(Please note: this is a lengthy video‚ so it may take a minute to load. )
In December we invited a bunch of our music lovin' friends over‚ fed them mimosas and hot mulled cider‚ sat them down in front of a camera‚ and asked them to answer the question‚ What was one of your favorite albums of 2008?
We had a fantastic time geeking out about music with everyone‚ and love the result. Special thanks to everyone who came over‚ and to Matt Bushlow and Scot MacMillan for directing and producing.
A note before you start the video: We're running a contest. The person who can name the most album covers in the background of the video will win a $50 gift certificate to the record store of their choice -- bricks-and-mortar or digital service on the web. Email your answers to som@stateofmindmusic.com. We'll pick the winner on February 13.
And now‚ here is the Best of 2008 video. If you don't have time to sit back and watch the full-length now‚ peep the teaser video.

State of Mind Staff Picks for Best of 2008
Mike McKinley - State of Mind Publisher/Editor

1. Apollo Sunshine - Shall Noise Upon
2. Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks - Real Emotional Trash
3. Kaki King - Dreaming of Revenge
4. Marco Benevento - Invisible Baby
5. Vetiver - Thing of the Past
2008… It was the year The Kinks and Malkmus finally made sense to me. It started and ended in NYC in ridiculously awesome fashion with moe. at Radio City and My Morning Jacket at MSG. Of course‚ there are a few albums that also made my list -- My Morning Jacket‚ Dr. Dog‚ Lotus and both of Jenny Scheinman's records. And Mike Gordon's Green Sparrow transcends my favorite albums list ; it was a significant experience for me seeing one of the most creative musicians go through the process. The Ominous Seapods reunion in January for bassist Tom Pirozzi's 40th birthday bash was more than I expected. Seeing the Seapods and Lo Faber (God Street Wine) was a reminder that the mid-'90s was a great time for live music‚ a perfect time to come of age. Rust and all‚ they can hang -- even school -- the young and hungry. Also in January‚ seeing pianist Jason Moran's multimedia jazz performance -- inspired by conceptual artist Adrian Piper -- was fantastic and like nothing I've seen before. The spring brought Nathan Moore's first solo tour. The first show I saw was at Langdon Street Café‚ and I was completely blown away. July 4th weekend I went to High Sierra Music Festival for the first time‚ and after all these years of hearing about the experience‚ they were right! You should go! Labor Day weekend means moe.down‚ and the Cornmeal sit-in with moe. for a scorching "32 Things" days before my 32nd birthday was not only special‚ but transcendent. And right toward the end of the year I saw Ray Davies for the first time and it was like finding a missing link in my soul. When I think back on 2008‚ Nathan Moore and Mike Gordon take the cake as musicians I bonded with most this year; it was the full scope of how they operate as musicians‚ artistically‚ spiritually‚ and realistically within the confines of the music industry -- very human and real‚ just like their music. And if there was one experience during the year that embodied that perfectly‚ seeing Ornette Coleman play in June at Discover Jazz Fest did it all. That's the one that rose to the top.

Beth Alessi - State of Mind Publisher/Editor

1. Dr. Dog - Fate
2. My Morning Jacket - Evil Urges
3. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
4. Mike Gordon - Green Sparrow
5. Vetiver - Thing of the Past
I said we should pick 10 albums. I was outvoted. David Byrne and Brian Eno‚ Stephen Malkmus‚ Jackie Greene‚ Apollo Sunshine‚ Conor Oberst‚ Jenny Schienman‚ Ray LaMontagne‚ The Low Anthem‚ Marco Benevento‚ Kaki King… I like their albums a whole lot. But I had to pick five to stick up there. But anyway‚
Without a doubt‚ the music highlight of '08 for me was my first High Sierra. A dream! Built to Spill‚ Akron/Family‚ Mike Gordon‚ Nathan Moore‚ The Slip‚ Surprise Me Mr. Davis‚ all in a little haven in the middle of California up in flames. My peak moment came during Surprise Me Mr. Davis's late-night set at Camp Harry when they broke into a cover of Jackson Five's "ABC." It felt like happiness was going to explode out of me. I guess it did. Fuck! Can I go back right now? Other highlights sparkling in my '08 memories… Watching Nathan Moore make Vermont fall in love with him during a string of shows here in April‚ the highlight being the very first show‚ Langdon Street Café in Montpelier. He's down-home magic. Is there anyone cooler than Nathan Moore? I seriously wonder. Watching Mike Gordon's Green Sparrow slowly take flight was an amazing treat‚ and the reward at the end was delicious. Getting to see that process unfold‚ from the demos to seeing Ivan Neville record his part of "Jaded" at Mike's studio‚ to the listening party for the almost-final project‚ to the tissue paper album cover sparrow being made‚ was a music lover's dream. Mike's got the goods. And moe.down is always a highlight of my year. There's no doubt in my mind where I'll be every Labor Day weekend. It's on that hill‚ with some of my best friends in the world‚ laughing and laughing and laughing. What a special place that is‚ from an amazing community centered around an amazing band. Thank you‚ moe. And thank you‚ said friends who make me laugh. Ten-year anniversary in 09. I'll see you there. Lastly‚ this is the year I fell in love with Jackie Greene. I think it's the year a lot of people fell in love with Jackie Greene. Giving up the Ghost really got me going. "I'm really taken with this Jackie Greene" was what kept coming out of my mouth. I had seen him with Phil‚ and then seeing him solo at Mountain Jam and Gathering of the Vibes cemented it. This kid's got it. And that Dylanesque black jeans‚ black vest‚ white shirt combo while playing the harmonica and acoustic guitar? Forget about it. Oh my‚ I said "lastly‚" didn't I? Well‚ how can I not mention getting the news that my favorite band is getting back together? Our time apart was great. But we're better together. And that brings me to '09. I'm ready.

Adam King - State of Mind writer

1. Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Real Emotional Trash
2. Sigur Ros - med sud ieyrum vid spilum endalaust
3. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular
4. Kings of Leon - Only By The Night
5. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend
Both a relieving and breathtaking year for music if you ask me: Black Keys‚ Dr. Dog‚ Marco Benevento‚ GZA‚ Dept. Of Eagles‚ Brightback Morning Light -- all could have been in there too. My Morning Jacket destroyed me in the rain at Bonnaroo and in the class at Radio City. Beastie Boys crushed the swamp at Langerado. Ween in the Brooklyn pool. Death Cab unexpectedly winning me way over. Sigur Ros late night in Superfly's wonder-world was positively surreal‚ causing my legs to nearly give out‚ but Malkmus at Mass MoCa felt like once-in-a-lifetime.

J Hunter - State of Mind writer

1. Charles Lloyd - Rabo de Nube
2. Ryan Cohan - One Sky
3. John Ellis & Double Wide - Dance Like There's No Tomorrow
4. Adam Rudolph's Moving Pictures - Dream Garden
5. Bill Frisell - History/Mystery
Festival Season was my Christmas: Return to Forever's volcanic reunion show at Freihofer's; a miraculous Ernestine Anderson at Albany Riverfront; Joe Lovano's Dewey Redman tribute at Williamstown; and Either/Orchestra and Cindy Blackman scorching Lake George. Plus Arlo Guthrie and Taj Mahal made separate stops at Troy Savings Bank‚ Rory Block kicked solo-acoustic ass at The Eighth Step @ Proctors‚ and Béla Fleck & the Flecktones' delightfully twisted Holiday show rocked The Egg. I was very blessed this year‚ but the music turned it all up to 11. Peace!

Drew Stoga - State of Mind writer

1. John Zorn - (tie) Lucifer: Book of Angels Vol. 10 & The Dreamers
2. The Wood Brothers - Loaded
3. The Felice Brothers - The Felice Brothers
4. Dr. Dog - Fate
5. Bill Frisell - History‚ Mystery

Honorary Mention -- The Black Keys‚ Will Bernard‚ David Byrne & Brian Eno‚ McCoy Tyner‚ Medeski Martin & Wood...

We should consider ourselves damned lucky that even as we watch our world (not to mention the record business) seemingly crumble around us‚ we still have so many creative musicians churning out such great art. I saw a lot of great live music in the last year -- some of my favorite performances came from masters like Bill Frisell‚ Medeski Martin & Wood‚ Charlie Hunter‚ Club d'Elf and Jenny Scheinman‚ as well as upstarts like Dr. Dog and veterans like Phil Lesh‚ who at 200 years old can still really get down. However‚ my top concert moment of the year‚ and in the running for favorite of all time‚ has to be seeing Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble. Watching Levon‚ a rock legend and a personal hero‚ play and sing in his welcoming and warm home environment is an experience that I will happily keep for the rest of my life.