After hearing, seeing, and feeling a lot of new music this year -- I present you with my choices for the year's best discs:
Tokyo Police Club "Elephant Shell"
With their first full-length release, the Canadian teens kick out the indie jams and leave you wanting more.
Kings of Leon "Only by the Night"
The Nashville quartet's beautifully soulful effort translates feelings of loneliness into powerful rock.
While this album won't be officially released in the states until January, it's worth tracking down an import copy. Sounds like: If Keane and Muse had a Scottish lovechild.
The Raveonettes "Lust Lust Lust"
The Danish duo showcase synchronized guitars and vocals in a manner that manages to sound retro and cutting edge at the same time.
The indie darling from Brooklyn shows she knows a thing or two about soul, rap, funk, r&b, and ballad-crafting -- all on one disc.
Beck "Modern Guilt"
You can feel Producer Danger Mouse's paws on this release (especially on tracks like "Modern Guilt"), but that keeps it from falling into esoteric territory.
Death Cab for Cutie "Narrow Stairs"
Excellent instrumentation and deft songwriting make even the longest of songs ("I will possess your heart" is 8 and a half minutes) beautiful to listen to, and turn the shortest songs ("You can do better than me" is 2 minutes flat) into delicate daydreams.
Girl Talk "Feed the Animals"
Is there any song Pittsburgh's Gregg Gillis can't mix? Everything from Ace of Base to the Beach Boys to Kelly Clarkson, Queen, Jay-Z, the organ opus "96 tears" and Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl" make an appearance on this album.
Vampire Weekend "Vampire Weekend"
As much as I want to sideline this group of squeaky clean Columbia kids, they made the first critical splash of 2008 with their self-titled mid-tempo keyboard-infused release. It is rather catchy.
Bloc Party "Intimacy"
Crystal Castles "Crystal Castles"
Does It Offend You, Yeah? "You Have No Idea What You're Getting Yourself Into"