Wow, so many albums released this year and so little time! That's why we need YOU, TMT reader, to help us choose THE BEST albums of the year. Once you vote, we'll tabulate them all and then reveal the list December 15. Ready to do this? Great! Without any explanation, here are the albums you can choose from (in alphabetical order):

Favorite Albums of 2008 (Please rate on a scale 1-5):

Atmosphere - When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold

Daniel Menche / Zbigniew Karkowski - Unleash

Hair Police - Certainty of Swarms

Jonny Greenwood - There Will Be Blood [OST]

Kemialliset Ystävät - Harmaa Laguuni

MoHa! - One-Way Ticket to Candyland

Mount Eerie - Dawn

Paavoharju - Laulu Laakson Kukista

Per Nørgård - String Quartets No. 7-10

Valerio Cosi - Heavy Electronic Pacific Rock

Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend

You're almost done! Now, I know you're extremely anxious to see which of the above albums make the final list (I'm especially excited to see the top 10), and I know we didn't mention this before you started the poll, but we'll need your demographic information before you can submit your albums.

Demographic Information (Please check all that apply):


Are you older than 21?

Are you female?

Have you completed high school?

Do you make under $25,000 a year?

Are you married?

Do you own/have children?

Do you own a smartphone? If so, which one?

Do you read mobile content on your cell phone?

Do you own a video game console? If so, which one?

Do you own a car? If so, what kind/model?

Do you think Swiss Miss hot chocolate is delcious?

Have you had sex?

Do you know if any of your sex partners liked Diet Coke?

Have you masturbated on a Sealy Posturepedic Mattress?

Would you purchase a TMT compilation that benefits the victims in Darfur?

Do you support and/or hate refugees?

Have you seen the Gus Van Sant film Milk yet?

Have you seen both Milk and Ang Lee's acclaimed Brokeback Mountain?

When is abortion wrong? When is it right?

Do you know how to play "Smells Like Teen Spirit" on a Fender guitar?

Do you consider yourself a good "target market"?

What is your sister's phone number:

Do you have hair and/or like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups?

Do you promise to click on Snapple ads if you see them on this website?

Thanks for completing the survey!

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As a thank you, TMT is now offering you the chance to go check out Blip Festival 2008, which is set to take place this week, December 4-7, at Brooklyn's The Bell House. The four-day event features nearly 40 musicians and artists. These dudes must know a thing or two about computers and video games, as this crazy fest is designed to celebrate the chipmusic phenomenon. We can't offer you free tickets or anything, but we're at the very least telling you about it. Besides, it's only $15/day. And since you were so kind to provide us with your personal information, we'll even give you a link: http://blipfestival.org/2008

Tokyo Police Club Tour in December, February, And March – No Word Yet On January

Because of the famous company Tokyo Police Club have been keeping lately, I feel kinda like a writer for Us Weekly. OMFG Rivers Cuomo (Weezer)! That guy from Blink-182 (Angels & Airwaves, Blink 182)! Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives Sports Night)! Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives, The Golden Girls)! These are just a few of the beautiful people who TPC have met during a busy 2008. Some 2008 highlights? Releasing their Saddle Creek debut album, Elephant Shell (TMT Review), embarking on headlining tours, playing half-full U.S. arenas while opening for alt-nerd-rockers Weezer, and guestspotting as a band not named Tokyo Police Club on Desperate Housewives.

Even with all those accomplishments in 2008, you'd think the band would take the rest of the year off. Nope. Instead, the band is set to start another little tour following an appearance on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson on December 10. This tour will take them to Canada with fellow syrup-drinking leaf-lovers Metric, The Dears, and Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains.

The band's pace for 2009 seems to mirror that of 2008, as they have just announced a U.S. tour beginning February 24 in Providence, RI that runs for about three weeks and covers about two-thirds of the States. Harlem Shakes, Ra Ra Riot, and Born Ruffians, respectively, will open those shows. After the tour is over, the band will begin work on the follow-up to Elephant Shell.

Tourdates:

RIP: Odetta Holmes, Folk Singer, “The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement”

From YouTube:

From the LA Times:

Odetta, the classically trained folk, blues and gospel singer who used her powerfully rich and dusky voice to champion African American music and civil rights issues for more than half a century starting in the folk revival of the 1950s, has died. She was 77.

She was admitted to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City for a checkup in mid-November but went into kidney failure. She died there Tuesday of heart disease, her manager, Doug Yeager, told the Associated Press.

With a repertoire that included 19th century slave songs and spirituals as well as the topical ballads of such 20th century folk icons as Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, Odetta became one of the most beloved figures in folk music.

She was said to have influenced the emergence of artists as varied as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin and Tracy Chapman.

- Odetta Wikipedia entry
- MC Records

Franz Ferdinand, Perhaps the Most Innovative Band of All-Time, Start Their North American Tour Today

Avant-garde noise act Franz Ferdinand are back with their cutting-edge music -- that is, if you can call it "music." Innovative, radical, revolutionary, experimental, spearheading, trailblazing, trendsetting -- these are just some of the words that immediately spring to mind when I think of the group's forward-thinking sounds. When all is said and done, Franz Ferdinand is a singularity in the music universe.

Don't have a way to play their non-categorizable "music" at home? You's in luck: Franz Ferdinand are touring North America starting today and, by the end of the year, will find themselves on the festival circuit before ending with a couple UK shows in January 2009. Expect to see lead Ferdinand-er Alex Kapranos consume narcotics, self-mutilate, verbally abuse the audience, expose himself, and leap off the stage. Their shows are so exciting.

Kid Midnight Emerges From 5 Years of Cryogenic Freezing: “I Can’t Believe That I Live In A World Where Digital Sales Are Higher Than Physical CD Sales!”

Duh.

Atlantic Records made history recently when it became the first major label record to announce that its digital sales were 1% higher than revenue accrued from physical CD sales! For all you mathphobics out there, this means that digital sales earned a whopping 51% of total revenue.

For those of you who have been living in some dark cave, their parents’ basement, or decided to chill out and spend a couple years frozen solid (like me), “MP3s,” as they call them, have steadily been on the rise as the prime format for music storage. Whether it be through legal or illegal means, anyone with half a brain knows that a growing segment of the population, including tech-savvy hipsters and SUV-driving hockey moms alike, have been buying up “MP3 players,” collecting “ringtones,” and “downloading” their music from online sources like “Rhapsody” or, say, “iTunes.”

Warner Music Group announced that their digital revenues rose by 39%, topping out at 639 million doll hairs in the previous fiscal year. Julie Greenwald, president of Atlantic Records, had this to say: “I think we’ve figured [music] out.”

So, what next? Will physical CD sales continue to decline? Does this signal the end of the album? Will the next Ironman movie be as good as the first? Will CDs become a thing of the past, joining vinyl records as a niche market? Will record stores die out only to be replaced by online download stations and boutique clothing shops? Who knows!

Only time will tell where mankind goes from here. Onward and Upwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard!!

Caribou to Donate Majority of His $20k Polaris Prize Money

For someone who's named himself after majestic deer and a lush foresty Canadian province -- not to mention a sample and title songs that deal with nature -- it's no surprise that Dan Snaith would want to save the earth. And since he's also a part-time teacher, Snaith seems like the kind of guy who likes to give rather than receive.

Appropriately, Snaith, a.k.a. Caribou, announced last week that he will donate a majority of his $20,000 Polaris Prize money he won for 2007's Andorra (TMT Review), keeping only a small portion to fund his forthcoming album. The money will be given to environmental non-profit Ecojustice and the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

"I have always thought of Canada as an environmentally progressive place... however, recently the Canadian government has acted as a global obstacle to climate action. In a study this year Canada ranked 29th out of 30 industrialized nations for tackling climate change," Snaith said, remarking on his choice of giving to Ecojustice. Meanwhile, The Stephen Lewis Foundation is a project-based charity helping communities affected by the AIDS epidemic throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

Heck of a guy, that Snaith. Hopefully the money given to Ecojustice will be invested in getting real legislative efforts to come to fruition, not in another Live Earth (Sorry, Al).

Deerhunter’s European Vacation

Deerhunter have had a hell of a year: blog drama, album leakin', shit-talkin', secret record schemin', playa hatin', dealin' with the obligatory clause that states every Goddamn article about Deerhunter has to mention something about Bradford Cox's physical appearance, et al. Nonetheless, the band has emerged victorious with the mighty Microcastle / Weird Era Cont. (TMT Review), poised to be at the top of a lot of year-end lists this year (including my own).

Just wrapping up a recent fall tour for the yanks, Deerhunter will
spend Q1 of next year studying abroad. They will also release a
single for "Never Stops," certainly the poppiest of Microcastle, in
March. Otherwise, not a whole lot going on, so just keep looking at the amazing photo above before you go.

# Times New Viking, Nite Jewel

% Leah Hutchison

Neko Case to Release Middle Cyclone Next March with A Little Help From Her Freunde (New Pornographers, Calexico, Giant Sand, M. Ward)

What do you have planned for next March? Are you going to be there as the U.S. begins its first round of negotiations with the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership countries on a possible free trade agreement? Anticipating the second World Baseball Classic? Can't wait until NASA's Kepler Mission is launched? Perhaps the 2009 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Dubai or the 60th FIA Formula One World Championship in Melbourne?

Nope, none of the above. You're beyond politics and sports, because you're one of the lucky few who are so attuned to your feelings that ART is what moves you. Well, art connoisseur, expert of taste, master of your feelings, you're in luck: Neko Case is set to release her first album since 2006's Fox Confessor Brings The Flood. Titled Middle Cyclone, the 15-track album features Case's core band (guitarist Paul Rigby, bassist Tom V. Ray, backing vocalist Kelly Hogan, multi-instrumentalist Jon Rauhouse, drummer Barry Mirochnick) with guests aplenty, including members from The New Pornographers, Los Lobos, Calexico, Giant Sand, The Sadies, and others, like M. Ward and shit.

Middle Cyclone is set for release March 3 on ANTI- Records. Tracklist:

Just Another Diamond Documentary: Vashti Bunyan Flick Debuts at London Film Festival

We know it exists. We know people have seen it. But where can we non-London or Copenhagen residents see it? And when? The new CC-Films Vashti Bunyan (TMT Interview) documentary is something like a velociraptor in that way. We know they existed once, but when will they come back?

Let's take a look at the facts. Filmmaker Kieran Evans recently collaborated with St. Etienne on their film love letter to London, Finisterre, and now Vashti Bunyan: From Here To Before has been making its way around the fall film festival circuit -- well, at least in the previously mentioned Copenhagen, where it was screened earlier this month, and London, where the film debuted at The Times 52nd London International Film Festival. Described as "a lyrical, modern day road movie," the documentary chronicles Bunyan's first big London show, 30 or so years after she recorded the undeservedly long-forgotten Just Another Diamond Day, and features interviews with big-name music execs like Joe Boyd, Andrew Loog Oldham, and Robert Kirby. The documentary also retraces the horse and buggy journey!!! Bunyan took across Great Britain to join a commune in Scotland (during which she recorded her debut LP with Joe Boyd) and appearances by Adem Ilhan, Max Richter, and, of course, Devendra Banhart.

Alas, no upcoming screenings have been announced, and no DVD news is pending, but if we've learned anything from Jurassic Park I-III, it's that if people want something bad enough -- be it a bloodthirsty, fast-running tiny lizard monster or a documentary about a critically-acclaimed English folk artist -- it won't be too long before it shows up in a theater near you.

The Strokes Announce Plans to Start Tracking Again in February, Or As Soon As It’s Warm Enough for Leather and Snake Skin Outerwear

The Strokes (Wait, who? Is that that band from Sweden who wears red and black?) have been so busy with their individual side-projects lately that the members of NYC’s one-time rock ‘n’ roll saviors (oh yeah, those guys) have probably almost forgotten what it’s like to sit hunched over their instruments in a live room worrying about their image and secretly hating one another. Fortunately for us, they’ll be experiencing that personal hell for our benefit soon enough, as the band has announced that they’ll be heading back into the studio this coming February.

In a recent interview with Spin, Strokes bassist and, umm, Nickel Eye frontman Nikolai Fraiture elaborated on his hopes that the band will find a new sound naturally when they finally reconvene in the studio. "The dynamic will be different and it will seep through," Fraiture said. "Maybe that'll be our producer, maybe it will be different songwriting; it's a little too early to tell. But I think the only way to go forward is to change.” TMT Translation? “I better get to write some of these new Strokes songs, or ELSE...”

Fraiture also revealed that the band had tried to come together for a new album for some time, only to have their personal lives (read: side projects, pregnant girlfriends, etc.) get in the way. "Everyone in the band is eager to get back... we've been trying for the last two years, on and off. But people need to do what they need to do. That's how all of the side-projects came about — wanting to continue to play music."

Oh, and speaking of those now comically-numerous side-projects, Fraiture’s aforementioned Nickel Eye project is scheduled to release its debut, Time of the Assassins, January 27. Though, between you and me, I think that the band would have more yuppie appeal if it were called “Dr. Fraiture Crane,” don’t you?