Thursday, January 15, 2009

Best Music of 2008: #16-20

I realize I'm a little late to the year-end-list party (not to be confused with My Year In Lists), but I had to wait this long to acquire some of the albums I suspected would be on this list. Furthermore, if I don't do it now, it will be 2009 before I get my mitts on all the good albums from the past year. The bands which produced good albums in 2008 which I have yet to completely acquire (I have singles from most of them), and thus, will not appear on this list, are as follows (in no order): Anathallo, Chad VanGaalen, Frightened Rabbit, King Khan & The Shrines, Santogold, Whitely, Wild Sweet Orange, Los Campesinos!, Gentleman Jesse, Mason Proper, My Brightest Diamond, Pale Young Gentlemen, The Acorn, The Walkmen, Slow Runner, and the Welcome Wagon. It's possible--though unlikely--that all of those albums would've made their way into this year-end list if I had their works. That caveat outtathaway, let's get to work (if you're reading this on Facebook, it might be best to head over to the original post so you can listen to the tracks or watch videos without leaving the webpage).

#20. The Kooks - Konk
This is probably my guilty pleasure of the year. It's total schlock pop. This made the top twenty simply because I listened to this album a lot this year. I picked it up back in May and it stayed in my car's six-disc changer all summer. It's great driving music because it's totally catchy and cheesy and it's great sing-along stuff for the road. These guys are Arctic Monkeys, except not sixteen years old, and [far] less annoying. This isn't my favorite song of theirs, but it's only one of two available on YouTube:

#19. Starf**ker -
These electrono-pop-rockers from Portland are probably my most obscure band of the year. I stumbled upon them and their name immediately caught my attention--obviously--so I checked them out and fell in like (not love). The major drawback of this eponymous record is it's short run time (barely over 30 minutes). On the other hand, if these guys roll into town (Indy) any time soon, I'll definitely have to check them out because it looks like they put on a pretty fun show. The audio quality [on imeem] for my favorite song, "Pop Song," is a little poor, so feel free to check out "Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second" or "German Love"; here's "Holly":

Holly - Starf***er

#18. Mates of State - Re-Arrange Us
Dubbed "indie rock's favorite married couple" by my favorite music magazine, the Mates put out a quality album. I would describe them as New Pornographers lite/diet/jr. There aren't too many songs on Re-Arrange that knock you over, it's simply a solid album. Also, I'm glad to see that they've gotten paid recently... good for them! Indie rockers make so little, I love it when they can bring home the bacon and spread their tunes. Check out "Free," my favorite song off the album (with "Blue and Gold Print" and the title track running a close second).

You Are Free - Mates of State

#17. Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
I bought this album from Amazon's MP3 store for $1.99 the week it was released and it's been well worth the cash. The blend of guitar(s) and cello/violin is a sweet sound; whether it's been Silverchair (Diorama/Young Modern) or Andrew Bird, I'm always a fan of the mixture of those instruments. Ra Ra is sort of an ecstatic version of Arcade Fire, minus the organs... and the depression. Here's a video for "Ghost Under Rocks" (and the video for "Dying is Fine" is also pretty cool):

#16. The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
The White Stripes have been pretty hit-and-miss with me--I usually love half the album and hate the other half, and the first Raconteurs album didn't impress me. This album, however, is a different story. It's fairly solid throughout, and there's only one or two songs I skip, which is pretty good for 14 tracks. Consolers is plain old rock 'n' roll... and I'm not complaining. Here's a live, in-studio version of my favorite song, "Carolina Drama," a folk diddy with a violent end:

#15-11 coming soon....

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