Monday, December 15, 2008

(Everything But) Top 10 Albums of 2008

So in neurotically compiling my favorite albums of the year, I came to realize just how many songs/albums/artists I was going to be leaving off my list in order to make the list a bit manageable. Therefore...I present to you, many other far less manageable lists. Top 10 albums to follow in a few days.

Top 5 songs of 2008 that are not represented in my top 10 albums:

Wale - The Opening Title Sequence (youtube)
Any hip-hop song that is built upon the premise of sampling the theme from Seinfeld is off to a good start in my book. When that's added to the ultra-skilled style of Wale, mentioned here earlier this year, you get an attention-grabbing song that hopefully is just the start for this dude.

BOAT - Topps (Mp3)
Love documented for this song back in July. Hopefully at this time in 2009, I'll be posting the next BOAT full-length as one of the year's best.

M83 - Graveyard Girl (youtube)
Although their last album, Before the Dawn Heals Us, was a favorite of mine several years back, I was somewhat skeptical that M83 would ever produce a song that I enjoyed as much as "Don't Save Us From the Flames;" not necessarily because I thought the act wasn't capable or talented enough, but rather because I liked the song so much. Roy over at Odd Lyric did a great write-up that looks a bit at M83's evolution that I highly recommend if you're interested in checking out more of their music.

Delta Spirit - Trashcan (youtube, live @ Club Downunder 10/18/08)
Last year at Club Downunder, we had Delta Spirit here opening for Dr. Dog, and I only caught a portion of their set, as I was unfamiliar with the majority of their music. After being impressed seeing them again this summer, I was pretty excited when we booked them again, this time for a headlining show, in the fall. This tune in particular is a great, upbeat example of the band's soulful live rock show. The video above (from the aforementioned fall show) is not great quality, but the sound comes across pretty well.

Okkervil River - Lost Coastlines
If you read my best of 2007 post way back last January, you saw that Okkervil River's last album, The Stage Names, was my favorite release of last year. Although I did enjoy this year's follow-up, The Stand-Ins, "Lost Coastlines" clearly stood out to me as a cut above the rest of the album. You can check it out, in video form, below.

Top 5 shows of 2008:

1) Beirut – Sasquatch! Festival, George, Washington (How come?)
2) M.I.A. – Sasquatch! Festival, George, Washington (How come?)
3) Alejandro Escovedo – Stubb’s, Austin, TX (How come?)
4) Of Montreal – The Moon, Tallahassee, FL (How come?)
5) Mittens on Strings – The Hideout, Austin, TX (How come?)

Album That Would Have Battled it Out for My #1 Had I Been Able to Justify it's 2008 Re-Release as an Actual Release Date:

Bowerbirds - Hymns for a Dark Horse
I've already gone on a bit about this album already, so I'll just present to you one of my favorite Take-Away Shows of 2008.

Best Random Live Video Featured on the Internets That Was Not on the Take-Away Shows:
Yeasayer - 2080 (On's Don't Look Down)

And finally, the albums that just missed my top 10 of 2008 (aka Honorable Mentions)

Noah and the Whale - Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down
Hand claps, intricate instrumental arrangements, whistling, and hooks everywhere. They even use a ukulele. I mean, how could you not like this band? More to come in 2009.

Dr. Dog - Fate
With a darker feel than it's predecessor, 2007's We All Belong, Fate was Dr. Dog continuing along it's harmonic path but taking a sidestep in a slightly new direction. Their music has always sounded rich and full, but this newest effort is even moreso, and placing it outside the top 10 was difficult.

Lambchop - OH (Ohio)
Few bands have a more pleasant sound than Lambchop. If I had to make them the middle point between two bands, they would fit halfway between Silver Jews and Iron & Wine. Sounds ridiculous, but check them out and it may make sense.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Missed Posts of '08: The Little Ones - Boracay

If asked to name the band best at writing pop hooks today, I'd probably have to say The Little Ones. I can't even attempt to surpass the eloquence of the following statement regarding their debut album, Morning Tide, by Funky Cold Sabrina, who says "Makes me want to eat skittles..."

Anyway, the song "Boracay" was first featured on the Terry Tales & Fallen Gates EP, which was released in April. The track is also included on Morning Tide, which was released later in the year. The song is a great example of the act's instant appeal. I'm going to pretty much leave it at that and encourage you to check out an interesting interview with the band over at STLMTM.

Mp3: The Little Ones - Boracay
Buy: The Little Ones - Morning Tide