Though it is no secret that writing for ye ol' Blog From Mars has taken backseat to my picking up the creative writer's hat again, I still felt that I was important to post the traditional Favorite Albums of 2009 list. While you will not see some of the standards that are appearing on everyone's lists, I am surprised myself at how much my musical tastes are confirming to the typical indie-blogger. But there are some particulars below that may have been overlooked by some, yet in my eyes are essentials. For anyone who knows me on a personal level there should be no surprise at what my top choice is.
Furthermore this will bring the year to a close at Trinity Stardust. Now even I am wondering what the future of this blog will be. As I immerse myself back into the literary world, my interest in writing about music is waning. But my mood changes erratically on the subject- so who knows what I will feel as the new year dawns upon us.
For now take a look at my favorite albums of the past year, starting with #1...
The Quin sisters revive the post-punk revival. With Chris Walla helming the boards again I was scared that we would get a clone of The Con. Thankfully the duo continues their evolution as musicians and songwriters, delivering something brand new. It's new wave, it's punk, it's pop, and barely indie. Plain and simple... I love this band.
2. The xx - xxThe xx are the biggest out-of-nowhere surprise of the year. Technically they’re from London, which is significant in that this album is very reminiscent of the mid-90’s trip-hop sound that came out of neighboring Bristol, England. Not that any of The xx members are old enough to recall that era, but it seems that they learned enough from early Tricky and Portishead to give us something that is equally as sensual and refreshing.
Spencer Krug’s “other band” has gained so much recognition that you kind of forget that this is supposed to be a side project. With Krug’s bandmates taking a bigger roll in the album, Dragonslayer takes the Sunset Rubdown epic sound and explodes it to an even grander scale. This band is slowly joining the ranks of indie music’s heavy hitters.
Why is this album so good? Because what we found out is that each one of us is a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. See my blurb on SSv's Top Albums of 2009 list.
Karen-O was born to make this album. Her wild New York club kid personality seemed poised to make an synth-dance album. It's Blitz! delivered some of the most exciting tunes of the year, "Zero" and "Heads Will Roll."
Mos Def surpassed everyone’s expectations by going back to what made him an underground legend—Lyrics, Lyrics, Lyrics. Not to mention some spectacular beats provided by Madlib and Mr. Flash. Though Mos really never went anywhere, it’s good to have him back in hip-hop.
Ever wonder what it would feel and/or sound like to have instruments thrown at your head for 30 mins straight? Well, no need to keep wondering. Tentacles is a barrage of noise that hits at all the right places.
Marissa does very little to make beautiful music. Haunting vocals and guitars turn desert melodies into lush stories. But this time up she added some spice. See my full review on Stereo Subversion.
It’s been a long time since I’ve liked an R&B album this much. This is the pure definition of 'smooth.' While his afro may be gone, Maxwell's mojo is jedi strong.
Natasha Khan is a trippy chick, and now she has an album that fully embodies her trippines. Two Suns sports a egocentric alter personality and love song to Daniel LaRusso (aka The Katrate Kid). What more does one need in a drug induced hallucination?
Jack White and Allison Mosshart… I couldn’t dream up a better combination. It's like these two are kindred spirits of ancient Greek gods incarnate on earth with the sole purpose of making the powers of rock cower at their feet. Read my blurb in SSv's Internal Debate.
An album that I wanted to hate turned out to be one that I couldn’t deny loving. Veckatimest lived up to all the buzz build up, and over-hype became due recognition. Grizzly Bear’s attempt to be more accessible churned out an album that I can’t see anyone not liking and gave us the best song of the year in “Two Weeks.” Hell, even Jay-Z praises this album. It’s Hova Approved!
Here’s another side project that is starting to eclipse the primary band. Black Mountain members Amber Webber and Joshua Wells break from the psychedelic rock to bring you some psychedelic alt-country/synth/gothic type stuff. In other words, this album is way cooler than any of those lame ones you put on your 'best of' list.
This year’s UK 'It Girl' is Florence Welsh, and deserving so. Florence and her Machine really pack a punch. It's like getting kissed with a fist.
15. Fever Ray
Introspective and dark is the best way to describe the solo debut from Karin Dreijer Andersson. It's nothing like her former band The Knife. Meant more to reflect on meaning than to make you dance; this is meditation music.
And the rest, In alphabetical order...