Sunday, December 21

C&T's favorite albums of 2008

With 2008 nearly behind us, it's time to share my favorite records of the year. My picks are heavy on pop, rock, and swagger, and don't include many of the usual suspects. They are, however, a little heavy on Georgia bands. No apologies for that -- would you expect anything less from C&T?

1. Vic Chesnutt, Elf Power, The Amorphous Strums - Dark Developments [buy]

I like both Vic and Elf Power, but this collaboration grabbed me and didn't let go. It's charming, funny, and a little dark -- I can't get enough. I'm eager for their Athens show in February.

Vic Chesnutt, Elf Power, and The Amorphous Strums - Teddy Bear

2. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping [buy]

I'm a total sucker for Of Montreal since they went all I Am the World Trade Center and Kevin turned into a sex god. Hissing Fauna topped this list last year, and Skeletal Lamping approaches those heights. Not quite as accessible as its predecessor, this record again sees the band offer something personal, rowdy, and bound to make the kids dance.

Of Montreal - Id Engager [courtesy Pitchfork]

3. David Byrne and Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today [buy]

As one might expect of a Byrne/Eno collaboration, this record drips with coolness. More on the pop end of the spectrum than their other recent work together, which might explain why I like it so damn much.

David Byrne and Brian Eno - Strange Overtones [at]

4. The Mountain Goats - Heretic Pride [buy]

I'm a sucker for John Darnielle when he's at the top of his game, and that's the case on Heretic Pride. Wit, cynicism, and monsters all in one package.

The Mountain Goats - Sax Rohmer #1

5. Tilly & the Wall - O [buy]

An expected highlight for me, O was one of my summer staples and remains a favorite. The songs are bratty, fun, and full of enthusiasm in a way matched by few albums in 2008. This record fueled many miles of summer running in '08.

Tilly & the Wall - Pot Kettle Black
Tilly & the Wall - Cacophony

6. Gentlemen Jesse and His Men - Gentlemen Jesse and His Men [buy]

Jesse Smith and company have rocked the Atlanta scene for a while, but this full-length debut exceeded any expectations I had. It's a kickass power pop album, and it was great to see the band recognized by the likes of Pitchfork. World domination to follow.

Gentlemen Jesse and His Men - You Don't Have To (If You Don't Want To)

7. Thao and the Get Down Stay Down - We Brave Bee Stings and All [buy]

A release from early in the year that never lost its spark, Thao's We Brave Bee Stings and All is clever, lovely, and beautifully melds a variety of influences. This is what should be on the radio, and not just at the far left of the dial.

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down -Beat (Health, Life, and Fire)

8. R.E.M. - Accelerate [buy]

Athens stalwarts/pioneers/patrons/gods R.E.M. were determined to showcase their rock side on Accelerate, and pulled it off in spades. This one grew on me more than any other record in 2008, and it's fitting that it came out in the same year 1983's Murmur was reissued. Twenty-five years later these guys still have it.

R.E.M. - Supernatural Superserious [at]

9. Adron - Adron [buy]

I saw Adron live long before hearing this record, but had no idea it would be this good. The songs on her self-titled release are warm and breezy, properly evoking the Brazilian influences evident in her songwriting and style. This one deserves a much wider audience, something Adron should have available since her move from Atlanta to New York.

Adron - Airplanes

10. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! [buy]

Does anybody bring more badass swagger to rock than Nick Cave? This record doesn't equal last year's Grinderman LP for rock excess, but it's an LP that hipsters and truckers could bond over without a bit of irony. Well, maybe a little.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! [courtesy of]

Those were my favorites of the year. Now, bring on 2009!


Blogger Yedna said...

I've liked Tilly & The Wall in the past, but didn't much care for 'O'. Perhaps I was spoiled by their earlier, amateurish sound which I tend to favor.

9:22 AM

Blogger sean witzke said...

I really dug Thao Nguyen when I first heard it but didn't seem to have staying power.

4:35 PM

Blogger evan said...

Excellent, excellent list. You should get GentlemAn Jesse's name right, though.

5:20 AM

Blogger Rachel said...

Very nice list Rich... I will have to check a lot of these albums.

Thao made it to my favorite song list but she didn't stick enough with me to make it to the top albums.

Great work and I look forward to another year of great Georgia based music from you. :-)

9:43 PM


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