Welcome to my End of the Year list(s)! I will start out by shirking all journalistic integrity and having two number 1s for album of the year.
10. Jack's Mannequin - The Glass Passenger
Andrew McMahon only writes good songs (the chorus to "Suicide Blonde" notwithstanding). The first few tracks are great pop songs; ballads like "Hammers and Strings" blow some Something Corporate songs out of the water. I've always liked this band more than SoCo.
9. The Matches - A Band In Hope
This band has come a long way since "Superman." The lyrics are interesting, the melodies are often counter-intuitive and complex, and really the only truly weak song on the album is "Yankee in a Chip Shop"
8. The Loved Ones - Build and Burn
Such good punk rock. I've liked everything this band has put out. I'm looking forward to their EP coming out in February.
7. Dear and the Headlights - Drunk Like Bible Times
This album wasn't anywhere near as good as Small Steps, Heavy Hooves, but songs like "I Know" prove that they've still got it in them. This band has monstrous potential.
6. Right Away, Great Captain! - The Eventually Home
Andy Hull could honestly do just about anything and I would buy it. This album is a lot quieter than Manchester Orchestra and it's been perfect listening for the last couple months of 2008. Some of my favorite Andy Hull songs are on this CD.
5. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
This album was summer. I don't think there was a single day when I wasn't blasting it at work. In conjunction with seeing them live twice in summer alone, this album helped The Hold Steady pretty much define a full season of this year.
4. Okkervil River - The Stand-Ins
What Stay Positive was to summer, The Stand-Ins was to fall. It leaked in August right as I was getting ready to go back to school and I listened to it non-stop. Listening to The Stage Names and this back to back is almost too enjoyable.
3. Why? - Alopecia
Yoni Wolf's way with words is mind boggling. The lyrics on this CD still amaze me; his rhyming patterns, his word choice, everything. The music backing him is equally as incredible. I've been listening to this one since January and I think I'll continue to for months to come.
2. The Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride
According to Last.fm, I have listened to the Mountain Goats 1,242 times since January 1st, 2008. Thanks in large part to this album, The Mountain Goats went from a band I wouldn't skip if they came on shuffle to a band I can't go a day without listening to. I've since explored Darnielle's massive back catalog to rather overwhelming success. Yet another case where illegal downloading led me to discover and support a band.
1b. The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound
I've listened to this album more than any other this year. The words are permanantly on my lips; the melodies into my fingers. This band plays everything I still like about punk rock. This is honestly a flawless album.
1a. Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight
As I write the final words of my 2008 wrap up, this album is playing. That has been true of almost everything else I've done over the last few months. I have listened to this album almost every day since I first fell in love with it in September. I love it enough to look past the fact that he sings the word "cunt" seriously. And that would usually be a dealbreaker. "The Modern Leper" is officially my favorite song of this year, but each succeeding song on the album makes me want to reconsider. I wish I could remember how I found out about these guys. I hope it wasn't Pitchfork...