My list: The Top 5 albums of the year…

As I am officially not a music critic anymore but a wannabe (has-been? Wanna-not-be?), I don’t feel the compulsion to share my top 10 albums of the year with you, in carefully decided order.

As a person with a massive ego, however, I would like to give you my top five in no order, plus a mess of honorable mention… ready, here goes:

My Top 5 Albums of 2008:


  • For Emma, Forever Ago, Bon Iver: Like a lot of top 10 critical favorites this year, the album by Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver, has been passed from publication to publication, blog to blog, as writers search for words like soulful, impassioned, etc. In this case, it’s well-deserved.
  • m83Saturdays=Youth, M83: A beautiful throwback album, not so much the music but the feeling. A joyous collection – and I can’t get Kim & Jessie out of my head right now.
  • standinsThe Stand-Ins, Okkervil River: Can Will Sheff make a misstep right now? Not musically anyway. I can’t speak for any other facet of his life.
  • saadiqThe Way I See It, Raphael Saadiq: Brilliant on so many levels, mostly as a celebration of what makes good soul music great.
  • dearscienceDear Science, TV On The Radio: People call My Morning Jacket America’s Radiohead. Wrong. MMJ is America’s U2 (Unforgettable Fire-style). TVOTR is America’s Radiohead – they make the most experimental stuff sound amazing.

Honorable Mention:

  • Attack & Release, Black Keys
  • In Ghost Colours, Cut Copy
  • Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, Drive-By Truckers
  • Feed The Animals, Girl Talk
  • Stay Positive, The Hold Steady
  • Asking For Flowers, Kathleen Edwards
  • Only By The Night, Kings Of Leon
  • Hold on Now, Youngster, Los Campesinos!
  • Oracular Spectacular, MGMT
  • Evil Urges, My Morning Jacket
  • Consolers of the Lonely, The Raconteurs
  • Parallel Play, Sloan
  • Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend
  • You and Me, The Walkmen
  • The Week That Was, The Week That Was
  • Alopecia, Why?

Choice concerts: Smokin’ southern stuff

Drive-By Truckers, Revolution, Sept. 12

Drive-by Truckers play Saturday in Lauderdale.
Drive-by Truckers play Saturday in Lauderdale.

It’s been a time of transition for Drive-By Truckers, who are now without one of their guitarists/songwriters/singers, Jason Isbell. (I talked about it here.)

But clearly the band has moved on and turned in another outstanding album, Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, the eighth album by this Athens, Ga.-based quintet. The songs of Patterson Hood and Mike Cooley are more obviously at the forefront, but there are three songs by bassist Shonna Tucker that fit in nicely.

The band is a superb live act — I had seen them at Langerado already and they were excellent then. Each band member plays off the next in fine fashion.

Check out “A Ghost to Most”:

Also this week: Suenalo at City Limits in Delray on Friday, while Galactic’s awesome drummer, Stanton Moore, brings his own trio to the Delray spot on Sunday … If you’ve got a hankering to wander, check out Gainesville’s weekend-long The Real Big Deal, which features Drive-by Truckers, Stanton Moore, Margot & The Nuclear So-and-Sos, Benevento/Russo Duo, Motion City Soundtrack, Mates of State, Explorers Club and more.