Inner Ear Media's Top15 albums of 2008


23 Dic 2008, 23:51

The year of 2008 is coming to an end. This year there were some fabulous releases in several genres. A couple albums stood out a little more (or a lot more) than others and I compiled a top15 list of best albums of the year, according to Inner Ear Media.

15. Where are you Bambi woods - A Balladeer

After their impressive debut album "Panama", a balladeer now returns with the ambitious "Where Are You, Bambi Woods?". The mix of gently composed pop songs and powerful and dramatic outlets of emotion, all combined with good hooks and strong deliverance make for this album to impress once again. With the theme "United States" it's cohesive and still has enough variety to be interesting after many listens.

14. A Perfect Reality - Mike Montrey

I've only discovered Mike Montrey recently, but his music has made a lasting impression on me. The classic, underground sound that Mike produces is timeless and the songs are of a very high standard. The old blues-rock feel is present without sounding too old or out of touch. There's a real connection with the sentiment that carries the music while the musical compositions itself can be sophisticated and well-thought out. One of the best new discoveries of the year.

13. Sycamore Meadows - Butch Walker

This musical genius did it once again. Maybe some fans are disappointed that there aren't as many 'harder' songs on the album. There's a bigger focus on the sentiment and the arrangements on "Sycamore Meadows". There's a good dose of irony on this album as well and Walker makes it sound like a personal album which makes it easier for the listener to connect to his music. And as always the songs are filled with catchy hooks and clever lyrics that are Butch Walker's iron strong trademarks.

12. Betray The Past... Infect The Future - Slab

The only metal band to make it in the top 15 this year. While the album was released in limited pressing in 2007, the proper release wasn't until 2008. When we reviewed the album we gave it a lot of praise and not only gave it the credit it deserved but turned some new fans to it. SLAB plays real metal, the way it's supposed to sound. The timing is incredibly strong and the music, though it's really raw, is actually really accessible. They mix in influences from hard rock and classic rock at times, which makes the music more enjoyable and the compositions stronger. SLAB is a band that knows how to make music and how to make great music on top of it!

11. Everything We Are [EP] - John Taglieri

While it's only a couple songs long, John Taglieri can't really be excluded from our top15. A household name at Inner Ear Media, as John is one of the very first artists we started working with. And the faith that we had when I first discovered his music has only gotten stronger. This man has a knack for writing catchy powerpop songs. He mixes singer/songwriter with optimistic and inspiring rock & roll. This combination provides for catchy and powerful songs that you can't get out of your head after you heard them. While the genre is overcrowded with bands and singer/songwriters lately, there are still a few that stand out. One of the most notable artists that stand out is without a shadow of a doubt, mr. John Taglieri.

10. DAY&NIGHTDRIVING - Seven Mary Three

While Seven Mary Three has been around forever and put out some very strong albums, they have really reinvented themselves with this mix of rootsrock and rock & roll. The nostalgic sound and empathic vocals really bring the songs to life. It's incredible how this band evolved into this solid and superb southern rock band that really knows what it's doing. "Day&nightdriving" is a complete album with a few possible radio hits and a strong musical presence from a band that put a crown on their work.

9. Snowflake Midnight - Mercury Rev

If there's one band that thrives on the emotional deliverance of their music, it must be Mercury Rev. "Snowflake Midnight" is intimate yet very connective. The music is entangled in its emotional sentiment and it overpowers you from start to finish. Mercury Rev becomes one with their music and the powerful deliverance just makes it stronger and stronger, no matter how often you hear it.

8. Lights In the Attic - Lazyeye

One of the best and most underrated alternative rock bands that I know. Their pure and honest rock arrangements are not just strong, but also very well-balanced and hook filled. The strong vocals and seasoned musicians work together like a well-oiled machine and the live/acoustic "Lights In The Attic" makes it become obviously clear that this band really knows how to write and especially how to play these songs. While they can rock out with passion and energy, this live/acoustic setting shows an intimate and sentimental side of the band that really shows their musicianship.

7. Get Up [EP] - The Craze

The Craze debuted in 2005 with an impressive full-length and now they return with their sophomore release. The "Get Up" EP is a collection of re-recordings of old songs and a couple of amazing new songs. The infectious and danceable music that draws influences from The Beatles to Joe Jackson to Queen to Joy Division and everything in between is extremely catchy and doesn't leave anyone sitting still on their seats. When a band gets you involved as much as The Craze does with "Get Up", the album deserves a spot in the top albums of the year list.

6. As Your Shoulders Turn On You - The Cast Before The Break

Especially for a debut album, this is one of the most impressive albums I've listened to this year. There's a musical spectacle here that is undeniable, especially on tracks like 'Understanding The Universe' & 'From The Eart, At A Crossroad'.

5. Electric Arguments - The Fireman

Paul McCartney and his partner in crime are back, this time with lyrics. While I was really cautious before the album came out, I must admit that this muiscal genius surprised me yet again. The arrangements, sometimes subtle and simple, sometimes more complex, are so well-thought and well-composed that they shine in whatever incarnation they appear.

4. Wake - Chad Perrone

For a long time, I thought this Boston-based songwriter would repeat his 2006 effort to take the top spot in my year's top-independent releases, but this year he came in 2nd on that list and 4th in general. The catchy songs and great musical arrangements are just passionately and energetically brought to life by this excellent musician. Miraculously he isn't a household name all over the globe, because his music is radiofriendly as well as very easy to like. It's not just your average DIY pop-rock but it's really well done and musically strong. With "Wake", Chad Perrone really shows that his talent needs to be heard. It's too good not to be heard.

3. Satellite State [EP] - Satellite State

Probably my 1 discovery of the year. With a cool indie/pop sound in between bands like Athlete, Snow Patrol, Coldplay, Fools & Horses and OneRepublic, this band is ready to break big and they do it just as convincing, or maybe even more convincing, than the forementioned bands.

2. Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings - Counting Crows

Counting Crows have been one of the best alternative pop acts of the last decade to 15 years. Adam Duritz' melancholic, sometimes depressing moods used to overwhelm the songs, but sometimes the pop sensibility takes over and we got to see how good of a songwriter he actually is. While the general theme on this new album is dreary, there's an underlying message of hope & light at the end of the tunnel. The way the band sets the music to the mood is simply impressive and the songs are as strong as Counting Crows have ever written them.

1. Carried To Dust - Calexico

Calexico has been one of my favorite musical acts for a number of years now, and though they might not be the most catchy, or most accessible band, they know how to make amazingly great music. They draw from so many influences and incorporate all that together with such ease and talent that it makes you wonder how. On their latest effort "Carried To Dust", they have done it yet again and with masterpieces like 'Man Made Lake' they really take this year's 1 spot in the top album list.


  • Tsauro

    OK, I have not heard of many of the artists on this list (although I will now be checking them out), the 7M3 album is stunning. Mercury Rev, Butch Walker, & Calexico (although not top of my list) were also top notch. Great list & great insight.

    29 Dic 2008, 6:09
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