With a six-way tie at 13:
13. The National - Boxer - Beggars Banquet
13. The Shins - Wincing the Night Away - Sub Pop
13. Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity - Kill Rock Stars
13. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha - Fat Possum
13. Parts and Labor - Mapmaker - Jagjaguwar
13. Queens of the Stone Age - Era Vulgaris - Interscope
12. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Before the Ship Even Sank - Sony
11. Dropkick Murphy's - The Meanest of Times - Born and Bred
10. Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Dog - Sub Pop
9. M. I. A. - Kala - Intescope
8. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky - Nonesuch
7. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver - Capitol
6. The White Stripes - Icky Thump - Warner Bros.
5. Radiohead - In Rainbows - Self-released
4. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup - Ba da Bing!
3. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam - Domino
2. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible - Merge
1. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? - Polyvinyl
My personal top 15:
2 Beirut/Flying Club Cup/Ba da Bing!
3 Nina Nastasia and Jim White/You Follow Me/Fat Cat
4 Panda Bear/Person Pitch/Paw Tracks
5 Budos Band/II/Daptone
6 Animal Collective/Strawberry Jam/Domino
7 Deer Tick/War Elephant/Feow!
8 Kevin Drew/Spirit If.../Arts and Crafts
9 Handsome Furs/Plague Park/Sub Pop
10 Ponys/Turn the Lights Out/Matador
11 Iron and Wine/Shepherd’s Dog/Sub Pop
12 Mum/Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy/Fat Cat
14 Dinosaur Jr. /Beyond/Fat Possum
My Top 10 Concerts of the Year:
1. Spank Rock/Santogold/Noisettes/Earl Greyhound/Yo Majesty
October 26 at the Filmore in New York City part of CMJ's Music Marathon
In what had to be the biggest rollercoaster showcase at CMJ, Friday night's triumphant performance from Spank Rock and Santogold almost was overshadowed the incredibly horrible openers, The Noisettes and Earl Greyhound.
Yo Majesty played maybe two songs to start it off, which was cool because they were supposed to play the Brooklyn Vegan showcase that I had been to earlier but cancelled. Earl Greyhound was next and they sucked for a variety of reasons, mostly because they were a bad rip-off of The Darkness, who are questionably good in the first place. I couldn’t believe that The Noisettes, the next band, could be any worse, but they proved me wrong, presenting one of the most choreographed, insincere performances of my life. Making life worse was the enthusiasm of the crowd, who didn’t share my opinion of the trio of trash. I was considering leaving, but luckily Santogold came out and the party started. They were a nice warm-up for Spank Rock, where the following things happened:
One of the Spank Rock DJs ran out onstage with a handle of Grey Goose, poured some in an audience member’s mouth, and went back to spinning.
M.I.A. chilled onstage for a while, with 30 or so other friends of Spank Rock.
Yo Majesty took her shirt off and showed off her boobies. I laughed for twenty minutes.
Amanda Blank showed up, she’s pretty cute.
Spank Rock put on the most energetic, amazing performance of the year, and possibly of my life.
I'm pretty sure all the people on stage had at least a handle or wine bottle in their vicinity and many blunts were ablaze at all times, lending a hand in Yo Majesty's boobies popping out. If these activities don't sound fun to you, then don't go to a Spank Rock show ever. For those of you with souls, any time Spank Rock is available for a concert in your area, make sure you attend.
2. Band of Horses/Wolf Parade/Modest Mouse
August 18 at the Download Festival at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, MA
Other people played (Guster, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Neko Case), but only those three really brought anything interesting to the table. Band of Horses previewed some tracks from their new record, Cease to Begin. Wolf Parade, one of my favorite bands of all-time, played a set composed mostly of their new material, which should be released in early '08. If the performance is any indication of what to expect on the record then it will be one of my favorites of 2008. Also, a jaw-dropping version of "I'll Believe in Anything," from "Apologies to the Queen Mary," made me almost cry with joy. Modest Mouse put up one of the better sets I've seen them play. Plus the crowd almost didn't suck, like most Isaac Brock and Co. shows.
3. Mission of Burma
September 21 at the Pearl Street Clubroom (downstairs) in Northampton, MA
Mission of Burma + downstairs at Pearl Street = orgasm.
4. Man Man
Opening for Modest Mouse on May 2 at Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel, Providence, RI
I've never seen an opener steal a show from the main act as easily as Man Man did in Providence. It didn't help I almost got into a fight during Modest Mouse, but boy did they kind of suck. Their encore almost saved the day as they played the first two tracks from This is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About, Dramamine and Breakthrough. If they had only played Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset...
5. Islands/Saturday Looks Good to Me/ A bunch of other pretty great bands
The Brooklyn Vegan Showcase at the R-Bar on October 26
The Brooklyn Vegan Showcase had 7 or 8 bands, the very best being at the end. Saturday Looks Good to Me, who I hadn't ever listened to (sad, I know), played some of their new material from Fill Up the Room, out of K Records. Islands came next and played a bunch of new material, which happened to sound a lot darker and sinister and wonderful, much like some of the Unicorns material. Oh yeah, and Subtitle showed up for "Where There's a Will There's a Whalebone."
Saturday Looks Good to Me:
Where There's A Will There's A Whalebone
6. Of Montreal/Grand Buffet
March 11 at the Avalon in Boston, MA
I really don't need to go into how amazing Of Montreal is live. Just look at the pictures, watch the video, and behold.
7. The National/Shapes and Sizes/Talkdemonic
June 21 at the Middle East Downstairs in Boston, MA
8. Sonic Youth/Wooden Wand
February 14, The Academy of Music in Northampton, MA
9. Xiu Xiu
October 24, The Blender Theater, New York City, NY
10. Arcade Fire
May 11, The Orpheum Theater, Boston, MA