Alright. So I need to apologize to the artists I RAVED about in 2009, but didn't include on this list. I just found some artists that no one has heard of and found them a more special place.
So my honorable honorable honorable mention goes out to Julian Casablancas, Jill Andrews, Mos Def, Andrew Bird, and Volcano Choir. I love you guys.
Sometimes it's not about what is being sung, but how it's being sung. Isakov helps you find Pegasus in the night sky - while making out with some squabe (hottie) in sandy dunes of Venice, Florida. I feel like Emmylou Harris is singing parallel his vocals, but she isn't.
-- That Moon Song (mp3)
-- If I go, I'm Going (mp3)
Tillman's biblical, spiritual references make me feel really calm. The whole album, especially "Crosswinds", makes me feel like I am in a cemetery by a river. There is snow falling calmly around me as Asian mistresses play harps while floating gently down a stream.
-- Crosswinds (mp3)
-- Earthly Bodies (mp3)
I feel like a lot of the songs on this album could be played at the end of a Lost episode...some 'feel good' song comes on as Hurly is jumping into the ocean and a sappy heartfelt feeling is in the air. But there is nothing wrong with that. And I feel Cat Stevens spirit all over this record.
-- Miss Me (mp3)
-- Dead End Kids (mp3)
I feel like James has a very clean perception of what servanthood means. I felt really dirty the night I drove home with this album in my car; I had just gotten done washing dishes in the back of Panera for 6 hours. I listened to this the whole way home and felt really broken. It's one of the more truthful albums I've heard in a while.
-- Magazine (mp3)
-- Pitchfork (mp3)
This album kinda hurts my ears. Does that makes me a baby? It's just really high frequency. I fell in love with this album when Ben, Audrey, and I were driving on Natchez Trace parkway to Audrey's parents' house on Pickwick Lake in Alabama. I think this album emphasized the fireflies flying next to our car as we were screaming with our heads cut off: "BURNING SOLID, BURNING THIN THE BURNING RIM!!!!!"
-- Sleepyhead (mp3)
-- Moth's Wings (mp3)
I'm in a depressed mood every time I listen to this record. And it's awesome!! Seriously though, this record makes me question my faith on a very large scale. And it makes me believe in God more because of that. When Callahan sings, "It's time to put God away," I think to myself, "I've been putting God away." Well, as they say, distance makes the heart grow fonder. This album is really distant and it's beautiful. It's something I would want to play at my wedding, but everyone would be really awkward and think I'm a retard.
-- Faith/Void (mp3)
-- Jim Cain (mp3)
Tweedy, Stirratt, and Kotche are growing really comfortable with their new band members. It really shows on this record. It's also completely "dad rock". My dad would love this record. So would yours. But it's okay, guys! Because Tweedy is a dad.
I feel like this record resembles a marriage between 2 people that has been going on for at least 20 years. There's been a lot of fighting in the marriage, there's been a lot of love, and the callouses of the two intertwine to bring 2 people who can talk pretty generally about the lows and highs. And that it's completely fine to talk about deeply complex experiences with plain-jane poetry. There's something very opposite loneliness because of that. And it's edified on this record for me.
-- Country Disappeared (mp3)
-- Wilco (The Song) (mp3)
This record is so lush. A great follow-up to "There the Open Spaces". For some reason, when I listen to Markland Starkie's music, I feel like I'm in a hotel room in Seattle and it's raining on all the buskers in the street outside. Don't ask me why.
From his previous album, "Memory Games" is drop-dead EASILY one of my favorite songs of all-time.
-- Memory Games (mp3)
-- Gardens of the South (mp3)
Man. This record is so much fun. The name of the band is very laughable. But when you listen to their music, it just works. Believe me. I rock out HARD to this album while driving around. Just listen to "Quiet Little Voices" really loud in your car, while screaming, "I'm young again!!!!!!!" and you'll instantly fall in love with this record.
-- Quiet Little Voices (mp3)
-- It's Thunder and It's Lightning (mp3)
This record is so catchy. The guitar is so jangly the whole time. I think of the guitar as a frog. And the lead singer is probably the biggest dork of a lead singer I've seen in a while. And he looks like he's not having any fun (I think because of the stressed-out look on his face when he performs) . But duh...of course he's having fun! He's putting so many lyrics (that are so much fun to sing along to) over so many fun synth-pop moments.
-- Lisztomania (mp3)
-- Rome (mp3)
Man, I love this record. "March of the Zapotec" (the other half of this duo-release from Beirut lead-singer, Zach Condon) was not my favorite...it was a little too stripped down to work for the aesthetic Condon was going after. But "Holland" is beautiful on so many levels. His alliterative lyrics are rhythmic in that the S's are evenly spread out at times...at least in "...Prostitute...". It gives the songs such a milky flow. The mixture of strings, brass, synth, and Condon's vibratto are so smooth.
-- The Concubine (mp3)
-- My Night with the Prostitute From Marseille (mp3)
It's cohesive and could be radio-friendly - I think I like Devendra more when he's a belligerent hippie kid who has no idea that he's singing a song. Although, I have so many favorite parts on this record. I love when he lividly belts, "Please destroy me!" on "First Song for B". Also, the drums on "16th & Valencia, Roxy Music" are so much fun and the song is so groovy, it kills me....it's the most retro song I've heard in a while. My 2 favorite parts on the record are at 2:18 in "16th & Valencia..." and 1:35 in "Rats". Also, can I just say...I LOVE singing along to "Baby". Also, I've fallen asleep to Wallilamdzi while praying.
-- Can't Help But Smiling (mp3)
I first listened to this album in May when summer first started. I went to Venice, Florida the next week and lost sleep because of this album. I would stay awake at night and listen to this album while writing a song, called "Journey". Now, it's harder for me to sleep without this album. It's probably the most textural and atmospheric album I've ever heard. I have seriously created 9 separate universes to this album...a universe for each song. I feel like I'm in a completely different location on each song.
-- Atlas Song (mp3)
And here is a video I made to "Happiness":
This record is music genius. I have no idea how Dave Longstreth plays guitar the way he does. I also have no idea how the 3 girls harmonize the way they do. It's so catchy. And Longstreth's voice hearkens back to the '80's for me.
-- Cannibal Resource (mp3)
-- No Intention (mp3)
Alright. So. This record is amazing. I listened to this record probably 50 times all the way through this year. The lyrics are really conversational and yet very straight forward. It's harmonic, jazzy, rock, roll, and poppy. Let's just say...these 4 guys are so good at creating a soundtrack for their environment. They move out of a wintery yellow house to a summery island called Veckatimest.
-- Cheerleader (mp3)
-- About Face (mp3)