Here are my top 10 from 2009. It’s probably best to start from the beginning and work your way down, vertically, reading from left to right. I have included my favourite songs from the albums… so you can listen while reading the few words I have written… makes sense, right? All I can suggest is that you look them up yourselves – all ten of them. They are all gems.
Tune Yards – Bird-Brains
Marriage, 16/11/2009 (BUY)
Merrill Garbus appeared on my facebook wall a few months ago, like some angel sent from above, and courtesy of my friend Laura. Since then, her vocal and ukulele harmonies have had me jumping, skipping and parading around my living room, only taking the occasional break for a little cry on the sofa due to some of the lyrics striking a chord (no pun intended).
This video I’m sure will convince you that she is effing ace:
Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
Domino, 08/06/2009 (BUY)
Occasionally an album seems to seep into your very core and you cannot relate to a time before you heard it. Bitte Orca’s one of those albums. I actually bought it for my dad’s birthday to try and convince him that modern music is worth listening to. Needless to say, he liked it. Which, by the way, is a massive deal as the only pop music my dad would listen to before that was ‘You Can Call Me Al’ (Paul Simon) and ‘In The Summertime’ (Mungo Jerry).
Anyway, it’s an incredible album from an incredible band. But you knew that already.
> Useful Chamber
Josephine Foster – Graphic As a Star
Fire , 10/11/2009 (BUY)
The best two gigs I went to this year were both Josephine Foster and were both at Cafe Oto. I am in complete awe of this woman.
Graphic As a Star is an album of Emily Dickinson’s poetry
> She Sweeps With Many Colored Brooms
Volcano Choir – Unmap
Jagjaguwar, 21/09/2009 (BUY)
Post-Emma-related-heart-break, Bon Iver’s back! Fronting the beautifully named Volcano Choir.
Here’s my fave:
> Island, IS
Telepathe – Dance Mother
IAMSOUND, 19/01/2009 (BUY)
Produced by Dave Sitek of TV on the Radio, the album is a dreamy reverb sounds-cape that you can dance to.
This is my favourite track on the album:
> I Can’t Stand It
In my opinion the original mix is better, I’ll let you decide, yeah?
> I Can’t Stand It 2
The irony is: I CAN stand it. Haw haw.
Julianna Barwick – Florine
Florid, 10/11/2009 (BUY)
Mesmerizing. I fall asleep to this.
Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle
Drag City, 13/04/2009 (BUY)
I mentioned that my favourite gigs this year were those of Josephine Foster. Bill Callahan, man of a thousand facial expressions, performing at Union Chapel was equally fantastic. He was wearing very tight pale trousers so I spent most of the evening trying not to stare at his crotch. I was near the front, you see, all dewy-eyed and mouth agape. Hmm… I think I love him.
Favourite moment on the album? When that woman goes “rrrrococo” on Rococo Zephyr. Wonderful.
> All Thoughts Are Prey To Some Beast
Wild Beasts – Two Dancers
Domino, 03/08/2009 (BUY)
Hugo Manuel, of Jonquil fame, mentioned Wild Beasts in our interview, which is the main reason I like this album. Afro beat drums, falsetto singing, get into the groove. Hooting & Howling sounds like Meredith Monk’s Last Song, which is pretty wicked. This, however, is the absolute beast on the lp:
> All The King’s Men
Laura Gibson – Beasts of Season
Hush, 26/10/2009 (BUY)
I spent a solitary week last month listening only to this haunting album. Funny, considering I only borrowed the album from work because I liked the look of the front cover. The first chords to ‘Shadows on Parade’, the opening song, seem to automatically unlock the pensive treasure chest in my head. Again with lyrics that strike a chord, here is an album that I can happily listen to from start to finish without doing anything else. Something that I think is a big feat in the current internet ruled climate.
Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport
ATP, 12/10/2009 (BUY)
Fuck Buttons are being described as “shogaze techno”. Yeah, I’d agree with that. This has found its way onto every top 5 album list in. the. universe.
> Surf Solar
To end, here is my favourite video and track of this year. Mine, and I think a hell of a lot of other people’s also:
(Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest didn’t make it into the top 10 because I got stuck on this song and didn’t end up properly listening to the entire album. Oops).