The Best Of 2008

02-Jan-2009 05:00 pm

Contributed by: pete

I've got this thing where I have to wait until the following year before publishing the obligatory Best Of Last Year article. Part of it is that I need the time away from my full-time job compile the list, but I also need the reality of the new year to put the previous year into perspective. And so, once again, after a holiday season, a crazy new year's eve party with my friends, and a full new year of music just looming ahead of me, here are my picks from 2008.

Best Concerts of 2008

When it comes to shows, I really just enjoy being out and hearing new music. Even when it's not a standout performance, being out at the venues and getting to watch a band put a show together is way better than TV. Looking through my shots from 2008, I estimate that I photographed about 190 different bands/musicians in the past 12 months. Researching for this category is a good time in itself because it meant I had to go back through all my articles from 2008 and remember each and every concert. It's a fun life.

 1 Okkervil River Okkervil River
October 12th

 2 Hey Rosetta! Hey Rosetta!
The Horseshoe
November 19th

 3 Arkells Arkells
The Horseshoe
December 16th

 4 Plants and Animals Plants and Animals
The Horseshoe
September 18th

 5 Kings Of Leon Kings Of Leon
November 7th

 6 Amos The Transparent Amos The Transparent
June 12

 7 Rogue Wave Rogue Wave
Olympic Island
June 7th
(opening for Death Cab For Cutie)

 8 Wintersleep Wintersleep
January 31st

 9 Paper Lions Paper Lions
Toronto Island Park
September 7th
(as part of Virgin Festival)

 10 People In Planes People In Planes
May 15th

Well there it is. Except the honourable mentions, which are:

Top 10 Albums of 2008

There were some great releases in 2008. Checking my iTunes statistics, it shows that I listened to less variety of music this year than in previous years. I think that's because the albums that I liked, I really liked, so I ended up playing them again and again. What it means is that some music that made other people's top 10 lists didn't necessarily get a fair shake from my ears. For example, despite hating the name of the band Vampire Weekend, I listened through the album a couple of times and liked it. But I didn't listen to it enough to even consider it for my top 10 list... I just forgot to listen to it more (or more likely, I was listening to the Arkells instead). Anyway, this list was generated partly by using my iTunes statistics and ratings to expose which albums I actually tend to rate highest and listen to the most. Note that I include albums from 2007 that I didn't discover until 2008 because it seems unfair to exclude albums entirely just because I was slow to learn about them. And in case you're wondering: I added 181 albums to my collection this year.

   1 Arkells / Jackson Square

Info & Connect: Arkells on MySpace, Facebook
Media: Oh The Boss Is Coming! (video)

   2 Islands / Arm's Way

Info: Islands | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Creeper (mp3)

   3 Hey Rosetta! / Into Your Lungs

Info: Hey Rosetta! | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: New Goodbye (mp3), I've Been Asleep For A Long, Long Time (mp3)

   4 Vacuity / At The Command Of The Blanket Sky

Info: Vacuity | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Beckoning (mp3), Tamer Than Anything (mp3)

   5 The Details / Draw A Distance. Draw A Border. (2007)

Info: The Details | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Underground (mp3)

   6 Kings Of Leon / Only By The Night

Info: Kings Of Leon | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Sex On Fire (video), Use Somebody (video)

   7 The Kooks / Konk

Info: The Kooks | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Sway (mp3)

   8 Plants and Animals / Parc Avenue

Info: Plants and Animals | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Bye Bye Bye (mp3)

   9 Okkervil River / The Stand Ins

Info: Okkervil River | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Lost Coastlines (mp3)

 10 The Hold Steady / Stay Positive

Info: The Hold Steady | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Sequestered In Memphis (mp3)

Honourable mentions:

10 Hot Singles of 2008

Sometimes it's not a whole album that grabs me, but just one or two songs that I really love listening to. It takes more than a few songs to put an album in the list above, but here are some singles that really caught my attention this year.
  1. Oceanographer - Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin from Pershing
  2. I Don't Always Know What You're Saying - Ladyhawk from Shots [mp3]
  3. Americanarama - Hollerado from Demo In A Bag #5 [mp3, video]
  4. N.Y.E. - Dinosaur Bones from EP
  5. The Crook Of My Good Arm - Pale Young Gentlemen from Black Forest (Tra La La) [mp3]
  6. Hey! - The Impossible Shapes from 9
  7. Bitter Radio Single - Hospital Ships from Oh, Ramona [mp3]
  8. Building A Boat - Matt Mays & El Torpedo from Terminal Romance [mp3]
  9. Out Of Time - Jason Collett from Here's To Being Here [mp3]
  10. In Love - The Beautiful Girls from Ziggurats (2007)

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