Saturday, December 6, 2008

Top 25 of 2008 - Alphabetically (Part I)

I love year-end lists, but while I was organizing my top 25, I realized that I was changing the order at least daily and getting nowhere on deciding which were my absolute favorites. So, in order to assuage my anxiety, I decided to make it easier on myself and just put the best (read: my favorite) albums of the year in alphabetical order.

I'm going to do this in five increments as to give myself a little room to justify each of my picks. Without further ado, here are the first five (alphabetically!) of the top albums of the year.

The Black Keys - Attack & Release

Another solid release from one of the most consistent rock 'n' roll groups of the last ten years, Attack & Release successfully marries The Black Keys' gritty, raw style with Danger Mouses' quirky production. With plenty of straightforward rock tunes and a few interesting and exciting departures, the band deliver at every turn. It's great to see the duo switch things up a bit while still retaining what made us love them in the first place.
Blitzen Trapper - Furr

Blitzen Trapper's love of classic folk-rock and their need to experiment make Furr a fascinating and enjoyable collection of songs that mash together a variety of genres including country and funk. The record manages to incorporate musical elements of the past while still sounding modern and relevant, and although it feels a little scattered at times, there are enough brilliant moments to qualify this as one of my top 25 for 2008.

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Justin Vernon's masterpiece, recorded under the Bon Iver moniker, is any easy pick for this list and maybe my favorite album of the year. Isolated in a cabin in Wisconsin, Vernon recorded some of the most poignant, beautiful, and heartbreaking songs I've heard in a long time. His haunting falsetto voice, combined with his gentle guitar playing and obtuse lyrics, provides for a truly unique and captivating experience. You owe it to yourself to hear this album; an instant classic.

Calexico - Carried To Dust

Carried To Dust delivers another generous and compelling dose of Calexico's southwestern-flavored indie music. It's a politically charged album with music ranging from fiery Latin rock to gentle ballads, and while the songs still ride the talented drumming and earnest, whispered vocals that have always been Calexico's trademark, it's brimming with a host of talented musicians including some notable guests like Sam Beam and Pieta Brown. It's another well-written, well-executed record by Burns, Convertino, and company.

Cloud Cult - Feel Good Ghosts (Tea-partying Through Tornadoes)

Weird and wacky, yet immensely enjoyable, Feel Good Ghosts was an unexpected but welcome new experience for me this year. Singer/songwriter Craig Minowa, with a penchant for bizarre stories and odd phrases, displays completely sincerity as he works his way through 13 tracks about life, love, death, and loss. The music is packed with swirling strings, layers of synth, and acoustic guitars in a genre-less blend that is unlike anything you're likely to have heard this year.


Cap said...

Dang Chris, we have eerily similar taste. Maybe we're long lost brothers or something.

Chris N said...

I suppose that's a possibility, or perhaps we are just two of those lucky few that have undeniably great taste in music.

Andy Kissner said...

glad to see somebody else enjoyed cloud cult this year