Hm. At first I thought that there wasn't much music released in 2008 that really got me excited, but then I started thinking about it. And happily, some albums occurred to me that I really liked.
The one that really blows me away is Who Killed Amanda Palmer. That is just a good album, even if repetitive. Her lyrics are exceptional. I hate that her label is giving her crap and refusing to promote her stuff (she used all of her savings and self promoted this one). I guess because she is technically represented by a subsidiary of Warner all of the videos, etc. have been taken down from MySpace, too. Her blog is really pretty interesting: http://blog.amandapalmer.net
The other two albums that stick out are Ames Room by Silje Nes and A Final Kiss on Poisoned Cheek by Oren Ambarchi.
Silje Nes is yet another wispy Scandinavian lady singer. But hooray for those. My favorite sort. Its another in the "melancholy, sweet, feminine" category, but she isn't a folky dull singer song writer, the arrangements are interesting and not guitar based. Eleanoora Rosenholm also falls into this category (with electronic backing), and I liked her album too, but I think if she was singing in English I wouldn't have liked it quite as well.
These two ladies totally show up Portishead for trip hop-like music, I must say. Their new one was kind of disappointing. We waited how long? For this? Hm.
Somehow Oren Ambarchi had not hit my radar screen, in spite of being a long time figure in the kind of electronic music I like (almost noise, ambient without being boring). His album was in rotation at XYC and XDU and every time it came on, I went "dang, what is this? its awesome!" I'm trying to make a point of checking out more of his work.
My friends albums were also good, I'd be remiss in not pointing them out. Caly's album All Of This Is Temporary was very good, right up my electronic alley. And the new Puritan Rodeo Show album was very good and especially well recorded (it made it on the shelf at the station, so yay!). And, the whimsical talent of Lemming Malloy also produced an excellent EP, Avalauncher.
In 2009 we should be DJing more regularly, and that should increase the amount of new music I come in contact with quite a bit. Which will be nice.