Friday, 11 December 2009

Lisztomania [GET IT? GET IT!?]

"Modern music is as dangerous as narcotics" -Pietro Mascagni

Look at that perfect quote that sums the essence of my blog up, but if
you substitute DANGEROUS for FUCKTASTIC!

And talking of summing up (awesome segue approaching), here are some BESTS OF from both the last year and the last decade! They aren't proper lists, in the sense that numbers aren't placed besides them. B
ut I am against that listing and numbering bullshit man, music is free and freedom isn't free!

Anyho-ho-ho, onto an assortment of awesome albums that maybe you can buy as a Christmas present or a personal present (you selfish bastards you...)..

FIRSTLY! The top albums of the year (in purely my personal and honest and awesome opinion)-

  • The Horrors 'Primary Colours' I was happily amongst the first to criticise and mock The Horrors when they rolled into NME looking like emo stick insects emanating rather shoddy post punk with all the energy of a pair of hair straighteners. Nonetheless, in the name of good science and impartiality, I duly listened to their second effort when a friend recommended it and BETCHA BY GOLLY WOW, I was impressed. The tracks bleed something otherworldly, as if hypnotising the listener into somehow enjoying something that can mumble from a bunch of 19th century male prostitutes.
  • The Pains of Being Pure at Heart 'The Pains of Being Pure at Heart' - When I first heard 'A Teenager In Love', I honestly almost wet myself at the prospect of having time travelled back to the 1980s and listening to a brand spanking new Smiths/Cure collaboration...but I noticed the lack of a Delorean or phone booth and quickly went and bought the debut album from this group of New Yorkers. It's a blast of shoegaze and pop that showers emotions from summers and winters long gone and worthy of a few hundred or so listens (at least).
'Young Adult Fiction' by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
'A Teenager in Love' by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
  • Passion Pit 'Manners' - One of my finds on this very blog (A YEAR AGO I MIGHT ADD), ever since my musings skyrocketed interest in this band, their certain brand of spiky synths and high-pitch warblings have progressively made their way into radio, tv, festivals and music blogs the world over. It all began with the lead singer creating an EP for his lady (awww) and the debut album built on the sound that had manifested out of passion (hey, they are called Passion Pit!). Extra points for Jack Kerouac's voice at the beginning of 'Sleepyhead'...
'Sleepyhead' by Passion Pit
Also check out this from their original EP 'Cuddle Fuddle'

  • Girls 'Album' - A very hard to Google band and album name but worth the frantic searching after I heard a track through another blog. Obviously from San Francisco, their psycho shoe-gaze fused onto surf rock bounces and rolls along at different times, echoing the Beach Boys and Morrissey. The album really sets up an ethos of partying that makes it freaking ridiculously hard not to want to pack up and move to California, jam on the beach and drink all day long in the sun....
'Lust For Life' by Girls
'Laura' by Girls
  • The Drums 'Summertime EP' - I know it is just an EP but continuing the West coast vibe, the seven tracks that introduce The Drums to the world are nothing but pure joy and Californian life. Handclaps and whistles galore set up a surprisingly summery feel to your life even in the midst of December. However, the group hail from New York and must have mind melds with the sunny, surfing coasts of America to have such blasts of giddy energy that send the head-a-bopping.
'Let's Go Surfing' by The Drums
'The Saddest Summer' by The Drums

  • Bats For Lashes 'Two Suns' - Natasha Khan is a maestro of the dream, baroque pop she peddles, managing to cram classical and pop sense into her music. A patchwork of influences, 'Two Suns' reverberates with original emotion and it is hard to think of an artist doing anything similar. Electronic dabs and vocal dashes create such a vivid musical picture, it is difficult not to fall for the seductively dense and dark sound that Bats For Lashes emits.
  • The xx 'xx' - Back to London, England for a dreamy pop with a production technique that recalls several genres from electronica to R&B, the underlying sultry attitude that impregnates their act is apparent throughout their album. Muses on sex and relationships slither alongside a drum machine and carefully paced guitar picking. An album to slowly digest and internalise, so much that the music will eventually ooze from the pores of your skin as you stroll around late at night.
'Basic Space' by The xx
'Crystalised' by The xx
  • Dirty Projectors 'Bitte Orca' - 2009 has showcased a whole heap of New York musicians who have really crafted the musical sound and hits of the year, including Dirty Projectors, a lo-fi, experimental indie group who hit their groove (and a degree of widespread success and acclaim) with 'Bitte Orca'. Off kilter beats and breezy riffs permeate the album, managing to rack up an impressive sensibility that borders on experimentation whilst sticking to a perfectly enjoyably melodic tone and hum. Truly, an album that caresses harder and harder with each listen (weird, I know).
'Stillness Is The Move' by Dirty Projectors
'No Intention' by Dirty Projectors
  • Grizzly Bear 'Veckatimest' - A long admired band whose output has remained rocksteady, Grizzly Bear are yet another group of indie types hailing from Brooklyn, in New Yawwk City (note to self, for life; move to New York...). As well as innovative and exciting videos, the band gel together so naturally that the songs feel like they are pouring out of one angelic musical mind that knows how to craft a sonically airtight album. A quietly gorgeous record and that is all that needs to be said.
'Two Weeks' by Grizzly Bear
'Ready, Able' by Grizzly Bear
  • Animal Collective 'Merriweather Post Pavilion' - Animal Collective have made some challenging and exciting music over the past decade and, arguably, their best work has appeared in the form of their latest record, in the last year of the noughties. Exploring music so other bands don't have to (or because they simply can't), the album reads like an explosion of creativity, fuzz and imagination that has somehow been condensed into something that can be considered a helluva lot more poppy than previous attempts. A confident psychedelia cements the band as a force to be reckoned with, although sets a high precedent for whatever comes in the next decade.
'My Girls' by Animal Collective
'Summertime Clothes' by Animal Collective

HONORABLE MENTIONS: Atlas Sound 'Logos'; Fever Ray 'Fever Ray'; Yeah Yeah Yeah's 'It's Blitz'; Phoenix 'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix'; Julian Casablancas 'Phrazes For The Young'; Camera Obscura 'My Maudlin Career';

So, those are my favourite records of the year that was 2009! Let me know what are yours, what I still need to buy and I will be back with a best of the decade list after le weekend!


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