I was going to do a Top 10 list, but I honestly don’t listen to that many albums to narrow down from a single year. Chances are I’ll discover numerous albums from 2008, but until then I’ll point out some that I ended up listening to
- Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
- French Kicks – Swimming
- City and Colour – Bring Me Your Love
- Girl Talk – Feed the Animals
- Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
Busting out with something great, Bon Iver surprises everyone with a distinctive voice and beautifully arranged mid-fi indie folk. The singer was part of a band called DeYarmond Edison, a band with a more rootsy folk sound. Check out “Skinny Love.”
This band has been putting out stuff for a while, but this one doesn’t disappoint. The first song, “Abandon,” is a sonically pleasing harmony of voices akin to a matured Beach Boys sound. The production is nice too. The noticeable, but fitting reverb of the guitars and vocals mixing reminds me of the signature sound of the Walkmen, but with a subtler far-away reverb (sounds more distant instead of echo/twang common in surf music).
A heartfelt album of emotional immersion. Despite my lack of following the associated band Alexisonfire, I can enjoy what has come of this. City and Colour is a side-project of Dallas Green of Alexisonfire. The former is a contemplative, acoustic music; The latter is a screamo blend of poppy singing and screaming combined with dynamic hard and soft instrumentation (post-hardcore). This album is something special, stripped and honest.
When you highlight and condense musical pop culture for the generation of impatient, A.D.D.-blessed, hip, and postmodern culture of America, you are an automatic winner. Contemporary rap rhymes, the greatest dance beats, classic anthems, epic instrumentation, and mastery of DJing and mashups is what composes Girl Talk. While others have put there efforts in the same basket (other good artists include The Hood Internet or The Avalanches), Girl Talk consolidates a handful of great bits into a seamless stream of mini-samples.
Light, happy, and ethno-tropical feeling of joyous punk mixed with a hint of the trendy coastline is Vampire Weekend. While it may get downplayed as being overly hipster indie snob stylistically, it surpasses the shallowness of trying to define itself as elitist. Call them cheery preppies, but they manage to create an atmosphere with unique propositions (think Beach Boys at their overly cheesiest, then the Beatles on vacation in Jamaica making a complimentary album for the White Album, then an African group form a punk band, all while raindrops keep falling on their heads).
- Runner up: The Walkmen – You & Me
This is a great album. I haven’t decided if this one matches my three Walkmen favorites Bows + Arrows, Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone, and A Hundred Miles Off. There is nothing wrong with the album entirely, but I haven’t found that lasting punch. It’s a bit softer, more nostalgic, and just as pleasant as any of their previous works. I just haven’t tripped on the secret ingredient. But it tastes extremely delicious.
Apologies for this being posted so distant from the New Year. I had this written in January, but never got around to polishing it for publishing.