Rich Duncan Album Cover

Rich Duncan

2008 has been an interesting year for me to say the least. When looking at all the albums I have listened to this year to determine the order of the list you see below, it is important to remember that you more than likely will not agree with my list. These albums were the ones I spent the most time with this year and the ones I enjoyed listening to the most. I am really looking forward to 2009, and I hope to provide reviews of a diverse selection of albums to AP readers this year!

Top Albums of 2008
20. Augustana - Can’t Love, Can’t Hurt
19. Scream Hello - Everything Is Always Still Happening
18. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
17. Joan of Arc - Boo! Human
16. Gregor Samsa - Rest
15. Atlas Sound - Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
14. Tokyo Police Club - Elephant Shell
13. Algernon Cadwallader - Some Kind Of Cadwallader
12. Brendan Canning - Something For All Of Us…
11. Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
10. Sinaloa - Oceans Of Islands
09. Takka Takka - Migration
08. Pomegranates - Everything Is Alive
07. Sigur Rós - Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
06. Deerhunter - Microcastle
05. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
04. Ra Ra Riot - The Rhumb Line
03. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
02. Able Baker Fox - Voices
Album Of The YearArrows - Modern Art & Politics

Modern Art & Politics was a no-brainer for my album of the year spot. Unlike last year when I had a hard time determining my favorite album of the year, I knew at first listen Modern Art & Politics would claim that title for 2008. Most years, albums that end up topping my list are albums that I just enjoyed, but Modern Art & Politics is an album that I not only enjoyed, but am inspired by.

Honorable Mention:
These Arms Are Snakes - Tail Swallower and Dove
The New Frontiers - Mending
The Rosebuds - Life Like
My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges

Top EPs of 2008
05. Lavodrama - Zurich
04. Frontier(s) - Demos
03. Shuteye Unison - Shuteye Unison
02. The Jealous Sound - Got Friends

Top EP Of 2008Moving Mountains - Foreward
While I thought that The Jealous Sound’s Got Friends would easily claim EP Of The Year honors, the newest EP by the young band Moving Mountains came along and completely blew my mind. Foreward is the perfect progression from the stellar Pneuma and there is not a doubt in my mind that Moving Mountains will not only continue to improve over the years, but that big things are in store for this band.

Most Disappointing Albums of 2007
02. Nada Surf - Lucky
01. Bloc Party - Intimacy

ExplanationBloc Party was disappointing not only because I was hoping for more of a return to the style on Silent Alarm, but some of the songs were just awful (“Mercury” especially). However, the record did have a few really good songs, but overall, Intimacy was just not what I was hoping for from Bloc Party. Nada Surf’s Lucky had a lot of good songs and overall was a satisfying listen, yet it seemed underwhelming in comparison to their excellent 2005 effort The Weight Is A Gift and just did not have the same emotional impact.

Best "New" Band
Winner Frontier(s)
Frontier(s) is the new band from Chris Higdon from Elliott. Five years after Elliott released their swan song Song In The Air, it is nice to hear Higdon singing once again. Frontier(s) is more raw and immediate than the lush, layered stylings of Elliott, and is sure to satisfy fans of Higdon’s previous bands. He is joined in Frontier(s) by Matt Wieder (guitar), Bryan Todd (bass), and Eagle Barber (drums), all of whom turn in excellent performances on the band’s demo tracks.

Runner Up Scream Hello
Scream Hello, while not necessarily a new band, is a band that I feel is unknown by most of the AP.net community and I just had to write about this band. I was pleasantly surprised by their new full-length record Everything Is Always Still Happening, which blends rock, pop-punk, and the occasional dash of melodic hardcore. There are plenty of really good songs on this album, but many will find it difficult to stop hitting the repeat button when it comes to the addictively catchy “You Have Good Taste”. I look forward to hearing more from this exciting band in the future.

Best Music Videos of 2008
WinnerBlueline Medic “Newtown Rag”

Runner UpScream Hello “You Have Good Taste”

ExlanationBlueline Medic is easily captured this year’s Best Music Video award with their brilliant stop-motion video for “Newtown Rag”. Scream Hello claimed the runner up spot mostly due to the strength of the song “You Have Good Taste”, which is one of the best songs I have heard all year. I am also impressed with how well the band matched their song with clips from the Gilmore Girls. Yes, this song is about the Gilmore Girls, and if the guys of Scream Hello are brave enough to announce their love for the show, I guess I should feel no shame about announcing the same (although I do, if just a little).

Best Record Label

WinnerHobbledehoy Record Co.

Runner UpCount Your Lucky Stars

Explanation Hobbledehoy Record Co. is hands down one of my favorite labels and they have one of the most impressive rosters I have seen in some time. This year saw stellar releases by Blueline Medic and Arrows, and their back catalogue features excellent releases by bands like The Leap Year, Hey Mercedes, and The City On Film. Tom is one of the nicest guys I know, and I have a feeling his label will only continue to grow and do big things.

Count Your Lucky Stars has made a few big signings recently to add to their already stellar roster that includes empire! empire! ( i was a lonely estate). Some of their new signings include Joie De Vivre, The Reptilian (think early Minus The Bear), and Annabel (90’s era indie rock). Overall, Count Your Lucky Stars has snagged itself some good, young talent that should provide some interesting material for years to come.

Best "Other" Webzine
Sound As Language
Sound As Language is a great music blog run by Will Miller that is updated daily with really stellar music recommendations that are usually of more unknown acts, which makes it perfect for me to find new bands to listen to that I know I will like.

Most Anticipated CDs of 2009
03. The Appleseed Cast
The Appleseed CastThe Appleseed Cast have finally set a release date for Sagarmatha, the follow up to 2006’s stunning Peregrine. Peregrine was one of my favorite records of 2006 and I have a feeling Sagarmatha is going to build upon the diversity of Peregrine and finding the band releasing more matereial that will leave fans and critics alike clamoring for more.

02. My Bloody Valentine
My Bloody ValentineI am a pretty new My Bloody Valentine fan compared to most people who enjoy the band, having fell in love with them after hearing “Sometimes” on Lost In Translation, but I was probably as excited as even the oldest fan when I heard My Bloody Valentine was finally going to release a follow up to their legendary 1991 album, Loveless. However, not much information has been released on a possible release date, so who knows if this record will see the light of day in 2009. Hopefully not too many people get caught up comparing this next album to Loveless, though it is almost certain people will, because that could potentially spoil what could be a stunning album that has been in the works for quite some time.

01. Autolux
AutoluxAutolux released a new single on iTunes in early May entitled "Audience No.2" from their upcoming album Transit Transit and it pretty much lives up to any expectations I may have had about what the record would sound like. I love Future Perfect, so I am excited to hear the rest of their new record whenever it is released. Definitely my most anticipated record of 2009

Favorite Songs Of 2008
Arrows “We Only Speak On Weekends”
The Jealous Sound “Got Friends”
Gregor Samsa “Jeroen Van Aken”
Moving Mountains - “Armslength”
Frontier(s) - “Abul Abbas”
Brendan Canning “Churches Under The Stairs”
Ra Ra Riot “Too Too Too Fast”
Deerhunter “Nothing Ever Happened”
Street Smart Cyclist “Kiss Kitty On The Lips”
Algernon Cadwallader “Serial Killer Status”
Able Baker Fox “Brand New Moses”
Tokyo Police Club “Tessellate”
Death Cab For Cutie “Cath…”
Earlimart “Face Down In The Right Town”
Mates Of State “Get Better”
Land of Talk “Yuppy Flu”
Memorial “Sideways”
The New Frontiers “Black Lungs”
Ryan Adams & The Cardinals “Cobwebs” and “Stop”
Scream Hello “You Have Good Taste”
Sinaloa “Echoes”
This review is a user submitted review from Rich Duncan. You can see all of Rich Duncan's submitted reviews here.
Displaying posts 1 - 7 of 7
11:43 PM on 12/28/08
Prison Strength
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hockeyguitar99's Avatar
Arrows and Deerhunter FTW. I heard these albums late, but they took my 1 and 2 spots, both amazing albums.

I need to check out a lot of the stuff on your list, but it looks great.
06:55 AM on 12/29/08
bippity boppity
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Praetor's Avatar
Great list. Surprised to see Arrows on a staffer's list, much less at the #1 spot haha. Such a great album.
08:10 AM on 12/29/08
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Rodeo's Avatar
Yeah, dude! ABLE BAKER FOX! That one is on my top 10 list too.
12:54 PM on 12/29/08
how to make love stay
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funkel's Avatar
Awesomeness at Arrows at #1. Band is so good.
Great overall list.
06:53 PM on 12/29/08
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TheBaroness's Avatar
awesome list!!
12:56 PM on 12/30/08
Rich Duncan
Album Reviewer
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Rich Duncan's Avatar
Glad to see everyome is enjoying the list! I am also happy to see all the love for Arrows

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