The Best CDs of 2008 (So Far)

Justin Vernon of Bon Iver makes slow, thoughtful music that builds quietly.

Justin Vernon of Bon Iver makes slow, thoughtful music that builds quietly. Sarah Cass hide caption

itoggle caption Sarah Cass
Vampire Weekend enjoyed a speedy ascent from blog sensation to mainstream ubiquity.

Vampire Weekend enjoyed a speedy ascent from blog sensation to mainstream ubiquity. Tim Soter hide caption

itoggle caption Tim Soter

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.

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Narrow Stairs

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Album
Narrow Stairs
Artist
Death Cab for Cutie
Label
Atlantic/WEA
Released
2008

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For Emma, Forever Ago

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Album
For Emma, Forever Ago
Artist
Bon Iver
Released
2007

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Evil Urges

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Album
Evil Urges
Artist
My Morning Jacket
Label
Red
Released
2008

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Vampire Weekend

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Album
Vampire Weekend
Artist
Vampire Weekend
Label
XL
Released
2008

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