Hold up! Hold up!
Now while Ray has some very juicy picks for his 'best of', I have a couple as well. I use a more technical method to determine my list. 12 months is a long time, do you remember what you were listening to on January 1st, 2007?
Didn't think so. Well, I don't either (it was probably Radiohead), BUT my trusty (and pretty well organized) iTunes library does. It keeps track of play counts, skip counts, last played, last skipped, date added, etc.... and basically I use that to unbiasedly make my top selections of the year. (Well, it's not perfect, and I fudge the numbers sometimes...). Also, I am focusing on albums instead of just singles. Of course a really good single, can only help an album.
Going through my music, it is funny how many albums I have listen to in the past year. Some I had completely forgotten about (this is where my iTunes data comes in handy). And some albums surprised me at how much I liked them. (Albert Hammond Jr. anybody?). While others were obvious (duh Hot Chip).
As a bonus, I'm adding the best compilations of 2008. For two reasons, I love compilations b/c if they are selected properly, the music flows from track to track without boring the listener. And it was the only way I could justify putting Joakim's remix compilation there b/c he NEEDED to be on my 2008 list.
Without further ado (b/c this post is going to be long as hell anyways...) MY list of the best 11 albums of 2008. (Who said it had to be top 10?)
Oh and I'm not ordering these (except for the Joakim album... LOL, just kidding.).
Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling
Pop maestro Kelley Polar blew away his debut release with his sophmore album. The album is a cohesive effort, with etherial themes and awesome strings provided by The Kelley Polar Quartet (he's a Julliard trained musician did you know?)
MP3: Kelley Polar - Entropy Reigns (in the Celestial City)
Hot Chip - Made In The Dark
Hot Chip needs no introduction. Made In The Dark was not quite The Warning, but with the number of singles that came out of it, there is no question these guys know what they are doing.
MP3: Hot Chip - One Pure Thought
El Guincho - Alegranza
Spain's answer to Animal Collective. Do I have to go further? Didn't think so. Man I have to go back and listen to this album again.
MP3: El Guincho - Palmitos Park
Albert Hammond, Jr. - ¿Cómo Te Llama?
This one came out of left field for me. I did not expect it to grow on me so much, but each time a track came up on shuffle, I let it play.
MP3: Albert Hammond, Jr. - Rocket
Metronomy - Nights Out
If was to name an album of the year, it would have to be this one. I have been following Metronomy for a while now (I have a signed copy of Pip Paine (Pay The £5000 You Owe) which I promised not to sell on eBay) and they (original it was a solo effort but now a full fledge band) have perfected their quirky pop music. Not only that but their remixes for the likes of Goldfrapp, Klaxons, DNTEL, Gorillaz, Ladytron, etc... showcase the bands innovative sound.
MP3: Metronomy - Heartbreaker
Syclops - I Got My Eye On You
I had to find a Maurice Fulton album to put on this list. And Syclops it is. As musical trends are shifting to house music now, it only makes sense that someone puts out a leftfield house album to give the genre a little edge. And by edge I mean a freshly sharpened machete to cut through all the happy house out there. (Did I mention I'm DJ'ing a new night called Happy House on Thursdays? Plug, plug, plug...).
MP3: Syclops - NR17
Flying Lotus - Los Angeles
I am sneaking some hip hop into the list. But I can't even call this hip hop. If I play this for my more "mainstream influenced" friends, they will think I am weird (or more weird than they already think I am). This isn't Kanye (even though Flying Lotus just remixed Love Lockdown - gag, I'll forgive him).
MP3: Flying Lotus - Parisian Goldfish
Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve - Beyond The Wizards Sleeve Ark 1
These guys first came under my radar by their remixes. Psychedelic reanimations of bands like Midlake, Tracey Thorne, and Peter, Bjorn, and John. Ark 1 is really a best of compilation of their previous unofficial albums (Birth, Spring, George and West). With Erol Alkan at the helm, the album will take you well beyond your expectations.
MP3: Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve - I Swim Around
Santogold - Santogold
I have read a few 'best of' lists, and I cannot recall a single mention of Santogold's debut. Huh? Did I miss something?
MP3: Santogold - Creator
Uncle O - Untitled
Something about the samples he uses to create minimal sounding landscapes drew me to this release. He was a big influence in adding a few new musical styles to my DJ repertoire this year. And for getting me to listen to Leonard Cohen.
MP3: Uncle O - Huey Dewey
Tapes 'n Tapes - Walk It Off
Some indie rock for ya. I love these guys. A great follow up to 2005's The Loon. I also dig their cover art.
MP3: Tapes 'n Tapes - Conquest
Some honorable mentions here. The albums were good. But maybe I expected more? Walter Meego sounded great, except I had already heard the best singles in 2007. Quiet Village has a great sound but I found myself listening only to the track Can't Be Beat (but it's a really good track!) Neon Neon had such great promise! Boom Bip? Gruff Rhys? Did you hear the track Do's And Don'ts? AMAZING! Um, it wasn't on the album? If the lead singer of Late of the Pier would just not scream as much, I think they would have had a better chance.
Walter Meego - Voyager
Quiet Village - Silent Movie
Neon Neon - Stainless Style
Late of the Pier - Fantasy Black Channel
Here are the comps I think you MUST pick up. They give you the most bang for the buck, you don't get stuck listening to one artist.
Nobody Knows Anything DFA presents Supersoul Recordings
DFA knows where the future of dance music lies.
The Bees - Sound Selection
Great all around mix, a little vintage sounding (queue The Staple Singers) but I guarantee there is a track for everybody on this.
Groove Armada - Late Night Tales
By far my favorite compilation this year. I can play anywhere and people will come up to me asking what I am playing.
Joakim - My Best Remixes
I heart Joakim.
Studio - Yearbook 2
Another remixes collection, Studio gathered their previous 'remakes' and put them all onto one disk or disc (is it disck?)
That's it for now. I don't think there are any substantial releases coming out in the next few days.
Disclaimer: I'm sure I missed other great albums, these are just the ones that crossed my path and my ears. If you have other suggestions, leave them in the comments! We like comments! It actually shows you guys read this stuff (as opposed to searching for the yousendit or zshare links only).
I hope you guys enjoy our blog. Suffice to say we put in a lot of time hunting for music and hopefully have exposed you to artists or genres you have never listen to before.
*** UPDATE: This post is literally minutes old and I am already remembering albums I missed (I'll keep adding to this list as I remember them):
Hercules and Love Affair - Self-titled
TV on the Radio - Dear Science (this is more of an honorable mention)
Grace Jones - Hurricane (still listening to this... it's really good)
Dirty Edits Vol. 2 (compilation)
Squarepusher - Just a Souvenir
Moby - Last Night (he's still relevant!)
Mr. Oizo - Lamb's Anger (one more push for electro! And that's it. Seriously, time to move on)
Gotye - Learnalilgivinanlovin
Daedulus - Love To Make Music To
Madvillain - Madvillainy 2: The Madlib Remix (it's a remix album or it would have made my list)
Skeletons - Money
Kings of Leon - Only By Night
Simian Mobile Disco - Sample And Hold (Attack Decay Sustain Release Remixed) (another remix album that was really good)
Sébastien Tellier - Sexuality
Skull Disco - Soundboy Punishments
FREE BLOOD! - The Singles (yeah this goes in the list up top....)