Overlooked- The Best Albums of 2008 (That Didn’t Make My Best-Of-2008 List)

We all make mistakes.  For some people, it’s forgetting to pay a credit card bill on time.  For others, it’s setting off a fire alarm by leaving popcorn in the microwave for too long.  For others still, it’s forgetting about your friend you “pranked” with a fake kidnapping, and leaving him kicking and screaming in the trunk of your car for a few weeks.  It’s okay, we all miss Johnny too.

For me, it’s forgetting about (or not yet hearing) kickass albums when I write a year end music list.

I know, I know, you’re thinking, “But Jeff!  Your best albums of 2008 list was a revelation!  Not only did it make me laugh, cry, and appreciate music, but it began my long, torturous quest to stalk you and cut off locks of your hair while you sleep to use for my shrine!”

Well, first of all, I’m flattered that you appreciated my list as much as I did.  Secondly, please stop stealing my underwear while I’m at work.  It’s creepy, really gross, and severely shortens my laundry rotation.


“the third step is profits

But alas, it’s true, loyal stalker  reader (and her friends!  Don’t think I can’t see you!  Hiding behind your computers!  You haunt me so!), I missed some good shit in 2008 (which, admittedly, was a rather down year as far as quality music goes).  So, without further ado, or jokes about random chicks stalking me (…no, that’s a lie, and they’ll  progressively get more imaginary-hot and more desperate.  Spoiler alert, by the end they’ll probably be robots or androids.  Consider yourself warned.  It’s not an elitish list without robot sex references) here is my best albums of 2008 (that didn’t make my list of best albums of 2008).

5.  Islands – Arm’s Way


What the hell, Jeff?  Why didn’t this make the list?

Islands second album sort of snuck in under the radar for me.  Their first release, the understandably awesome Return to Sea, had a lot of build up to it.  Everyone loved The Unicorns, and after their break up Islands gave us a blessed reminder of why The Unicorns (or…2/3 of The Unicorns) were so great.  Then, Jamie Thompson (one of the original members of The Unicorns, who also goes by the far more badass name J’aime Tambeur) left, and it was another two years before the revamped Islands lineup released another album.  And by that time, I was not really on the lookout for new music by the band anymore.


Seriously!  J’Aime!  What a badass name!  And he’s back with the band now!  Sort of!

So a long story short, I had the album in my itunes.  But had not yet had the few serendipitous shuffle moments where you think “Holy shit, this album is really good.”  But it is a damn solid album.  “Kids Don’t Know Shit” and “Life in Jail” are proper upbeat, layered Indie rock tracks that remind me up about the second half of “Swans (Life After Death)” from Return to Sea (which is by far the best track from that album).  So that in it’s own right should have bumped it up to at least a mention in my year end list.  If I had only heard of it yet…

Where it would have landed on my year end list?  Honorable Mention/10

This is a toss up, because I’ve still not engrossed myself as fully into this album as I’d like.  It could have edged out the Fuck Buttons for the 10 slot, but potentially, after the other albums in this list, it might have been knocked off it’s pillar.

4.  Beaujolais – Love at Thirty

What the hell, Jeff?  Why didn’t this make the list?

As seen in my dual review of this and the follow up album that came out this year, I really really liked Love at Thirty, the oh-so-upbeat, autobiographical concept album of a jilted lover performed entirely by the male half of the now defunct band, “The Like Young.”  It’s got several playlist worthy tracks, wears its heart on a sleeve in a remarkably non-angsty manner.  First time I listened through it, I immediately lashed onto it.

When did I first hear it?  January of 2009.  So there you go, top-albums-of-2008 list.

Where it would have landed on my year end list?  9

3.  Buke and Gass – +/-

cd coverWhat the hell, Jeff?  Why didn’t this make the list?

I know, I know, I even interviewed these guys.! It’s a band comprised primarily of members of one of my favorite short lived bands of all time!  And their album is great!  Goddamn it!  This is such an oversight, it’s almost enough to make my imaginary-stalker-from-earlier-in-this-article just forget about me altogether!  Almost…


Your shirt is only 50% correct.  66% if you include the sunglasses

I’ve already waxed poetic about this album in my introduction to my not-too-old interview, but I’ll say that it’s an exciting, fun, high energy EP where each song sounds like four songs, but in the best way possible.  But again, I have to chalk it up to ignorance- I didn’t know this band existed until some clever google detective searches went from Hominid->Hominid band members->Individual names->Buke and Gass.  So, not being all up in the New York underground scene (can you blame a Chicagoan?) I was about 8 months too slow to find this.

Where would it have ended on my year end list?  8/Honorable Mention

This is an issue of if you think an EP should be on a year end list or not.  If we view an EP as a full length album (and this is a moderately sized EP), then I’d place it as the 8th album of 2008.  But if an EP is viewed as more of a teaser trailer of sorts, then I’d mention it, but not place it on a list that’s supposed to consist of whole length LPs.  I’ll let you decide.

2.  The Tunics – Somewhere in Somebody’s Heart


What the hell, Jeff?  Why didn’t this make the list?

This album kicks my ass, it really does.  And I’m really pissed off that it didn’t come out this year.  While it can easily be overlooked, since the lead vocals sound like a sort of puree blend of every Brit rock band that went out of style by 2006.  Oasis?  Got it!  Kaiser Chiefs?  Sure, why the fuck not!  Arctic Monkeys?  You bet your ass!

Warning- do not actually bet your ass on the Arctic Monkeys.  They will throw the fight and laugh at you.

So, while sounding like every damn British boy that thinks he can sing, The Tunics do manage to do an incredible amount of rocking out.  The songs are catchy, up beat, have glorious pick-ups and harmonies, and they easily pull off three or four of the best fifty songs of 2008.  But, I think we’ve been through this dance before.  We know how this story ends.  We know my excuses by heart.  But damn it, my stalker wants me to say it anyway.  Just to hear my goddamn voice.  Don’t you?


I got this album too late.  Goddamnit.  When you find the band through obscure sound, let it linger around on your itunes ignored for months at a time, and suddenly stumble across an awesome track while listening to your ipod during a long walk, chances are it might be a few months too late to make your year end list.  Happy now?  Goddamnit.

Where would it have ended on my year end list?  4

Seriously, you guys.  This shit is really good.

1.  Elliott Brood – Meadow Mountains

Mountain Meadows

What the hell, Jeff?  Why didn’t this make the list?

I’m gonna get it out of the way.  Yes, I got this album before I listened to it, and I didn’t listen to it till 2009.  Anyway.

Elliott Brood’s first full length album, Ambassador, was fun, yet flawed.  It had some great songs, and some tracks that were relatively easy to gloss over.  Mountain Meadows is a far richer, self-assured album.

Elliott Brood is a Canadian band that calls their genre “Death Country.”  It’s folky, but with an underlying musical darkness, focusing less on a country twang and more on mountain banjo.  I liked that sound in their first album, only to see it become exponentially better in their sophomore release.

Oh, but there’s some confusion too.  The official release date was later in 2008.  But, well… it’s Canada.  Things take a while to sort of come down to the good ol’ U S of A from those parts.  Even my stalker won’t follow me up there.

“neeeaaarrrrr, farrrrrrr, whevever you areeeee”

(Bonus joke- Canada. Celine Dion.  Boom.  Count it)

So, according to amazon.com, this bad boy came out in February of 2009.  Which is lame, because I really wanted to have this on the 2009 list I’ll write the hell out of in a month or so.

But let’s see what our friends wikipedia has to say about this album’s accolades.

Two Juno award nominations.  Finalist of the 2009 Polaris Music Prize.  Boom.

Where would it have ended on my year end list?  2

Boom.  I’m saying that a lot, but I like the sound of it, so I’ll say it again.  Boom.  Granted, 2008 had a weak crop of albums.  2009 has been much more impressive, but with tracks like “Without Again” and “Write It All Down For You” this easily could have made my top 5 list for this year’s as-of-yet-undrafted year-end list.  So there you go, welcome audience (and unwelcome stalker).  Consider this a little taste until that gets written (give me a month)

Boom.  Robot stalker.

About Jeff GoodSmith

I write on occasion. Sometimes it ends up here.
This entry was posted in Elite Rankings and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Overlooked- The Best Albums of 2008 (That Didn’t Make My Best-Of-2008 List)

  1. Pingback: The Top Songs of 2009 – #50-31 | Elitish

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s