hide captionJustin Vernon of Bon Iver makes slow, thoughtful music that builds quietly.
hide captionVampire Weekend enjoyed a speedy ascent from blog sensation to mainstream ubiquity.
Music reviewers generally wait until November and December to assess the year in music. But 2008's halfway point seems like a good place to stop and look back at the first half of a busy year full of critics' darlings, Internet sensations and even, in a grim commercial climate, commercial hits.
Boilen notes that many of the popular newcomers, particularly Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes, play music that's thoughtful and slow-building, while the veterans often began as small-scale independent artists.