Sunday, December 20, 2009

Best of 2009


It wasn't easy this time around - I think it might have been a slow year or something. Anyhow, here they are; the albums I enjoyed the most in 2009 (in no particular order, subject to change):

WOODS - Songs of Shame (Woodsist)
High-pitched vocal harmonies, out of tune guitars and melodies in abundance. I must have listened to it a hundred times this year.
Free and legal mp3 (right-click and save)
Listen to the whole album on Spotify


WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM - Black Cascade (Southern Lord)
Structurally and conceptually, Wolves In the Throne Room are well beyond their peers. Though less subtle than last years Two Hunters, they have tightened up and delivered another atmospheric, flawless Black Metal album. (Also, check out Liturgy in the comments-section.)
Free and legal mp3 (right-click and save)

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KURT VILE - Childish Prodigy (Matador)
Underrated, I think. Misanthropic and repetitive, though strangely melodic stoner jams. Awesome.
Free and legal mp3 (right-click and save)
Listen to the whole album on Spotify


REAL ESTATE - Real Estate (Woodsist)
The feel-good album of the year comes out of suburban New Jersey, and it grows on you with every listen.
Highly recommended.
Free mp3 (right-click and save)
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BEN FROST - By the Throat (Bedroom Community)
The follow-up to Theory of Machines is yet another physical assault, where washes of harsh noise, feral growls and beautiful string arrangements create
a truly frightening sonic experience.
Free mp3 Visit Myspace

GIRLS - Album (True Panther Sounds)
Hated it at first, can't stop listening to it now. Overly emotional perhaps, but there are some really good songs in there.
Free and legal mp3 (right-click and save)

Listen to the whole album on Spotify

LONEY DEAR - Dear John (Sub Pop)
Emil Svanängen is without question my favorite Swedish artist. Pure, irresistible melancholy. Highs and lows.
Free and legal mp3 (right-click and save)
Listen to the whole album on Spotify


OM - God Is Good (Drag City)
Whimsical lyrics about mysticism and the Middle East, but who cares?
Free mp3 Visit Myspace

NEON INDIAN - Psychic Chasms (Lefse)
This came out of nowhere. Skeletal, danceable electronic pop that sounds like it was caught on
cassette. Which is a good thing.
Free and legal mp3 (right-click and save)
Listen to the whole album on Spotify


VARIOUS ARTISTS - Library Subscription Discs (Disposable Music)
Latecomer. Uplifting and eclectic instrumental mix of library music and spaghetti western tunes.
Listen to some tracks from Plugged In Pakistani Pops or the Sampler

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Also very good:

JULIAN LYNCH - Orange You Glad (Olde English Spelling Bee)
Compelling and sad, hushed bedroom pop songs.
Free and legal mp3 (right-click and save)
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PHILL NIBLOCK - Touch Strings (Touch)
Seminal drones.
Watch an excerpt from Stosspeng, performed live.
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BEST COAST - Singles, EP's (Blackest Rainbow, Group Tightener)
Lovely lo-fi. I'm hoping for a debut album in 2010.
Free mp3
Visit Myspace

LOTUS PLAZA - The Floodlight Collective (Kranky)
Shoegaze as it should be. Beautiful.
Free and legal mp3 (right-click and save)
Visit the Deerhunter blog

TAKEN BY TREES - East of Eden (Rough Trade)
Great album, besides the eerie Carola Häggkvist moments.
Free and legal mp3 (right-click and save)
Listen to the whole album on Spotify