Friday, 13 February 2009

Top 20 records of 2008

Blog number 2 for the day I'm an eager beaver!

I’ve been meaning to get this underway for a while as you might guess. I know it’s a bit late for this but after reading Big Cheese for research I noticed how far downhill it has gone since I last read it. The last time I bought a copy Capdown were on the cover and there was a free Household Name Records sampler, the current issue features Slipknot, HIM, Bring Me The Horizon, Mindless Self Indulgence and less depressingly The Gaslight Anthem.

Here are my top 20 Records of 2008

Albert Hammond Jr. > Commo Te Llama

The second album from the surprising Strokes guitarist, takes the Velvet Underground style of the Strokes but mixes in some Ska and Reggae to give it a unique sound.

Los Copesinos > Hold On Now Youngster

The first of the albums they released this year, full of happiness and a truly independent spirit.

Hot Chip > Made In The Dark

Follows up the warning perfectly with slightly higher levels of production, it’s almost impossible to listen to this without dancing on the inside at least.

MGMT > Oracular Spectacular

The best pop album you will hear this year, like rainbows from your speakers.

TV On The Radio > Dear Science

A deep and soulful record with electronic beats, funky guitars and dub undertones mixed together perfectly.

Hot Club De Paris > Live At Dead Lake

This Album is as good an indie record as you will hear all year with the addition of a free acoustic CD which is so good I wish they had recorded the whole album rather than just 4 tracks. HCDP mix pop punk effortlessly with clever lyrics, musically it is hard not be happy with each 3 minute slice of happiness. The acoustic CD includes a cover of Straight To Hell by the Clash which is the Best cover I have heard all year

Mad Caddies > Keep It Going

The move away from Ska Punk and Skacore towards a more UB40 Reggae angle has benefited Mad Caddies with this release. The slower sound has more depth but still holds onto the incredible brass sound that you would expect.

Bloc Party > Intimacy

When they hinted at a more dance angle for this album in interview I was a little worried but the electronic sound has benefited the developing style of Bloc Party well. This is no Silent Alarm but would you really want to hear the same style over and over.

12 & 11
Enemy Alliance/ Indecision Alarm > The New Wind and The Second Wave

A split so good each part deserves a place in the list, both bands include parts of the Satanic Surfers and continue the style of melodic hardcore played by them for so long. Each band has different twists on the genre with EA providing a faster approach with more melodic vocals and IA with raw vocals and a slightly slower back ground. I can’t wait for full lengths from both.

Zatopeks > Damn Fool Music

The Zatopeks have a similar style to TGA but play faster and loader, like a vintage inspired Captain Everything. The album also includes a couple of great slower songs and a great song about the Daily Mail.

Gashlight Anthem > The 59 Sound

This album deserves the critical acclaim it has achieved this year, catchy punk with a vintage style. This album has rarely left my Ipod or stereo since I bought it, I hope they can follow it up with an equally good next album.

Howards Alias > [EPI.PHAN.IC]

This is an album that has no peer in music, I have never heard a ska band play music fuelled by so much emotion. This album is sadly the last from Howards Alias and in my opinion the best they ever made I am still gutted I didn’t get to see this record played live.

Alkaline Trio > Agony & Irony

Another top draw album from Alk3 dark pop punk at it’s very best, I didn’t they could surpass Crimson but they proved me wrong. It’s my favourite Alk3 album and shows maturity and Matt Skiba’s continuing obsession with all things dark and gloomy but he somehow still writes music you can relate to.

Vic Ruggiero > Something In My Blindspot

The head of Ska institution The Slackers released an album that radiates cool and beauty in equal measures. Lyrically the mix of emotion and sarcasm is perfectly balanced; musically it has everything you would expect from a solo record with regular exchange’s between Vic’s deep raw voice and regular contributor Lisa’s prettier tones balance perfectly.

Milloy > Creating Problems While Practicing Solutions

This album balances raw vocals fast guitars and clever lyrics into in my opinion the best rock album of the year. Once this arrived on pre order it didn’t leave my side for at least 2 months.

Frank Turner > Lover Ire & Song

The Second of four solo records within the top 10 showing how good a year it was for solo albums. Frank mixes humour, passion, politics and heart felt emotion together in his own unique style. His voice is both soulful and honest as are his lyrics, he deserves a mention for his tear jerking single ‘The Queen Is Dead’ which he released and gave all the proceeds to charity.

Lightspeed Champion > Falling Off The Lavender Bridge

Dev Hayes went from fronting inspirational art punk three piece Test Icicles to writing one of the tenderest heartfelt records of the year. Musically it is as far away from the snarling fast sound delivered by Test Icicles as possible with Violins and acoustic guitar creating a fantastic sound. Lyrically the album is honest and genuine with hints of humour. 2009 will see a second album which I’m sure I will be writing about as highly.

Ben Folds > Way Too Normal

An album that was well worth the wait, a return to the sound explored with Ben Folds Five this record delivered everything I have come to expect. Politics, Sarcasm, Emotion and great piano this album sounds better with every listen.

Dan le Sac vs. Scrobbius Pip > Angles

This is UK hip hop at it’s finest an album that could quite easily be a quality dance record and a book of poetry or short stories. Where else would you find hip hop that covers issues such as self harm and revenge killing. Words cannot do this record justice I can’t see another hip hop act coming out with a better record in the genre ever.

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