My Favorite Music of 2008

It’s that favorite time of year again.  I think this is the 4th year that I’ve made a “best of the year” music compilation, but last time I did it I was unemployed.  This sucker takes some time!!  So last year I broke it out into two lists – genuinely new music (released that year) and “new to me” music that was released earlier but that I discovered in the previous year.  I ain’t got time for that this year, so here’s my one big list that covers both categories.

My Sources:

When other folks share new music with me, I’m always curious to hear how they discover it.  I had four main sources this year:

1) Music-loving friends

2) Pandora

3) Paste Magazine Sampler CDs – I liked at least a couple songs on every sampler they sent me.

4) Opening Acts for concerts I went to

so there you have it, and here’s the list.  Download link is at the bottom

  1. Lately – The Helio Sequence – Keep Your Eyes Ahead.  The lyrics are a clever take on a post-breakup mindset, the guitars and bass are simple but pretty and efficient, and the drums are fantastic.
  2. San Francisco – Brett Dennen – Hope for the Hopeless. Nice little ditty about the city I left last year.  I like Brett Dennen
  3. Neon Tiger – The Killers – Day & Age. This is my favorite track on the new(est) Killers album.
  4. The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance – Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend. Love ’em or hate ’em, you gotta love ’em.  This is my favorite track on their huge debut.  I’ll be very curious to see if the sophomore effort slumps.
  5. Intelligentactile 101 – Jesca Hoop – Kismet. I saw her open for Mark Knopfler and she peaked my curiosity enough to buy the CD.  I really like 4/5 of this song, the other 1/5 is a little annoying, but the 4/5 is good enough to include.
  6. Always Where I Need to Be – The Kooks – Konk. I like rock songs, and this is one.  Poppy, but still definitely rock.  From the UK nonetheless.
  7. Un-Named – Leona Naess – Thirteens. Just one sort of catchy track off of what is one of my favorite albums of the year.  I wish I had seen more of her set when she opened for Ray LaMontagne.  Such a pretty voice.
  8. I Woke Up Today – Port O’Brien – All We Could Do Was Sing. The song starts out with everyone singing, and then… everyone keeps right on singing… all the way through the song.  Kind of Arcade Fire-esque, but different.
  9. It’s You – Pictures and Sound – Pictures and Sound. A little on the sweet and poppy side, but I really like the bassline and I like the overall vibe of the song enough to include it.  I also owe this find to Paste Magazine.
  10. Hallelujah – The Helio Sequence – Keep Your Eyes Ahead. The other song I really dig by these guys.  It’s good.
  11. Hard Livin’ – Railroad Earth – Amen Corner. I actually don’t love the banjo or the Mandolin.  It’s safe to say I don’t really like this kind of music, but I like this song and I think a lot of my music-loving friends will dig it too.
  12. This is How We Kiss – Throw Me The Statue – Moonbeams. This album came out early in the year, and it seems a lot of people forgot about it.  The whole album has a great sound, but I like this track ’cause it almost sounds like the Cars could have written it if they took the right drugs. Plus the album cover has boobs on it 🙂
  13. Up Against the Glass – The Botticellis – Old Home Movies. I discovered this band in San Francisco a while ago and they finally released an album.  They’ve got a lot of talent, but they seem to have a hard time getting their shit together.  I hope they do.
  14. Oh No – KaiserCartel – March Forth. Simple guitar, great melody build with harmonies and glockenspiel.  Reminds me a little of vibe in the Cowboy Junkies version of “Sweet Jane.”
  15. Brittle Bones – Richard Walters.  The intro guitar sounds like it could be Pink Floyd off of the wall, the vocal sounds kinda like Travis.  It’s a good recipe.
  16. Trashcan – The Delta Spirit – Ode to Sunshine. This song first caught my attention when What Made Milwaukee Famous covered it at ACL.  I wish I had taken their advice and gone to see The Delta Spirit while I was there, but I did come home and D/L the song and I really dig it.
  17. Another Day – Jamie Lidell – Jim. Saw this skinny white guy at ACL and loved him.
  18. Sad Eyes – Josh Rouse – Bedroom Classics. I guess this song has been out for a while (2001).  I had a live version for a while, but there was a flaw in the recording that drove me crazy.  I rediscovered this one in a Paste magazine sampler.  That sampler is awesome!
  19. Two Sisters – Fiction Plane – Left Side of the Brain. Sting’s Son Joe Sumner fronts this band.  Sounds like a younger sting who throws a lot of enthusiasm into his vocals.  This song is a rocker – a great addition to your workout mix.
  20. Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) – Beyonce – I Am…Sasha Fierce. I refuse to be restrained by your expectations of what kind of music should wind up on this list!  I too am Fierce like Sasha!  This is a great song (with a mediocre bridge that seems to reference Buzz Lightyear).  Plus seeing Andy Samberg as a backup dancer on SNL sealed the deal.

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