In honor of our son now being able to count to sixteen, I've selected my top sixteen albums of 2008. I call these favorites of 2008 rather than "best" of 2008, because my listening habits have not been wide enough, broad enough, and deep enough, to make such an audacious claim. Plus, by certain objective standards some of these may not be the best of 2008, but they are all favorites. They get frequent play in our CD rotation, and I can recommend them all as Christmas gifts.
16. Portishead- Third
15. Bon Iver- For Emma, Forever Ago
14. She & Him- volume 1
13. Medeski, Martin, and Wood- Let's Go Everywhere
12. Bob Dylan- Tell Tale Signs
11. Fujiya and Miyagi- Transparent Things
10. Wolf Parade- At Mount Zoomer
9. Castanets- In the Vines
8. Grampall Jookabox- Ropechain
7. The Duhks- Fast Pace World
6. The National- The Virginia EP
5. Jonathan Rundman- Insomniaccomplishments
4. Dr. Dog- Fate
3. TV on the Radio- Dear Science
2. Calexico- Carried to Dust
1. Patty Larkin- Watch the Sky
A bit of commentary may be in order. First, I don't write much about music. Mostly, what I have to say about music is, "I like it," or "I don't like it." Lots of times, my response to music is simply, "That's awesome. Oh wow, you have to hear that!"
Much of the music listed above falls into this category. My #1 pick of Patty Larkin may be the biggest surprise, because she is a local talent with a solid following, but maybe not as well known as some others on the list. Nevertheless, I stand by her album as the #1 album of the year. It is awesome. Everything else in the top five is also pretty much ranked up with Patty. I can't get enough of the Calexico, TV, Dr. Dog, and Rundman albums.
Two Asthmatic Kitty albums made it on this list- Grampall and Castanets. Asthmatic Kitty offers a package right now of all of the Castanets past albums, a great deal. I listen to recordings from that label often.
Some other albums here are darlings of the independent music establishment, like Bon Iver, She & Him, and Wolf Parade. They are awesome albums!
Then there are a few weird gems in here that I discovered by reading the weekly "playlist" article in the Sunday New York Times Leisure section. Like Fujiya and Miyagi and The Duhks. Portishead got a full page article in the NY Times. Medeski are acid jazz performers who put out a great children's album this year.
Bob Dylan is Bob Dylan. Amazing. And finally, my favorite album of 2007, The National's Boxer, was followed up this year by an EP and DVD that is worth it, great stuff even if some of the songs are demos.
So there it is, for what it is worth, the fav albums of 2008.