10 Best Indie Albums Of 2008
In the latter half of the 2000's indie labels continued to make inroads against the majors, as evidenced by the quality of these 10 best indie albums of 2008. While Clearchannel’s dull and outmoded major label-centric radio stations continue to stagnate, these bands are making themselves known through Internet buzz and positive word of mouth. The king is dead; long live the king.
- “Heretic Pride” by The Mountain Goats. John Darnielle has put out some pretty amazing albums as the creative force behind The Mountain Goats. This album is arguably his best. With stand-out tracks like “Sax Rohmer #1” and “Lovecraft in Brooklyn,” “Heretic Pride” is an easy contender for best indie album of 2008.
- “Hometowns” by The Rural Alberta Advantage. This unassuming Canadian three-piece band may lack the grandiosity of supergroups like Broken Social Scene or The New Pornographers, but they make up for the lack of size with energy to spare. Their debut album “Hometowns” managed to generate some positive and well-deserved buzz on the Internet, and made them one of the best breakthrough bands of 2008.
- “Stay Positive” by The Hold Steady. Some bands tend to peter out after a couple of releases. With this, their fourth full-length album, The Hold Steady were sounding better than ever. The album title makes it pretty clear that this album isn’t a gloomy affair. Instead, it’s fun, classic-sounding rock music that should be in anyone’s collection.
- “Flight of the Conchords” by Flight of the Conchords. You might be surprised to learn that this release, coinciding with the first series of the HBO series of the same name, is an indie release. It is, though, having been released on Sub Pop Records. It’s also ridiculously funny, and easily one of the most entertaining albums of the year.
- “Antidotes” by Foals. Speaking of Sub Pop, they continued their move away from the grunge-centrism of their 1990's years with this foray into European dance pop from English band The Foals. It’s a catchy and melodic album and worthy of inclusion on critics’ end-of-the-year best of lists.
- “Elephant Shell” by Tokyo Police Club. Like The Rural Alberta Advantage, Tokyo Police Club are one of the more interesting bands to come out of Canada in the last few years. They garnered critical acclaim with their debut EP, “A Lesson in Crime,” but managed to follow it up with this quality first full-length.
- “Feel Good Ghosts” by Cloud Cult. Some critics have found issue with Cloud Cult’s rampant strain of hippie optimism and discount them as a second-rate Arcade Fire. We’re not among those critics. Although admittedly hit-or-miss, Cloud Cult has written some great songs, and many of them of are on this album. With solid tracks like “May Your Hearts Stay Strong” and “Everybody Here Is a Cloud,” this was one of the best indie albums of 2008.
- “Red, Yellow and Blue” by Born Ruffians. Warp Records has traditionally been known as a haven for electronic music, but in recent years they’ve expanded to indie rock with bands like Born Ruffians and Grizzly Bear. That was a good move for them, as it turns out that their taste in rock music is just as solid as their taste in electronica.
- “Uproot” by DJ/rupture. Despite labels like Warp Records expanding their repertoire away from electronic music, it is far from dead. Witness, for instance, the stunning “Uproot” by DJ/rupture. Mixing together sources from all around the world, this eclectic album is simultaneously moody and exhilarating. For electronic music fans, it was proof that they were still part of a vibrant music scene.
- “Hercules and Love Affair” by Hercules and Love Affair. Another win for electronic music in 2008, this time stateside, came from the DFA label with Hercules and Love Affair. Sounding largely like a modern take on disco, this album was both smart and utterly danceable. With Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons lending his stunning vocals to the project, it became one of the best indie albums of 2008.