Thursday, December 3, 2009

Best of: Loved in 2009

"War Is Over, If You Want It"

Everyones coming out with their end of the year/end of the decade top whatevers, and while they're always interesting, and often insightful as to things I may have overlooked, I like to do things a little different around here. For one thing, I have a really hard time ranking albums, to me, its sort of silly to say that one thing is "better" than another, mostly because, well, its all completely subjective. Instead, I'd rather give out deserved praise to everybody, noting exactly what they're best at, ya know, personalize it a little, sort of like we did last year.

Artist(s) of the Year:
Ridgewood Crew
(Ducktails, Alex Bleeker & the Freaks, Julian Lynch, Real Estate)
Last year it was Bradford Cox who consistently blew us away with a boatload of quality releases and live shows, the year before James Murphy. This year it'd be hard to deny that anyone put out more killer shit than these kids. Mondanile's solo output alone (two Ducktails LPs, Parasails, Predator Vision and a bunch of singles, splits, etc) would've been enough to put him at the top of the list. Throw in an exceptional string of Real Estate releases (three killer 7-inches, two EPs, and one of the best full length albums of the year), the out-of-nowhere release of the year (Alex Bleeker and the Freaks), Julian Lynch's absolutely stellar Born 2 Run tape (may have been 2008 but 2009 to me), Orange You Glad LP on OESB/Future Sounds, as well as his Michael Jackson/Cindy Lauper covers, and it's really hard to deny that anybody had a bigger impact on independent music this year than these guys from North Jersey. Of course, anybody whose been reading this website for the past year probably already knows this. As far as I'm concerned, these are all essential releases from 2009.

Favorite Album (to Blaze OG Kush to):
Ganglians- Monster Head Room

Great Record That Couldn't Possibly Live Up to My Inflated Expectations:

Best Album to Dream To/With:
Julianna Barwick- Florine EP

Best Avant-Pop That Even Your Lil Bro in College Digs:
Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavillion

I'd Break Up W/ Someone Over & Over Again to Fully Understand This Record:
Marissa Nadler- Little Hells

The Real "Soundtrack to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea":
Dolphins into the Future- ...On Sea-Faring Isolation

Sounds Like Its Being Played Directly In Front of You:
Alex Bleeker & the Freaks- s/t

Most Surprised NPR Didn't Blow Up/Ruin:
Alela Diane- To Be Still

Best Pop Record by Ivy League Kids Co-Opting African Music:
Dirty Projectors- Bitte Orca

Record That I Really Wish More People Would Hear:
Sharon Van Etten- Because I was in Love

Great EPs Uncaptured by Full-Length:
Kurt Vile- God is Saying This to You
Kurt Vile & the Violators- Hunchback EP

Best Singles:
Crystal Stilts- "Love is A Wave" b/w "Sugar Baby"

Best Tape:
Pure Ecstasy- Future Nostalgia

Best World Comp:
Siamese Soul: Thai Pop Spectacular Vol.2 (Sublime Frequencies)

Best Collection of (Almost) Entirely New (to me) Tunes:
Underwater Peoples Summer Comp

Best Live Act You Won't Hear If You're Too Busy Chatting:
Mountain Man

Best Show of the Year:
Beach Fossils/Real Estate/Girls/Kurt Vile at Monster Island

Best Big Show:
Animal Collective 1/20/09 MPP Release Show at Grand Ballroom

Best One Time Only:
Caribou Vibration Ensemble at ATPNY

Most Overused Word of the Year (Myself included):
Chill (and variations of)

Worst/Most Cliche Music Terms/Genres of 2009 (Myself included):
Glo-fi, Chillwave, Beach music

Radical Old Stuff I Discovered this Year:
Popol Vuh Soundtracks for Werner Herzog (Herz Aus Glas & Coeur De Verre)
'Auhea 'oe e Sanoe: Field Recordings of Hawaii
Ain't Gonna Rain No More: Blue and Pre-Bues from Piedmont, North Carolina

R.I.P. (You'll Be Missed):
Pocahaunted (original lineup)
Silver Jews

Poised for Big Things in 2010:
Big Troubles
Fluffy Lumbers
Mountain Man
Pure Ecstasy


sarah said...

very cool approach & i def 2nd your sharon van etten nom!

Mark Schoneveld said...

Man, Sharon is one of the most underrated artist this decade! I hope 2010 is her year!

richie said...

rad list, right on

Jamie said...

I like your approach. DEFINITELY agree on the Underwater Peoples compilation. I will still say "chill" until something better comes along. So many rhymes in that last sentence.

Matt said...

Best album to think is really great when in reality you are entranced by the performer's impossible hotness - She Wolf, by Shakira

Will said...

That was a pretty chill write-up.

Unknown said...

Pure Ecstasy!

AlexRADL said...

loving RunDMT at the moment, definitely looking forward to future releases from him. great end of year list without the "list"

Scot said...

Sharon Van Etten and Pure Ecstasy! Two of my absolute favorites of the year

Anonymous said...

sweet list. you guys should all check out me & my girl's blog + tell yer friends