I’m not going to deny that 2009 has been a great year of record releases. It just makes ranking my top 10 records that bit more difficult. Anyway, here we go.
- Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
Bitte Orca is the most ornate album this year. With intricate arrangements, exuberant melodies and a vocal dialogue that’s sweeter than honey, it’s so difficult for me to see another album surpass Bitte Orca. A fine execution of technical and conceptual skill results in stylistic clarity – their approach is intellectual, complex and informed. The Dirty Projectors will continue to push their art pop to the masses without compromise.
- Girls – Album
The boys from Girls with their fucked-up past made me write perhaps the lengthiest album review thus far for Those Walls, Your Ears and with reason. Their formula is simple: four chord songs about girls, life and getting wasted accompanied with a melody that’s absurdly infectious. And it works because it’s real, as if we’ve experienced it already. Maybe we have but I can tell you, it makes me want to do it all over again.
- Marnie Stern – This Is It And I Am It And You Are It And So Is That And He Is It And She Is It And It Is It And That Is That
I was blown away by this lady, her skills and this amazing record. Top her guitar arrangements with killer melodies and Stern’s This Is It is simply enthralling. The pace of this record is fast, very fast, and every note is played (and sung) with such strong conviction that it’s really empowering. She’s kind of my hero to be honest.
- Discovery – LP
LP sounds nothing like the bands the duo originates from and is in fact utterly refreshing. Ten consistent tracks of obsessive 90’s pop, R&B, soul and even euro-dance beats – this shouts awesome, right?! Hey, LP is also ridiculously infectious.
- HEALTH – Get Color
I knew this was coming and I couldn’t be more prepared. Ten songs of shear force from the L.A. quartet who got the shitty end of the deal (no thanks to you, Crystal Castles). HEALTH are like a slap in the face or a kick in the gut: it’s loud, ferocious and slightly hostile. They are true pioneers of the noise-rock genre and their time is NOW.
- Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career
Once I met Tracey-Anne Campbell – the front woman for Camera Obscura – it was at a festival and I was probably drunk but on seeing them the following night at their sideshow, I couldn’t help but develop a huge crush for her and the fine Scots that is Camera Obscura. This doesn’t recede when they release the most adorable album (and possibly their finest) to date. My Maudlin Career is eleven songs of pure twee pop bliss that is bound to melt your heart too.
- Memory Tapes – Seek Magic
The finest lo-fi-nu-gaze-whatever-you-want-to-call-it album this year. Seek Magic is sparse, euphoric, eerie and filled with nostalgia. It’s hazy and dreamy as it glimmers in space and proves that cosmic sounds can be sustained longer than the length of an EP.
- Nite Jewel – Good Evening
Ramona Gonzalez and her dreamy synthetic hip-pop had me cornered at the very start of this year. Surprisingly Gonzalez’s Good Evening remains with me at the close of 2009. At best, Good Evening feels at home in the dark, d.i.y. slow-disco scene intended for bedroom prances. It is however slightly self-indulgent as if this was just another art project for the multimedia-based artist, Gonzalez. Although I blame the effortless cool she exudes and her ethereal props to the disco and 90’s R&B gods that makes Good Evening such an enjoyable listen.
- Wavves – Wavvves
Wavvves was riding high on my record list at the beginning of ’09 but throw in a few punch-ups and burnouts and it’s just not the same anymore, Nathan Williams. That said, this record still makes me want to go back San Diego and rip it up on the boardwalk…not that I can skateboard well or anything.
- Toro y Moi – Causers of This
A slightly premature addition seeing as it is yet to be released but I really just love it; I had to sneak it in here – look out for it in 2010.
Keep yourself peeled for a few more best-of lists in the next few days as we have some special guests.