Phil’s Best of 2009

2009 was pretty underwhelming for music.  I struggled long and hard to make a top ten list, but there really weren’t ten that I felt made the list.  So here are my top nine of 2009!

9.  The Pains Of Being Pure At HeartThe Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Good for Slumberland!  This label has been around since the heyday of the shoegazer and twee scenes.  I can’t think of another band who has had a successful breakout with the Sarah/Creation recipe.  This is just perfect songwriting with a sweet edge.  Find:  “Young Adult Friction”

8.  Fuck ButtonsTarot Sport – This one grew on me when I listened to “Olympians” over and over again while playing video games.  After I took the time to listen to the whole thing, I was surprised at how much I loved it after the good but something’s missing Street HorrsingTarot Sport is produced by the legendary Andrew Weatherall and it really sounds like it.  This album falls somewhere between Chemical Brothers and Godspeed You Black Emporer, which isn’t a bad combination at all!  Find:  “Olympians”

7.  Girls Album – I love this record because of its simplicity.  I keep hearing comparisons to Beach Boys and others which I think are not very accurate.  I’m hearing Eddie Cochran, but not in a hit you over the head like the Raveonettes kind of way.  Great lyrics, short and sweet proper pop songs and great storytelling make this perhaps one of the most notable debuts in the last 5+ years.  Find:  “Lauren Marie”

6.  The HorrorsPrimary Colours –  It’s no secret how much The Color Awesome likes us some Horrors.  This album is like darkness “light”.  It’s very poppy and catchy, almost like a goth Strokes.  It meanders a tad in the middle, but comes back strong, warranting multiple listenings.  Find:  “Scarlet Fields”

5.  No AgeLosing Feeling – Okay, this is just an EP, but in this year there just wasn’t that much to be excited about.  Because this four song, vinyl only EP stood on its own as a complete work, it deserves to be on this list.  I’m looking very forward to their next album as Nouns was one of my top 10 records in the last decade.  Find:  “Losing Feeling”

4.  Saint EtienneFoxbase Beta – File under:  WTF?  For real, how can you take a nearly twenty year old classic, toss in Richard X to remix the entire thing and expect these kind of results.  The concept alone was perfect, but until I heard it, I didn’t think it would be this good.  It’s like listening to the original Foxbase Alpha but sort of redecorated more than remixed.  I still hope they are thinking of doing So Tougher!  Find:  “Like The Swallow” (Foxbase Beta version)

3. A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Ashes Grammar – It’s very hard to write about this one.  You just have to hear it.  Immediately!   Whacked out, yet sublime.  If you are a fan of His Name Is Alive, School of Seven Bells, Mahogany or any similar dreampop, you must get this now.  Find:  “Shy”

2. Erik Blood’s The Way We Live – Readers of this blog will note that I said it wasn’t fair to include this on last year’s best of list – it wasn’t even out yet!  I have to say again that it would be unfair to not include it on this year’s list.  Locally, Erik has received much praise for this piece of work which I hope more people will take a listen to.  It’s kind of too perfect, which is probably why he’s got bands lining up to have him produce their records.  Find:  “Birch Effect”

1. Bibio – Vignetting The Compost – While anticipating the release of Spike Jonze’s Where The Wild Things Are, I thought this could be the perfect soundtrack.  The glitched out wash of whimsical folk songs are reminiscent of those little bits in between songs on Boards of Canada’s albums, but longer.  Sure there is an obvious Boards of Canada influence here, but Bibio nails it just perfectly while adding a songwriting style which could be filed under the unfortunately named “folktronica”.  It’s a concept album about composting, which is just weird, and its overall feel is that of renewal and joy.  And who couldn’t use a little of that right now?  Also note that Bibio released another year end critical favorite, Ambivalence Avenue which I also loved, but this one has to be my favorite!  Find:  “Under The Pier”

Thanks for reading and the happiest new year to you and yours!