Bradley's Almanac

2008: My Favorite Music

Posted on January 22, 2009 at 8:00 am | No Comments

I’ve finally come to accept the inevitable tardiness of my yearly list of musical faves, and really, it’s only tardy when compared to everyone else’s list. Y’see, I listen to way too much music in the waning months of the year, using extra-long workdays and holiday travels to catch up on discs I haven’t spent enough time with. A couple of the albums below didn’t even hit my ears until last month, but rose quickly above many others. And then I need these first few quieter weeks of the new year to let some sounds settle, to narrow down the contenders and pull together this post. So here it is.

As with last year, I’ve come up with an alphabetical list of the 20 discs that defined 2008 for me, along with a couple of EPs that stood out. At the bottom I also rattle off some also-rans, albums I either a) liked a lot but didn’t spend enough time with, or b) enjoyed some of but had too many skip-worthy moments. These are the ones that would round out a top 30 or 40, but even I’m not that self-indulgent.

I long ago abandoned the futile exercise of numerical ranking, and it should go without saying that these are not the ‘best of’ the year, just the ones I heard and loved most. And believe me, given my ever-demanding dadly-duties, there is a lot I didn’t hear. Hell, I’ve been listening to something for a few weeks now that should probably be in this list, as it was technically released a couple months back… but I’ll save that one for a later post.

With each album listed below you’ll see a few things — the titles of my favorite couple tracks, a link to the record label where you can buy the disc directly, and of course, an artist/label/promo-sanctioned downloadable Mp3 from each album. If an Mp3 wasn’t officially made available last year, I’ve included a link to where you can stream some songs instead.

Keep an eye out next week for a extensive post about the albums I’m most looking forward to this year (I love looking at last year’s version and comparing it to this favorites list). Time permitting, I’m also hoping to pull together a list of last year’s live shows that moved me most.

But first, the albums…


British Sea Power“Do You Like Rock Music?”
(on Rough Trade)

faves: “No Lucifer“, “Down On The Ground

Mp3: Waving Flags



The Broken River Prophet
“With Infinite Arms To Cradle The Flames”
(self-released)

faves: “Burned In Place“, “She Gives Me Hope

Mp3: Burned In Place



Centro-Matic / South San Gabriel“Dual Hawks”
(on Misra Records)

Centro-faves: “Quality Strange“, “Counting the Scars
SG-faves: “Kept on the Sly“, “Alabama Crusade

Mp3: Centro-matic – “I, the Kite
Mp3: South San Gabriel – “Trust To Lose



Crooked Fingers“Forfeit / Fortune”
(on Constant Artists, Inc. / Red Pig Records)

faves: “Cannibals“, “Your Control

Mp3: Phony Revolutions



Death Cab For Cutie“Narrow Stairs”
(on Atlantic)

faves: “Cath“, “Long Division

Mp3: Long Division” (Seattle Session)
(via Stereogum)



Land of Talk“Some Are Lakes”
(on Saddle Creek)

faves: “Some Are Lakes“, “Give Me Back My Heart Attack

Mp3: Some Are Lakes



Mogwai“The Hawk Is Howling”
(on Matador Records)

faves: “The Sun Smells Too Loud“, “Thank You Space Expert

Mp3: The Sun Smells Too Loud



My First Days On Junk“No Order”
(self-released)

faves: “Count Me In, I’m Good To Go“, “Try Hard

Mp3: Count Me In, I’m Good To Go



New Radiant Storm King“Drinking in the Moonlight”
(on Darla Records)

faves: “Clouds Cover Everything“, “Eraser

Mp3: Senseless



The New Year“The New Year”
(on Touch & Go)

faves: “X Off Days“, “MMV

Mp3: The Company I Can Get



The Notwist“The Devil, You + Me”
(on Domino)

faves: “Gravity“, “Boneless

Mp3: Good Lies



Plus Minus“Xs On Your Eyes”
(on Absolutely Kosher)

faves: “Unsung“, “X’s On Your Eyes

Mp3: Unsung



Retribution Gospel Choir“Retribution Gospel Choir”
(on Caldo Verde)

faves: “Take Your Time“, “What She Turned Into

Mp3: Somebody’s Someone
Download: Full live shows @ the Live Music Archive



School of Seven Bells“Alpinisms”
(on Ghostly Int’l)

faves: “Connjur“, “Face to Face on High Places

Mp3: Connjur

Mp3: Connjur (acoustic)
(from the Stereogum Decomposed Session)



Sigur Ros“Med Sut I Eyrum Vit Spilum Endalaust”
(on XL Recordings)

faves: “Inni Mar Syugur Vitlajsingur“, “Vid Spilum Endalaust

Mp3: Gobbledigook



Stereolab“Chemical Chords”
(on 4AD)

faves: “Three Women“, “Vortical Phonotheque

Mp3: Three Women



Sun Kil Moon“April”
(on Caldo Verde)

faves: “Moorestown“, “Tonight in Bilbao

Stream “Moorestown” at Caldo Verde
and more songs at MySpace



Tokyo Police Club“Elephant Shell”
(on Saddle Creek)

faves: “Juno“, “Listen To The Math

Mp3: Juno (Ra Ra Riot/Andrew Maury Remix)



The Wedding Present“El Rey”
(on Manifesto)

faves: “Palisades, “The Thing I Like Best…

Stream songs at MySpace



Wye Oak“If Children”
(on Merge Records)

faves: “Warning“, “I Don’t Feel Young

Mp3: Warning
(more Mp3s at their site)

And a couple of 2008 EPs I really dug…


Bottomless Pit“Congress” EP
(self-released on vinyl/cd, on Comedy
Minus One
digitally)

faves: All four tracks (Hey, it’s Bottomless Pit)

Mp3: Fish Eyes



50 Foot Wave“Power + Light” EP
(self-released)

faves: the whole epic 26-minute beast

Stream in its entirety at CASHmusic
(physical release coming soon)

The honorable mentions (aka ‘If I’d made a longer list‘): The Breeders“Mountain Battles”, The Cure“4:13 Dream”, Frightened Rabbit“Midnight Organ Fight”, Grand Archives“Grand Archives”, Ida“Lovers Prayers”, Magnetic Fields“Distorion”, The Night Marchers“See You In Magic”, Okkervil River“The Stand-Ins”, Shearwater“Rook”, The Stills“Oceans Will Rise”, Nada Surf“Lucky”, Ra Ra Riot“The Rhumb Line”, REM“Accelerate”, Silver Jews“Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea”.

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  • BOSTON-AREA LIVE SHOW ACTION


    Monday, January 24th
    Lomelda
    Alexalone
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, January 27th
    Ezra Furman
    @ the Crystal Ballroom


    Monday, January 31st
    The War on Drugs
    House of Blues


    Tuesday, February 1st
    We Are Scientists
    @ Sonia


    Thursday, February 3rd
    Reptaliens
    Yot Club
    Renata Zeiguer
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, February 5th
    An Evening with Bruce Dickinson
    @ the Shubert Theatre


    Saturday, February 5th
    Erasure
    @ the Orpheum


    Monday, February 7th
    STRFKR
    The Undercover Dream Lovers
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, February 8th
    Courtney Barnett
    Shamir
    @ the Wang


    Thursday, February 10th
    Squirrel Flower
    Mia Joy
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, February 12th
    The Royal Arctic Institute
    Sleepyhead
    Chris Brokaw
    @ the Lilypad


    Saturday, February 12th
    Ian Sweet
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Friday, February 18th
    The Cribs
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, February 24th
    John Moreland
    Will Johnson
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, February 24th
    Sleigh Bells
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, February 25th
    Illuminati Hotties
    Fenne Lily
    Pom Pom Squad
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, February 26th
    The Beths
    Lunar Vacation
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, February 27th
    Bruce Cockburn
    @ the Wilbur


    Monday, February 28th
    Journey
    Billy Idol
    @ the Garden


    Tuesday, March 1st
    AFI
    Cold Cave
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, March 2nd
    The Besnard Lakes
    @ O'Briens


    Wednesday, March 2nd
    Bruce Cockburn
    @ the Narrows, Fall River


    Thursday, March 3rd
    Punch Brothers
    Haley Heynderickx
    @ the Orpheum


    Friday, March 4th
    Nation of Language
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, March 5th
    Superchunk
    Torres
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, March 5th
    Guided By Voices
    @ the Royale


    Monday, March 7th
    Pet Fox
    @ O'Brien's


    Monday, March 7th
    Microphones
    Emily Sprague
    @ Somerville Theatre


    Wednesday, March 9th
    Clan of Xymox
    The Bellwether Syndicate
    Aertex
    @ the Hard Rock Cafe


    Friday, March 11th
    Lady Pills
    @ O'Brien's


    Friday, March 11th
    Lewis Black
    @ the Emerson Colonial


    Saturday, March 12th
    Son Volt
    Jesse Farrar
    @ the Sinclair


    Monday, March 14th
    Ryley Walker
    TONSTARTSSBANDHT
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, March 15th
    Marketa Irglova
    & Glen Hansard
    (The Swell Season)
    @ the Emerson Theatre


    Tuesday, March 15th
    Ministry
    Melvins
    Corrosion of Conformity
    @ House of Blues


    Wednesday, March 16th
    Tame Impala
    @ the Garden


    Saturday, March 19th
    Rick Maguire (Pile)
    @ Church of the Covenant


    Saturday, March 19th
    Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
    @ Sonia


    Saturday, March 19th
    The Dear Hunter
    The World Is a Beautiful Place...
    Tanner Merritt (of O'Brother)
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, March 20th
    Sleaford Mods
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, March 20th
    Dropkick Murphys
    Jim Lindberg (Pennywise)
    The Rumjacks
    @ Roadrunner


    Sunday, March 20th
    Henry Rollins
    @ the Wilbur


    Monday & Tuesday
    March 21st & 22nd
    Mitski
    Michelle
    @ Roadrunner


    Tuesday, March 22nd
    Nick Cave & Warren Ellis
    @ the Wang


    Wednesday, March 23rd
    Hrishikesh Hirway
    (The One AM Radio)
    Jenny Owen Youngs
    @ Crystal Ballroom


    Wednesday, March 23rd
    Hot Water Music
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday & Friday
    March 24th & 25th
    Bleachers
    @ Roadrunner


    Thursday, March 24th
    Black Beach
    @ O'Brien's


    Thursday, March 24th
    They Might Be Giants
    'Flood' 30th annivesary
    @ the Royale


    Friday, March 25th
    Yard Act
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, March 26th
    Thao
    @ the Paradise


    Saturday, March 26th
    Car Seat Headrest
    Bartees Strange
    @ House of Blues


    Sunday, March 27th
    Kishi Bashi
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, March 30th
    Sparks
    @ the Shubert Theatre


    Thursday, March 31st
    Parquet Courts
    Hailu Mergia
    @ the Royale


    Friday, April 1st
    Brian Jonestown Massacre
    Mercury Rev
    @ Roadrunner


    Friday, April 1st
    Low
    @ Columbus Theatre
    in Providence


    Sunday, April 3rd
    Andy Shauf
    @ the Paradise


    Monday, April 4th
    Holy F*ck
    @ Sonia


    Monday, April 4th
    Airborne Toxic Event
    @ the House of Blues


    Tuesday, April 5th
    Perfume Genius
    Hand Habits
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, April 6th
    Spoon
    Margaret Glaspy
    @ the House of Blues


    Wednesday, April 6th
    James Vincent McMorrow
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, April 7th
    Bright Eyes
    @ Roadrunner


    Thursday, April 7th
    Circle Jerks
    7SECONDS
    Negative Approach
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, April 8th
    Mogwai
    @ the Paradise


    Friday, April 8th
    Snail Mail
    Joy Again
    @ the Royale


    Friday & Saturday
    April 8th & 9th
    The Town & the City Festival
    a stacked lineup of artists
    @ venues around Lowell, MA


    Saturday, April 9th
    Slow Crush
    @ Sonia


    Tuesday, April 12th
    We Were Promised Jet Packs
    Weakened Friends
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, April 13th
    Big Thief
    @ Roadrunner


    Thursday, April 14th
    Alt-J
    Portugal. The Man
    Cherry Glazerr
    @ Agganis Arena


    Thursday, April 14th
    Cowboy Junkies
    @ Cary Memorial Hall


    Thursday, April 14th
    Yumi Zouma
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, April 17th
    Jack White
    @ Agganis Arena


    Sunday, April 17th
    Godspeed You! Black Emperor
    @ the Columbus, Providence


    Thursday, April 21st
    Fruit Bats
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, April 22nd
    Letterkenny
    @ the Orpheum


    Saturday, April 23rd
    Aimee Mann
    @ the Chevalier


    Monday, April 25th
    Fontaines D.C.
    Just Mustard
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, April 26th
    Pedro the Lion
    Oceanator
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, April 26th
    Guerilla Toss
    @ the Crystal Ballroom


    Friday, April 29th
    The Zombies
    @ the Cabot, Beverly


    Friday, April 29th
    Hovvdy
    Molly Parden
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, May 1st
    OMD
    @ House of Blues


    Monday, May 2nd
    Cat Power
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, May 3rd
    Olivia Rodrigo
    Holly Humberstone
    @ Roadrunner


    Thursday, May 5th
    Julianna Barwick
    Malibu
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, May 8th
    Destroyer
    @ The Sinclair


    Tuesday, May 10th
    Pup
    Cloud Nothings
    @ House of Blues


    Thursday, May 12th
    Beach Bunny
    @ House of Blues


    Sunday, May 15th
    Dry Cleaning
    @ Crystal Ballroom


    Wednesday, May 18th
    Shout Out Louds
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, May 19th
    Joe Jackson
    @ the Shubert


    Sunday, May 22th
    Eels
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, May 24th
    Royal Blood
    @ the House Of Blues


    Friday to Sunday
    May 27th to 29th
    Boston Calling Fest
    @ Harvard Athletic Complex


    Friday to Sunday
    May 27th to 29th
    Wilco's
    Solid Sound Festival
    @ MASS MoCA


    Sunday, June 5th
    The Antlers
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, June 11th
    Kraftwerk
    @ the Wang


    Thursday, June 16th
    Jonathan Richman
    with Tommy Larkins
    @ the Wilbur


    Saturday, June 18th
    The Zulus
    @ the Paradise


    Tuesday, June 21st
    Waxahatchee
    @ Roadrunner


    Wednesday, June 22nd
    Tears for Fears
    Garbage
    @ the Pavilion


    Monday, June 27th
    Ty Segall
    & Freedom Band
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, July 10th
    Brian Wilson
    Chicago
    @ the Xfinity Center


    Friday, July 15th
    Bikini Kill
    Alice Bag
    @ the Wang


    Friday, July 22nd
    Beach House
    @ Roadrunner


    Tuesday, August 16th
    Goo Goo Dolls
    @ Some Bank Pavilion


    Tuesday, August 16th
    Peter Hook & the Light
    Playing Joy Division's
    "Closer" & "Unknown Pleasures"
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, August 18th
    Sharon Van Etten
    Julien Baker
    Angel Olsen
    Spencer
    @ the Pavilion


    Friday, September 10th
    Red Hot Chili Peppers
    St. Vincent
    Thundercat
    @ Fenway Park


    Thursday & Friday
    September 15th & 16th
    Vundabar
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, September 19th
    New Order
    Pet Shop Boys
    @ Some Bank Pavilion


    Wednesday, September 21st
    OSEES
    Bronze
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, September 28th
    Pavement
    @ the Wang


    Monday, October 3rd
    The Killers
    Johnny Marr
    @ the Garden


    Saturday, October 22nd
    June of 44
    @ the Middle East Down