Saturday, December 26, 2009

Best Music of 2009: Part 6

8. The Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away
When I referred to Neko Case as the highest ranking female artist this year, I should have been more specific. That statement wasn't intended to downplay the role of Eleanor Friedberger in The Fiery Furnaces, a band she co-fronts with her older brother Matthew. While Matthew is the primary creative force, handling most of the songwriting and studio instrumentation, Eleanor is the lead vocalist. As I wrote in Frequent Spins, this album was a bit of a comeback for the band, as far as I'm concerned, as they once again showed up on my radar following a few unremarkable albums since 2004's Blueberry Boat. When I wrote that, though, I didn't realize that this was going to be one of those records that I liked even more upon returning to it late in the year.

9. Antony and The Johnsons - The Crying Light
I didn't really expect this one to land in my top ten either. As one of the first albums I listened to in January, it was hard to overlook the fact that it was no I Am a Bird Now. But, that record was an absolute masterpiece, so that's a tough standard to live up to. I rated it highly, but for some reason, I expected it to eventually come down a rung. Instead, it proved to be a second consecutive top ten worthy album for Boy George disciple Antony Hegarty.

10. Passion Pit - Manners
A rare top ten finisher for a Boston-based band, Manners also took an indirect route to this lofty perch. Briefly, it flirted with mid-year contention for the top spot, until it proved to be one of those albums that I tired of a little easily. But, after being shelved for months, I was once again reminded of how much I loved this one in the first place. While not album of the year worthy, I'm happy that this is the record that rounds out my top ten. If I have one piece of advice for you, though, it's to enjoy this one in small doses, being very careful not to let it overstay its welcome.

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