Music in 2009 – My 10 Favorite Things
It’s the end of December at the end of 2009. This year few by faster than I’d like to admit. I grew another year older, we lost our old dog Piedmont, we got a new puppy named Tucker, and my oldest daughter became a teenager. All in all it was a great year.
Along the way, I fell in love with some new music. In no particular order, here are 10 of my favorite records of the year.
The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
These guys from North Carolina delivered a beautiful acoustic album filled with sadness and soul. The title track is my favorite on the record as it chronicles the break up and decision to leave a life behind in the hopes of finding a new one. This isn’t the most upbeat record of the year but it is certainly one of the best.
The XX (self-titled)
These guys get my vote for best new artist of the year. I was turned on to this record three or four months ago just before a trip to the UK. When I got there I found myself wandering through the world’s best record store, Rough Trade. As I walked the aisles I was completely taken by the music over head. It was this record. From that day on, I listened to it non-stop. The song “Crystalised” is magic.
Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
Jeff Tweedy & crew deliver another great record. This one feels a little more upbeat than previous Wilco efforts, but still packs the intelligence you’ve come to expect from them. I have to say, I love the track “You and I” featuring Feist. One of my favorite songs of the year.
Silversun Pickups – Swoon
These guys have been hanging around for a few years, coming out of Silverlake in LA. Their song “Panic Room” knocked me off my feet earlier this year. These guys bring an edge and an energy you’d expect out of a band from Silverlake.
Kings of Leon – Only By The Night
The Kings of Leon’s break out album, according to iTunes, but these guys have been around for a while. This is their 4th studio record and each one gets better and better. These guys are keeping the flame of good old fashioned southern rock & roll alive and well.
Dead Confederate – Dirty Ammo
This band from Athens, Georgia brings a fresh take on grungy southern rock. This record was recorded live at The Earl in Atlanta (an old hang out of mine – greatest burger in Atlanta). I like this record because it reminds me of my time in the South. There’s nothing like a great southern rock band from Athens. This record is offered as a free download on their site. They are asking for a $1 donation to help raise money for the famous Georgia Theater which burned down in June of this year. This band hasn’t received the attention it deserved. My hope is that they’ll be around a while longer so that people outside of Athens have time to find them.
Them Crooked Vultures (self-titled)
A super-group made up of Dave Grohl, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, and John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin can’t be all that bad, now can they? This is exactly what you would expect, a straight up rock and roll record straight out of the garage.
Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
This is Neko Cases’s 5th album. If you haven’t discovered her yet you need to check out this record. She’s built quite a following in the Northwest where I used to live. She is a rising star. This record is widely considered to be one of the top 10 records of the year.
Kid Cudi – Man on The Moon / End of Day
A solid debut record from the young hip-hop artist from Cleveland, Ohio. I had the opportunity to sit down with Cudi earlier this year. He’s a smart, grounded, intelligent, and talented young artist. Knowing that he was a protégé of Kanye West, I expected him to show up with a certain attitude. He brought none of that. This guy seems to have a bright future ahead of him. If his debut record is any indication, I think we have a lot to look forward to. He’s also set to star in the new Mark Wahlberg HBO show coming later this year.
Visqueen – Message To Garcia
This band calls Seattle, Washington its home. They’ve paid their dues playing in clubs all over town as well as other towns in the PNW. The band features a lead singer named Rachel Flotard, one of the coolest people I met while living in Seattle. The band also features a friend of mine named Tom Cummings. We worked together for a few years. He was the quietest, nicest, hard working guy on our team. You never would have guessed in a hundred years that at night he strapped on a guitar and jammed with the band. I would like to see good things happen in life for my old friend Tom.
Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue
OK, if you’re paying attention you would know that this record was released in September of 2008. I didn’t really discover it until early in 2009 so I am counting it. Jenny Lewis is an extremely talented artist. Her songs are intelligent and her voice is beautifully haunting and captivating. The title track “Acid Tongue” is my favorite.
“I’ve been down to Dixie and dropped acid on my tongue” pretty much says it all.
Ms. Lewis is my favorite female artist and deserves more attention than she gets.
Grizzly Bear – Veckatimist
This Brooklyn based band’s breakout record is another that will undoubtedly show up on many of the year’s top 10 lists. These guys bring a lot of different things to their music. I don’t’ claim to be able to explain it. All I can say is that it works. Check it out.
Gomez – A New Tide
This isn’t the best Gomez album but the song Airstream Driver is one of my favorite tracks of the year. I’m not sure why but I just like it. I saw them earlier this year at Lollapalooza and was surprised by how good they were live. Check them out if you get the chance.
OK – yeah, I know. That was 13 picks. Consider the extra three a bonus.
Now its your turn….what are your favorite albums or songs of the year??
Have a great 2010.