Well another year has past and this one felt like a freaking decade. Personally, this year flat out sucked but on a musical level there were some great listening moments.
I wont even pretend to tell you what the best of the year are since I surely haven't listened to everything. To be honest, I simply don't hear a lot of new artists that make me stand up and shout. I've tried to get on that hipster bandwagon of past "best new artists" (The Rapture and Wolf Parade anyone?), but found myself feeling like I'm wasting precious time. Live is just too short, you know? I tend to gravitate towards new releases from the already established artists that I know and love. I guess I'm officially an old fart.
From reading many year end picks this week, I'm seeing a lot of albums I need to at least check out since they appear on every single list (Lil Wayne, Raphael Saadiq, Santogold, Girl Talk). I'm always up for great new music and new artists and I do try and listen with fresh ears. Hearing that great new song or album that you then NEED to play for everyone you know is one of the greatest things in life.
So that was a long preface to get to some of the best stuff I heard this year (in no order). All killer, no filler as they say in the "biz". Below you will find a nice mix of one track from each. Hope you like them as much as I do.
Dave's Favs of 2008
The Black Keys-Attack and Release
These two dudes from Ohio sure know how to make a lot of noise and with help from producer Danger Mouse, made a fantastic modern gumbo of blues influenced garage rock. On previous discs, The Keys had the blues-rock thing nailed down but this is something else entirely. Of one my favorite surprises of the year.
Bob Mould-District Line
Bob Mould has long been one of those artists that seemed like he was writing specifically for me. I think I spent the most time with this disc this year not just because I needed to (based on the lyrical content), but because it's the strongest thing Bob's released since the Sugar debut.
Fleet Foxes-Self Titled
One of the most talked about bands of the year and deservedly so. This was another of my most listened to albums of the year, and not just because my nine year old daughter loves it. These guys almost single-handily renewed my faith in new music this year. Their sound is hypnotic, organic, tuneful, fresh yet timeless, and just simply gorgeous. This album already feels like a classic and I truly can't wait to hear what this band has in store in the future.
The Fireman-Electric ArgumentsThe Fireman is a project by Sir Paul McCartney and the artist known as Youth. I just got this not too long ago, but am still in amazement that this is actually Paul McCartney. Is is crazy good and really different from anything Paul has done in the past. The opening track is the easily best thing he's done since The White Album.
Brian Eno and David Byrne-Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
Two of my favorite artists recorded a modern classic that gets better with each listen. I can't get over that these two guys wrote new material together in 2008 and with such high quality. The kings of alternative rock put everyone back in their places.
The Hold Steady-Stay Positive
What more can one say about this disc? This is another of the most talked about discs of the year, and if I had to pick I'd say my favorite overall. I think Craig Finn is the greatest lyricist today and finally his band gave him the music to match the words. Play this one loud and renew your faith in rock and roll!
Bob Dylan-Tell Tale Signs
Opening up the Dylan vaults once again, this magnificent release features material from 1989-2006. From the acoustic versions of "Mississippi" and "Most of the Time", to the unheard masterpiece "Red River Shore"; this release was an audible orgasm for Dylan fans.
Kilbey is the lead singer/songwriter of the criminally underrated band, The Church. I'd say Painkiller is a side-project more than a "solo" disc since it is definitely a band effort. After over 25 years in a music business that has been cruel to artists like him; Kilbey has created yet another masterpiece of haunting and deceivingly melodic gems. How Kilbey keeps up this quality with zero sales or touring dollars is testament to what a great artist he is.
Whiskeytown-Strangers Almanac (Reissue)
One of my favorite albums just got that much better in 2008. Featuring a ridiculous 26 bonus tracks and pristine remastering, this reminds us of why Strangers Almanac is still the best disc in Ryan Adams huge catalog.
Other loved ones of 2008:
Jenny Lewis-Acid Tounge
Lindsey Buckingham-Gift of Screws
Sigur Ros-Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust
Drive-By Truckers-Brighter Than Creations Dark
Aimee Mann-#@*@'ing Smilers
Bon Iver-For Emma, Forever Ago
Vampire Weekend-Self Titled
TV on the Radio-Dear Science
Jackson Browne-Time the Conqueror
Ryan Adams and the Cardinals-Cardinology
Lucinda Williams-Little Honey
The Cure-4:13 Dream