Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Best Music of 2009: #5-1

#5. Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest (listen to some of it here and get it for $5 here)
I was not a GB fan until this album.  Yellow House intrigued me here and there, but Veckatimest drew me in (read: is more accessible).  Sure, there are a couple of songs that I pretty much skip every time the album plays ("Dory," "Hold Still,"), but there are four or five songs that beg me to hit "repeat" as soon as they start winding down, which is the mark of a good album (in my mind).  GB walks the fine line between beautiful sounds and tones that make you cringe a bit, but they almost always land solidly on the side of beauty.  Everybody knows the song "Two Weeks" (or at least you should by now), but those other songs are just as good in some cases... but don't take my word for it (ba-dum-dum):

#4. The Avett Brothers: I and Love and You (listen here, buy here)
So I missed the boat on these guys until 2008.  Fantastic.  If you get the chance to see them live, please do it.  They've already blown up a bit, but expect their next album to be an even bigger hit and you'll probably see them on MTV or VH1 or whatever channel is indicative of mainstream success these days.  They'll still try to maintain their artistic side, but hopefully they'll keep things real (as Chapelle might say):

#3. Patrick Watson: Wooden Arms (listen to what you can here and pick it up here)
This dude has quickly become one of my favorite artists, entering a pantheon that includes such notables as Sufjan Stevens and Andrew Bird (if you know me, you know that there's no higher praise).  The dude is a genius (AKA mad scientist), puts on a nuts-awesome live show, and I am confident I'll be ranting and raving about him for the next decade.  Wooden Arms isn't as strong an effort as Close to Paradise, but it's a fine, fine, fine effort and I'll be listening to this song for years to come:

#2. Andrew Bird: Noble Beast (listen to what you can here, $5 dolla billz here)
This album disappointed a few people -- and maybe even me initially -- because it's not Armchair Apocrypha or Mysterious Production of Eggs, but once I mourned that fact and got over it, Beast is still a great album and I defiantly place it at this #2 spot (although, honestly, at this point Mr. Bird could play a wax paper comb for 30 minutes and I'd probably punch anybody that said it wasn't amazing).  Thankfully, he sticks to his usual instrumentation (guitar, violin, xylophone) here:

#1. Fanfarlo: Reservoir (listen to what's available, buy)
I stumbled across these guys before their debut album hit the shelves and I've been riding this train ever since.  I love the Arcade-Fire-meets-Beirut deal that they've got going on here.  Just like the rest of the top five, if you get a chance to see them live, you should.  They're a young band and as long as they don't pull a Weezer, I hope Reservoir is just the tip of the iceberg and that future albums are filled with songs as good as this one:

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