Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009 highlights (with MP3s)

Favorite album (tie)

Fever Ray – Fever Ray. The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson harnesses dualities— organic/artificial, animal/human, male/female, adulthood/childhood—to create a fascinating and cohesive whole. I haven’t been able to stop listening ever since I first heard “If I Had a Heart” back in January. This is music constantly revealing itself, forcing you to look deeper.

Sin Fang Bous – Clangour. The cover of this LP shows the song titles cobbled together from twigs, branches, paper, and bits of metal—a fitting metaphor for the layered and vibrant sound of Icelandic musician and artist Sindri Már Sigfússon. Meticulously crafted (but never twee) songs like “Carry Me up to Smell Pine” and “Clangour and Flutes” lead you along a forest path of unexpected twists and turns.

Sin Fang Bous – Melt Down the Knives MP3 courtesy KEXP

Other highlights (in no particular order): The XX – XX, Patrick Watson – Wooden Arms, Telepathe – Dance Mother, A Sunny Day in Glasgow – Ashes Grammar, JJ – JJ No. 2, Moderat - Moderat, Hope Sandoval and the Warm Inventions – Through the Devil Softly, Animal Collective – Merriwether Post Pavilion, Asobi Seksu – Rewolf

Favorite EP

Maybe it’s the predominance of song-by-song digital downloading—or maybe our attention spans are just getting shorter—but it seemed like there were almost as many EPs as full albums this year. Break out the long-players, guys!

Glasser – Apply. An irresistibly energetic blend of tribal percussion and soaring female vocals, combined with some awesome remixes (especially the John Talabot version of “Learn”), make this the perfect soundtrack for both a brisk run on the treadmill and a peaceful walk in the sunshine.

Glasser – Glad MP3 courtesy Stereogum

Other EPs: Phantogram – Phantogram, Memory Cassette – Call & Response, Washed Out - Life of Leisure, ZaZa – Cameo, Delorean – Ayrton Senna

Favorite songs

In no special order, here are five songs that rose to the top of my playlists this year:

Active Child – She Was a Vision MP3 courtesy Transparent blog

Phantogram – When I’m Small MP3

JJ – Ecstasy MP3

Speck Mountain - Angela

Atlas Sound – Quick Canal (w/Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab)

- Anna K.

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