Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Best Albums of 2009... the first half...

In part because ranking things is fun (particularly things that are un-rankable), and in part because I feel as though its important that I beat you all over the head with the stuff that I really like, I've come up with my 10 favourite albums (so far) of 2009.

There was no real attempt at making this a thorough, scientific, list, or anything other than a snap-shot of what I think is good at the moment. There's approximately a 100% possibility that my year end list will not resemble this list in the slightest, but that's just because I have the attention span (particularly with music) of a puppy with ADD.

A final note of interest before we move ahead... after I put together this list it occurred to me that this list is made almost entirely of Canadian artists. I'm not sure what that says/means. Well, obviously, that I like and have been listening to a lot of Canadian music. But, also, possibly that I need to open my ears a little bit to stuff that's going on around the world; so perhaps you'll see a little bit more of a global flavour to the year end list.

10. Glasvegas Glasvegas
Why I like it: because they sound like U2 would sound like if (blasphemy alert) they wrote anything good these days. Plus, their Scottish accents are super cool.
[mp3] Glasvegas - Geraldine

9. Timber Timbre Timber Timbre
Why I like it: I'm not sure its quite as haunting as TT's debut Medicinals, but I think the song writing has improved. This album is more than just a haunting, debilitating, trip to the salt mines...
[mp3] Timber Timbre - Demon Host

8. Pink Mountaintops Outside Love
Why I like it: one, because I really didn't expect to; and two, because the album channels old school 70s stoner rock with a more new school indie pop vibe with impressive results.... that, and 'Axis the Thrones of Love' is possibly the most compelling opening track of the year...
[mp3] Pink Mountaintops - Axis Thrones of Love

7. Patrick Watson Wooden Arms
Why I like it: because its every bit as good, maybe better, than the Polaris winning Close to Paradise...
[mp3] Patrick Watson - Wooden Arms

6. Hayden The Place Where We Lived
Why I like it: because its Hayden, my favourite singer-songwriter of all time. Sure, its different than his earlier stuff, but he's maintained the kind of (cliche alert) honesty that has made him such a compelling songwriter over the last 15 years. That said, I kind of think its surprising that this album in particular was as solid as it is, given how great a departure it is from his debut, Everything I Long For [1995].
[mp3] Hayden - Let's Break Up

5. Sunparlour Players Wave North
Why I like it: because their follow up to the outstanding Hymns for the Happy is close to as good as their live show (which has got to be one of the best around - the GTA at least). Plus, the song writing, the production, and the story telling have also 'kicked it up a notch'...
[mp3] Sunparlour Players - Battle of '77

4. Various Artists Dark was the Night
Why I like it: Normally I wouldn't included a compilation (because its kind of cheating), but this album is so absolutely stacked and includes at least a few of my favourite songs this year: Arcade Fire "Lenin", Antony w/ Bryce Dessner "I Was Young When I Left Home", and ...
[mp3] The New Pornographers - Hey, Snow White

3. Black Hat Brigade Fathers
Why I like it: because, much like the SPP, the BHB have taken a step forward with their follow up to their extremely awesome self titled debut (#5 of 2008). Their album is broader, more polished, and something you should listen to if... you have ears... but even if you don't, you should watch people listen to it...
[mp3] Black Hat Brigade - Lost Boys

2. Bruce Peninsula A Mountain is a Mouth
Why I like it: because, while this album is definitely not for everyone (BP are not going to be featured on MTV anytime soon), but the band is an absolute force of nature and this album, simply put, is an epic experience...
[mp3] Bruce Peninsula - Steamroller

1. TOR/Sufjan Stevens Illinoize
Why I like it: because as far as mash-ups go, this is probably the best mash-up album I've ever heard. It doesn't hurt that I love Sufjan Stevens and all the hip-hop artists featured, but, I think it goes without saying, that that wouldn't mean anything if the execution wasn't there - thankfully, it is... in spades... and its available for free download here...
[mp3] TOR/Sufjan Stevens - The Tallest Man/I Like It ft. Grand Puba

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