Those Overlooked Albums of 2008

As another year ends, i’ve been scrambling to listen to every relevant album to compile a Top 10, 20, 30, 40 of my favourite albums of 2009. Inevitably i’ll end up listening to a bunch of albums for the first time on December 30th and won’t come back to them until mid-way through 2010, thinking that they should have made the Top 10 of the year before. I still love all the albums from my Top 10 of 2008, but there are a few albums that I overlooked and would deserve a spot if I was making the list now.

In the spirit of this new music blog, I thought my first post would be to showcase a few albums from 2008 that I truly discovered in 2009.

Emily Wells – The Symphonies: Dreams Memories and Parties

I was introduced to Emily Wells at the Calgary Folk Music Festival. She played a few tracks from this album, but really caught my attention with her cover of Notorious B.I.G.’s Juicy. Her songs are primarily violin and vocal loops with additional layers added throughout the song. Complemented by bass and drums the songs take on a hip-hop feel without sounding anything like hip-hop. If I had heard this album in 2008 it would have easily placed in my Top 25, but alas it was the summer of 2009. Oh, by the way, the cover of Juicy is on her new EP Dirty.

Emily Wells – Symphony 4: America’s Mercy War

The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound

I know I started listening to this album in early 2009 about two weeks before their concert at the Starlite Room in Edmonton, AB. Shaun, yes the one on this blog, asked if I wanted to go to the show and I said i’ll check them out. They grew on me after a few listens and why not, it’s a great rock album that reminds me of Springsteen mixed with the Hold Steady (minus the annoying singing/talking of Craig Finn). Honestly, I haven’t really listened to it since June, but I’m listening to it now and it still rocks, I hope that counts.

Lykke Li – Youth Novels

Wait a minute, this was already in my Top 25 of 2008. But it should have been in the Top 10. There’s something about those Swedes that can’t be denied. I’m telling you they’re going to take over the world with fantastic music. I wouldn’t complain. It’s an excellent album that I’m not going to bore you with talking about, just listen to it a few times and let it sink in. Bonus: When she performs live she kind of sounds like Stevie Nicks (circa 1976), now that’s all kinds of sexy.

I can already tell i’m going to miss quite a few gems from 2009, but like every year before i’ll discover them in 2010 and write a post just like this next year.

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5 Responses to Those Overlooked Albums of 2008

  1. kb says:

    I am so happy to hear of other people talking about Emily Wells. She is so awesome! I saw a video from the folk fest online, then immediately bought her records online… THEN it happened that she was playing when I was in New York, so I saw her. She was great. Def overlooked.

    • Kris says:

      I agree kb, i’m surprised that she doesn’t get that much recognition since her music is quite unique and I can see lots of people enjoying it. Maybe in time…

      • Jacob says:

        Hi Kris. This is Jacob from Nottingham. We saw Thee More Shallows together. I completely lost your contact information and just found it this weekend. I just wanted to catch up with you.

        Re your list, I am a huge Lykke Li fan. I was in Copenhagen and decided to take a day trip to Malmö Sweden, and someone was playing it a record shop. Had tickets to see them live but they cancelled at the last minute.

        Take care and I hope to hear from you soon.


      • Kris says:

        Hey Jacob, i don’t remember the show, but did we also go to the Secret Machines? Haven’t seen you since London before I headed back to Canada. I’m in SE Asia for a few months, but i’ll be sure to give you a shout when i’m back.

  2. Shaun says:

    Nice selections Kris. I discovered the gaslight anthem January 2nd so it was just after I released my list. And Emily Wells was January 9th it appears. But I only had 3 tracks by her and couldn’t find anything else. So now I have the whole album and the EP and it is definitely great. And Lykke Li, I thought was good until I saw her black cab session and it blew me away. I will be posting my glaring omissions list in the near future.

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