Sunday, December 20, 2009

Best Music of 2009: Part 3

19. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Case is the highest ranking female artist this year, not counting a couple of male artists I could poke a little fun at. But, I'm going to resist that urge, because that angle is getting a little old, I realize. Like I said in Frequent Spins, this was the Neko Case album I've been anticipating for some time, and when I returned to Middle Cyclone for the purposes of ranking it among the rest of the year's best, I liked it even more.

20. Patterson Hood - Murdering Oscar (and Other Love Songs)
The Drive-By Truckers co-front man is fast becoming a list regular. I still think when he and Mike Cooley team up for an album's worth of songs, it's generally a stronger set than an entire release of Hood's material, but this is a very good album from one of my current favorite songwriters/performers.

21. Dan Auerbach - Keep it Hid
Besides wondering if this is the first time a solo artist named Dan has made the list, I've found myself pondering why this album did it for me in ways that no Black Keys album has before. To attempt to answer this question, I thought I'd reveal a little of what Auerbach has to say about himself. He describes his self-produced solo debut as a mixture of "psychedelia, soul music, loud and soft guitars." So, I suppose the answer is that Keep it Hid is not entirely about the blues-rock stomp that his main band is, and the variety it offers is just enough to keep things from getting boring.

22. Joe Pernice - It Feels So Good When I Stop
I'm certain this is not the first time a solo artist named Joe has made the list. It's also the highest I've ranked Mr. Pernice since his two #1 albums in the early years of this decade. Despite the fact that, in the six years that have passed since, he hasn't really come close to making a record as great as The World Won't End and Yours, Mine & Ours, he's still a candidate for my Artist of the Decade.

23. Mark Olson & Gary Louris - Ready for the Flood
Olson left The Jayhawks following their 1995 album, Tomorrow the Green Grass, one year before I began compiling a year-end list. I thought they would never be the same, but I was wrong. Louris turned out to be a more than capable songwriter and band leader, taking them in a more pop-oriented direction than their prior alt-country efforts. Three top ten albums later, they called it quits...or went on hiatus, I'm not sure which. 2009 was a good year for their fans, though. In addition to this reunion of the two former leaders of the band, The Jayhawks released the excellent anthology Music from the North Country.

No comments:

Post a Comment