In no particular order, here are my 10 favorite, best newly released CDs from 2008 --
1. Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds -- Dig, Lazarus Dig!
Actually, I called this the new release of the year right after I heard it the first time. Nick hits on all cylinders. Great material. Instant classics.
2. The Kills -- Midnight Boom.
Not as colossal of a fun trip as their previous release "No Wow," but I still love their spare guitar-drums-with-hipster-chick sound.
3. Dengue Fever -- Venus on Earth
Lao female vocals (and some lyrics in her native tongue) over 60's/ 70's/ 80's-influenced lounge-y band from L.A. My God, it was a mini-classic!
4. The Eagles of Death Metal -- Heart On
OK, so these guys are just this side of Spinal Tap. The good news is they rock as well as - or better than - the Stones at their best. Material doesn't flow quite as well as previous effort, "Death By Sexy," but keeps the ballsy rock rolling big time.
5. Sons & Daughters
Scottish band with male and female vocals that sounds like they just discovered late 70s/ early 80s rock and new wave. The thing is, the songs are strong and the delivery is fresh as can be.
6. Firewater -- The Golden Hour
Our man Tod A freshens up his sound by performing with backing bands from Israel, India, Pakistan and Turkey. This gives his sometimes too-cool vocals a more colorful, soulful setting for a really fine album.
7. Heloise & the Savoir Faire -- Trash, Rats and Microphones
I admit to trashing disco in its heyday (and occasionally dancing to it now at weddings) , but it wasn't this kind of disco. Heloise brings Debbie Harry's camp approach to soulful, fun dance music that, thank God, will never be played at mainstream weddings.
8. The Fleshtones -- Take A Good Look
The Fleshtones, like the Ramones did until their demise, keep doing essentially the same thing over and over. For the past 20 years, their party/ garage rock formula has produced only a couple-three strong tracks per release. On "Take A Good Look," the Fleshtones rock as well as ever with a solid set of songs.
9. High Places -- High Places
This Brooklyn girl-guy duo makes somewhat eery, somewhat etherial, somewhat techno sounds with somewhat-hushed female vocals. Fascinating stuff to play in the fog or a snowstorm.
10. Mugison -- Mugiboogie
From the hipster island nation Iceland a guy named Mugison produces music in a cultural and creative oasis allows an outrageous mix of over-the-top glam rock and sometimes silly and indulgent acoustic pieces. Mugison makes my list because a few of the tracks are outstanding and the whole thing is audacious.