The Pagemeister Posted December 20, 2008 Share Posted December 20, 2008 Looking back on a year of music and digging out the gems you may have missed By FISH GRIWKOWSKY -- Sun Media The mainstream consensus is 2008 was a barren year for music. But, that really depends on how sharp you keep your shovel. Without too much extensive digging - I simply pulled aside any disc I liked as the year passed - it turns out, as usual, there's almost too much choice for the best albums of the year. You may not have heard of them all, but that's what we're here for. Also, as an Christmas bonus, check out any of these artists at seeqpod.com, where you can stream pretty much any song you can think of free of charge. Goodbye radio, hello future! Anyway, here's a thorough and highly subjective list of the best CDs of the year - enjoy and debate! Merry Christmas! Antony & the Johnsons - Another World EP: It'll move you like Ella Fitzgerald. Ashes to Ashes Original Soundtrack: Staggeringly good BBC compilation of 1981 tunes. Bison B.C. - Quiet Earth*: The best metal band in Canada, speaker-blowing thunder. Black Mountain - In the Future*: Stoner rock, highlight of Pemberton this summer. David Bowie - Live @ Santa Monica '72: Perfect concert from the Ziggy era. Joe Bataan - Under the Streetlamps 1967-72: Humorous, charming Latin soul. The Bug - London Zoo: Futuristic, progressive hip-hop without mercy. The Buttless Chaps - Cartography*: Soothing, spacey pop from Vancouver. D.B. Buxton Review - No Refund EP**: Proof busking can lead to sharp rock. Cadence Weapon - Afterparty Babies**: Tied for best album of the year, an electronic hip-hop apocalypse. Simply amazing beats and a ferocious look at the Facebook age. Calexico - Carried to Dust: Especially track three, The News About William. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!: Thoughtful and rockin', Oz's emperor. The City Streets - Concentrated Living**: Powerful harmonies hand out the will to live hard. The Dears - Missiles*: Like a zombie war survivor's diary, moody pop drags that drag you in deep. Duchess Says - Anthologie des 3 Perchoirs*: Jagged, insane, weird, invigorating, alien girl punk. Maria Dunn - The Peddler**: Unjust, modern war will never be justified to this folksinger. Elliott Brood - Mountain Meadows*: Rhythm-driven Americana, high notes always hit. F**cked Up - The Chemistry of Modern Life*: A sonic mess you can get behind. Ghostkeeper - self-titled*: Brilliant native-led music, hypnotizing pop. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals: The best mashup in the universe. Give Me Love - Songs of the Brokenhearted: Baghdad laments from the 1920s. Amazing. Grand Theft Auto IV - Vladivostok FM: Russian rap is exactly what you've always needed. Guns 'n' Roses - Chinese Democracy: Here just so we stop talking about it forever. Merle Haggard - Live from Austin '78: Country used to be excellent, you know. Veda Hille - This Riot Life*: Tori Amos powerful, but with more interesting issues. Robin Hunter and the Six Foot Bullies - You Just Gotta Get Used to It**: What every singer/songwriter should aspire to. Waylon Jennings - Live from Austin '84: Buy this with the Haggard. Ladyhawk - Shots*: There's something reassuring about this rock angst. Mad Men Original Soundtrack Vol. 1 - Amazing show, serendipitously tight soundtrack. Mass Effect Original Soundtrack** - The music, featuring the Faunts, made this game score stand out. Metallica - Death Magnetic: Best album in decades (except for, ugh, Unforgiven III). MGMT - Oracular Spectacular: Upbeat dance pop with some depth. Monkey, Journey to the West: Chinese opera with a modern electronic backbone. The Moondoggies - self-titled: Powerful folk-rock, sometimes danceably so. Mudcrutch - self-titled: Tom Petty reunion with his first band, totally rules. N.E.R.D. - Seeing Sounds: "All the girls standing in the line for the bathroom!" Nine Inch Nails - The Slip: Still good, but did Trent Reznor maybe need a label for input? NQ Arbuckle - XOX*: Toronto keeping the indie country flame alive. The Notwist - The Devil, You and Me: Peaceful electro pop with German accents. Okkervil River - The Stand-ins: Energetic and passionate pop bordering operatic. Old Man Luedecke - Proof of Love*: In need of a good mood? Try relaxing banjo folk. The Roots - Rising Down: Not their best, but they're still stellar rappers. Secret Fires - I Only Want What I Can't See**: We do love "rock music" in this city. Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea: Nerdy, folky pop with heavy lyrics. Smashula - self-titled**: That war criminal song gets me every time. Stereo Image - self-titled: Spastic, emotional electronic mayhem with weird beats. Sun Kil Moon - April: Like angels trapped in the attic, strange and pleading. Thor - Keep the Dogs Away*: Re-release of an unsure pop-metal classic. Ian Tyson - Yellowhead to Yellowstone and Other Love Stories*: Tyson's voice is shattered in a most endearing way. Sentimental goodness. Chad VanGaalen - Soft Airplane*: Tied for No. 1, Calgary's top musician pulls it out again, combining sci-fi, murder and Snow White's voice and even inventing a robot instrument. Wet Secrets - Rock Fantasy**: Larger release includes remixes by Cadence and Nik7. Buy this. Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak: So he sings, too - calm down, it's still awesome. The Whitsundays - self-titled**: ' 60 melodies and sass - pleasurable pop echoes. Witch - Paralyzed: Pretty solid monster metal with J Mascis on drums. Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer*: No Queen Mary, but still pretty solid rock. Women - self-titled*: Recorded by VanGaalen, his pixie touch is obvious. John Woroschuk: Slight O Hand**: Solid roots disc from one of our best players. 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