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Monday, December 21, 2009

Charles' Top 10 Albums of 2009

Following on from Eileen's top 10 albums of the year, this is Charles' thoughts on the year in records:

10. Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport
One of the most prolific experimental releases of the year, Fuck Buttons' second album has had considerable critical success. Released on ATP Recordings (the same people who bring us the ATP festivals), there are few who haven't hailed this as one of the records of 2009.
MP3: Rough Steez [RS]

9. There Will Be Fireworks - There Will Be Fireworks
2009 has been a great year for Scottish music. With new albums from the likes of Idlewild and The Twilight Sad, it has been hard to ignore. Yet many people have overlooked one of the greatest Scottish albums of 2009. Still unsigned, There Will Be Fireworks recorded their self-titled début in a mill just outside of Edinburgh; as well as being a brilliant and cohesive piece of work, it makes you wonder - if they can do it unaided by a label, then who else will venture there?
MP3: Colombian Fireworks [RS]

8. Converge - Axe To Fall
You could almost guarantee another strong release from the Massachusetts hardcore band. What people may not have been anticipating was the almost Tom Waits-like 'Cruel Bloom' and, in what could be their best track yet, the creepy and atmospheric 'Wretched World'.
MP3: Dead Beat [RS]

7. St. Vincent - Actor
Two years after her début 'Marry Me', Annie Clark returns stronger than ever. Her songs sound more mature than her previous record; it would appear Annie has been doing some growing up. Every track is as solid as the last, crescendoing up to the climax and highlight of the album 'Just The Same But Brand New'.
MP3: The Party [RS]

6. mewithoutYou - it's all crazy! it's all false! it's all a dream! it's alright
With their fourth offering, mewithoutYou have departed completely from the post-hardcore days of old, switching distorted electric guitars for acoustics and pianos and the screams and shouts of Aaron Weiss for a more melodic vocal line. This ambitious effort may not quite match 2006's 'Brother, Sister', but you've got to hand it to them for trying. Songs such as 'The King Beetle On A Coconut Estate' are a fond way to remember the band in this, - if rumours be true - their last record.
MP3: The Fox, the Crow, and the Cookie [RS]

5. Noah and the Whale - The First Days of Spring
Charlie Fink was a man of many problems. After 'Five Years Time' was released, Noah and the Whale were at risk of being branded a one hit wonder and, no sooner than it was a commercial success, Fink had been abandoned by former band member and girlfriend Laura Marling. He only had one choice - to create a solemn, heart-filled album of longing and solidarity which fill the tracks on 'The First Days of Spring'.
MP3: Love of an Orchestra [RS]

4. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
This band have been described as "bland" and "lacking in balls". In a way, it's easy to see why, but people are forgetting that music doesn't have to be constantly changing and experimental to be exciting, or even good. Sometimes all it takes is sheer songwriting strength, which is something The Pains of Being Pure at Heart definitely don't lack.
MP3: Young Adult Friction [RS]

3. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
The Brooklyn-based band burst into the US charts earlier this year with some of their poppiest material yet. Although it may not live up to the masterpiece of Yellow House, songs such as 'Ready, Able' and 'While You Wait For The Others' show Grizzly Bear at their best yet.
MP3: Two Weeks [RS]

At this point I have just realised that I am a complete retard; I miscounted my top ten and there's actually 12 albums on this list. FML. So I'm just going to continue and hope that no-one notices...

2. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
It was the album that everyone was talking about this year, but not without good reason. Blah blah blah, you already know it, here's AnCo, in at #4 (not #2).
MP3: Brother Sport [RS]

1. Blue Roses - Blue Roses
Blue Roses sounds just like her name would suggest: a female singer-songwriter inspired by folk and lo-fi. But that description does not do her album justice. In what is one of the best début albums of the year, Blue Roses proves that she is a name worth remembering.
MP3: Greatest Thoughts [RS]

0. The Antlers - Hospice
Another album from an indie folk band based in Brooklyn? Well yes and no. With this stunning breakthrough record, Peter Silberman explores the concept of life in a hospice in a breathtaking 50 minute journey. This album is chilling, depressing, and probably the best thing to come out of Brooklyn all year.
MP3: Kettering [RS]

-1. Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
Based around Natasha Khan's conflict with her city-girl persona of Pearl, a blonde femme fatale born out of the city of New York, the stories and ties between the two characters and the universe around them run deep in these 11 interweaving tracks. Natasha doesn't just create an album; she creates a new world altogether. At any point whilst listening to this record, I dare you to shut your eyes to hear, see and feel Natasha's strange and mystic universe.
MP3: Glass [RS]


Eileen said...

Love it :)
I couldn't get into 'Hospice', though, don't know why.

Chloe said...

wow, collectively we are big bat for lashes fans are we not?

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