2008 was a banner year for new music, especially independent rock.
I'd suspect that I've purchased at least six dozen CDs and downloaded a few hundreds tracks via iTunes on the road to my 2008 top albums list. The 80's,90's and 70s are all back this year (again), and a few newcomers have me really excited about the future of music.
When I say these are the top 10 albums, I mean that they are albums in the classic sense of the word. They are coherent collections of great songs that capture a place and time. One good song or a few big singles doesn't mean it's one of the best 'albums' of the year for me.
Top 10 albums of the year (in no ranking order):
MGMT — Oracular Spectacular (Time To Pretend is an indie-anthem, every song soars. The new band of the year. Best debut since Killers' Hot Fuss.)
Santagold (She's got M.I.A. swagger with a No Doubt sensibility. She's the perfect dancehall meets 80s.)
Deathcab For Cutie — Narrow Stairs (The sound of the record is sooooo Deathcab delicious. New Twin Size Bed is my pop song of the year.)
My Morning Jacket — Evil Urges (This is a sonic journey, like Pink Floyd meets Neil Young. They've grown into their shoes and provide this year's Wilco=like breakthrough album.)
Killers — Day and Age (They are baaaack! The record tells a great story, and Human punctuates it's message early on.)
Fleet Foxes (This is the best sounding record of the year. This Seattle band combines CSNY vocals with Shins like song-sensibility. A record Brian Wilson would cherish.)
Angus and Julia Stone — Book Like This (Got this as a gift from JB in Austin, WOW. Belle and Sebastian meet Rilo Kiley and Bright Eyes. Great UK indie-pop. Buy used via Amazon, or download the EP from iTunes. Big here next year.)
Conor Oberst (The Bright Eyes frontman and brainchild makes a great solo record. He's got Bruce's soul, Jenny's wit and Bob's sense of rebellion. And all the tracks are great too.)
Portishead – Third (It took this UK trip hop collective years to make this, but it is well worth the wait. Classic torch meets hip hop. Track 9 (Small) is the highlight of the downtempo year.)
Black Mountain – In The Future (Think Zep, but with a gothic Southern bent. This indie-swamp-psyche band is the coolest thing since Monster Magnet.)
New bands with much promise that almost made this list: