Albums of 2008

Originally emailed out Dec 2008

Hello and festive greetings!

It’s that time of year again! Below are a list of albums that have impressed me this year, there are more that could have made the list but I just haven’t heard them yet (eg. DrownedInSound’s 2008 winner; M83 – Saturdays = Youth, is in the post)

So, without further ado these are the ten albums that you should consider listening to, if not buying, at the very least;

1. Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight (www.myspace.com/frightenedrabbit)

Scottish indie rock from Selkirk. Like the Twilight Sad they don’t hide their Scottish accents while singing these infectious, cleverly scripted songs (the album title for example, is a euphemism for, ahem, the act of lurrve!) An absolute joy!

2. God is an Astronaut – God is an Astronaut (www.myspace.com/godisanastronaut)

Despite commiting the crime of not giving your fourth album an actual name (possibly excusable if it’s your first, if not, lazy!), I will forgive these guys ‘cos I adore this band. This, their latest, was a late entry into the top ten having only come out a few weeks ago, but, unsurprisingly, they’ve triumphed again. Beautiful, instrumental post-rock.

3. The Mars Volta – The Goliath in Bedlam (www.myspace.com/themarsvolta)

It seems a long time ago that this album arrived, February I think, but at the time, once I’d penetrated it’s complexity, I couldn’t stop listening to it! At first listen it seems a mess, but then you start to see the genius in the jazz-tinged wig-outs. And this from someone who hates jazz!

4. Up-C Down-C Left-C Right-C ABC + Start – Embers (www.myspace.com/upcdownc)

Despite winning the prize for the silliest name this year, their eagerly awaited debut second album is a cracking slice of post-rock, I first heard them as a standout track on one of the Silent Ballet’s free compilations (http://thesilentballet.com/dnn/Compilations/tabid/53/Default.aspx) and wanted to investigate further.

5. Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I-IV (www.myspace.com/nin)

Trent Reznor has been pretty prolific this year, releasing a new album online (The Slip) and prior to that, this two cd collection of instrumental dreamy electronic music that was apparently just jammed by him and his band. You can get the first collection (Ghosts I) online for free, check it out!

6. Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid (www.myspace.com/elbowmusic)

Guy Garvey, officially ‘the nicest guy in rock’, and co produce a Mercury prize winning album.

7. Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours (www.myspace.com/cutcopy)

This Australian band were unknown to me until I read the gushing praise this album got on DiS, checked out a couple of tracks on their myspazz and after hearing the singles ‘Lights and Music’ and ‘Hearts on Fire’ I bought this straight away. Electronic dreamy pop with a dancey edge to it!

8. Fuck Buttons – Street Horrrsing (www.myspace.com/fuckbuttons)

Really don’t know how to explain this Bristol duo, read the DiS review for a more expert description (http://www.drownedinsound.com/releases/12725/reviews/3029557) but their one line summation is “Euphoric, expansive, inspired melodic-noise brilliance, THE UNIVERSE IS SCREAMING!”

9. Portishead – Third (www.myspace.com/portisheadalbum3)

Their long awaited third album arrived this year to huge plaudits, much darker and stripped down than their first two albums this one is an almost uneasy listen at times.

10. dEUS – Vantage Point (www.myspace.com/deusbe)

The guys from Belgium give us another cracking album! This, their fifth, and ‘An Ideal Crash’ stand out as their best for me, more straightforward and melodic than their earlier ‘Worst Case Scenario’ days, it should and deserves to be appreciated by a wider audience.

Although that’s ten, there are other albums that deserve a mention here;

Youthmovies – Good Nature Changing their name from the rather unwieldy Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies, their debut is pretty audacious starting with 2 minutes of low drone, but it kicks up a gear and contains some great tunes!
British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music? These guys should be more massive than they are, great live shows as well
Her Name Is Calla – The Heritage Not a full length album but as they’re now on hiatus this will have to do for the moment
Mogwai – The Hawk Is Howling The Scottish post-rock pioneers produce another corker, check out Batcat, a ferocious tune!
Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs Don’t let the name put you off, indie college rock in the style of The Shins
Opeth – Watershed This one probably won’t find much love from you guys (except maybe Terry!), but it kicks ass \m/ (devil horns!)

And that’s it for another year, as usual I’m sure there are albums I’ve missed out on that are equally as great as the ones mentioned above, if you know of any I should check out let me know, for example I’ve heard lots of good stuff about Neon Neon’s album Stainless Style. Gruff Rhys from the Super Furry Animals does a disco-tinged concept album about John DeLorean, what’s not to like?!

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