1. Good Old War - Only Way To Be Alone
Acoustic folk melodies have never sounded so sweet as they do on this record. Although the lyrics aren't anything to be starstruck by they still have the emotion and depth that strikes you where it counts. Maybe it's just where I am in my life right now but I made connections with every song on this album. It pretty much summed up my life in words I couldn't use. This will be played in my stereo for years to come.
2. Copeland - You Are My Sunshine
After stealing some of Fall Out Boy's hype Copeland dropped a big bomb. That bomb being You Are My Sunshine. If you are a fan of any of the previous records nothing will change here, if it does your love for the band will grow. Aarons distinct vocals still stand out more then ever and the haunting melodies will stay with you until you grow weary.
3. Jeremy Larson - Salvation Club
Jeremy Larson has done it again. Some people just have a knack for making beautiful music and Jeremy is one of those people. Salvation club takes off where his first effort left off and goes to completely new levels. If there is one word to describe this record it would have to be "amazing."
4. Valencia - We All Need A Reason To Believe
If pop punk has one savior its Valencia. You want a band that is doing the music thing the right way its these guys. After "This Could Be a Possibility" I was hooked for something new. I could only hope that a sophomore slump wouldn't strike them and luckily it didn't. We All Need A Reason To Believe has the emotion and passion that pulls listeners in but also makes you want to get up and move. Valencia proves to be one of the most promising bands in the music scene today. Support them in any way possible.
5. The New Frontiers - Mending
There isn't really much I can say about this album. Just put it in and listen for yourself. They will be missed.
6. Born Ruffians - Red, Yellow & Blue
I think this record got overlooked by a lot of people. It's a shame because it really is great. This is what I look for in an indie rock record. Not all these half ass indie bands that Pitchfork rides until they break up. Great lyrics and fun music to drive too.
7. Astronautalis - Pomegranate
This was probably my biggest surprise of the year. As I had never even heard of the man before but now I will never forget the name Astronautalis. This album has such a array of moods and themes that are all tied together with the top notch lyrics.
8. Lydia - Illuminate
This seems to be everyone's favorite this year. With good reason too. Lydia has delivered a great second effort with Illuminate. The atmospheric music with the mesmerizing vocals placed over it is a combination anyone can love. I'm not sure if it's even possible for Lydia to make bad music.
9. Joshua Radin - Simple Times
Like I said, 2008 has been a great year in music, Simple Times furthers my statement. Another beautiful record that has been in my constant rotation since it's release. Something about Joshua's voice just makes you want more and more. Listen to "They Bring Me To You" to see what I mean.
10. La Dispute - Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega and Altair
Closing out the top ten is La Dispute. As I grow older I seem to be turning away from the heavier side of music but La Dispute pulled me back in with this record. They show that you can be heavy and intelligent at the same time. With the spoken word style singing its easy to feel the words and meaning. If the hardcore scene wants to reflourish more bands should take some notes from these guys.
A few honorable mentions that I wish made it in:
Portugal. The Man - Censored Colors
City and Colour - Bring Me Your Love
Protest The Hero - Fortress
Why? - Alopecia
Fall Out Boy - Folie A Deux
The Gaslight Anthem - The '59 Sound
Wolftron - Flesh & Fears
Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III
Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak