Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top 10 Albums of 2008

10. Ponytail- Ice Cream Spiritual
Less random than you might think at first listen, after you consider Molly Seigal's voice as just another piercing instrument.

9. Ra Ra Riot- The Rhumb Line
Beautiful strings and fun music- live and recorded. I liked them at first listen at the Wicker Park street festival this summer.

8. Mamiffer- Hirror Enniffer
Hauntingly beautiful instrumental music in the vein of Rachel's. If dreams were a movie, this could easily be the score.

7. The Cure- 4:13 Dream
Robert Smith does it again, and again, on this almost-double album. Dirty songs, love songs, and sad songs- diverse enough for fans and good for newcomers to The Cure (if there still are any).

6. British Sea Power- Do You Like Rock Music?
Though Pitchfork derides this album as a U2 ripoff, the only similarities I see are in the enormity of both bands' music with cutting guitars and worldly influence. I've never heard U2 reference Dylan Thomas, either.

5. Why?- Alopecia
Spanning genres between hip-hop and indie rock doesn't make Alopecia instantly more accessible. However, between abstract lyrics and live recorded instruments, the album unfolds in layers like an onion- and Jonathan Wolf's initially abrasive voice becomes endearing.

4. Wolf Parade- At Mount Zoomer
The intersection of many side projects worthy of praise in their own right, the follow-up to Apologies to the Queen Mary shows that frontmen Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner have a lot more sprawling, well-crafted music in them.

3. Portishead- Third
For a band that has been putting out releases for fourteen years, Portishead manages to stay ahead of the electronic crowd, forgoing new gadgets that create new hollow sounds for gizmos to enhance their musical capabilities. This translates well into their live show, as they are not standing statically behind a laptop, but interacting in and with the now.

2. The Wedding Present- El Rey
Contemporaries with The Smiths but less well-known, perhaps by design, UK's The Wedding Present still sold out of all its LP's of El Rey mighty quickly. This smart, Southern California eponymous punk album- recorded by Steve Albini- is as infectious as its fan base is loyal and hungry for anything they put out.

1. TV on the Radio- Dear Science
I know it isn't as good as Cookie Mountain, but Dear Science saw TVOTR take a new step in a more electronic-sounding direction- even with all the wind and brass instruments. As TVOTR is comprised of mostly former art students, they seem to know that artists always need to challenge their audience with new ideas, or become obsolete and irrelevant. Judging by the album's ultimate position on year end lists in Rolling Stone, Pitchfork's readers poll, and even Entertainment Weekly, TVOTR may know their audience better than previously thought.

Tip of the Hat: Oxford Collapse- Bits; Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks- Real Emotional Trash; ; The Walkmen- You + Me; Lucksmiths- First Frost; Lackthereof- Your Anchor; Love is All- A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night; Margot and the Nuclear So and So's- Animal; Crystal Stilts- s/t; Islands- Arm's Way; Calexico- Carried to Dust; Max Tundra- Parallax Error; Spiritualized- Songs in A&E;

Wag of the Finger: Margot and the Nuclear So and So's- Not Animal (they need to edit, live and recorded); Tapes 'n Tapes- Hang Them All; Does It Offend You, Yeah?- You Have No Idea What You Are Getting Yourself Into; Bloc Party- Intimacy; Of Montreal- Skeletal Lamping

No comments: