Monday, December 22, 2008

Dave's Top 10 Cds of 2008

So here is my list of my top 10 cds that were released in 2008. This will include deluxe reissues and live music releases as well as studio recordings. You can think what you want, that's your deal. This is what I like, so let's beging:

1. The Heavy Circles - Self Titled This is Edie Brickell and Harper Simon collaberating efforts along with a pretty strong cast of characters like Money Mark, Sean Lennon, Martha Wainwright and Yuka Honda. This CD came out early in 2008 and really didn't have a lot of press around it and no tour at all, but to me it's one of my favorite of the year. I might be a little biased being an Edie fan, but still I think that they did an amazing job of putting this one together. There is a really nice mix of music styles throughout the CD and with Edie on vocals it all comes together nicely. It shows that between Edie's ability to write songs and Harpers ability to add and mix the music they sure came up with a winner. Although you won't see this on many of the big media top 10's it really deserves to be there.

2. Jack Johnson - Sleep Through the Static In a little different fasion Jack Johnson added some electric guitar to the music and recorded this whole cd all on solar power. On his tour he even created a Green Village to promote the 3R's - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. There were also other things there like Vote the Environment and Just getting folks to register to vote in general. This CD again was an early 2008 release and has some great songs on it. Jack tells some funny stories on how some of the material was written, but the songs are fantastic. Jack has an amazing voice and can put together some cool lyrics togehter making up one of my favorite cds.

3. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Cardinalology Ryan has been really adding a lot to his creativity this year. He spent a good amopunt of time out on the road playing and released this CD along with a new book called Infinity Blues. I wasn't sure after hearing Fix It that I would like the direction Ryan was going with this new CD, but after hearing the rest, he has an amazing new CD on his hands and I would certainly recommend going out and getting this one. You can't go wrong, there's a bit of the softer side of Ryan as well as some more Alt Country songs on this. Some of the highlights on this one are Born Into The Light, Cobwebs and Natural Ghost.

4. Zach Gill - StuffZach Gill released his first solo CD after working on the last couple Jack Johnson CDs as well as the two with his original band ALO. This to me was one of the best CDS of the year because it really has a good mix of styles that all compliment Zach's soulful voice. He hits some reggae as well as some blues and many more. Call it pop or call it what you like, but Zach is really talented and this was certainly a gem of 2008. Zach recently was out on a solo tour and will be finishing off the year on tour with ALO doing a bunch of West Coast shows together. In the summer he plays with Jack Johnson, so he is pretty much busy all year long.

5. Neil Young - Sugar MountainClassic old Neil Young playing solo acoustic to me is him at his best. this was recently released and has a bit of a hiss in the recording, but for a 40 year old show that took place right before his first solo album was released, it's a pretty cool show to hear. He does a lot of talking between songs telling funny stories. Great tunes, this one is a must for the Neil Young fans out there.

6. Kings of Leon - Only By The NightI wasn't a fan of Kings of Leon when I first saw them live opening for U2, but I think this new CD really grew on my. It really, to me, isn't a hard rock CD, but it certainly has a nice selections of different songs. For their 3rd release I think they have made it passed the sophomore slump and continue to produce some rally good music. I reall y have enjoyed listening to this one.

7. Coldplay - Viva La VidaColdplay has been a band that I have really liked over the years. You can certainly tell that this CD took a lot of thought, time and effort to produce. It wasn't a throw out 10 songs and let's make a few million. there's some heart put into these recordings. Now they are being sued over one song and so maybe it was stolen or maybe an idea came to Chris Martin based off another song. Either way it will get worked out. They are fantastic in live performance as well as in studio recordings. This is a great one to have from 2008.

8. Brian Wilson - That Lucky Old SunI wasn't really sure at all about Brian Wilson coming out with a new CD after the remake or finishing of Smile. But I have to say he really did a fantastic job of capturing that same old sound from 40 years ago and he still sounds pretty good as he mixes it all together. As a single voice, I don't think he's the best performer, but with the musically talent of puttiong the whole thing together, this was a real winner for me this year.

9. The Verve - FourthAfter a long hiatus from the music scene or at least the American music scene, The Verve exploded back with their fourth cd titled Fourth. Can't go wrong with that title. The songs are great and Richard Ashcroft really put it together with the band on this one. I don't know how well it has done, but it's one that is certainly worth a listen. They promoted it by releasing a few sessions and other things and then went out and played a bunch of festivals in Europe. I'm glad to hear them back making music.

10. The Racontuers - Consolers of the LonelyNot much in the way of advertising or promoting initially for this CD. It sort of just showed up and that was that. They did tour the US and Europe in support and eventually started to get some play time for this CD. I like the beat and I like all the stuff Jack White has done with these guys. This second release is as good as the first and I have to say that they show a wide range of talent as a band. I have yet to see them live, but have heard them live on NPR as well as other live downloads. Can't wait to see them live as they really have a great sound.

Honorable Mention: Vampire Weekend - Self titledThe debut cd for this college band really hit the charts and fits right into that Panic at The Disco style of music, not sure exactly what it's called. I have to say that on the downside, I have not heard many good things about their live performances. I have heard they play about a 45 minute show of just their CD tunes and really don't stray. So for me the question is how did they produce such a great first time CD? Will we see them for a second and will it be good or did they just happen to strike the right chord in 2008. Let's see what 2009 brings us.

Honorable Mention: David Byrne & Bryan Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen TodayI had to add this one because as hard as it was to choose a top 10 of 2008 because there were some really good things that came out, but David Byrne and Brian Eno put together this fantastic collection of songs. I haven't seen this one stick around on any charts, but it really is a classic and will be one people will be pulling out and having a listen to for many years to come. Both Byrne and Eno are so talented and together they are amazing.

There are many more I could have added including Lucinda Williams, The Roots, Ra Ra Riot, Nine Ince Nails, Conor Oberst, Old Crow Medicine Show, Old 97's, but I really picked the best as well as I could from my opinion. There's a lot of people that would say I missed the mark or whatever, but to me this was a good year of music and so many to choose from and only 10 plus spots to fill. I may change my mind over the next couple of weeks, but my top ones won't be going anywhere. Edie Brickell was fantastic in her new adventure, Ryan Adams is amazing as always and Jack Johnson is a just superb.

Please feel free to comment and add what you like, I'm always open to suggestions of new or different styles of music.

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