Ryan’s Favorite Records of 2008
December 31, 2008
Every music blog needs to have a Best Of list, right? Well dangit, then that’s what my first post here is gonna be!
They’re in alphabetical order by artist because I’m not sure I could easily rank them. I also have about a dozen records I picked up along the way this year, but either haven’t listened to them enough or simply haven’t listened to them at all. So they’re not on here. Sorry, Of Montreal.
Able Baker Fox “Voices” A low-fi post-hardcore project from members of Small Brown Bike and the Casket Lottery. The band’s pedigree doesn’t really mean much to me, I just really dig their sound. But I wish the recording was a little louder.
Anathallo “Canopy Glow” This was one of my most-anticipated records of ’08 and it didn’t disappoint. While it doesn’t quite capture the sound, energy or vibe of the band’s absolutely magnificent live show, it’s a beautiful, layered indie pop (more indie than pop) gem.
The Decemberists “Always the Bridesmaid” Singles 1-3 The Decemberists get better with each release, and their handful of new songs and covers in 2008 simply reinforced their indie rock dominance.
The Drift “Memory Drawings” Like my expanded interest in instrumental funk and soul, my love of instrumental post-rock really took hold this year. While Mogwai’s “The Hawk is Howling” was great, “Memory Drawings” just has more presence, soul and atmosphere.
The Gaslight Anthem “Señor and the Queen” and “The ’59 Sound” 2008 was definitely a huge year for the Jersey crew, with the band gaining massive amounts of attention for their second LP–even before it came out. I remember the SideOneDummy website crashing the day pre-orders started for “The ’59 Sound.” By the end of the year, they were playing late night TV shows and racking up the Best Of noms. And it’s a great record, but the “Señor and the Queen” EP released early in ’08 between their full-lengths is, in my mind, just about perfect. In just four songs, they masterfully execute their Clash-meets-Springsteen-in-a-New-Jersey-basement hardcore show sound.
Giants “Old Stories” Another amazing post-rock record. I almost missed it, but found it on a random Best Of list and it quickly rocked my world.
Hot Chip “Made in the Dark” I didn’t think I’d dig British electropop (I hate genre names), but I do. Dance-y, funny and tons of fun.
Menahan Street Band “Make The Road By Walking” I found myself listening to more funk/soul/instrumental hip hop this past year and this easily sits with the best of the best alongside El Michels Affair, The Budos Band and The Dap-Kings . Coincidentally enough, Menahan Street Band is a big collaborative project featuring members from all those bands and more. Truly, an all-star lineup producing all-star level music.
MGMT “Oracular Spectacular” Just as dancey as Hot Chip, but somehow even catchier.
Murder by Death “Red of Tooth and Claw” While not quite as epic as their concept record of Dante’s Inferno meets the Old West, this is a pretty badass record and makes me want to drink and take revenge on someone.
Shai Hulud “Misanthropy Pure” More metal than ever before, the hardcore heroes from New York-cum-Florida signed to Metal Blade Records and killed. Most metal doesn’t do it for me anymore, but this was great. Plus, who doesn’t love a band named after a giant worm from a classic sci-fi novel?
Verse “Agression” I’m way out of touch with the hardcore scene these days, but hot damn, this is one awesome album. It makes me want to point my fingers, sing along and run. Very far and very fast.
So, what were your favorite records of 2008? We always want suggestions for great music!