1) Grammatics – Grammatics
I've never heard of this band before this year. This is their debut album. It's hard to describe why I like them so much. Everything from their vocals to the cello is so well balanced. It creates such a perfect homogeneous sound. The song "Relentless Four" perfectly balances the male vocals with a female counterpart with an intensity that sticks through the quiet and loud moments. I could live in the ambiance this band builds in every song.
2) Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing
A band with a terrific first 'official' album I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child, it seemed a impossible bar to raise. Fortunately they have with this new album. I think this band to bridge the gap between mainstream rock and indie rock. With all the intensity and musicianship of the best, they infuse emotion when they need to. Every part of this band is top notch from the lyrics to instrumentals. This album works best as a whole. They're making a music video for every song and already have quite a few up, go check out 100 dollars, the latest one.
3) Audrye Sessions - Audrye Sessions
So here's a band I only looked up because they are supporting Manchester Orchestra in the concert I'm going to see this week. This band is ridiculous. They take the same level of high musicianship that Manchester has but in a almost British sound flair. Also like Manchester, features a superb vocalist. Emotionally charged from start to finish, this is a solid rock album.
4) Silversun Pickups - Swoon
I was never quite into this band because I used to think they lacked excitement in their music and that it sort of got droll. This record fixes that. Every song on this album has lasting power. It's catchy and it's well layered. "The Royal We" is my initial favorite song. I can still listen to any given song on this album and enjoy it.
5) Paper Route - Absence
This record got me in a similar way that Grammatics have. A lot less play with electronics than their previous EPs, this album is all about building atmosphere. They sound a bit like Snow Patrol and Mute Math mixed. This album doesn't get old either.
6) Mansions - New Best Friends
7) Mae – (m)orning EP
whatismae.com 's charity benefit release a song a month plan created this EP. The last song released "Night/Day" is AMAZING, I look forward to the future EPs and album.
8) The Dangerous Summer - Reach for the Sun
Reminds me of The Starting Line. This record is consistently good although I think it gets even better towards the end than the beginning.
9) Cursive - Mama, I'm Swollen
A little disappointing but I only paid a dollar for it. It has a few great songs on it and it is still good ol' Cursive.
10) mewithoutYou - It's All Crazy! It's all False! It's all a Dream it's alright!
Disappointing too because it lacks the emotional intensity and spoken vocals of Brother, Sister, their previous album. Not to say it's bad because it's good, but it's like a big storybook more than anything else.
11) New Found Glory - Not Without a Fight - I didn't like NFG before but this is a damn solid album so now I do.
12) Madina Lake - Attics to Eden - I haven't had enough time with this but it has VERY catchy stuff and high energy.
13) Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown - Mainstream or not, this is a solid album.
14) Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You - Catchy and well produced, personal favorite song "Everybody's At It"
15) Maybeshewill - Sing the Word Hope in Four-Part Harmony - post hardcore, spoken word samples, numerous moments of bad assery
16) A Love Like Pi - The Atlas and the Oyster - electronic voice overlay in a good way, catchy blend of rock and electronics
17) Trophy Scars - Bad Luck
18) Thursday - Common Existence
19) Death Cab for Cutie - The Open Door EP
Anticipated albums forthcoming in 2009: Say Anything - Say Anything
Dredg - The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion
The Dear Hunter - Act III:Life and Death
Taking Back Sunday - New Again
Emery - In Shallow Seas We Sail
Moneen's new album
Sick Puppies - Tripolar
Incubus - Monuments and Melodies MUSE - THE RESISTANCE
30 Seconds to Mars's new album
Sum 41's new album
Lost Prophet's new album
Dead by Sunrise's first album
Portugal. The Man - The Satanic Satanist