SOUND SOUNDS ’09: 2009 In Review

2009 is officially over, to my great surprise. Could that year have been any more blink-and-you’ll miss it than it already was? In any case, I’m here to do a brief Top whatever, as I’ve threatened to do, as a rundown of all the brilliant sounds of the year, in absolutely no real order.

I want you to listen to what you read about today, so I’ve given you the option to download any album here. Click any given album artwork for a MediaFire/RapidShare/Megaupload link for a .zip/.rar of the album in full, in (at least) fairly good quality. For the singles (save for #10), right-click to save the song to your computer, or left-click to listen. With #10, download the whole fucking album. With #6, retrace your steps, and then download the album, give copies to your friends and family, and buy the thing.

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Shout out.

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

I know what you were probably thinking when you first saw the syllable “Ani.” “Oh, great, here’s ANOTHER blogger singing the poppy praises of this record — can we move on?”

(No.)

The truth is, Merriweather Post Pavilion, for what it’s worth, is tied for best album of the year. Animal Collective have ditched their cryptic lyrics and fucked up soundscapes in favor of the beautiful influences of… well, Panda Bear’s Person Pitch. No record in 2009 sounded more colorful (Save for Bromst, which Kevin Barnes described as the sound of dying from Playstation), and captured the spirit of the word “resplendent.” And, what’s more, it garnered three of the band’s most flawless singles (“My Girls,” “Summertime Clothes,” and, my extra personal favorite, “Brothersport”). In the full album review, I stated that it was as much of an any season album as Person Pitch was, and when I put it on for my last workday commute of the decade, grayish snow undertire and rain on my glasses, I realized that this was by no means an incorrect assessment. Merriweather Post is the perfect album for anytime of great happiness, and for anytime marred by great loss. It’s a reminder of the power of song, and proof that love leads to the most flawless masterpieces in the world.

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Nothing can stop Gestalt.

Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca

You knew the moment was coming from the moment you saw that I was running down the year. If you were keeping score, I responded to the Stereogum commentary of the album (asking, “Wait, is Bitte Orca the Best Album of the Year?”) by saying, yes, yes it is the best album of the year. In time, I came to realize that it was only marginally better than Merriweather Post Pavilion, but still better. While Merriweathe Post redefines the outlines of joy and color, Bitte Orca does its best to redefine the outlines of pop music, injecting Mariah Carey vocals with Asian grooves, throwing three-part harmonies against the maelstrom of Dave Longstreth’s sound-bombs, and somehow, somehow, making even the most shy listener look past the dirty lyrics (“And what hits the spot, like Gatorade? You and me, baby, hittin’ the spot all night”). In the future, I pray that pop music can sound like this, and I hope that, on their follow up, they capture the force they exude live. Even as much as I love this album, it pales in comparison to the live article, namely the breakdown in title-track “Useful Chamber.” We could only be so lucky as to see an album like this created again.

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We're all faltering, how do I help with that?

Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest

There’s something about Grizzly Bear that just sounds more fresh than it really is. Starting at the first twinkling of piano in opener “Southern Point,” there’s a feeling that what you’re hearing is somehow unique, even if the sounds are all too familiar. It’s a beautiful feeling, one that Ed Droste and company managed to stretch on for the entire 50-minute album. If Veckatimest proves one thing about the band, it’s that they may very well be the undisputed kings of multi-instrumental glory, bringing so many instruments to the table, it’s hard to keep track. This proves hilarious live, especially watching Chris Taylortry and play a toy piano and an oboe at the same time, switching back and forth wildly. Even amidst the gorgeous arrangements, and the bursts of joyous singing, it sounds like an album that could have easily been made at any point in the span of rock history, and yet would still feel fresh no matter when you listened to it. It’s a bold statement to say that Veckatimest is a timeless record, but of all of the music talked about here, it may be the only album that would fit right in anywhere. With lush, grandiose songs like “Fine For Now,” the understated and heart-wrenching album closer “Foreground,” and, of course, easily one of the best songs the band has written to date, “While You Wait For The Others,” it’s hard to find a moment on the album that doesn’t feel full of joy and love, feeling damp, but never rusty. This one holds the distinction of being, like jj n° 2, more beautiful than even it realizes it is.

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It's time... for a bigger kind of kill...

Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer

“I’m sorry that I’m late. I went blind. I got confetti in my eye! I was held up at yesterdays parties… I was needed in the congo line.” Spencer Krug begins the closer of Dragonslayer, appropriately titled “Dragon’s Lair,” a ten-and-a-half minute journey as Krug discovers himself over Dragonslayer‘s 8 s0ngs. Never do the quality of the arranging or lyrics waver, with piano lines that burst and bloom, or drum lines so complex that you hardly notice how ludicrous they are until you decide to pay attention. I’m not familiar with the previous works of Sunset Rubdown, so I can’t really speak to how well it holds up in comparison to Shut Up I Am Dreaming, or for that matter anything Spencer Krug has worked on (though I do know that Wolf Parade, even in their brilliance, have nothing on Dragonslayer). If this album is any proof, Krug may be poised to take on the crown of king of wordsmithing, now that Sufjan is inactive and Silver Jews are retired. “I hope that you die in a decent pair of shoes, you’ve got a lot of long walkin to do! We’re goin’ too!” he wails near the end of “Idiot Heart,” one of the most catchy sections of the record. Krug could write lyrics like this over and over, and over, and I would still keep listening intently. Bonus points for the bird-imitating squall of “Black Swan” and the line “To say the war is over is to say you are a widow-w… YOU’RE NOT A WIDOW YET!”

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MURDALIZING SUCKA EMCEES!

DOOM – BORN LIKE THIS.

There are some rap records that come along and shake things up. There are some albums that get forgotten, and others that change the game. Then there are those that take everything, shake it to hell, spit in its hair, and send it back, marred and unrecognizable. BORN LIKE THIS is one of those albums. Featuring some of the most mind-boggling lyrical gymnastics around in the rap game, and easily the freshest beats this side of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II, what we see here is what happens when someone does exactly what they feel needs to be done musically, earnestly slinging lines like “the lucky contestant was sent a whole year’s supply of buckets of yucky excrement” without a drop of irony. It’s hard to tell how DOOM comes up with the rhymes he brings to the table here, rhymes that make it easy to overlook homophobia, courtesy of “Batty Boyz,” which DOOM swears isn’t homophobic (“It’s not about homos. It’s about Batman and them. They just happen to be homos.”) It also features some of J Dilla’s best work since his passing (R.I.P. Jay Dee) and, by far, the coolest use of “Dinosauria, We” by Charles Bukowski (“Cellz” begins with big drums laid waste over Bukowski himself spitting on the mic about how we are born like this, born into this), which gives way to the most fucked up sounding rap song you will ever hear. DOOM may be the great black hope of the game, and after as many times as I’ve run through BORN LIKE THIS., I’m perfectly willing to stand behind him as the savior of rap. You can quote me on that.

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Death is on my lawn

jj – jj n° 2

Yeah, there’s a pot leaf on the cover. Can we move on?

To make a bold statement, I’ll be completely honest and say that it was a long time since I was truly surprised by what I was hearing on record. I downloaded jj n° 2 after its release, and put it on one day on the bus. I was expecting something kind of garage rock-esque, something with some good distortion on it, but what I got was… something. else. entirely. jj is virtually unknown as a band, to the point that nothing truly exists on record of who they are, what their names are, or what they look like (besides gig photos, which I have yet to look for — I enjoy the mystery) — in fact, the only thing known is that they are on Sweden’s flawless offering of labels, Air France’s home Sincerely Yours. jj n° 2 is by far the warmest album I have brought home with a cannabis leaf on it, bringing forth something akin to the Afro-beats Vampire Weekend employs, but in a synth-drenched way that makes you feel as though the sun is shining in the cloudless sky every single day of the week, no matter what the distant-sounding woman is singing (it took me two months of listening to realize that opening track “Things Will Never Be The Same Again” included this line: “Now Death is on my lawn/he’s sneaking around out there/hoping that I step on out/he waits for me, and someday we/will go downtown in his car”). With jj, you are willing to smile your ass off, even if they happen to be covering Lil’ Wayne so well, you hardly know it’s Lil’ Wayne (go figure it out!). I know nothing about the band, but I know one thing: I want more, and I will put up with a veil of secrecy to get it, so long as it sounds this perfect.

ADDITION AFTER PUBLICATION: After listening… four or five more times (It’s really addicting, okay?!), I’ll have to just come out and say it: it’s not the best album of the year, but it may very well be my favorite. It’s been a long time since I just wanted to talk about an album, and not talk about what it means. This is special. PLEASE listen?

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The love is fucking right

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

It’s rare that I hear a new-comer and, upon one or two or 19 listens, decide that they are so worth my time, I would follow them to the end of the earth. Modest Mouse is one of them, Los Campesinos! is another. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart stepped out of an already crowded Brooklyn scene with a sound that brought forth notes not of their contemporaries, but of their forefathers. Sounding unlike anything going on in Brooklyn right now, POBPAT are more Velvet Underground and Jesus & Mary Chain than anything else, and they exude the same kind of innocence as Belle & Sebastian, but layered inside fuzz-rock guitars and lush drumbeats. In short, the band’s self-titled debut is an album that is, frankly, impossible to be unhappy to, which I find to be a rarity in the modern music scene, and this kind of thing should be commended. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart may just be the most immaculately crafted album of the year, even if it isn’t the best: something about it feels as though the band captured lightning in a bottle, even though their following EP, Higher Than The Stars, went to prove that wrong, in that you can only get lightning in a bottle once.

Bonus homework: Examine

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Gentle leaves, gentle leaves, please array a path for me...

The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love

Being a Decemberists fan is something that means being willing to accept that your favorite band is going to switch directions, a great lot, between any given album. It is, to a lesser extent, what being a Radiohead fan is about, though The Decemberists never really make albums that bear absolutely no resemblance to the one before it (See: The Bends vs. OK Computer vs. Kid A/Amnesiac).

On the newest and arguably the biggest of The Decemberists’ works, Colin Meloy doesn’t merely call the troops to arms, he rallies the fuckin’ blogosphere. Bringing forth the showstoppers of the year, Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond and Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Colin Meloy’s answer to the rock opera is as explosive as anything they’ve done previously, almost entirely abandoning their Baroque stylings in favor of… blues rock?! Tinged with blues guitars and some of the biggest breakdowns you’ve ever heard, songs like “The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid” go from The Rake (played by Meloy himself) quietly monologuing, to the whirlwind that is Chris Funk punishing his guitar played over Shara Worden screaming back at the wind. The album-as-opera falls flat, but when you do your best to ignore the fact that the album is supposed to have a narrative under it, it proves to be a far greater listen than it already is, when you attempt to weed out the story herein. Points here go to Meloy, for the most fucked up song he’s written since “A Cautionary Tale” all the way back on Castaways & Cutouts (“The Rake Song,” of course, about Colin Meloy’s wife dying in childbirth, and then freeing himself by murdering his three children).

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...But I don't want anyone to know.

Discovery – Discovery

Sometimes, pop records are made of the sake of pop. It’s not the worst thing in the world, and it’s oftentimes the most enjoyable pop albums that are made with the intention of being fun. With this in mind, we have the band Discovery, who are one part Ra Ra Riot (Wes Miles on vocals) and one part Vampire Weekend (Rostam Batmanglij on synths). Starting at “Orange Shirt,” Discovery is Wes Miles trying to be the pop star everybody dreamed of being, and the finished article is a technicolor record as bright as the album art to your left. Throw in a confusing but satisfying guest appearance courtesy Dirty Projector Angel Deradoorian, and fellow Vampire Weekend member Ezra Koenig (see: “Carby”), and we’ve got, what should have been, the pop record of the summer. It has its missteps (hello, auto-tuned Jackson 5 cover), but all in all, it’s clear that the record wasn’t meant to be anything what it was: bright and fun. Who could ask for more?

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Suburban kids say I'm not street enough, but compared to them, I'm street as fuck.

Busdriver – Jhelli Beam

If DOOM is the game-changer of the year, then Busdriver is the guy who’s going to look at it and go, “Naah, I’m gonna do something else.” And Jhelli Beam is… something else. There’s a lot of inherent charm to be had in it, be it the winking duet with fellow Project Blowed rapper Nocando on “Least Favorite Rapper, or the album’s first single “Me-Time (With The Pulmonary Palimpsets)” features beats by… you guessed it (or really certainly not), Mozart, to the tune of “Piano Sonata No. 11 in A Major.” Whether or not Driver is an extremely proficient rapper comes into question, but the sheer fact that he does what he does is proof enough that he may be rap’s most technically flawless one. It should be mentioned, Busdriver’s stream-of-consciousness style is faster than you can think, and has a higher WPM count than most teenage MySpace whores, only instead of typing that fast, he’s rapping it. It’s hard to look past someone who moves like this, and who writes tongue in cheek songs like “Least Favorite Rapper,” a self-conscious screed against the ever failing hip-hop universe (hip-hopiverse, if you will). Over time, will Driver be able to lap the competition, and prove that the fastest guns in the West win? Only time will tell, but no matter what, when someone makes it look this easy and fun (consider him the Bob Ross of freestyle), it’s hard to look away.

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You see, that's the difference between us...

The Flaming Lips – Embryonic

Full disclosure: To mention this album at all, to those who know me, is a complete and total cop-out. For those who don’t know me, I’ll give you one brief fact: Though you cannot see me in it (a fact which I am really, really not bitter about [honestly!]), I was in the VERY, VERY NOT SAFE FOR WORK video for album closer “Watching the Planets,” which can be viewed here. Again, NOT SAFE FOR WORK. (Full story located here).

Moving right along, I’ll be honest and say that, besides the super-groove “Free Radicals” off the last Flaming Lips album, At War With The Mystics, the Flaming Lips haven’t been this outstanding since the masterstroke that was The Soft Bulletin (yes, I loved Yoshimi, but we’re talking flawless here.) The expansive record is a sound that Flaming Lips have, one would guess by the albums they have put out, been trying their damnedest to avoid; when I first started listening, I thought I had gotten the wrong record, due to the fact that everything is fuzzy and lo-fi, and very, very unlike the Flaming Lips. By no means is this a bad thing: even though Coyne’s plan was to make a double album so that he could stretch his legs an cram in as many ideas as he possibly could, there is no doubt in my mind that, save for the aforementioned Soft Bulletin, the band has yet to make something so tight. From the moment opener “Convinced of the Hex” begins, the Flaming Lips are in full form, as brilliant as ever, and there won’t be anything that can stand in their way. I’ll be frank: bands wait out their days waiting for an album that stays this cohesive as it spans 80 different concepts, without achieving half the result. Embryonic may, if this holds up, be the start of something even bigger and even better than what’s come before.

Note: “Watching The Planets” would be very, very close to the top of the Singles list, however I found that it would be unfair favoritism, just because *ahem* the song allowed me to hang out with Wayne Coyne. Completely naked. At Gus Van Sant’s house DID I MENTION THAT? The second day of shooting was at Gus Van Sant’s house. (No, I didn’t meet him, though I saw his dog get in a fight with a deaf pit bull. Which… is why… the song is not on the singles list.

(For the record, Wayne Coyne may be the nicest man on the planet, and I totally don’t care that he smells STRONGLY of patchouli.)

Songs I wish I could marry: Ten of the Best Singles to Come Out of the End Of The Decade

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"Let it shape the way you play"

1) Animal Collective – “Brothersport”

Merriweather Post Pavilion brought forth three amazing singles, but the most recent of which, the most beautiful of which, was the resplendent (can I ever use that word enough when describing it? I think not!) closer, “Brothersport.” You can say that Animal Collective is a shitty avant-garde bullshit band who’s popularity is based solely on lyrics that sound like a toddler with a bag of shit tied ’round his waste wrote and discarded them after judging them to be “too wordy,” but there is nothing you can possibly say that will make “Brothersport” being the most joyous offering since “Chicago,” off of Illinois. Amidst the cheered repetition, amidst the technicolor synths, amidst all of the Afro-beats, there is one thing gluing everything together: it is a song about love, and a song about family, and a song about loss. “Open up your throat and let them go/I know it sucks daddy’s gone/you gotta think of what you want,” Noah Lennox tells Matt at the beginning of the song, imploring him to grieve, and then go on to do bigger and better things, because dad just wouldn’t want him to stay glum forever. It’s fitting that Animal Collective polished off their most critically acclaimed record to date (yes, I’m pretty sure it is bigger than Feels) with the landmark song of their career — a song on the splendor of love and family.

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"After all, there is nothing we can't do."

2) Dirty Projectors – “Stillness Is The Move”

“Isn’t life under the sun just a crazy, crazy, crazy dream?” Amber Coffman asks us in the bridge of Bitte Orca‘s first single, “Stillness Is The Move.” Here, we find Coffman getting every last one of us hot and showing us what she’s got, showing us that every last motherfucker to make a Mariah Carey comparison is dead on. Live, the song takes on a very powerful and very sexy edge, but on single, she sings it as a quaint (and yet still brilliant) pop song telling you, “I love you, and there’s nothing that we can’t do together, spend your life with me, et cetera,” in a fashion that you just don’t see in Timba-world: pure and innocent. If I could make sure any pop song is remembered from 2009, the honors wouldn’t go to anything Lil’ Wayne has done, and would not go to “Pokerface” (no matter how deserving), it would be pointed right here, and they deserve every last ounce of praise they get for the song.

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"The best ballas pitch in and rub together nickels."

3) DOOM – “Gazillion Ear”

“Dilla, Dilla, mix, mix, mix” DOOM echoes in the middle of the first (real) track of Born Like This. Jay Dee may be dead and gone, but he was so ahead of his time, he very well may have produced the best song on the album without even being alive. Here is DOOM at his most agile, rapping about an anonymous gangsta who wouldn’t stop his game until he was the richest cat on the block. This is also DOOM at his most witty: “Once sold an inbred skinhead a nigga joke/plus a brand new chrome smokin’ with the trigger broke/I thought I told him firing pins were separate!” He may be slower than the aforementioned Busdriver, but what he lacks in speed he more than makes up for in the charm that’s packed into “Gazillion Ear” alone. The bassline crackles and pops under DOOM’s immaculate flow, laying down the line on this guy who “won’t stop rockin’ till he clocked in a gazillion grand,” and force-chokes every last emcee in his way while he tells the story. When this new decade is over, if DOOM isn’t the single biggest name in hip-hop, I have no hope for America. Not a drop of hope, at all.

(note: the enclosed link is for a remix of the song, as done by Kanye West, which can be attained for the price of your email. You can find one of those things people put on YouTube with a photo and a song here.)

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"I wish I had a pizza and a bottle of wine."

4) Girls – “Lust for Life”

It’s easy to make mention of the extremely sordid past of Girls frontman Christopher Owens (short answer: Children of God cult. Google it.), and as irrelevant as it is to the music, it truly did affect the songs on Girls’ debut Album. American surf rock never sounded so flawless and pretty as when it’s here at the hands of Chris Owens and Chet White. “Oh I wish I had a boyfriend/I wish I had a loving man in my life/I wish I had a father/maybe then I woulda turned out right,” Owens croons at the start of the song. In brief, it’s a song about how much life fucking sucks, and how we all wish we, too, could have  beach house and a pizza and a bottle of wine and a loving man in our lives, but at the bottom of everything, the real trick is to actually try and be happy. Who knows? Maybe then things will turn out all alright!

But the real backbone of the song lies in that hopelessly groovy guitar work. This isn’t surf rock, this is surf pop, meaning that even the saddest songs about breakup (see: “Laura”) and how much dying sucks when you haven’t done anything with yourself (“Hellhole Ratrace”), you almost forget about it, because they’re here to tell you that everything is going to be just groovy, once we all mellow the hell out.

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"So that's how I 'came your awful narrator!"

5) The Decemberists – “The Rake’s Song”

The short story, as described above: The Rake (played by Colin Meloy) has a wife, and she dies in childbirth, so he kills his children. In its base form, “The Rake’s Song” is about as fucked up as the morality tale also mentioned above, “A Cautionary Tale,” which goes on to describe how your mother services sailors by night while you’re asleep, and you had better eat your fucking vegetables, because she fucked for good money to pay for them (you little pest). However, this isn’t the end of the story. The Rake was married at 21, and was happy. Then his wife’s “womb started spilling out babies,” and that was REALLY NOT WHAT HE WANTED. But then, she has two more! And then the forth comes along and they both die in childbirth. The Rake thinks, “Dear me, these children are wretched, what can I do?” and decides the same decision anyone in his position would go for — child murder! Poisoned, drowned, strangled, burned, all three of them were laid to rest just so that The Rake can get some decent goddamn sleep and start a new life, because no woman wants another woman’s kids. All of this would be terribly tragic, if not for the simple undeniable fact that the song is… just really catchy. Terrible, that a song about murdering the offspring of you and your late wife, being the catchiest song off of The Hazards of Love? If you think that‘s bad, you haven’t been listening to The Decemberists for too long.

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"The ship will still sail on."

6) jj – “Things Will Never Be The Same Again”

jj’s jj n° 2 starts out with a small spattering of electronic bells, followed by the smoothest sounds of the sunniest beach in the warmest places of your imagination. The quintessential sound of a warm sunny July afternoon, here comes jj with programmed violins and drums, ready to whisk you away with the speed of a poster in a travel agency for the Bahamas. But when you look deeper into the lyrics herein, the song takes on a different air entirely: “In this world of wisdom/No one never really has a clue/They kill their lives every day/With what they say and what they do.” Leave it to a cryptic and gentle singing Swedish (presumably) woman to sing such pretty lyrics over some of the warmest beats this side of The Apples in Stereo. It’s a song about how life goes on, even when we’re gone, and that life is still too damn beautiful to pass up while we’re here. Or, in Gandalf’s words, “The only thing to do is make the best of the time that is given to you.”

(note: Kindly download the whole goddamn album, who’s link is located at the other blood-spattered potleaf on the page.)

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"The chat show host joked, you've gotta wait for the government program"

7) Los Campesinos! – “The Sea is a Good Place to Think of the Future”

Romance is Boring doesn’t come out until later this month, but “The Sea…” has been out for a couple months now, so I’m going to talk about it now, goddamnit. “The Sea…” is, to this devoted fan’s ears, the most sophisticated song the band has in their arsenal, and maybe even the saddest: “You’re taking the diet too far, you’ve got to let it slip/She’s not eating again, she’s not eating again, she’s not eating again,” Gareth Campesinos! croons, with an air of intense pain under his voice. The girl with the eating disorder, as it is revealed, spent her teens playing with drugs to slag off the doctors who let her mother die of an allergic reaction to the anesthetics in a routine procedure, and (inexplicably) is an arcade champion. “She said one day to leave her, sand up to her shoulders,” he screams, breaking the brooding quiet of the song. “Waiting for the tide to drag her to the ocean, to another sea’s shore,” he howls again, before intoning a small sentiment: “This thing hurts like hell,” and for a second the violins creak, before he comes back, begging the question, louder than ever: “But what did you expect?” and the chorus practically explodes into life, with every last cylinder firing, a choir singing about a thousand years in perfect symmetry. Everything about “The Sea…” smirks of what must have felt like a century of touring, ditching the sly ironies for real live pain, a cautionary tale about a beautiful woman who’s life went terribly wrong, and wanted nothing more than to walk into the waves. Songs like this are why I’ve stuck with the band so long, and while this is the only song that sounds quite like this on Romance is Boring, it’s reason enough for me to follow this band forevermore.

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"Take her! Fucking! BACK!"

8 ) Dananananaykroyd – “Black Wax”

I’ll make this brief: I have no earthly IDEA what any given Dananananaykroyd song means. I could tell you that “Some Dresses” has one of the catchiest intros on the planet, and it has a lot of sewing metahors. I know that there’s nothing more fun than chanting “TAKE! EV! RY! THING! SHE’S! GOT! WRAP IT IN PLASTIC! WRAP IT IN PLASTIC!” while you’re biking down an open country road. “Black Wax” is one of the most joyful songs on an already more-fun-than-life album, and if you don’t like this song, I don’t know how to help you. So, yeah.

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"Just like yesterday, I told you I would stay."

9) Grizzly Bear – “Two Weeks”

There’s something about it, you know what I mean? “Two Weeks,” the lead-off single from the already pretty-as-all-hell Veckatimest, starts out with a smattering of twinkly pianos, injected with some funky guitars. Throw in some “Woah-oh” to lead into that voice — I swear to god, he had to have been a crooner in New York in a past life to have a voice like that — purring into the mic: “Save up all the days/the routine malaise/just like yesterday, I told you I would stay.” With a song as simplistically pretty as “Two Weeks,” it almost seems totally unfair to even analyze it by meaning or significance. It’s a love song about someone who’s promising to stay through everything, I suppose. But to my ears, it’s not important, because you can hear that in his voice, in the woah-oh’s, in the plinking piano, and damn the lyrics. It’s just perfect.

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"Christ arose in glory!"

10) Current 93 – “Not Because the Fox Barks”

Okay, so it’s not really a single or anything of that nature. In fact, it’s a 10-minute tower in the middle of a Current 93 album, so what’s it matter? I decided, instead of going on about the brilliance of a Mos Def song, or “House of Flying Daggers” by Raekwon, I would use this opportunity to spit in the milkshake of anyone out there who might have missed Aleph At Hallucinatory Mountain because Dave Tibet can be a bit… precious. However, Aleph serves as a means to an end of all things precious, being that it positively undulates with the most minimalistic heavy metal riff you will ever hear, and some of the biggest blast beats this side of Mastodon. After the first two minutes of the song, Tibet is unwavering in his shrieks, the meanings of which I could only discern in my wildest fever dreams. “Not Because The Fox Barks” is a masterpiece wrapped in a violent war zone, where the sky is black and red and explosions constantly shake the earth, and the stench of rotting flesh fouls the cold winds. The meaning behind the lyrics? I couldn’t really say, though I know Christ and Adam are mentioned a few times. I’m okay with the Lord, if it means that I get to be a fucking brutal as Dave Tibet is. He’s a monster. And God will save his soul for this.

(note: link enclosed is for the entire album. Download it, you fool.)

Epilogue:

So, there’s my foresight-free list for the year in review. It was a very good year for music, and I wish that I could have given as much to every album that I thought I could when I listened to them. Most of the bands here deserve more than my mere words — they deserve my unwavering support. It’s 2010 now, and the albums I’ve heard already (leakedalbums are always fun) are fantastic, and I just know that it’s going to be a hell of a year for music. Thanks to everybody who stuck around to read my entire list!

Nothing here would be possible without my friends and family, and of course Kelly, my adoring wife, who somehow hasn’t thrown out my copy of the Brothersport 10″ or deleted my copy of jj n° 2 from my iPod. God bless her for it! Keep on readin’ folks, I’ll have more in store for you all as the year winds on.

3 thoughts on “SOUND SOUNDS ’09: 2009 In Review

  1. Marna says:

    Hi. Very interesting Post. Not really what i have searched over Google, but thanks for the information.

  2. chris says:

    god, great, awesome. thanks for the best album list, pitchfork.

  3. AdriX says:

    Animal Collective didn’t let me down at all :D.

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