Flashback: Nippertown’s Top 10 Albums of 2008

Before we announce our selections of the Top 10 locally produced albums of 2009 on Thursday, we’ll be taking a glance back at a few earlier years of the decade each day this week.

The Best Capital Region CDs of 2008

Ben Karis-Nix: We Are Giants Now
Ben Karis-Nix: We Are Giants Now
Ben Karis-Nix’s “We Are Giants Now” (Collar City): Classic pop hooks held together with skittering electro-beats and lush harmonies. Not to mention a hint of banjo and crickets. Lead-off track “Giants” is far and away the most memorable song of the year.

Katie Haverly’s “Around the Bend” (no label): Great, hook-filled folk-pop noir in the vein of Suzanne Vega and Aimee Mann. Intelligent, intimate and intense.

Bryan Thomas and the Buggy Jive’s “One Three Six Nine Lights” (WT3): Thomas kicks out the jams with his rockin’-est disc without sacrificing one single iota of wit and wordplay. Also this year’s winner of the Best Band Photo award.

Matthew Loiacono’s “Kentucky” (Collar City): The former Kamikaze Hearts’ utility man goes solo in the strictest sense of the word. It’s simply amazing what he can do with a mandolin. And while we’re at it, the tireless Loiacono also picks up the 2008 award for Man of the Year on the Capital Region Music Scene.

Lee Shaw Trio: Live In Graz
Lee Shaw Trio: Live In Graz
Annie and the Hedonists’ “Good Ole Wagon” (Windy Acres): Jazz, blues, country, folk, bluegrass … it’s all here. Annie Rosen’s versatile, vintage-tinged voice is the perfect match for the Hedonists’ ace musicianship.

The Lee Shaw Trio’s “Live in Graz” (ARC Music): The Capital Region’s ever-youthful jazz piano queen and her longtime, oh-so-empathetic bandmates (bassist Rich Syracuse and drummer Jeff Siegel) make truly beautiful music together. The CD is accompanied by a magnificent DVD – worth the price of admission all by itself – featuring concert footage and insightful interviews by Hal Miller.

Princess Mabel’s “Listen Quick ‘Cause I Don’t Know Much” (Collar City): Eight songs in under 15 minutes. And they’re all sparkling, haiku-like jewels. The Troy duo relocated to NYC recently, leaving us all the poorer.

Railbird’s “Railbird” (no label): There’s less of a jazz influence and more of a roots-blues sound to this disc by the former Sarah Pedinotti Band, but Pedinotti’s charm and talent still shines.

The Black Fuel: Hell is Cold
The Black Fuel: Hell is Cold
Fall Harbor’s “Songs From Fall Harbor” (Blood Onion): The understated, yet dazzling duo of accordionist C. Ryder Cooley and banjoman Todd Chandler forge some haunting Appalachian steampunk cabaret anthems on this disc of a dozen “forgotten ghost songs.”

The Black Fuel’s “Hell Is Cold” (no label): Albie cranks his amp up to 11 for some primordial blues-rock stompin’. These guys put the power back into power trio.

Listen to Greg Haymes hosting the Nippertown 2009 Local 518 Top 10 Countdown and playing selections from the Top 10 albums on WEXT (Exit 97.7 FM) at 6pm Friday, New Year’s Day.

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