There are only 5 because that's all the room the Racquette could afford!
Emilyn Brodsky – Greatest Tits
Eclectic New York City songwriter and self-proclaimed cupcake punk Emilyn Brodsky won my heart this year with her first official CD release, Greatest *its. Written over a long period of time, she finally transformed her quiet ukulele tunes into rambunctious, fully fleshed out songs. The lyrics are poignant, sassy and cute. Her backup band is a sort of “who’s who” of the New York indie music scene, and talent abounds.
Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
Perhaps the most appealing thing to me about this album is how clearly it hearkens back to Paul Simon’s Graceland (1986). It’s got the catchiest hooks of the year; almost every song is infectuous. Part of the interest evoked from the album is in its diverse instrumentation, including ethnic drums, clean electric guitar sound, and a ubiquitous mellow keyboard sound.
Girl Talk – Feed the Animals
Although Greg Gillis simply borrows samples and mashes them together to make something new, this is one of the most original albums of the year. In the all-inclusive dance party that is Feed the Animals you can get your groove on to everything from T.I. to Twisted Sister, from Radiohead to Jay-z. It’s the perfect party album.
Dr. Dog – Fate
I was introduced to this album late in the year, but was instantly won over by the Beach Boys-esque harmonies and Beatles-esque hooks. Throw in the occasional grooving beat and you’ve got something worth 100 listens. This band uses timeless formulas that work.
The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
It would be out of character for me to leave my favorite rock ‘n’ roll band off of my top albums list. The band makes their intentions clear from the get-go with “Constructive Summer,” a song about making things happen, that defined my summer and beyond. With riff after riff and more of Craig Finn’s almost-indulgent storytelling, Stay Positive is a 2008 standout. This album has yet to leave my car stereo.
Albums I had to reluctantly cut: Fleet Foxes, O'Death, The Last Shadow Puppets, The So So Glos, The Spinto Band, Super XX Man, Noah and the Whale, Okkervil River, The Mountain Goats, The Miniature Tigers, Blitzen Trapper.