Top 10 albums of 2008 so far

Due to a couple of unfotunate circumstances (lack of internet access, laziness), i’m a bit late in posting the albums of the year so far. Ideally, the best time to post the list is halfway through the year. August, however, isn’t half the year past. It’s a wee bit more.

Regardless, here’s the list that everyone’s been not dying for!

As always, in no significant order:

The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
Husker Du meets Post Punk, drowned in classic rock. Fantastic band, shitloads of fun with great hooks and sharp lyricism.

Mount Eerie – Black Wooden Open Ceiling
Phil Elvrum is simply a genius. Moving away from the lo-fi of previous Mount Eerie albums (though not when it comes to production), this short little stunner is swirling with fuzz. Again, stellar lyrics and he’s nearly always in great form!

Nick Cave – Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!
It’s Nick Cave, for fucks sake. Though the album still has a couple of ‘misses’, it’s a magnificent return to form.

Russian Circles – Station
One of my favourite, favourite bands. Born out of the remains of Dakota/Dakota, they play fantastic instrumental rock (or post rock), except with a slightly ‘metal’ tinge. There’s fair amounts of frantic, tapped arpeggios here, but they never descend into sheer wankery. It’s always rhythm, or setting the tone for drummer Dave Turncrantz to go mental.

Shearwater – Rook
Jonathan Meiburg is a genius. He’s taken Shearwater from being a sideproject to a sensation in its own right. His brilliant falsetto is helped on this album by ‘grander’ orchestration, with steel lap pedal guitars, synths and strings swirling all over the place. The album’s definitely more expansive than previous efforts, which were more often then not steeped in singer/songwriter-dom.

A Silver Mount Zion – 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons
Features far more ‘rock’ instrumental, and less chamber music, but still a great album because it’s really rough and jarring.

Destroyer – Trouble In Dreams
Probably the best lyricist in indie. Returned to less grandiloquent roots and is all the better for it. The best and most focused album of his career, in my humble opinion.

James Blackshaw – Litany of Echoes
12 string guitar god. Borrowed from the likes of John Fahey on his debut The Cloud of Unknowing, but now is completely his own man. His guitar play is accentuated by his ability on the piano, throwing in rumbled keys when necessary.

M83 – Saturdays = Youth
Great album. Every song is a lesson on what a shoegaze meets electronica song must be. Despite some distinctly average lyrics, the soundscapes are just too gorgeous to ignore.

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
At times they sound like Fairport Convention, but no one can argue that these guys have lovely pipes. And why shouldn’t they be in love with them? This album has some of the best vocal work you’ll be likely to hear this year.

Upcoming releases I’m excited about:

Mogwai -The Hawk Is Howling

Mastodon -TBA

The Wrens – TBA

TV On The Radio – Dear Science (cannot, CANNOT wait. Should be album of the year if their previous releases are anything to go by)

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