Monday, January 04, 2010

2009 in music

2009 was another good year musically, with albums from Animal Collective, Alvin Band, Dicsovery, Dizzee Rascal, Fever Ray, The Field, Jay-Z, Muse, Royksopp, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs all standing out. I also discovered or rediscovered Diplo, Elbow, Minotaur Shock, OMD, Stevie Wonder, and Vampire Weekend.

All being said it was a pretty productive year musically that confirmed to me that my tastes could be described as "Pitchfork-esque". Without further ado, here is a playlist of my songs of the year; they are in no particular order, other than they flow reasonably well if played in order or burned to a CD.

Royksopp: Royksopp Forever
Actually, this one is in order. Royksopp Forever could not be anyting apart from track one. When I first heard it I described it as "audacious", which I stand by; this is an instant all-time classic.

Alvin Band: Temple Pressure
This was an excellent discovery: Alvin Band has made an album composed entirely from noises made with his mouth which channels the Beach Boys and Panda Bear. Lovely stuff.

Discovery: Orange Shirt
This is a side project from the member of Vampire Weekend who produces them and basically does everything you hear which is not drum, guitar, or voice. Whilst in a completely different genre (white-boy R&B) it has the same sense of fun and really shimmers.

Passion Pit: Sleepyhead
Apparently I am the last person in the world of "cool" music who had not heard this and fallen for it. Oh well, better late than never.

Thom Yorke: All For The Best
Jesus, this is good. Really good. Thom can do covers as well as write the good stuff.

Sleigh Bells: Crown On The Ground
Very much a Pitchfork discovery: fuzzy rock guitars and girl band vocals shouldn't work, but really do.

Noisettes: Never Forget You
When I first heard this song it was as if I had known it my entire life, which is a pretty good thing in my mind.

Dizzee Rascal: Bad Behaviour
Dizze went mega-mainstream this year, which meant a veer away from grime and into collaboration with Superstar producers. This track, however, manages to combine Tiesto, a killer bassline, and the ethos of his earlier albums.

Heartsrevolution: Ultraviolence
The version featuring Spank Rock is not on popular video sharing site YouTube, but if you have Spotify you can click here to listen to it. This is the song minus rapping, which is nowhere near as good:

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Zero
Another song that just sounded "right" the first time that I heard it.

Spank Rock: Put That Pussy On Me (Diplo Tonite Remix)
Diplo is a remix genius, and this one combines one of my favourites (Spank Rock) with that groovy music from the Lynx Advert.

Muse: United States Of Eurasia
Yes, Muse are ridiculous in their pomposity, but at least they know it. I was going to choose one of the more straight-up rock songs off the album, but screw it, here is the over-the-top rock opera that ends with a couple of minutes of Chopin played by the multi-talented frontman. It's OK to laugh at the bit with the Queen-style vocals: I am pretty sure they meant us to.

Animal Collective: My Girls
Wow. Just wow. I see how people can dismiss AC as pretentious; indeed this is the first album of theirs that I have really liked. But My Girls? Wow.

ArjanM: Blackhole
A random internet music/video project, but what a grand combination of sound and vision. Just watch.

Moderat: Rusty Nails
Lovely electronic music. This is all.

Jack Conte: Flavors
Radiohead-esque, which is often a bad thing. Not for this song, though.

Minotaur Shock: Beekeeper
My favourite discovery of this year was the Minotaur Shock album Amateur Dramatics. I suppose that it is technically in the "folktronica" genre but totally pisses all over rivals such as Four Tet. It really struck a cord with me: electronica with plenty of live instrumentation and loads of heart. After a few listens I had a feeling that it was a great album; now I am sure that it is. It is difficult to pick a single track to play as the album flows so well, but here is a lovely song that builds and builds which should give an idea of what the album is all about.

The Field: Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime
Pretty, downtempo electronic music with a killer sample. Bliss.


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