K’s Top Albums of 2008

Posted December 17th, 2008 by k

I’m the less eloquent half of the Drawer B partnership and I am a fan of the Oxford comma. My tastes skew synth, twee, pop, and lately Scandinavian. I have been known to branch out from time to time, but judging from my list, I apparently did not do so this year. None of the following albums are listed in any particular order of preference.

1. M83 Saturdays=Youth
For a long time I honestly resented the way M83 plundered and raped my childhood summers spent in front of John Hughes films. Eventually, I got over myself and embraced this record like every other music obsessed 30-something this year. Pure wall of sound cinematic pop genius. Their live show at St. Giles in the Fields Church in London pretty much ranks as the best show I saw all year.

2. Detektivbyran – Wermland
Quirky and whimsical accordion, vibes, and keyboard music from Gothenburg, Sweden. I’ve got a thing for the accordion. And Swedes.

3. School of Seven Bells – Alpinisms
I fell in love with Alpinisms upon first listen and never looked back. It awoke in me a sort of latent nostalgia for Slowdive and Cocteau Twins that I never knew existed. I’m also a sucker for female harmonizing.

4. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
I put this album on my top of 2007 list and declared that the novelty would wear off. It didn’t. I’m embarrassed by how often I listened to this album in 2008.

5. Santogold – Santogold
My god. Santi made probably the catchiest record of the year and then sold every track to some conglomerate to sell something crap and subsequently wore out her welcome in my ears. That said, it seriously is an amazing album. The Diplo vs. Santogold Mix Tape is a great companion, featuring amazing remixes.

6. The Bell – Make Some Quiet
Sweden’s The Bell Tap into that same vein of post-adolescent guitar driven pop that got me through high school.

7. Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
I have no idea why I like Cut Copy. I just do. “Hearts on Fire” gives me the chills and makes me want to dance around the room like a pre-pubescent adolescent. It is rather embarrassing and probably the reason I didn’t go see them live a few months back.

8. Lykke Li – Youth Novels
I tried to not fall in love with Lykke Li. I really did. I absolutely knew I would love Youth Novels from the moment I read about her and once she inevitably penetrated my ears, I was hooked. Yes, I have a predilection for Swedish pop. It’s a known weakness.

9. Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
I’m torn listing Crystal Castles. I listened to the hell out of this album until it came out that they pretty much ripped off some other “chiptune” musicians which sort of left a bad taste in my mouth. That said, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to listening to and loving this collection of brash electronic pop punk.

10. Foals – Antidotes
I was slow to accept the awesomeness that is Foals. Antidotes is pretty much amazing in its angular brilliance. Thank you to Eric Greenwood for convincing me I was missing out on something brilliant.

11. She & Him – Volume One
I totally forgot about this album after the summer ended (and to be honest, until about 10 minutes ago). It’s such a Spring/Summer evening front porch swing collection of retro pop bliss. And then there’s the Zooey Deschanel half of the project. Swoon.

Honorable Mention: Los Campesinos – Hold on Now, Youngster…
Cardiff’s Los Campesinos play a riotous brand of Sarah inspired neu-twee pop often reminiscent (to my ears) of Talulah Gosh and Heavenly.

Singles I loved in 2008 – Thao Nguyen’s Bag of Hammers, “Paper Float” from Cassettes Won’t Listen, “Sunshine Lover” from Denmark’s Small, “Tak o Tak” from London’s Sticken City, The Whip’s “Trash“, “Till I’m Gone” from Australia’s Elke and “You Were Too Old For Me” from Detroit’s Pas/Cal, as well as George Pringle’s Carte Postale. Oh and Bikini’s insidiously infectious “Tonight.”

*update: Whoops. Totally forgot Daylight from Matt & Kim. Infectious.

Records that I missed out on in 2008:
The most obvious omission is probably Deerhunter’s Microcastle. I gave this a listen, enjoyed it and then promptly forgot about it. Same goes for TV on the Radio’s Dear Science. Ditto for Deerhoof’s Offend Maggie. The Notwist’s The Devil, You + Me was on repeat for a few days but never hooked me like Neon Golden. I thought Bon Iver would knock Sam Beam out of rotation, but it never happened. I didn’t get around to listening to much of the new Walkmen record. I’m regretting that, now. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything from Marnie Stern and now I’m quite curious. Embarrassingly, I downloaded but completely forgot to listen to the new Ladytron. Too many records, not enough time. Sigh.

Tags: lists

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Scott Wells // Dec 18, 2008 at 12:51 am

    The only thing I understood in this whole piece is Oxford comma and I don’t approve. Getting old sucks. (Actually, I know and approve of synth and pop.)

  • 2 Eric Greenwood // Dec 18, 2008 at 9:27 am

    so true. that santogold record is amazing, but, damn, she whored it out. every time i see an ad the background music is santogold. she’s the moby of 2008. i forgot about she & him too. i liked that record.

  • 3 Lizzie // Dec 18, 2008 at 10:15 am

    pretty nice list.
    thanks for Lykke Li recommendation earlier this year.

    give TVOR a listen and a London winter is the perfect time to get into Bon Iver.

  • 4 Logan K. Young // Dec 18, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    i’m still kicking myself for missing the M83 and School of Seven Bells show in Charlotte. I might catch the former when they come back around with The Killers…maybe. Didn’t even hear “Wermland” though. I agree, “Paper Float” is totally kick-ass.

  • 5 Karen O // Dec 18, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    Crystal Castles only ripped off 1 song in an unreleased song 5 years ago, it was made 4 years before their debut album and never released or performed. Fake controversy created by chiptune artists who were jealous of CC’s small success. Even Pitchfork says the accusations are bullshit:


  • 6 K // Dec 18, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Thanks, Karen. I appreciate the correction. I hadn’t seen that article on Pitchfork. Like I said, I still listen to the hell out of the Crystal Castles record, so aside from coloring my opinion of them, it didn’t prevent me from listening.