We know we’re the only ones interested. We accept that. Tough. This is our lists of our favorite albums of 2008. You can find our list of favorite songs from 2008 here: K&B’s Best Songs of 2008, but first, lets get to our best albums of 2008:
UPDATE: Other folks (Greg, Chelsey) are chiming in, and I’m adding their picks to the post. Stay tuned!
10. Bob Dylan – Blood on the Tracks – This actually came out in 1975, but I finally listened to it in 2008, so I am going to have it hold my 10th spot, until something supplants it. I hope that Chinese Democracy supplants it, but I’m not holding my breath. The problem with Bob Dylan is 1) his stupid rabid fans 2) the similarity of many of his songs 3) his stupid rabid fans. This will be the year that I finally got past the second issue.
9. Theresa Andersson – Humingbird, Go! – There is one embarrassing song on this disc. Identify that song. Make your piece with it. Move on. She’s from New Orleans! And Sweden!
8. MGMT – Oracular Spectacular – Is this disc popular? I hear bits and pieces of the songs in all sorts of advertising, but do they get radio play? I don’t know, but they have one or two of my favorite songs of the year.
7. Tapes n’ Tapes – Walk It Off – This was my favorite CD of the year for a long time. It’s balls to the wall most of the way through. Even if it sounds like it was recorded in the room next to the room where said balls were to said wall.
6. Why? – Alopecia – This CD is a smidge too long, but the lyrics remind me of what the Silver Jews guy would do if he rapped. Please let that day never come.
5. Silver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea – Speaking of Silver Jews. This CD makes me feel good. Mostly because it seems a lot less shaky than their last one. Like maybe the drugs aren’t calling him as much. Good for you, Dave.
4. Damien Jurado – Caught in the Trees – I love Damien Jurado, but usually his albums make me say “meh”. This one is quality all the way through. Achy sweet songs about being sad, breaking up, that sort of thing.
3. Dr. Dog – Fate – This for me was the grower of 2008. I liked it fine when I first heard it. But since then, there has been this slow burn, and now I want to listen to it all the time. I can’t pick my favorite song off it…I’m a complete mess. We saw them in concert, and these stupid hippies ruined it with their stupid hippy dancing.
2. Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight – I feel certain that my love for this disc shows that I will never have good taste in music. It’s a little schmaltzy and overly dramatic, but I eat it up with a spoon.
1. She & Him – Volume One – Everyone should own this CD in my opinion. Zoe Deschanel has a beautiful voice, the songs are beautiful. It’s like an un-ironic Carpenters disc. Or would that be ironic? I don’t know. But again, there is so much quality here, one cannot pick a favorite.
- Okkervil River – The Stand In’s – Not their best, but still good.
- Cloud Cult – Feel Good Ghosts – I like a band that is hawking esurance. What is wrong with me?
- Delta Spirit – we saw them open for Dr. Dog. Same hippies ruined it for us.
- Grand Archives – Grand Archives – this guy used to helm Carissa’s Wierd. I loved them. I love him.
- The Hold Steady – Stay Positive – Good album, but so much retread.
- Gnarls Barkley – There are many good songs on this. Way better than their debut.
1. The Black Keys: Attack & Release – I don’t think there was an album that I listened to more than this one. Solid album, great sound. They rock the flute like nobody since Jethro Tull. Person not named Kent that would be most likely to enjoy: Dave.
2. Man Man: Rabbit Habits – Pure chaos. I liked their last one a lot, but there was a lot of unlistenable filler on it. Rabbit Habits is full of goodness. They’re refined their sound without losing the chaos that makes them so much fun. I don’t see what everybody sees in your sexy body… Person not named Kent that would be most likely to enjoy: Brent J.
3. Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend – Call me lame, I don’t care. This Vampire Weekend is catchy, witty fun music. I’ve always had a soft spot for the afrobeat type stuff from Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, and the Talking Heads, and Vampire Weekend is no exception. They may be a flash in the pan, but I thoroughly enjoy this album. Person not named Kent that would be most likely to enjoy: Leslie and Beth, even though they would never admit it.
4. Silver Jews: Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea – David Berman has returned in that sincere, corny yet not corny way that only he can really do well. He’s finally got the larger band sound working for him. Person not named Kent that would be most likely to enjoy: Everyone willing to give it chance and who doesn’t mind Berman’s weird voice.
5. Okkervil River: The Stand Ins – I’m coming to terms with the fact that Okkervil River will never put out something like Black Sheep Boy or Don’t Fall in Love with Everyone You See again, but The Stand Ins is still prety good. There’s less filler than The Stage Names, even though I think the best songs on the Stage Names are better than the best songs on the Stand Ins. Person not named Kent that would be most likely to enjoy: Brent K.
6. The Hold Steady: Stay Positive – I was worried the Hold Steady were down with after the super crappy Boys and Girls in America, but Stay Positive gives me hope that they aren’t done yet. There’s a song about how it sucks to be famous on it, though, and that’s a quick way to make me lose interest (unless your band is the Counting Crows). The Hold Steady have a much bigger sound on this album, and surprisingly it doesn’t take way from the power. Even the harpsichord sounds good. Person not named Kent that would be most likely to enjoy: Leslie
7. She & Him: Volume One – I don’t think it’s cool to like this album either, but I really dig the 60’s-style girl pop Zoey Deschannel and the tiny Wall of Sound production from M. Ward. I’ve always been a fan of high studio production values, and the songs are pretty catchy too. Person not named Kent that would be most likely to enjoy: Anyone with a heart.
8. Tender Forever: Wider (2007) – I don’t really know why, but for some reason I really enjoy this type of lo-fi, female-led electopop, a la The Blow. This album came out in December of last year, and I listened to it nonstop until about March. Person not named Kent that would be most likely to enjoy: Paul.
9. Wolf Parade: At Mount Zoomer – At first I was disappointed, since Apologies is one of my all-time favorite albums. This one is completely different: it rambles along with long songs, and strange changes. It’s really more like a Sunset Rubdown album than a Wolf Parade album. It took a while for it to really grow on me, but once you get into its six-minute songs, its hard to stop listening to it. Person not named Kent that would be most likely to enjoy: I really don’t know.
10. Dodos: Visiter – I’m putting this on here, even though it runs a little long. It’s got that real loose, yet controlled lo-fi sound that I really enjoy. This year’s Bishop Allen! Person not named Kent that would be most likely to enjoy: only BK and I really enjoy this type of artsy, folky crap.
That’s it. I’m surprised I got ten albums for this list, because there really wasn’t a lot of really good stuff this year. Here’s some honorable mentions, in no particular order:
- Titus Andronicus – “There’ll be no more cigarettes, no more having sex, not drinking till you fall on the floor, no more indie rock, just a ticking clock, you’ve no time for all of that any more.” It’s like emo punk rock. Person not named Kent that would be most likely to enjoy: Poopy
- Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Do you really need so many names? The first four songs or so are great, and then the album becomes really kind of a bore.
- Throw Me the Statue – Great songs. The album is too long, though.
- Judas Priest – Nostradamus. Very disappointing, especially as the last album, Angel of Retribution, was pretty good with dear old Rob Halford back shrieking the vocals. Nostradamus was not good though – far too pretentious, full of little keyboard swirls and fills. Just crank up the damn twin guitars and scream, ffs.
- AC/DC – Black Ice. I liked this one. Definitely the best thing they’ve done since Blow Up Your Video. Really good. Angus even breaks out a slide guitar!
- Dragonforce – Ultra Beatdown. I guess Dragonforce are an acquired taste, but if you want shredding, these guys are top notch. Saw them live a couple of months back, and they are phenomenal – I was watching the hands of the two guitarists and I still couldn’t work out how they could keep so note perfect.
- Whitesnake – Good to be Bad. Superb album. Coverdale sounds fantastic. Thankfully he’s not prancing around in leather trousers anymore, and concentrating on the music. Although 1987 and Tawny Kitaen rolling around on the bonnet of a car will always be etched in my mind (hey, I was a 14), this is equal to any of Whitesnake’s 80s output.
I also bought a load of stuff which wasn’t released this year.
- MC Hawking – A Brief History of Rhyme. OMG, too funny. Seriously, you have to listen to this. Nerdcore rocks.
- Robert Calvert – Captain Lockheed and the Starfighters. Mad Hawkwind poet with a concept album about the post-WWII Luftwaffe. Great stuff, even if he does go a little too Peter Sellers with the accent at times.
- Turisas – The Varangian Way. Viking metal. To Holmgard and Beyond. Longboats, swords, axes, fighting and pillaging. Also quite possibly the maddest cover of “Rasputin” I’ve ever heard (in fact the only metal cover of it I’ve ever heard!).
- Cat Power – Jukebox – Best album in years.
- Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue – Nice sing-a-long music.
- Kanye West – 808’s & Heartbreak – Not too rappy.
- MGMT – Oracular Spectacular – Danceable.
- Of Montreal – Skeletel Lamping – Sex and cuss words.
- Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Good sad music.
- Why? – Alopecia – I always wanted to be a white rapper.
- Adele – 19 – Beautiful Voice
- Ting Tings – We Started Nothing – Catchy.
- Mates of State – Re-Arrange Us – Only album of theirs I like.
- Delta Spirit – Ode to Sunshine
- Black Kids – Partie Traumatic
- Man Man – Rabbit Habits
- Estelle – Shine
- Vampire Weekend