So it’s 2010 and already I can tell this year is going to be a LOT different from ’09. Which I think is a good thing, though it’s a bit too soon to tell.
I’ve been pretty slack with this here blog lately. Quite honestly, I don’t expect that to change much, as I’m busier than ever. I’ve also been doing some serious thinking about eskimo bliss, and while it’s served as a great outlet for me, I’ve decided to put it on a “hiatus” of sorts. Originally I started this blog to talk about my adventures as the head of an independent record label; it’s still an adventure and it’s still something I enjoy talking about, but more and more I’m becoming less involved in the music “scene” and more into things like my family and career. So with that in mind, I’ll probably be launching a new website and/or blog to chronicle my creative endeavors as well as, well, that remains to be seen!
In the meantime, you can visit my sporatic ramblings over on Tumblr, which I really think is the future of blogging anyway. Thanks for reading, and have a great 2010!
Like many musical bloggers, I like to close out the year with a best of list. This year’s list was both easy and difficult. Easy in that I really didn’t buy many new releases this year, as compared to previous years. So that automatically excluded a lot of records that I’ve seen pop up on most lists (namely, XX, Animal Collective, The Antlers, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Elvis Perkins, Flaming Lips). But difficult in that of the ’09 releases I did purchase, there were several that I played over and over, and even stand up as some of my favorite albums of the past few years. This made it incredibly tough to pick a favorite.
With that said, speaking from an indierock perspective, I was really surprised by the diversity and quality of new music that came out in 2009. I think it’s interesting to note that out of all the releases listed below (including honorable mentions), the majority of them are from bands I had never heard of prior to this year. Considering that I tend to show more interest in a band that’s tried and true vs. a brand new name, that’s saying something. 2010, you’ve got your work cut out for you!
And without further adieu …
10. Monsters of Folk – S/T
Is the sum better than the parts? No. And really the only one I’m a big fan of is Jim James. But I think the fact that there’s just enough of each member (ok, perhaps there’s just a touch too much Oberst for my liking) keeps it perfectly diverse and interesting.
9. Megafaun – Gather, Form & Fly
One of the more interesting releases of the year. This NC (reprasent!) outfit plays with acapella, bluegrass, Americana, psych-folk … ultimately defying classification.
8. The Swell Season – Strict Joy
I would have liked more Marketa—her “I Have Loved You Wrong” is one of the best tracks on the album. But a beautiful collection, even if it’s a little over produced at times.
7. Port O’Brien – Threadbare
What a great surprise. I dug their last one, but “All We Could Do Was Sing” was the only song that really stuck with me. Had I not heard this so late in the year, I probably would have ranked it a little higher. It’s still growing on me, and along with the Real Estate record, will probably be my most listened-to release this winter.
6. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
I’d put Neko up against any current vocalist doing the alt. country thing. Pure perfection. And she pulls it off 100% live.
5. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
I’m so not a fan of this sort of music—read: pretentious, overly complex, weird, even prog-inspired at times. But next to Megafaun, this was the most interesting stuff I heard all year, and their live show really blew me away. Interested to see how they’ll top this one. I’m betting they probably won’t.
4. Real Estate – S/T
2009’s biggest surprise honors, and my favorite album cover of the year, no doubt goes to Real Estate. My first thought was Beach House meets Grizzly Bear. But I love Real Estate more than both those bands. “Snow Days” is my winter 2009 anthem.
3. Girls – Album
It’s garagey, it’s retro … but i love it anyway! It’s just too catchy and Elvis Costello-esque not to. Not since Peter Bjorn & John’s Writer’s Block has an album grabbed me so quickly. Can’t wait to see them live here in February!
2. Hello Saferide – More Modern Stories From Hello Saferide
I think I came across Hello Saferide over the summer, thanks to someone’s emusic list. It’s technically an ’08 release, but we got it this year as an import. Instantly catchy, quirky and endearing, and absolutely AMAZING lyrics. It even won two “Grammis”, Sweden’s equivalent to the Grammys.
1. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
I know, this was the most blogged about record of the year, alongside Grizzly Bear. Which would typically mean I would hate it, or at the very least ignore it. But it really is THAT good. And they really bring it live. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of this album. It makes me dance. And I don’t dance.
Other releases that almost made the cut: Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest; Wild Beasts – Two Dancers; Wilco – Wilco; Regina Spektor – Far; Andrew Bird – Nobel Beast; The Dutchess and the Duke – Sunset/Sunrise; Thao with the Get Down Stay Down – Know Better Learn Faster; Bon Iver – Blood Bank; Volcano Choir – Unmap; The Decemberists – The Hazards of Love; Various Artists – Dark Was The Night; Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson – Summer of Fear
One thing to note: as always, I excluded any eskimo kiss releases, because it goes without saying that those will always be my faves.
Comment and tell me your faves! And happy holidays!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Blurt loves the new release!
Whether the duo dabbled in hippie folk, prog-rock, new wave or adult contemporary, however, the core of their sound always remained the soul music of their Philly roots, a trait that can be traced throughout the thread of this career-spanning four-CD box set.
Read the entire review here.
Yay for sunny Fridays! And for …
Dynamic Dish. Yesterday I finally ate at the small spot on Edgewood that has Atlanta vegetarians raving. And OMG, what I’ve been missing. Everything was so fresh and absolutely delicious. And I just love the clean, minimalist design of the space. I had their tofu “snack wrap,” followed by a pumpkin cupcake (so very yum), and thought about my meal for the rest of the day. I think they change their menu daily; you can get previews of what they’re serving over at their website (which is worthy of a visit even if you don’t live in Atlanta, as their food photos are really great). Can’t wait to go back.
See Through Souls is a wonderful event that combines beautiful window art with live music, all to benefit the Women’s Resource Center. Tomorrow marks the third annual event, and The Good Graces will once again be part of it, for the third straight year (in fact, the first ever See Through Souls was also my first ever show as tGG!). We go on at 4:30 PM; the event takes place at Picaflor Studio (at the Arizona Lofts) starting at 3 PM.
Happy Friday everyone!!!