Sunday, December 20, 2009

2009's Greatest Hits

After voting in 5 or 6 music polls (I lost count), I thought I'd share my full lists of all the good albums and songs I heard this year. One thing I hate about the polling lists is that you just get to pick 10 records as if you didn't like anything else that particular year and anything that ain't included on your list is something that you didn't like enough.

One other thing that bothers me about voting on these lists is that we usually get asked to finish these just after Thanksgiving each year. That means that December releases usually get short-changed and that we have little time to process music from November or other albums that we're still finding out about. Even after December, I start finding out about great records that I didn't even know existed from the previous year and wish I could have included on my album or singles lists (and this happens even putting together an extended list like this). In the end, it's an inexact science at best, not just because it's subjective but also because our tastes change over time. And that's not even mentioning some things that I'm still trying to digest and figure out if I really like 'em or not (i.e. tUnE-yArDs, which I'm way behind on).

So from this list below, I hope you find out about and enjoy an artist that you didn't know before or get some confirmation about something you liked already or maybe even wonder about my taste in music.

  1. Titus Andronicus The Airing of Grievances (XL)
  2. ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead The Century of Self (Ricther Scale)
  3. K'Naan Troubadour (EMI)
  4. Telekinesis! Telekinesis! (Merge)
  5. Dan Deacon Bromst (Car Park)
  6. Living Things Habeas Corpus (Jive)
  7. Neko Case Middle Cyclone (Anti-)
  8. Wussy Wussy (shake It)
  9. Roman Candle Oh Tall Tree in the Ear (Thirty Tigers)
  10. Sonic Youth The Eternal (Matador)
  11. Taggy Matcher Hip Hop Reggae Series Vol 1 (Stix)
  12. Yeah Yeah Yeahs It's Blitz (Interscope)
  13. Afro Classics The Classic EP (Legendary Music)
  14. Mary J. Blige Stronger With Each Tear (Geffen)
  15. Tom Waits Glitter and Doom Live (Anti-)
  16. Japandroids Post Nothing (Unfamilar)
  17. Red Holloway Go Red Go (Delmark)
  18. Mission Of Burma The Sound The Speed The Light (Matador)
  19. Brilliant Colors Introducing (Slumberland)
  20. Open Strings- Early Virtuoso Recordings From The Middle East, And New Responses (Honest Jon's)
  21. Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Branch and Lurrie Bell Chicago Blues: A Living History (Raisin Music)
  22. Summer Cats Songs for Tuesdays (Slumberland)
  23. Skyzoo The Salvation (Jamla/Duck Down)
  24. Bob Dylan Together Through Life (Columbia)
  25. Abdullah Ibrahim Senzo (Sunny Side)
  26. The Avett Brothers I And Love And You (Sony)
  27. Egberto Gismonti Saudacoes (ECM)
  28. Heavyweight Dub Champion Rise of the Champion Nation (Champion Nation)
  29. Del The Funky Homosapien Funk Man (the stimulus package) (
  30. Scratch Loss 4 Wordz (Gold Dust Media)
  31. Cymbals Eat Guitars Why There Are Mountains (sister's Den)
  32. Major Lazer Guns Don't Kill People Lazers Do (Downtown)
  33. Group Bombino Guitars from Agadez, Vol. 2 (Sublime Frequencies)
  34. The Heliocentrics Fallen Angels (Now-Again)
  35. Tudo Ben: Jorge Ben Covers (Mr. Bongo)
  36. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart The Pains of Being Pure At Heart (Slumberland)
  37. An Horse Rearrange Beds (Q Prime)
  38. David Serby Honky Tonk and Vine (Harbor Grove)
  39. Acoustic Ladyland Living With A Tiger (Strong and Wrong)
  40. Nellie McKay Normal as Blueberry Pie (Verve)
  41. Raekwon Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, Pt. 2 (ICEAL)
  42. The Good Graces Bring on the Tambourines (Eskimo Kiss)
  43. Ovens Ovens (tUMULt)
  44. Minty Fresh Beats Jaydiohead (
  45. Benny Golson New Time, New 'Tet (Concord)
  46. Tony Molina Embarrassing Times (650 Tapes)
  47. Louisiana Red & Little Victor's Juke Joint Back To The Black Bayou (Ruf)
  48. Joanne Shaw Taylor White Sugar (Ruf)
  49. Fly Sky & Country (ECM)
  50. Borg I:A (Phaserprone)
  51. Riceboy Sleeps Riceboy Sleeps (XL)
  52. Variant The Setting Sun (Echospace)
  53. Phosphorescent To Willie (Dead Oceans)
  54. Ólafur Arnalds Found Songs (Found Songs)
  55. Shackleton Three EPs (Perlon)
  56. Tresor.Atmospheres II (Tresor)
  57. Alta Nova Xerrox Volume 2 (Rasta Norton)
  58. Solo Andata Solo Andata (12k)
  59. The Lost Fingers Lost in the 80's (Tandem.Mu)
  60. Joel Harrison Octet Urban Myths (Highnote)
  61. Datsuns Head Stunts (RED INT/RED INK)
  62. Bill Callahan Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle (Drag City)

  1. Roman Candle "Why Modern Radio Is A-OK" (Carnival Recording Company)
  2. Rye Rye "Bang" (Interscope)
  3. Audio Push "Teach Me How To Jerk" (Geffen)
  4. Japanese Popstars "Face Melter" (Gung Ho!)
  5. Lisa Left Eye Lopes "Let's Just Do It" (Mass Appeal)
  6. Green Day "Know Your Enemy" (Reprise)
  7. The Decemberists "The Rake's Song" (Capitol)
  8. Steinski "None Shall Be Afraid" (
  9. Harlem Shakes "Strictly Game" (Gigantic)
  10. Alan Wilkis "N.I.C.E." (Wilcassettes)
  11. Anti-Pop Constortium "Capricorn One" (Big Dada)
  12. XRABIT + DMG$ "Follow The Leader (Mexicans with Guns Remix)" (Rcrd Lbl)
  13. Ghislain Poirier "Get Crazy" (Rcrd Lbl)
  14. Golem! "Tucheses And Nenes" (JDub)
  15. The Beatles "Revolution (take20)" (no label)
  16. Del The Funky Homosapien "The Bombay" (
  17. Dirtblonde "The Hangman" (
  18. Tinariwen "Lulla" (World Village)
  19. Kinky "Fuego En La Fabrica" (Kin Kon)
  20. White Denim "I Start to Run" (Downtown)
  21. Daddy "The Ballad of Martin Luther King" (Cedar Creek Music)
  22. Bruce Springsteen "The Wrestler" (Columbia)
  23. Dan Bull "Dear Lily" (no label)
  24. Sun OK Papi K.O. Feat. MC Illreme "Radio Pirate Mix" (
  25. The Vines "Get Out" (Ivy League)
  26. The Rumble Strips "London" (Ume)
  27. The Handsome Family "A Thousand Diamond Rings" (Carrot Top)
  28. A Sunny Day in Glasgow "Passionate introverts" (Mis Ojos Discos)
  29. Las Palabras "Un Momento" (Fox Hollow)
  30. Neko Case "Don't Forget Me" (Anti-)
  31. Camera Obscura "French Navy" (4AD)
  32. The New York Dolls "'Cause I Sez So" (Rhino)
  33. Kid Sister "Get Fresh" (Downtown)
  34. Aufgang "Channel 7 (You and Me) (John Talabot remix)" (Discograph)
  35. Ying Yang Twins "Centipede" (Deep)
  36. Stanley Clarke Trio "Someday My Prince Will Come" (Heads Up)
  37. Gil Scott-Heron "Where Did The Night Go" (
  38. Gena Featuring Chingy "Look at Her Go" (Slot-A-Lot)
  39. Lucian Piane "Bale Out" (
  40. Girls "Morning Light" (True Panther Sounds)
  41. Oni Ayhun "OAR003-A" (Oni Ayhun)
  42. Death Cab For Cutie "I Was Once A Loyal Lover" (Atlantic)
  43. Superchunk "Crossed Wires" (Merge)

  1. 100% Dynamite! Dancehall Reggae Meets Rap in New York City (Soul Jazz)
  2. The Feelies Crazy Rhythms (Bar/None)
  3. Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson 1980 (Soul Brother)
  4. African Pearls: Senegal 70 - Musical Effervescence (Syllart)
  5. Ruby Braff For the Last Time (Arbors)
  6. The Only Ones Baby's Got a Gun (Sony)
  7. Take Me to the Water: Immersion Baptism in Vintage Music and
  8. Photography 1890-1950 (Dust to Digital)
  9. Nirvana Live At Reading (DGC)
  10. Pylon Chomp Plus (DFA)
  11. Dillanthology 1: J Dilla's Productions for Various Artists (Rapster)
  12. Comet Gain Broken Record Prayers (Whats Your Rupture?)
  13. Thomas Mapfumo Gwindingwi Rine Shumba (Water)
  14. The Raincoats The Raincoats (Kill Rock Stars)
  15. George Jones Blue & Lonesome (Righteous)
  16. Lifter Puller Fiestas & Fiascos (LFTR PLLR)
  17. Lydia Lunch Queen of Siam (Atavistic)
  18. Optimo Presents In Order to Edit (R&S)
  19. Grateful Dead Winterland 1973: The Complete Recordings (Wake of the Flood/Rhino)
  20. Gozalo Bugalu Tropical Vol. 3 (Vampisoul)
  21. 100 Proof (Aged In Soul) Somebody's Been Sleeping/100 Proof Aged in Soul (Phantom Sound & Vision)
  22. The Scene is Now Burn All Your Records (Lexicon Devil)
  23. Tumbélé: Biguine, Afro and Latin Sounds from the French Caribbean, 1963-1974 (Soundway)
  24. John Lee Hooker Live at Soledad Prison/Never Get Out of These Blues Alive (Beat Goes On)
  25. Max Ritcher Memoryhouse (Fat Cat)
  26. Studio 1 Studio 1 (Studio 1)
  27. Muhal Richard Abrams Afrisong (Candid)
  28. The Birth of Bossa (El/Cherry Red)
  29. John Fahey Twilight On Prince Georges Avenue (Rounder)
  30. Univers Zero Relaps (Cuneiform)
  31. Wicked Witch Chaos: 1976-86 (EM)
  32. Paul Chambers Quintet (Blue Note)
  33. Lee Morgan Lee-Way (Blue Note)
  34. Truth & Soul presents African Music Today (Truth & Soul)
  35. Pamelo Mounk'a L'essentiel (Syllart)
  36. Zanzibara 5: Hot In Dar - Le Son La Tanzanie 1978-1983 (Buda Musique)
  37. Roedelius Wenn Der Sudwind Weht (Bureau B)
  38. Bert Jansch Santa Barbara Honeymoon (Drag City)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Perfect Sound Forever- Dec 09/Jan 10 edition now online

In the latest issue of Perfect Sound Forever
<>, you'll find (among other things):

Sweet folky ambiance
"Bark Psychosis was established around 1986, and to present date, has exactly two full-length studio albums. The principle architect in the group is Graham Sutton, with various other collaborators filling in at various times (much like Watts-Russell in This Mortal Coil). In 1994, Simon Reynolds used them as one of the main shorthand examples of 'post-rock.'"

Sam Andrews interview
"Imagine my thrill and excitement in sitting across the table from none other than Sam Andrew, one of the founding members of Big Brother and the Holding Company. BBHC was an already successful San Francisco area band who gave Janis Joplin the opportunity to join them as their vocalist. As they say, the rest is rock and roll history."

Flaming Lips manager's music school
"He actually did work in record stores, around the time that he became friends with Wayne Coyne and members of The Flaming Lips. He's been their manager since 1990, and now he's also the CEO of the revolutionary new Academy of Contemporary Music At the University of Central Oklahoma. The school just opened this fall, and Scott is having a blast"

Modern acapella music
"The diversity and richness of Croatian folk music is such a wonder for such a tiny land. Its musical heritage is very rich and diverse for such a small country (123rd by size in the world). Different regions have their own music tradition, specific in style and life. Reasons for this diversity can partially be found in the geographical position of Croatia at the meeting point (or clash-point, which was sadly very often the case) of different cultures and civilizations."

New Zealand 'inter-media' artist
"... this is what Phil Dadson has dedicated his life to- exploring alternative sound sources in an idiosyncratic and distinctly visual way. Dadson has been plowing this fertile soil for over 30 years, most famously with the avant-garde performance troupe From Scratch; a precursor to the highly successful but much-maligned 'Stomp' and Blue Man shows. As with those productions, listening to Dadson's recorded output provides you with only half the picture."

70's jazz loft remembered
"The names Environ, Ali's Alley, and Studio Rivbea all sounded much fresher and more intriguing than the "Village Vanguard" or "Sweet Basil" or other jazz club names that New Yorker knew so well. Somehow I decided to go to check out a show at Environ with Hamiet Bluiett, Julius Hemphill Olu Dara and others. The music was great-like nothing I ever heard before. Alive, vibrant, threatening, free and on a wide-open wooden dance floor with no seats."

Peter Stampfel explains
"All the stuff I read about old weird/freak folk (hereafter referred to as OWFF) sounded interesting, but what annoyed me were the discussions of its origins. Only one author mentioned Michael Hurley, and no one mentioned the Holy Modal Rounders. The articles all said OWFF was started by a bunch of people who came along years after Hurley and the Rounders first recorded."

Drumbo's (Magic Band) solo years
"You may know something of French's history: in the late-1960s he was drafted from the Lancaster, California blues band that he co-lead to become the drummer for Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band. French played drums on the astonishingly original and hard-to-grasp Trout Mask Replica."

Nice girls finish first?
"Fewer performers on the radio in those days (mid 70's) were as straight as Linda Ronstadt. Consistent. Professional. Unhip. When everyone else weaved and wobbled in and out of the beats and measures, there was Ronstadt, metronome bullseye every time. Perfect, in her case, was pejorative. Ditto her success which (seemingly) came so easily."

Vivien Goldman dissects their reunion album
"Three decades after their raucous birth, the Slits are the undisputed godmothers of every feisty female from Madonna to the riot grrrrls, Pink and Lily Allen. Witty and provocative, the glory of Trapped Animal proves what the faithful always believed -- the Slits are the real deal and the Trapped Animal is all of us."

Its dada origins and beyond
"Most students of poetry do fine with mainstream modernism: with Eliot, I mean, and Pound, and Williams and Cummings and Auden and so on. They have the tools to deal with it; it's not, after all, so different from Shakespeare or Keats. Most modernism isn't scary or shocking any more."

Extreme musical/emotional drama from this no wave band "The most compelling and frightening of those (no wave) bands was unquestionably Swans. Lead by vocalist and writer Michael Gira, Swans offered a confrontational drone, which were often merely seedy, bludgeoning variations on one chord, all delivered at an ear-splitting volume that often affected audiences viscerally."

His Wailers years
"Peter Tosh (Winston Hubert McIntosh) was born in 1944 in Jamaica in a rural area, and like so many of his countrymen, moved to the capital in search of better opportunities and a better life when he was in his late teens. By the early 1960's, Tosh was hanging out on street corners, playing songs on his guitar. He eventually met two other aspiring singers, Bob Marley and Neville Livingston (Bunny Wailer)..."

2009: Year of Discovery- best vinyl and equipment
"Finally, this is the year that the Vinyl Anachronist has said goodbye to CD's for good. I've worked with my brother, a computer hardware guy, to build a customized music server that we've networked throughout the house. He has over 10,000 CD's (and only 25 LP's, natch), so we've combined our two music collections into one massive library."

An unplugged blast from Canada
"It's a five person band, with a fairly standard setup of a singer, drummer, and three guitarists, only the guitars are all of the acoustic variety. Please don't assume this is just the product of five, plugged-out hippies joining forces after an evening of ganja and listening to Damien Rice records. There are folk sensibilities present here... but they're processed through an inherent need to
obliterate every note, every track, every live show they commit themselves to."

Follow-up- full album review and feedback from Amy Rigby "You start out caring about two happy melancholics, you want to know where they end up, and you leave them, as they leave you, in a good place. The closing track is a subtly majestic cover of Johnny Cash's "I Still Miss Someone." It's Johnny Cash country as seen through the eyes of music-business veterans who've lived, loved, lost, and found that experimenting together is a way to find--and deliver—a whole lot of serendipitous fun."

We're always looking for good writers and/or ideas so let us know if you have anything to share.

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