12.22.2008

the best of 08 the music edition

Well, here it is. What everyone has been on the edge of their seats waiting for, my top eight music picks for Ought 8. I was surprised by how many sophomore albums ended up on my list, 'cause usually the second albums out tend to suck it. I also had a pretty tough time narrowing it down to only eight—there were a lot of great albums that came out this year.


8) Port O'Brien | All We Could Do Was Sing: And sing really, really well. Continuing in the tradition of their debut, this Bay Area band sings whale songs and modern day sea shanties while rocking it pretty hard. The lead singer, Van Pierszalowski, spends every summer working on his dad's fishing boat in Alaska and so the ocean has had a big influence on his music. You can hear it in every warble, strum and hand clap this quartet produces. And it makes you want to sing along.

7) Right Away Great Captain | The Eventually Home:
I discovered this guy's debut album, The Bitter End, about a month before he put out his sophomore effort and had a hard time choosing which of the two I thought was better. Eventually I settled on this one because it was a little less, well, bitter than the first which was all about a break up from a former lover. In this side project, the lead singer from Manchester Orchestra, Andy Hull, brings a stripped down, mellower sound with beautiful lyrics and a melancholy aesthetic.

6) Carolina Chocolate Drops | Dona Got a Ramblin' Mind:
There's a lot that can be said about this debut from this trio from North Carolina. And 'meh' is not one of them. For this album is awesome. Awesome in that banjo pickin', harmonica playin', blues singin' way that music from the Appalachian states is awesome. These kids are young too, in their late teens and early 20s, but sound like they lived during the Great Depression. Some of that may be due to the one old guy in their midst, Sule Greg Wilson. Wilson, 'A dancer, multi-percussionist, string player and author who learned to play the bones on his daddy’s knee, Wilson first picked up a banjo in the early 1980s.' *

5) Frightened Rabbit | Midnight Organ Fight:
Straight up rock from some dudes in Scotland. This album, in my opinion, far surpassed their debut, The Greys. Plus, did I mention they're from Scotland? And therefore have Scottish accents? Enough said.


4) Wolf Parade | At Mount Zoomer: Fans of Spencer Krug and Co. waited a long time and two Sunset Rubdown (his side project which was apparently more important over the past few years than his main project) albums to finally, finally get Wolf Parade's sophomore effort. And I, for one, found it well worth the wait. This album rocked. Full of epic songs, this is one of the few albums produced in the last few years that is meant to be listened to in its entirety. It's no wonder these kids from Montreal are indie rocks new kings.

3) The Rural Alberta Advantage | Homelands: Another Canadian band brings the sounds of the windswept lands caught between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains that give TRAA a seat at the table with bands like Neutral Milk Hotel.

2) Elliott Brood | Mountain Meadows: There's no one in this trio named Elliott, Brood, or Elliott Brood, but somehow the name conjures up everything their music sounds like. Somebody else said it and I agree, country music is still alive and well, it's just coming from Canada these days. This album is a follow up to their debut, Ambassador, and is surprisingly another rare exception to the sophomore album rule. For this one is way more outstanding than their first.

1) Bon Iver | For Emma, Forever Ago: If you've talked to me about music at all this year, then my number one pick for the year won't come as any surprise. No other album even came close to Justin Vernon's homage to Wisconsin winters and broken hearts. Never has one man's experience of love lost so touched just about every part of my soul.

Honorable Mentions go out to: Blitzen Trapper | Furr, Thao | We Brave Bee Stings and All, Centromatic and South San Gabriel | Dual Hawks, Fleet Foxes | Fleet Foxes and The Uglysuit | The Uglysuit

* from their website

2 comments:

LSL said...

Continue to love the lists!

Merry ho-ho-ho, and happy 2009!

LSL said...

That sounded like a command. I meant, *I* continue to love the lists.

Ummmm, yeah.