Why is this man smiling?
Well, you would be too if you just released the best musical moment of 2009. Yes, it's that simple. In an exciting and dynamic year for music, one moment stands above all. The recent release of "Dragonslayer" was a tidal wave of emotion, a fierce fire burning. But there has been plenty else to keep me excited. In fact, there are plenty of releases so far this year that have stoked my fire, but also plenty more that I have failed to keep up with. I still have a pile of music that I need to get acquainted with. Why, oh why, do we have to work for a living? It's also been a good year for live music, although not quite the level of 2008, with Fleet Foxes, The Hold Steady and Okkervil River giving us wonderful shows that were universally celebrated.
However the phenomenal success of Pink, Kings of Leon, etc. shows us that in the 'outside' world there is still a huge vacuum in the commercial world of music. Whilst albums by Neko Case and Grizzly Bear have made a small dent in the atmosphere, there is still a long way to go before commercial and critical success goes hand in hand. At least we can still see most of favourite acts in smaller, more personal venues. That has to be a plus.
Top Ten Albums of 2009 (So Far)
Burning brightly, providing sustenance to the wanting, delivering joy in finely sculptured parcels. That is the beauty of Sunset Rubdown.
Already a modern classic, sumptuous, glorious and harmonies to die for. Worthy of all the hype and more. Discoveries upon every listen.
3-Enemy Mine-Swan Lake
Three men enter a room. Three men leave with music of an order that few can reach. Yes, Bejar, Mercer and Krug equals greatness.
The big man has done it again. His finest work yet is a thrilling ride of substance and clarity. Designed to stimulate. Mission accomplished.
5-Middle Cyclone-Neko Case
The voice from another universe creates a feast for the ears. Beautifully compelling and delicious to the very last drop. Sigh.
6-The Hazards Of Love-The Decemberists
This album is a stunner. Why the mixed reviews? Ambitious and complex, an album to swallow in whole, several times over.
7- Merriweather Post Pavilion-Animal Collective
A band of great influence gives us perhaps their most highly acclaimed work yet. I still prefer the more tribal sounds of yore, but it is surely great.
8-Face Control-Handsome Furs
What's not to love here? Impossibly catchy and wonderfully addictive. If not as great as "Plague Park", it's still a great ride.
Every song here is an exercise in melody and pop mastery. Great to have Alden Penner back, this album needs a bigger audience.
10-Skin Of Evil-Blackout Beach
The beauty of Carey Mercer is once again on display. For him, quite restrained, but still delightfully macabre and strange.
I also like these albums
Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free-Akron/Family
Outside Love-Pink Mountaintops
Get Guilty-A.C. Newman
The Floodlight Collective-Lotus Plaza
Songs Of Shame-Woods
Yours Truly, The Commuter-Jason Lytle
Songs to Dig
Idiot Heart-Sunset Rubdown
A Hand At Dusk-Swan Lake
Radio Kaliningrad-Handsome Furs
Music to anticipate...
Wilco (The Album)-Wilco
American Central Dust-Son Volt
Horehound-The Dead Weather
Expanding Universe-The Most Serene Republic
I'm Going Away-Fiery Furnaces
Josephine-Magnolia Electric Co.
Gather, Form and Fly-Megafaun
Riceboy Sleeps-Riceboy Sleeps
The Knot-Wye Oak
Signal Morning-Circulatory System
Infinite Light-Lightning Dust
Creaturesque-Throw Me The Statue
Wind's Poem-Mount Eerie
Welcome Joy-The Cave Singers
After Robots-BLK JKS
Keep In Mind Frankenstein-Grand Archives
Time To Die-The Dodos
There Is No Enemy-Built To Spill