Travis Parno Album Cover

Travis Parno

2008, oh what a year. Anticipated albums (Copeland), huge projects (Razia's Shadow), breakout artists (Bon Iver), and a whole menagerie of the good (Lydia), the bad (Death Cab for Cutie), and the ugly (3OH!3). And of course, I was fortunate enough to join the staff of this wonderful site. Although I'm still getting started, I'm extremely grateful and excited to be here and I can't wait to meet more of the fantastic people that make up our community. With that said, here's the year in review, according to me...

Best Albums of the Year:

1. Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago
2. Lydia Illuminate
3. Forgive Durden Razia’s Shadow: A Musical
4. Underoath Lost in the Sound of Separation
5. Conor Oberst Conor Oberst
6. Frightened Rabbit Midnight Organ Fight
7. Empires Howl
8. La Dispute Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair
9. Copeland You Are My Sunshine
10. Right Away, Great Captain! The Eventually Home
11. Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend
12. Kanye West 808s and Heartbreaks
13. Lynus Nice Outside
14. Good Old War Only Way to Be Alone
15. Coldplay Viva la Vida
16. Person L Initial
17. Kyle Andrews Real Blasty
18. Ben Folds Way to Normal
19. Cold War Kids Loyalty to Loyalty
20. Ace Enders and a Million Different People The Secret Wars

Honorable Mentions:
Pompeii Nothing Happens for a Reason
Johnny Foreigner Waited Up Til It Was Light
Alexander White Flags and Silver Spoons Have to Sleep in Separate Rooms
Anathallo Canopy Glow
I Married My Highschool Sweetheart Finally Over Anna

ApologeticsJustin Vernon's foray into wintery isolation was one of the best moves he's ever made, as evidenced by his band Bon Iver's debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago. From the moment I read Blake's review and first listened to "Skinny Love" on myspace, I was floored. This album has managed to crystallize beauty into a sparse, delicate sampling of soulful and heartrending tunes. It is a masterpiece, from first to last, and nothing else from this year* came close in my mind. I don't think I need to regale the intricacies of Lydia's Illuminate - it was easily one of the most complete and well-executed albums of the year. Forgive Durden's Razia's Shadow fills out the top three because of what it represents: many of the major players of the scene have been distilled into a single, epic story that somehow managed not to fall on its face.

* Yeah, yeah, For Emma, Forever Ago was technically released independently last year by Justin Vernon. For everyone other than the four or five people who bought a copy from him, the album came out in 2008 when it was officially released by Jagjaguwar Records. So there.

Best EPs of the Year:
You, Me, and Everyone We Know So Young, So Insane
Deas Vail White Lights
The Maple State Say, Scientist EP
In Harbour The Hardest Part is Learning How to Swim
Manchester Orchestra Let My Pride Be What’s Left Behind EP
The Dear Hunter Random EPs
Darkroom Jets That Fly

ApologeticsYou, Me, and Everyone We Know is the obvious choice here as they stand poised for a takeover. The others are also excellent selections, especially Deas Vail's White Lights EP, which was suggested to me by one of our user reviewers, and Mansions' self-titled EP.

Best Songs of the Year:
1. Bon Iver “RE: Stacks”
2. Lydia “I Woke Up Near the Sea”
3. Lydia “Sleep Well”
4. Frightened Rabbit “Keep Yourself Warm”
5. Bon Iver “Skinny Love”
6. Underoath “Too Bright to See Too Loud to Hear”
7. La Dispute “Bury Your Flame”
8. Right Away, Great Captain! “Devil Dressed in Blue”
9. Paper Rival “Bluebird”
10. Copeland “The Day I Lost My Voice (The Suitcase Song)”

Honorable Mentions:
Bon Iver “Flume”
Lydia “Stay Awake”
Empires “Spit the Dark”
Copeland “Not So Tough Found Out”
Person L “Storms”

ApologeticsEssentially a recap of the AOTY list, it's clear that Bon Iver and Lydia dominated the year, in my mind. Offerings from Right Away, Great Captain! and Paper Rival, though, were overlooked by many.

Band of the Year:
Bon Iver

ApologeticsProbably no surprise here. I'm crazy for these guys, although it will be interesting to see where Vernon and Co. go from here.

Best New Band:
1. Bon Iver
2. Good Old War

Most Disappointing Album:
Death Cab for Cutie Narrow Stairs
Jack’s Mannequin The Glass Passenger
Anthony Green Avalon

Best Lyrics:
La Dispute Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair

ApologeticsVery little from this year can compare to hearing Jordan Dreyer wail lyrics like "We cast our hearts in plaster/ We imagined our bodies were fashioned from stone/ But they chipped at the brick and the mortar/ We found out that we're only layers of skin hiding bone." Come on, no contest.

Best Vocals:
Lydia Illuminate

Best Producer:
Justin Vernon, Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago

Best Live Show:
Bon Iver/The Tallest Man on Earth
The Dear Hunter/Lydia/You, Me, and Everyone We Know/Eye Alaska

Most Overrated:
Alive in Wild Paint
The Reign of Kindo
Anthony Green

Next Big Thing:
You, Me, and Everyone We Know

Most Anticipated of 2009:
Moving Mountains Forward EP
Manchester Orchestra Mean Everything to Nothing
The Dear Hunter Act III

ApologeticsI know Moving Mountains will eventually reward those of us who are still obscenely obsessed with 2007's Penuma, but damnit, I'm not sure I can wait any longer! Equally exciting, no doubt, will be the day when Andy Hull graces us with another dose of brilliance courtesy of his band, Manchester Orchestra. And of course, given my voracious appetite for all things Crescenzo, the release of The Dear Hunter's third installment will be a wonderful event. Can't wait for '09!!
This review is a user submitted review from Travis Parno. You can see all of Travis Parno's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 18
11:53 AM on 12/04/08
Blake Solomon
every outcome's such a comedown
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love this list. And Moving Mountains have really set themselves a mountain to climb. But I trust it will be worth the wait.
12:28 AM on 12/05/08
Garett Press
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great great list! - even if bon iver was last year
10:42 AM on 12/05/08
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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great great list! - even if bon iver was last year
That was last year?? Damnit!!
07:57 AM on 12/08/08
Travis Parno
my sensible heart
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Travis Parno's Avatar
great great list! - even if bon iver was last year
im counting label release, not personal release
02:47 PM on 12/24/08
Julia Conny
"Julia HurriConny"
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I'm so glad to have you on staff, Travis. To have another Manchester Orchestra mega-fan on the team can only brings good fortune.
12:21 AM on 12/29/08
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anamericangod's Avatar
Awesome seeing "Sleep Well" in your top songs.
04:49 AM on 12/29/08
makin' good time
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Ryzenfall's Avatar
Bon Iver and Lydia are dominating this list and there ain't nothin' wrong with that.

I play drums, sing and write and personally I find The Reign of Kindo worthy of every ounce of praise they get as their musicality and lyrics and delivery are all excellent in my opinion. I don't know. It all depends on what you listen for i guess.
06:40 AM on 12/29/08
Heaven Sent
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ffadam's Avatar
Good Old War isn't self titled but love the Manchester Orchestra love :)
11:21 AM on 12/29/08
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c_rob2700's Avatar
Why does everone think The Glass Passenger is disappointing?
11:30 AM on 12/29/08
Registered User
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so far, i gotta say i like your list the best (or agree with it the most). You have Ace Enders on it, disappointed by The Glass Passenger, and you're looking foward to Moving Mountains' E.P. Plus the fact that you rated Underoath, Copeland, and Coldplay nicely.
05:28 PM on 12/29/08
Registered User
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sparkle7's Avatar
Awesome seeing "Sleep Well" in your top songs.
I thought the same thing. It's my favorite song off of Illuminate.

And I like all the Bon Iver love.
07:34 PM on 12/29/08
Registered User
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the love for bon iver, lydia, and frightened rabbit is awesome, but i didn't think narrow stairs was that bad. it just didn't meet up to the expectations after such great albums as plans or transatlanticism.
01:26 AM on 12/30/08
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newfoundmichael's Avatar
Your list is definitely my favorite of all staff. La Dispute AND Ace Enders? I figured I would be the only person with both albums on there.
07:40 AM on 12/30/08
Travis Parno
my sensible heart
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Travis Parno's Avatar
I'm so glad to have you on staff, Travis. To have another Manchester Orchestra mega-fan on the team can only brings good fortune.
:) thanks, julia! as unhealthy as the obsession might be, it's unavoidable

and thanks everyone else for all the nice thoughts!

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