This was the best year in memory for the varied and burgeoning Philadelphia music scene. Here's a Top 10 of local releases of 2008:
The War On Drugs
, Wagonwheel Blues (Secretly Canadian). The torrent of language recalls Blonde on Blonde, but spacious songs also nod to Sonic Youth. At Johnny Brenda's Thursday. Download: "Taking the Farm."
, Rising Down (Def Jam). The hip-hop collective's toughest, most politically pointed album. Download: "Criminal."
, Fate (Park the Van). Canine physicians lift off on a happily harmonious, '60s-inspired set. Download: "The Rabbit, the Bat, and the Reindeer."
, Fearless (J Records). The 21-year-old R&B powerhouse shows songwriting smarts, snags five Grammy nominations. Download: "In Love With Another Man."
, Rabbit Habits (Anti-). War-paint-wearing he-men throw everything, including surf guitar and sousaphone, into the kitchen sink. Download: "Harpoon Fever (Queequeg's Playhouse)."
, Worrisome Heart (Verve). Jazz vocalist with the sultry voice and apt first name never over-sings, and deftly conjures a blue mood. Download: "Worrisome Heart."
Like a Fox
, Where's My Golden Arm? (Transit of Venus). Psychedelic rock puts songs, and melodies, first. Download: "A Feeling That Launched a Thousand Wars."
The Spinto Band
, Moonwink (Park the Van). Perky Delaware indie-rock sextet excels on sophomore release. Download: "Later On."
, Perfect Time for a Breakdown (CBS). Ardmore waitress teams with songwriter Scot Sax, and this rootsy national-label debut lands her on tour with Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Download: "Try."
Santogold vs. Diplo
, Top Ranking (Mad Decent Import). North Philly DJ blends 'Retha and Three 6 Mafia into a deconstructed Santogold mixtape. Download: The whole thing.