Yes, this is only a "top 9"...there just simply wasn't a tenth album I will claim as good. A weak year, musically.
- Two Cow Garage – Speaking in Cursive
While I have been a big fan of this band for quite some time, this album is a monumental step forward, in terms of depth and quality. Just buy it already.
- The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
Take off one or two songs with gratuitous keyboards, and this thing really rocks. "Lord, I'm Discouraged" alone has enough lyric power to make you weep. Combine it with "Hey Sapphire," and whoooboy. Plus Craig Finn now sings!
- Ben Folds – Way To Normal
Many have expressed disappointment with this album. They're nuts. "Kylie from Connecticut" alone (one of the most beautiful songs of the year?) should propel this into your top album lists. Good, rythmic virtuousity as well.
- The Pink Spiders – Sweat It Out
While the production is poppier than I would like and there is (unfortunately) a power ballad (skip "Don't Wait For Me"), this is still a very good album. "Gimme Chemicals" and "Seventeen Candles" are catchy as all-hell.
- Magnolia Summer – Lines from the Frame
Many have brought up the Jayhawks comparison. I'll just say that this is alternately lush, rocking, and lyrical. Go buy it.
- Jay Bennett – Whatever Happened I Apologize
The best thing he's done since The Palace at 4am. This all-acoustic effort is sweet, complex, and fun. Plus, you can download it for free!
- The Raconteurs – Consolers of the Lonely
A good second album of rock, although this sounds more like a band effort than their debut. Consolers more than makes up for the disappointment that was the last White Stripes disk.
- Paul Westerberg – 49:00
Sloppy, sticky, catchy in parts, and (sadly) no longer available through official channels.
- Gaslight Anthem – The '59 Sound
Nice bar rock with (if I'm not mistaken) a little Clash thrown in.
- “Brass Ring,” Two Cow Garage
- “Lord I'm Discouraged.” The Hold Steady
- “Glass City,” Two Cow Garage
- We will probably never see another album from Brent Best, Caitlin Cary.
- You Am I forgot how to rock.
- The Drive-By Truckers lost it.
- Ryan Adams has gone all slick
Music I'm Looking Forward To
- New Wilco, Grand Champeen, We Are The Fury, Jason Isbell
Someone I Discovered Much Too Late
- Josh Ritter
Gorgeous. Hardly any dialog, but the emotion and meaning couldn't be any clearer. A scathing critique of consumerist culture, and a tear-jerking tale of love and hope at the same time.
- Vicky Christina Barcelona
Woody Allen makes a fresh film. It's young, lively, and gorgeously shot. The only down side is that the supreme gorgeousness of everyone in it might make you question your own looks...if you were not as pretty and confident as I.
- Zach & Miri Make A Porno
Kevin Smith knocks one out of the park. Both hilarous and touching, more so than it should ever be.
This one wouldn't be so bad except for one thing: I hate everyone in it.
- Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull
Space aliens? Space aliens??? Is this really the best they could do?
Why in the Hell Haven't These Opened Here Yet?
- Synecdoche, New York
- The Wrestler
- Zombie Strippers (okay, so I could probably rent this one...)
The Year in TV
- The Shield ended perfectly
- I got absolutely hooked on Burn Notice
- Jeez, The Office is SOOOO much better post-strike
My Year in Technology
- Why buy newspapers when you can get Darkgate Comics Slurper
- I know I'm late to this one, but I love my Wii
- Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog was probably my favorite bit of entertainment all year.