Top albums of 2008 (that I learned about during 2009)

March 6, 2009 at 6:45 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

As I mentioned in my previous top 10 list of 2008, I love end of year lists to help me expand and also filter through my experience of the limitless amount of music there is out there to enjoy.  I spent time reading a lot of lists.  I learned about a lot of records I never heard about during 2008 proper.  I started digging like a small child and got lost in the wrapping paper.

So now that the wrapping paper has cleared, I got out a pick axe and pried open the large box labeled “2008”.  I poked my head inside to see what all stuck with me going through those lists.

Once again, there are links wherever possible so you can click away and start listening to this stuff at the speed of thought.  Also, since this is about finding things through other people’s lists, where I can recall I have given credit to who introduced me to the music.


Portugal.  The Man – Censored Colors

Introduced by : Carmen

This record to me is a continuation in the tradition of well-crafted songs from The Beatles.  There are a few tracks on here which are so well crafted and I believe have a universal appeal that they sound to me like a modern version of “Hey Jude” (check out “And I”).  So even though there is a substrate of The Beatles going on here, there is a lot of complexity to the music.  There are elements which are angular, disjointed, and fractured which remind me of Mars Volta.  There is a lot of soul and expression in these songs and it’s hard not to sing along with John Gourley on these tracks.


Everest – Ghost Notes

Introduced by : Taylor

A great enjoyable collection of classic songs which will draw comparisons to bands like Wilco and Calexico.  There is a lot of alt-country essence here and it’s a great record to listen to while driving.  There are also some spacy exploration in the latter half of the record as well but it’s not out of place.  I could recommend this record and the Portugal The Man record mentioned above to nearly anyone I know.


High Places – High Places

Introduced by : Carmen

This record is a great little surprise.  It took a few ambient listens before it grabbed me and I really started paying attention.  It is a beautiful formula of the beautiful voice of Mary Pearson, sweet melodies and the tribal percussion which dance around her.  Given this formula, one might guess that it could be similar in sound to School of Seven Bells which I had on my top 10 list for 2008, but the end result is very different.  I’m curious to see if this one grabs people right off the bat or if it takes a few listens like it did for me.


Russian Circles – Station

Introduced by : Corinne

Immediately upon listening to this I had an image pop into my head.  I just spent the last 20 minutes trying to find the image and I can’t.  If anyone can send it my way, they get a high five.  The image is a drawing from Igor Stravinsky in which he drew 2D figures which represented the music of several composers. Included are Bach, Schoenberg and others.  The figure her drew for Richard Wagner consisted of spirals.  This record from Russian Circles creates the same image and feeling as I listen to it.  Their instrumental heavy guitar driven forms are like a gigantic whirlpool.  It makes me wonder if Wagner would enjoy it.


Diplo and Santogold – Top Ranking

Introduced by : Matt at work??? Can’t remember???

I listened to this a lot in 2008 but for some reason I didn’t include it in my other top 10 list.  This record is a fun experience.  It travels all over through the spaces of Reggae, Dub, Hip Hop, Baile Funk and more.  There are a lot of tracks here so felt like I needed to fold down the corners of the MP3s as a crude bookmark.  For a few beginning bookmarks, I recommend these tracks : “Creator”, “Get It Up”, and “Light’s Out”.  (what?  Panda Bear mixed in here?  it works…)


The Black Angels – Directions To See A Ghost

Introduced by : Taylor

Dark, brooding, and full of swagger.  This record instantly reminds me of Darker My Love, Jesus and Mary Chain, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and Velvet Underground all at once.  If you like any of these then go pick this up yesterday.  There are some incredible trips in this record which leave Earth’s atmosphere far behind.  My little roommate bunny Radar loves this record.  If it gets the approval of a selective and sometimes disapproving stoner bunny then it’s a pretty good pick.


Wow. WordPress seemed to censor this. It said "crunching..." for a bit and then the image never appeared. I threw it into MS-PAINT and then wordpress was happy. I guess it doesn't want me to post breasts???

Grails –  Doomsdayer’s Holiday

Introduced by : (thanks statistically-based recommendations!  you work!!!)

Way to go,  Another great record I did not know about without your help., I feel a bit embarrassed here.  You give me so much and I do little in return besides filling your servers with loads and loads of data about what I listen to.  Does that bother you?  Does it get heavy carrying all the music that I love?  I appreciate your hard work and especially your talent in recommending good music to me.  Thanks for giving me Grails.  This is great music.  Most people who read this probably will not like it, but I like it.  It’s loud and mean and, you know what I needed.  I will be sure to send you a Christmas ham this year.  I promise this time.

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