The Best of the Rest, ’08


January 3, 2009 by A.C. Rhodes

Aside from holiday blues, year-end wrap up and best ofs can be as irritating or oppressive. That said, we’re delighted to bring you ours, collected from an intimate variety of writers and artists. Below, lists and links are posted if only in a tidier fashion. You may even have fun spotting the duplicates. So, here’s the best of what last year had to offer – new President notwithstanding.



A.C. Rhodes

*The Black Angels – Directions to See a Ghost (Light in the Attic)
*British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music? (Rough Trade)
*The Black Keys – Attack & Release (Nonesuch)
*Magnetic Fields – Distortion (Nonesuch)
*The Walkmen – You and Me (Gigantic)
*MGMT – Oracular Spectacular (Sony)
*Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
*Tricky – Knowle West Boy (Domino)

Somewhat overlooked, but outstanding:
* The Baseball Project – Volume 1: Frozen Ropes and Dying Quails (Yep Roc)
* Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords (Sub Pop)
* Bombay Dub Orchestra – 3 Cities (Six Degrees)

* Cindy Lee Berryhill – Beloved Stranger (Populuxe Records)
* The Sadies – New Seasons (Yep Roc)

Good old Chuck Eddy. He took a beating here at RockCritics, what with his posts mysteriously winding up in the spam bin and other writers lashing out on occasion. No matter, here’s his 10 topper CDs and singles. And be sure to check out his link.

1. Jamey Johnson – That Lonesome Song (Mercury)
2. Ross Johnson – Make It Stop! The Most Of Ross Johnson (Goner)
3. Rose Tattoo – Blood Brothers (SPV/ Wacken)
4. Rick Springfield – Venus In Overdrive (New Door/UME)
5. Woodbox Gang – Drunk As Dragons (Alternative Tentacles)
6. The Tonic Rays – The Tonic Rays (
7. The Knux – Remind Me In 3 Days… (Interscope)
8. Carter’s Chord – Carter’s Chord (Show Dog Nashville)
9. Phil Vassar – Prayer Of A Common Man (Universal)
10. New Bloods – The Secret Life (Kill Rock Stars)

1. Miley Cyrus – “See You Again” (Hollywood)
2. Phil Vassar – “Love Is a Beautiful Thing” (Universal)
3. Sister Sin – “One Out Of Ten” (Victory)
4. Buraka Som Sistema featuring PongoLove – “Kalemba (Wegue Wegue)” (Fabric)
5. Kid Rock – “All Summer Long” (Atlantic)
6. Cyndi Lauper – “Into The Nightlife” (Epic)
7. Scooter – “The Question Is What Is The Question” (Sheffield Lab)
8. Alphabeat – “Boyfriend (Pete Hammond Remix)” (EMI Europe)
9. Sway featuring $tush – “F Ur X” (Dcypha Alliance)
10. Blackout Crew – “Put A Donk On It” (All Around The World)

His Top 50 can be found here (with the rest of the Top 150): Chuck_in_the_rest


Britta Phillips, of Dean & Britta, whose L’Avventura (Jet Set Records) was just re-released writes: “Our music list is very short.” But it’s sweet, especially if your tastes run along Americana dream pop:

Jonathan Richman – Because Her Beauty Is Raw & Wild (Vapor Records)
Crystal Stilts – Alight of Night (Slumberland Records)
Hercules & Love Affair – Hercules & Love Affair (DFA Records)

Happy New Year, Britta

Wil Forbis (Editor,

1. Nicole Atkins – Neptune City (Red Int/Red Ink)
2. Rancho Deluxe – True Freedom (Independent Release)
3. Stace England and the Salt Kings – Salt Sex Slaves (Rankoutsider Records)
4. Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy (Geffen Records)
5. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III (Cash Money/Universal Motown)

Jeff Giles (Editor, &

1. Randy Newman – Harps and Angels (Nonesuch)
2. Dr. John – City That Care Forgot (429 Records)
3. The Felice Brothers – The Felice Brothers (Team Love)
4. Matthew Ryan – Matthew Ryan vs. the Silver State (Megaforce)
5. Lindsey Buckingham – Gift of Screws (Reprise)
6. Q-Tip – The Renaissance (Universal Motown)
7. Steve Poltz – Traveling (Emergent / 92E)
8. The Roots – Rising Down (Def Jam)
9. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (Xl Recordings)
10. Pete Seeger – At 89 (Appleseed Records)


Ted Cogswell (Freelance Writer in Seattle, WA)

1. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! (Anti)
2. Jay Reatard – Singles 06-07 (In the Red) & Singles ’08 (Matador)
3. Little Willie John – Nineteen Sixty Six (Ace/Kent)
4. Cheap Time – Cheap Time (In the Red)
5. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
6. The Black Keys – Attack & Release (Nonesuch)
7. Various artists – Como Now (Daptone)
8. Bob Dylan – Tell Tale Signs (Sony)
9. White Denim – Workout Holiday (Full Time Hobby)
10. King Khan – The Supreme Genius of King Khan & the Shrines (Vice)

Robert Hull (Former editor, current writer and entrepreneur – See PopKrazy)

1. Velvet Underground & Nico – Unripened (XTV bootleg)
2. Bob Dylan – Tell Tales Signs—Deluxe Edition (Columbia)
3. Dennis Wilson – Pacific Ocean Blue/Bambu (Epic/Caribou/Legacy)
4. Elvis Presley – The Complete 68 Comeback Special, Box Set (BMG)
5. The Clash – Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg (Nicaragua/Redline bootleg)
6. Raphael Saadiq – The Way I See It (Columbia)
7. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
8. Randy Newman – Harps and Angels (Nonesuch)
9. Brian Wilson – That Lucky Old Sun (Capitol)
10. Hank Williams – The Unreleased Recordings (Time Life)

Honorable Mention: Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III & all unreleased sessions (Cash Money/Universal Motown)

BEST ALBUM OF 2009: The Memphis Goons: Peppo (Shangri-La)


This in from Young Fresh Fellows’ Scott McCaughey, also of the supergroup Minus 5

These are good ones I remember. Keep warm now…

1. She & Him – Vol. 1 (Merge)
2. Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs (Atlantic)
3. The Tripwires – Makes You Look Around (Paisley Pop)
4. Little Sue – Baby Knows Better (Bathtub Lily Music)
5. Randy Newman – Harps And Angels (Nonesuch)
6. Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue (Warner Bros.)
7. Boston Spaceships – Brown Submarine (Guided By Voices Inc.)
8. Brian Wilson – That Lucky Old Sun (Capitol)
9. Chris Walla – Field Manual (Barsuk)
10. Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid (Fiction)

Sylvie Simmons, writer and author (

1. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
2. Bon Iver – For Emma… (Jagjaguwar)
3. John Martyn – The Battle Of Medway, July 17 1973 (Hux Records)
4. Mark Lanegan & Isobel Campbell – Sunday At Devil Dirt (Fontana Intl)
5. Drive By Truckers – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark (New West Records)
6. Sun Kil Moon – April (Caldo Verde)
7. Johnny Dowd – A Drunkard’s Masterpiece (Munich)
8. Okkervil River – The Stage Names (Jagjaguwar)
9. Tindersticks – The Hungry Saw (Beggars Banquet, Intl)
10. Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip – Angels (Strangefamousrecords)

Toby Mamis, freelance journalist and public relations manager weighs in with his Top 5 and goes into some detail:

1. Tat – Soho Lights (Red Wagon)
2. Duffy – Rockferry (Mercury)
3. Ting Tings – We Started Nothing (Columbia/ Red Ink)
4. Gabriella Cilmi – Lessons To Be Learned (Universal UK)
5. Hanoi Rocks – This One’s For Rock N Roll (Megamania)

“I am sure I missed some good ones, but it’s been a busy year, and these are the ones that got through to me. For doubters, the Duffy album is way deeper than most people think; Duffy 2008 may seem like Lulu 1965, but I think there’s more to her than that.”


Mark Kemp, author and freelance writer:

TV on the Radio – Dear Science (Interscope)
Calle 13 – Los De Atrás Vienen Conmigo (Sony International)
Drive-By Truckers – Brighter Than Creation’s Dark (New West Records)
Orchestra Baobab – Made in Dakar (Nonesuch)
The Knux – Remind Me in Three Days (E Pluribus Unum)
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)
Girl Talk – Feed the Animals (Illegal Art)
Hayes Carll – Trouble in Mind (Lost Highway)
Erhykah Badu – New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War (Motown)
Ximena Sariñana – Mediocre (WEA International)

Aterciopelados – Rio (Nacional)
Beck – Modern Guilt (DGC)
Buena Vista Social Club – Buena Vista Social Club at Carnegie Hall (Nonesuch)
Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (XL)
B.B. King – One Kind Favor (Geffen Records)
My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges (ATO)

Tim Napalm – A self-described “punk rock musician/internet radio DJ/blogger/rock journalist in recovery,”

1. Primal Scream – Beautiful Future (WEA Intl)
2. Ultrazeen – VS
3. Motorhead – Motorizer (Steamhammer/SPV)
4. Carbon/Silicon – Carbon Casino (Carbon/Silicon Records)
5. Wild Billy Childish and the MBEs – Thatcher’s Children (Damaged Goods)
6. The Clash – Live At Shea Stadium (Epic)
7. Joy Division – The Miriam Collection (DVD) (The Weinstein Company)
8. Ladies and Gentlemen – The Fabulous Stains (Rhino Entertainment) (on DVD at fucking last!)
9. ZZ TOP – live in some shed named for a bank in Corpus Christi, TX, this past May
10. “Atomic Cocktail” with Vic Tripp (Wednesdays at 6 PM Pacific over

Matt Schild, Editor of, inarguably one of the best e-zines, presents his admittedly “rather weird list,” already published on Aversion, but doesn’t have a problem with us reposting and linking to it. Aw, gee, Matt.

1. TV on the Radio – Dear Science (Interscope)
2. Future of the Left – Curses (Too Pure)
3. Sons and Daughters – This Gift (Domino)
4. Portishead – Third (Mercury)
5. The Shackeltons – The Shackeltons (Loveless)
6. British Sea Power – Do You Like Rock Music? (Rough Trade)
7. Frightened Rabbit – The Midnight Organ Fight (FatCat)
8. Ghost Buffalo – The Magician (Suburban Home)
9. Fucked Up – The Chemistry of Common Life (Matador)
10. The Dutchess and the Duke – She’s the Dutchess, He’s the Duke (Hardly Art)

He adds, “Since I’m tired of hearing about TVOTR all the time, I’ll go with Future of the Left.”🙂


J. Sigler, a former short story scribe, foodie and soon to be overly popular Bay Area photographer no doubt hopes to both enlighten and bug you with his Top Ten picks:

1. Saosin – Saosin (Capitol)
2. Mute Math – Mute Math (Import)
3. Anberlin – Never Take Friendship Personal (Tooth & Nail Records)
4. City and Colour – Bring Me Your Love (Vagrant)
5. The Almost – Southern Weather (Tooth & Nail/Virgin Records)
6. Radiohead – In Rainbows (Ato Records/Red)
7. Fair – Best Worst Case Scenario (Tooth & Nail)
8. Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (Phantom Sound & Vision)
9. Thrice – Alchemy Inde, Vol. 3 & 4: Air & Earth (Vagrant)
10. Spitalfield – Better Than Knowing Where You Are (Victory Records)


Always the consumate professional and over-acheiver, Holly Gleason, columnist and author, got to us first with her copious list. Someone was paying attention last year:

Top 10 CDs
1. Lee Ann Womack – Call Me Crazy (MCA Nashville)
2. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah, Pt. 1 (Motown)
3. AC/DC – Black Ice (Columbia Records)
4. Allison Moorer – Mockingbird (New Line Records)
5. The Black Keys – Attack & Release (Nonesuch)
6. Mudcrutch – Mudcrutch (Reprise)
7. Rodney Crowell – Sex & Gasoline (Yep Roc Records)
8. The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely (Third Man/Warner Bros.)
9. JD Souther – If The World Was You (MRI Associated)
10. Michael Stanley – Just Another Night (Line Level Music)

Top 10 Singles
1. “Last Call” – Lee Ann Womack (MCA Nashville)
2. “Sex on Fire” – Kings of Leon (RCA)
3. “All Apologies” – Grace Potter & the Nocturnals (Ragged Company/Hollywood Records)
4. “Girls in their Summer Clothes” – Bruce Springsteen (Columbia/CBS Records)
5. “Better As A Memory” – Kenny Chesney (BNA Records)
6. “Addicted” – Saving Abel (Virgin Records)
7. “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” – Lady Antebellum (Capitol/Nashville)
8. “4 Minutes (To Save The World)” – Justin Timberlake (Jive Records)
9. “All Summer Long” – Kid Rock (Atlantic)
10. “Anything Goes” – Randy Houser (Universal South)


Similarly, Bud Scoppa, former A&R executive, author and freelance writer extraordinaire, was a good egg and got back to us tout-de-suite! We’re sure you’ll agree with his XL list. He even caught some shows.

1. Pictures and Sound – Pictures and Sound (Vanguard)
2. Randy Newman – Harps and Angels (Nonesuch)
3. TV on the Radio – Dear Science (Interscope)
4. Kings of Leon – Only by the Night (RCA)
5. Mudcrutch – Mudcrutch (Reprise)
6. My Morning Jacket – Evil Urges (ATO)
7. Beck – Modern Guilt (DGC)
8. Teddy Thompson – A Piece of What You Need (Decca)
9. Explorers Club – Freedom Wind (Dead Oceans)
10. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (Sub Pop)

11. Lindsey Buckingham – Gift of Screws (Reprise)
12. Ray LaMontagne – Gossip in the Grain (RCA)
13. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend (XL)
14. Elbow – The Seldom Seen Kid (Fiction/Geffen)
15. Matthew Sweet – Sunshine Lies (Shout! Factory)
16. Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs (Atlantic)
17. The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely (Third Man/Warner Bros.)
18. Robin Danar – Altered States (Shanachie)
19. Boz Scaggs – Speak Low (Decca)
20. Lucinda Williams – Little Honey (Lost Highway)
21. Coldplay – Viva La Vida… (Capitol)
22. Brian Wilson – That Lucky Old Sun (Capitol)
23. John Mellencamp – Life Death Love and Freedom (Hear Music)
24. Willie Nelson/Wynton Marsalis – Two Men With the Blues (Blue Note)
25. Shelby Lynne – Just a Little Lovin’ (Lost Highway)

Neil Young – Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House 1968 (Reprise)
Bob Dylan – Tell Tale Signs: Bootleg Series Vol. 8 (Columbia Legacy)
Nick Lowe – Jesus of Cool (Yep Roc)
Dennis Wilson – Pacific Ocean Blue (Caribou/Epic Legacy)
Blue Ash – No More, No Less (Collectors Choice/UMe)


Radiohead (@ Hollywood Bowl) gets the godhead award.
Kings of Leon (@ Nokia Theatre) is rapidly growing into the best rock & roll band on the planet, period.
Mudcrutch (@ the Troubadour) set off a rollicking blast from the past.
Beck (@ Club Nokia) fused phat beats and arena-rock riffage.
Ray LaMontagne (@ the Wiltern) proved you don’t have to be loud to be heavy (to borrow Tom Morello’s line).
Plant/Krauss (@ Santa Barbara County Bowl), I imagine, but there was a ticket snafu, so I can’t say for sure.

4 thoughts on “The Best of the Rest, ’08

  1. No Lil Wayne…thank you!

  2. Bill C. says:

    My favorite album of the year was Stay Positive by the Hold Steady. I also loved the show they did in Pittsburgh with the Drive-By Truckers as openers. My most perplexing musical thought of the year: what was David Fricke hearing when he listened to Chinese Democracy?

  3. Ben Heller says:

    I was mortified to find that my number 1 pick for 2008 concurred with NME. It’s a first, but on reflection I adjusted my thoughts to the fact that it is an outstanding album, and that they had justified what was in the end a very easy decision.

    MGMT – Oracular Spectacular

    Best discovery of 2008……this site.


  4. Daniel says:

    Interesting lists…It might have been useful to have brief notations about why each entry made a list. I recall years ago reading a list of a writer’s favorites that came with such concise, thoughtful notations and how things I thought were beyond my interests were revealed to have deeper engagements…

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