12.30.2008

Music: The Best of 2008, Vincent's List

(Editor's Note: This is the third part of a short series reviewing the notable music of 2008. To read the previous piece, please go here.)

by Vincent Lee

1) Evil Urges My Morning Jacket
Another huge evolution by My Morning Jacket results in arguably their best album yet, and easily the album of the year. (For a deeper discussion of Evil Urges and My Morning Jacket, please see: "Music: Trying on My Morning Jacket")

2) For Emma Bon Iver
This is an absolutely stunning debut album. Bon Iver somehow managed to portray raw emotions in the purest form. Along with great musicianship For Emma shapes up for one of the most powerful albums in recent memory.

3) Only By the Night Kings of Leon
On this follow up to their hit Because of the Times, the Kings of Leon compose an album with zero weak songs and several standouts such as “Cold Desert” and “Manhattan.” (For a full review of Only By the Night, please go here.)

4) Stay Positive The Hold Steady
In retrospect it's unfortunate that The Hold Steady are not making a great deal of musical progress from album to album, but they are showcasing an absolute perfection of the bar rock sound. This could not be more apparent than on Stay Positive with stand out tracks like “Constructive Summer” and “Lord I'm Discouraged.”

5) Fleet Foxes
This eponymous debut is another great first record: A fantastic extension of the group's strong EP Sun Giant. Robin Pecknold's vocals recall Jim James of My Morning Jacket and carry the folk rock sound throughout this self titled album. (For a review of Sun Giant, please go here. For a complementary view of the debut of Fleet Foxes, please go here.)

6) Consolers of the Lonely The Raconteurs
This second effort by The Raconteurs is a great step forward and features one of the best songs of the year in “Carolina Drama.” (For a full review of Consolers of the Lonely, please go here.)

7) Conor Oberst
This eponymous so-called “solo album” from Oberst feels like an evolved version of Oberst's Cassadaga, from his other musical identity (Bright Eyes). A group of fun folk songs on this one makes for a very solid album. (For a full review of Oberst's latest, please go here.)

8)
Furr Blitzen Trapper
This Oregon-based band makes another strong progression with Furr. This is a very good album with the stunning “Black River Killer,” another candidate for song of the year.

9) Attack & Release
The Black Keys
Attack and Release is this blues rock duo's best album since Rubber Factory. Although it is nothing ground breaking, this new one is a pleasurable and good listen throughout. (For a full review of Attack and Release, please go here.)

10)
Elephant Shell Tokyo Police Club
This is another surprising debut. Composed of high energy and catchy songs, Elephant Shell shows Tokyo Police Club keeping it simple. This makes for a strong album as a result. (For a full review of Elephant Shell, please go here.)

(To read this series from the beginning, please go here. To read the previous piece, please go here.)

(The photo of My Morning Jacket performing at Tennessee's Bonnaroo Festival is by Ryan Kindelan who has released the photo to the public domain. To see My Morning Jacket perform the title track from Evil Urges at the Benicassim Festival in Spain from July of 2008, please check below.)









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