Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2009 Honorable Mentions

I'm going to start writing here, and pretend as if I have updated the blog in over a month.

For the past few weeks, I've been selecting, shuffling and discarding my favorite albums of the 2009. And what a hard and delightful task it was. There were some really stellar releases, way more than 10.

Which leaves us here... the honorable mention pile.

Maybe pile is not the right word. Glorious heap?

Anyway, we're gonna start from the bottom. Today Honorable Mentions. Tomorrow No 10.

Without further adieu...

"Outer South" by Conor and Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
The former Saddle Creek CEO, Bright Eyes-er has finally given up that tortured ghost and completes 2008's self-titled album with a bookend featuring his chums all touching their inner alt-Mexican country music (or something... he's defying and embracing genre). It's a good album when he sings (Cabbage Town), better at points when his mates do it (Air Mattress), and great when they all pitch in (Ten Women). But it's missing something. It feels slapdash too jaunty, but maybe that makes it better.

"Dark Was The Night" by Various Artists
Every indie artists worth his/her salt in 2009 shows up on this AIDS benefit compilation album. Grizzly Bear, Bon Iver, Conor, Spoon, Dirty Projectors, My Morning Jacket, et cetera, et cetera. It's almost too much. And for every five songs I like (So Far Around The Bend has made me love The National), there's one I don't. But eh. I'd rather have a finally curated tasting menu by one chef than parade by a thousand.

"The Knot" by Wye Oak
Good things are coming out of Baltimore. Probably the best is Wye Oak. The Knot is confounding. Is it shoegaze? Is it noisepop? I have no idea. It's gorgeous is what it is. That loud quiet sound has been rocking my ears for 20 years.

"Adult Nights" by Wild Light
You like Arcade Fire but find wanna turn the pop meter waaaaay up? Yeah, you'll like this. What's not to love about that catchy and profane "California on my Mind"? Or the jangly guitars and synth of "Canyon City"? Did I mention they sound like Arcade Fire?

"Cutting Ties" by We Were Pirates
Listen up. If you're not rocking DC bands, you should be. We like We Were Pirates. My kid likes We Were Pirates. You should like this. You like indie pop about girls and love? You'll dig this.

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