JamBase's Best Of 2008

The last thing we do every year is our annual Best Of list. It's not only our way of reviewing the most gratifying sounds of the past 12 months, but we inevitably always get turned on to something that slipped past our radar. By gathering favorite album and live show suggestions from our staff, select artists, contributors and friends we think we've got 2008 covered. But it just wouldn't be complete without the most important person: You. We're aching to hear what our JamBase Community thinks the best albums and shows of the year were. So be sure to use the Comments Section to tell us all about it.


Justin Vernon - Bon Iver

Bon Iver
Albums (in no order)
Bowerbirds - Hymns For A Dark Horse
Collections of Colonies of Bees - Birds
Black Mountain - In The Future
War On Drugs - Wagonwheel Blues
Kathleen Edwards - Asking For Flowers
Megafaun - Bury the Square
The Rosebuds - Life Like

Jim James - My Morning Jacket

1. Erykah Badu - New Amerykah Pt.1 - 4th World War
I have been a longtime fan of Erykah Badu. I have all of her records and I can say this is by far the weirdest one yet, which makes me very excited for weirdness to come. You can hear so many new paths of influence here and songs like "Soldier" and "That Hump" are among the best she's ever done. It is raw and creepy, yet still oh so sexy. It sounds like it was subliminally recorded into some hidden army surveillance mic in the back of a tank in the year 3013... she is a delightful being from another world.

2. Dr. Dog - Fate

Jim James by Blakesberg
These guys never fail to impress me. The songs and recording quality are fantastic. "From" and "Army of Ancients" are two of the best songs in their catalogue. Scott McMicken's songs never fail to bring a smile and the songwriting growth of Toby Leaman is particularly impressive here.

3. Calexico - Carried To Dust
There are some very interesting soundscapes here, almost like it's snowing in the middle of Calexico's psychedelic desert world. It is good to feel ice on the cactus... more prickles.

4. Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst
I like the soft sad moments of this record the most - "Cape Canaveral" and "Lenders In The Temple" are soft pearls I needed to hear this year.

5. Centro-matic/South San Gabriel - Dual Hawks
This is a particularly interesting concept of a split release from two bands led by the same man - Will Johnson. Will's voice is soft and gravely and makes me feel loved.

6. Buena Vista Social Club - At Carnegie Hall
The original studio album documenting some of the finest in Cuban music has been one of my favorites for years and it's great to get this live album now into my ears.

7. Mercury Rev - Snowflake Midnight
I like it when I cannot understand. I'm running down a wet dark alleyway inside a computer and this is playing and I'm running and I'm scared and I cannot understand and my blood is pumping and I like it.

8. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Soft and slow, like a hot knife thru butter. You think it's ghosts or a killer trying to get in, but it's really just tree branches against the farmhouse.

9. Black Orpheus - Original Soundtrack Re-release
This film and soundtrack, featuring the luscious compositions of Antonio Carlos Jobim have kept popping up in my life and it was a great joy to see these old friends in a new light.

10. The Complete Motown Singles, Vol.10: 1970
Is Motown music the greatest music ever made by mere mortals - ever, in the history of all humanity? Is the climax at four minutes and seventeen seconds in the long version of Diana Ross' version of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" the greatest climax in all of music? I don't know, but 1970 was an important and change-filled year for Motown and it still feels great in 2008.

Dave Schools - Widespread Panic, Stockholm Syndrome

Schools by Weiand
1. Dead Confederate - Wrecking Ball
2. Jimmy Herring - Lifeboat
3. Jeff Beck - Performing This Week... Live at Ronnie Scott's
4. Howlin Rain - Magnificent Fiend
5. Dungen - 4

1. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss | Bonnaroo
2. Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Soul Stew Revival | All Good Festival
3. Hayride | 11.26.08 | Tasty World | Athens, GA (show was all requests from the audience)

Patterson Hood - Drive-By Truckers

Patterson Hood
Albums (so far)
1. Centro-matic/South San Gabriel - Dual Hawks
2. Harvey Milk - Life... The Best Game in Town
3. Magnolia Electric Co. - Sojourner (The Wooden Box)
4. The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
5. Anna Kramer and the Lost Cause - The Rustic Contemporary Sounds of Anna Kramer and The Lost Cause
Hon. Mention: Iron & Wine (still loving from last year) Radiohead (same) Eccentric Soul #21 (incredible soul comp)

Live Shows
1. Alejandro Escovedo | 09.08.08 | Continental Club | Austin, TX (ACL Weekend)
2. Bruce Springsteen & the E. Street Band | 04.08.08 | Philips Arena | Atlanta, GA
3. Magnolia Electric Co. | 10/2008 | 40 Watt Club | Athens, GA
Special Notice: The Hold Steady | Every single night of the tour I saw!!!

Al Schnier - moe., Al & The Transamericans

Al Schnier by Perrucci
1. Okemah - Johnstown Flyer
2. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
3. Radiohead - In Rainbows
4. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
5. Daniel Lanois - Here Is What Is

1. Neil Young | Farm Aid
2. Punch Brothers | Dunegrass
3. The Pickles | moe.down 9

David Murphy - STS9

Murph by A. Williams
1. Ludacris - Theater of the Mind
2. STS9 - Peaceblaster
3. TV on the Radio - Dear Science
4. Pnuma - Character
5. The Foreign Exchange - Leave It All Behind

1. Ghostland Observatory | 03.08.08 | Langerado | Big Cypress, FL
2. The Cure | 05.08.08 | Red Rocks | Morrison, CO
3. Roger Waters | 04.08.08 | Pepsi Center | Denver, CO

Marco Benevento - Benevento/Russo Duo, American Babies, Bustle In Your Hedgerow

Benevento by Williams
1. Radiohead - In Rainbows
2. Marco Benevento - Invisible Baby
3. Brad Barr - The Fall Apartment
4. Zach Hill - Astrological Straits
5. David Byrne & Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today

1. !!! | 07.25.08 | Evolve Fest | Nova Scotia, Canada
2. Wilco | 08.24.08 | Outside Lands Festival | San Francisco, CA
3. Built To Spill | 07.03.08 | High Sierra Music Festival | Quincy, CA

Joe Russo - Benevento/Russo Duo, American Babies, Bustle In Your Hedgerow

Russo by Blakesberg
Albums (in no order)
A BIG YES... and a small no - Jesus That Looks Terrible On You
Radiohead - In Rainbows
Sam Champion - Heavenly Bender
MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Todd Sickafoose - Tiny Resistors

1. The Boredoms | 04.02.08 | Starlight Ballroom | Philadelphia, PA
2. Wilco | 08.03.08 | McCarren Pool | Brooklyn, NY
3. Neil Young/Wilco | 12.15.08 | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY

Jason Isbell - Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

Jason Isbell
I honestly didn't buy any new music this year, but:
1. Centro-Matic/South San Gabriel - Dual Hawks
2. Randy Newman - Harps and Angels
3. Justin Townes Earle - The Good Life
4. The Whigs - Mission Control
5. Rihanna - Good Girl Gone Bad Reloaded

The live shows are easy:
1. Centro-Matic/South San Gabriel | 05/2008 | Hellendorn, NE
2. Calexico | 10/2008 | The Mercy Lounge | Nashville, TN
3. Radiohead | 08/2008 Friday Night Show | All Points West Festival

Jerry Joseph - Jackmormons, Denmark Veseys, Stockholm Syndrome

J. Joseph by Weiand
Albums (in no order)
Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight
TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Immortal Technique - The 3rd World
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
Tinariwen - Aman Iman
Bonnie "Prince" Billy - Lie Down In The Light
Joseph Arthur - Temporary People

Sun Kil Moon - "Tonight The Sky"
The Verve - "Sit and Wonder"
The Firemen - "Sing The Changes"
Blitzen Trapper - "Furr"
Deer Tick - "Yes, This Is My Broken Shield"
Kings Of Leon - "Sex On Fire"
Kenny Siegal - "Well Well Well"
Anything MIA may have uttered anywhere

Frightened Rabbit | 10/2008 | Holocene | Portland, OR
Stevie Wonder | Spring 2008 | Jazz Fest | New Orleans, LA
Bret Mosley | 08/2008 | The Silver Dollar | Butte, MT
R.E.M., Modest Mouse, The National | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY

Ethan Miller - Howlin Rain, Comets On Fire

Top Live Experiences This Year of 2008:

1. Sir Richard Bishop | 8.22.08 | 21 Grand Gallery | Oakland, CA
Probably my favorite show of the year. Myself, Joel Robinow, Brad Truax and Arik Roper had just got back from the 80,000 capacity Outside Lands Festival in Golden Gate Park where Howlin Rain had opened one of the stages at the festival that afternoon. The 21 Grand is a small performance and art space, great vibes, adventurous music and performances, sometimes advertised gigs, sometimes word of mouth - I highly suggest checking it out. Rick Bishop, solo guitarist, formerly of the legendary Sun City Girls, had apparently been living in West Oakland, having taken a sabbatical from his life and work in Seattle to focus strictly on new music for a while holed up in this house in West Oakland. He had taken the gig for fun and to keep up some live chops. I can't really describe what he did other than "play some old ones and some new ones," but something about the intensity of his performance was extra special; it just continued to build and build, gypsy and flamenco scales just tearing faster and faster through his other dimensional landscapes that come ringing up from a mountain cave in the desert hills of the Spanish/Afghanistan border in an alternate universe, on an alternate map of an alternate kind of music. Rick's music is free of the over the top tricksterism of the Sun City Girls but even in its soulful focus there is most definitely jest and a particularly Machiavellian scent surrounds it, an outcast blue blood turned brilliant and dangerous vagabond laughing a rich deep sound from the shadows.

2. Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds | 10.04.08 | Madison Square Garden Theater | New York, NY

Ethan Miller
One of my favorite artists of all time in the flesh. This is the third time I've seen Nick. The first in 1992 at the Reading Festival in England on a bill with The Screaming Trees, The Melvins, L7, Mudhoney, The Beastie Boys, Bjorn Again (Abba Tribute band) and Nirvana. The second at The Warfield in S.F. on the No More Shall We Part tour. This time we were in the nosebleeds way in the back of the theater. Even in the nosebleeds people were still going nuts. Nick is bar none one of the most unhinged and yet rock and roll theatrical performers alive today. He takes on the legacy of Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Elvis, Iggy, Angus and Bon Scott, Howlin' Wolf and on and on. All rolled into a man that looks like he's going to an aristocrat's funeral to fuck the grieving young widow on top of the coffin. I love Blixa Bargeld but it seemed for a while that his heart had gone out of the Bad Seeds and his replacement, violinist Warren Ellis of the Dirty Three is a goddamn animal. I mean, he's either tearing up the violin, flying around like a banshee or gnawing the mic stand in half - he literally just looks like a wild man that can't be controlled, simply let loose. He and Nick have developed a one-two punch dynamic that reminds me of the tag team antics of Bon Scott and Angus Young in footage of early AC/DC where whenever one was leaving the front of the stage after just thrashing the audience and exploding all over them the other comes rolling by to take the place and keep the assault and intensity up at all times. Brilliant! When I see a band like the Bad Seeds that can be, at times, sloppy as hell musically but ALWAYS energized and intense, I remember that I can never get up onstage and just stand there with my dick in my hand trying to play the right notes when I know that somewhere out there in the world Nick and Warren are putting in two solid hours onstage just trying to kick down the door to hell and drag the devil out by his tits. Makes me want to get a hold of the devil's tits first, ya know?

3. Green Man Festival | Weekend of 08.16.08 | Wales, UK
At the time I was a little road weary and I'm not sure I thought it was as much fun then but now that I am not standing knee deep in mud and soaked with gumball sized raindrops pouring down for two straight days I am sure it was a blast! Howlin Rain was honored with a spot on Saturday afternoon at the Green Man Fest, a festival in Wales (this area being one of the most rain soaked valleys in the British Isles) and Magik Markers were playing Sunday night. We all did a gig in London then drove in together for the weekend with our beloved Tour Manager and Agent; Fitz. Organic meat pies in the rain, watching Richard Thompson do thrust squats in his gym shorts before taking the stage in his backstage tent in the rain, watching Pentangle in the rain, Howlin Rain performing to a few thousand screaming fans in the rain, walking around drinking beers with Elisa and Pete of the Markers in the rain, more meat pies in the rain and finally watching Magik Markers play - under a tent!!! Green Man has no corporate sponsors or backing, they promote earth friendly and environmentally and socially conscious events and vendors, and it's a fun, party environment and family environment. A unique and favorite event amongst festivals for sure.

4. Howlin Rain, Black Mountain, Whale Bones | 02.01.08 | Secret Basement House Party | Seattle, WA
This was one of my most favored and memorable musical experiences in a year of somewhere in the range of 115 live performances - which is a hell of a lot for me, cause I'm just old enough now that hangovers hurt, ya know what I mean? We were on a tour of the West Coast of California with Black Mountain and had played a show in Seattle the night before with BM, Yeasayer and MGMT. The next day the drummer of Whale Bones was willing to host a word of mouth house party in his basement with BM, Howlin Rain and Whale Bones. I haven't played a drop down knock out, get hammered, packed in, everyone sweating on each other, middle of the suburbs house party like that in a long time and it felt so fucking good. Just to look around a few times while Black Mountain was playing and think, "Jesus Christ, I hope there isn't a fire or the support beams don't collapse! We're gonna die!" It reinvigorated in me a pursuit of house parties for Howlin Rain as well as just reminding me what a pure and exhilarating setting they are to see a band, on any level of exposure, play and even more so to be the one playing them.

Keller Williams

Keller Williams
1. Charlie Hunter - Baboon Strength
2. Todd Snider - Peace Queer
3. Martin Sexton - Solo
4. Zack Deputy - Out of the Water
5. Josh Phillips Folk Festival - Wicker

1. Thievery Corporation | Rothbury
2. Zappa Plays Zappa | Rothbury
3. Dumpstaphunk | Wakarusa

Tim Hoey - Cut Copy

Cut Copy
1. Deerhunter - Microcastle
2. Dennis Wilson - Pacific Ocean Blue (Re-issue)
3. Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules and Love Affair
4. Lindstrom - Where You Go I Go Too
5. Hush Arbors - Hush Arbors
6. TV on the Radio - Dear Science

1. My Bloody Valentine | 10.01.08 | Santa Monica Civic Center | Los Angeles, CA
2. The Juan MacLean | 06.18.08 | The Great Northern | Byron Bay, Australia
3. Hercules and Love affair | 08.30.08 | Electric Picnic Festival | Stradbally, Ireland

The Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, Noam Pikelny, Chris Eldridge, Gabe Witcher, Paul Kowert (group response)

The Punch Brothers
1. Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle - Stravinsky Symphonies
2. Gabriel Kahane - Gabriel Kahane
3. Hilary Hahn - Schoenberg and Sibelius: Violin Concertos
4. Radiohead - In Rainbows
5. Randy Newman - Harps and Angels

1. Brad Mehldau Solo | 10.10.08 | Le Poisson Rouge | New York, NY
2. "Doctor Atomic" by John Adams | 11.01.08 | Metropolitan Opera | New York, NY
3. Radiohead - 05.08.08 | Lakewood Amphitheater | Atlanta, GA (Chris Eldridge)
3. Radiohead | 08.22.08 | Outside Lands Festival | San Francisco, CA (Gabe Witcher and Chris Thile)
4. Väsen | 04.19.08 | Harrisburg Academy | Harrisburg, PA

Brad Barr - The Slip, Surprise Me Mr. Davis

Brad Barr
1. The Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
2. Apollo Sunshine - Shall Noise Upon
3. The Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust
4. Plants and Animals - Parc Avenue
5. Surprise Me Mr. Davis - Finding Demo (unreleased, but still made in '08)

1. Monotonix | 10.31.08 | Satellite Bar | New Orleans, LA
2. Neil Young and Wilco | 12.01.08 | Bell Center | Montreal, QB
3. Doug MacLeod | Fall 2008 | Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour (live) | West Virginia

Nathan Moore - Surprise Me Mr. Davis, ThaMuseMeant

Nathan Moore
1. The Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
2. Brad Barr - The Fall Apartment
3. Marco Benevento - Invisible Baby
4. Todd Snider - Peace Queer
5. I made The Best Christmas Mix Ever

1. Todd Snider | Folks Fest
2. The Swell Season | Telluride Bluegrass
3. The Duo | Buffalo Creek Music Festival

Theresa Andersson

Theresa Andersson
1. The Bird and The Bee - Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future
2. Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules & Love Affair
3. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
4. The Walkmen - You & Me
5. Dungen - 4

Two Tone Tommy - My Morning Jacket


1. Bennie Maupin Quartet - Early Reflections
Probably best known as the multi-reedist on Headhunters and Bitches Brew, his solo material is equally as brilliant... haunting, sparse, breathy sketches. The melody of "Escondido" will follow you around for days.

2. Dr. Dog - Fate

TT Tommy by Milner
This collection of songs falls into my head like Tetris pieces... effortlessly placing themselves into the most pleasing perfect shapes. How is that humanly possible?

3. Centro-Matic/South San Gabriel - Dual Hawks
Will Johnson and Scott Danbom's voices are like lil' angels making love to my ears. Soft, sweet, gorgeous love.

4. Lambchop - OH (Ohio)
Been a fan of Kurt Wagner & Co. for a decade now with nary a disappointment. The usual large ensemble supports Wagner's gentle storytelling without overwhelming a bit... his best since Is A Woman.

5. Brad Mehldau Trio - The Complete Friday Night Sets
Mehldau's phrasing is insane. The group's tightness and almost psychic level of interplay lives up to the best trios. Worth downloading the lengthy hi-fi set from the Nonesuch Records website.

1. Gil Mantera's Party Dream
2. Volodja Balzalorsky
3. Portishead

Neal Casal - Ryan Adams and the Cardinals

Neal Casal
1. Mudcrutch - Mudcrutch
2. Gary Louris - Vagabonds
3. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes

1. The Black Crowes/Vetiver - 12.10.08 | First Avenue | Minneapolis, MN
2. Del McCoury Band | Telluride Bluegrass Festival | Telluride, CO
3. Fleet Foxes | Vicar Street | Dublin, Ireland

Nathan Barnes - Rose Hill Drive

Rose Hill Drive
1. The Raconteurs - Consolers Of The Lonely
2. Beck - Modern Guilt
3. The Black Keys - Attack And Release
4. Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
5. Colour Revolt - Plunder, Beg, and Curse

1. Stone Temple Pilots | 07.02.08 | Red Rocks | Morrison, CO
2. The Raconteurs | 04.25.08 | The Fillmore | Denver, CO
3. Explosions In The Sky | 03.28.08 | The Ogden Theater | Denver, CO

Brian Stoltz - Porter Batiste Stoltz, Neville Brothers, Funky Meters

Brian Stoltz
1. Porter Batiste Stoltz featuring Page McConnell - Moodoo
'scuse me for blowing this horn but... We Ripped It Up!

2. The Raconteurs - Consolers Of The Lonely
Nothing out there compares to this. Most innovative band in years. One of the two best sounding recordings of '08.

3. Bob Dylan - Tell Tale Signs: Bootleg Series Vol.8
Even Bob's outtakes play like a new album. A great new album! (Sorry for blowing that horn again, but I played on 5 of the tracks.)

4. Drive-By Truckers - Brighter Than Creation's Dark
Great, great songs and the other of the two best sounding recordings of '08.

5. CSNY - Déjà Vu Live
Bombastic and beautiful. I love every second of this album and the film. Neil, accompanied by his old bandmates, takes on the warmongers for supporting the Bush/Cheney cabal and the greatest armed robbery in history.

1. The Raconteurs | 06.13.08 | Bonnaroo
This show was slammin'. Even Chris Rock was sitting on the side of the stage. There is nothing in recent years this innovative.

2. Porter Batiste Stoltz with Page McConnell | 09.16.08 | B.B. King's | NYC
My own performances are rarely among my favorites, but this one was. Page rocked and slipped into the funk like he'd been playing with us from the beginning.

3. YES | 12.12.08 | Biloxi, MS
I've gone to dozens of YES shows and have heard almost every incarnation of this band in the last forty years. Even though Jon Anderson and Rick Wakeman were not on this tour, their replacements, Benoit David and Oliver Wakeman pulled it off without a hitch. Chris Squire, Steve Howe and Alan White still come out and play those majestic songs in the present. Nobody nowadays makes music this imaginative.


1. Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
2. Flying Lotus - Los Angeles
3. Esau Mwamawaya & Radioclit - The Very Best Mixtape
4. Madlib – Beat Konducta, Vol. 5: Dil Cosby Suite
5. Ratatat - LP3

1. The Crystal Method | 07.27.08 | Pemberton Festival | Pemberton, B.C.
2. Citizen Cope | 03.08.08 | Langerado Festival | Big Cypress, FL
3. Glitch Mob | 01.01.08 | The Fox | Boulder, CO

Eric McFadden - Eric McFadden Trio, Stockholm Syndrome

1. Deerhoof - Offend Maggie
2. Evangelista - Hello, Voyager
3. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
4. Alejandro Escovedo - Real Animal
5. Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
6. Metallica - Death Magnetic

1. TV on the Radio & The Dirt Bombs | 11.09.08 | The Warfield | San Francisco, CA
2. The Raconteurs | 05.04.08 | Jazz Fest | New Orleans, LA
3. James Hall & Joseph Arthur | 07.17.08 | The Roxy | Los Angeles, CA

Skerik - Critters Buggin, Syncopated Taint Septet, Dead Kenny Gs, Crack Sabbath etc.

1. Eyvind Kang The Yelm Sessions
2. Deerhoof Offend Maggie
3. Anything by Tim Hecker
4. TV On The Radio Dear Science

1. The Diminished Men | 12.06.08 | The Tractor | Seattle, WA (opening for DEAD KENNY Gs)
2. Weedeater | Summer 2008 | The FUNHOUSE | Seattle, WA
3. KTL | Summer 2008 | some club in Japan | Tokyo, Japan

Vince Herman - Leftover Salmon, Great American Taxi

Vince Herman
1. Todd Snider - Peace Queer
2. Bryan Sutton - Bluegrass Guitar
3. Railroad Earth - Amen Corner
4. Jim Page - Head Full of Pictures
5. Steven Colbert - A Colbert Christmas

1. Tony Clifton | 08/2008 | Walnut Room | Denver, CO
At some flea bitten joint in the mile high circus, this show is the best I have ever seen, anywhere, any time.
2. Railroad Earth | 10/2008 | Fox Theatre | Boulder, CO
3. Thunder and Friends | 02.07.08 | Thunder Yard | Negril, Jamaica

Dan Lebowitz - ALO, Lebo

Dan Lebowitz
1. Amos Lee - Last Days at the Lodge
2. Mudcrutch - Mudcrutch
3. Dr. Dog - Fate
4. The Hacienda Brothers - Arizona Motel
5. Ray LaMontagne - Gossip in the Grain

1. Brandi Carlile | 02.02.08 | The Mayercraft Carrier
2. Mudcrutch | 04.16.08 | The Fillmore | San Francisco, CA
3. Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood | 03.08.08 | Langerado

Steve Adams - ALO, Big Light

Steve Adams
1. Dr. Dog - Fate
2. The Mother Hips - Kiss The Crystal Flake
3. Tea Leaf Green - Raise Up The Tent
4. Tom Fruend - Collapsible Plans
5. Nicki Bluhm - Toby's Song

Shows (watched)
1. Tea Leaf Green | 02.29.08 | The Fillmore | SF, CA
2. Chali 2na w/ Galactic | 06.15.08 | Bonnaroo Music Festival | Manchester, TN
3. Wilco | 08.24.08 | Outside Lands Festival | SF, CA

Shows (played)
1. The Golden Gate Gramble feat. Skinny Singers, Ball Point Birds, Lebo, Big Light and Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers | 08.22.08 | 12 Galaxies | SF, CA
2. Blues Workshop w/ Papa Mali, Caroline Wonderland, Eric McFadden, Daria "Shani" Johnson, and myself | 06.29.08 | High Sierra Music Festival | Quincy, CA
3. Everyone Orchestra feat. members of TLG, Poor Man's Whiskey, Izabella, Blue Turtle Seduction, Flowmotion and others | 07.26.08 | Four Peaks Music Festival | Bend, OR
*Conducted by Matt Butler from on top of a truck out in the crowd!

Zach Gill - ALO, Jack Johnson

Zach Gill
1. Neil Halstead - Oh mighty Engine
2. Mason Jennings - In The Ever
3. Regina Spektor - Fidelity
4. Dr. Dog - Fate
5. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend

Shows - I didn't see too many shows other than the ones I played in, but here are my favorites from 2008:

1. Jack Johnson | Paris, France
2. ALO | Las Tortugas | Halloween Weekend | Yosemite
3. Zach Gill's Stuff CD release party | Santa Barbara, CA
4. Mason Jennings and Zach Gill | Omaha, NE

Steve Molitz - Phil Lesh & Friends, Particle, Region of Darkness

Steve Molitz
1. Mitch Hedberg - Do You Believe in Gosh?
2. Louis C.K. - Chewed Up
3. Bill Hicks - Moon is Smiling

1. Paul Simon w/ special guest David Byrne | Brooklyn Academy of Music | Brooklyn, NY
The concert featured the music of my two favorite Paul Simon albums, Graceland and Rhythm of the Saints. The band played with such purity and passion, and it was such a joy to watch Cyro Baptista explore the polyrhythms that provide both the foundation and flare to that material. As for Byrne - he absolutely stole the show with his renditions of "I Know What I Know" and "You Can Call Me Al." The night was also very meaningful to me because my dad used to play those records all the time for me when I was growing up and I took him to the show as a sign of thanks for turning me on to such inspiring music. After the show, I introduced my dad to David Byrne, and I explained to both of them that one of the main reasons I pursued a life in music was because of albums like Graceland and Stop Making Sense. Without missing a beat, my dad shot Byrne a dirty look, and said, "So, this is all YOUR fault!" Good one, Pop...

Ed Anderson - Backyard Tire Fire

Backyard Tire Fire
1. Alejandro Escovedo - Real Animal
2. Neil Young - Sugar Mountain - Live At Canterbury House 1968
3. She & Him - Volume One 4. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
5. R.E.M. - Accelerate

1. Los Lobos | 10.25.08 | Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts | Bloomington, IL (We opened and got to sit in!)
2. Ben Folds | Langerado 2008 (First time seeing one of my favorites.)
3. Squirrel Nut Zippers | 10.29.08 | Variety Playhouse | Atlanta, GA
(We opened and had Jimbo Mathis sit in with us on one of his tunes!)

Harrison Haynes - Les Savy Fav

Les Savy Fav
1. The Dodos - Visiter
2. Hercules & Love Affair - Hercules & Love Affair
3. Earles & Jensen - Just Farr A Laugh
4. Silver Jews - Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea
5. Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Continued

1. Prince | 04.26.08 | Coachella Festival | Indio CA
2. Holy Fuck | 05.30.08 | Primavera Festival | Barcelona, Spain
3. Tie between:
Silver Jews | 05.31.08 | Primavera Festival | Barcelona, Spain
Antony & The Johnsons | 09.05.08 | Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall | Portland, OR

Evan Winiker - Steel Train

Steel Train
1. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
2. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
3. Dr. Dog - Fate
4. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals
5. TV on the Radio - Dear Science

1. M.I.A. | Bonnaroo
2. Girl Talk | Lollapalooza
3. Dr. Dog | 12.02.08 | Webster Hall | New York, NY

Reed Mathis - Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, Tea Leaf Green

Reed Mathis
1. Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
2. Robert Walter - Cure All
3. Dorian Small - Newlyweds
4. MMW - Radiolarians I
5. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
Still loving 2007's: Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog

1. Tea Leaf Green | 11.22.08 | Toad's Place | New Haven, CT
2. JFJO | 10.10.08 | Blue Note | New York, NY
3. Benevento, Mathis, Fishman | 11.07.08 | Real Art Ways | Hartford, CT


1. Santogold - Santogold
2. Kanye West - 808s & Heartbreak
3. Sia - Some People Have Real Problems
4. Kreesha Turner - Passion
5. Lykke Li - Youth Novels

Scott Metzger - American Babies, Bustle In Your Hedgerow

Metzger by Gardner
Albums (in no order)
A Big Yes... and a small no — Jesus That Looks Terrible on You
Q-Tip - The Renaissance
The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
Bill Burr - Why do I do This?
The Fireman - Electric Arguments
Sam Champion - Heavenly Bender

1. Neil Young/Wilco/Everest | 12.15.08 | Madison Square Garden
2. Richard Thompson (solo) | 10.28.08 | McCarter Theatre
3. Cat Power | 08.02.08 | Newport Folk Fest
4. The Phillies winning the World Series (does that count as a show? 'Cause it was... and I was there).

Tom Hamilton - American Babies, Brothers Past

Tom Hamilton
1. She & Him - Volume One
2. Dr. Dog - Fate
3. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
4. David Byrne/Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
5. Sigur Ros - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

1. Cat Power | 08.02.08 | Newport Folk Fest
2. Brian Wilson | 08.01.08 | Tennis Hall of Fame
3. Josh Ritter | 03.07.08 | Langerado

Zack Smith - Rotary Downs

Zack Smith
1. The Other Planets - Holiday for Vacationers: Everything Awesome All the Time
2. NIN - The Slip
3. COMO Now! - Voices of Panola County MS
4. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
5. Radiohead - In Rainbows

1. Monotonix | 10.31.08 | The Saturn Bar | New Orleans, LA
2. Rush | 09/2008 | New Orleans Arena | New Orleans, LA
3. Make Believe | 03.15.08 | SXSW | Austin, TX

Matt Costa

Matt Costa
1. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Cardinology
2. Delta Spirit - Ode To Sunshine
3. Dennis Wilson - Pacific Blue (Reissue)
4. Sera Cahoone - Only As The Day Is Long
5. Neil Young - Live At Massey Hall 1971

1. Neil Young / Wilco / Everest
2. Roger Waters | Coachella Festival
3. The Flaming Lips | Sasquatch Festival

Mason Jennings

Mason Jennings
1. Coldplay - Viva La Vida
2. Jack Johnson - Sleep Through the Static
3. Zach Gill - Zach Gill's Stuff
4. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
5. She & Him - Volume One

1. The Bad Plus
2. Conor Oberst
3. Jack Johnson

Mike Dillon - Hairy Apes BMX, Mike Dillon's Go-Go Jungle, Critters Buggin

Mike Dillon
1. Ween - La Cucaracha
2. Aloke Dutta - Spondaic Oblation - Solo Tabla
3. Motorhead - Motorizer
4. Tie:
Steve Reich and Musicians - Phases
Todd Sickafoose - Tiny Resistors
5. Tie:
Black Mountain - Black Mountain
Deerhoof - Offend Maggie

1. The Melvins | 08.20.08 | One Eyed Jacks | New Orleans, LA
2. Hamil on Trial | 11.22.08 | Town Hall | NYC
3. Regina Spektor | 07/2008 | Philly
4. Hairy Apes BMX, Mike Dillon's Go Go Jungle | Jazz Fest Late Nite | Le Bon Temps Roule | NOLA
Got to blow my horn!!!

Fred Torphy - Big Light

Fred Torphy
1. Apollo Sunshine - Shall Noise Upon
2. Evil Urges - My Morning Jacket
3. Nathan Moore - You Yeah Smoking Hot
4. Dr. Dog - Fate
5. Brad Barr - The Fall Apartment: Instrumental Guitar

1. The Golden Gate Gramble | 08.22.08 | 12 Galaxies | SF, CA
2. Nathan Moore | 07.06.08 | Shady Grove | HSMF 2008
3. The Mother Hips | 09.12.08 | Cafe Du Nord | SF, CA

Bradly Bifulco - Big Light

Big Light
Albums (in no order)
My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
The Mars Volta - The Bedlam in Goliath
The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
Dr. Dog - Fate

Shows (in no order)
The Golden Gate Gramble (Ball Point Birds, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers, Big Light, Lebo, Skinny Singers) | 08.15.08 | 12 Galaxies | SF, CA
Akron/Family | High Sierra Music Festival 2008 (either set)
Boredoms | 03.15.08 | The Fillmore Auditorium | SF, CA

Art NevilleFunky Meters, The Neville Brothers

The Neville Brothers
1. Sharon Jones – 100 Days, 100 Nights
2. The Knux – Remind Me In 3 Days
3. Trombone Shorty & Orleans Ave – Orleans & Claiborne

1. The Neville Brothers ft. Santana and The Wild Tchapatoulis | Jazz Fest
2. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings | Jam Cruise
3. Dumpstaphunk | Tipitina's | Jazz Fest
4. The Neville Brothers, Funky Meters ft. Cyril Neville, Dr John | 09.14.08 | Mt. Winery | Saratoga, CA

JP Nowak - Cornmeal

1. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
2. Levon Helm - Dirt Farmer
3. Del McCoury Band - Money Land
4. Metallica - Death Magnetic
5. AC/DC - Black Ice

1. Levon Helm | moe.down
2. My Morning Jacket | 08.16.08 | Louisville, KY
3. Railroad Earth | High Sierra Late Night in The Barn | HSMF

Jason Lytle - Grandaddy & Aaron Espinoza - Earlimart
We're here at the studio together, Earlidaddy/Grandymart.

Albums (in no order... kinda)
Richard Swift - Ground Trouble Jaw
Reno 911 - Behind The Music
Bushwick Bill - The CDr I got from him... over by the "Best Wurst" stand on Congress Ave, Austin, TX
Enya - Christmas Ep
Zip Zap Slip-On's - Desert Fox Hat Days

Rademacher | 09.11.08 | Dirty Duke's Chicken Coop | Bozeman, MT
Daft Punk (un-masked) | 05/2008 | Weird Filter or Cornerstone poolside party | Coachella
Aaron and Jason (of Grandaddy) | 12.14.08 | San Francisco Airport
Cindy Taco Truck | 06.15.08 | Ashland Renaissance Festival | Ashland, OR

The New Mastersounds
Simon Allen – The New Mastersounds

Albums (2008 is when I first heard them)
1. Vampire Weekend - S/T
2. Rufus Wainwright - Release the Stars
3. The Lions - Jungle Struttin'
4. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
5. Phoenix - It's Never Been Like That

1. Lonnie Smith | Leeds, UK
2. Bettye LaVette | Fuji Rock Festival
3. Tower of Power | Jazz Fest | NOLA

Eddie Roberts – The New Mastersounds

1. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
2. Ratatat - Wildcat
3. Ting Tings – We Start at Nothing

1. Lonnie Smith Trio feat Melvin Sparks | Sela Bar | Leeds, UK
2. Seun Kuti | Haig Jazz Fest | Netherlands
3. Funky Meters | Howlin Wolf | Jazz Fest 08

Cris Jacobs - The Bridge

The Bridge
1. Bob Dylan - The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs
2. Bill Frisell and Jim Hall - Hemispheres
3. B.B. King - One Kind Favor
4. Ry Cooder - I, Flathead
5. Steve Earle & The Del McCoury Band - The Mountain

1. Levon Helm Band | moe.down
2. Del McCoury Band | 11.08.08 | Recher Theater | Towson, MD
3. Funky Meters | 01/2008 | Jam Cruise | Pool Deck Set

Matt Kass - The Brakes

The Brakes
1. Radiohead - In Rainbows
2. The Black Keys - Attack and Release
3. Death Cab for Cutie - Narrow Stairs
4. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
5. Kings of Leon - Only By the Night

1. Radiohead | 08.12.08 | Susquehanna Bank Center | Camden, NJ
2. Wilco | 02.26.08 | 9:30 Club | Washington, DC
3. Taj Mahal Trio | 08/02/08 | Gathering of the Vibes | Bridgeport, CT

Tim Bluhm - The Mother Hips, Skinny Singers

Midlake - The Trials of Van Occupanther

Zac Lasher - U-Melt

1. The Raconteurs - Consolers Of The Lonely
2. David Byrne + Brian Eno - Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
3. Garaj Mahal - Woot
4. Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
5. moe. - Sticks & Stones

1. Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood | 02.28.08 | Madison Square Garden
2. Santana | 05.03.08 | New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
3. Zappa Plays Zappa | 08.01.08 | Gathering of the Vibes

Zion Rock Godchaux - BoomBox


1. Bob Dylan - Tell Tale Signs
Unreleased and alternate versions of Dylan at his best.

2. Q-Tip - The Renaissance
Q-Tip re-emerges from label issues with self produced heavy, heavy album.

3. The Chemical Brothers - We Are The Night
Still laying down some of the sickest beats out there.

4. KRS-One - Maximum Strength
Founder of conscious hip-hop returns.

5. Sublime - Best of Sublime: Green Series
Some old, some live, some covers, some demos – all solid.


1. Thievery Corporation | Rothbury Music Festival
Thievery was on and the crowed was locked in.

2. The Crystal Method | Rothbury Music Festival
Seen Ken and Scott for a number of years and they keep getting better. Rothbury was treated to some real electronic music this night.

3. Unidentified House DJ | Chicago Underground Party
On an off night in Chicago, a late journey turned into an underground party with an unidentified DJ that was laying it down.

Dan McCarthy - McCarthy Trenching

Dan McCarthy
1. Neva Dinova - You May Already Be Dreaming
2. The Whispertown 2000 - Swim
3. Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst
4. Taylor Hollingsworth - Bad Little Kitty
5. Nik Freitas - Sun Down

1. Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band/Jenny Lewis/Matt Focht/Son, Ambulance | 09.20.08 | The Anchor Inn | Omaha NE
2. My Morning Jacket | 08.19.08 | Stir Concert Cove | Council Bluffs, IA
3. Neko Case/Giant Sand | 09.15.08 | Slowdown | Omaha, NE

Teitur Lassen - Teitur

Teitur Lassen
1. Nico Muhly - Mothertongue
2. Sam Amidon - All Is Well
3. Toumani Diabate - Mande Variations
4. Dawn Kinnard - Courtesy Fall
5. Oluf Arnalds - Við og Við

Neil Young | 04.06.08 | Roskilde Festival | Denmark

Jonathan Edelstein - Fiasco

1. Portishead - Third
2. Pattern Is Movement - All Is Together
3. Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III
4. Marnie Stern - This Is It...
5. Of Montreal - Skeletal Lamping

1. Battles | 08.16.08 | Summerstage - Central Park | New York, NY
2. Snuffleupagus | Ben's Basement - Park Slope | New York, NY
3. Health/Pattern Is Movement | 06.21.08 | Musical Hall of Williamsburg | Brooklyn, NY

The End Of The World (group response)

Albums (in no order)
Wolf Parade - At Mt. Zoomer
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - S/T
Winter Vacation - Blue Coaching
The Walkmen - You & Me
Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III Mixtape

Shows (in no order)
Constantines | 03.14.08 | Antone's | Austin, TX
The Narrator | 05.10.08 | The Red Door | New York, NY
T.I. | 10.11.08 | Brooklyn Pier | New York, NY

Holy Hail (group response)

1. Nas - Untitled
2. TV on the Radio - Dear Science
3. The Streets - Everything is Borrowed
4. Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream
5. Why - Alopecia

1. Nylon Tiberon | 05.10.08 | El Garage | Monterrey, Mexico
2. Telepathe | 07.12.08 | The Yard | Brooklyn NY
3. New Idea Society | 09.14.08 | Cake Shop | NYC


1. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
2. Beck - Modern Guilt
3. TV on the Radio - Dear Science
4. The Faint - Fascination
5. Girl Talk - Feed The Animals

Lester Nuby - Vulture Whale

1. Mudcrutch - Mudcrutch
2. TV on the Radio - Dear Science
3. Beck - Modern Guilt
4. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
5. AC/DC - Back In Black (it is ALWAYS in the top 5)

1. Raconteurs | 09/2008 | The Greek | Los Angeles, CA
2. Queens of the Stone Age - Natasha Schneider Benefit | 08/2008
Henry Fonda Theatre | Los Angeles, CA - My god it was amazing.
3. Deerhoof | CMJ 2008

Gramercy Arms (group response):

1. Paul Weller - 22 Dreams
2. Mascott - Art Project
3. Sun Kil Moon - April
4. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago
5. The Felice Brothers - The Felice Brothers

Alaska In Winter (group response)

1. Anoraak - Night Drive With You
2. Mates of State - Re-Arrange Us
3. College - Teenage Color
4. Sebastien Tellier - Sexuality
5. M83 - Saturdays = Youth

1. Ellen Allien | 05.31.08 | Watergate | Berlin, Germany
2. Boys Noize | 05.10.08 | Scala | Berlin, Germany
3. Modeselektor | 05.02.08 | Tape Club | Berlin, Germany

Project Jenny, Project Jan (group response)

1. Fujiya & Miyagi - Lightbulbs
2. Lykee Li - Youth Novel
3. Rocketship Park - Off and Away
4. Man Man - Rabbit Habits
5. Beach House - Devotion

1. Primus | 07.04.08 | Rothbury Music Festival | Rothbury, MI
2. Fujiya & Miyagi | 09.20.08 | The Spiegltent | Dublin, Ireland
3. Ween | 07.25.08 | McCarren Park Pool | Brooklyn, NY

Continue reading for the JamBase Staff picks for Best of 2008...

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