m83 Saturdays = Youth - This is a wonderfully bizarre conglomerate of the sounds of Pet Shop Boys, Jesus and Mary Chain, and My Bloody Valentine. It's an incredibly earnest album that hits the emotions hard. Possibly the best album of the summer of 08.
David Bowie Live in Santa Monica – This is one of the rawest Bowie recordings ever made. After being held in the vault since 1972, Bowie has released this hidden gem that came from a time when he was largely unknown in the US. The Santa Monica show was to be his first big performance in the States and one of the few times he performed in front of an audience that didn't already like him.
Fleet Foxes Self Titled – Not since the Beach Boys have we had such quality music that was vocally driven. Not since the masterpieces of Ennio Morricone have we heard music worthy of a classic Spaghetti Western. These songs by far contain some of the most intelligent, rich harmonies we've ever heard.
Robert Ellis The Great Rearranger – Incredible guitarist playing incredible melodies, Robert strikes a vibrant chord for folk lovers around, and the man is giving his music away!
The Sea and Cake Car Alarm – Few bands can keep the steam going without completely reinventing their sound wheel. The Sea and Cake have put out yet another cool pop gem that is reminiscent of their past several years work and can still start a party.
Tambersauro Theories of Delusional Origin – These guys took the best elements of 70's art rock and mid 90's math and crafted a great album. It's a challenge every time you put it on, but every time you do, you find something new to rip off.
Coldplay Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends – A man might lose hard earned cool points for listing this one, but it's still a good pop album. Considering that bands of their caliber are rarely seen making conscious efforts to produce something great, these guys should be commended for their labor. It was a smart move bringing in a great mind like Brian Eno and it was very entertaining to hear Coldplay's modern pop shout-outs to great bands like Arcade Fire and My Bloody Valentine. It can easily be said that after Parachutes, they lost their steam while getting caught up in the blaze of ridiculous pop success. So to hear this album brings back a lot of disillusioned, nostalgic Coldplay fans.
Anathallo Canopy Glow – Ever ready to surprise us with their pops and hisses, Anathallo has produced yet another quirky record full of bright melodies, busy percussion, and peaceful undertones.
Big Blue Ball Self Titled – This is a monster of an album that took Peter Gabriel and his cohorts (including Sinead O'Connor) 15 years to make. Since 1993, there have been many changes in music styles, recording equipment, as well as music distribution. But this album reaches across the decade and a half of change and delivers some quality world music.