Top 25 Albums of 2008 so far, Part 1: 25-11.


Jun 23 2008, 12h22

2008 is the first year I've really kept up with music since '04.

And by that of course I mean LIST MAKING TIME.

This is ever-fluid, and shall be rewritten when a significance occurs.


25.) Earth- The Bees Made Honey in the Lion's Skull Prior to this enjoyable (the word that keeps coming to mind when I think of it) album, I had never even heard of Earth. What a loser I am, huh? Apparently, they're pretty important. The imagery from the song and album titles and the cover are what prompted me to listen to this. Lo and behold, I find that I am stuck to this work. Nicely done, very nicely done indeed.
a track to remember: Engine of Ruin I find that one of the finer moments on The Bees Made Honey In the Lion's Skull is this splendidly titled track which does a fantastic job representing the whole. Appropriate, considering it's the centerpiece.

24.) My Morning Jacket- Evil Urges The falsetto was at first confounding. I thought, Why? First of Montreal, now this. But like Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? whose second half gets real funky real quick, this MMJ effort is quite enjoyable (and bears little to no resemblance in any way to any of Kevin Barnes' output). This record feels like a grower, and I can fondly look to a future drive, summer '09 or '10, with this playing and the thought that Man, 2008 was great for music.
a track to remember: Evil Urges This song is really all you can ask for from music, son.

23.) Excepter- Debt Dept Debt Dept, stated plainly, is a perfect example of the genre, whatever genre it is. This is diabolicism you really want to dance to. On the other hand, there's a fleeting, implacable lightheartedness about the record. It could just be the title of the final track that allows this spark of optimism to seep back through the rest. But whatever the case, Excepter have made a highly enjoyable (in the truest sense of the word) album; also a very foreboding and dreadful one... which is a big delight.
a track to remember: Kill People A composition truly deserving the description of just awesome. Makes you wanna kill people. The least you can do is give this tune a listen.

22.) Kurt Weisman- Spiritual Sci-Fi
a track to remember Spiritual Sci-Fi The title track is one of the lighter affairs on this album, offering spirituality through music in a non-typical way. Science Fiction (or SF as most authors would call it) is prevalent, but not in a deep space, monster alien heavy fashion that's more often associated with the phrase. Indeed, the album in full smacks of a brighter tomorrow.

21.) The Black Mages- The Black Mages III: Darkness and Starlight Despite being far out of my metal phase by the time I first heard of this project being formulated, I cried Oh yes! What a dream come true this shall be. And it was, and it still is. I find it greatly satisfying that The Black Mages was not just a one time deal, and that they continue as a band today, giving hard-rocking life to those Final Fantasy battle tunes that true music fans know and love. That said, the hard-rocking is taken down a notch; get a glimpse of the album's title and you can imagine what it's like, probably. Wonderfully, Nobou and his strapping young pals have ventured out of the realm of exclusively recording battle themes. This exclamation mark is punctuated by the fact that the opener is Bombing Mission, not only an outstanding piece of work in a massively impressive body of work, but the perfect choice to be metallized. Ending with this album's track to remember and with extra Final Fantasy VIII peppered in the middle, Darkness and Starlight is another equal contender with The Black Mages first two albums for the best Black Mages album.
a track to remember: Darkness and Starlight ("The Dream Oath: Maria and Draco" from Final Fantasy VI) As much as I want to avoid internet colloquialisms in this blog (strike one), I just can't when it comes to this inspired re-imagining of a very memorable scene from a very memorable game:


That is all.

20.) Birchville Cat Motel- Gunpowder Temple of Heaven I've been waiting for an album just like this; at least, to find out about an older one like this. Spanning one forty minute piece, Gunpowder Temple of Heaven, though, is sure to be a unique experience. Rich and starry, buzzing and earthily celestial, this Temple suits itself to the individual who chooses to enter and be immersed, no doubt conforming itself to the scapes that already exist in one's mind.
a track to remember Gunpowder Temple of HeavenUhhh, yeah. It's not even like there are certain "movements" within the track, so I can't recommend a segment for the really lame folk (none of you reading this, you all are just a peach!). Let's just take in albums while people are still making whole ones. So why do I even have these tracks to remember, you ask? Well, shit.

19.) Smashing Pumpkins- American Gothic (UK Tour Edition) A touchy subject is Smashing Pumpkins 2. If you're a Pumpkins lover but hated Zeitgeist, fear not! Billy Corgan really is a cool guy: he listens to his fans. I don't know if you ever haunt any Smashing Pumpkins internet communities at all, but prior to the release of American Gothic, the fans (former or otherwise) were clamoring for what became American Gothic. I love the Smashing Pumpkins, I love Zeitgeist (the silver 'Album of the Year Edition' is really awesome, I gotta tell ya), I love American Gothic, and I love the fact that this... duo is claiming that they're going to keep making music together until the very end. With the 7digital exclusive UK Tour Edition of American Gothic demonstrating not only the Pumpkins' prowess in creating new music but also the band's live chops (all acoustic renditions of a perfect array of songs executed masterfully), I can look forward to growing old with Billy and Jimmy, something I most regretfully could not have said between December 3rd, 2000 and May 21st, 2007.
a track to remember: Sunkissed The last track on the original EP, this tune is a most beautiful way to usher in a new era of Smashing Pumpkins. Blissed and Gone truly becomes Hope.

18.) Wolf Parade- At Mount Zoomer I actually totally agree with the Tinymixtapes review of this record; it's good to know that people think the bombast of Apologies to the Queen Mary doesn't always hold up, especially in the face of their brand new At Mount Zoomer. It's solid as a rock and constantly, constantly, constantly delivers the goods, including promises of ultimate staying power. This is a triumph without overdosing on the UMPH.
a track to remember: Bang Your Drum Pure Wolf Parade perfection. There's a lot of that on this album.

17.) Silver Jews- Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea Another great thirty minute collection of songs. Like I'll say about Opeth, one would really think that Silver Jews will flub sometime far past a decade into their career. Not on Tanglewood Numbers, and not on Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea. Fans of this extremely strong act and somebody looking for a damn good album will not be disappointed whatsoever.
a track to remember: Candy Jail Now, this song is cute. Rhyming 'licorice' with 'Swedish fish?' You go girl!

16.) M83- Saturdays = Youth There are a couple of things that the latest full-length effort from France's M83 tells you right away. One, and the most glaringly obvious: Saturdays = Youth screams the 1980s. I love the 1980s, and this album successfully captures a lot of the best of the decade. The other is that this is going to be another great M83 album. From the dreamy opener You Appearing (with a title like that, what else could it be but dreamy?) into the next song, Kim & Jessie, you just know it's going to be another atmospheric, gripping rainbow ride through M83's immensely textured and drenched world. And it is.
a track to remember: Graveyard Girl As if any other tune could've made this spot! Sure, it may shine because of it's verse chorus verse catchiness, and while the soundscapes M83 brings into being have always been amazing, they were always at their best when rocking out... Electronically.

15.) No Age- Nouns Without actually listening to any of the music here, No Age's Nouns has all the makings of a top ten album of the decade for any given webzine: a zippy but unique and strong album title, a cover featuring only the band name and that aforementioned album title in big block font, song titles that can only be the titles of songs that just rock so hard on an epic, everlasting level, and a band name that is zippy... but unique and strong. Oh, and Subpop. This won't make my top ten of the decade, but each listen is pushing it further and further up this list. Nouns really does rock, and in a pretty perfect, epic way. The music evokes good feelings of music; it's fresh and nostalgic, a real head-bopper. Nouns lives up to most of the hype.
a track to remember: Miner On a rocker like Nouns, the opening track is always going to hit hard, leaving it's fist in your head.

14.) The Tallest Man on Earth- Shallow Grave The voice of the year could very well be coming out of the long neck of the tallest man on earth. Shallow Grave is pure. It's magic, it's amazing. It's the result of one man, his guitar, and a barrellful of songwriting chops. Yes, I do think that The Tallest Man on Earth sings with the voice of the year.
a track to remember: I Won't Be Found Like Miner by No Age, one of the many great songs on Shallow Grave is this opening track that heavily hits in an entirely different way.

13.) Vampire Weekend- Vampire Weekend Speaking of hype, here we have Funeral 2008, an internet phenomenon that people are sick of before even radio stations have the CD. I expected at least to be surprised at how immediately gratifying and perhaps indie-revolutionary this album would sound on first listen (like Funeral), but I was surprised to find that it's actually a bit of a grower. Not to say that the songs aren't as wonderfully poppy and catchy as can be, but it really took a while for all the genius of Vampire Weekend to sink in. And with a sound like theirs, you can be sure there is so much to discover on, in, and underneath this record. It really is something special. I very much look forward to any and all further output from this band that you should definitely still be watching.
a track to remember: M79, A-Punk While A-Punk is the big single from the big album, it's still just an amazing pop tune. Vampire Weekend is having a lot more fun than any typical pop (including R&B and MTV hip-hop) act claims they're having these days. M79 is a real standout, beautiful, beautiful song in every little way.

12.) a silver mount zion- 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons I hate to say that A Silver Mount Zion is really underrated. Few are the reviews of their last four efforts, including this one, that give them the extreme praise that they absolutely deserve. ASMZ is genius, and ever since it's been an established act (not just a Godspeed You! Black Emperor side project), it's been one of the greatest in the whole world. They get better and better with each album and EP while at the same time having a catalog that gets better and better as you go back through it... Or from the middle. Anyway, A Silver Mount Zion have created another masterpiece, another beautifully packaged record for the ages. And I don't care what anyone says, I really like the twelve short tracks at the head.
a track to remember: 1,000,000 Died To Make This Sound Like 2005's God Bless our Dead Marines, 13 Blues starts off (sort of) with an immediate smash over your head. And if Billboard/people were cool, this song would be an immediate smash.

11.) Opeth- Watershed How do they do it? You would expect Opeth to release an at least disappointing record at some point in their career, but with Watershed, they further cement their place as one of the best bands in the world today. Now, I get the feeling that no future album from these boys is going to do anything less than rock your socks off and beyond. What else can I say? You just cannot go wrong with Opeth! I didn't even seriously like any metal before I got into Still Life, but I could listen to them all day. Just enjoy.
a track to remember: Heir Apparent, Hex Omega Evil. Goodness. But you know Opeth are anything but evil! Shucks.


  • redhotslang

    I know it was a loose comparison but Funeral was much better than VP. Nice list though. Can't wait til part two.

    Jul 7 2008, 0h20
  • Tagindragon

    i'm happy to see other people digging kurt weisman, nice list as well, i know have some music re-search ahead of me.

    Ago 28 2008, 21h43
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