Friday, December 05, 2008

Looking Backwards, Looking Forward

I don't particularly like to make 'top 10' or 'best of' lists. I've listened to a lot of music this year and thanks to sites like and many of my frequented music blogs, I've also developed a somewhat more keener musical awareness. So, for me, a lot of the music that accompanied me this year was new even if it was released last year or 50 years ago and a lot of the 'old familiar' music was listened to with a fresh appreciation and perhaps a little understanding. For example, I've rediscovered Bright Eyes' "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" and it was one of my most listened to albums of the year. Why? Perhaps it was a little more difficult year than I had previously perceived.

Just for the record though, here are my top albums that were released this year (other than the first one, there is no particular order):

1. Shearwater - Rook: In many ways this was the year of Rook for me. As I mentioned here
before, I am still addicted to the album and I don't want it to stop.

2. Sigur Ros - með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust: Highly anticipated and completely not
disappointing would be a severe understatement. This is a great album.

3. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes: A wonderful surprise for me.
They also had Sun Giant.
4. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid.
They didn't get the Mercury for nothing.
5. The Dodos – Visiter.
They are contagious, in a good way.
6. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges: Getting to know Jim James and company.

7. Cat Power - Jukebox. Also loved her Black Sessions performance.

8. Portishead – Third.
Anticipated, much.
Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride.
Radiohead - In Rainbows: Though digitally I became enamored with it on late 2007, this
album and it's sequel (In Rainbows 2) were definitely dominant in my stereo.

I don't know when The Middle East's "The Recordings of the Middle East" came out. I first heard of them and the album just a few months ago and I am very glad that I did (thanks Guy).

Three other albums in particular, not released in 2008, were also a huge impact on my life: Eddie Vedder's "Into the Wild",
Bright Eyes' "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" and Idan Rabinovici's "Bedroom Folk". Thank you.

On a side note, this year also marked for me the continued return to classical music, both old and new (Nico Muhly, for one). Instrumental music in general with post-rock and electronics in particular were also interesting developing trends for me. I've learnt a lot (and there's much, much more I still don't know).

There were many other albums more than wore mentioning (and certainly buying and listening to) that were released this Indie year; each had its own distinct effect on me and I am changed through them:

MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Avett Brothers – Second Gleam

Black Moth Super Rainbow - Drippers

Conor Oberst – Conor Oberst

Grand Archives - The Grand Archives

M83 - Saturdays = Youth

Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

Thao Nguyen - We Brave Bee Stings and All

Nada Surf - Lucky

A Weather - Cove

PlayRadioPlay! – Texas

Tokyo Police Club – Elephant Shell

Spiritualized – Songs in A&E

Chad VanGaalen – Soft Airplane
Bloc Party – Intimacy

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals – Cardinology
Wixel - Somewhere Between the Sun and the Moon
Get Well Soon - Rest Now, Weary Head! You Will Get Well Soon

With 2009 looking to be a tough year, I need all the good music I can get.

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