|Favorite Albums Of 2008
||[Dec. 28th, 2008|11:56 pm]
Katie L. Thompson writes this.
Everyone else was doing it so I thought I would, too.
1. Pershing - Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Hands down my favorite album of the year. It's catchy, it's poppy, and it's more polished than anything else the band has done but it's still just as charming and personal as the other recordings. The album is great the whole way through but it's also a nice set of songs suitable for mixed cds for your friends. It's got some nice fuller, re-worked versions of older songs that really made fans happy but also made for a good introduction to those unfamiliar. I'm still kind of surprised at how amazing this album sounds and how well this band is doing.
2. I'll Be Lightning - Liam Finn
This was one of those accidental finds. I went to see Miracle Fortress at DC9 and this tiny adorable bearded guy opened and blew me away. His live show is kind of amazing if you've never seen it before; it's just him and this other girl named EJ and he uses a looping pedal to make things sound bigger than they are. The album is much different than the live show; it's mainstream sounding pop music but.....good. It's a decent album the whole way through but it's got a few stand-out tracks that I've caught myself listening to over and over again (Second Chance, Energy Spent). The album itself is worth buying for the awesome photographs taken by Liam in the booklet. Uh, and of course the adorable photos of cute beardy Liam himself.
3. Shall Noise Upon - Apollo Sunshine
Wow. Just.....wow. I'm going to say that this is the most underrated album of the year. I've been reading all the bloggy year end lists and I thought for sure that someone would acknowledge the amazingness of this album but I have yet to see it. Like, am I the only one that likes Apollo Sunshine? Am I the only one that listened to this album? It's seriously great and completely unique. I can't really tell you what it sounds like because it's all over the place but yet it's definitely one of those albums you have to listen to as a whole. I feel like those dudes in Apollo Sunshine are some of the most talented musicians out there.
4. The Farthest Shore - National Eye
The release of this album makes me want to bang my head against the table. I am clearly one person (not a blogger that refers to herself as "we") so perhaps my opinion does not count as much as someone that writes for a blog or works for a label but this is the best thing Park the Van released this year. Guess what? NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT IT. It's a digital-only release. It's better than Fate and it's better than Moonwink. Yes, I totally just went there. Sigh. This album is perfect; it's obscure and dreamy as fuck. It's like a lazy journey from start to finish. Maybe like floating down a river in an intertube but in the Fall when the leaves are changing color. It's beautiful and well-written. Not only should you buy it but you should burn copies for your best friend, your crush, the helpful and hot advisor that might quit his job but you simply couldn't live without, and your mom. I am advocating illegal distribution of this album just so people will know about it because it's that damned good. **Listen to the whole album here!
5. Silver Sonya - Meredith Bragg
This came out at the end of 2007 but I didn't around to listening to it until this year so it's on here. I feel like Meredith needs some love; he's one of the most underrated musicians in DC. He's a damn good song writer and when he plays his damn good songs, he plays them like he means it -- he sings with his eyes closed. Silver Sonya is his first solo offering and it's super stripped down. There's not really a whole lot between you and Meredith, you know? Silver Sonya is naked but the kind of naked you find in art that you're not allowed to laugh at because it's kind of serious. I keep saying that Meredith reminds me of Glen Phillips and I feel like that should be a universal comparison but I have yet to read it anywhere yet. This is another album that should actually be purchased due to the fact that the cover is shiny and silver.
6. This Kind Of Life - Olivia Mancini & the Housemates
This also probably came out last year but I didn't get it until this year. Ah, so if there's one band I got to know better this year it'd be these folks. I ate breakfast with this band before I heard the album. After seeing them like 5 times I found myself singing Jealous Type in the shower and decided it was finally time to buy it. Oh, Jealous Type. So so good. It's infectious. Last time I saw the High Strung, they were singing it backstage before they played. The rest of the album is good but I was still all like, "Where's the song about how people in DC don't dance at shows...?" Super cute stuff which is to be expected because they're a super cute band. Olivia is just about the cutest girl ever and I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a little fangirlish about a few of the cute boys in the band.
7. s/t - Vampire Weekend
The only reason I see to not think this album is great is that everyone else thinks it's great (or can't stand it). I really can't help but think of this article concerning backlash as I put this on my List. Also please note that I don't know shit about Vampire Weekend which (if you know me) is a testament to how great this album truly is.
8. Moonwink - The Spinto Band
Probably the most anticipated album of the year for me. Great songs, great recording. I only wish I had a car to listen to this album in; I've decided that's why Pershing is a better album -- I got to listen to it in a car whereas I did not have that luxury once Moonwink came out. My only complaint is that Moonwink should have come packaged with a car, the season of Summer, and a little dance by Thomas Hughes.
9. To Emma, Forever Ago - Bon Iver
Another Vampire Weekend. Except I didn't hear Bon Iver until just a few months ago. My college's radio station has this weird format called SUCK where they play the same old mainstream shit like Katy Perry, Oasis, and Weezer and reject albums like this one. I found it in one of the reject bins and I took it and holy shit, it's beautiful! At first I was a little detached because of the shrill vocals but I kind of grew to enjoy them. I thought it was the most wonderful album to walk home to at night; it made everything seem kind of mystical and magical. Creature Fear is just lovely.
10. Rio - Aterciopelados
I like this band. I got Gozo Poderoso whenever it came out because I saw the videos for Luz Azul, El Album, and Rompecabezas on that MHz channel. I came across a review for their new album on Pitchfork a month or so back and decided it was worth checking out but wondered when this band became P-fork material. Did they review Gozo Poderoso or that greatest hits album that came out a few years ago...? (I just checked; Rio is the only album they've reviewed.) Anyhow, Rio is good. Like, really good. I have no clue what they're saying but I like it. It's catchy and very much in the same vein as Gozo Poderoso. Uplifting stuff.
Other albums I enjoyed this year:
Fate - Dr. Dog
Morning Tide - The Little Ones
Seven Summits - The Secret Life of Sofia
Amethyst Amulet - Adam and the Amethysts
Alphabutt - Kimya Dawson
Infinite Ellipse and Head with Open Fontanel - Make A Rising
If Children - Wye Oak
All Together - Pattern Is Movement
Arm's Way - Islands (...but try not to make such a longass album next time, ok?)
Albums not from this year that I got really into:
ZOMG MOXY BRAVO BY THE HIGH STRUNG. It's simply the best album ever.
Recently digging Matty Popchart's Everyone Does Everything enough to mention it.
Albums I never got:
What the Wind Will Never Tell - Nethers....uh, oops. As much as I've been wanting to hear this I still have yet to buy it. But like, it's their fault for breaking up and then releasing an album over a year later.
The Stand-Ins - Okkervil River I'm working on this now; Lost Coastlines is a great single.
Albums I Enjoyed Last Year Which Others Are Enjoying This Year:
Ode To Sunshine - Delta Spirit. It's a re-release, son.
You know what? Two bands I really love a whole lot released really shitty albums this year. I'm not going to say who those bands are but man, what a disappointment. I guess I expect more from bands I know and love so when the album comes back sounding cheesy and poorly mixed, I'm kind of upset.