The Best of 2008

Making master mixtapes was cool, making my own CDs was even cooler, and art directing the packaging was always a great way to get my creative juices flowing. But we’re almost a decade into a new millennium, and it’s time for another change…time to take this show online.

It’s out with the old and in with the new: mixtapes and CDs are taking a backseat to mp3s and all things digital. Last year, the “Best of” collection tried to be more environmentally-friendly, with 100% recycled packaging and a little packet of basil seeds to boot. Once you’ve gone green, you can’t go back to plastic, right? So, you’ve got to take the next step. Keep it simple…and downloadable.

I hope you enjoy this year’s collection, and I hope I’m able to turn you on to some new artists you may not have heard yet. While the format continues to evolve, my passion for discovering new music lives on.

Happy holidays and happy listening!

You can listen to these songs on Spotify. Click here.


Track 1: Always a Friend” — Alejandro Escovedo

Hooks you right from the opening guitar plucks… an adult version of Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”


Track 2: Fire” — Alibi Tom

A very random online discovery. Love the driving beat throughout and the name of the band ain’t bad either. 😉


Track 3: Freedom” — Josh Ottum

This song always makes me happy. Impossible to frown when listening to this toe-tappin’ pop nugget!


Track 4: Can You Tell” Ra Ra Riot

“Oh baby, baby, baby please!” Love the strings and driving bass line throughout. Truly de de delightful!


Track 5: Pieces” — The Bridges

Off the debut by this sister/brother/cousin group from Alabama and produced by one of my all-time faves, Matthew Sweet. Sweet refrain indeed.


Track 6: Viva La Vida” — Coldplay

Probably the song of the year. One of those rare songs that you never get tired of… just as my interest in Coldplay was beginning to wane.


Track 7: Dream Catch Me” — Newton Faulkner

First hit single from this promising British singer/songwriter (cracking the Top 10). Cool album cover, too.


Track 8: See These Bones” Nada Surf

Sounds a lot like The Shins, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Decemberists… probably why I dig it.


Track 9: We Can Be Good” — Via Audio

Four college roommates get noticed by Spoon’s Jim Eno who goes on to produce their debut in Austin, TX. They will be good.


Track 10: A-Punk” — Vampire Weekend

Four more college buddies from Columbia score with the breakout album of the year, fueled by tremendous music blog hype. Not sure what the heck they’re singing about, but it’s awfully catchy.


Track 11: Through Any Window” — Wisely

A quiet, acoustic number to pause and reflect. His voice is a dead ringer for Michael Penn.


Track 12: Clarion” — Guillemots

Last featured on the 2006 collection, the Guillemots return with this infectious groove.


Track 13: Drops in the River” — Fleet Foxes

While their debut album is making all of this year’s Top 10 lists, this baroque pop band out of Seattle first caught my ear with this beauty from their “Sun Giant” EP.


Track 14: Cheap & Cheerful” — The Kills

Lead singer W (aka Alison Mosshart) channels her inner Joan Jett/Chrissie Hynde with “a rhythm forged out of coughing, slamming doors and high-maintenance sass.” You go, W!


Track 15: Club Thing” — Yoav

Sounds like something they should play on “Project Runway”… an electronic vibe with a “club-oriented aesthetic.”


Track 16: Strange Overtones” David Byrne & Brian Eno

Everyone’s favorite T-Head reunites with the band’s old Producer to deliver a welcome return to form.


Track 17: Sec Walkin” — My Morning Jacket

Mixed reviews for their “Evil Urges” album, but thankfully it includes this breezy country dittie. Love the falsetto harmonies.


Track 18: Hush If You Must” — Brooke Waggoner

This year’s Feist or a kinder/gentler Tori Amos. Classic piano from this 23-year old who cites Chopin as her most influential classical composer.


Track 19: That’s Not My Name” — The Ting Tings

Shades of 80’s one-hit wonder “Hey Mickey” by Toni Basil, this Manchester duo is making a big splash here in the States. Rumor has it the song is about the singer Fergie whose real name is Stacy.


Track 20: Honey, Let Me Sing You a Song” — Matt Hires

Big thanks to Paste Magazine for opening my ears to this simple, acoustic strummer. Kid’s got a future.


Track 21: Skinny Love” — Bon Iver

One of the new darlings of the indie music scene, Bon Iver (stage name for Justin Vernon) croons and shouts his way through this moody melody.


Track 22: Become Apart” — Paddy Casey

A huge hit in his native Ireland, Paddy hit the States this year looking for similar success. Here he sheds his folksy roots with a slickly produced pop anthem that was in heavy rotation at the Crimmins house this summer.


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5 responses to “The Best of 2008

  1. TC

    Feel free to leave a comment – – I’d love to hear from ya!


  2. DougJ

    Good tunes. Thanks for pulling together. I don’t have the exposure to a lot of alternative or indy music these days so always love to get a listen to fresh stuff.


  3. joy

    Great job as always, Tom! Loved it, and I’m totally adding them to my current playlist. Thanks so much!

    I’ve also forwarded your link to a blogger DJ friend of mine at Stuff on TV. He just did a best of 08 list this week. (Careful of that link – he likes to make fun of Amy Winehouse, so there’s a scary pic of her front and center.)

    Thanks again, and have a great new year!


  4. Pingback: alibi tom

  5. Jeanne Robertson

    Thanks so much Tom…your is among my most treasured gifts each year. It’s always fun to listen to your selections! Cheers for the holidays and the coming year! Jeanne


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