Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best Music of 2009: Part 8

2. Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer
Spencer Krug was born and raised in Penticton, British Columbia, but both of his bands—Sunset Rubdown and Wolf Parade—are based in Montreal. For the fifth consecutive year, a band led by Krug releases a top ten worthy album, with only Sunset Rubdown's Shut Up I Am Dreaming falling just short at #11 in 2006. In fact, this is the second year in a row that Spencer is a bridesmaid, after Wolf Parade's At Mount Zoomer earned the #2 slot last year. Previously in this countdown, I referred to the Pernice Brothers as a candidate for Artist of the Decade, an award I do plan to hand out in early January. I still haven't made my final decision on that yet, but Krug is definitely one of the finalists.

3. Jay Farrar and Benjamin Gibbard - One Fast Move or I'm Gone: Music from Kerouac's Big Sur
Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard is from Washington, and of course, is the half part of the 4 1/2 Pacific Northwest artists count. Actually, M. Ward is from Portland, Oregon, and considering he's one-fourth of Monsters of Folk, I suppose I could have called it 4 3/4. I didn't select an Artist of the Decade for the '90s, but if I had, Jay Farrar would have won, hands down. His former Uncle Tupelo bandmate, Jeff Tweedy, would have placed a distant second. Tweedy's definitely had a better first decade of the 21st century, but Farrar had one of his best years in recent memory in 2009.

4. Built to Spill - There is No Enemy
Built to Spill is from Idaho. I'm not sure if that's officially the Pacific Northwest, but I'm counting it as such. Front-man Doug Martsch has hinted that this could be the band's final album. When Jay Farrar's Son Volt temporarily called it quits following 1998's Wide Swing Tremolo, I considered it a sad occasion, as they were one of the artists most responsible for kicking off my interest in the alt-country movement in the mid-'90s. Built to Spill was one of the finalists who just missed the cut for one of the last spots on my list of the 40 artists most important to me in my lifetime, because they were among the bands most responsible for the evolution of my music taste in the early '00s. If There is No Enemy is their swan song, it will be a sad moment as well, but they'll have chosen to end on a strong note.

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