Luiza Sauma: The best Rock & Pop albums of 2008

'TV on the Radio cemented their reputation as one of the best bands in the world’
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The Independent Culture

While Reading singer-songwriter Laura Marling and Eighties-loving Kiwi sensation Ladyhawke both produced brilliant debuts, most of the albums of the year came flooding in from across the Atlantic.

Brooklyn brats MGMT very nearly lived up to the hype with their day-glo debut album of psychedelic, hook-laden rock 'Oracular Spectacular'.

Far fresher, however, were Vampire Weekend, a preppy foursome whose sparkling and infectious first album of African-inspired pop – à la Peter Gabriel/Paul Simon – still begs to be listened to a year on from its release. (But for a taste of genuine, inventive Afro-pop, Amadou and Mariam's 'Welcome to Mali' was just the trick.)

TV on the Radio's spectacular 'Dear Science' was another slice of space-age-doo-wop-afrobeat-psych-rock that further cemented their reputation as one of the best bands in the world.

Oh, and their guitarist (David Sitek) produced Scarlett Johansson's dreamy Tom Waits cover album, 'Anywhere I Lay My Head'.

This year's talents to watch, however, were Seattle beardies Fleet Foxes, whose self-titled debut was, for me, the most singularly moving album of the year – a nod to Laurel Canyon's golden age of folk-rock, chock-full of beautiful, soulful songs.