! = recommended
* = all-ages
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I always find it frustrating when another reviewer or critic says they couldn't compile an annual top 10 list because they couldn't find ten albums they appreciated in any given year. Each year there are thousands and thousands of records being released - some great, some crap. 2008 was another fantastic year for Northwest music. Not because Fleet Foxes cleaned up in Pitchfork's reader's poll or placed at or near the top of several British publications' best of the year lists. No, it was a great year for Northwest music because there was always some exciting sound coming out of a rock club on any given night. I don't think I could identify a single night on a calendar where there was not some excellent show that was preferable to staying at home for the night.
Fleet Foxes were the story of 2008 - and good for them, but there were countless other bands that didn't get picked up by the hype machine that were equally deserving. When I making this top 10 list, I first listed every album that could conceivably be one of my ten favorites and then narrowed it down from there. My first draft had 30 entries. The (biggest) problem with top 10 lists is that you only have ten spots to fill. Having said that, I did the best I could (knowing full-well that I left off at least twenty deserving candidates). For what it's worth, three of them were made available as free downloads and 8 were of bands from Seattle. Here are the ten Northwest albums that made my iPod a happier place in 2008 - with YouTubage where available:
10. Man Plus, The Hungarian Suicide Songbook (song: Kids Gone Bad)
9. The Turn-Ons, Curses
8. The Old Haunts, Poisonous Times (song: Not Hopeless)
7. Dyme Def, 3 Bad Brothaaas mixtape (song: "The Game Needs Me" Remix)
6. Vancougar, Canadian Tuxedo (song: Distance)
5. Team Gina, Products of the Eighties (song: Products of the Eighties)
4. The Kindness Kind, The Kindness Kind (song: Suckerpunch)
3. The Young Sportsmen, If You Want It
2. Kay Kay and his Weathered Underground, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground (song: Simon Courage Flees the Coop)
1. The Saturday Knights, Mingle (song: 45)