Sunday, January 3, 2010

25 Albums of 2009: 5-1

With the terrain outside my apartment so inhospitable it made a trip to Cadabra (Quebrada for the uninitiated) for a coffee feel like a Shackleton expedition, I've been reduced to watching movies, blogging and patting myself on the back for investing in an e-blanket last spring (even though it felt silly at the time). Don't get me started on electric blankets, they are a godsend for drafty apartments and a worthy alternative to human contact (blankets can't steal the blankets from you (how meta)). From the comfort of my preferred couch in my living room, here are albums 5-1.

5. Bat For Lashes - Two Suns

With an album cover rife with more symbolism than a David Lynch film, Natasha Khan proves she is more than an enchanting face and has hollowed out a genre all her own, drawing favorable comparisons to Kate Bush in the process. There's no doubt that she's exposing some haunted, damaged parts of herself in her music, though it's so pretty you'd scarcely notice.

Best Track - Daniel 

4. Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms

To the untrained ear, Neon Indian sound like a disciple of the psychedelic school of MGMT and Daft Punk, but also sound decidedly lo-fi and hazy, like poor surfer dudes trying their hand at electronica. Melding indecipherable vocals and complex sounds I can't even begin to place, trust me when I say it's a trip worth taking. I'll pass on the acid though, thanks.

Best Track - Deadbeat Summer

3. Passion Pit - Manners

It's hard to believe that a project that started as a Valentine's Day present from lead singer Michael Angelakos' to his girlfriend two years ago could snowball into a world tour, MTV recognition and a national TV commercial, but that's a testament to the power of the blogosphere. Like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend before them, Passion Pit became the pariahs of indie music in 2009, and like the aforementioned groups, their albums only served to validate the anointment. Let's hope the backlash they inevitably experience isn't as severe as those that came before them.

Best Track - Little Secrets

2. The Love Language - The Love Language

My Zune tells me that this is the album I listened to most in 2009, and I'd be a fool to argue. Whenever I drew a blank trying to decide on a song to listen to or was simply bored, I would assuredly queue up this album and listen to it straight through. It first drew me in with its energy and charm, and kept me coming back for the undeniable hooks and the incisive lyrics. It's a short listen, but that just makes it all the more tempting to press play again when it ends.

Best Song - Lalita

1. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

If any band rivaled the critical and mainstream success of Passion Pit and Animal Collective this year it was Phoenix. Appearing on late night talk shows, SNL, a Cadillac commercial, movie trailers and TV shows, it's fair to say that Phoenix cashed in on their success this year. However, if anyone implies that they sold out, I will soundly box their ears. What's interesting about their success is that they've done so without changing their sound or sacrificing a shred of dignity. They play SNL for 20 million people one week and then play a take-away-show for strangers in front of the Eiffel tower the next. They don't care about the venue or the demographics, the Nielsen ratings or the Billboard rankings, they simply love to play music and disarm pretensions in the process. If you love Phoenix, you'll be happy for them. If you don't, you will soon.

Best Track - They're all awesome.

1 comment:

  1. It will be great to watch Arctic Monkeys ,i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.