I'm sticking with albums that were released in the first half of 2008. I've already heard a couple of things scheduled to come out later this year that will probably make the list.....
Top Eight Albums of the Year So Far:
Bon Iver: For Emma, Long Ago (Jagjaguwar) – A deceptively strong album. I returned to it this week after not hearing it for a couple of months and now I’m listening to it non-stop again. Download “Skinny Love”
The Dodos: Visiter (French Kiss) – Manic folk music. I’ve listened to this record a lot. Don’t let the Animal Collective comparisons scare you away. Download “Ashley”
Everest: Ghost Notes (Vapor Records) – The songs sound timeless and are played so effortlessly. It’s another record that’s been on constant rotation. I’ve been assured that the vinyl is still on the way.
Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop) – I could listen to Robin Pecknold’s voice all day. Great vocal harmonies, elements of prog, folk and classic rock make this such an impressive first album. Download “White Winter Hymnal”
The Raconteurs: Consolers of the Lonely (Third Man/Warner Bros.) – This is the fullest, closest thing a Jack White band has come to a classic rock album. If you saw the Raconteurs on their first tour, you knew they had this in them. Music snobs seem to turn their nose up at them, but this is what I hope gets played on classic rock radio in 20 years. It’s even got a cool Terry Reid cover.
Radar Bros.: Auditorium (Merge) – Another great release from one of my favorite indie bands for the past decade. The production’s lush, the lyrics are weird and the songs are just plain good. Download “Warm Rising Sun”
Spiritualized: Songs in A&E (Universal) – Here’s a return to form from another veteran band. It’s nice to hear Jason Pierce rely more on his voice and songs and less on overblown arrangements.
Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend (XL Recordings) – Haters be damned, I still think it’s a fun record of well constructed pop songs. In my perfect world this is what would be on pop radio. In less than a year, the band went from playing to a half empty room at the Silverlake Lounge to (almost) selling out two nights at the Wiltern.
Best EPs: Fleet Foxes, Henry Clay People
Others Records I Recommend: Bonnie “Prince” Billy, Ray Davies, The Explorers Club, The Grand Archives, Mt. Wilson Repeater, Sigur Ros, Kelley Stoltz, Throw Me the Statue, Wye Oak
Records I’m Looking Forward To: Okkervil River, The Broken West, Le Switch, The Movies, Earlimart, Dr. Dog, David Vandervelde