Top 5 Drum Albums of 2008

The end of the year is upon us, and that means one thing for media sites the world over: best-of lists. Bazillions and bazillions of best-of lists. We here at BDT are by no means immune to this journalistic cancer, and so have put together our five favorite drum albums from 2008. We compiled the winners by checking our iTunes playlists for the songs that got the most spins. After eliminating tracks released before 2008 and ignoring stuff that would surely undermine our badass reputation (e.g., Sara Bareilles and Katy Perry), we came up with the discs you’ll find below. Mind you, these aren’t necessarily the best drumming performances the year had to offer; they are simply the ones that we listened to most often….which, actually, is pretty much the best testament one can offer.

5. Dafnis Prieto, Taking the Soul for a Walk

We downloaded this gem of a disc back in March, and it quickly became our Latin-infused jazz standard for 2008. Nothing else new in that vein came even remotely close in terms of number of listens. That’s all due of course to Prieto’s drumming and compositional instincts—textured and nuanced without being intrusive or masturbatory. We love this dude and can’t wait for a 2009 release, hopefully a live recording with his sextet.

4. Army Navy, Army Navy

We have so much affection for this indie pop debut and have played it so often that Army Navy managed to bust into the top 5 even though it was released just a few months ago. The drumming here is a masterful lesson in tune-conscious playing, so we weren’t shocked at all to discover that Pete Thomas, the longtime drummer for Elvis Costello, cut the tracks.

3. Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend

Hipster darlings, and deservedly so for clever lyrics and catchy rhythms, the band Vampire Weekend made college kids everywhere in 2008 feel the white-washed African beat in their feet. We’ll give drummer Chris Tomson all the credit.

2. The Mars Volta, The Bedlam in Goliath

This is perhaps the one true drummy drum album on our list, but even it is primarily an example of what real musicians do with sophisticated, daring compositions. Very few drummers can play as many necessary notes as Thomas Pridgen does here, and the result is stunningly beautiful and monstrous and perfect.

1. Stanton Moore, Emphasis! (On Parenthesis)

Can we be any more emphatic about our love for Moore? Creative, grooving, and deliciously chop-laden all at the same time, this album has been on almost permanent repeat since it was released in April.

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