Notes Are Shattered

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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Best Albums of 2008

After longer than I planned, as always, here are my top 30 albums of 2008. There's a ton of stuff I still haven't listened to, and a few albums I've listened to in the last couple weeks that might've made the list had I listened to them more, but I figured I would just post my current top 30 or else this would never get done. In lieu of writing reviews for these things, I've decided to give each album an award or three. Most awards will be entirely arbitrary.

30. Hercules and Love Affair
Hercules and Love Affair
-Award for Somehow Making Antony Hegarty's Vocals Work Over Disco/House Music

29. Santogold
-The "You Know, She Sounds Less Like M.I.A. Than You Think" Award

28. Fuck Buttons
Street Horrrsing
-The "What the Hell Were They Thinking by Adding Heavily Distorted Vocals?" Award

27. Crystal Castles
Crystal Castles
-Award for Most Meaningless Lyrics

26. Alphabeat
This Is Alphabeat
-The "I Don't Care What You Think Right Now, By the End of This Song You Will Enjoy This Music as Much as I Do" Award

25. Ultra Vomit
Objectif: Thunes
-Award for Best French Grindcore/Speed Metal/Black Metal/Heavy Metal/Metalcore/Pop-Punk Album

24. Millionaires
Bling Bling Bling EP
-Award for the Album That Made Me Seriously Consider Never Listening to Another New Album for Fear That My Taste in Music Would Continue to Get Shittier and Shittier

23. Shearwater
-The "I'm Glad My Roomate Forced Me to Listen to This Whole Album While I Was Still Working On This List" Award

22. Sean Smith
-Award for Best Impulse Buy (Maybe Ever)
-The "I Can't Find My CD Copy, and I'm Too Lazy to Rip the LP Right Now" Award

21. Noah and the Whale
Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down
-Award for Somehow Combining the Vocal Styles of Josh Ritter, Aaron Weiss, and a Little Conor Oberst
-Award for Other Most Upbeat Album About Heartbreak

20. Baby Guts
The Kissing Disease
-The "Yes, I Absolutely Have a Thing for Punk Rock Girls" Award

19. Atmosphere
When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold
-The "Ant Finally Turned the Snare Down" Award
-Award for Other Best Album Title

18. Fleet Foxes
Sun Giant EP/Fleet Foxes
-Award for Best Liner Notes (both)
-Award for Best Album Cover (Fleet Foxes)

17. Marnie Stern
This Is It & I Am It & You Are It & So Is That & He Is It & She Is It & It Is It & That Is That
-The "Don't Turn This Off During the First Track" Award
-The "I Wonder What it Would Sound Like if Buckethead and Regina Spektor Somehow Merged Into One Person - Oh Wait, Probably Like This" Award

16. Be Your Own Pet
Get Awkward (UK Version with Full Tracklist)
-The "Fuck Universal Records" Award

15. Okkervil River
The Stand-Ins
-The "So Good I'm Only a Little Disappointed It's Just Eight Songs" Award

14. Jeremy Messersmith
The Silver City
-Award for Best Album from a Minneapolis Artist

13. The Dodos
-Award for "Heaviest" Folk Album

12. Right Away, Great Captain!
The Eventually Home
-Award for Most Growth Between Albums

11. Torche
-The "What the Hell, Pitchfork Turned Me On to a Metal Band?" Award

10. Frightened Rabbit
The Midnight Organ Fight
-Award for Most Upbeat Album About Heartbreak

9. Girl Talk
Feed the Animals
-Award for Best Party Album
-Award for Best Free Album
(download goes to free download on Girl Talk's official site)

8. Langhorne Slim
Langhorne Slim (and the War Eagles)
-Award for Album I Somehow Kept Forgetting About

7. Fucked Up
The Chemistry of Common Life
-Award for Best Vocalist
-Award for Giving People an Idea What It Would Sound Like if Andrew WK Dropped Acid Instead of Drank Alcohol

6. Dear and the Headlights
Drunk Like Bible Times
-Award for Best Album Title
-Award for Best Lyrics

5. Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend
-The "Fuck Pre-Album Hipster Backlash" Award

4. Man Man
Rabbit Habits
-Award for Best Carnival-Hobo-Vaudeville Rock Album

3. Why?
-Award for Most Disconcertingly Honest Lyrics

2. Children 18:3
Children 18:3
-Award for Most Attractive Bassist
-The "I'm Glad They Finally Got Signed (even if it was to Tooth & Nail)" Award

1. of Montreal
Skeletal Lamping
-Stupidly Good Award
-Award for Best Alter Ego Since Ziggy Stardust
-Award for Most Ridiculously Awesome Packaging

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Top 40 of 2008

Rather than list my favorite EPs and comedy albums first like I did last year, I decided to instead make my own Top 40 playlist for 2008... mostly because there weren't that many solid EPs put out, and there were only three really great comedy releases this year (Louis CK, Mitch Hedberg, and George Carlin). The rest ranged from slightly above mediocre to downright hacky crap. This ended up being a lot more work than what I did last year, but I think it paid off. All of these songs are great, and this list will also give you a broader overview of what came out this year, since only 18 of the songs come from my top 30 albums. Until then, here are my top 40 songs of 2008. Download link is after the list.

40. "Teen Creeps" - No Age (Nouns)
39. "Black Teeth" - Nurse With Wound (Huffin' Rag Blues)
38. "Our Definition of a Breakdown (feat. Ed DMX)" - Osborne (Osborne)
37. "Negative Thinking" - The Death Set (Worldwide)
36. "Young Marks" - The Mae Shi (HLLLYH)
35. "Highly Suspicious" - My Morning Jacket (Evil Urges)
34. "Got Money (feat. T-Pain)" - Lil Wayne (Tha Carter III)
33. "Walking" - The Dodos (Visiter)
32. "Black Panther" - Crystal Castles (Crystal Castles)
31. "Any Way You Choose To Give It" - The Black Ghosts (The Black Ghosts)
30. "I Will Possess Your Heart" - Death Cab for Cutie (Narrow Stairs)
29. "We Are Rockstars" - Does It Offend You, Yeah? (You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into)
28. "Hook and Line" - The Kills (Midnight Boom)
27. "Pray for Darkness" - Cancer Bats (Hail Destroyer)
26. "Blind" - Hercules and Love Affair (Hercules and Love Affair)
25. "Look At Me (When I Rock Wichoo)" - Black Kids (Partie Traumatic)
24. "Eye" - Witch (Paralyzed)
23. "Angry (feat. Tippa Irie)" - The Bug (London Zoo)
22. "Midnight Madness" - The Chemical Brothers (Brotherhood: The Definitive Singles Collection)
21. "Soul On Fire" - Spiritualized (Songs in A&E)
20. "Nothing Ever Happened" - Deerhunter (Microcastle)
19. "Mykonos" - Fleet Foxes (Sun Giant EP)
18. "Good Lies" - The Notwist (The Devil, You + Me)
17. "Fascination" - Alphabeat (This Is Alphabeat)
16. "Becky" - Be Your Own Pet (Get Awkward [UK]/Get Damaged EP [US])
15. "Topeka" - Ludo (You're Awful, I Love You)
14. "Singer Songwriter" - Okkervil River (The Stand-Ins)
13. "Black Albino Bones" - Fucked Up (The Chemistry of Common Life)
12. "Fat Waves" - Torche (Meanderthal)
11. "I Kissed a Girl" - Katy Perry (One of the Boys)
10. "Shoulda Known" - Atmosphere (When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold)
9. "L.E.S. Artistes" - Santogold (Santogold)
8. "When They Come To Murder Me" - Black Francis (Svn Fngrs)
7. "Talk About" - Dear and the Headlights (Drunk Like Bible Times)
6. "Homemade Valentine" - Children 18:3 (Children 18:3)
5. "Walcott" - Vampire Weekend (Vampire Weekend)
4. "Restless" - Langhorne Slim (Langhorne Slim & The War Eagles)
3. "The Hollows" - Why? (Alopecia)
2. "Keep Yourself Warm" - Frightened Rabbit (The Midnight Organ Fight)
1. "I Can Feel a Hot One" - Manchester Orchestra (Let My Pride Be What's Left Behind EP)

Download here. I can upload all the tracks individually if anyone would rather have that. Also, if you want to burn this to CD, it worked out so that the first 20 tracks and the last 20 tracks each fit nicely on a disc.

Tracks are tagged in reverse order (ie, "Teen Creeps" is track 1 and "I Can Feel a Hot One" is track 40). The reason for this should be obvious. I should have my top 30 albums uploaded sometime in the next week.