June 27, 2008

Best of 2008 (half-way there)

We are at the midpoint of the year 2008, so I thought I'd post my favorite albums of the year thus far. I am providing links to artists' Myspace pages so you can listen to songs, and then links to the cheapest way to buy each album, either on vinyl or digitally.
1. Mates of State- Re-Arrange Us. (Buy vinyl. or Buy digital.) Nothing really comes close to this album this year for me. It is rare that a band I am so familiar with exceeds my expectations by leaps and bounds. A very fun summer pop-rock album.
2. Thrice- The Alchemy Index vols. III & IV: Earth & Air. (Buy digital. Vinyl is coming soon in the form of a 4 x 10".) Not as good as the first two volumes, but a great concept and very original. Air is the least successful of the four volumes, it is all over the place. But Earth is a terrific acoustic/organic EP.
3. Nada Surf- Lucky. (Buy vinyl. or Buy digital.) Took some growing on me, but another great album from these guys. I am super-excited about their vinyl box set coming out soon.
4. Colour Revolt- Plunder, Beg & Curse. (Buy vinyl. or Buy digital.) This, their first LP was long awaited, and it does not disappoint. A little more mellow than I expected, but it has great guitar work and dynamics.
5. Coldplay- Viva La Vida. (Buy vinyl. or Buy digital.) You've read about it everywhere, I really like it. I find it to be a completely new direction for the band, which is good because another album like X&Y would have been bad news.
6. R.E.M.- Accelerate. (Buy vinyl. or Buy digital.)The first good album R.E.M. has put out in a decade. A drastic and welcome change from their last album, the band attempted to recapture their energy from the 80's. Sounds like a cross between the 80's stuff and 'Monster.'
7. Thao- We Brave Bee Stings and All. (Buy digital.) One of my random, lucky emusic finds. A great upbeat folk album with very unique vocals.
8. The Weepies- Hideaway. (Buy digital.) I love this folk husband-wife group, but this is not their best work. Nice songs lyrically and vocally, but they all blend together.
9. Headlights- Some Racing, Some Stopping. (Buy vinyl. or Buy digital.) I greatly prefer their first LP, but I do really like this after seeing all the songs performed live.
10. Death Cab for Cutie- Narrow Stairs. (Buy vinyl. or Buy digital.) Very disappointing. I am only mentioning it because of how much I love the band. 'Plans' was a step backward, and they tried to right the ship and failed. I LOVE "I Will Possess Your Heart", but there are only 3 other songs on the album that do anything for me. Probably the first time in history that a single is my favorite song on an album.

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