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Justin Vernon of Bon Iver makes slow, thoughtful music that builds quietly.
Vampire 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.
All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen recently initiated a listener poll — both on his show and in its blog — to get an early look at the year's best music. Polling isn't closed quite yet, but the early favorites are scattered among reliable favorites (Death Cab for Cutie, My Morning Jacket) and sensational rookies (Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend).
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.
To vote in the poll, click here.