Archive for January 2009

My Interview With Paste Magazine

January 14, 2009


Best Of 2008 Music – Top 1,000+

January 4, 2009

Happy New Year, everyone!

It is now so easy and inexpensive to record and distribute music that far too many albums are released each week for anyone to hear them all.  I thought if I organized and listed all the bands with good 2008 albums I’ve heard this year it might be helpful to others.

My list differs from other year-end lists in three important ways:

Europe – Since the internet gives everyone around the world instant access to all albums released anywhere, it makes no sense for these other lists to ignore albums released in Europe but not the U.S.  Their probable justification, that there is no point listening to and recommending albums that are not available here, is nonsensical and silly.  Albums released only in Europe are instantly available for us to hear, and to buy as downloads, just like American releases.  Since I haven’t discriminated against or ignored Europe-only releases, this list includes a lot of great music missing from other year-end lists.

Finding Quality Via Quantity (Thanks, Nick) – Most year-end lists include a limited number of albums.  Does anyone seriously think there are only a few albums released each year that are worth recommending and hearing?  I’ve attempted to include every good album released this year, not just an inherently arbitrary Best Of.  You might conclude from scanning this list that I heard every indie album released.  Unfortunately, no – I didn’t come close.  I’ve got a list of another 2,000 still-unheard 2008 albums, which I think proves conclusively that no one can hear everything that comes out.

I tried to listen to every 2008 album that got substantial press attention.  As a result, any  well-known album not listed below is likely missing because I don’t think it’s worth your time.  Examples of artists that released poor 2008 albums include Atlas Sound, Beach House, Beck, Benga, Byrne & Eno, Casting Crowns, Crystal Castles, Deerhunter (both Microcastle and Weird Era Cont. are weak), Toumani Diabate, Earth, El Guincho, Fennesz, Goldmund, High Places, Jack Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Kanye, Jamie Lidell, Lil Wayne, Lindstrom, Kate Nash, Nine Inch Nails, Panic At The Disco, Robyn, The Roots, We Versus The Shark [Athens], and Lee Ann Womack  The common thread among many of these weak albums is their one-dimensionality, sounding the same throughout – how boring is that?  In some cases you wonder whether the artist fell asleep in the studio, or suffered from “obsessive-compulsive repetitious disorder”.

Twentieth-Century Coverage – Other year-end lists copy each other so much they generally include the same albums by the same new artists, and completely ignore albums by artists who’ve been around a while.  Since I don’t ignore artists older than I am (not trusting folks over 30 is such a dated, 60s idea), this list includes categories for artists who made their mark in the 60s, 70s, and 80s (such as R.E.M.), along with categories for well-known 90s artists.  Maybe those other lists only care about New Bands That Self-Proclaimed Trendsetters Decide Are Cool.

So, onward to my list of all artists that released 2008 albums worth hearing:

1.  Given how difficult it is to keep all this information and music straight, I haven’t even attempted to deal with the names of the albums.  Thus, listed below is just the band name, without the album title.  The internet of course makes it easy to discover the name of, and listen to, any of these 2008 albums.

2.  None of these albums are included because of just one song.  I’ve listened to each album at least twice all the way through (well, maybe not all the poor albums listed at the end), and would gladly listen to each again in the future.

3.   When at least two band members release solo albums or side projects, I’ve listed them in a separate category named for the band, which also lists the band’s own album if applicable.  I’ve also listed all-stars who released good albums with more than one band this year.

4.  What’s going on with all the “Black” bands?  Attack In Black, Black Affair, The Black And White Years, The Black Angels, Black Boned Angel, The Black Box Revelation, The Black Crowes, Black Devil Disco Club, Black Diamond Heavies, Black Eyed Soul, The Black Ghosts, The Black Halos, The Black Hollies, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Jimmy Carl Black, The Black Keys, Black Kids, Black Light Burns, Black Lungs, Blackmarket,  Blackmore’s Night, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Black Mountain, Black Sand, The Black Seeds, Blackstrap, Black Time, Blacktop Gypsy, Blue Sky Black Death, The (Fallen) Black Deer, Kiss The Anus Of  A Black Cat, Monte Negro {Black}, Jim Noir {Black}, and Wild Billy Childish And The Blackhands.  How unoriginal – don’t these bands want to differentiate themselves from each other?  Anyway, all of them released good albums, and some even made my Best Of The Year list.  (Unlistenable albums, primarily metal or rap/hip hop, were released by Another Black Day, Black Anvil, Black Asylum, Aurora Black, Brittini Black, Black Flame, Blacklisted, Black Lodge, Black Milk, Black SS, The Black Sorrows, Blackstone, Black Stone Cherry, Black Tide, Black Wall Street, Blackwinds, Book Of Black Earth, Brightblack Morning Light, and Mars Black.)

The bands in each category are listed in alphabetical order.  At the bottom are the best albums of the year, along with some awards.  I hope you enjoy reading this, expanding your musical horizons, and discovering some great new stuff!


The All New Adventures Of Us
British Sea Power
Cajun Dance Party
Coldplay (for both Prospekt’s March and Viva La Vida)
The Courteeners
Dirty Pretty Things (Carl Barat, ex-The Libertines)
The Duke Spirit
The Feeling
Five O’Clock Heroes
The Futureheads
Holly Golightly (of The Headcoatees) And The Brokeoffs – alt-country
I Am Kloot
iLiKETRAiNS (not a typo)
Insurgentes (Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree) – prog-rock
I Was A Cub Scout
Kaiser Chiefs
The Kings Of Frog Island – psychedelic rock
The Kooks
The Last Shadow Puppets (Miles Kane of The Rascals and Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys)
The Maccabees (named for the 2nd Century B.C. Jewish warriors)
Man-Raze (Paul Cook of Sex Pistols and Phil Collen of Def Leppard)
Mystery Jets
Noah And The Whale
One Night Only
Pete & The Pirates
The Pigeon Detectives
The Rascals (Miles Kane of The Last Shadow Puppets) (not the same-named 60s U.S. band)
Saturday Morning Pictures
The Shortwave Set (produced by Danger Mouse of Gnarls Barkley)
South (not the same-named U.S. ambient band)
Sunny Day Sets Fire
The Ting Tings
The Wave Pictures
The Young Knives
The Zutons

Deep Purple

Blackmore’s Night (Ritchie Blackmore, with his wife, Candice Night) – psych-folk
Ian Gillan – live – hard rock – solo
Glenn Hughes – solo
Jon Lord – classical – solo
Joe Lynn Turner – live – hard rock – solo
Whitesnake (David Coverdale) – hard rock

Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Asia (Carl Palmer, with Steve Howe of Yes)
Keith Emerson – solo

England Post-Punk

Bloc Party
Forward, Russia!
School Of Language
These New Puritans

England Psych-Folk

The Accidental
Johnny Flynn – solo
Ed Laurie – solo
Pete Molinari – solo

England Experimental

Cats In Paris
Hot Club De Paris
IAMX (Chris Corner of Sneaker Pimps) – solo
Wild Beasts

England Garage Rock

Black Time
Blood Red Shoes
Wild Billy Childish (With The Blackhands, and With The Musicians Of The British Empire)
The Headcoatees (Billy Childish and Holly Golightly)
The Kills

England Soul

‘Adele’ Adkins – female solo
James Hunter – solo
Natty – solo

England Dance-Rock/Electro/Synth

Leila Arab – female solo
Baltic Fleet (Paul Fleming) – solo
The Black Ghosts
Capitol K (Kristian Robinson) – solo
Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip (David Meads and Dan Stephens)
Does It Offend You, Yeah?
The Egg
Friendly Fires
Fujiya & Miyagi (named after a character in The Karate Kid)
Groove Armada
Hot Chip
Sonny J (Sonnington James) – solo
Late Of The Pier
Midfield General (Damian Harris) – solo
Neon Neon (Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals)
The Streets (Mike Skinner) – solo
Max Tundra (Ben Jacobs) – solo
Unkle (for both End Titles and More Stories)
The Whip

England Male Solo

James Blackshaw
The Bug (Kevin Martin) – reggae
Butcher The Bar (Joel Nicholson)
SJ Esau (Sam Wisterneff)
Pete Greenwood
Neal Halstead (of Slowdive and Mojave 3)
Richard Hawley
Jonathan ‘Pop Levi’ (ex-Ladytron)
Lightspeed Champion (Devonte Hynes)
Eugene McGuinness
Jim Noir (Alan Roberts)
Jack Penate
Teddy Thompson (son of Richard and Linda)
The Week That Was (Peter Brewis, ex-The Futureheads, brother of David/School Of Lang.)
Jeremy Warmsley
James Yuill

England Female Solo

‘Kelli Ali’ Dayton (ex-Sneaker Pimps)
Deborah Bonham (sister of John of Led Zeppelin, aunt of Jason) – blues rock
Essie Jain
Laura Marling (ex-Noah And The Whale)


The Aliens – psychedelic rock
Errors (not the same-named U.S. hard rock band)
The Fratellis
Frightened Rabbit
Glasvegas – post-punk
Mogwai (for both Batcat [with Roky Erickson] and The Hawk Is Howling) – experimental
Sons & Daughters

Scotland Male Solo

Black Affair (Steve Mason of The Beta Band) – synth
James Yorkston – psych-folk


Los Campesinos (for both Hold On Now, Youngster and We Are Beautiful, We Are Damned)
People In Planes – post-punk

Wales Female Solo

Aimee ‘Duffy’ – soul
Jem Griffiths

Northern Ireland

Fighting With Wire
Snow Patrol

Northern Ireland Male Solo

David Holmes – synth
The Sleeping Years (Dale Grundle) – psych-folk


Bell X1
Paddy Casey – solo
Gaelic Storm – cross-cultural

Thin Lizzy

Phil Lynott’s Grand Slam – live – hard rock
Gary Moore – solo – blues rock


At The Close Of Every Day
Bagga Bownz – alt-metal
Beef – reggae
Brown Feather Sparrow – psych-folk
Claw Boys Claw
The Cuties
Drive By Wire – psychedelic rock
Going Dutch (oh, how droll)
Hallo Venray
Hit Me TV
The Kevin Costners (no connection to the actor)
Lightwires (not the same-named U.S. alt-country band)
Mist (not one of the same-named Germany or Poland metal, or Sweden, bands)
Orange Glow
The Pedro Delgados (no connection to the 1988 Tour de France winner) – alt-country
Rude Awakening (not one of the 2 same-named U.S. metal bands) – industrial techno
Solo (a band)
The Very Sexuals
Vox Von Braun

Netherlands Post-Punk

AC Berkheimer
Face Tomorrow
HSSLHFF (no connection to the actor David Hasselhoff)
Silence Is Sexy
Stairs To Nowhere

Netherlands Blues Rock

Andre Manuel & The Kettering Fanfare
Rhythm Chiefs

Netherlands Experimental

Earl’s Court (named after the London subway stop)
Harry Merry And The Must
The Moi Non Plus
Jean Parlette (a band, not a solo artist)
Pfaff (Bas Jacobs) (not Gary P, from Tucker, GA, or Kristen P, dead bassist for Hole) – solo
Room Eleven
Roy Santiago – solo
Skinnerbox (not the U.S. reggae band)
Stoma (not one of the 3 same-named hardcore bands from the U.S., Netherlands or Scotland)

Netherlands Cross-Cultural

De Kift
Zuco 103

Netherlands Garage Rock

Autorace (not the same-named Canada synth band)
Pony Pack
The Spades
The Suicidal Birds

Netherlands Hard Rock

Bonne Aparte
New Killer Stars

Netherlands Soul

Liquid Spirits

Netherlands Dance-Rock/Electro/Synth

Skipper (Mike Schepers) – solo
Strange Attractor (not the same-named U.S. psychedelic rock band)

Netherlands Male Solo

Chop Wood (Odilo Girod)
Lucky Fonz III (Otto Wichers)
Jelle ‘Paulusma’ (not Polly Paulusma, England female solo)
Skipper (Mike Schepers) – synth
Solden (Alex Van Der Linden)

Netherlands Female Solo

GRAM (Marg Eenbergen)
Marike Jager
Marjoleine ‘Leine’ Reitsma
Roosbeef (Roos Rebergen)


Confuse The Cat – post-punk
dEUS (not a typo)
Girls In Hawaii
Kawada (not the Japan pop singer)
Think Of One – cross-cultural
Tim VanHamel – solo

Belgum Experimental

The Black Box Revelation
Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat

Belgium Hard Rock

Radio Infinity
White Circle Crime Club

Belgium Dance-Rock/Electro/Synth

Arsenal (with Grant Hart of Husker Du)
Jerboa (Frederick Dejongh) – solo


Animal Alpha – hard rock
The Cheaters – garage rock
Grand Island
Kaizers Orchestra
Lukestar (not the same-named Netherlands synth band) – experimental
Motorpsycho – prog rock
The National Bank

Norway Female Solo

Ane Brun
Hanne Hukkelberg – synth
Silje Nes
‘Ida Maria’ Sivertsen
Susanne Wallumrod


Air France
Blackstrap – post-punk
Dozer – hard rock
Dungen – psychedelic rock
Friska Viljor
I’m From Barcelona (band has two dozen members, similar to The Polyphonic Spree)
The (International) Noise Conspiracy
Marching Band
Pacific! – synth
Peter Bjorn And John
Those Dancing Days

Sweden Metal

Leif Edling – solo
Hellsongs (female acoustic versions of metal classics)

Sweden Male Solo

Melpo Mene (Alex Mattiason) (named after the Greek Muse of Tragedy)
Peter Moren (of Peter Bjorn And John)
The Tallest Man On Earth (Kristian Matsson) – psych-folk
Peter Von Poehl

Sweden Female Solo

Nina Kinert
‘Lykke Li’ Zachrisson


The Acorn (not the same-named Canada indie band) – alt-country
Anssi 8000 & Maria Stereo – garage rock
Judge Bone & Doc Hill – blues rock
Disco Ensemble – hard rock
Goodnight Monsters
Paavoharju – experimental


The Fashion
The Raveonettes (for 3 EPs, including a good Christmas album) – experimental
Volbeat – roots metal


Peter Broderick (from Portland, OR) – solo
Efterklang (for Caravan EP)
Our Broken Garden (Anna Bronsted of Efterklang) – female solo

Denmark Dance-Rock/Electro/Synth

Spektr (Manoj Ramdas, ex-The Raveonettes) (not the same-named France industrial band)


‘Emiliana Torrini’ Daviosdottir – female solo

Iceland Experimental

Sigur Ros
Sin Fang Bous (Sindri Mar Sigfusson of Seabear) – solo

Iceland Male Solo

Borko (Bjorn Kristjansson)
Mugison (Orn Gudmundsson)


French Cowboy & Lisa Li-Lund – alt-country
Herman Dune – psych-folk
The Teenagers
Underground Railroad – post-punk

France Experimental

Angil & Hiddntracks (not a typo) (Mickael Mottet) – solo
Camille Dalmais – female solo

France Dance-Rock/Electro/Synth

Black Devil Disco Club
M83 (Anthony Gonzalez) – solo
Miss Kittin (Caroline Herve) – female solo
Poni Hoax
Principles Of Geometry
Zombie Zombie (not the same-named U.S. synth band)

France Male Solo

Don Cavalli – blues rock
The Fugitive Kind (Nicolas Leroux) (not the same-named U.S. garage band)

France Female Solo

Francoiz Breut
Carla Bruni (ex-model, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy)
Coralie Clement


Bonaparte – experimental
Get Well Soon (Konstantin Gropper)
It’s A Musical (a band, not a Broadway show)
Jazzanova – soul

Mardi Gras Brass Band – cross-cultural

The Notwist

Polarkreis 18

Tokio Hotel

Hans York – solo

Germany Dance-Rock/Electro/Synth

Bodi Bill
Alec Empire (Alexander Wilke-Steinhof of Atari Teenage Riot)
Barbara Morgenstern – female solo


Catpeople – post-punk
The Pinker Tones – synth


Low Motion Disco (9 of 13 songs have Low in the title) – synth
Monno – experimental
Seelenluft (Beat Soler) – solo
The Young Gods – psych-folk


The Mojomatics (not the same-named U.S. blues band) – garage rock
Populous With Short Stories (Andrea Mangia and Michael McGuire) – synth
Nicola Ratti – solo – experimental


Black Sand
Bernhard Fleischmann – synth – solo


Julia Marcell – female solo – experimental

Estonia Female Solo

Triinu Kivilaan
‘Kerli’ Koiv


Amadou & Mariam (Mali) (both of them are blind)
Esau Mwamwaya (Malawi, with Radioclit of England) – experimental

West Africa Female Solo

Mayra Andrade (Cape Verde)
Rokia Traore (Mali)


The Curse Of Company
‘Lenka’ Kripac – female solo
Operator Please
The Silents (not one of the same-named U.S. post-punk, or Canada or Sweden, bands)
Silver Ray – experimental
Angus And Julia Stone – psych-folk
The Vines – garage rock

The Church

Steve Kilbey – solo
Marty Willson-Piper – solo

Australia Dance-Rock/Electro/Synth

Cut Copy
Midnight Juggernauts
The Presets

Australia Male Solo

Gotye (Wouter DeBacker)
Scott Matthew
Xavier Rudd
Sam Sparro (Sam Falson) – soul

New Zealand

Black Boned Angel (with Nadja of Canada) – synth
The Black Seeds – reggae
The Datsuns – hard rock
Liam Finn (son of Neil and nephew of Tim, both of Split Enz and Crowded House) – solo

New Zealand Dance-Rock/Electro/Synth

Black Boned Angel (with Nadja of Canada)
Ladyhawke (Phillipa Brown) (not the same-named Canada band) – female solo


My Violaine Morning – post-punk


Asakusa Jinta – cross-cultural
Shugo Tokumaru – solo – synth


DJ Dolores (Helder Aragao De Melo) – solo – cross-cultural

Brazil Dance-Rock/Electro/Synth

Cansei De Ser Sexy (CSS)


Federico Aubele (husband of Natalia Clavier) – solo

Argentina Female Solo

Natalia Clavier (wife of Federico Aubele)
Juana Molina – experimental

Puerto Rico

Davila 666 – garage rock

Mexico Experimental

Murcof (Fernando Corona) – solo

Mexico Hard Rock

Monte Negro

Mexico Dance-Rock/Electro/Synth

Plastilina Mosh


The Acorn (not the same-named Finland band) (for both Glory Hope Mountain and Live)
The Awkward Stage
Born Ruffians
F**ked Up – prog-metal
Mother Mother
No Kids
The Pack A.D. (2-woman version of The Black Keys/The White Stripes) – blues-rock
Tokyo Police Club
The Waking Eyes (Rusty Matyas, ex-Novillero)
Wolf Parade (Spencer Krug of Sunset Rubdown)
Young And Sexy

Alexisonfire (not a typo)

Black Lungs (Wade MacNeil) (not the same-named Australia industrial band) – hard rock
City And Colour (Dallas Green) (not the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies manager) – psych-folk

Broken Social Scene

Brendan Canning – solo
Jason Collett – solo
The Dears (Murray Lightburn)
Land Of Talk (Elizabeth Powell) (for both L’Aventure and Some Are Lakes, with Bon Iver)
Stars (Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan)

The Choir Practice

Hello, Blue Roses (Sidney Vermont, with Dan Bejar of The New Pornographers)
Kellarissa (Larissa Loyva) – female solo – experimental

The New Pornographers

Destroyer (Dan Bejar)
[Hello, Blue Roses – also listed above under The Choir Practice]

Canada Post-Punk

Ladyhawk (not the same-named New Zealand synth band)
The Stills

Canadian Psychedelic Rock

Black Mountain
The Whitsundays

Canada Alt-Country

Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir
Big Low
Blackie & The Rodeo Kings
Kathleen Edwards – female solo
Serena Ryder – female solo

Canada Psych-Folk

Attack In Black
Christine Fellows – female solo
Human Highway (Nick Thorburn of Islands)
Plants And Animals
Martha Wainwright (daughter of Loudon, sister of Rufus) – female solo
Woodpigeon (for both Songbook and Treasury Island Canada)

Canada Experimental

C.R. Avery – solo
Aidan Baker (of Nadja) & Tim Hecker)
Final Fantasy (Owen Pallett of Arcade Fire) (for 2 EPs) – solo
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band

Canada Cross-Cultural

The Duhks
The Real McKenzies

Canada Hard Rock

The Black Halos
Matt Mays & El Torpedo
Jody Raffoul – solo

Canada Dance-Rock/Electro/Synth

Mike Milosh – solo
Winter Gloves

Canada Male Solo

Gonzalez (Jason Beck)
Hayden (Paul Dresser)
Sam Roberts
Ron Sexsmith
Chad VanGaalen
Hawksley Workman (Ryan Corrigan)

Canada Female Solo

Mandi Perkins
Kreesha Turner – soul

Athens, GA

Vic Chesnutt, Elf Power, And The Amorphous Strums
Drive-By Truckers – southern rock
Meiko (Macon, GA) – female solo
Trances Arc
The Whigs

Athens Psychedelic Rock

Dark Meat
Dead Confederate

Athens Alt-Country

Backyard Tire Fire (now in Bloomington, IL)
The Packway Handle Band – bluegrass
Jim White (for both A Funny Little Cross To Bear and Transnormal Skiperoo) – solo

Athens Experimental

Elf Power (Jimmy Hughes of Folklore)
Folklore (Jimmy Hughes of Elf Power)
Of Montreal

Athens Hard Rock

Harvey Milk (named after the murdered politician)
Rehab (Warner Robins)

Athens Male Solo

Brent Cash
Josh Kelley (Augusta, GA) (husband of the actress Katherine Heigl)
Trappers Cabin (Joel Nettesheim) (N. Ga. mountains) – psych-folk


All The Saints – post-punk
Tim Brantley
Hightide Blues
Manchester Orchestra
The Modern Society
The Selmanaires
Silent Kids
Torche (not the same-named Sweden metal band) – metal
We Are Berliners

Atlanta Blues Rock

Sean Costello (died April 15, 2008) – solo
Roger ‘Hurricane’ Wilson – solo

Atlanta Alt-Country

Zac Brown Band
Sugarland (Kristian Bush of Billy Pilgrim)
The Wood Brothers (Chris Wood of Medeski Martin & Wood)
The Wrights (now in Nashville)

Atlanta Experimental

Hidden Noise Ensemble (Colin Bragg)
Kaki King – female solo

Atlanta Hard Rock

Dear Enemy
Morning State
The Swear
Young Antiques

Atlanta Garage Rock

‘Gentleman Jesse’ Smith & His Men
Anna Kramer & The Lost Cause

Atlanta Soul

Gnarls Barkley
Zachary Kale – solo
Janelle Monae – female solo
Lizz Wright – female solo

Atlanta Female Solo

Cat Power (Charlyn ‘Chan’ Marshall) (for both Dark End Of The Street and Jukebox)
Caroline Herring – psych-folk
Heather ‘Aslyn’ Mitchell

U.S. Indie

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals
… And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead
Annuals/Sunfold (same musicians) (for 3 albums – Such Fun, Toy Tugboats and Wet Zoo)
Antony And The Johnsons
The Apples In Stereo
Black Gold (not one of the same-named U.S. alt-country or rap, or England, bands)
Brave Citizens
Carolina Liar
Cold War Kids
The Dandy Warhols
Dear And The Headlights
Death Cab For Cutie
Dirty On Purpose
The End Of The World
The Gabe Dixon Band
The 88
Electric President
The Gay Blades
The Hanks (not the same-named 80s U.S. alt-country band)
The Helio Sequence
The Hold Steady
The Killers
Kings Of Leon
The Little Ones (for both Morning Tide and Terry Tales)
Louis XIV
Margot And The Nuclear So And So’s
Mason Proper
Matthew [Gray] And The Arrogant Sea
Minus The Bear
Murder By Death
The Myriad
The New Year
1969 (Butch Walker of Marvelous 3)
Oxford Collapse (for both Bits and The Hann-Byrd)
Paper Rival
Person L
Phantom Planet
Plain White T’s
+/- [Plus/Minus]
Ra Ra Riot
Radar Brothers
The Republic Tigers
Bryan Scary & The Shredding Tears
The Shaky Hands
The Silent Years
Smoking Popes
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
The Spinto Band
Tally Hall
Tapes ‘N Tapes
Throw Me The Statue
Vampire Weekend
The Virgins
The Walkmen
We Are Scientists
What Made Milwaukee Famous
Wild Sweet Orange

U.S. Indie – Female Vocals

Biirdie (not a typo)
The Bird And The Bee (Inara George, daughter of Lowell of Little Feat)
Black Kids
Bound Stems
The Bridges
Crooked Fingers (Eric Bachmann, ex-Archers Of Loaf)
The Hush Sound
In Flight Radio
The Jealous Girlfriends
Say Hi
Shiny Toy Guns
The Submarines
Tilly And The Wall
The Whispertown 2000 (Morgan Nadler, ex-Rilo Kiley)
The Young Republic

Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds – solo
Hotel Lights (Darren Jessie) – solo

Made Out Of Babies

Battle Of Mice (Julie Christmas, with Tony Maimone, ex-Pere Ubu) – prog-metal
Made Out Of Babies (for The Ruiner LP) – experimental
Red Sparowes (Brendan Tobin) – experimental

Queens Of The Stone Age

Eagles Of Death Metal (Josh Homme) – hard rock
The Gutter Twins (Mark Lanegan) (with Greg Dulli, ex-Afghan Whigs) (for 2 albums) – hard rock
Mark Lanegan & Isobel Campbell (ex-Belle & Sebastian) (for 2 albums) – alt-country

Rage Against The Machine

The Nightwatchman (Tom Morello)
One Day As A Lion (Zach De La Rocha, with Jon Theodore, ex-The Mars Volta)

Red Sparowes (not a typo)

The (Fallen) Black Deer (Greg Burns) – experimental
[Made Out Of Babies – also listed above (Brendan Tobin) – experimental]
[Red Sparowes – also listed above (Greg Burns and Brendan Tobin) (for Triad EP) – experimental]

Sonic Youth

Free Kitten (Kim Gordon) – experimental
Thurston Moore – experimental – solo

The Strokes

Albert Hammond, Jr. – solo
Little Joy (Fabrizio Moretti)
Megapuss (Fabrizio Moretti, with Devendra Banhart) – psych-folk
Nickle Eye (Nikolai Fraiture, with Joel Cadbury & Jamie McDonald of South)


School Of Language (Doug McCombs, & David Brewis, brother of Peter/The Week That Was)
The Sea And Cake (John McEntire)

U.S. Post-Punk

Colour Revolt
Have A Nice Life
Magnetic Morning (Sam Fogarino of Interpol)
Midnight Movies
Parts & Labor (for both Escapers 2: Grind Pop and Receivers)
Secret Machines
She Wants Revenge
The Silents (not one of the 3 same-named Australia, Canada or Sweden indie bands)
TV On The Radio

U.S. Psychedelic Rock

The Black Angels
The Black Hollies
Black Moth Super Rainbow
Buffalo Killers
Crystal Stilts
Dr. Dog
Endless Boogie
Golden Animals
Howlin Rain
My Morning Jacket
Tobacco (Tom Fec of Black Moth Super Rainbow)
The War On Drugs

U.S. Alt-Country

Blacktop Gypsy
Blitzen Trapper
Jonatha Brooke (Woody Guthrie lyrics) – female solo
Calexico (Joey Burns and John Convertino, both ex-Giant Sand)
Laura Cantrell – female solo
Hayes Carll – solo
Department Of Eagles (Daniel Rossen of Grizzly Bear)
Eric Durrance – solo
The Felice Brothers
Hayseed Dixie
Justin Townes Earle (son of Steve) – solo
Micah P. Hinson – solo
Jolie Holland – female solo
Lady Antebellum (Charles Kelley of Augusta, GA, brother of Josh)
Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley) – female solo
The Low Lows
Allison Moorer (wife of Steve Earle, sister of Shelby Lynne) – female solo
Neva Dinova (a band, not a solo artist)
Okkervil River (Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff of Shearwater)
Old Crow Medicine Show
Old 97’s
Brad Paisley – solo
She & Him (the actress Zooey Deschanel)
Silver Jews
Jessica Simpson – female solo
Skeletons (from N.Y. – not one of the 4 same-named England, France, Missouri or Texas bands)
James Jackson Toth – solo
The Watson Twins
Jimmy Wayne – solo
The Whiskey Saints
Hank Williams III – solo

U.S. Blues Rock

Left Lane Cruiser
Los Lonely Boys
North Mississippi Allstars
‘Seasick Steve’ Wold – solo

U.S. Southern Rock

Black Eyed Soul
Kevin Costner (best-ever album by a famous actor?)
Montgomery Gentry (a band, not a solo artist)
Paul Thorn – solo

U.S. Psych-Folk

Sam Amidon – solo
Apollo Sunshine
Bodies Of Water (for both A Certain Feeling and Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink)
Bon Iver (Justin Vernon) – solo
Death Vessel (Joel Thibodeau) – solo
Delta Spirit
The Dodos
Fleet Foxes
Larkin Grimm – female solo
Headless Heroes (Alela Diane)
Hush Arbors (Keith Wood) – solo
The Kennedys
Langhorne Slim (Sean Scolnick) – solo
Mount Eerie (Phil Elverum of The Microphones)
The Mountain Goats (for both Black Pear Tree [with Kaki King] and Heretic Pride)
The Mumlers
Port O’Brien
Jack Rose (for both Dr Ragtime & Pals and Self-Titled) – solo
Shearwater (Jonathan Meiburg and Will Sheff of Okkervil River) (for both Rook and Live)
State Bird
David ‘DM Stith’ – solo
Sun Kil Moon (Mark Kozelet and Anthony Koutsos of Red House Painters)
These United States
David Vandervelde – solo
Greg Weeks – solo
Emily Jane White – female solo
Wovenhand (David Edwards and Pascal Humbert, both ex-16 Horsepower)

U.S. Experimental

Abe Vigoda (named after the actor)
A.K.A.C.O.D. (Dana Colley of Morphine)
Animal Collective (produced by Rusty Santos of The Present)
Brazzaville (David Scott, ex-saxman for Beck)
Castanets (Raymond Raposa) – solo
Cloud Cult
The Dead Science
DJ/Rupture (Jace Clayton) & Andy Moor (England guitarist, not the England trance artist)
Don Caballero
The Dresden Dolls
Evangelista (brutal and terrifying, yet still beautiful – reminiscent of Patti Smith’s Radio Ethiopia)
Dan Friel (of Parts & Labor)
Grampall Jookabox (David Adamson) – solo
Grouper (Liz Harris) – female solo
Growing (for both All The Way and Lateral)
Horse Feathers
Icy Demons (Chris Powell of Man Man)
Scarlett Johansson (the actress) (with Dave Sitek of TV On The Radio) – female solo
The Mae Shi
My Brightest Diamond (Shara Worden) – female solo
Nudge (Honey Owens of Valet)
Portugal. The Man (from Wasilla, Alaska, same as Sarah Palin)
The Present (not the same-named Belgium prog-rock band)
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (of The Mars Volta)
Russian Circles
Marnie Stern – female solo
Sufjan Stevens (a surprisingly listenable Christmas album) – solo
Swell (for both The Lost Album and South Of The Rain And Snow)
Takka Takka
Volcano! (not the same-named Japan metal band or Curt Kirkwood [Meat Puppets] project)
White Denim
Xiu Xiu

U.S. Cross-Cultural

Dengue Fever
East Village Opera Company
Firewater (laptop-recorded on Tod Ashley’s odyssey through India, Pakistan, Israel, & Turkey)
Flogging Molly
Yoshie Fruchter – solo
Man Man (Chris Powell of Icy Demons)
Alina Simone – female solo

U.S. Hard Rock

ASHES dIVIDE (Billy Howerdel/A Perfect Circle, Devo Keenan/son of Maynard James)
Black Tide
Keith Caputo – solo
Sam Champion (a band, not a solo artist)
David Cook (2008 American Idol) – solo
The Drama Club
The Gaslight Anthem (for both The ’59 Sound and Senor And The Queen)
The Jonas Brothers
Local H
The Matches
The Night Marchers (John Reis of Rocket From The Crypt)
No Age
Pop Evil
The Raconteurs (Jack White of The White Stripes)
Retribution Gospel Choir
Scars On Broadway (Daron Malakian and John Dolmayen of System Of A Down)
Semi Precious Weapons
Static Thought
Street Dogs
TK Webb & The Visions

U.S. Garage Rock

Titus Andronicus (named after the Shakespeare character)
The Baseball Project (Pete Buck, Scott McCaughey of R.E.M., Steve Wynn of Dream Syndicate)
Be Your Own Pet
Black Diamond Heavies
The Black Keys
Cheap Time
The Dirtbombs
Dressy Bessy (John Hill of The Apples In Stereo)
Electric Six
Foxboro Hot Tubs (aka Green Day)
The Hands
Me First And The Gimme Gimmes
Mystery Jets (not the same-named 80s England band)
Jay Reatard (Jay Lindsey) (for both In The Red Singles and Matador Singles) – solo
Reverend Organdrum (Jim Heath aka Rev. Horton Heat, Tim Alexander of Asleep At The Wheel)
Sic Alps
Times New Viking (for both Rip It Off and Stay Awake)
Vivian Girls
Young Lords

U.S. Prog-Metal

The Mars Volta
These Arms Are Snakes

U.S. Alt-Metal

Black Light Burns (Wes Borland, ex-Limp Bizkit)
Ill Nino
Mindless Self Indulgence

U.S. Soul

Nikka Costa (Frank Sinatra’s goddaughter) – female solo
Noel Gourdin – solo
Terrence Howard (the actor) – solo
Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed & The True Loves
The Solution

U.S. Funk

Fort Knox Five
The Knux

U.S. Reggae

The Dirty Heads
Michael Franti & Spearhead
Slightly Stoopid (not a typo)

U.S. Dance-Rock/Electro/Synth

Alias (Brendon Whitney) (not the same-named U.S. 80s hard rock band) – solo
Astronautalis (Andy Bothwell) – solo
Au Revoir Simone
Beehive (not the same-named England band)
The Black And White Years
Blue Sky Black Death
Cassettes Won’t Listen (Jason Drake) – solo
Martin Dosh – solo
The FaintFlying Lotus (Steven Ellison) – solo
Free Blood
F**k Buttons
Funeral Party
Gang Gang Dance
Girl Talk (Gregg Gillis)
Ghostland Observatory
Health (remix of their 2007 experimental album)
Hercules And Love Affair
Iglu & Hartley
Kaskade (Ryan Raddon) – solo
Mates Of State
The Medic Droid
Passion Pit (Michael Angelakos) – solo
Praveen [Sharma] & Benoit [Pioulard (Thomas Meluch)]
Erica ‘Quitzow’ (for both Animal Nature and Art College)
Santogold (Santi White) – female solo
Santogold & Diplo (Wesley Pentz)
School Of Seven Bells (Ben Curtis, ex-Secret Machines)
Jeffree Star (Jeffrey Steininger) – solo
Starf**ker (not the same-named Belgium hard rock group)
Static Revenger (Dennis White) – solo
Telepathe (with Dave Sitek of TV On The Radio)
Thievery Corporation
Uh Huh Her (named after a P.J. Harvey album title)
Valet (Honey Owens of Nudge)
Saul Williams (for ‘Niggy Tardust’ with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails) – industrial spoken word

U.S. Gospel

The Nephew Brothers – shape note gospel
Welcome Wagon (Sufjan Stevens-produced)

U.S. Male Solo

‘Ferras’ Alqaisi
Jason Anderson (70s-era E Street Band redux?)
Joseph Arthur (for both the Temporary People album and 4 EPs)
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy (Will Oldham)
Jay Brannan
The Break And Repair Method (Paul Doucette of Matchbox Twenty)
Marc Broussard
Ryan Cabrera
Burton Carroll
Matt Costa
King Darves
Bart Davenport
Brett Dennen
Matt Duke
E For Explosion (Jamison Covington)
Val Emmich (the actor)
Tim Fite (Timothy Sullivan)
Teddy Geiger (‘The Rocker’ movie soundtrack)
Zach Gill (of Animal Liberation Orchestra)
Her Space Holiday (Marc Bianchi) (for both Sleepy Tigers and XOXO)
Griffin House
Benji Hughes
Brendan James
Mason Jennings
Lackthereof (Danny Seim)
Ray LaMontagne
Greg Laswell
Amos Lee
Tony Lucca
Jesse Malin
Paul Manousos
Cass McCombs
Jason Mraz
Anthony ‘Ant’ Neely (of Subthunk)
Conor Oberst (of Bright Eyes)
Paramount Styles (Scott McCloud of Girls Against Boys)
Pictures And Sound (Luke Reynolds)
Benoit Pioulard (Thomas Meluch)
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
Peter Salett
Secret Dakota Ring (Andy Ross of OK Go)
George Stanford
Kelly Stoltz
Chris Walla (of Death Cab For Cutie)
Devon Williams
Jordan Zevon (son of Warren)

U.S. Female Solo

Juliana Cole
Caitlin Crosby
Madi Diaz
Inara George (of The Bird And The Bee) (with Van Dyke Parks)
Joan As Police Woman (Joan Wasser, ex-Antony And The Johnsons)
Charlotte Martin
Jessica Lea Mayfield (produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys)
Sandra McCracken
Hilary McRae
Amie Miriello
One Little Plane (Kathryn Bint)
Amanda Palmer (of The Dresden Dolls)
Tristan Prettyman
Thao [Nguyen] And The Get Down Stay Down
Mia Doi Todd
Brooke Waggoner
Natalie Walker
Laura Warshauer
Rachael Yamagata

90s Artists – good albums


The Black Crowes
Blind Melon (first album since Shannon Hoon’s 1995 death)
Greg Camp (Smash Mouth)
Sheryl Crow
Rivers Cuomo (Weezer)
Ani DiFranco
Mike Doughty (Soul Coughing)
Everlast (Erik Shrody of House Of Pain)
Extreme (Gary Cherone, ex-Van Halen)
Black Francis (Pixies)
Mike Gordon (Phish)
Juliana Hatfield
Lambchop (no connection to the Shari Lewis puppet) (for both OH (Ohio) and Live)
Lisa Loeb
Gary Louris (The Jayhawks)
G. Love & Special Sauce
The Magnetic Fields
Stephen Malkmus (Pavement) & Jicks
Aimee Mann (‘Til Tuesday)
Mercury Rev
Shawn Mullins
Nada Surf
Mark Olson & Gary Louris (The Jayhawks)
Joan Osborne
Sam Phillips
Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices)
The Presidents Of The U.S.A.
Amy Ray (Indigo Girls)
Rocket From The Crypt (John Reis of The Night Marchers)
Darius Rucker (Hootie & The Blowfish)
Raphael Saadiq (Tony! Toni! Tone!)
Seven Mary Three
Smashing Pumpkins
Stuck Mojo
Matthew Sweet
Butch Walker (Marvelous 3)
Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver)
Brian ‘Head’ Welch (Korn)
Lucinda Williams (for both Little Honey and Lu in ’08)

Rest Of World

Damon Albarn (Blur and Gorillaz) (soundtrack to the opera ‘Monkey’)
Brett Anderson (Suede)
Luka Bloom (Barry Moore, brother of Christy)
The Charlatans
Cowboy Junkies
Rob Dickinson (Catherine Wheel) (cousin of Bruce of Iron Maiden)
Fred Eaglesmith
The Fireman (Paul McCartney and Martin ‘Youth’ Gilbert of Killing Joke)
K.D. Lang
Alanis Morissette
The Orb (Alex Paterson)
Porcupine Tree
Portishead (the sound of Subterranean Post-Millennial Tension)
Primal Scream
Red Snapper
Stereo MCs
The Verve
The Wildhearts

90s Artists – weak albums


Erykah Badu (Erica Wright)
The Breeders
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Counting Crows
Sheryl Crow
Snoop Dogg (Calvin Broadus)
Dream Theater
Jakob Dylan (son of Bob) (The Wallflowers)
Earth (Dylan Carlson [Kurt Cobains’ ‘best-friend’])
The Flaming Lips (‘Christmas On Mars’ soundtrack)
‘Beck’ Hansen
Faith Hill
Ice Cube (N.W.A.)
Lenny Kravitz
Brian McKnight
Nine Inch Nails (2 poor albums – Ghosts I-IV and The Slip)
The Offspring
Mike Patton (Faith No More and Mr. Bungle) (‘A Perfect Place’ movie soundtrack)
Sixpence None The Richer
Lee Ann Womack

Rest Of World

‘Dido’ Armstrong
Sarah Brightman (2 poor albums – Symphony and A Winter Symphony)
Kylie Minogue

60s, 70s, 80s, Over-40 Crowd
– good, worthy, interesting, “I’m glad they’re still around” albums


Eric Avery (Jane’s Addiction)
The B-52s
Captain Beefheart
Jimmy Carl Black (Frank Zappa’s The Mothers Of Invention)
Randall Bramblett
Delaney Bramlett
Jackson Browne
Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac)
Solomon Burke
Glen Campbell
Carlene Carter (stepdaughter of Johnny Cash)
Ry Cooder
Alice Cooper
Willy DeVille (Mink DeVille)
Neil Diamond
Bob Dylan
Alejandro Escovedo (The Nuns and Rank And File)
The Fleshtones
Howe Gelb (Giant Sand)
Giant Sand
Al Green
Guns N’ Roses
Sammy Hagar (Van Halen)
Emmylou Harris
Richie Havens
Individuals (recorded by Mitch Easter just prior to R.E.M.’s Murmur)
Jefferson Starship (original Airplane members, covering protest/folk classics)
Grace Jones
Kronos Quartet & Terry Riley
Cyndi Lauper
Steve Lukather (Toto)
Michael McDonald (Motown/soul covers)
Bret Michaels (Poison)
Bob Mould (Husker Du)
Mudcrutch (Tom Petty)
Willie Nelson And Wynton Marsalis
Night Ranger
Dolly Parton
The Pretenders
The Residents
Jason Ringenberg (Jason & The Scorchers)
Roomful Of Blues
Todd Rundgren
Arthur Russell
Leon Russell
J.D. Souther (The Eagles and Linda Ronstadt)
Southside Johnny (The Asbury Jukes) (covering Tom Waits songs)
Taj Mahal (Henry Fredericks)
Vanilla Fudge (for ‘Out Through The In Door’ – best Led Zep cover album ever?)
Loudon Wainwright (father of Rufus and Martha)
Was (Not Was)
Paul Westerberg (The Replacements)
Andre Williams
Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys)

Rest Of World

The Alarm
Marc Almond (Soft Cell)
Bryan Adams
The Pete Best Band (The Beatles)
Billy Bragg
Jack Bruce (Cream) & Robin Trower
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Joe Cocker
Julian Cope (The Teardrop Explodes)
Elvis Costello And The Imposters (includes 2/3 of The Attractions)
The Cure
The Damned
Def Leppard
The Durutti Column (for both Treatise On The Steppenwolf and Sunlight To Blue)
‘Wreckless Eric’ Goulden (with Amy Rigby, his wife)
Marianne Faithful
The Fall
Robert Forster (The Go-Betweens)
Fotheringay (with Sandy Denny)
Paul Heaton (The Housemartins and The Beautiful South)
Steve Howe (Yes and Asia)
Steve Howe Trio (with son Dylan)
Mick Hucknall (Simply Red) (covering Bobby Blue Bland)
Joe Jackson
The Jesus And Mary Chain
Tom Jones
Judas Priest
Sergio Mendes
Mike Oldfield – classical
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry
Psychic TV (Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle)
Queen & Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company, and The Firm)
Chris Rea
Curt Smith (Tears For Fears)
Ringo Starr
Joe Strummer (The Clash) (soundtrack to The Future Is Unwritten documentary)
Midge Ure (Rich Kids [with Glen Matlock of The Sex Pistols], Ultravox, and Visage)
Uriah Heep
Van Der Graaf Generator
The Wedding Present
Paul Weller (The Jam and The Style Council)

60s, 70s, 80s, Over-40 Crowd
– dull, boring, poor, “why did they even bother?” albums


American Music Club
Joan Baez
Walter Becker (Steely Dan)
Tony Bennett
Edie Brickell (as The Heavy Circles, with Harper Simon, son of her husband Paul)
David Byrne (Talking Heads) & Brian Eno (Roxy Music)
Tracy Chapman
Natalie Cole
Harry Connick, Jr.
Melissa Etheridge
Bela Fleck
Arethat Franklin
Amy Grant
Al Jarreau
Barry Manilow
Ray Manzarek (The Doors) & Roy Rogers (the slide guitarist, not the cowboy)
John Mellencamp
Motley Crue
Randy Newman
Boz Scaggs
Carly Simon
Spyro Gyra
Donna Summer
James Taylor
Leon Ware
Dionne Warwick
Widespread Panic

Rest Of World

Barry Adamson (Magazine, Visage, and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds)
‘Enya’ Brennan
Tim Finn (Split Enz and Crowded House)
Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance) & Klaus Schulze (Tangerine Dream)
Paul Hardcastle
Van Morrison
Alison Moyet (Yaz)
Michael Schenker (UFO and The Scorpions) (2 poor albums – Kulick and Tales Of Rock’N’Roll)
Steve Winwood

Worthwhile Live Albums – U.S.

Attractive Eighties Women – hard rock – Atlanta
Blue Man Group
Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy
The Byrds (1971 London)
Clutch – hard rock
The Doors (for both March 1967 San Francisco and May 1970 Pittsburgh)
The Fiery Furnaces
Gossip – garage rock
Jefferson Airplane (1969 S.F. – original lineup, including Kaukonen and Dryden)
Jefferson Starship (1995 – all Airplane songs, with Balin, Casady, Kantner & Slick)
B.B. King (for both Live and A Night With)
Lambchop (primarily R&B covers) – alt-country
Les Savy Fav
Linkin Park
Colin Meloy (of The Decemberists)
Mute Math – post-punk
Mudcrutch (Tom Petty)
The National – post-punk
Lou Reed (2006 performance of 1973 album Berlin)
Josh Ritter
Rocket From The Crypt – hard rock
Shearwater – psych-folk
Sixx:A.M. (Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue) – hard rock
Bruce Springsteen
Mavis Staples (The Staple Singers) – soul
Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple) – hard rock
The Velvet Underground
Tom Waits (July 5, 2008 Atlanta)
Webb Wilder And The Beatnecks – southern rock
Johnny Winter (for both Live Bootleg Vol. 2 and Vol. 3)

Worthwhile Live Albums – Rest Of World

Average White Band – Scotland
Jeff Beck – England
Belle & Sebastian – Scotland
Do Make Say Think (Charles Spearin of Broken Social Scene) – experimental – Canada
David Bowie (official release of famous Santa Monica ’72 bootleg) – England
The Clash (1982 New York – Shea Stadium) – England
The Durutti Column (signed to Factory Records just before Joy Division) – post-punk – England
Falco (Johann Holzel) – synth – Austria
Billy Fury (one of England’s first rockers in the late 50s)
Ian Gillan (Deep Purple) – England
Phil Lynott’s Grand Slam (Thin Lizzy) (1984 Glasgow) – Ireland
Magazine – post-punk – England
Pentangle – psych-folk – England
Porcupine Tree – prog rock – England
Radiohead (July 1, 2008 Amsterdam) – England
Scram C Baby – garage rock – Netherlands
Sigur Ros (June 17, 2008 New York – Museum Of Modern Art)
Billy Talent (a band, not a solo artist) – hard rock – Canada
Waco Brothers (Steve Goulding & Jon Langford of Mekons) – alt-country – England

Poor Live Albums

Tori Amos
Jackson Browne
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Grateful Dead (both Winterland ’73 and Egypt ’78 are poor)
Hall & Oates
Justice – synth – France
Moe. – jam band – U.S.
Olivia Newton-John
Over The Rhine – U.S.
P.O.D. – hard rock – U.S.
Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Mexico
Klaus Schulze (of Tangerine Dream) – synth – Germany
Suicide – synth – U.S.
Neil Young (1968 Ann Arbor – Canterbury House)

Most Overrated And Boring Indie Band Deerhunter

Most Aptly Named Band The Weepies

Bland and anodyne folk music, so boring it makes you want to cry.

Most Disappointing Album

Atlas Sound (Bradford Cox of Atlanta’s Deerhunter)
David Byrne & Brian Eno

Most Valuable Players, Who Released Good Albums With More Than One Band In 2008

Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys and With Jessica Lea Mayfield)
Aidan Baker (With Black Boned Angel and With Tim Hecker)
Dan Bejar (Destroyer and Hello, Blue Roses)
Pete Buck (The Baseball Project and R.E.M.)
Greg Burns (The (Fallen) Black Deer and Red Sparowes)
Brian ‘Danger Mouse’ Burton (3 albums – The Black Keys, Gnarls Barkley,The Shortwave Set)
Joel Cadbury & Jamie McDonald (Nickle Eye and South)
Billy Childish (With The Blackhands, The Headcoatees, and The Musicians Of The British Empire)
Julie Christmas (Battle Of Mice and Made Out Of Babies)
Phil Collen (Def Leppard and Man-Raze)
Dan Friel (Parts & Labor and Solo)
Inara George (The Bird And The Bee and With Van Dyke Parks)
Holly Golightly (With The Brokeoffs and The Headcoatees)
Steve Howe (3 albums – Asia, Solo, and With Steve Howe Trio)
Jimmy Hughes (3 albums – With Vic Chesnutt, Elf Power and Folklore)
Miles Kane (The Last Shadow Puppets and The Rascals)
Kaki King (Solo and With The Mountain Goats)
Mark Lanegan (4 albums – 2 With Isobel Campbell and 2 With The Gutter Twins)
Gary Louris (With Mark Olson and Solo)
Jonathan Meiburg & Will Sheff (3 albums – Okkervil River and 2 with Shearwater, both live and studio)
Thomas Meluch (as Benoit Pioulard and With Praveen Sharma)
Peter Moren (Peter Bjorn And John and Solo)
Fabrizio Moretti (Little Joy and Megapuss)
Honey Owens (Nudge and Valet)
Amanda Palmer (The Dresden Dolls and Solo)
Robert Pollard (6 albums – 3 Solo, Boston Spaceships, Circus Devils, Psycho And The Birds)
Chris Powell (Icy Demons and Man Man)
John Reis (The Night Marchers and Rocket From The Crypt)
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (4 albums – Solo, The Mars Volta, Quintet, and With Jeremy M. Ward)
Rusty Santos (Animal Collective and The Present)
Dave Sitek (3 albums – With Scarlett Johansson, Telepathe, and TV On The Radio)
Sufjan Stevens (Solo and Welcome Wagon)
Joe Strummer (The Clash and The Future Is Unwritten)
Nick Thorburn (Human Highway and Islands)
Brendan Tobin (Made Out Of Babies and Red Sparowes)
Justin Vernon (as Bon Iver – With Land Of Talk and Solo)
Tom Waits (cover albums by Scarlett Johansson and Southside Johnny, and his Atl. concert)
Butch Walker (1969 and Solo)
Santi White (as Santogold – Solo and With Diplo)
Steven Wilson (Insurgentes and Porcupine Tree)

Fred’s Best Albums Of The Year

Amadou & Mariam
Jason Anderson
The  Baseball Project
AC Berkheimer
Black Affair
The Black Angels
The Black Hollies
Blackie & The Rodeo Kings
Black Mountain
Black Time
Bloc Party (for the 2nd year in a row)
Judge Bone & Doc Hill
Randell Bramblett
British Sea Power
Don Cavalli
The Charlatans
Claw Boys Claw
Cloud Cult
Confuse The Cat
Kevin Costner
The Cure
The Damned
Dark Meat
Dead Confederate (for the 2nd year in a row)
The Dodos
Drive By Wire
Drive-By Truckers
Earl’s Court
Electric President
Endless Boogie
Face Tomorrow
The Fall (for the 2nd year in a row)
Forward, Russia!
The Fugitive Kind
The Gaslight Anthem
The Gutter Twins
Hawksley Workman
The Hold Steady
Howlin Rain
I Was A Cub Scout
Kaiser Chiefs
Steve Kilbey
Ladyhawk (Canada)
Late Of The Pier
Left Lane Cruiser
Local H
Longwave (my most anticipated album of 2008 didn’t disappoint!)
Matt Mays & El Torpedo
My Morning Jacket
Parts & Labor
People In Planes
Polarkreis 18
Poni Hoax
Primal Scream
Principles Of Geometry
The Rascals
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (for Old Money)
Xavier Rudd
Todd Rundgren
Santogold & Diplo
Scram C Baby
Seasick Steve
Secret Machines
She Wants Revenge (for the 2nd year in a row)
Snow Patrol
Marnie Stern
Joe Strummer
Tapes ‘N Tapes
These New Puritans
Vanilla Fudge
The War On Drugs
The Wedding Present
TV On The Radio
Wild Beasts
Wild Sweet Orange
Andre Williams

Rerelease Of The Year A Place To Bury Strangers – I Know I’ll See You

Best 2008 Single From A 2007 Album

The Mary Onettes – Slow  Best 80s new wave song ever?  And by a current Swedish band!

Best Song On A Bad Album
Deerhunter – Nothing Ever Happened

Worst Band Name Of The Year Kiss The Anus Of A Black Cat

Album Cover Art Of The Year Islands – Arm’s Way O’Keefe would have been proud!

Tribute Song Of The Year Motorpsycho – The Alchemyst

A 20th-anniversary homage (but not a cover) to Teen Age Riot, off Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation album.

Reinterpretation Of The Year Foxboro Hot Tubs (aka Green Day) – Dark Side Of Night

A stunningly gorgeous take on Heart Full Of Soul by The Yardbirds.

Pastiche Of The Year Flight Of The Conchords – Inner City Pressure

Parody of West End Girls by Pet Shop Boys.  Certainly gave me a chuckle:

“You pawned everything, everything you owned.
Your tooth brush jar and a camera phone.

Counting coins on the counter of the 7/11.
From a quarter past six til a quarter to seven.
The manager, Bevin, starts to abuse me.
Hey man, I just want some muesli.

So you think maybe you’ll be a prostitute.
Just to pay for your lessons, you’re learning the flute.
Ladies wouldn’t pay you very much for this.
Looks like you’ll never be a concert flautist.

You don’t measure up to the expectation.
When you’re unemployed, there’s no vacation.
No one cares, no one sympathizes.
You just stay home and play synthesizers.”

Scariest, Most Disconcerting Song Of The Year

Evangelista – Hello, Voyager!

Explicit Song Of The Year
The Teenagers – Homecoming

Lyric Of The Year Nada Surf – Weightless

Behind every desire,
Is another one,
Waiting to be liberated
When the first one’s sated.

Most Played Oldie and Archival Performance Of The Year

Midnight Oil – The Dead Heart  A great protest song, its emotional power stands out in this thunderous performance from 2000.  Peter Garrett is 6 ft. 8 in., and his intensity and physical presence is hypnotic.  (He is now the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts in the Australian government.)  Check out the second drummer standing at the front of the stage:

And an unplugged version, with a great didgeridoo performance:

“We carry in our hearts the true country
And that cannot be stolen
We follow in the steps of our ancestry
And that cannot be broken”

Top Guilty Pleasure The Teenagers – Reality Check

Immature, lewd and mindlessly provocative, everything that’s wrong with today’s youth.  What could be more fun?

Concept Album, Double Album, Eclectic Album Of The Year

Beukorkest – Kleine Hausmeister (The Small Janitor)

Biggest Jaw-Dropping Surprise Album Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Sunday At Devil Dirt

Sounds like Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits singing the “Natural Born Killers” soundtrack.

Overall Best Album Of The Year

Andre Manuel & The Kettering Fanfare – Op Verzoek Van De Goden (At The Request Of The Gods)

Most Anticipated 2008 Release Silversun Pickups

2007 (And Earlier) Albums First Heard In 2008

Amusement Parks On Fire – post-punk – England – 2006
The Bloody Honkies – garage rock – Netherlands
The Boggs – experimental – U.S.
Vanessa Da Mata – female solo – cross-cultural – Brazil
The Dudes (not the U.S. blues rock band) – Canada – 2006
Eisley – U.S.
Eskimo Joe – Australia
Georgian Contemporary Unit (Colin Bragg of Atlanta) – experimental – Athens – 2003
Grand Avenue – post-punk – Denmark
Calvin Harris – solo – synth – Scotland
The Hoosiers – England
Junius – post-punk – U.S.
Le Loup – experimental – U.S.
Long Knives (not the Ireland Band) – Atlanta
The Mary Onettes – Sweden
Monster In The Machine – hard – U.S.
Pela – post-punk – U.S.
A Place To Bury Strangers – post-punk – U.S.
Alice Rose (not the U.S. band) – female solo – experimental – Denmark
2nd Place Driver – Netherlands
Silversun Pickups – U.S. – 2006
Spiderbait – hard – Australia – 2004
stellastarr* – post-punk – U.S. – 2005
Damion Suomi – solo – U.S.
Two Hours Traffic – Canada
White Rabbits – U.S.
White Williams (Joseph Williams) – solo – synth – U.S.

Released Outside America And On My 2007 List, Then Released In America In 2008

Air Traffic – England
Apocalyptica – symphonic metal – Finland
Kevin Ayers (of Soft Machine) – solo – England
Canadians – post-punk – Italy (my 2007 Album Of The Year)
Raine Maida (of Our Lady Peace) – solo – Canada
The Raveonettes – Denmark
The Rumble Strips – England
Stereophonics – Wales

Best of 2007 Music

January 4, 2009
Happy New Year, everyone!

Given how easy and inexpensive it has become to record and distribute music, so many albums are released every week that it is impossible for any of us to hear them all.  It dawned on me that if I organized all the good music I’ve heard this year it might be helpful to others.  So, set forth below is a list of all the artists with 2007 albums that are worth hearing.  I hope that if you already like some of these albums, you might listen to something else from the same categories.

1.  Given how difficult it is to keep all this information and music straight, I haven’t even attempted to memorize the names of the albums.  Thus, all I’ve listed is the band name, without the album title.  The internet of course makes it easy to discover the name of, and listen to, any of these 2007 albums.

2.  I haven’t done a Top 10 list for two reasons.  First, it doesn’t make sense to compare albums in different genres.  (Is it even intellectually possible to compare Sigur Ros to Neil Young?)  Second, there is so much good music in the world today that only listing 10 albums would exclude way too many worth hearing.  Face it, you could almost do a Best Of 2007 list that just included music by Broken Social Scene members.

3.  None of these albums made the list based on my hearing just one song.  I’ve listened to each album at least twice all the way through (well, not the disappointments listed at the end), and would gladly listen to each again in the future.

4.  I’ve included some categories near the end for artists older than age 40 who made their mark in the 60s, 70s, and 80s (such as Neil Young).

The bands in each category are listed in alphabetical order, and together they cover such a wide expanse of music that there is either something for everyone here, or nothing for no one.  At the bottom are my own favorites, songs of the year, and best album.  I hope you enjoy reading this, expanding your musical horizons, and discovering some great new stuff!


Bloc Party
Film School
Foreign Born
iLiKETRAiNS (not a typo)
Moving Units
The National
She Wants Revenge
Silence Is Sexy

Britain Indie

Air Traffic
Alberta Cross
Arctic Monkeys
Art Brut
The Heavy
Kaiser Chiefs
The Libertines
Manic Street Preachers
Prinzhorn Dance School (Britain’s Captain Beefheart/White Stripes)
The Rumble Strips
The Strange Death Of Liberal England
Super Furry Animals
The Tracie Hunter Band (daughter of Ian)
Voice Of The Seven Woods

Canada Indie

Arcade Fire
Cowboy Junkies
Great Lake Swimmers
Letters Letters
The Most Serene Republic
Neverending White Lights
The New Pornographers
Small Sins
Sunset Rubdown
Tokyo Police Club
We Are Wolves
You Say Party!  We Say Die!

Broken Social Scene

Apostle Of Hustle
Jason Collett
Do Make Say Think
Kevin Drew
Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton
Amy Millan
The Weakerthans

Europe Indie
(not including Britain)

Appie Kim
The Bent Moustache
Boy Ler
Club Of High Eyebrows
Creature With The Atom Brain
The Frames (the actor Glen Hansard)
Friska Viljor
Hollywood Porn Stars
Hospital Bombers (the one from the Netherlands, not the one from Britain)
John Dear Mowing Club
The Raveonettes
Reverend Beat-Man (Surreal Folk Blues Gospel Trash)
Shout Out Louds
A Silent Express
Stockholm Syndrome (the one from Denmark, not the one from Athens, GA)
The Thrills

Australia/New Zealand

Architecture In Helsinki
Sarah Blasko
Grinderman (aka Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds)
Ben Lee
Shocking Pinks


Black Lips
Dead Confederate
Manchester Orchestra
The Whigs

U.S. Indie

The Apples In Stereo
The A-Sides
Band Of Horses
Bear Hands
Blonde Redhead
Bright Eyes
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Coconut Records (the actor Jason Schwartzman)
Dinosaur Jr.
The Fiery Furnaces
Future Clouds And Radar
The Intelligence
Les Savy Fav
Louis XIV
Meat Puppets
Minus The Bear
Modest Mouse (Johnny Marr of The Smiths)
The New Amsterdams
The Owls
The Peekers
The Polyphonic Spree
Matt Pond PA
Portugal. The Man
The Rentals (Matt Sharp of Weezer)
Rilo Kiley
Robbers On High Street
Rogue Wave
Satellite Party (Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction)
The Shins
Tacks, The Boy Disaster (Evan Jacobs of The Polyphonic Spree)
VHS Or Beta

U.S. Alt-Country/Southern Rock

Ryan Adams
Bo Bice (first-ever good album by any American Idol singer)
Neko Case
Collective Soul
Steve Earle
Kings Of Leon
Th’ Legendary Shack*Shakers
Oakley Hall
Okkervil River
Kid Rock
The Silver Seas
Southern Culture On The Skids
State Radio

U.S. Psych-Folk/Experimental

Animal Collective
Alaska In Winter
Blitzen Trapper
The Book Of Knots (Tony Maimone of Pere Ubu)
Drug Rug
Dust Galaxy
Holler, Wild Rose!
Joanna Newsome
Mariee Sioux
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
West Indian Girl
Wooden Shjips

U.S. Hard Rock/Garage Rock

The Detroit Cobras
Electric Six
Explosions In The Sky
Idiot Pilot
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Juliette & The Licks (the actress Juliette Lewis)
Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
Monster Magnet
Queens Of The Stone Age
Sixx:A.M. (Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue)
Smashing Pumpkins
Velvet Revolver
The White Stripes


The Bongolian
Carbon/Silicon (Mick Jones of The Clash and Tony James of Generation X)
Caribou (Dan Snaith)
Findel (Bart Van Dalen)
Holy F**k
Kenna (Kenna Zemedkun)
Maps (James Chapman)
Mobius Band
My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult
The Oscillation
Sigur Ros
Von Sudenfed (Mark E. Smith of The Fall)

Male Solo

Brett Anderson (of Suede)
Billy Childish
Bonnie “Prince” Billy (Will Oldham)
Rivers Cuomo (of Weezer)
Albert Hammond, Jr. (of The Strokes)
Ed Harcourt
Richard Hawley
Kid Harpoon (Tom Hull)
Jens Lekman
Raine Maida (of Our Lady Peace)
Miracle Fortress (Graham Van Pelt)
The Nightwatchman (Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine)
“Once” Movie Soundtrack (Glen Hansard of The Frames)
John Ralston
Josh Rouse
Sea Wolf (Alex Church)
Simple Kid (Ciaran McFeely)
The Subhuman (Stefan Breuer)
Richard Swift
Teddy Thompson (son of Richard and Linda)
Patrick Watson
Tim Williams
Dan Wilson

Female Solo

Tori Amos
Nicole Atkins
Pieta Brown
Minnie Driver
A Fine Frenzy (Alison Sudol)
Amy Macdonald
Brisa Roche
St. Vincent (Annie Clark of The Polyphonic Spree)


Evans Blue
Finger Eleven
Stone Sour


Coheed & Cambria
Dream Theater
Porcupine Tree

Europe SymphonicMetal


SO Last Century (over-40 artists) – good, worthy, interesting, “I’m glad they’re still around” albums

Kevin Ayers (Soft Machine)
Bad Brains
Bad Religion
John Cale
Ry Cooder
Dave Davies (The Kinks, brother of Ray)
Ray Davies (The Kinks, brother of Dave)
Einsturzende Neubauten
Fairport Convention
The Fleshtones
Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode)
Levon Helm (The Band, first album since throat cancer)
Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople, father of Tracie)
Iggy And The Stooges
Alvin Lee (Ten Years After)
Nick Lowe (Rockpile)
The Mekons
Mountain (loudest Dylan cover album ever?)
Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices)
Siouxsie Sioux (Banshees)
Skinny Puppy
Patti Smith
Bruce Springsteen
Mavis Staples (The Staple Singers)
Status Quo
Stephen Stills
Richard Thompson (Fairport Convention, ex-husband of Linda, father of Teddy)
Throbbing Gristle
Steve Vai
Robert Wyatt (Soft Machine)
Neil Young

SO Last Century (over-40 artists) – dull, boring, poor, “why did they even bother?” albums

Barenaked Ladies
Beastie Boys
Frank Black (Pixies)
Bon Jovi
David Byrne (Talking Heads)
Belinda Carlisle (The Go-Gos)
Crowded House
The Cult
Duran Duran
Melissa Etheridge
Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music)
John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Deborah Harry (Blondie)
Colin Hay (Men At Work)
Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)
Annie Lennox (Eurythmics)
Paul McCartney
John Mellencamp
Joni Mitchell
Eddie Money
Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)
Nine Inch Nails
Ted Nugent
Ozzy Osbourne
Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)
Public Enemy
Lou Reed
Brian Setzer (The Stray Cats)
The Smithereens
They Might Be Giants
Linda Thompson (ex-wife of Richard, mother of Teddy)
Suzanne Vega
Ann Wilson (Heart)

Unlistenable Live Albums

Jimmy Buffett
The Doors

Most Overrated And Boring Indie Band
– Tegan and Sara

Most Disappointing Album – P.J. Harvey

Fred’s Top Albums – Collectively, they made 2007 a stunning year for music.

Bloc Party
The Book Of Knots
John Cale (for both 2007 albums, Stainless Gamelan and Circus)
Dave Davies
Dead Confederate
Dinosaur Jr.
Einsturzende Neubauten
The Fiery Furnaces
Film School
Foreign Born
The Frames
Holler, Wild Rose!
Th’ Legendary Shack*Shakers
Jens Lekman
Manchester Orchestra
The Most Serene Republic
Moving Units
The National
Oakley Hall
Prinzhorn Dance School
She Wants Revenge
Silence Is Sexy
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
Bruce Springsteen
Mavis Staples
The Strange Death Of Liberal England
The White Stripes
Neil Young

Songs Of The Year

John Cale – At About This Time Mozart Was Dead And Joseph Conrad Was Sailing The …
Dave Davies – Rock Siva
Editors – An End Has A Start/Smokers Outside The Hospital Door
Einsturzende Neubauten – Ich Warte
Film School – Sick Hipster Nursed By Suicide Girl
iLiKETRAiNS – Spencer Perceval
Interpol – The Heinrich Maneuver
Linkin Park – No More Sorrow
The Most Serene Republic – Why So Looking Back
Sigur Ros – Hljomalind
Silence Is Sexy – Sympathy
Bruce Springsteen – Radio Nowhere
Stars – Take Me To The Riot
The White Stripes – Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn/St. Andrew (This Battle Is In The Air)
Neil Young – Ordinary People

The John Cale song, At About This Time Mozart …, is an obvious precursor to the Velvet Underground, and thus this song is a foundational cornerstone of much of the cutting-edge music released ever since.

Rerelease Of The Year

Arcade Fire – No Cars Go.  Initially included on their self-titled first album, then released again this year on Neon Bible, their 3rd album.  (2004’s Funeral was their second release, not their first.)  This is an absolutely thunderous version of No Cars Go from 2005, with an ending like the roar of a jet engine:

Best Song On A Bad Album Jimmy Eat World – Big Casino

Best Song On No Album Nada Surf – See These Bones

Worst Song On A Good Album The White Stripes – You Don’t Know What Love Is

Most Played Oldie Buffalo Springfield – On The Way Home/Rock And Roll Woman

Top Guilty Pleasure

Linkin Park – Minutes To Midnight  Their first two albums left me feeling bludgeoned.  This one doesn’t – it is dynamic, varied, and an incredible sonic experience.  No joke, this album is the acme, the zenith, of its genre.

Biggest Jaw-Dropping Surprise Album

The Fall – Reformation Post T.L.C.  Churning, unyielding, and absolutely mesmerizing.  Why such a surprise?  Mark E. Smith turned 50 this year, and how many bands produce their best work 30 years into their career?

Best Romantic Date/Male-Female Duet Album

Stars – In Our Bedroom After The War  A slow-burner that grows on you – like a great relationship!

Overall Album Of The Year

In a year with so much great music coming from Canada, it seems only fitting that the best album of 2007 is A Sky With No Stars by the band Canadians.  How ironic, then, that they are from Italy, not Canada, and how unexpected, since in 30 years of listening to cutting-edge stuff, I’ve never heard anything from Italy.

Most Anticipated 2008 Release

Longwave – Until it comes out, listen to their 2003 and 2005 albums!