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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    Ria Mae
    @ the House of Blues


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    Helms Alee
    @ the Once Ballroom


    Thursday, June 20th
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    Fred Abong
    @ ONCE Somerville


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    @ Blue Hills Pavilion


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    @ the Pavilion


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    The Faint
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    @ Brighton Music Hall


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    Bad Religion
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    @ the House of Blues


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    Cayetana (Final Shows)
    Katie Ellen
    Lilith
    @ the Sinclair


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    Iron Maiden
    with The Raven Age
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    Mike Krol
    Swearin’
    @ ONCE Somerville


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    Bryan Ferry
    performing Roxy Music’s
    “Avalon” & more
    @ Boston Opera House


    Wednesday, August 7th
    The Paper Kites
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    John Fogerty
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    Neurosis
    @ the Paradise


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    Mutual Benefit
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    Beck
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    @ ONCE Somerville


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    “Back To The Mixtape 2”
    with Pastel Noir, The Fatal Flaw,
    & Nate Leavitt and the Elevation
    @ the Sinclair


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    The Alarm
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    Modern English
    @ the Paradise


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    @ ONCE Somerville


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    @ Great Scott


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    Social Distortion
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    Le Butcherettes
    @ the Pavilion


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    Bob Moses
    @ House of Blues


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    @ Agganis Arena


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    The Sheila Divine
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    Ultra Major
    @ the Sinclair


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    @ the Royale


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    Fontaines D.C.
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    @ Great Scott


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    @ House of Blues


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    @ the Chevalier, Medford


    Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
    September 12th, 13th, 14th, & 15th
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    @ the Sinclair


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    @ Fenway Park


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    @ the Paradise


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    Destroy Boys
    Ellis
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, September 17th
    Lizzo
    @ Agganis Arena


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    ZZ Top
    Cheap Trick
    @ the Pavilion


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    Waterboys
    @ the Wilbur Theatre


    Wednesday, September 18th
    The Julian Lage Trio
    @ the Sinclair


    Thursday, September 19th
    Bloc Party
    performing “Silent Alarm”
    @ the House of Blues


    Thursday, September 19th
    Tropical Fuck Storm
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, September 19th
    King Crimson
    @ the Wang Theatre


    Friday, September 20th
    RIDE
    @ the Paradise


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    The Feelies
    @ the Sinclair


    Saturday, September 21st
    Bleached
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Saturday, September 21st
    Andrew Bird
    Calexico and Iron & Wine
    Natalie Prass
    @ the Bank Pavilion


    Saturday, September 21st
    Massive Attack
    “MezzanineXX1” tour
    @ the Wang


    Sunday, September 22nd
    Mac DeMarco
    @ the Orpheum


    Monday, September 23rd
    Black Moth Super Rainbow
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday, September 24th
    Cat Power
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, September 25th
    An Evening of Talk & Music with
    Nick Cave
    @ Sanders Theatre, Harvard


    Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday
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    Three nights of Built To Spill
    “Keep It Like A Secret” Anniversary Tour
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, September 29th
    Sidney Gish
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, September 29th
    Stereolab
    Bitchin Bajas
    @ the Royale


    Sunday, September 29th
    Graham Nash
    @ the Berklee Performance Center


    Tuesday, October 1st
    Luna
    (performing their “Penthouse” LP)
    Olden Yolk
    @ the Paradise


    Thursday, October 3rd
    Ladytron
    @ the Royale


    Thursday, Friday, & Saturday
    October 3rd, 4th, & 5th
    Three nights of Billy Bragg
    “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back”
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday, October 4th
    Team Dresch
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Saturday, October 5th
    Tim Presley’s White Fence
    @ Great Scott


    Saturday, October 5th
    Maggie Rogers
    Empress Of
    @ the Wang Theatre


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    Mudhoney
    Pissed Jeans
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Sunday, October 6th
    Mt. Joy
    @ the Royale


    Monday, October 7th
    The Paper Kites
    @ Somerville Theatre


    Tuesday, October 8th
    Melvins
    Red Kross
    ShitKid
    @ the Paradise


    Wednesday, October 9th
    The Dodos
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday & Friday
    October 10th & 11th
    Wilco
    @ the Wang Center


    Friday, October 11th
    Mike Watt & the Missingmen
    Minibeast
    @ ONCE Ballroom


    Friday, October 11th
    The Black Keys
    Modest Mouse
    Jessy Wilson
    @ TD Garden


    Sunday, October 13th
    Big Thief
    Palehound
    @ the Wilbur


    Tuesday, October 15th
    Bon Iver
    Feist
    @ TD Garden


    Wednesday, October 16th
    Oh Sees
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, October 16th
    Idles
    Preoccupations
    @ the Royale


    Friday & Saturday
    October 18th & 19th
    The Town and the City Festival
    returns to Lowell, MA!


    Saturday & Sunday
    October 19th & 20th
    Cave In
    Miltown
    @ the Sinclair


    Sunday, October 20th
    Stiff Little Fingers
    The Avengers
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Tuesday & Wednesday
    October 22nd & 23rd
    Against Me!
    “2 nights, 4 records, 48 songs”
    with Cursive & Dilly Dally
    @ the Royale


    Wednesday, October 23rd
    Flipper (w/David Yow on vocals)
    40th Anniversary Tour
    @ the Middle East Downstairs


    Thursday, October 24th
    Titus Andronicus
    @ ONCE Somerville


    Thursday, October 24th
    The National
    @ Agganis Arena


    Friday, October 25th
    Jenny Lewis
    @ the House of Blues


    Saturday, October 26th
    Jay Som
    Gia Margaret
    Boy Scouts
    @ the Sinclair


    Friday & Saturday
    October 25th & 26th
    Steely Dan
    @ the Orpheum


    Saturday, October 26th
    Peter Hook & the Light
    @ the Paradise


    Sunday, October 27th
    Trashcan Sinatras
    performing ‘A Happy Pocket’
    and ‘Weightlifting’ LPs acoustic
    @ City Winery Boston


    Monday, October 28th
    Fleetwood Mac
    @ the Garden


    Tuesday, October 29th
    Sleater-Kinney
    @ the House of Blues Boston


    Tuesday & Wednesday
    October 29th, 30th, & November 1st
    Steely Dan
    @ the Orpheum


    Wednesday, October 30th
    Jónsi & Alex Somers (Sigur Ros)
    “Riceboy Sleeps”
    with the Wordless Music Orchestra
    @ the Wilbur


    Saturday, November 2nd
    White Reaper
    The Nude Party
    Wombo
    @ the Sinclair


    Wednesday, November 6th
    Fruit Bats
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, November 12th
    Chastity Belt
    @ Brighton Music Hall


    Thursday, November 14th
    Circa Waves
    Parks
    @ Great Scott


    Thursday, November 14th
    Robert Forster (Go-Betweens)
    @ City Winery Boston


    Friday, November 15th
    Hiss Golden Messenger
    @ the Sinclair


    Tuesday, November 19th
    Mikal Cronin
    @ Great Scott


    Tuesday, November 19th
    Angel Olsen
    Vagabon
    @ the Royale


    Friday, November 22nd
    Matt & Kim
    @ House of Blues


    Sunday, December 8th
    Cher
    with Nile Rogers & Chic
    @ the Garden


    Thursday, Friday, & Saturday
    December 19th, 20th, & 21st
    Lucero
    @ the Sinclair