Sunday, August 16, 2009

2009 Rewind

There has been an explosion of great music so far this year. With new releases from mega band U2, the tenth album from Wilco, and the super punchy 4th album from Phoenix... 2009 has been better for most music libraries than expected. Fall and winter promise to deliver even more of the best and excitement abounds over what hidden gems await!

In a year dripping with a bountiful flow of heavily reviewed albums and muted successes... here are ten albums that you may have easily overlooked. Before continuing down the trail of 2009 and forgetting what was behind, shore up your collection with something from this list.

Fanfarlo: Reservoir (release date June 1st, 2009) After tempting all of us with a handful of singles released over the last two years, London's Fanfarlo finally delivered their debut LP in June. Reservoir is easily summed up with two words "repeat button". Fanfarlo has succeeded in writing music with layered lyrics and layered instruments in a way slightly more accessible than New Mexico's Zach Condon. Similarities between Condon's Beruit and Fanfarlo are easy to come by, but Fanfarlo's sound is just a touch more fun and sounds more like the "band next door".

Deastro: Moondagger (release date June 2nd, 2009) A very young talent from Michigan, with tons of music in store for the future, Richard Chabot's project Deastro jumped at the chance to share a quirky yet smooth blend of electro alt-rock with all of us in 2009. Moondagger is the perfect soundtrack for traveling the stars... in style.

Antony & The Johnsons: The Crying Light (release date January 20th, 2009) A slightly shaky voice, drenched with sincerity, backed up against an orchestral sound, stabs at hearts from behind the tracks on The Crying Light. A nearly experimental sound, Antony & The Johnsons draws upon blues and alt-pop to secure a spot among one of the best albums of 2009.

Foreign Born: Person To Person (release date June 23rd, 2009) The first appearance by an Indie Rock band in this list is, L.A.'s Foreign Born. The band's name more aptly describes their sound, than where they currently call home does. Person To Person, a European natured album, should please Indie Rock fans track after track.

The Generationals: Con Law (release date July 21st, 2009) New Orleans' based band that tripped into some early 60's rock on their way to Indie glory and then didn't wipe themselves off before cutting an album. Works out great for us that they lack a bit of musical hygiene.

The Mummers: Tale To Tell (release date April 6th, 2009) An English version of Portland, Oregon's Pink Martini, The Mummers provide traditional & classical music with a slight twist and deeply beautiful arrangements.

Telekinesis: Telekinesis! (release date April 7th, 2009) More than grunge and dark rock comes from Seattle Washington, as evidenced by the hip sound of Telekinesis. Perky and scratchy sounds are used to bottle this extremely effective Indie Pop-Rock album.

Sin Fang Bous: Clangour (release date December 31st, 2008) Okay... so we are fudging the 2009 release date a bit on this one. But if you were knee deep in New Year festivities like we were, than you probably failed to notice the debut solo release Clangour from Seabear's front man Sindri Sigfusson until after the clock stuck midnight. Shrouded in flowing Icelandic Indie Pop, Sing Fan Bous flirts with the quited sounds of Sufjan Stevens and The Shins and frames that sound with an array of instrumentation.

Kurt Vile: God Is Saying This To You? (release date March 3rd, 2009) Probably the most unpolished artist on this list, Kurt Vile's 2009 album, God Is Saying This To You? is the easiest of the list to lose yourself in. A drifting incense of acoustic and electric guitar, Vile's music captures the essence of the 70's while preserving a relevant place among the 21st century elite alt-rock talents.

The Rural Alberta Advantage: Hometowns (release date May 26th, 2009) Lost in the May hoopla surrounding the release of the new Phoenix album, The Rural Alberta Advantage released a completely successful Indie Pop effort with Hometowns. Pairing seemingly off-tempo drum beats with cello and melodic vocals, Alberta Advantage finds a winning combo for a great end of summer album.