Well indeed it’s that time again for my album picks of the year. Last year I thought this task was most difficult but this year, oh my! So, here they are from my top 10 down to my top 1 and most favorite album of 2008.
10: The Buttless Chaps; Cartography. I first heard the Buttless Chaps earlier this year when listening to a CBC Radio 3 podcast. I immediately thought they were most suburb and purchased 2 of the previous albums. Later on this year, they released this album and it was the same kind of thing, I immediately enjoyed it. Their true strength is mixing acoustic and reverby electrics to create folk masterpieces. This is a brilliant album. My favorites include: Water By The Wayside, Coal Grey Sky, Cartography, and Before the Night it Buries You
09: Danny Michel; Feather, Fur, and Fin. Sadly earlier this year I had the chance to see Danny Michel at the Exchange but opted at the time not to go to the show. This is most certainly one of my regrets for ’08 but I’m sure he’ll be by this way again hopefully soon. Feather, Fur, and Fin is simply put an excellent album full of folky classics which include many of my favorite tracks of any 2008 album, including: Tell Sally, Sweet Things, Motorcade, If God’s on Your Side, On My Way, Feather Fur and Fin, and Rye Whiskey and Wine
08: AC/CD; Black Ice. 2 distorted guitars, 1 thumping bass, classic rock drums, and bluesy vocals = awesomeness. That is the formula that AC/DC has used for all of their albums since the dawn of time and you know what, it simply works! I was skeptical at first upon learning about this album, thinking that AC/DC’s time has come and gone but after listening to this album over and over I have to say that it sure rocks! My favorites include: Anything Goes, Smash N’ Grab, War Machine, Wheels, Decibel, and Skies on Fire
07: Matt Mays; Terminal Romance. I was most fortunate to see Matt Mays in concert this year at the greasy Pump (which to my surprise was not so greasy). I must say that he and his crew (along with the Arkells) put on quite the spectacle and that further made me believe that his 2008 effort was worthy of top 10 goodness. Arguably, I think this album is his best yet, offering some of my favorite songs to date including: Tall trees, Terminal Romance, Northern Belle, Stand and Deliver, Rock Ranger Record, and Digital Eyes. A very VERY good album indeed!
06: Judas Priest; Nostradamus. Since my uncle John introduced me to the Priest in my high school years, I have been a huge fan and was finally able to see them in ‘Toon town in this past summer. They are simply what I think encapsulates quality musicianship. On their 2008 album, Priest attempted something new and risky for them, a concept album. Critic reviews aside, some of which have been good and bad, I really love this album and even consider it one of my favorite albums of all time. The album, as with many concept albums, is meant to be listened track after track in order and I think it is simply brilliant! Song favorites include: Dawn of Creation/Prophecy, Awakening/Revelations, Sand of Time/Pestilence and Plague, Peace/Conquest, Persecution, Alone, Shadows in Flame/Visions, and Calm Before the Storm/Nostradamus
05: Skydiggers; City of Sirens. One of my favorite bands of all time includes the Skydiggers. In my mind, they are real, true, spectacular Canadian musicians and they represent all that is good with music. In their 2008 effort they produced a solid quality folk rock album. My favorites include: Where’s my Baby Tonight, Hasty Mart, ‘Till I Arrive, One Last Chance, Incurable, All in My Time, When You Walk By, Hello Beautiful Life, and City of Sirens
04: Great Big Sea; Fortune’s Favour. Yet another band I got to see in 2008, Great Big Sea blew my mind away. They are so good at what they do and on the 2008 album, it sure shows. From Alan’s rocking vocals, to Sean’s softer vocals to the newfie-esque vocals when the whole band sings, it’s just so very excellent. My favorites include: Banks of Newfoundland, England, Love Me Tonight, Long Lost Love, Company of Fools, Rocks of Merasheen, Dream to Live, and Straight to Hell
03: Disturbed; Indestructible. Ok, gettin’ down to the short strokes now. My number 3 album of ’08 is one that I really think is spectacular. This album makes me smile every time I hear it; it’s just so energetic. With their politically driven and down to earth metal lyrics I find myself often giving the devil horns while headbanging at my work desk 😉 Their heavy, guitar driven music is just so awesome; what an album! My favorite tracks include: Deceiver, The Curse, Perfect Insanity, Enough, Haunted, Facade, Divide, and Inside the Fire. What an album!
02: Old Man Luedecke; Proof of Love. This year’s Regina Folk Festival was brilliant. Many acts, including Rock Plaza Central, Jim Bryson, Kathleen Edwards, Jill Barber among many others made it quite excellent. One musician in particular stood out for me and that was Old Man Luedecke. Every track on this album is a success; I simply love every song on it. From his lyrics, to his toe tapping banjo I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t yet heard it to pick it up, you will not regret it! My favorites include everything, but specifically Just Like A River, Thrown by the Bull, Johny has Gone For a Soldier, In the Beginning, The Drawing Near, Proof Of Love; ummm, ok let’s just go back to say I like it all!
01: Blind Melon; For My Friends. Ok, after much mental debate, this is my top pick for 2008 album of the year. In my view Blind Melon is one of the most underrated bands of all time. After Shannon Hoon, their lead singer, passed away in the mid-90’s I had thought that was the end for this very excellent band. Little did I know because they sure came roaring back in 2008. Fronted by new singer/song writer Travis Warren, who of course will never replace Hoon but does his very own excellent job indeed in his own right! This album is simply perfect, a classic. I encourage all who read this to pick it up and if able, go and see them live which I was able to do this year and let me tell you, what a show! My favorites on the album include: With the Right Set of My Eyes, Tumblin’ Down, Last Laugh, Wishing Well, Sometimes, Down on the Pharmacy, For my Friends, ummm, ok, another album which I like all tracks!
Ok, what a year!! I even have a list of honorable mentions below, which I also had to reduce down to 10! In no particular order:
Honorable Mentions of 2008:
- Ron Sexsmith; Exit Strategy of the Soul
- Fembots; Calling Out
- Metallica; Death Magnetic
- Matthew Barber; Ghost Notes
- Jill Barber; Chances
- Motorhead; Motorizer
- Sam Roberts; Love at the End of the World
- Kathleen Edwards; Asking for Flowers
- Hilotrons; Happymatic
- Arkells; Jackson Square
Here’s hoping 2009 brings more of the same! -tMac