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Merry Christmas!!

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Every now and again many bands seem to give Christmas a new meaning with their beautiful alternative melodies. As an example, you can find a small playlist with Christmas Songs from artists you would never expect.
Of course, I couldn't resist to include in this playlist two of the greatest Christmas songs ever made.
I'm talking about Frank Sinatra's
"Jingle Bells"
and Michael Buble's "Let It Snow".

Merry Christmas Everyone,
& A Happy New Year Full Of Music!
[Ho, Ho, Ho!]

Top 100 albums of 2008! Part [1]

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Top 100 Albums of 2008!
[Final Post] From #10. - #01.

Here is the list the of the 10 Top Albums of 2008...

#10. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
"Viva La Vida" and death and all of his friends... Coldplay is back! With this album Chris Martin's band sums up issues of life, love, peace, war and death that are always a strong influence on every band around the world. "Viva La Vida" is a confident effort that adds a revolutionary image of Coldplay in the history of music.
In other words: Music For The Masses!
Listen: "42"

#09. Steven Wilson - Insurgentes
Steven Wilson better known as the lead singer-songwriter and guitarist of Porcupine Tree or also know for his famous collaborations with Blackfield and No-Man, released his solo album Insurgentes. This album can be found over the internet as it is web released and a limited edition of 3000 copies or you can pre-order it via the internet. I bought this album and I have to admit that it is Spectacular! Its progressive dark ambiance accompanied with Steven Wilson's angelic vocals create a masterpiece of quiet and moody soundscapes.
Listen: "Harmony Korine" is just an example of what will follow....

#08. Gutter Twins - Saturnalia
The Gutter Twins is a collaboration between Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan. These two great musicians released their debut album "Saturnalia" and rocked the world. Every song of this album is excellent. Strong melodies + Charming vocals = Exceptional outcome!
Listen: "Stations"

#07. Sigur Rós- Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust
Sigur Rós released the best post-rock album of the year. This album is unbelivable... New sounds, a new approach to post-rock music that adds happiness and boiterous spirit rather than quietness and mysery as we've already seen that many post-rock bands prefer. "Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust" means "With a buzz in our ears we play endlessly" and with this title Sigur Rós released their best album ever. A vivid masterpiece with a unique cover!
Listen: "Ára bátur"

#06. Tricky - Knowle West Boy
Tricky, one of the fathers of Trip Hop, released his new album "Knowle West Boy". Despite the critic I wrote about his live performance, his album stands out from the crowd and he remains in the top 10 albums of the year. Tricky always creates music that has a strong relation to his unique blend of sounds without taking into consideration how the outcome will be. In conclusion: This album is unique.
Listen: "Past Mistake"

#05. My Brightest Diamond - A Thousand Shark's Teeth
My Brightest Diamond's second album "A Thousand Shark's Teeth" is a flawless diamond. Elegantly instrumented, well polished, passionate and gracefull. Shara Worden's divine voice is a blissful caress to your ears.
Don't forget: Diamonds Are Forever!
Listen: "Black & Costaud"

#04. Madrugada - Madrugada
Madrugada released their final album also titled "Madrugada" and after that they made their last tour to seal the silence they left behind with their absence. One of the greatest bands that Greece adored. Their final album will remain forever in our minds to remind us all the vivid memories we gained by their songs.
One minute silence.

Listen: "Highway Of Light"

#03. Scott Matthew - Scott Matthew
Scott Matthew is an Australian musician that lives permanently in New York. The hype started after his appearance in the film "Shortbus", so I call him the "Voice of Shortbus". Scott Matthew is an eccentric folk singer-songwriter that released his debut album "Scott Matthew" and changed my world with his grotesquely tragic vocals and his quiet folk melodies. This album is simply gorgeous.
He will take your pain away and erase all your problems...
Just Buy this album... [This is the first time I recommend you to do such a thing.]
Listen: "Abandoned"

#02. Get Well Soon - Rest Now, Weary Head! You Will Get Well Soon
Get Well Soon is the the most surprising band of this year's artists. "Rest Now, Weary Head!" could be the first album in this list if the band in #01. hadn't released an album. This album could be a profesionally crafted compilation rather than a band's album, beacause of the various sounds it includes, that create a magnificent atmosphere in which the more you listed the more you are hooked! Get Well Soon is a masterpiece and one of the albums you will remember as one of the best of 2008.
Listen: "You, Aurora, You, Seaside"
And now that I have your attention... Let's see the Highlight of the year.

#01. Portishead - Third

Many things have been told and heard about this album. The fans of Portishead got confused, many loved it, more despised it...
Portishead released their "Third" album after eleven years. Someone could say: "Eleven years to release an album?!"
This album took Portishead's eleven years to produce it on the other hand other bands could never release such a superb album.
Beth Gibbon's vocals are set on the background of the tracks and the music is the main element that plays the major role on their new project. In my opinion this album is the TOP album of 2008!
Portishead crafted this triumphant record and re-created trip hop music from the beginning. I have to admit though that "Third" under no circumstanses may be considered an easy listening album. If you are looking for the Portishead of "Dummy" then this is not a recommended album for you.

Here is one critic I would like to share with you:
"Portishead's third album is initially more a record to admire than to love, its muscular synthesisers, drum breaks and abrupt endings keeping the tension high. But after several listens, Third's majesty unfurls."

Listen: "Small" because this song is Ingenious!

Top 100 albums of 2008! Part [2]

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Top 100 Albums of 2008
[Part 2] from #20. to #11.

#20. Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
Death Cab For Cutie is a band formed in 1997 in Bellingham [Washington]. Ben Gibbard's band after their success with the album Plans released "Narrow Stairs". With this album they manage victoriously to "Possess your heart".
Listen: "I Will Possess Your Heart"

#19. I'm From Barcelona - Who Killed Harry Houdini?
I'm From Barcelona is the band of Emanuel Lundgren and his twenty-plus friends! This band, which surely fills up a stage, released their second album "Who Killed Harry Houdini?".
This record is as happy as a clam and will make you cheer up even in your moodiest days.
Listen: "Mingus"

#18. Max Richter - 24 Postcards In Full Color
Max Richter is a German composer and with this concept album "24 Postcards In Full Color" has captured the moment of a twenty-four postcards into sound, creating these mini-length tracks that can be also tagged as ringtones. As soon as you listen to this album and read each song's title you are instantly drawn into its imaginary landscape.
Listen: "H in New England"

#17. Electric President - Sleep Well
The band of Ben Cooper and Alex Kane also known as Electric President released their second album "Sleep Well". This record is a mixture of moody electronica melodies and indie music. The result is amazing! Just discover more by yourself...
Listen: "Ether"

#16. Deerhunter - Microcastle / Weird Era Cont
Deerhunter's "Weird Era Cont" is a revelation! Do you remember Bradford Cox's solo project as Atlas Sound? This is even better. Deerhunter released in 2008 two albums: "Microcastle" and its bonus disc "Weird Era Cont".
Hypnotic, psychedelic and dark!
Listen: "Vox Humana"

#15. Cat Power - Jukebox
Cat Power released this brilliant cover collection titled "Jukebox".
If you've never heard the original versions of these songs you get the impression that all these beautiful songs were written by Cat Power herself. A mature work that stuns the listener...
Listen: New York [Cat power covers Frank Sinatra's New York with an unexpected outcome.]

#14. Bang Gang - Ghosts From The Past
Bardi Johannsson the man behind Bang Gang, Lady & Bird and Haxan released his latest work "Ghosts From The Past".
The record is great full of new melodies and melancholic pop sounds. Iceland seems to produce excellent music as we have already seen.
We love Icelandic music!
Listen: "Don't Feel Ashamed"

#13. M83 - Saturdays = Youth
Here is the fifth album for the French electronic group M83. M83 is one of me favorite post-rock/shoegaze bands and they are back with their new album "Saturdays=Youth". In my opinion this album is completely different from the band's past works. However, I still enjoyed it very much for its nostalgic beats from the 80's that gave a fresh air to this almost flawless album of Antony Gonzales' new work.
Listen: "You Appearing"

#12. The Notwist - The Devil, You + Me
The Notwist is a band from Germany formed in 1989! Their latest album "The Devil, You + Me" is a follow up to their best album "Neon Golden" released in 2002. The sonic details of this album are amazing, the whole album is perfectly crafted and the artwork of the cover is arresting!
Listen: "Handson Us"

#11. Shearwater - Rook
Shearwater's 5th album formed by Okkervil Rivver's Jonathan Meiburg is captivating! A magnificent work with charming vocals and unique melodies. Surely Shearwater's best album,yet. A must have record for your music collection!
Listen: "Rooks"

Top 100 albums of 2008! Part [3]

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Top 100 Albums of 2008!
[Part 3] from #30. to #21.

[Once again I couldn't find all the tracks for the playlist. This time the "victim" of this playlist is Anne Clark.]

#30. Unkle - End Titles... Stories For Film
Unkle's new work "End Titles..." is more than a compilation of older selected works taken from his unreleased discography rather than an album. However, this 21-track compilation creates a soundtrack for your dreams or even more a fictional film in your mind. Surely this record can stand out from many albums of 2008.
Listen: "Cut Me Loose" [featuring Gavin Clark]

#29. The Verve - Forth
The Verve is back after their long-term absence! Richard Ashcroft's solo career is finally over and the historical band that once released one of the greatest indie hits "Bittersweet Symphony" has rejoined. "Forth" proves that this band can still create good music. It was just a matter of time...
Listen: "Numbness" [Recommended if you got bored from their overplayed hits.]

#28. Amon Tobin - Foley Room
Welcome to the "Foley Room". Amon Tobin's best album at its darkest edition. Amon Adonai Santos de Araujo Tobin (what a name...)with this album, builds the four walls of a madhouse full of insanity.Raw, purely experimental, and unique! Don't forget, everything around you can be a a great inspiration. Music for the open-minded.
Listen: "Bloodstone"

#27. Detektivbyrån - Wermland
Detektivbyrån is one more band from Sweden. An excellent and nearly flawless album with a rare blend of sounds and instruments. "Wermland" sounds like a mix between Yann Tiersen and Devotchka on ecstasy! An ingenious album from a skillful band.
Listen: "Sista Tryckaren"

#26. Windsor For The Derby - How We Lost
Windsor For The Derby, a band wich was formed in 1992 in Texas released their latest album "How We Lost". This band, with almost clear darkwave influences from The Cure, Joy Division, Jesus And Mary Chain... is at their best!
Don't be self-deceived from the album's title though.. they might have "lost" but they are going to "win"//captivate you!
Listen: "Maladies"

#25. Anne Clark - The Smallest Acts Of Kindness
The goddess Anne Clark with her unique voice, the tremendously poetic lyrics and her famous resitativo (spoken vocals) returns with her new album "The Smallest Acts Of Kindness". This album wanders in electronic and acoustic soundscapes with a strong presence of EBM music. Don't forget that Anne Clark was one of the first artists that created electro-goth music.
Listen: "Full Moon" [watch the video clip]

#24. Halou - Halou
Halou is the band of Ryan and Rebecca Coseboom. "Halou" is their forth full-length album, but this time they decided to return as an alternative rock band leaving behind their trip-hop past. Such a return only refreshing, imaginative and welcome could be considered and nothing less.
Discover more about Halou inside my Blog.
Listen: "It Will All Make Sense In The Morning"

#23. The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age Of The Understatement
First of all I could never imagine that a member from The Rascals (Miles Kane) and the frontman of The Arctic Monkeys (Alex Turner) [two indie bands that I despise] could release such a great album! "The Age Of The Understatement" carries some fresh air from a past era, which makes it so special that you can't stop repeating this record over and over.
Listen: "My Mistakes Were Made For You"

#22. Yoav - Charmed & Strange

Yoav is a young musician from Israel. After you hear this country you might start wandering... "Could someone from Israel create something interesting?" The answer is " h e l l yeah" ! This album is seductive, "Charmed and Strange", well crafted and a brilliant...
You will "Adore" this album!
Listen: "Adore Adore"

#21. Emiliana Torrini - Me And Armini
Emiliana Torrini, a diva of her own music genre! I can't include her in a music genre as her unique reggae-pop-electronic-acoustic influences create a musical phenomenon. "Me and Armini" is Emiliana's latest effort is a great album crafted with precision.
In other words...: A surprise coming from Iceland! (This might remind you a TV spot, but that's the truth...)
Listen: "Gun"

Top 100 albums of 2008! Part [4]

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Top 100 Albums Of 2008
[Part 4] From #40. to #31.

[The Song "10" From Kyte in this playlist is wrong. The correct name is "Sunlight".]

#40. Mogwai - The Hawk Is Howling
The sophisticated comeback of Mogwai. "The Hawk Is Howling" is an epic album and perhaps Mogwai's best album ever. Explore this exceptionally crafted album.
Listen: "The Sun Smells Too Loud"

#39. Apparat - Things To Be Frickled - Parts And Remixes
This album is a Remix Collection of well known songs of Apparat. His real name is Sasha Ring and he released this 2disc remix compilation. On the first cd you will find his remixes on other artists and on the second some well known artists {such as Modeselector, Telefon Tel Aviv....} remix his songs.
A brilliant compilation that I really enjoyed.
Listen: "Arcadia [Telefon Tel Aviv Remix]"

#38. Tindersticks - The Hungry Saw
Tindersticks will never release a bad album and this is the proof!
With "The Hungry Saw" and their new sound, they have accompliced to make misery sound so enjoyable and desirable that in the end you ask for more. Melodic music and excellent vocals once again from Stuart A. Staple's distinctive voice.
Listen: "The Organist Entertains"

#37. Brett Anderson - Wilderness
Brett Anderson also known as a lead frontman of Suede, releases his latest solo album. "Wilderness" is his best effort as a solo artist. This album also reminded me the song "Europe is our playground" from Suede while I was listening to it. A beautiful record with easy listening tracks and melancholic sounds that create a bittersweet feelings with the mellow tone of his voice.
Listen: "Back To You"

#36. Goldfrapp - Seventh Tree
Like it or not, this is the new sound of Goldfrapp. They went back to basics leaving all the glam rock and the electronic beats behind.
Alison Goldfrapp's vocals remain sweet but less seductive, as this album contains an innocent,relaxing and peaceful feeling.
Listen : "A&E"

#35. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
"The Seldom Seen Kid" is Elbow's most mature and well-built album. With their forth attempt they prove that they will undoubtedly remain in the indie scene for more years.
This is an innovative album with magnificent sounds that definitely worth a listen.
Listen: "Grounds For Divorce"

#34. Hot Chip - Made In The Dark
Third album for the English electro-indie band Hot Chip. "Made In The Dark" is an ultimate dance party! Creative, vivacious, adventurous and mysterious... This album is everything you need to get wild!
Listen: "One Pure Thought"

#33. God Is An Astronaut - God Is An Astronaut
God Is An Astronaut released their new post-rock album as a web-release-exclusive which means that you can buy or download it from their official website.
"God Is An Astronaut" is a well-crafted album as all of their previous ones. It might be lacking the presence of something new, but that doesn't include it in the bad albums. Absorbing, enjoyable and visionary.
Listen: "No Return"

#32. Lykke Li - Youth Novels
This is the debut album from Lykke Li. A twenty-one-year-old singer-songwriter with a childlike voice from Sweden.
"Youth Novels" is a surprising album with electro-pop catchy sounds that almost everyone loved this year and created a buzz around her name.
Listen: "This Trumpet in my Head" [To discover a different sound from this record.]

#31. Kyte - Kyte
Kyte is an indie rock band from Leicestershire [England] with obvious post-rock influences. They released in 2008 this beautiful mini-album also named "Kyte" that soon became one of my favorites. Various shoegaze melodies create a sweet melancholic record that affects the listener with its simple midi sounds.
Listen: "Sunlight"

Top 100 albums of 2008! Part [5]

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Top 100 Albums 2008
[Part 5] from #50. to #41.

The real game begins, this is the hardest part...
So many great albums as you've already seen and listened.
Now it's time to advance from the great ones to the greatest.
But only one will be the highlight of the year.
The masterpiece of 2008. Which one will it be?
Find Out in 3 Days from now...

#50. Monika - Avatar
Monika, a Greek singer-songwriter with an impressive voice and a great record! With her debut album "Avatar", Monika proves that all the hype with this album was appropriate and definitely praiseworthy. A great future for this young lady is coming and she is only 21! Welcome.
Listen: "Babe"

#49. dEUS - Vantage Point

From this "Vantage Point" I can see clearly that dEUS are back to amaze as with this wonderful album, but with an unexpected mainstream sweet sound that we could never imagine that they were able to create.
Listen: "Eternal Woman"

#48. Melodium - Cerebro Spin
Laurent Girard better known under the moniker "Melodium" is a french electronica music producer. "Cerebro Spin" is his latest effort. This album is mostly instrumental, with vulnerable melodies and fragile electronic tunes to remember.
Listen: "Choanal Imperforation"

#47. The Black Angels - Directions To See A Ghost

This is a strange band from Texas [Austin]. The Black Angels is band that whether you love them or hate them, they will get your interest. "Directions to See A Ghost" is a psychedelic rock album with unfamiliar vocals and explosive rock sounds.
Listen: "Mission District"

#46. Glasvegas - Glasvegas
Glasvegas is a Scottish band and their debut album "Glasvegas" is perfect. This album has something unique, I don't know yet what it is... Maybe it's the vocals that make it so special or the vivid music or the youthfull spirit or... Whatever it is, this album is Great!
Listen: "It's My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry"

#45. Gregor Samsa - Rest
This is the 4th full length album of Gregor Samsa. "Rest" is their latest work that really impressed me. They successfully created a post-rock album with contemporary classical sounds. "Rest" is sensational, majestic, creative and melodic.
Listen: "Pseudonyms"

#44. Auburn Lull - Begin Civil Twilight

The third album of Auburn Lull "Begin Civil Twilight" is simply their best. Brilliant shoegaze music, dreamy tunes, ethereal background vocals. Discover its beauty...
Listen: "Coasts"

#43. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Bon Iver {also known as Justin Vernon} released his debut album
as Bon Iver in 2008. He also released the same album as Justin Vernon in 2007. So, I choose the 2nd version and place it in #43 [it would be much higher if it wasn't re-released].
Poetic, original, flawless and wondrous! A must have album.
Listen: "Lump Sum"

#42. Boduf Songs - How Shadows Chase The Balance
Boduf Songs is the work of Mat Sweet. "How Shadows Chase The Balance" is a dark, atmospheric folk album that touches the listener from the first song. But as I've mentioned this dark touch destroys your psychological strength and plays with your emotions. Don't listen to it if you feel depressed. It is devastating.
Listen: "Mission Creep" for the lyrics ["All of my heroes died the same day..."]

#41. Last Harbour - Dead Fires And The Lonely Spark

"Dead Fires & The Lonely Spark" is a melodramatic folk album from a Manchester-based band, Last Harbour. This record sounds like a continuance to the album of Boduf Songs. Melodic tearjerking songs, excellent vocals and atmospheric from start to finish. Feel this music experience!
Listen: "The Accident"