Wednesday, December 02, 2009

top 10 singles and albums of 2009 - part 2


No. 5: Felix Da Housecat - Elvi$.

There was only one way to start a DJ set during the summer of 2009. With brutal urgency and immediacy, this is simple stand-up-and-pay-attention club music to get everybody in the room on side. Especially reccommended for anybody that's ever thought a car alarm is knocking out a surprisingly danceable hook.

No. 6: Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses

Their most assured song to date, here was where they slowed proceedings down a bit, and in doing so made the perfect (yes really: perfect.) indie disco anthem.

Their album 'Tonight...' deserves credit too - it's also their best yet, despite sinking without a trace due to the fact that nobody listens to indie anymore.

No. 7: The Airborne Toxic Event - Sometime Around Midnight

The song that should have been as big as Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars.

Which means it had the mainstream-y big-hearted appeal to sell a LOT of copies over a very LONG period of time. Soundtracking reality TV montages, or adverts for ITV's new autumn drama season. That sort of thing.

Might still happen of course. X-factor must be crying out for new tracks to help falsify emotion by now. This epic slow-building classic is actually deserving of such a wide audience.


No. 5: Vitalic - Flashmob

Continuing to prove that electro can work in the album format (see also: Justice, Mylo), thank the lord himself for Vitalic.

Now on his second completely essential album, he doesn't stray too far from what made 2005's OK Cowboy such a success. This is refinement, polish and progression. The quality never dips, and the pacing never falters. Ace.

No. 6: The Phantom Band - Checkmate Savage

A blend of gothic folk, krautrock, doo-wop and electro (thanks, Guardian), The Phantom Band are a weird bunch.

That's not to say they don't know their way around a good melody. It's a pitch-perfect blend, intelligent, experimental, yet accessible music. You should start your journey by giving Folk Song Oblivion a listen.

No 7. Noah and the Whale - The First Days of Spring

For everybody who fell in love with Bon Iver in 2008, here 2009's heartbreak album of the year.

And what heartbreak it is. Charlie Fink's lyrics don't bother to hide behind analogy, instead airing themselves in plaintive literalism. There's bad days (I Have Nothing) and good (Love of An Orchestra), and he chronicles the stages of the break-up process in agonising detail (the sleepless nights, the rebound sex, the determination to move on).

Rarely does music bare all quite so honestly.

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