MTV News Staff Favorites Of 2008: Christopher Smith’s Top 20 Albums From The Punk-Rock Underground

We here at MTV News are a pretty diverse bunch, so the views expressed by some in our more official-type year-end lists (like James Montgomery’s Top 25 Albums and Best Songs, and the Mixtape Monday Awards) are not necessarily shared by the rest of the newsroom. So, this week we gave everyone else a chance to chime in with their own lists and explain (or defend) their choices. You’ll find the staff faves of 2008 all together here.

By Christopher “CJ” Smith

2008 Year in Music: Were you listening to the punk-rock underground?

2008 was a year where lo-fi, sh–gaze and weirdo-punk reigned supreme in this formerly straight and narrow-minded indie fan’s life. Fleet Foxes? F— that pretty-boy sh–. TV on the Radio? Been there, done that. Vampire Weekend? LOL.

Every record in 2008 seemingly was an exercise in how not to make interesting and/or exciting music. It was in the bedrooms, basements and garages, however, that musicians WERE taking chances and creating fun new pop landscapes smothered in noise, tapping into their punk lineages, crafting terrific garage rock and, above all, writing hooks that wouldn’t leave your head for days.

These 20 records are a good starting point for a year that was rife with melodies, glorious fuzzy noise and static. They’ve all got MySpace pages, so take a listen to what they’re doing and hear what you may have missed.

And check out our piece from back in May taking a look at a lot of these bands and why they’re doing it themselves. You want punk? This was punk rock at its finest in ’08.

1. Times New Viking – Rip It Off
2. No Age – Nouns
3. Women – Women
4. Vivian Girls – Vivian Girls
5. Crystal Stilts – Alright of Night
6. Jay Reatard – Matador Singles ’08
7. Wavves – Wavves
8. Los Llarmarda – Take the Sky
9. Blank Dogs – On Two Sides
10. Abe Vigoda – Skeleton
11. Gentleman Jesse & His Men – Gentleman Jesse & His Men
12. Cheveu – Cheveu
13. Titus Androncius – Titus Androncius
14. Sic Alps – U.S. E.Z.
15. The Hospitals – Hairdryer Peace
16. Carbonas – Carbonas
17. Nobunny – Nobunny
18. AIDS Wolf – Cities of Glass
19. Eat Skull – Sick to Death
20. TV Ghost – TV Ghost