Friday, January 2, 2009


I always tell myself that I’m going to try and compile a best of the year list at the end of every year, and I usually abandon it halfway through, on account of it being a completely disorganized mess. During the course of a year, I tend to acquire more music than I can even listen to and so I have a habit of missing out on albums I should probably be listening to. This year, I decided to take a different route and have compiled my favorite and most listened to albums of the year and apparently I’ve been listening to a lot of folk and Baltimore spazzpunk. So without further adieu, my top ten albums of the year:

10. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Lie Down in the Light
This should probably be way higher, but I haven’t gotten the chance to listen to it as much as I would have liked

9. The Mountain Goats – Heretic Pride/ Black Pear Tree EP
John Darnielle had a busy year, releasing his third full length in four years, as well as two Eps. For me, The Sunset Tree and Get Lonely felt too produced for John. The songs on Heretic Pride feel more aggressive and emotional than the previous releases. I’ve been particularly fond of “Lovecraft in Brooklyn” for awhile. Aesop Rock also does an awesome remix of this song. The line ‘I woke up afraid of my own shadow, like genuinely afraid. So I went down to the Pawn Shop, and bought myself a switchblade’ is classic Darnielle. It reminds me of my favorite line from Going to Georgia, ‘The most remarkable thing about you standing in the doorway is that it’s you, and you’re standing in the doorway’. Also, make sure to check out “Thank You, Mario, but Our Princess is in Another Castle” from Black Pear Tree.

8. The Death Set – Worldwide
I’ve seen the Death Set more than any other band this year, and they always killed it. Definitely one of my favorite bands of the year, in general.

7. Parts and Labor – Receivers
Not as good as Mapmaker, but still awesome.

6. Beach House – Devotion
Baltimore again, but representing the other side of the spectrum. I put this album on when I needed to chill out or take a nap.

5. The Mae Shi – Hlllyh
If you’re going to make an eleven minute remix of all the songs on your album, you might as well stick it smack in the middle. I never really felt like it disrupted the flow of the record at all, and if it were the closing track it would most likely be overlooked. Dance party kicks in at 2:28. The whole album is pretty religious (they don’t really strike me as the god-fearing type), but it’s not in your face and easy to overlook if that kind of thing rubs you the wrong way. I’ve been a fan of the Mae Shi for awhile now, so I was psyched that I finally got the chance to see them this year when I was in Baltimore.

4. Mount Eerie – Black Wooden Ceiling Opening
This isn’t really a full length, but I think it deserves to be on the list anyway. I haven’t listened to Lost Wisdom enough to consider it yet.

3. TV on the Radio – Dear Science,
Awesome. Period.

2.Ponytail – Ice Cream Spiritual
The last Baltimore band on the list. I thought they killed it at Whartscape over the summer. I wish I had been able to see them when they came to Philly in August. I think it’d be hard to top the energy of seeing a Baltimore band in Baltimore, anyway. I liked Kamehameha more than Ice Cream Spiritual, but this album is still amazing.

1. Why? – Alopecia
I had almost forgotten that this album even came out in 2008, but even now, it still remains one of the most consistently played albums on my ipod/tunes/record player. The lyrics on Alopecia are much less surreal than Elephant Eyelash and Oaklandazulasylum.


Honorable Mentions

-Karl Blau – AM
-High Places – High Places
-Titus Andronicus – The Airing of Grievances
-No Age – Nouns
-Magnetic Fields – Distortion
-Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
-Woods – Woods Family Creeps/Some Shame
I wasn’t feeling Woods Family Creeps as much as I was hoping I would, but the vinyl version is so beautiful (clear red vinyl!) that it’s worth buying for that reason alone. Some Shame (a tour-only cassette) is more reminiscent of At Rear House or How to Survive in the Woods. You can download it here.
-Pocketknife – Tambourine Dream
A mixtape of dance remixes of indie/folk songs. Sweet. The illustrations on the vinyl are really well done and probably the main reason I bought it. I’m a huge sucker for that kind of thing. The cd version has 18 tracks, while the vinyl only has six.

I need to reupload Worldwide and Hlllyh, so those albums are currently not able to be downloaded.

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