Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Year in Lists: Favorite Albums of 2009

After much deliberation, I have finally finished my yearly "Best Albums of the Year" list. I feel compelled to do this every year, which I suppose is silly, since I'm sure no one cares. But, you know, I get a weird pleasure out of making lists. Let's go!

10. PJ Harvey & John Parish - A Woman A Man Walked By
This second collaboration between Harvey and Parish can be a bit challenging to listen to. It's full of restless energy, haunting melodies, and some weird vocals/instrumentation. But it's really grew on me. While it's not an entirely even effort, PJ Harvey has never sounded better and lyrically, she's going some really interesting places.
Try: Black Hearted Love, A Woman A Man Walked By / The Crow Knows Where All the Little Children Go, Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen

9. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
I like the Pains of Being Pure At Heart because they sound like nostalgia. Or like the soundtrack to a modern-times John Hughes movie.
Try: Young Adult Friction, The Tenure Itch

8. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
I was against Dirty Projectors for a long time. Not for any real legitimate reason, but just because they were hyped up a lot in indie music blogs and Pitchfork and the like, so I figured they would probably be overrated. And then I heard an acoustic version of their song "No Intention" on Sirius XMU and decided I needed to reevaluate my opinion of them and get their album. And I discovered it's actually quite brilliant.
Try: No Intention, Cannibal Resource, Stillness is the Move

7. The Antlers - Hospice
This is a concept album, built around the story of someone dying of bone cancer. The songs are equal parts softness and sparseness and emotional, desperate crescendos. It makes for some depressing listening, but it's the good kind of hurt.
Try: Two, Kettering, Sylvia

6. We Were Promised Jetpacks - These Four Walls
I saw these guys open for The Twilight Sad earlier this year and they blew me away. This is a pretty solid debut and is particularly enjoyable if you're like me and you like grandiose, emotional rock music performed by guys with Scottish accents.
Try: Roll Up Your Sleeves, It's Thunder and It's Lightning

5. Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
This album has probably made Natasha Khan (aka Bat For Lashes) my new favorite female artist. There's a lot of duality, faery-ness, and metaphysical lushness going on here...these songs are simply some of the most gorgeous things I've heard this year.
Try: Daniel, Pearl's Dream, Siren Song

4. Passion Pit - Manners
Danceable beats! Falsetto voices! Children's choirs! Electro-pop goodness! Most of the things that I would normally find annoying in indie bands I love about Passion Pit. Somehow they make it all come together into one amazingly infectious, addictive album.
Try: Sleepyhead, Little Secrets, Moth's Wings

3. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Simply put, the best French alternative rock band ever to write a song about Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. This might be the only album this year catchier than Passion Pit's. Which is not an easy feat.
Try: Listzomania, 1901, Armistice

2. Future of the Left - Travels With Myself and Another
Loud, fast, funny, rude, odd...this Welsh punk trio was my favorite new musical find of this year. And despite the wonderfulness of this album, you really should see them live. They're just a blast to see.
Try: Arming Eritrea, Throwing Bricks At Trains

1. Metric - Fantasies
I'm surprised I hadn't been converted to Metric before and lead singer Emily Haines' particularly sexy allure. All I can say is that this is a really great, solid rock album and has many many songs worthy of cranking up loud in your car and singing along to. Most of the songs from this album have been on repeat in my iPod for the last 6 months and they have not gotten old yet.
Try: Sick Muse, Gold Guns Girls, Satellite Mind

Honorable Mentions:
Au Revoir Simone - Still Night, Still Light
HEALTH - Get Color
Karen O and the Kids - Where the Wild Things Are (Original Soundtrack)
The Mountain Goats - The Life of the World to Come
The Middle East - The Recordings of the Middle East EP

Until next year, folks!

1 comment:

Skye said...

Wow. That is a lot of links. I love lists too, this isn't silly! You are sharing good music with uncool people like me! :)