Tuesday, December 30, 2008

f/k Top Ten Albums of '08!

two-thou-sand-eight - \'tü-'thau'-zən(d)-'āt\ n.
  1. full of spine-tingling debuts
  2. containing or related to marvelous follow-ups
  3. full of/pertaining to change or unexpected twists and turns

As we welcome the new year, we here at fork/knife can't help but reflect upon the great music that 2008 gave us. The following list was compiled by the four of us with minimal fist-fights and utmost respect for one another's musical taste. One must remember that this is a list of our favorite albums of 2008, and we understand that some people may disagree. We invite you to leave a list of your favorite albums of 2008 in the comment section at the end of this post, so we know how you feel. But, without further adieu we present to you, our top ten albums of 2008.

10. Deerhunter - Microcastle/ Weird Era Cont.

Bradford Cox is the man behind Deerhunter, and he looks weird. Now that that's out of the way, let's agree that the music is quite good. Channeling their best Pavement impression, Deerhunter turns in a washy, rockin' double album. Though Microcastle is stronger than Weird Era Cont., they serve as a fantastic one-two-punch for those looking for this kind of rock that is seldom seen this day and age in indie music.

Deerhunter - Nothing Ever Happened

9. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

We've seen a ton of hype surrounding this upcoming group. Some people were bold enough to claim Oracular Spectacular as the best album of 2008. Here at f/k, we don't quite agree. Sure, this is a great album, and it holds some of the best singles of the year without a doubt. Where this record falls short is that it isn't a cohesive unit, it seems more like a collection of songs thrown together. That being said, this is a quality effort. Definitely worth listening to.

MGMT - Time To Pretend

8. The Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead

The Helio Sequence just keep getting better and better. They've had multiple albums, each with it's own space-rock sound. You could never tell from their music that its made by just two guys. Using samplers and programmed bass lines, The Helio Sequence are known for putting on a loud and entertaining live show. Look out for more from this Portland duo in the future.

The Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead

7. Grand Archives - Grand Archives

Outside of Seattle, no one knew that ex-Band of Horses frontman, Mat Brooke, was starting up a new project, but all Seattleites alike were awaiting his new release for months. Grand Archives have lived up to the local hype and then some. Even though Brooke wants to keep this band on the smaller side and focus on running his bar, Grand Archives have released an album that combines the driving guitar parts from Band of Horses and the great vocal harmonies of Fleet Foxes; We all know that that sound can't be quarantined in Seattle. Look out for Grand Archives in 2009 also as they have been in the studio recently recording, and lets hope that this risk of releasing two albums in two years doesn't back-fire on them.

Grand Archives - Torn Blue Foam Couch

6. Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules and Love Affair

It's hard to imagine a better genre revival than this album. One listen to this album will thrust you into the disco halls of the 70's instantaneously. It's probably the most exuberunt album of the year, taking the listener on a ride that twists and turns through a bizarre amalgamation of funky beats and tragic heartbreaks. The star of the album is clearly "Blind", a six minute epic disco journey, sung by Antony of Antony and the Johnsons. This album really accomplishes a feat that could have been considered previously impossible, it brings back disco in a fantastic and completely unpredictable manner. This is truly an album you have to hear to believe.

Hercules And Love Affair - Blind

5. Sigur Rós - Með suð I eyrum við spilum endalaust

While supplying the world with one of 2008's best albums, the Icelandic group Sigur Ros also provided us with one of the worst interviews ever recorded. They were on an NPR music segment, and offered almost no worthwhile commentary on their musical process in what has become an infamous interview across the internet. Nevertheless, Sigur Ros puts out unique music, and this album may be their best. It's joyous and bright, unlike some of the more somber and quiet music of their past. Listen to Sigur Ros. Don't ever try to interview them.

Sigur Rós - Inní mér syngur vitleysingur

4. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

We know this was initially self-released in '07, but it reached the masses this year, so it belongs on this list. Bon Iver's frontman, Justin Vernon, made this in three months as he tried to hide from the world in a cabin in Wisconsin. The raw emotion shines through in every track in a way that can't be avoided. More of a headphone album than a speaker album by a long shot, this is a great choice for you when you bunker down to hide from the winter.

Bon Iver - Skinny Love

3. TV on the Radio - Dear Science

A great album and great follow-up, Dear Science is an example of a band experimenting with their sound and getting it right. TVOTR burst into the mainstream scene with this album, topping numerous end of the year lists, and deservedly so. This is their most accessible album due to the change in sound the band went through. Great hooks, great lyrics, and a great sound altogether lands TVOTR a high spot on our list.

TV On The Radio - Golden Age

2. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns

This album is one of the most hauntingly beautiful creations in recent musical memory. And this band is certainly one of the most talented bands on the music scene today. That is the scope of this album, to convert someone who hasn't listened into lifelong fan in one listen. This album will undoubtedly be remembered as the starting point for one of the most powerful indie acts of all time. And given time, that's exactly what they will become. No one who has heard this album doubts this, the simple fact is that so few have heard it that they are a phenomenon in the smallest sense. Their greatness is measured not yet by the scope of their influence, but by the immense and unmistakable air of quality that surrounds every second of this recording. Nils Edenloff's vocals are harrowing, reminiscent of Jeff Magnum of Neutral Milk Hotel, but fresh and distinct at the same time. His vocals are accompanied occasionally by the gorgeous vocals of Amy Cole. And while both of them may be the most immediately accessible members of the band, the true standout of the group is the drummer, Paul Banwatt. The performance is almost too impressive to try and describe, it's simply something that must be experienced through hearing the record to understand. His drumming is a perfect part to a near perfect album. And there's only one album impressive enough to beat it.

The Rural Alberta Advantage - Don't Haunt This Place

1. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

There was no discussion at fork/knife that this would be the best album of the year. No other album was as beautiful as the transcendent harmonies and magical melodies from this Seattle band. Lead Singer Robin Pecknold, awarded "Voice of the Year" by Spin Magazine, gives one of the most captivating vocal performances we've ever heard. Pecknold's voice is so stunningly brilliant, it's impossible to describe with words. The album shows surprising depth, always holding true to its genre while pushing its boundaries. The album's real standout is "White Winter Hymnal," a gorgeous harmonic baroque pop jam. This album was the soundtrack of the summer for us, later turning into soundtrack of the year. In addition to the Sun Giant EP, also released this year, there really was no real competition for Fleet Foxes for album of the year or band of the year for that matter. It's just too good.

Fleet Foxes- Blue Ridge Mountains
Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

Honorable Mentions:

Foals - Antidotes
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
M83 - Satudays=Youth
She & Him - Volume One
Dr. Dog - Fate
Department Of Eagles - In Ear Park
Why? - Alopecia
Starfucker - Starfucker
Forest Fire - Forest Fire
Son Lux - At War With Walls & Mazes
Blind Pilot - 3 Rounds And A Sound
Sun Kil Moon - April
Kaki King- Dreaming of Revenge
Metronomy- Nights Out
Plants and Animals- Parc Avenue



Patrick said...

Narrow Stairs

Dappafunk said...

I think Narrow Stairs should've been an Honorable Mention, but I'm waiting for their next release. It had two or three really great songs though.

Patrick said...

While personally it would be toward the top of my list, I would have accepted an honorable mention. Shorting it of that seems a bit steep.

Goldaline said...

Well what do you know, Patrick?

Boney King said...

narrow stairs (minus iwpyh ha) should go cry in a corner and be ashamed of itself!