Monday, July 6, 2009

Best of Far

So the general trend seems to be over anticipating the end of '09 by posting a best of '09 list now at the ides of 2009. It's sort of dumb, but at the same time I like making lists so I will follow in suit, with the rest of the music community. So here is my Best of Far!

5] Bitte Orca by The Dirty Projectors

The Dirty Projectors are a band that I have recently heard about, and have been skeptical about for a month or so now. Their new record Bitte Orca is said to be their most accessible and highest rated yet and it is for that reason I gave it a chance. I'll be honest that it did not when me over right away, and I'm still not sure it has. However something about it's odd melodies and style keep bringing me back to repeated listens. It's poppy,it's weird, it's pretty, it's fun! The album may not make it into my final Best of 2009 list, but as of now I'm considering it.

Check it Out: Remade Horizon

4] Dear John by Loney, Dear

Dear John is the little album that came out at the beginning of the year from Swedish folk band Loney, Dear. The album didn't generate much buzz, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it is a simple, sad, and beautiful album, which we've all come to expect from songwriter Emil Svanängen.The biggest complaint I've heard about Loney, Dear is perhaps their lyrics. Most people accuse their lyrics of being that of a child, and after seeing Loney, Dear at Spaceland earlier this year, I'm not surprised that some people would say that. The most surprising thing to me about Loney, Dear is that they write songs in English at all because after seeing them live they obviously don't have a strong hold on the language. Nevertheless the slow build up that posses their songs, which focuses on emotional defeat, but some how leaves you feeling uplifted makes for a great listen which makes this one of the best albums I've heard this year.

Check it Out: Harm

3] Merriweather Post Pavillion by Animal Collective

This is probably the most buzzed (I like that word Buzzed) about album this year. Leaking on last Christmas and coming out in January. This album has been on everyone's playlist for over half a year. In my opinion this is not Animal Collective's best album, but that's probably just because I loved Feels and Strawberry Jam so much. However Merriweather Post Pavillion is a testament to Animal Collective's ability to still continually change their sound after having already done seven albums. There may be less tribal beats and more synth, but the album is a lot of fun. I've posted the opening track, "In the Flowers" not because it's the best song, but because I think it's the most moving song on the album, and a great album opener. "In the Flowers" is a great example of the kind of deep emotion Animal Collective can create by using elements that most people would describe as "noise".

Check it Out: In the Flowers

2] Mean Everything To Nothing by Manchester Orchestra

Manchester Orchestra's Mean Everything to Nothing is probably the biggest surprise record this year. Having only liked "I Can Feel a Hot One" from their earlier EP's I wasn't expecting much from Manchester Orchestra's third album. However from beginning to end I've loved this album. The sheer image of the burly Andy Hull weeping over his guitar while screaming out rock ballads that suggest insecurities and fears is enough to grab me in to this album and follow it anywhere. Surprising enough is that this is a band that once opened for Brand New, hardly my usual crowd, but I could only have wished to have been at their Sold Out show earlier this year at the Troubadour.

Check it Out: Shake it Out

1] Dragonslayer by Sunset Rubdown

What else is there to say about Spencer Krug? I've talked in detail about this album and I sincerely doubt any upcoming album will bump it from my #1 spot. With every record that Sunset Rubdown releases I only construct a taller and taller pedestal upon which I can place Spencer Krug. The story that is told within this album and the themes that reach back all the way to the days of Shut Up I am Dreaming proves once again that Spencer Krug is a great songwriter. I also appreciate the fact that this album does not sound identical to any other Sunset Rubdown, or even Wolf Parade albums. Sure there are similarities between all of Spencer Krug's work, but that's also what I love about him. In Dragonslayer Krug is free to experiment with off-kilter songs like "Black Swan" and still feel comfortable enough to write something as simple as "Silver Moons". As Sunset Rubdown evolves from a solo project to a full fledged band, Spencer Krug seems to find himself more at home. The question is how long will he stay there?

Check it Out: You Go On Ahead (Trumpet,Trumpet II)

Other albums I'm excited for:

Fiery Furnaces-I'm Going Away
Modest Mouse- No One First And You're Next
Imogen Heap- Ellipse
Muse- The Resistance
Devandra Banhart - TBA
Flaming Lips- Embryonic
Vampire Weekend -TBA

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