Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Top 25 of 2008 - Alphabetically (Part V)

Ah, the end of the line. The last, though definitely not least, five albums in my best of 2008 list.

Shearwater - Rook

While Okkervil River seemed to get the lion's share of the attention this year for their recent release, former member Jonathan Meiburg's long-time side project, Shearwater, made the better album. With a powerful, yet gorgeous, voice and gift for avant-garde songwriting, Meiburg creates many breathtaking moments on Rook. The album requires some patience, especially during some of the many slower, more delicate moments, but the songs are absolutely beautiful and the band's oft-restrained accompaniment is exceptional.

Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

I had never been much of a fan of Sigur Ros before this year, but their latest album took the band in a slightly different and much more palatable direction. While several of the long, slow-burning, ambient anthems the band is known for can be found here, so too can three minute indie pop songs like "Gobbledigook" and the triumphant "Inní mér syngur vitleysingur." It's a flattering sound for the band, who manage to maintain their signature beauty while making their music much more accessible than they had previously.

TV On The Radio - Dear Science

TV On The Radio is another band that I could never really learn to love until 2008. Dear Science toned down the fuzzy, noise-rock of their earlier albums, presenting a much more pop-oriented side of the band. It's an exciting record that is at once aggressive, thoughtful, and triumphant. Singer/songwriters Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone are at the top of their game here, as is producer and multi-instrumentalist David Sitek, who wraps their songs in layers of guitar, keys, and horns, creating a fantastic alt-rock sound.

Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend built up an enormous amount of hype even before their debut record was released early this year. Immediately, the backlash started. To illustrate, Vampire Weekend was voted the most overrated act in Stereogum's reader poll, but were fourth in the "Best Album of 2008" category as well. Me, I think the album is an addicting indie-pop gem that didn't exactly change my life, but provided a half hour of quirky, afro-pop-meets-indie goodness. It's a fresh, fun, record that certainly deserves the praise.

Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer

At just a trim nine songs (but 45 minutes in length), At Mount Zoomer manages to pack a powerful one-tw0 punch from front-men Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner. While the record is more cohesive than the group's debut, it still features songs written separately by both artists, and one massively epic closer, "Kissing The Beehive," as a collaboration. It's complex and plenty weird but maintains a melodic accessibility that makes the whole project very approachable. I've listened to this album repeatedly and loved it more every time.


OD said...

Nice list. My top three of the year made your list. (That Wolf Parade album is underrated!)

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