TOP LISTS (2008)

Janne Bridget

Samae (Sister Flo)


1. Langhorne Slim: S/T (Kemado, 2008)

It was a year of Langhorne Slim for me and his second album quite easily takes the album of the year award. He is a great vocalist and a marvellous songwriter. I love every minute of the album. Sometimes it's reckless and energic country-folk-blues and sometimes it's confessional and beautiful folk music. The songs are able to be both passionate and small at the same time. It's just a damn convincing little record that will always have place in this heart of mine.

Langhorne Slim at myspace

Music videos:

Rebel Side Of Heaven
In The Midnight (not on the new album)

Acoustic sessions:

Be Set Free (not on the new album)
I Love You, But Goodbye (not on the new album)
2. Goodnight Monsters: Summer Challenge (Bone Voyage, 2008)

I was instantly hooked when this came out in the summer. Now the summer has faded away, but Goodnight Monsters have kept their charm. A delightful album and it has proved to be impossible to feel miserable while listening to it. And believe me when I say that i'm excellent at being miserable. It's one of the few things I'm really good at. However, Goodnight Monsters can take my skills away and force me to be happy. I think I should see this as a positive thing and I do. Summer Challenge is a fabulous little pop record.

Goodnight Monsters Website
Goodnight Monsters at myspace
3. Mark Olson & Gary Louris: Ready For The Flood (New West, 2008)

Mark Olson & Gary Louris back together is a dream come true. Therefore I also thought that this album will turn out to be a dissapointment. I mean how could they ever reach these skyhigh expectations of mine? Just a good album wouldn't do, it would have to be close to perfect. Well I don't know how they did it, but they sure lived up to the expectations. Ok, Ready For The Flood might not hit the level of The Jayhawks' golden years but it does come pretty close and it is a really wonderful album. Amazingly beautiful music and oh how I love those voices. And I admit that on an emotional level, it feels better to listen to Mark Olson & Gary Louris together than their solo albums.

Mark Olson & Gary Louris at myspace
4. Old Crow Medicine Show: Tennessee Pusher (Nettwerk, 2008)

It seems that I've turned into a hillbilly that mostly listens to bluegrass and traditional american music. Therefore Old Crow Medicine Show's latest album Tennessee Pusher ticked all the right boxes in my heart and is still monstrously highly regarded here at headquarters.

Old Crow Medicine Show Website
Old Crow Medicine Show at myspace
5. The Gaslight Anthem: The '59 Sound (Side One Dummy, 2008)

This was exhaustingly great record. Sometimes it feels that they've written that same song twelve times, but even then one has to admit that the song itself is damn brilliant. A bit more variety and The '59 Sound might have battled for the album of the year award, but there's no need to complain now either. It's a great record.

The Gaslight Anthem Website
The Gaslight Anthem at myspace

6. Chatham County Line: IV (Yep Roc, 2008)

Chatham County Line's The Carolinian was by far the best song of the year and this album wasn't much worse eventhough there's a couple of fillers on it. However, the finest half of the album is so absolutely stunning that it lifts this above some albums that might be a little better as a whole.

Chatham County Line Website
Chatham County Line at myspace

7. NQ Arbuckle: XOK (Six Shooter Records, 2008)

This was a last minute entry. I bought XOK last week, but I've already fallen in love with it. Maybe it should be even a little higher (as #4) on this list, because at the moment I'm totally addicted to it. NQ Arbuckle is a canadian / folk rock group led by Neville Quinlan and this is already their third album. Yours truly will definitely buy the older ones as well, because this is very convincing material.

NQ Arbuckle at myspace

Sun's Hanging Low (music video from older album, but this is equally great)

8. Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson: Rattlin' Bones (Sugar Hill, 2008)

Surprisingly the list continues with a country album. I know, I probably should change the name to One Honk To Another, but what can I do. This excellent album reached number #1 on australian album charts which is a further proof that people down under sure know good music when they hear it. After this album, I've tried their solo material, but those does seem a bit suspicous to me. However, this duo album is a really wonderful album. Surely it's on the safer and radio friendlier side of country music, but there's still enough edges and rough corners.

Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson Website

Rattlin' Bones (music video)
Monkey On A Wire (music video)

9. Sloan: Parallel Play (Yep Roc, 2008)

Sloan's latest album Parallel Play was one of my summer soundtracks and I've listened to it an awfully lot. It's not the best album of their great career (might be in top 3 though), but it sure is another great one. Cheap Champagne was one of the songs of the year and Sloan is still one of my favourite bands in the world.

Sloan Website
Sloan at myspace

Believe In Me (music video)
10. The Explorers Club: Freedom Wind (Dead Oceans, 2008)

Where's my surfboard? The Beach Boys are back in town. The Explorers Club sound almost ridicilously lot like The Beach Boys and that might be too much for some. I couldn't care less, because they just capture this sound perfectly. It's so wonderfully crafted and beautifully arranged music that even the cynics have to rip up those hate mails they've written before hearing the record and end up sending a cushing love letter instead. Oh..and the harmonies are obviously truly amazing.

The Explorers Club at myspace

Do You Love Me? (music video, I'm not sure is this a great video or f*** terrible video, but the song is fantastic)
11. Justin Rutledge: Man Descending (Six Shooter Records, 2008)

Justin Rutledge is a canadian country singer-songwriter and I've been a big fan since the debut album. Man Descending is his third album and it's full of serene, easy-flowing and poetic country / folk songs. It's heartwarming and amazingly beautiful. Only minor problem is that in an album lenght this starts to get even too peaceful. A great album nevertheless.

Justin Rutledge Website
Justin Rutledge at myspace

Minidoc/interview about the album

12. Anssi 8000 & Maria Stereo: Duel (Bone Voyage, 2008)

This was one of the surprises of the year and I totally fell in love with this lo-fi rock'n'roll album. It's just damn enjoyable and blissfully twisted album. Totally irresistable material and Duel is a hit record. However, It doesn't hit the charts, it hits your heart.

Anssi 8000 & Maria Stereo Website
Anssi 8000 & Maria Stereo at myspace
13. Matthew Sweet: Sunshine Lies (Shout Factory, 2008)

First I though this was just okay, but I was totally wrong. It's actually pretty fantastic. Ok, It may contain a few songs that are not that great, but it doesn't matter much because one also gets half a dozen perfect pop songs. Sunshine Lies is not Matthew Sweet's greatest album, but it does prove that this pop guru is still going strong and still has plenty to offer. And I still love him.

Matthew Sweet Website
Matthew Sweet at myspace
14. The Disciplines: Smoking Kills (Voices of Wonder, 2008)

This wasn't the most innovative release of the year, but this sure was a whole lot of fun. Ken Stringfellow and his norwegian compatriots put together a really strong debut album. Full of great rock songs and it's always so great to hear Ken singing his heart out.

The Disciplines Website

The Disciplines at myspace
15. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals: Cardinology (Lost Highway, 2008)

There's not a year without a new album from Ryan Adams. Cardinology is another strong addition to his catalogue, but I wouldn't rank it among his finest albums. I think I would rank it somewhere in the middle, if I needed to put his albums in order. This doesn't mean it's a bad album. Ryan Adams is such an amazing talent that a good Ryan Adams album would be a masterpiece for someone else. And for me this is a good Ryan Adams album.

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals Website

Ryan Adams at myspace


16. Jolly Jumpers: Fantom Zone (Tug, 2008)

I would have liked to love this even more than I actually do, because Jolly Jumpers is one of the best bands in wait.. on the planet. But don't get me wrong, I think Fantom Zone is a great album, but for me it just doesn't quite reach the hights of their finest moments. However, just like in Ryan's case, even not-the-greatest Jolly Jumpers album still easily beats 99.9% of the music that's being released.

Jolly Jumpers Website
Jolly Jumpers at myspace

17. Boomhauer: River Run Deep (Stupido, 2008)

Boomhauer's live performances are still the best way to enjoy their music, but these albums are pretty great as well. This one would be worth buying just for the song Ways To Feel Better where Saku sounds a lot like mr Dean Wareham. Obviously that is not the only highlight on River Run Deep. It's full of great material.

Boomhauer Website
Boomhauer at myspace
18. Gentleman Jesse & His Men: S/T (Douchemaster, 2008)

This list needs some power pop and Gentleman Jesse & His Men provide great 70's-influenced power pop with a hefty doze of punk. Maybe seven inch single would be the optimal format for Gentleman Jesse & His Men, but this does work surprisingly well also on a full-length CD. All I Need Tonight (Is You) is a stunning song. Very simple, but catchy as hell.

Gentleman Jesse & His Men at myspace

19. Bonnie "Prince" Billy: Lie Down in The Light (Drag City, 2008)

I had lost touch with Bonnie "Prince" Billy, but then I heard this plaing at 8raita record store and was instantly hooked. This soft, warm and beautiful music easily found my heart and I think Lie Down In The Light is one of his finest albums.

Bonnie Prince Billy Website
Bonnie Prince Billy at myspace

20. Hundred Million Martians: Marseille (Plastic Passion, 2008)

Hundred Million Martians was back in form with this excellent album Marseille. Especially Backseat Of Your Soul and Passed were really fantastic songs and the whole album was damn enjoyable.

Hundred Million Martians Website
Hundred Million Martians at myspace

21. Drive-By Truckers: Brighter Than Creation's Dark (New West, 2008)

This "country monster" by Drive-By Truckers contained a huge amount of marvellous songs, but maybe this 19 songs package was a slightly too ambitious effort for me. With minor editing it might well have reached my top 10, but now it has to settle for a place just outside the top 20. Truly fabulous stuff during it's finest hour (literally) though.

Drive-By Truckers Website
Drive-By Truckers at myspace


22. Vetiver: Thing Of The Past (Fat Cat, 2008)

I'm usually against cover albums and usually I don't buy them nor add them to lists like this. However, this album is so heartwarmingly beautiful and marvellous in every possible way that it needs to be included. First of all, the song selections are excellent and introduce amazing songs that I haven't heard. Secondly, the versions are absolutely wonderful and make me want to find the original songs and get to know the artists that wrote them. A really great album, but still I managed to be a complete dick and didn't put it further up. Qualitywise it probably should have battled for a top 10 spot, but still my brain keeps telling me that it's a cover record and it shouldn't be that high.

Vetiver Website
Vetiver at myspace

23. Hello Saferide: More Modern Short Stories From.. (Razzia Records, 2008)

This is a great album, but being a huge Hello Saferide fan and after completely fallen in love with that first music video Anna, I admit that I expected something out of this world and therefore this felt like a minor dissapointment. After climbing over that dissapointment, it's easy to see that this is a pretty great album even if it isn't that modern classic I hoped it to be. Annika is a fantastic storyteller and especially I Wonder Who Is Like This One and Anna are marvellous songs.

Hello Saferide Website

Hello Saferide at myspace

Music videos:

Anna (watch this, it's amazing. Funny and completely f**** devastating at the same time)

X Telling Me About The Loss Of Somehing Dear, At Age 16
24. This Is Ivy League: S/T (Twenty Seven Records, 2008)

As you may have noticed, I've kind of lost touch with indie pop and there aren't many indie pop albums on the list. I should maybe look at other people's lists and pick some of the finest discs early next year. Despite all this, This Is Ivy League already managed to caught my eye and thankfully so. This is a great album that reminds me of Kings Of Convenience.

This Is Ivy League Website
This Is Ivy League at myspace

London Bridges (music video)
25. Giant Sand: ProVISIONS (Yep Roc, 2008)

Ok, enough with that happiness. Let's get back to gloomy and depressive stuff. Giant Sand's latest album was a really great one eventhough it was a bit too long..or all my favourite songs were in the beginning. During the first eight songs this is almost a perfect album, but for some reason I don't care that much about the rest of the album. Still eight great songs is a pretty decent amount and I should and can be happy about that.

Giant Sand Website
Giant Sand at myspace

26. Robert Forster: The Evangelist (Yep Roc, 2008)

The world lost a great man and a great songwriter when Grant McLennan passed away few years ago, but thankfully his songwriting partner Robert Forster continues making music. The Evangelist was a really good album with some stunning and touching moments like Demon Days.

Robert Forster Website
27. The Lucksmiths: First Frost (Lost and Lonesome, 2008)

The Lucksmiths returned with another really good album. I don't think First Frost is their greatest album, but the quality is still there. That country-flavoured male-female duet Lament Of The Chiming Wedgebill was the highlight for me, but there are only really good songs on the album. That might actually be the only negative thing as well. The fact that there's only really good songs. Meaning that while all the songs are really good, only a few of them manages to rise into something truly magical.

The Lucksmiths at myspace
The Lucksmiths Website
28. The Hold Steady: Stay Positive (Rough Trade, 2008)

I liked the beginning and I loved the ending of the record, but somewhere along the way (well during tracks 4-7 to be more precise) I lost interested for a while. That's why The Hold Steady doesn't deserve a higher spot eventhough Stay Positive contains fantastic songs like Slapped Actress, Magazines, Joke About Jamaica..

The Hold Steady Website
The Hold Steady at myspace
29. Tapes: Aloha!

Tapes returned with a great second album. I don't like the last two songs on it, but other than that it's a great record with some of his finest songs. One wonderful thing about Aloha! is that it is versatile. There's very different kind of material on the album, but still it manages to work beautifully as a whole. Well done.

Tapes Website
Tapes at myspace

30. Daisy: It's About Time (Elements Music, 2008)

Daisy's rock odyssea through time and space turned out to be a fabulous pop journey through my heart. An album full of great pop songs. Some of them might seem a bit suspicious and uncooler than vyölaukku at first, but if you look at the mirror, you notice that you're actually singing along.

Daisy Website
Daisy at myspace

31. The Felice Brothers: S/T (Loose Records, 2008)

Frankie's Gun! was one of the greatest songs of the year, but as a whole this was just a little bit weaker than their wonderful album Tonight At The Arizona. Great stuff nevertheless.

The Felice Brothers Website
The Felice Brothers at myspace
32. Tokela & Hoedown: Honky Tonk Merry-Go-Round (Mufarang, 2008)

Because I included Vetiver, I also have to include this other great "cover album". Okay, that term cover album sounds a bit downgrading, because this is such a great album. Tokela & Hoedown provides really convincing versions of old country, rockabilly, blues and rock songs. A great roots album from start to finish.

Tokela & Hoedown at myspace
Tokela & Hoedown Website
33. Lambchop: Oh (Ohio) (City Slang, 2008)

I think this is a good solid Lambchop album. Eventhough this didn't hit the jackpot, their routine level is higher than someone else's very best and therefore this Oh (Ohio) is indeed a really good album. I admit that I had higher hopes, but how can I complain if I like everything I hear?

Lambchop Website
Lambchop at myspace

34. Calexico: Carried To Dust (City Slang, 2008)

Calexico is a good next choice, because I have basicly exactly same feelings than in Lambchop's case. Carried To Dust is not a dissapointment, but it also doesn't reach the heights of their finest work. It's just solid goodness from one of the greatest bands in the world. The News About Williams is absolutely wonderful though.

Calexico Website
Calexico at myspace

35. She & Him: Volume One (Merge Records, 2008)

She (Zooey Deschanel) & Him (M. Ward) made a charming old-fashioned album that was full of great songs. Mix classic pop, country moods, 60's girl groups, some soul and a hint of americana and you might get somewhere close. I'm looking forward to Volume Two.

She & Him Website
She & Him at myspace
36. The Quarter After: Changes Near (Committee To Keep Music Evil, 2008)

It's kind of hard not to love an album if the vocalist sounds like Gene Clark and you can hear the psychedelic side of The Byrds and the No Other -era Gene Clark on the album. And yes, I do love Changes Near. There are some weaker tunes as well and that's why this didn't climb any higher, but the finest bunch of songs are just incredible.

The Quarter After Website
The Quarter Afte at myspace
37. Jessica Lea Mayfield: With Blasphemy So Heartfelt (Polymer, 2008)

Jessica Lea Mayfield is a really talented singer-songwriter. She's actually only 19-years old, but she is already capable of writing a great album. She writes very honest, intimate and sad folk/country songs that really grab your attention. It's kind of like folkier Hope Sandoval. All the songs aren't perfect, but the ones that are go deeper than any doctor could reach.

Jessica Lea Mayfield at myspace
Jessica Lea Mayfield Website
38. Fleet Foxes: S/T (Sub Pop, 2008)

You might think that this should be a lot higher, but this wasn't that important to me on a personal level. And there can't be any other levels that should make a difference when making my own list. It's a great album though. I like it a lot and sometimes even love it. Tiger Mountain Peasant Song for example is absolutely stunning. Stylewise it just isn't exactly my cup of tea. Man + guitar + sad whining is closer to me. Oh, and I have to mention the singing. The best part of this album is definitely the wondeful singing.

Fleet Foxes at myspace


39. Frida Hyvönen: Silence Is Wild (Secretly Canadian, 2008)

Might be a slightly surprising choice. I might not listen to this kind of music a lot, but everytime I put this on, I notice that I love her music. For example Science and Sic Transit Gloria are such an amazing songs. Sometimes this feels like the greatest record in the world and because of those moments, Silence Is Wild deserves a place on this list more than some albums that might have gotten more airplay in this household.

Frida Hyvönen Website
Frida Hyvönen at myspace


40. Fatboy: In My Bones (Fat State, 2008)

This was the real last minute entry. I had this list half ready when I bought this a couple of days ago. It was clear that I loved this so much that it needs to be on the list, but how can I decide where to put it. So I decided that it will be the last entry to this list. Currently it feels like it maybe should be somewhere around 21-30, but I'll just leave it here, because I haven't formed a final opinion yet. Wonderfull stuff definitely. It doesn't hurt to have a bit of rockabilly in my record collection as well.

Fatboy Website
Fatboy at myspace


That's it. I bought about 95 albums that were released this year (maybe I shouldn't be too happy about not breaking 100 mark this year, because I know that eventually I will). Bubbling under section is therefore rather large, because I think I liked about 80 of those albums and about 60 of them were good enough to be on this list. I think I was pretty sure about 38 of these albums, but on another day Frida and Fleet Foxes could have been changed to something else and I would be as happy with the list. Oh.. and I still don't own some probably great albums like Pas/Cal, Hi-Lo & In Between, Arthur Russell..

TOP 50 Songs

This list will also grow on a daily basis. I loved these all, but still Chatham County Line's The Carolinian was the greatest song of the year by a long mile. Otherwise the order of the songs in not important and I haven't spent ages thinking is this perfect song better than the other perfect song.

1. Chatham County Line: The Carolinian
2. Langhorne Slim: Restless
3. Goodnight Monsters: Drifting
4. The Felice Brothers: Frankie's Gun!
5. Boomhauer: Ways To Feel Better
6. Sloan: Cheap Champagne
7. Gentleman Jesse & His Men: All I Need Tonight (Is You)
8. Langhorne Slim: Colette
9. NQ Arbuckle: Mincing Words
10. Justin Townes Earle: Lone Pine Hill
11. The Gaslight Anthem: Miles Davis & The Cool
12. The Explorers Club: Do You Love Me?
13. Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson: Rattlin' Bones
14. The Hold Steady: Slapped Actress
15. Old Crow Medicine Show: Motel In Memphis
16. Robert Forster: Demon Days
17. Calexico: The News About William
18. Hello Saferide: Anna
19. The Disciplines: Yours For The Taking
20. Anssi 8000 & Maria Stereo: Bad Moon Set
21. Jonathan Richman: When We Refuse To Suffer
22. Chatham County Line: Birmingham Jail
23. Drive-By Truckers: Ghost To Most
24. The Avett Brothers: Murder In The City
25. Mark Olson & Gary Louris: Turn Your Pretty Name Around
26. The Draytones: Turn It Down
27. Frida Hyvönen: Science
28. Fleet Foxes: Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
29. Bonnie Prince Billy: Glory Goes
30. Hundred Million Martians: Backseat Of Your Soul

TOP 3 Little Records
Only top 3 this year, because it seems that I have only about 7 of these and it seems a bit pointless to list all of them. I seem to be an album person.

1. The Avett Brothers: The Gleam II (Ramseur Records, 2008)

The Avett Brothers might well be my favourite band in the world at the moment and eventhough this wasn't their finest release, it's still worth of all the hearts in the world. Really looking forward to the major label debut, hopefully due out sometime in 2009.

The Avett Brothers Website
The Avett Brothers at myspace

2. The Zebras: New Ways Of Risking Our Lives (Lost and Lonesome, 2008)

This australian pop group finally released something new after the excellent Worry A Lot album. The quality remained the same and this was a wonderful EP.

The Zebras at myspace


3. Ken Stringfellow: The Sellout Covers Vol 1 (Sellout!, 2008)

Not the greatest release by Mr. Ken Stringfellow, but worthy of buying even just because of his beautiful take on Judee Sill's Crayon Angels.

Ken Stringfellow Website
Ken Stringfellow at myspace

TOP 5 Retro
1. The Nerves: One Way Ticket (Alive Records, 2008)

Ok, this might not be the greatest as a whole, because most of the live outtakes and demos have rather crappy sounds. However, the original Nerves EP and the other studio material is obviously pure gold and When You Find Out is probably the greatest song ever. That's why this takes the first spot.

2. Matthews Southern Comfort: Later That Same Year (Bgo, 2008)

I fell in love with Ian Matthews during the year and I'm slowly picking up his albums. This reissue of the the third Matthews Southern Comfort album is so far my favorite Ian Matthews album. Obviously I'm just starting out, but it will be rather hard to beat this one.


3. Nick Lowe: Jesus Of Cool (Yep Roc, 2008)

Nick Lowe's classic is a must have album for any power pop fan and the reissue was beautiful. Someone should also reissue some of his other albums, because those are not that easy to find.


4. The Summer Suns: Greatest (House Of Wax, 2008)

This compilation was a really welcome release, because it was too difficult to find these songs anywhere. The Summer Suns was a truly wonderful australian jangly pop band and hopefully this release gave them the recognition they deserve.


5. Dennis Wilson: Pacific Ocean Blue (2008)

Great packaging and mostly great music. I have a bit mixed feelings about the album. Often it's beautiful and magical pop music, but occasionally it's just pointless and boring. Okay, I'm not worthy of saying such things, but what can I do. I can't force myself to love everything on it. Thankfully I do love the most of it and therefore it takes the last place on this retrolist.