Best Of 2008: Albums

By on Sunday, 28th December 2008 at 1:30 pm

It’s been a pretty amazing year for music around the UK, and following on from my top 10 of 2007, here is my top 10 of 2008.

Viva Stereo (roar lion roar album cover)10 – Viva Stereo – Roar Lion Roar
You’ve probably not heard much about this Scottish collective. However, their third album was a surprise favourite for me – anthemic, accessible, slightly My Bloody Valentine and yet still so gorgeous.

Read more about Viva Stereo here.

Favourite: Knee High Boots.

9 – Sigur RósMeð suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
As ever, an amazing collection from the Icelandic group. More pop than previous albums, their songs sound all the more amazing. I caught them live at Hydro Connect Festival in Scotland, where they preceded Franz Ferdinand and blew them out of the water. As the sun went down, they soundtracked the festival for us, showing their sense of humour and making beautiful music that had more than a few grown men in tears.

Favourite: Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

8 – Ra Ra RiotThe Rhumb Line
Dark in places, Ra Ra Riot come from the same school of musical geekiness as Vampire Weekend, but with a bit more serious and a bit less money. Dark in places, the group are still recovering from the death of their drummer in summer 2007, which shows on tracks like “Winter ’05”.

Favourite: Dying is Fine

ladyhawke album cover7 – LadyhawkeLadyhwake
Unashamedly pop, this small Kiwi seems lovely – great tunes, with just enough indie credibility to be able to pull it out for a few more albums. We first introduced Ladyhawke here.

Favourite: My delirium

6 – Friendly FiresFriendly Fires
Energetic and chaotic at the same time, when I caught them in Oxford in October they blew me away – you felt like that night of the tour was the first, they were that energetic. First had my eyes opened to them at Hydro Connect in September. Amazing live, great CD.

Favourite: Jump in the Pool

5 – Los CampesinosHold on Now Youngster and We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed
Their DIY ethic isn’t for everyone, but their second album in 6 months was amazing. Their vocals can at times be nasal, but the tales they tell are amusing and close to their heart. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder / Fondness makes the absence longer / Length loses my interest / I’m a realist, I’m insatiable”. Glorious.

Favourite – Sweet Dreams, Sweet Cheeks

Kyte - Two Sparks & Two Stars cover4 – KyteSelf Titled EP and Two Sparks, Two Stars
I’m probably cheating by combining two EPs together to make one entry, but frankly they deserve it.

Spacey and at times haunting, listen as the sun comes up, and you’ll be amazed. Their debut self titled EP contains my most listened to song of the year, Boundaries, and the follow up has a cover of Solsbury Hill, which does it more than justice (well, in my opinion anyway). We first wrote about Kyte back in February.

Favourite: Boundaries

3 – DelaysEverything’s The Rush
This may seem like a strange choice for one of my top 10 albums of the year, however whilst it may not be one of the critics choice, I loved every moment of its pop simplicity.

Live? Even better. Nothing compares, from the euphoria of Girls on fire or Touchdown to the laid back Jet Lag, nothing has as much variety or clarity to come close. Their afternoon set at Camden’s Lock Tavern may well be one of my highlights of the year.

Favourite: One More Lie In.

2 – M83Saturdays=Youth
I was only 3 years old when we left the 80’s, but that doesn’t stop me from loving Anthony Gonzalez’s atmospheric collection. Harking back to times gone by, it just soundtracks perfectly a film of my life. Dreamy yet not boring, it’s one for the comedown at the end of a night. We caught M83 in October and were amazed, and also reviewed the latest single here.

Favourite: Graveyard Girl

Bloc Party - Intimacy album cover1 – Bloc PartyIntimacy
From having the balls to announce it on Monday and releasing it on a Thursday to producing some of the most personal lyrics whilst keeping the music fresh and us guessing, Bloc Party have never been ones to sit back and get complacent. Their third album combines the anthems of Silent Alarm with the jaded tales of A Weekend in the City, and is all the better for it.

We’ve had a bit of a Bloc Party love-fest this year, writing about just about everything they’ve done. First up, read a review of Intimacy, then read when we caught them at Hydro Connect and got to meet the guys, then second single Talons and finally when we caught them at the Apple Store in London. Phew.

Favourite Song: Talons or One Month Off

Honourable mentions:

I’m From Barcelona – Who Killed Harry Houdini?
Glasvegas – Glasvegas
Ladytron – Velocifero
Elbow – Seldom Seen Kid
Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs
Parka – Attack of the Hundred Yard Hardman

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[…] Gonzalez is one such artist and with albums such as ‘Saturday’s Youth’ (2nd in TGTF’s 2008 albums of the year) and a back catalogue of glorious dreampop under his belt, Gonzales decided that there was only one […]

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