1. Cut The World (and Still). No thought required here. It's brilliant. I'm sure this'll push people to start claiming the Philippines to be the new Sweden, or something. Maybe so? (though I wish we were hearing more from Astrolab over in Indonesia, too). In any case, it demonstrates that other people are better at reinventing that UK indie late 80's/early 90's sound.
2. Heavy Deavy Skull Lover - technically a 2007 release I think, but I didn't hear it until earlier this year. Slow, sprawling and loud, it's the kind of thing that's been calming me down after (or during) work.
3. Hong Kong In The 60s - I'm still waiting for some kind of release, but in the meantime, the demos you can get from last.fm or their site work well - top tracks are probably The Finishing Line and Footsteps.
4. Desire - out of nowhere (at least as far as I can tell) comes a new voice to try to follow on from the legacy of, say, The Blackeyed Susans and a few other similar Australian bands with guys with nice voices. Unfortunately I was overseas when the album launch gig happened.
best old stuff I just found this year:
1. The Greatest Story Never Told - it took a few listens, then suddenly its brilliance nearly overwhelmed me. Another fine example of somebody born too late. Very dreamy.
2. At the National Grid - how can one man (Robert Scott) be in two so utterly vital bands (The Bats and The Clean)? He should be declared a national treasure (along with David Kilgour). A surprisingly strong release for a band so late in their career, where you might think it'd be recording by numbers by now. There's a great video floating about for Flowers & Trees, too.
As last.fm will point out, I've spent most of the year listening to The Angels of Light, Piano Magic, The Clientele and Damon & Naomi, for what it's worth.