Sunday, 14 December 2008

Top 25 Albums of 2008 25-16

It's that time of year! Let's kick this off in reverse order style;

25: Ladyhawke - S/T

When I first saw the video for "Dusk Till Dawn", I was convinced I was watching the new Ting Ting's video, as Ladyhawke definitely shares a lot of synth-pop characteristics with the here-today-hopefully-gone-tomorrow indie-dance outfit. However, after hearing the 80's-tinged (not a pun) "Back Of The Van" played inbetween bands when I went to see Hot Club De Paris in Birmingham, I checked out Ladyhawke's Selftitled album, and was amazing to find a pop album where every single track is as catchy as the singles. Definitely a party soundtrack album.

24: Fall Out Boy - Folie A Deux

Although this album technically isn't out yet (god bless the internet), it has definitely managed to creep onto the end of my top 25. Essentially, those who gave up on Fall Out Boy after the last album will still hate this one, but for those like myself who still like Fall Out Boy (heaven forbid), this album is a mixed bag of amazing songs, from the synth-rock single "I Don't Care", to the absolutely awesome "typical" Fall Out Boy tracks, such as "(Coffee for Closers)" and "27". This album is all about clever lyrics, big choruses, and switching between pop punk, rock, and r n'b at the drop of a hat. Album centrepiece "What A Catch, Donnie" is a major highlight, with a huge ending that brings in a ton of guest vocalists, and the ghosts of Fall Out Boy songs past. Nice. 

23: Elle Milano - Acres Of Dead Space Cadets

I have a pretty strange history with this band. First off, i only realised a few years after hearing Elle Milano that i'd been a fan of a band called Psirens, that some of the members of Elle Milano had formerly been in, so that was quite a weird coincidence. I first saw Elle Milano live supporting Nightmare Of You in Manchester in 2005, and was quite impressed by them, but after a few weeks listening to random demo mp3s of theirs, I kinda forgot about them. That is, until this year, with the release of their first full length. The album explodes with "Laughing All The Way To The Plank", which has one of the most amazing, adrenaline inducing choruses you'll hear all this year and next. See youtube link below for proof! Elsewhere, this album is packed full of dark indie-pop tracks, such as the almost spooky sounding "Curiousity Killed The Pop Star", to the amazingly upbeat indie-west-west-saloon-piano-led "I Know It's Good But I'm Playing It Down", which could almost pass as a happy indie-disco version of Muse. Sadly, Elle Milano have parted ways now, but I am definitely glad they released this album before splitting. RIP.

22: M83 - Saturdays=Youth

From the cover art, to the music videos, to the synth laden dreamy poptronica found when you press play, it's clear to see that this album is in the wrong decade. Everything on this album, from the drum fills on "Kim and Jessie", to the guitars on "Graveyard Girl", just screams 80's. This is an album for those that loved the soundtrack of Donnie Darko, as this album perfect channels the spirits of 80's bands such as Tears For Fears, and Echo and the Bunnymen, and combines this with the most dreamy atmospheric vocals this side of the next millenium. Perfect morning-after music.

21: I Was A Cub Scout - I Want You To Know There Is Always Hope
When I first heard "Pink Squares" I got hooked on this band way too easily, almost from the word go. I was playing Pink Squares like there was no tomorrow. After follow-up single "I Hate Nightclubs" was released, I was officially excited for the eventual album release. A few months later, and bam, IWYTKTTIAH is released. And I think I was initially disappointed, I mean, from the first few listens, nothing on the album topped "Pink Sqaures", not even the newly version of the same track. I soon forgot about the album for a while, until I noticed that everytime one of the album tracks played on my ipod or itunes when in shuffle mode, I was really loving them. Tracks like "The Hunter's Daughter" (which bursts into life spectacularly) and "Our Smallest Adventures" were absolutely amazing, and when listening to the album again as a whole, I came to appreciate just how goddamn amazing it was, from start to finish. I came to the conclusion that I was an idiot, because this album is ironically a lot more immediate than I took it for on the first few listens.  Quite annoyingly, this the second RIP in this list already, as the beloved IWACS have sadly parted ways already.

20: We Are Scientists - Brain Thrust Mastery

In a year where the 80's have been influencing everyone left, right and centre, I don't think anyone thought that the No.1 american indie export We Are Scientists would be taking the same influences on board, but, nonetheless, they did. Brain Thrust Mastery continues on the same track that With Love And Squalor was taking, but instead of continuing on the same, easy, well lit route, they have taken the dark, winding route through the creepy haunted woods, and have created synth laden tracks such as the spooky opener "Ghouls", and the much-more-upbeat single "Chick Lit". It's not all darkness and 80's keyboard sounds though, elsewhere there are more standard rock tracks such as "Impatience" and "Dinosaurs", and of course, lead single, and potentially album highlight "After Hours". The amazing BBC session version of this can be seen at the youtube link below, in all its slide-guitar and strings-laden glory.

19: Lightspeed Champion - Falling Off The Lavender Bridge

After Test Icicles, the awesome synthpunk band from 2005, I don't think anything really expected an album of US-tinged acoustica from Dev Hynes, yet here is an album full of exactly that. By recording with Mike Mogis in Omaha, home of Bright Eyes and everything Saddle Creek related, Lightspeed Champion has created a great collection of chilled out tracks, that have amazing lyrics, and make up an absolutely pleasant listening experience. Highlights definitely include the uplifting "Dry Lips", the poetic "Everybody I Know Is Listening To Crunk", and the amazing 9-minutes-long album centrepiece "Midnight Surprise", the video to which is below;
This album comes under the category of great morning-after music, or even just perfect music for a sunny morning.

18:Friendly Fires - S/T
My love affair with Friendly Fires has been a short one so far. Having first heard them during the same DJ set that I first heard Ladyhawke - Back Of The Van, I have become addicted ever since. Singles "Jump In The Pool" and "Paris" are songs I expect to hear everytime I ever go out now, as they have such good crossover potential, it's not even funny. Their energetic note-perfect performance on Later with Jools Holland just solidifies how bright this bands future is. Their performance of Jump In The Pool is linked to below, in all in percussive glory.

17: Forgive Durden - Razia's Shadow; A Musical

From the start of this concept album to the very end, I was completely hooked. Featuring a tonne of guest vocalists all taking different roles in the story (Such as Chris Conley of Saves The Day as a wise man, Max Bemis of Say Anything as a scheming spider, and Greta from The Hush Sound as a love interest), this album pleases from start to finish, with a story that takes a few listens to figure out properly, but each listen proves more rewarding than the last, given the amount of little nuances that pop up on this each track. Love song "The Missing Piece", with all it's sweeping strings and stabbing horns will stick in your head for weeks, and the crazy evil-disney stomp of Doctor Doctor (featuring Shawn Harris of The Matches) paints a fantastic picture of an incredibly imaginative storyline, and altogether this album proves to be one of those albums where you always feel like hitting repeat as soon as it finishes.

16: Foals - Antidotes


Weird video, but this song is amazing. The whole album is an amazing listen. Bring on album number two already.

Stay tuned for 15-1, they will be coming tomorrow, for I am sleepy.

What are your top albums of 2008?

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