2008 Music Rundown

I never realized this before, but it’s surprisingly easy to do a year-end music rundown when you haven’t listened to much new music! In no particular order except that the Portishead is HOLY SHIT AWESOME, here’s some 2008-released stuff I especially enjoyed.


  • Third (Portishead): I have never had high expectations so comprehensively and delightfully exceeded. It is everything I loved about Portishead, yet nothing like what came before.
  • Rook (Shearwater): Gorgeous, varied collection of songs all tied together by Jonathan Meiburg’s supple, versatile voice.
  • Attack And Release (Black Keys): I really love the Dangermouse production on this, the sound breathes and floats in what feels like a very non-garagerocky space but the band sounds as tight as ever.
  • Carried To Dust (Calexico): I didn’t like Garden Ruin much, so I love that this album is so reminiscent of my favourite parts of Feast Of Wire – which is to say, it’s more songs for that time just after the sun’s dramatic dip below the horizon when what remains in the sky is the most ethereal, subtle light.
  • The Bake Sale EP (Cool Kids): Creative beat making, pretty good ass-shaking.
  • Distortion (Magnetic Fields): Stephin Merritt’s songwriting has usually been strong enough to pull off Magnetic Fields’ various concept albums, and this album’s concept – every song drenched in Psychocandy-inspired distortion – had me from hello.

Songs: [1. From albums which aren’t in my favourites list, either because I didn’t like them enough or haven’t heard them yet.]

  • Serpentine (Chris Bathgate): If we named songs the way classical composers used to, this could be “Serenade for piano, double bass, and pensive, almost reverential, human voice”. The album (A Cork Tale Wake) is decent too, and especially recommended if you like The Frames.
  • My Pillow Is The Threshhold (Silver Jews): The quiet shimmering guitar background which escalates to a final minute of restrained soundwall-y bliss is so lovely. The album (Lookout Mountain Lookout Sea) is also good, but omitted from the above list because I rate it slightly less highly than the band’s others.
  • Seeing Hands (Dengue Fever): I came for the band name and stayed for Chhom Nimol’s exquisite voice. I don’t know if loving this song is an overcompensatory wannabe-cosmopolitan response to its all-Cambodian exoticism, but I do know it makes me sway happily from side to side.
  • Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (Fleet Foxes): How does a song lie on its back looking up at the clouds, and soar through them, all at the same time?
  • Furr (Blitzen Trapper): Drew me instantly into its story and lyrics, which is rare (for me). The last time that happened was many years ago, with The Decemberists’ Leslie Ann Levine.

But yeah, as is probably obvious, there’s lots more I simply haven’t got round to yet from this year – what else should I add to this list to chase down? What did you love?

  • London Zoo (The Bug)
  • The Renaissance (Q-Tip)
  • At War With Walls And Mazes (Son Lux)
  • Everything That Happens Will Happen Today (Brian Eno and David Byrne)
  • Los Angeles (Flying Lotus)
  • Furr (Blitzen Trapper)


  1. Eh? I’ve only heard one of these albums (Third) and even so I’ve only heard it once through. Were we living in the same house during the last year?
    Seems to me that all we listened too chez Molloy was Back in Black (ACDC), Apologise (OneRepublic), Single Ladies (Beyonce or whatever the feck her name is now) and Low (Flow rida FT. T-pain).

  2. I’m on the same page as you on Portishead and Cool Kids, not quite on the same page about Fleet Foxes and totally annoyed that you still haven’t listened to Flying Lotus!!

    Anyway I’m really only here to plug my own year end list. Click on link!

  3. I didn’t get very obsessed about anything in 2008. I’m listening to the freshly leaked Animal Collective album at the moment though and it’s the dogs bollocks.

    No Age – Nouns (nice distorted rockiness)
    Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (could potentially get old very fast like Vampire Weekend, but I’m still enjoying it)
    The Walkmen – You & Me (big improvement from the last album, which was rubbish)
    Q-Tip – The Renaissance (positive hip hop, nice hooks, Tribe Called Quest-y)
    The Bug – London Zoo (nice abbrasive dubstep)
    Dusk & Blackdown – Margins Music (nice mellow dubstep)
    Correkt Minds – Figure of Speech (horrorcore Irish rap)
    Class A’s – The Drink Money Mixtape(silly Irish hip hop)

  4. Alec: I listened to them to and from work of course. Home is for belting TOO LAAAAAAAAATE!, not appreciating the finer points of layered bleeps.

    Benny: As in you don’t like that particular Fleet Foxes song enough, or you think I should have included them in my album list?

    Everyone should go read Benny’s list BTW, it’s way more interesting than mine.

    James: I haven’t listened to the Walkmen since their first two albums but used to enjoy them when I was in a certain mood so I’ll track that one down, and also the nice mellow Dusk & Blackdown (for when Alec gets tired of nice abrasive The Bug).

  5. What I meant was that I do quite like Fleet Foxes the album, but not particularly Fleet Foxes the band (e.g. I don’t see myself getting excited about their next album). And my fave track is ‘He Doesn’t Know Why’. And thanks for the plug!

    I gotta check out some of James’ recommendations too. Horrorcore Irish rap!

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