Friday, December 18, 2009

Best Music of 2009: Part 2

I sometimes struggle doing these brief write-ups about the artists in my countdown, partly because I've already written something about them in Frequent Spins. I have a few different basic formulas: reference the artist's history with respect to my annual "best-of" list, talk about how I was turned on to them or what they mean to me, or just write about what I previously said about the album. A newer angle I've decided to work into the mix is simply sharing what the artists have to say about themselves. Since I don't really claim to be a music critic, who better to inform us of what they're about than "they" to speak.

Back to the list...

24. Clem Snide - Hungry Bird
In Frequent Spins, I wrote about not being sure whether this was their comeback or their swan song. I still don't know for sure, although I'm leaning towards believing the former. They did tour briefly this year, but their web site is sorely lacking in information about their future. Nevertheless, a pleasant surprise this album was, and I'm sure we'll be hearing from front-man Eef Barzelay in some way, shape or form in the near future.

25. Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career
This Scottish quintet consists of four guys and two gals. In a short film on their myspace page, they individually refer to themselves as "a collection of misfits," "six different people who shouldn't work together...but collectively things come together" and "a non-profit making organisation."

26. Beirut - March of the Zapotec / Realpeople - Holland
Last year, Centro-Matic and its alter-ego South San Gabriel released a split-CD titled Dual Hawks. Each was a full-length on its own, and I really liked the Centro-Matic half, so I considered it as a separate album for the purpose of this list. This year, Zach Condon's main band and his side project released this split-EP. On their own, they're just two good, but short, EPs. Considered together, they're an album almost worthy of my top 25. So, call me inconsistent. I can live with it.

27. Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel - Willie and the Wheel
For a few years now, I've been giving my father one or two CDs from the current year as one of his Christmas presents. Since authentic country is really the only genre where our individual tastes meet, and since he turned me on to the western swing of Bob Wills, this collaboration between old country outlaw and the band that recorded a tribute to Wills on the occasion of what would have been his 100th birthday, is this year's selection.

28. Those Darlins - Those Darlins
These ladies describe themselves on their web site as "...a pop group, if they are any one thing, which doesn't mean anybody with ears can't hear the country and rock 'n' roll in their sound and stance." They are part of the previously mentioned Paste Magazine Sampler 55 group, but I'm pretty certain they were an eMusic discovery, and my biggest one this year at that.

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