Obligatory Top 10 Albums of '08

Every music blog has a end-of-the-year top 10 something. 2008 was a good year for music, I think. This list is a sample of all the great things released in '08. There may be a slight advantage to music released towards the end of the year. Ah well.

10. Elzhi - The Preface

It was difficult choosing between this and Black Milk's Tronic, both produced by Black. But I think the combination of him and Elzhi wins out. Also, "Motown 25" got me to listen to Royce da 5'9"s Bar Exam 2 a few hundred times.

9. Squarepusher - Just a Souvenir

Jenkinson's Hello Everything was decent, but something was missing. This album seems like a sort of evolution of the previous and ended up being a really solid Squarepusher album. I like the unexpected punk rock edge along with his usual jazz-fusion influence. The album was a surprise favorite.

8. Johnson & Jonson - Johnson & Jonson

I waited about a year for this album after seeing the video for "Bout It Bout It" on YouTube. Blu & Exile's Below The Heavens was a great, introspective album. Ta'Raach & Blu as C.R.A.C. was just crazy. This is more battle-rhyme oriented, I guess. I like Mainframe's loose beats on this.

7. Jackson Conti - Sujinho

After wishing Brasilintime came with a bonus CD like Keepintime did, I was excited about this. Madlib worked with Ivan Conti to make Yesterday's New Quintet-style covers of Conti's band Azymuth tracks. It worked out very well. Madlib's Speto Da Rua mix on Mochilla is worth listening to as well.

6. 88-Keys - The Death of Adam / Adam's Case Files

Both of these grew on me after a few listens. I've actually tended to listen to the Case Files mix more because 88-Key's beats on there are so good. But the diversity and story-telling aspect of both are addicting. Poor Adam.

5. Jazzanova - Of All The Things

Back in high school I was huge into Jazzanova's In Between. It inspired me to look for more "nu-jazz" style music, so it was a little concerning that they waited 6 years to finally release another group LP. It was worth it. I was nervous with the drastic change of their style, focused more on soul than jazz. But thankfully, it turned out beautiful.

4. Samon Kawamura - Unfold

I didn't know who this guy was before I heard his album, honestly. I caught myself listening to it continuously. Really, I think Samon needs to be heard more. He's right up there with artists like Jneiro Jarel, Flying Lotus, etc. It also looks like he's friendly Jazzy Sport Records which can only be good. I'm excited to see what he does next.

3. Daedelus - Love To Make Music To

I've never been disappointing by anything Daedelus has released. He's been one of my favorite artists for years and this album represents a nice evolution in his sound. The hip-hop influence isn't as blatant as Exquisite Corpse, which leaves a nice medium between his hip-hop and electronic influences.

2. The Foreign Exchange - Leave It All Behind

This is a beautiful album. A lot of people were turned off by the lack of Phonte rapping on this. But "Closer" was one of my favorite tracks from their first LP, so I thought it was perfect. It also introduced me to Muhsinah, who's new album I'm really looking forward to.

1. Flying Lotus - Los Angeles

Flying Lotus knocked Dilla off the top of my Last.FM charts. That means something. His music, and the entire collective surrounding him including artists like Daedelus, Ras G, The Gaslamp Killer, Samiyam, BTS Radio, etc, has been really inspiring to me over the past year. I hope they become even bigger in '09.

Honerable Mentions

Black Milk - Tronic
Black Spade - To Serve With Love
Brendan Canning - Something For All of Us
Count Bass D - L7
Deerhoof - Offend Maggie
Dwele - Sketches of A Man
Erykah Badu - New Amerykah, Pt. One
Esperanza Spalding - Esperanza
James Pants - Welcome
Jamie Lidell - Jim
Stereolab - Chemical Chords
Ras G - Ghetto Sci-Fi
Royce Da 5'9" - Bar Exam 2

And I know there's still '08 albums I have left to buy. Too much music...