Top 20 Albums of the Year, 2008

In an attempt to branch out and diversify my blog, I thought it would be worthwhile recapping the year gone by and the best Indie/Rock albums released in my humble opinion, starting with:

1. Frank Turner – Love, Ire & Song
A mature, diverse record from the cult hero who is fast becoming the defining songwriter of our generation.
Download: Love, Ire & Song; A Love Worth Keeping and To Take You Home.
2. Fighting With Wire – Man Vs Monster
Snarling, energetic punk-rock from Northern Ireland that makes you feel 16 again – Fighting With Wire finally released the sizzling debut album they had been threatening for 3 years.
Download: The Quiet; Cut The Transmission; All For Nothing.
3. City and Colour – Bring Me Your Love
Alexisonfire guitarist, Dallas Green continues to grow in his own right with this touching acoustic album. I’m still kicking myself that I missed his show at Islington Union Chapel.
Download: As Much As I Ever Could; The Girl; Forgive Me.
4. Conor Oberst – Conor Oberst
Richly lyrical, ponderous and observational, this record is the beginning of a new era for the man formerly known as Bright Eyes.
Download: Eagle On A Pole; Souled Out!!!; Cape Canaveral.
5. Kings of Leon – Only by the Night
A cracking album, packed full of tunes, provided you love, rather than loathe, Caleb Followill’s voice.
Download: Sex On Fire; Crawl; I Want You.
6. Funeral for a Friend – Memory and Humanity
Welsh rockers return to what they do best after a year in the wilderness singing about deep sea fishing, for some reason. Expect riffery and screamage aplenty.
Download: Constant Illuminations; Rules and Games; Waterfront Dance Club
7. Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. – Searching For the Hows and Whys
Sam Duckworth’s sophomore effort is overflowing with new ideas and orchestral flourishes, but somehow lacks the earnest charm of his debut.
Download: Moving Forward; Find The Time; Postcards From Cataluña.
8. We Are Scientists – Brain Thrust Mastery
America’s wittiest export, Keith and Chris’ latest album is instantly loveable.
Download: Lethal Enforcer; After Hours; Let’s See It.
9. Coldplay – Viva La Vida
Chris Martin’s voice and lyrics remain charming as ever, as Coldplay’s sound reaches epic proportions. (Disclaimer: may contain stolen Joe Satriani riffs…)
Download: Cemeteries Of London; Death And All His Friends; Lovers In Japan.
10. This Town Needs Guns – Animals
The most technically inspired album I’ve heard in a long time. I can only assume that the guitarist in this Oxford-based quartet has seven fingers on each hand.
Download: Pig; Baboon; Chinchilla.

11. Travis – Ode to J. Smith
12. Thrice – The Alchemy Index, Vols III & IV: Air and Earth
13. Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid
14. The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of the Understatement
15. The Music – Strength in Numbers
16. Jim Lockey – I’ll Be Neon
17. Senses Fail – Life is not a Waiting Room
18. Weezer – Red Album
19. Bloc Party – Intimacy
20. The Mars Volta – The Bedlam in Goliath

So, it’s been a very acoustic year for me, with four of my top 20 being mostly non-electric. Kerrang! Magazine went with Metallica’s Death Magnetic as their album of the year, but what do they know?!
Now, what can we look forward to in 2009?
The elusive fifth album from Muse is in the pipeline and Idlewild have already entered the studio for a new album. Hundred Reasons are well overdue a return to form, while Biffy Clyro are recording new material. Lostprophets say they will unveil their long awaited fourth record in “April or May”, perhaps we’ll even see some new material from Rage Against The Machine? We can but dream…

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