Similar to 2008’s Top Albums list, I was going to roll with my favorite 12 albums…except there were two more that I couldn’t ignore. Anyways, these were my top albums of 2009. They aren’t necessarily what critics or the masses would select, but I couldn’t stop listening to these 14 albums.
Enjoy and leave feedback over the next few posts!
14. E-603 – Torn Up
Ethan Ward aka E-603 put out his 2nd sample-frenzied album, Torn Up this summer with enough fan fare to tour with Passion Pit. It manages to pull off many of the punches (and samples) that oft-compared Girl Talk did with Feed the Animals last year, but is still a sure-fire party starter. His “Theory”, as stated on his website says: Everyone should have the ability to listen to this music. Feel free to post it on websites, give it to your friends or promote it on your own terms. Do not claim it as your creation. ” That means you should go pick up Torn Up immediately for free (or donation).
13. Rodrigo y Gabriela – 11:11
The second offering from Rodrigo y Gabriela, 11:11 didn’t take the world by storm, like their debut, but its much more polished. Their mind blowing acoustic guitar work is still there (“Triveni” is pretty great), but complimented on some tracks by electric guitar (“Logos”) sitar and other studio magic I can’t describe. “Buster Voodoo” might be my favorite though with stomp-worthy beat and breakdown at the 1:15 mark. Sidenote: each song is dedicated to an artist that inspired the duo, including Carlos Santana and Pink Floyd.
12. Mayer Hawthorne – A Strange Arrangement
2008 may have been the year to bring back ’60s-inspired soul for ladies like Adele, Duffy and Amy Winehouse, but in 2009 Detroit-based Mayer Hawthorne made his own mark. A Strange Arrangement oozes with Motown magic that makes you do a doubletake when looking at the release date. The upbeat “Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin'” is my current favorite, but “Maybe So, Maybe No” and “I Wish It Would Rain” offer cool soul I can’t get enough of.
11. Deastro – Moondagger
There probably wasn’t a more fitting album title in 2009. Detroit-based Randy Chabot aka Deastro crafted a sonic space-age masterpiece in Moondagger. “Vermillion Plaza” and “Kurgan Wave Number One” hum with new wave elements and catchy hooks. Recent favorite is “Greens, Greys and Nordics” is like trippy, electro-pop galactic adventure with introspective lyrics like “What would the world look like if God was a woman?/ Would there be sickness and violence?/Would every man be an island?” . Not only is Deastro a genius at electronic composition, he might be a philosopher on the side.
10. Jack Penate – Everything Is New
The second album from Brit-star Jack Penate showcased the welcome growth of a rising songwriter. Matinee had pop/rockabilly tendencies, but Everything Is New dabbles in lo-fi, ’60s pop and brit rock. “Be The One” utilizes horns and a toe tapping beat to evoke the pains of looking for a mate, while “Tonight’s Today” is about how fun can sometimes be a dizzying whirlwind. The singles just start to hint at the evolution of Penate.
Apologies to the following, since I didn’t get a chance to hear these artists’ albums before year’s end:
Florence and the Machine – Lungs
Fanfarlo – Reservoir
Arctic Monkeys – Humbug
Sea Wolf – White Water, White Bloom
The Dutchess and Duke – Sunrise/Sunset
Check back for albums 9 thru 5 soon!