list time

You knew it was coming. Even though I’ve blogged only sporadically this year. Here it is – my favorite album releases of 2008. Why? Because everyone else does? No. Because it forces me to winnow through everything that’s stacked up and toss the chaff, leaving an iTunes library chock full of pure luscious goodness.

I tried to cut down the list, really I did! But these are the ones I keep listening to. 57 albums, like the tomatoes in Heinz ketchup. No ranking here. And no linking—I’m way too lazy. If you want to hear an artist you’re not familiar with, probably the quickest way is to hop on over to

One honorary mention: local Hammond organ trio 7 Come 11 haven’t released an album yet, though they just recorded for a DVD. I hope to hear them live next year.

On to the list. Please feel free to take issue with it in the comments…

  • Compilation: Recapturing the Banjo1
  • Compilation: Umalali – the Garifuna Women’s Project2
  • Aimee Mann: @#%&*! Smilers
  • Alejandro Escovedo: Real Animal
  • Aterciopelados: Rio
  • Arthur Russell: Love Is Overtaking Me
  • The Black Angels: Directions to See a Ghost
  • Blitzen Trapper: Furr
  • Bob Dylan: Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8
  • Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy: Lie Down in the Light
  • Calexico: Carried to Dust
  • Conor Oberst: Conor Oberst
  • The Crooked Jades: Shining Darkness
  • David Byrne and Brian Eno: Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
  • The Dears: Missiles
  • Death Cab for Cutie: Narrow Stairs
  • Dengue Fever: Venus on Earth
  • The Drones: Havilah
  • The Duke Spirit: Neptune
  • Earlimart: Hymn and Her
  • Erykah Badu: New Amerykah, Pt 1: 4th World War
  • Flaco Jimenez: He’ll Have to Go
  • Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes
  • Girl Talk: Feed the Animals
  • Gonzalo Rubalcaba: Avatar
  • The Incredible Vickers Brothers: Gallimaufry
  • Jenny Lewis: Acid Tongue
  • Jolie Holland: The Living and the Dead
  • Kaiser Chiefs: Off With Their Heads
  • The Kills: Midnight Boom
  • Lindsey Buckingham: Gift of Screws
  • Martha Wainwright: I Know You’re Married but I’ve Got Feelings Too
  • Mudcrutch: Mudcrutch
  • The New Mastersounds: Plug and Play
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds: Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!
  • Parts & Labor: Receivers
  • Q-Tip: The Renaissance
  • Randy Newman: Harps and Angels
  • Ray Davies: Working Man’s Café
  • Robert Forster: The Evangelist
  • The Rosebuds: Life Like
  • Saul Williams: The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust
  • Shearwater: Rook
  • Sigur Rós: Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
  • Sloan: Parallel Play
  • Sons and Daughters: This Gift
  • Stereolab: Chemical Chords
  • Steve Turre: Rainbow People
  • Sun Kil Moon: April
  • Tilly and the Wall: O
  • Tim Fite: Fair Ain’t Fair
  • TV on the Radio: Dear Science
  • Vetiver: Thing of the Past
  • Vivian Girls: Vivian Girls
  • Wire: Object 47
  • Wolf Parade: At Mount Zoomer

1Don’t forget, the banjo was the American slaves’ recreation of African instruments they left behind. Otis Taylor has gathered black blues musicians for this collaboration. He also contributes to most of the tracks. The result is so good! It’s a crime that this kind of music has been ignored.

2Belizean musician and Garifuna cultural ambassador Andy Palacio passed away in January of 2008. A great loss. Fortunately this album keeps the momentum going. The women singing on this compilation are absolute treasures. If you’ve never heard the African/Caribbean flavors, rhythms and feeling that go into a Garifuna song, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Whew! What a year of musical abundance. Many thanks to my work buddies who turned me on to the Bonnie Prince, Sun Kil Moon, and those sweet crazy tapdancers Tilly and the Wall.