View Full Version : MY top albums of 2008

12-06-2008, 10:13 PM
To be honest, this wasn't all that great a year for me. I didn't discover as much new music as I have in the past, and it was an in-between year in terms of my favorite bands putting out new records. But, as always, there were a few pleasant surprises that I stumbled upon, so it was still nothing to sneeze at.

1. Dillinger Four- C I V I L W A R

It's been a whopping six years since D4's last album, but this one was worth the wait. It's a bit slower than some of their previous records, but the lyrics are better than ever, and the songs are catchy as always. "Contemplate This On the Tree of Woe," "parishiltonisametaphor," "Ode To the North American Snake Oil Distributor," and "Americaspremierefaithbasedinitiative" are my favorites. They're one of my favorite bands because they strike a good balance: They're funny, but not silly. They're catchy, but still have an edge. And so on. Hopefully, the next one won't be another six years down the road.

2. Rise Against- Appeal To Reason

Now that Bad Religion are slowly starting to become a parody of themselves, someone's gotta carry the torch for melodic, politically-influenced punk rock, and Rise Against are showing that they're more than up for the challenge. Hell, the opening track, "Collapse (Post-Amerika)," could have easily been on an old BR record. It's a great way to start the album; it's a huge, anthemic call-to-arms with great lyrics. Other highlights are "The Dirt Whispered," "Re-Education Through Labor," "Savior," and "Kotov Syndrome." These guys just keep getting better, so I can't wait to see what they do next.

3. Lemuria- Get Better

This is one of my biggest recent discoveries, even though I started listening to them last year. This is their first full-length after a series of EPs, splits, and singles, and it did not disappoint. While a bit more mid-tempo and pop-influenced than their earlier work, Sheena and Alex's earnest lyrics are as good as ever, and Sheena's vocals give the songs a buoyant feel that just makes you all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes you just need to listen to a band that's just plain fun, and they fit the bill perfectly.

4. Off With Their Heads- From the Bottom

Another great band that I got into this year. It's nice to hear a punk band that's a bit on the dark side, singing about drugs, booze, depression, anger, loneliness, and just generally feeling like shit. Too many happy bands these days. Like Dillinger Four, their music is still fast and loud, but accessible and melodic as well. Songs like "I Am You" and "Until the Day..." make you want to jump in the pit and sing along at the same time.

5. Genghis Tron- Board Up the House

I thought this was a pretty boring year for metal, seeing as most of the bands I like put out records either last year or the year before, but Genghis Tron was a nice little surprise, and they bring something new to the table as well. Their fusion of grind and electronica is fresh and interesting. They manage to incorporate well-written synth parts while still maintaining a relentless grindcore assault. IMO, this is definitely a band that's gonna shake things up in the near future.

6. Paint It Black- The New Lexicon

I'm not the biggest fan of modern hardcore, but Paint It Black brings a smarter, more refined approach to the genre than most bands in this stale genre. Plus, I've yet to hear a band formed by a former member of Kid Dynamite that I don't like. Their brilliant lyrics are second to none in punk rock right now.

7. Chuck Ragan & Austin Lucas- Bristle Ridge

Ragan made it onto my list last year with his first solo album, Feast and Famine, and I was a little surprised that he put out new material so quickly. This record builds upon his folk influences even further, adding more traditional instruments (banjos, fiddle, harmonica, etc.) and taking a old-school approach to songwriting and lyrics. "Bloody Shells" is a chilling tale of mob justice, and songs like "Cold Night" and "Judgment Day" sound like they could have come out of the Great Depression. I was disappointed when Hot Water Music broke up, but if it means that Chuck can keep making records like this, I'm okay with it.

8. The Gaslight Anthem- The '59 Sound

Speaking of old-school, The Gaslight Anthem seem like a band that were born a few decades too late. They write wistfully of pretty girls, Cadillacs, ferris wheels, and nights on the Jersey Shore. The best way I can describe them is that they sound like what would happen if Bruce Springsteen started a punk rock band. From the energetic "Great Expectations" to the country-twinged "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues," just about every song is fantastic, and it's one of my most played albums of the year.

9. Amon Amarth- Twilight of the Thunder God

This is one of the those albums that when it was announced, I immediately knew that it would kick serious ass, and I was right. Those fearsome metal vikings are back, and they have the precision and brutality of an axe to the face. The title track and the crushing "Guardians of Asgard" are my favorites. I didn't know how much they would be able to improve on the stellar With Oden On Our Side, but just like Pig Destroyer did last year, they proved me wrong. Bravo, you magnificent Scandinavian bastards.

10. Murder By Death- Red of Tooth and Claw

I think that if There Will Be Blood had a rock soundtrack, it would probably be written by Murder By Death. They love singing songs about the west, the desert, whiskey, and revenge, and do it with a Cash-like swagger. The cello is a nice touch (especially on the instrumental "Theme For Ennio Morricone"), and singer Adam Turla really shines on songs like "Rumbrave," "Fuego!," and "Ash."

Honorable Mention:
Opeth- Watershed
Metallica- Death Magnetic
Amanda Palmer- Who Killed Amanda Palmer?
Be Your Own Pet- Get Awkward
Nine Inch Nails- The Slip
Alkaline Trio- Agony and Irony

Other great stuff in '08:

The Dark Knight
Best. Comic Book Movie. Ever. We all know how amazing Heath Ledger was as The Joker, but he wouldn't have been as good without such a great, well-crafted story and plot, as well as solid performances by the rest of the cast. I'm not sure it deserves an Academy Award, but it's certainly one of the biggest things to happen to movies in quite a while.

30 Rock
The funniest show on TV, period. If you're not watching it, get off your ass. Yeah, some people might be getting sick of Tina Fey these days (Not me, though :lovedup: ), but this really is her biggest stroke of genius. The writing is brilliant, and Alec Baldwin is outrageously funny as executive Jack Donaghy. Sadly, like a lot of great comedies (*cough* Arrested Development *cough*), it suffers in the ratings, but hopefully the heaps of praise dumped on it by critics and the piles of awards it has won will keep it off the chopping block.

Sarah Palin
Okay, so she's not great, or even remotely likable, but I had to add her just because while she turned the election from a fairly civil race to complete insanity at the drop of a hat, it was still nice to have such an easy target. Shit like her "foreign policy experience" (i.e. living close to Russia), her airheaded interviews, and, well, just about everything that came out of her mouth made her an instant punchline for comedians, and it was all damn funny. From hilarity of the intentional (Tina Fey's SNL parodies) and unintentional (giving an interview about pardoning turkeys while one was being brutally slaughtered behind her) variety, it was good to have someone to ridicule, at least until the election was over. Now please go away. Forever.

12-07-2008, 07:18 AM
Ledger did a damn good job, but I still like Hamill better.

12-07-2008, 08:40 AM
3. Lemuria- Get Better

5. Genghis Tron- Board Up the House

9. Amon Amarth- Twilight of the Thunder God

These are all in my top 10 as well. This might be the most we have in common ever.

12-07-2008, 12:01 PM
Happy to say not one of those will even come close to my top ten. But that's what I love about this place, everyone brings something different to the mix :)