key Tracks: Houses, The Swimming Song

7. The Wood Brothers- Loaded
The Wood Brothers play a private show for us on their back porch down south (or that's how it feels at least). This is roots music played to its finest.
Key Tracks: Postcards From Hell, Angel, Pray Enough

8. Vampire Weekend- Vampire Weekend
The most blogged about band of 2008 deliver a fantastic debut album. Although the comparison has been made many times, it feels like a completely original follow up to Paul Simon's Graceland. Vampire Weekend mix afro-beat and witty college inspired lyrics, and leave us wondering what their next album will be an homage to.
Key Tracks: Oxford Comma, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa

9. Blitzen Trapper- Furr
Labeled as an indie band, they sound more like alternative rock to me. The album requires a few listens, but shines in the end.
Key Tracks: Furr

10. Sonya Kitchell- This Storm
Recorded with The Slip, the album is a departue from Sonya's bluesy sound into a more rock and roll sound. The Slip acts as her backing band and take Kitchell's songs to a heady level that I'm sure she was even surprised by.
Key Tracks: For Every Drop, Here To There

There you have it folks, my favourites from 2008. Hope you enjoy!

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