Best of 2008: #3 - Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago

If 2008 has been the year of the heartbreak, then this is the album of the year for most guys feeling a little... emo about the whole thing. A folk record would never normally feature so high in a yearly best of, yet this is a true record of power, and heartfelt feelings about the loss of a relationship with someone you love. When compared up against the other big folkie release of the year (Fleet Foxes), it only demonstrates how ahead of the game Bon Iver actually is. He's got a new EP coming out soon, and if this is a demonstration of his power, then big things will happen for this dude. Essential.

MP3 Bon Iver - Creature Fear

Best of 2008: #4 - No Age: Nouns

Along with White Denim, No Age were the band that brought loud, visceral guitar music back to the forefront of many a hipsters mind in 2008. Following on from various EPs released through 2007, the release of "Nouns" set the Hype Machine alight with tracks like 'Eraser', 'Teen Creeps' and 'Cappo'. The album combines elements of Albini and Sonic Youth with a more modern sensibility, creating a truly exhilerating rock record - the kind which brings grunge fans of old along for the ride. While its delivery never lets up, underneath the metallic edge of the 2 piece is a latent joy and remnants of teenage angst. In short, it's all quality, and anyone that has enjoyed noisy rock songs over the last 20 years will agree.

MP3 No Age - Teen Creeps

Best of 2008: #5 - Flying Lotus: Los Angeles

2008 has been the best year for hip-hop and urban music for quite some time. Previous years have seen plenty of commercial releases, but not much in the way of abstract records which stretch across the board to listeners who wouldn't normally be into the genre. "Los Angeles" isn't a hip-hop record, but more of a traditional "lefty" trip-hop album in the mould of "Endtroducing", where the performer takes some of the genres more generic elements, and re-moulds the sound into something more vibrant and challenging. In a post Burial climate, "Los Angeles" packs the starkness and atmospherics required, yet without the overbearing influences that effects some dubstep releases. It's the best and most effective release of it's type in 2008, and establishes Flying Lotus as major force in electronic and dubstep circles. Get on board.

MP3 Flying Lotus - Parisian Goldfish

Best of 2008: #6 - The Walkmen: You & Me

This could very nearly turn into a "Best surprises of 2008" list, but actually it's been these great surprises that have actually made 2008 such an interesting year for music. The Walkmen have long been a band I've had an interest in, yet "Bows + Arrows" didn't float my boat as much as it did for others. The band returned this year following on from a covers record with 'You & Me', and sounds like a band that are really comfortable in their sound, and have accepted aging in the process. Tracks like 'Canadian Girl' and 'Long Time Ahead of Us' ooze class and maturity, and with 'In the New Year', the band have easily created one of the great anthems of the year, and something I hope to hear plenty of this festive season.

MP3 The Walkmen - In the New Year

Best of 2008: #7 - Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid

Let's get this bit straight: I'm not the worlds biggest Elbow fan. In fact, I didn't really bother with them after 'Asleep at the Back', which while it's an album I loved very much at the time, it wasn't enough to give me the belief that they're a band I should pay loads of attention to. Hell, even moving to Manchester didn't sway me more in their direction. I was wrong to be so dismissive. 'The Seldom Seen Kid' is a tremendous piece of work, full of clever lyrics and sweeping soundscapes that sound great in the winter. They're probably "Band of the Year" too, given that they've won everyone over with earnest live performance, humility, and have also made the Mercury Music Prize exciting and relevant for the first time in about 10 years. Forget the Courteeners and Man Utd: Elbow are Manchester's finest.

MP3 Elbow - Starlings

Best of 2008: #8 - Deerhoof: Offend Maggie

Those that know me personally or follow me through other networks might be surprised that this album only reaches #8, let me explain. 2008 has been something of a "rock" year, and while I've listened to "Offend Maggie" an awful lot, there's been other albums that I feel are more significant releases. Not to take anything away from Deerhoof however, who consistently turn out great quality releases and generally make the artier side of the rock spectrum wig out just a little more. This is their most polished, accessible work to date, and well worthy of it's place in the year's best.

MP3 Deerhoof - The Tears and Music of Love

Best of 2008: #9 - The Kills: Midnight Boom

After a few years in the wilderness, where the band found themselves either providing backing vocals for Primal Scream or dating supermodels, the Kills returned this year with an album some might consider a nice surprise. Not much was expected from the record, yet the band turned in their best work to date, and provided a couple of tracks that can easily be marked down as great singles. Give it a go, you'll be as surprised as I was.

MP3 The Kills - Tape Song

Best of 2008: #10 - DFA Presents Supersoul: Nobody Knows Anything.

It's no secret that I absolutely love DFA. For the last couple of years, the label has been more consistent than ever, and have released more than a few tracks that end up in my year end favourites every year. In August, they teamed up with German Tech-house label Supersoul, and put out a decent collection of tunes and remixes that makes them an underground favourite. The compilation catches the best bits of what Berlin can be like, and introduces the average DFA fan (like me) to sounds they might not have entertained before. A great compilation, which fans of proper, non-donked dance music should give a chance. Catch the interview I did with label boss Xaver Naudascher here.

MP3 Mogg and Naudascher - Moon Unit (Part Two)

Before I begin.

Right, it's that time of year when I begin to write up my favourite bits of the year. In year one, I intended to do a top 100 of everything I liked, which I couldn't be arsed to do in the end. Last year, I successfully rounded up my top 10 albums, only to mislabel the entire series as "Best of '08" when really it was "Best of '07" - something I only discovered last week when site traffic peaked from people looking for a best of list. Bearing in mind my last two attempts, one can only hope that third time equals lucky, and that my round up of the years great and good will be done on time and in the fashion that only the best deserve. Here's a festive number to whet the appetite.

MP3 The Waitresses - Christmas Wrapping

Thought Shower.

I've had a pretty shitty week really, despite some monumentally big stuff happening at work (new business and all). Got a slightly small case of a smashed up heart courtesy of my new job requiring two of my four available "life project" slots, enough to make one particular project slot decide she can't take it anymore and delete me from her Facebook account. You should all realise by now that I do my best thinking in the shower first thing, and while I've been plotting my next work move, these two tunes have been bouncing around my brain while plans have been formulated. Again, apologies for my blog tardiness - I will get better.

MP3 Weezer - Say it ain't so

MP3 Jackie Deshannon - What the world needs now

Music posted up here is for evaluation only, and only online for a limited time. If you're an artist, band or label that would like something removed, please get in touch. Otherwise, enjoy the blog!

About me

  • I'm jonthebeef
  • From Manchester, North West, United Kingdom

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