KGRL's Best Albums of 2008
The Time Machine staff often find themselves listening to other radio stations online when not on the air (and sometimes in the broadcast studio between songs or commercial breaks while on the air but don't let management find out). One of our presets is KGRL.
Despite what people may think, as DJs, The Time Machine Crew are really not fans of our own voices. This one fact is one of the reasons we find ourselves listening to similar sounding playlists on other stations. We've spoken highly of this station the past few years and are blessed with the presence of the esteemed Mysty from KGRL again for the third year in a row. We greatly admire her dedication and amazing music sweeps that knock us out everytime. KGRL has become one of the highest praised internet radio stations online and we couldn't be prouder of Mysty's accomplishment. As it is the end of the year, Mysty is sharing with you KGRL's list of the best albums of 2008. As usual, Mysty is on top of it and she is ahead of us on our end of the year list so she gets extra brownie points as we look for that mistletoe that was in the doorway a few days ago. We played a number of these albums on the air this past year and prepare to empty your wallet if you haven't picked up any of these fine artists for your listening pleasure.
KGRL's List of Influential CDs - The Best Albums of 2008
Sarah Fimm - White Birds EP
It's been a while since we last heard from singer / songwriter Sarah Fimm. When news broke out that she was preparing to release not one but three EPs, we were ecstatic. Apparently, the long wait was because she refuses to release something less than stellar. With the release of the first of the three planned EPs (two of which are set for 2009), titled White Birds, everything became clear. It isn't just stellar, it's a supermassive black hole that sucked me right in. The delicious trip-hop beats, the meditative melodies, the haunting vocals -- perhaps even the feeling of solitude as I close my eyes and listen to the new music unaware of the world around me -- all point towards just how magnificent this moving piece of musical art is. One more thing you should know besides how wonderful this EP is, is that Sarah is giving away the EP for free! So, if I somehow piqued your interest in Sarah Fimm's music, head on over to the EP's website at http://www.whitebirdsep.com/ and download the whole EP. Thank you Sarah for giving us such a precious gift!
Erin McCarley - Love, Save The Empty
I was actually preparing to write something about Erin McCarley in my other year end article regarding albums to watch out for in 2009. Imagine my surprise when they moved the release date to December 30th, just before the year ends! Just when you think we've already had too much great music this year comes another one to end 2008 with a big bang. And what a big bang Erin McCarley's debut Love, Save The Empty is. In fact after more than a month of playing this in KGRL rotation, I can honestly say that this is the best pop record I've heard this year. Every song on this album is solid and cohesively fits like pieces of a puzzle. If you love well-polished pop music, I can wholeheartedly recommend Love, Save The Empty as listening to it is nothing but pure bliss.
Uh Huh Her - Common Reaction
The Leisha Hailey (of The Murmurs) and Camila Grey (of Mellowdrone) collaboration definitely delivers us to a state of electro-pop nirvana. There is simply no reason not to be entranced by Uh Huh Her's hook-filled melodies wrapped in lush electronic backgrounds. The pushed-back release date only delayed Common Reaction's inevitable success. Every song on the record is a stunner. It's one of the perfect records for 2008. Not to say "I told you so" but they were a part of our Artists To Watch Out For In 2008 list as published in LAist LAist and KGRL's Top Ten Artists To Watch Out For In 2008. I'm really hard-pressed on giving out my favorites on this one as I might just list every song on the record.
Gemma Hayes - The Hollow Of Morning
Formerly known as the album X, The Hollow of Morning is the third full-length album for Irish singer/songwriter Gemma Hayes. Intimate and intricate melodies delicately sung fill this album. If there's one album that came out this year that I'd love to wake up to, it's this one. It feels very refreshing listening to this record. My favorite tracks: This Is What You Do, Out Of Our Hands, Don't Forget, Home, Sad Ol Song and At Constant Speed.
Brooke Waggoner - Heal For The Honey
Continuing the playful reverie of Brooke Waggoner's Fresh Pair Of Eyes EP, Heal For The Honey is a combination of both serene and lively pieces of musical delicacy. The instrumentation, especially the piano arrangements, are epic and orchestral-sounding. Each song on this album makes me feel like I'm on a crazy wild journey in music wonderland. My favorite tracks: Lungs Speed, Lungs Sped, Beaut, Heal For The Honey, Young Friend, Tender Mending, and Live For The Sounds.
Alanis Morissette - Flavors Of Entanglement
I guess this one needs no further introduction. Flavors Of Entanglement includes a key element not present in previous works by Alanis, a bit of techno in the mix brought about by the collaboration with Guy Sigsworth (half of the phenomenal band, Frou Frou). This is probably the strongest album Alanis has put out since her debut, Jagged Little Pill. If I were to pick out one flavor from this offering that entangled me the most, it would be Tapes. I can't help but fall in love with the song's slow build-up and intense climax. My other favorite tracks: Citizen Of The Planet, Underneath, Straitjacket, Versions Of Violence, Torch, Giggling Again For No Reason, Incomplete, and Orchid (from Deluxe Edition).
The Bird And The Bee - One Too Many Hearts EP
What can I say? I guess I'm just a sucker for The Bird And The Bee. There's no denying that the duo of Greg Kurstin and Inara George has put out nothing but brilliant musical pieces. For 2008, our TBATB needs are satisfied with the release of the One Too Many Hearts EP. I don't think we'll ever get anything less than stellar from them. If I could only list their upcoming record Rayguns Are Not Just The Future on this list I would, but it's actually a 2009 release (even if we have been playing almost all the new songs on the station already). Don't worry though, I listed that record on our other list (top ten records to look forward to in 2009). It would be silly for to list the four fabulous tracks on this EP as my favorites because it's a four-track EP.
Charlotte Martin - Orphans EP
Kind of like my obsession with The Bird And The Bee, I'm a sucker for Charlotte Martin too! After a brief hiatus while giving birth, there's nothing better than saying "I'm back! Now a proud mom and I still rock!" by releasing a new EP, titled Orphans, filled with insanely-addictive tracks. We salute you Charlotte for giving us amazing tunes, record after record! My favorite tracks: Is This Called Desire, Galaxies, Habit (LP Version), Outerspace, Snowflakes, and The Stalker Song.
Ladyhawke - Ladyhawke
Pip Brown's solo musical persona Ladyhawke proudly lands on our musical radar with her self-titled debut. The album, from this particular New Zealand singer/songwriter, succeeds in its goal of evoking a feeling of nostalgia as the songs within are very reminiscent of '80s music enveloped in modern electronic sounds. Listening to the Ladyhawke record brings back memories of female bands in the '80s minus the cheesiness. That is a bold claim but go ahead and buy the record and then let me know what you think. Don't worry, it's VERY much worth the purchase. My favorite tracks: My Delirium, Better Than Sunday, Another Runaway, Love Don't Live Here, Paris Is Burning, Professional Suicide, and Morning Dreams.
Loquat - Secrets Of The Sea
It's luscious! It's fresh! It's sweet! It's Loquat! And I'm not talking about the fruit. San Francisco-based band Loquat bears its fruit of musical passion in their new full-length, Secrets Of The Sea. With tracks as delectable as Big Key, Little Door and Harder Hit it's becoming harder and harder to keep the secrets of the sea! My favorite tracks: The secret is out. I like each and every track on this wonderful record.
Land Of Talk - Some Are Lakes
Canadian indie rockers Land Of Talk buzzed their way onto our list this year with their smashing debut album Some Are Lakes. My first listen to this record totally gave me the wow factor. If you can imagine Feist doing a pure rock record, then you'll have a pretty good idea of how Land Of Talk sounds. Elizabeth Powell's vocal work is indeed impressive and truly makes this record quite a standout for 2008. My favorite tracks: Yuppy Flu, The Man Who Breaks Things (Dark Shuffle), Some Are Lakes, Give Me Back My Heart Attack, Young Bridge, Corner Phone, and Got A Call.
Charlotte Sometimes - Waves And The Both Of Us
This list wouldn't be complete without mentioning Charlotte Sometimes' debut album, Waves And The Both Of Us. Charlotte Sometimes is one of KGRL's Flower-Powered Artists (FPA) of 2008. It is mentioned in the article that Charlotte leads the new generation of female alternative-pop rockers and rightfully so. The alternative pop style found in Waves And The Both Of Us greatly reminded us of the leading artists in the same music genre back in the '90s, like Letters To Cleo, Liz Phair, and Juliana Hatfield. My favorite tracks: You got me in such a tight spot as it is very hard to choose tracks without naming almost every song. So, let's just skip this part.
Ruth Theodore - Worm Food
One of the new and notable artists we discovered this year is Ruth Theodore. The acoustic guitar-driven ultra-folk music in Worm Food is ruthlessly-intense. The compositions go beyond something that is simply catchy. Grounded is the most fresh-sounding ballad I've heard this year. There's also some really good guitar playing on this one as well. If you are an Ani DiFranco fan, I'm sure you'll like this album. My favorite tracks: Overexpanding, Rash, Nothing On, Fresh Faced, Murray's Wives, Grounded, Threat, Worm Food, and Ugly Faces.
Madita - Too
Too is the title of the second full-length by the Austrian singer Madita and it's just too beautiful not to be on this list. If you dig jazz / lounge songs then you'll be pleasantly surprised by this record. Madita's voice is simply perfect for this type of music, sensual and playful. Actually, even if you're not into jazz / lounge, there's something that you'll probably appreciate on this record. I highly recommend checking out these amazing tracks: Better Brother, Deep Down, Because, Sense, September, and Shiver. Get back to me if you did not like any of those.
Natalie Walker - With You
There is a discernable departure from Natalie Walker's 2006 Urban Angel on the new record, With You. On this album, Natalie heads into something more accessible and radio-friendly. It's not such a bad thing, only that it might alienate a number of fans that liked the more trip-hop / lo-fi qualities of the debut solo record. For me, I have always appreciated the smooth and gently restrained vocal work of Natalie Walker. And with that, I must say that I am quite in love with each and every song on the new record. It is more upbeat and livelier than the debut. And the great thing is that her voice easily fits in with this new direction.
Rachael Yamagata - Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart
In the follow-up to 2004's Happenstance, Rachael Yamagata has put out a two-staged masterpiece. The first stage, Elephants, dishes out somber melodies in whisphery vocals. Second stage Teeth Sinking Into Heart, consisting of the last five tracks, digs in deeper with Yamagata's sudden rock, shock and awe style. My favorite tracks: Elephants, What If I Leave, Over And Over, Brown Eyes, Sidedish Friend, Accident, Faster, and Pause The Tragic Ending.
Blondfire - My Someday
Our December 2008 Flower-Powered Artist (FPA), Blondfire (http://www.kgrl.fm/fpa/blondfire.php) is of course guaranteed a spot on this list. The brother-and-sister duo of Erica and Bruce Driscoll impresses us with their Brazilian-music-rooted compositions served with a scrumptious helping of electronic sound in My Someday. Head on over to our December Flower-Powered Artist of the Month featuring Blondfire to hear their songs in raw acoustic versions. My favorite tracks: Oxygen, L-L-Love, Always The Last To Know, Into The Sea, All In My Mind, Eyes Of A Stranger, and Aluminum Stars.
Terami Hirsch - A Broke Machine
As some would say, every album is critical to an artist's career, but at some point artists shed their influences to bare a unique sound of their own. Call it finding their "musical identity" if you will. For me, A Broke Machine is that record where Terami finally presents herself as more than an artist who was once compared to bigger acts like Kate Bush or Tori Amos. It contains a crossover of genres but in one way or another it is identifiably Terami, whether it is in the way she incorporates electronic sound or through that distinct vocal work or even her total disregard for anything conventional. Purists may disagree but for me, A Broke Machine is the definitive Terami Hirsch album. Check out her June 2008 KGRL Flower-Powered Artist feature at http://www.kgrl.fm/fpa/teramihirsch.php and get a chance to see one of the rare occasions when Terami gives an exclusive performance.
Kari Kimmel - Pink Balloon EP
A gentle breeze of merry happy melodies blew our way with Kari Kimmel's Pink Ballon EP. The new EP represents a slight change in the way Kari writes music. Most of the songs from the new EP sound bright and joyful. In stark contrast, one track, titled Remember, sounds like it could fit in with the heartbreak melodies found in Kari's debut, A Life In The Day. Kari's cover of Roxette's It Must Have Been Love is enticingly more emotional and heartfelt than the original. I love every track in this EP.
Gaby Moreno - Still The Unknown
The Guatemalan singer / songwriter Gaby Moreno reeled us in with soul-pop music with a latin flair on her debut album, Still The Unknown. Whether it be the Beatle-esque hooks or funky rhythms, Still The Unknown is poised to bring Gaby out of the unknown and into the known. My favorite tracks: Little Sorrow, Letter To A Mad Woman, Song Of You, Since You Came Along, Still The Unknown, Greenhorne Man, and It's Been A Pleasure.
Anni Rossi - Afton
It's time to let you know about one of the quirkiest albums of 2008. Anni Rossi's Afton EP is such a delightfully-quirky alternafolk masterpiece that should not be missed. The vocal work is as frantic as her viola playing. Add in an unpredictable song structure, and viola (pun intended)! You get an album that every oddball lover will surely appreciate. My favorite tracks: All six tracks are amazing!
The Weepies - Hideaway
Deb Talan and Steve Tannen hit another home run with the release of their third full-length, Hideaway. The album consists, once again, of sublimely soothing folk-pop. This record is the perfect hideaway from everything loud. My favorite tracks: Orbiting, Hideaway, Wish I Could Forget, All Good Things, Little Bird, How You Survived The War, Old Cayote, Just Blue, and All This Beauty.
Susanne Sundfør - Take One
The brilliance of Susanne Sundfør's self-titled debut album, which was my top pick for 2007, still shines with the same radiance this year. On the new record, Take One, Susanne took all the songs from her debut album and turned them into intimate solo versions. The new solo versions put a lot more emphasis on her pristine and soaring vocal work. If you missed the debut, now is the time to grab this collection of songs that are nothing short of perfection. Every song on this record is a favorite, just as it was with the debut. Also, if you haven't checked it out yet, be sure to visit her Flower-Powered Artist page for the exclusive materials at http://www.kgrl.fm/fpa/susannesundfor.php.
Kate Miller-Heidke - Curiouser
The quirkiness continues with the latest from one of our favorite Australian artists, Kate Miller-Heidke. The record, Curiouser, consists mostly of lively and heavy tracks with only a few slow ones. We included her 2007 CD Little Eve on our list last year citing that it is a bit on the "poppy" side. This one inches a few notches closer to pop. It's still not a bad thing, considering Kate's operatic singing still shines on this one. My favorite tracks: The One Thing I Know, God's Gift To Women, Can't Shake It, The Last Day On Earth, I Like You Better When You're Not Around, The End Of School, Supergirl, and No Truck.
Obi Best - Capades
Alex Lilly and her friends, collectively known as Obi Best, paint a musical garden of lucious greens and tall trees laced with brightly-colored ribbons on a sprawling canvas. Capades introduces us to the solo fancies of Alex Lilly, whose time working with Greg Kurstin and Inara George of The Bird And The Bee enriched her songwriting ability. My favorite tracks: Nothing Can Come Between Us, Who Loves You Now, What It's Not, Green And White Stripes, It's Because Of People Like You, and Days Of Decadence.
The Sweet Hurt - In The Shade Of Dreams
We recently met Ms Sweet Hurt herself, Wendy Wang, in our session with Obi Best and we're glad we did. A small dose of The Sweet Hurt music from their EP In The Shade Of Dreams got us instantly hooked. Maybe it's the sweet voice of Wendy or the simplistic acoustic arrangement that drew us in. But no matter what drew us in, The Sweet Hurt is the kind of hurt that makes us want to squeal in delight. My favorite tracks: All of the five tracks in the EP.
Kate Akhurst - Like Little Red Riding Hood
The debut Like Little Red Riding Hood, from the Aussie singer / songwriter Kate Akhurst, is a glowing indie pop / R&B record with songs that are of TV / Movie soundtrack caliber. Tracks like Hello Ground and War In Your Warning really took me by surprise with the soaring vocals and impressive arrangements. Check out our feature with Kate to view the live Flower-Powered Artist session videos at http://www.kgrl.fm/fpa/kateakhurst.php. My other favorite tracks: Cause And Effect, Damn, You're Welcome, Undo, Six Cold Feet and The Fire.
Amie Miriello - I Came Around
Former Dirtie Blonde frontwoman Amie Miriello comes around with her debut solo effort aptly-titled, I Came Around. The songs in this album sound more personal and intimate than the music of her former band. Gone are the '80s overtones in the Dirtie Blonde record, replaced with something "Brand New." Amie has such a very strong voice, something that was present in her previous work but more pronounced in this one, and it helps having infectiously catchy melodies to show it off. The tracks that I can't help but listen to on repeat are Mother Cries Wolf, Hey, and Beauty Of Goodbye. That's not to say the rest of the tracks are weak; in fact it's the kind of record where I just have to include each and every song on KGRL rotation.
Ali Slaight - Trace The Stars EP
I have been following the career of Ali Slaight ever since she wowed me with her versions of Seal's Kiss From A Rose and Etta James' At Last. Now that she has her own materials in the Trace The Stars EP, I feel very much rewarded for keeping track of her. The collaboration with Simon Wilcox only added to my excitement over this EP. The wait was well worth it! Expect hook-filled pop tunes with this EP. Bring on the full-length! My favorite tracks: Great Expectations, Apple Of My Eye, Trace The Stars, and The Story Of Your Life.
Tristan Prettyman - Hello...x
It is quite sad that Tristan feels pretty burned out with her musical career as the new record truly has such enormous potential. Maybe it's the record label's fault or whatever. Hello...x reflects a growth in her songwriting as it offers a lot more hooks and feels much more inspired and varied than her previous records. Here's to hoping you'll have a successful comeback when you're ready! My favorite tracks: Hello, Echo, Madly, Handshake, War Out Of Peace, You Got Me, Don't Work Yourself Up, and In Bloom.
Amanda Rogers - Heartwood
The latest record from Amanda Rogers, titled Heartwood, sounds like a bit of an awakening. This new record from the indie pop singer / songwriter offers a livelier out-of-the-gloom experience than her previous works. This is perhaps the perfect album to introduce Amanda Rogers to someone who has not yet heard of her music. My favorite tracks: Drive, Endless Saturday, Hibernating, This Beauty, Cabin Muse, Fate's Northern Shore, Operator, and Ghost Of You.
Lindsey Yung - Opal Essence
Opal Essence is the sophomore offering from the San Diego-based singer / songwriter, Lindsey Yung. This album showcases Lindsey's growth in both singing and songwriting. Opal may not be as shiny or iridescent as other gems, but this particular gem shines with lustrous melodies. My favorite tracks: Away From It All, With Every Breath, Authentic Counterfeit, Touchstone, Like THem, and It Doesn't Get Better Than This.
Oh Darling - Nice Nice
Another artist from our Artists To Watch Out For In 2008 list is Oh Darling. The four-piece Portland-based indie-pop-rock group brings us more short-but-nice-nice tunes on their debut album Nice Nice, like the ones found on their self-titled EP. Expect tracks with simple arrangements and catchy choruses sung with a sweet and charming voice. My favorite tracks: All the tracks are succinctly sweet.
Maria Mena - Cause And Effect
The new record from the Norwegian pop artist comes as relatively imperfect as the albums before it. And like the albums before it, Cause And Effect brings us a handful of beautifully-crafted songs sung with Maria Mena's unique-sounding voice that reminds us why we love her. Some people say that this album is different from the past records but I feel that the new songs simply show a natural progression in Maria's songwriting ability, rather than deviating from her pop roots. My favorite tracks: Power Trip Ballad, Belly Up, All This Time (Pick-Me-Up Song), Cause And Effect, I Am On Your Side, and I'm In Love.
Sick Of Sarah - Sick Of Sarah
Go female rockers, go! The highly-energetic self-titled debut from the all-female group Sick Of Sarah delivers a jolt of raw unadulterated rock in its most basic form. There's nothing wrong with a pure and straight-out rock album. So, if you're looking for a fun rock record to bang your head with then look no further. My favorite tracks: Daisies, Bittersweet, Not Listening, Give Me A Reason, Hardest Part, and Breakdown.
Jem - Down To Earth
Jem has finally woken and released the much-anticipated follow-up to her 2004 debut with Down To Earth. The wait has been long but the fans are rewarded for it, at least for the most part. While there are certainly jems in the album, there are also a couple mishaps (like the hip-hop-ish track Aciiid!) that are probably best forgotten and buried down to earth. My favorite tracks: Down To Earth, Crazy, I Want You To, It's Amazing, I Always Knew, How Would You Like It, and On Top Of The World.
Joan As Police Woman - To Survive
To Survive is Joan Wasser's second full-length under the moniker Joan As Police Woman. The new record is a split between somber and soft harmonies versus blasts of playful, jazzy and upbeat tracks. It is in these blasts of playful, jazzy and upbeat tracks that the album shines. Hard White Wall, for me, is quite simply one of the most memorable songs of 2008. My other favorite tracks: Holiday, To Be Loved, Magpies, and Furious.
Lights - Lights EP
Canadian singer / songwriter Valerie Poxleitner's self-titled EP, under the moniker Lights, is such a delightful tease. If you noticed some of those Old Navy commercials with the catchy electro-pop song in the background, then you probably caught one of Lights' songs. The EP is full to the brim of extremely easy-to-listen-to melodies, which are likely to be stuck in your head for quite a while. I'm saying that because I am a victim myself. All the songs on the EP easily became favorites of mine.
The Submarines - Honeysuckle Weeks
I remember back in 2006 when our September 2008 Flower-Powered Artist, Kay Hanley (http://www.kgrl.fm/fpa/kayhanley.php), introduced us to the music of the couple Blake Hazard and John Dragonetti, collectively known as The Submarines. I immediately fell in love with the songs on their 2006 debut Declare A New State!, written before the couple's break-up and recorded after they got back together. Fast forward to 2008 when they released a new record, Honeysuckle Weeks, full of happy songs borne from their steadfast relationship. I knew there was something different upon hearing the first track, Submarine Symphonika. It's the kind of song that jumped right at me and had me pleasantly surprised. I'm glad that pleasant feeling stuck with me all throughout my Honeysuckle Weeks listening experience. My other favorite tracks: The Thorny Thicket, You, Me And The Bourgeoisie, 1940, Swimming Pool, and Brightest Hour.
The Hush Sound - Goodbye Blues
The Hush Sound's third full-length, Goodbye Blues, bears such a title perhaps to serve as a reminder that they almost disbanded after the release of their second full-length Like Vines (2006). We are truly overjoyed they did not because the new record is the best the band has ever released. It's an almost perfect record that should not be overlooked. If you like indie pop records, then this one is a no-brainer. My favorite tracks: It's a delight to listen to the whole record (yes, counting the tracks the lead male singer, Morris sang) that I simply could not just pick without mentioning almost all the tracks.
Juliana Hatfield - How To Walk Away
Being the 10th studio album from Juliana Hatfield, How To Walk Away might cause a preconception that she's churning out more of the same music she has been doing since the '90s. Not that that is a bad thing, especially for those of us who appreciated her music back then. But the great thing about How To Walk Away is that it sounds different than her recent works. In fact, it's one of the best records that Juliana Hatfield has put out in quite a while. Maybe it was the collaboration with Ivy's Andy Chase that augmented her sound. If you're on the fence on getting this album, try not to walk away. Give it a try, or you'll never know what you're missing. My favorite tracks: The Fact Remains, Shining On, This Lonely Love, My Baby..., Now I'm Gone, Remember November, and Law Of Nature.
Sarah Sharp - Fight Or Flight EP
Sarah Sharp's pre-release EP, Fight Or Flight, managed to fly its way onto our list. Sarah has always been one of the artists we love at KGRL, thus she is our Flower-Powered Artist of November 2006 (http://www.kgrl.fm/fpa/sarahsharp.php). Fight Or Flight was released digitally as a lead-in to their South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival showcase. But that did not stop us from acquiring our CD copy and we're so glad that we did receive one because the six tracks included on the EP are simply brilliant. It reassured us that Sarah Sharp still writes awesome melodies, sings in her signature conversational style, and retained her unique quirkiness. Every track on this record is unabashedly a favorite of mine.
Donna Lewis - In The Pink
Perhaps the biggest comeback this year is Donna Lewis with her In The Pink full-length. It might not have been newsworthy if the new record hadn't had anything worth listening to. On the contrary, the new record is teeming with solid rock-tinged pop tracks. We hear a slight deviation from her previous records as the new one presents an edgier Donna Lewis. There are songs where she took quite a risk, which in the end pays off (ex. Shut The Sun Out and Obsession). If you are a fan of Donna's music, I'm sure you'll find a lot to love in this record. If you are new to Donna Lewis, there's no better time than now to get to know her. Each track on the record is a sparkling gem.
Sia - Some People Have Real Problems
Let's face the facts, anyone who has ever heard Sia falls in love right away. She's got a powerful voice that she controls very precisely. So when the new record Some People Have Real Problems came out, it was an instant smashing success. Compared to her debut, Colour The Small One, the new record heads almost straight towards pop. Some People Have Real Problems firmly cements Sia's status as a bonafide diva. Once again, it's hard for me to pick my favorites on this one as each track finds a way to really amaze me.
Kay Hanley - Weaponize
Our September 2006 Flower-Powered Artist Kay Hanley never ceases to amaze us with her alternative rock music. I remember our interview with her back in 2006 where we talked to her a bit about this record. We even created a photochop image based on a description she gave during the interview. Finally, after two years of waiting, the new Kay Hanley full-length has been released. Weaponize is every bit worth the wait. Kay still rocks like she used to when she started with Letters To Cleo. Three of the songs we captured live and posted on her FPA page made it onto the new record. So, if you're interested then go check it out. My favorite tracks: Nicky Passes Marble Arch, It Hurts, Tell Him No, The Wrong Year, Take It Like A Man, Seventeen, Cellars By Starlight, I Guess I Get It, and Strange Life.
Olivia Broadfield - Eyes Wide Open
Adding one more electro-pop record to this list won't hurt. Oh but that's such a terrible way to introduce this entry because Olivia Broadfield's debut full-length Eyes Wide Open is an electro-pop record that belongs in the no-filler-all-winner category. Unlike some electronic albums where the synthesized part takes the front seat, Eyes Wide Open places the melodies smack right in the center and uses the synthesized sounds as drapings all around it. Listening to this record is like a smooth and memorable ride from start to finish.
Aslyn - The Grand Garden EP
Aslyn's The Grand Garden EP is a collection of four EPs totalling 27 tracks. It doesn't get any better than that! Wondering how she came up with such a number of EPs all at once? Artists do not just write enough songs for one album. Most of them actually write hundreds of songs and we only get to hear those that make it on an album. Aslyn decided to share songs that we otherwise would not have heard. And we're so glad she did this. The songs on these EPs were written in between her debut Lemon Love and her upcoming record Whenever The Dandelion Falls. Actually, some songs from Lemon Love made it here in raw piano acoustic form. It would be an insanely long list if I started listing my favorites here but let's just say it's a collection of EPs that you should own, if only for the fact that this is a rare opportunity to get to hear something as intimate.
Marnie Stern - This Is It And I Am It And You Are It And So Is That And He Is It And She Is It And It Is It And That Is That
Whew, did I get to type all of it? This Is It And I Am It And You Are It And So Is That And He Is It And She Is It And It Is It And That Is That from Marnie Stern not only makes the list of best CDs of 2008 but also gets our vote for the most interesting CD title for 2008. This record is not for everyone, but for those who seek something entirely new to listen to. Marnie is regarded as one of the greatest female guitarists of all time so as expected, there are some crazy guitar lines on this record. My favorite tracks: Prime, Transformer, Ruler, The Crippled Jazzer, Steely, and The Package Is Wrapped.
I wish I had time to write blurbs for all of the fabulous CDs of 2008, but it is impossible. Here then is a list of some more awesome CDs to check out:
Adele - 19
Adrianne - Burn Me Up
Alexa Wilkinson - Lions
Amanda Jenssen - Killing My Darlings
Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer
Amy Kuney - Bird's Eye View
Amy Macdonald - This Is The Life
An Horse - Not Really Scared EP
Anahita - When We Were
Anna Nalick - Shine EP
Astrid Swan - Spartan Picnic
Audrey - The Fierce And The Longing
Be Your Own Pet - Get Awkward
Beth Rowley - Little Dreamer
Brooke Annibale - The In Between
CALLmeKAT - Fall Down
Carly Rae Jepsen - Tug Of War
Cruiserweight - Big Bold Letters
CSS - Donkey
Dawn Kinnard - The Courtesy Fall
Elisa - Dancing
Emiliana Torrini - Me And Armini
Emma-Jane Thommen - Emma-Jane Thommen
Francesca Battistelli - My Paper Heart
Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree
Haley Bonar - Big Star
Heathers - Here, Not There
Heidi Happy - Flowers, Birds And Home
Helen Boulding - New Red Dress
Holly Conlan - Bird EP
Honeyhoney - Loose Boots
I Nine - Heavy Weighs The King
Ida Maria - Fortress Round My Heart
Inara George And Van Dyke Parks - An Invitation
Ingrid Michaelson - Be Ok
Jenny Lewis - Acid Tongue
Jonna Lee - This War EP
Katy Perry - One Of The Boys
Kerli - Love Is Dead
Kim Taylor - The Greatest Story EP
Laura Marling - Alas I Cannot Swim
Leine - Truth Be Told
Lenka - Lenka
Leona Naess - Thirteens
Lesley Roy - Unbeautiful
Liz Clark - Pursuit
Lunascape - Innerside
Lykke Li - Youth Novels
Maple Bee - Home
Marie Digby - Unfold
Marina V - Modern Fairytale
Marit Larsen - The Chase
Mates Of State - Re-Arrange Us
Meiko - Meiko
My Brightest Diamond - A Thousand Shark's Teeth
Natasha Bedingfield - Pocketful Of Sunshine
Portishead - Third
Priscilla Ahn - A Good Day
Rachael Sage - Chandelier
Rosey - Luckiest Girl
Rosi Golan - The Drifter And The Gypsy
Rubies - Explode From The Center
Sandi Thom - The Pink & The Lily
Sandra McCracken - Red Balloon
Sandrine - Dark Fades Into The Light
Sara Bareilles - Between The Lines: Live At The Filmore
Sarah Slean - The Baroness
Sarah Vonderhaar - Are You Listening Now?
Saving Jane - Supergirl
She & Him - Volume One
Sheryl Crow - Detours
Sixpence None The Richer - My Dear Machine EP
Skoober - Say!
Sophie Koh - All Shook Up
Suzy & Los Quattro - Stick With It
The Dø - A Mouthful
The Kills - Midnight Bloom
The Rescues - Crazy Ever After
The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing
The Watson Twins - Fire Songs
Tina Dico - Beginning / A Detour / An Open Ending
Valery Gore - Avalanche To The Wandering Bear
Vedera - Stages EP
Posted by Mysty
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