It’s always hard to select your favorite records of the year. My list will include loyal companions no matter which year they were released and are in no particular order:
The Decemberists - The Hazards Of Love: fantastic rock opera. It takes time but then, it gets you. Listen: The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Full Moon Fever: at one point this year, I listened to this record for two weeks straight. Listen: Free Fallin’
Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More: revelation of the year. Like Bijan said: this album is pure fun, discovered them on SoundCloud.
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - s/t: I first heard them in February and knew they’d end up on my list. Listen: Young Adult Friction.
Get Well Soon - Rest Now, Weary Head: both the album and EP were released in 08 but I completely missed them. This is Germany’s best band and they’re releasing a new record in January. From the album: If This Head Is Missing, I’ve Gone Hunting and from the EP: It’s Just Friendly Fire.
Phantogram - Eyelid Movies: Both Bat For Lashes and The Xx got all the hype but Phantogram is making my list. Listen: When I’m Small.
Blacklist - Midnight Of The Century: putting some dark into this list. My long-time friend from Brooklyn, Glenn, plays the drums in Blacklist and there’s so much The Cult, Joy Division and early U2 in this record. My album of the summer. Listen: Flight Of The Demoiselles.
Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard - Music from Kerouac’s Big Sur: introduced to me by Bijan, I wish I’d have had that album with me when I took the Highway 1 from LA to San Francisco passing Big Sur in April of this year. Great memories. Listen: California Zephyr.
Neil McSweeney - Shoreline: another SoundCloud discovery, Neil recorded, produced and released this record all by himself. Listen: Side To The Sun.
The Builders And The Butchers - Salvation Is A Deep Dark Well: Folk on steroids. Just like the Mumfords, this album makes me want to pull an all-nighter with my friends. Listen: Black Dresses.
Great Late Swimmers - Lost Channels: very late addition courtesy by GCN’s list.
Reverend And The Makers - A French Kiss In The Chaos: Silence Is Talking is such a monster of an opening track. John McClure is Alex Turner’s (Arctic Monkeys) mentor.
Conor Oberst - Outer South: great record but it didn’t quite make the main list. Listening now, I wonder why I haven’t spent much more time with it. Listen: Spoiled.
The Helio Sequence - Keep Your Eyes Ahead: another one I missed in 2008 and only discovered this year. Listen: Can’t Say No.
I’ve put together a playlist with each of the above songs and for some albums, a couple more. Click here to check it out.
Last but not least, The National, Sigur Ros and Johnny Cash’s American series always are great records to turn back to.