Thursday, July 3, 2008

Best of 2008 Thus Far: Jan-June

Best of 2008 Thus Far: Jan-June
by WWIA staff and friends (though mostly Nick Southall)

Melanie Baskins

1. Beach House - Devotion
2. No Age - Nouns
3. Evangelicals - The Evening Descends
4. Destroyer - Trouble in Dreams
5. Times New Viking - Rip it Off

1. No Age – “Teen Creeps”
2. Xiu Xiu – “I Do What I Want When I Want”
3. Beach House – “Home Again”
4. M83 – “Couleurs”
5. Destroyer – “Blue Flower, Blue Flame”

Jonathan Bradley

1. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours
2. Vampire Weekend
3. Lil' Wayne - Tha Carter III
4. Laura Marling - Alas I Cannot Swim
5. The-Dream - Love/Hate

1. B.O.B. ft. Lil' Boosie & D.G. Yola – “Fuck You”
2. Usher ft. Young Jeezy – “Love in this Club”
3. Goldfrapp – “A&E”
4. Bun-B ft. Lupe Fiasco – “Swang On 'Em”
5. The-Dream – “Nikki”
6. Be Your Own Pet – “Becky”
7. Miley Cyrus – “See You Again”
8. Mike Doughty – “Like a Luminous Girl”
9. Taylor Swift – “Picture to Burn”
10. The Hold Steady – “Sequestered in Memphis”

Ally Brown

1. Portishead - Third
2. Hercules and Love Affair
3. Wale - The Mixtape About Nothing
4. Y'All Is Fantasy Island - Rescue Weekend
5. Beck - Modern Guilt

Justin Cober-Lake

1. The Shackeltons
2. The Strugglers - The Latest Rights
3. The Duke Spirit - Neptune
4. Marco Benevento - Invisible Baby
5. Flight of the Conchords

Todd Hutlock

Portishead - Third
Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
M83 - Saturdays=Youth
The Mole - As High As The Sky
Autechre - Quaristice

Ricardo Villalobos - Vasco EP Part 1
Sigur Ros - "Gobbledegook"
M83 - "Couleurs"
Rhadoo - "Dor Mit Oru"
Portishead - "Machine Gun"
Goldfrapp - "A&E"
Spiritualized - "Soul on Fire"
Be Your Own Pet - "Becky"

Ian Mathers

1. Samamidon - All Is Well
2. The Kills - Midnight Boom
3. Delays - Everything's the Rush
4. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
5. Hot Chip - Made in the Dark

1. Goldfrapp - "A & E"
2. Samamidon - "Saro"
3. Los Campesinos! - "My Year in Lists"
4. Coldplay - "Viva La Vida"
5. Snoop Dogg - "Sensual Seduction" (or "Sexual Eruption," if you're nasty)

Patrick McKay

1. Deerhunter - Microcastle
2. Lil' Wayne - Tha Carter III
3. Metaform - Standing on the Shoulders of Giants
4. Islands - Arm's Way
5. Portishead - Third

Travis Morrison

1. Sara Bareilles – “Love Song”
2. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
3. Kanye West – “Flashing Lights”
4. Travis Morrison Hellfighters – “Cruisin'”
5. Roxy Music - Country Life (I know it's old, but I popped it in the other day while cleaning the apartment and just rocked the fuck out)

Lisa Oliver

1. Portishead – Third
2. Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Lie Down In the Light
3. Herbaliser – Same As It Never Was
4. The Notwist – The Devil , You + Me
5. Los Campesinos! – Hold On Now, Youngster

Duffy - "Mercy"
Gnarls Barkley – "Run"
DeVotchka – "The Clockwise Witness"
The Duke Spirit – "The Step and the Walk"
Death Cab for Cutie – "I Will Possess Your Heart"
Jim Noir – "What U Gonna Do"
Al Green – "Lay It Down"
Sigur Ros – "Gobbledigook"
Black Angels – "Doves"

Ned Raggett

"Honestly I'm at a loss. I have no top albums at all this year -- there have been some great ones to be sure but I could probably only name the Portishead as a key one."

Al Shipley

1. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah: 4th World War
2. Nine Inch Nails - The Slip
3. Evangelista - Hello, Voyager
4. Raheem DeVaughn - Love Behind The Melody
5. Jonathan Richman - Because Her Beauty Is Raw And Wild

1. Jordin Sparks f/ Chris Brown - "No Air"
2. Sara Bareilles - "Love Song"
3. Hot Stylz f/ Yung Joc - "Lookin' Boy"
4. Jazmine Sullivan f/ Missy Elliott - "I Need U Bad"
5. Ne-Yo - "Closer"
6. Paramore - "That's What You Get"
7. Snoop Dogg f/ Too $hort and Mistah F.A.B. - "Life Of Da Party"
8. Ryan Leslie - "Diamond Girl"
9. Coldplay - "Viva la Vida"
10. Cherish f/ Yung Joc - "Killa"

Nick Southall

1. Shearwater – Rook
2. The Dø – A Mouthful
3. Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
4. The Notwist – The Devil, You & Me
5. Four Tet – Ringer EP

The order's not entirely arbitrary, and also not exactly written in stone. But these things never are.

The debut album by The Dø, a Franco-Finnish alt.pop duo with their roots in jazz and their branches in hiphop, is probably my most-listened-to album of the year thus far; their eclectic blend of Björk, Eminem, PJ Harvey and delicate, dexterous indiepop is beguiling and moreish. Astonishingly, infuriatingly, it’s not had a proper release in the US or UK yet – head to France to pick it up.

Less listened to but more explored is Shearwater’s magnificent Rook, which explores mysteriously profound areas of experimental, powerful folk and rock; the stripped production aesthetic and intricate, dynamic arrangements makes for an exhilarating listen that’s as emotionally draining as it is rewarding. It’s also focused and cohesive (just 38 minutes in length), yet at the same time seems epic, important.

Somewhere between the two is Elbow’s fourth album, which traverses moments of great emotional weight and obtuse beauty (“Weather To Fly”) as well as intricate, light-hearted but artful diversions (“The Fix”). Self-produced, it might be their best album yet – in “One Day Like This” it certainly boasts one of the most fully formed blue-skies festival anthems of recent years.

The Notwist’s new album, their first in six years since the quietly immaculate Neon Golden, occupies an important function for me – it’s beautiful, it’s absorbing, it’s almost completely lacking in ego, it’s adventurous without being ornery, and it sounds absolutely exquisite. The German nation seem to engineer everything that little bit better than anyone else, and The Notwist’s technologically assisted indiepop is no exception. Any time, anywhere, any mood – this works.

Not strictly an album, Four Tet’s Ringer EP clocks in at only a few minutes less than Rook despite having six fewer songs. Largely this is because the eponymous opener spans ten minutes, as well as ten years of electronica – almost bereft of the ‘folktronica’ signifiers (apart from a welcome jazzy drum break towards the conclusion of its evolution), Kieron Hebdon has embraced 1996-style techno and updated it beautifully. The rest of the EP doesn’t disappoint, mixing in ambient elements to his fond reinterpretation, and near reinvention, of a genre that some might consider tired.

There are plenty of other records bubbling just outside this list – Seu Jorge’s awesome America Brasil (apparently a follow-up to Jorge Ben’s 70s classic Africa Brasil), the harmonic debut by Fleet Foxes, Youthmovies’ frenetic, brass-led postrock, Portishead’s return, the new Why? album, Breeders, Vampire Weekend, Hercules & Love Affair…

Theon Weber

1. The Magnetic Fields - Distortion
2. Lil' Wayne - Tha Carter III
3. Be Your Own Pet - Get Awkward
4. M83 - Saturdays=Youth
5. Ashlee Simpson - Bittersweet World

1. Ashlee Simpson – “Little Miss Obsessive”
2. The Magnetic Fields – “The Nun's Litany”
3. Los Campesinos! – “My Year In Lists”
4. Lil' Wayne – “Phone Home”
5. The Mountain Goats – “Michael Myers Resplendent”
6. Be Your Own Pet – “Becky”
7. M83 – “Graveyard Girl”
8. Why? – “The Fall Of Mr. Fifths”
9. The Mountain Goats – “Autoclave”
10. tie: Death Cab For Cutie – “Cath…”
Katy Perry – “Waking Up In Vegas”

Dan Weiss

1. Be Your Own Pet – Get Awkward/Get Damaged
2. Lil’ Wayne – Tha Carter III/The Leak
3. The Roots - Rising Down
4. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
5. Hot Chip - Made in the Dark

1. Be Your Own Pet – “Food Fight”
2. Ashlee Simpson – “Outta My Head (Ay Ya Ya)”
3. Ponytail – “Beg Waves”
4. Be Your Own Pet – “Becky”
5. Mike Doughty – “Like a Luminous Girl”
6. Big Boi feat. Andre 3000 & Raekwon – “Royal Flush”
7. We are Scientists – “After Hours”
8. Lil’ Wayne – “A Milli”
9. Hot Chip – “Made in the Dark”
10. Lil’ Wayne – “Lollipop”
11. Vampire Weekend – “Oxford Comma”
12. The Breeders – “We're Gonna Rise”
13. Fleet Foxes – “White Winter Hymnal”
14. Katy Perry – “Waking Up in Vegas”
15. The-Dream feat. Rihanna – “Livin' a Lie”
16. The Hold Steady – “Sequestered in Memphis”
17. Death Cab For Cutie – “Cath…”
18. Panic at the Disco – “Pas De Cheval”/“Nine in the Afternoon” (tie)
19. The Roots feat. Malik B & Dice Raw – “Get Busy”
20. Portishead – “Machine Gun”
21. The Magnetic Fields – “Too Drunk to Dream”
22. Jay Reatard – “Don’t Let Him Come Back”
23. M83 – “Kim & Jessie”
24. Old 97’s – “Dance With Me”
25. Cut Copy – “So Haunted”

Christian John Wikane

"I can't say I'm really wedded to a list yet...still absorbing so much!"

Have a good 4th.



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