The 2009 Favorites mix. Download it here.
As with las year, I'm not sure if these are "The Best" (say it like Nacho Libre would) albums I've heard this year, but they're the ones I've listened to the most. It was a tough process to get it down to 20 albums and some sad cuts had to me made (sorry A.C. Newman's Get Guilty, Throw Me the Statue's Creaturesque and Franz Ferdinand's Tonight), but I think it's a great mix of music for you to enjoy.
Think of it like one of those meat and cheese samplers you get at the holidays; eat a little bit of everything and come back for more if you like anything you try.
TRACK TITLE / BAND / ALBUM
01 / "Cannibal Resource" / Dirty Projectors / Bitte Orca
Probably my favorite album of 2010. It's a dizzying mix of indie rock, world beats and, strangely enough, R&B; sometimes all at once. It may take a listen or two to click, but once it does, it really takes over.
02 / "I Start To Run" / White Denim / Fits
Wow, here's a slammin' psychedelic album. Like Jimi Hendrix fronting Led Zeppelin, played at double speed.
03 / "Heart Sweats" / Japandroids / Post-Nothing
Hooky, hopeful and noisy, Japandroids have the post-emo, Death From Above 1979 thing locked down. It's Fist-Shaking Rock of the finest vintage.
04 / "Slap Dash For No Cash" / Art Brut / Art Brut vs. Satan
Frank Black produced it, but it's by no means a slick sell-out album. "Cool your warm jets, Brian Eno," indeed. Songs about love, rock, loving rock and an inability to grow up. In other words, an Art Brut album.
05 / "Aquarius Sabotage" / The Flaming Lips / Embryonic
Not to slight their last two albums, but this is the album I've been waiting for from these guys. Loose, weird and meandering, it feels less deliberate and polished than Yoshimi or At War With the Mystics and more in the vein of experimental work like Zaireeka or the Okie Noodling soundtrack.
06 / "Lasso" / Phoenix / Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Man, just when you think these guys have made the album of their career, they go ahead and top it. Every bit as solid as It's Never Been Like That. There isn't a bad track on here.
07 / "Little Girl (feat. Julian Casablancas)" / Sparklehorse + Danger Mouse / Dark Night of the Soul
The best album that didn't actually come out. Manages to play to the strengths of each guest vocalist (for example, the Jason Lytle tracks sound more like Grandaddy than anything off of his limp solo album, Yours Truly, the Commuter) while still sounding like a collaboration between two guys who really excel at what they do. It's an eerie, groovy record and definitely worth breaking Federal copyright law for.
08 / "Love Comes And Goes" / Lee Fields & The Expressions / My World
Daaang, this album is slick. Soulful, smooth and timeless, it's a great record for any occasion. Folding laundry? Check. Spending time with your special someone? Check. Bare-knuckle fighting a crazed mountain lion while wearing a fine Italian suit? Check and mate.
09 / "Helium Hearts" / Super Furry Animals / Dark Days, Light Years
More focused than their last couple of albums, SFA offer up another album of mutant Welsh space rock. If you're not already a fan, this one probably won't convert you, but if you like what they do, this is one to pick up.
10 / "One Machine, One Long Fight" / Lou Barlow / Goodnight Unknown
It's been four years since Barlow's last album under any name besides Dinosaur Jr. (and we all know that's pretty much J. Mascis' band), and that's a shame. Barlow's work - whether solo or with Sebadoh or the Folk Implosion - has always been really excellent and Goodnight Unknown is no exception. Lou Barlow, FTW.
11 / "Criminals" / Atlas Sound / Logos
A haunting, hypnotic waltz from Bradford Cox. It's the kind of music Ziggy Stardust would listen to if he got homesick for the cold vacuum of space.
12 / "My Girls" / Animal Collective / Merriweather Post Pavilion
I'm sure indie snobs will "like their earlier stuff before they sold out," better, but I firmly believe this is their best yet. Rich, textured and weird (while still listenable), it's an excellent little head trip and completely legal.
13 / "Courage" / The Whitest Boy Alive / Rules
Disco disco! Erlend Øye's other band (Kings of Convenience) may get all the girls a-sighin', but it's this band that gets me all lathered up. Dancey and laid-back, I dare you not to listen to this thing without catching yourself shaking something, anything whilst doing so.
Also, tell me the guy doesn't look like a slightly more hip version of Napoleon Dynamite.
14 / "Psalms 40:2" / The Mountain Goats / Life of the World to Come
More songs about desperate people facing down the inevitable. John Darnille has put together another set of moving, wry tales, this time with the Bible at the center of the stories. By no means a religious tract, it packs an emotional punch that can appeal to believers and heathens alike.
15 / "Cryin' Smoke" / Ganglians / Monster Head Room
Second favorite album of 2009. It's like some guys re-recording the Beach Boys' Smiley Smile in their shed. Druggy, smiling and goofy; real dumb angel stuff.
16 / "Lady Luck" / Richard Swift / Atlantic Ocean
A great collection of Harry Nilsson-esque singer-songwriter ditties, Richard Swift's sense of humor and solid songwriting earned him a place on the list. This track is especially good; it sounds like some lost 70's soul single.
17 / "Tender Torture" / Islands / Vapours
Last year's Arm's Way was a little too weird and inconsistent to land on my faves mix, but Vapours strips away the unnecessary in favor of hummable tunes, solid grooves and the expectedly obtuse lyrics.
18 / "If It's True" / Yo La Tengo / Popular Songs
Another set of classics from Hoboken's own Yo La Tengo. Seriously, these guys are the most consistently good band out there. I keep waiting for a dud of an album but it hasn't happened yet. If I have one complaint, it's that the requisite longer, droney songs are all sequenced at the back of the album, making it a little tiresome toward the end, but still, it's a dang good album.
19 / "More Of This" / Vetiver / Tight Knit
It was a tough call, choosing between this album and the Fruit Bats' The Ruminant Band, but in the end, this one won out. Really great mellow-ish folk from a really good band.
20 / "The Wizzzard" / Think About Life / Family
This one surprised me. It's like if TV On the Radio decided to start a Kool & the Gang cover band, which yeah, would be pretty radical. I've already used them twice this year on mixes (Warm Soundz and SMRJMZ), but here's another track because I think this album's super-dope.
And that's my 2009 Favorites mix. What knocked yr socks off this year? Let me know in the comments section and as always, thanks for stopping by.