telling minor stories to avoid a major one

Favorite albums of 2009 & 1/2, part 2 by Barbecue Bros

5. St. Vincent – Actor (4AD) – I had heard on XMU that in composing the songs for Actor, Annie Clark had been watching a lot of Disney movies and that the music from those movies influenced her on this album. I can maybe hear that influence on the music, though perhaps through a filter of quirk and darkness. Don’t let the intricate, mostly pretty instrumentation fool you, there are some dark lyrical moments on this great album.

4. Bat for Lashes – Two Suns (Astralwerks) – This is really not my kind of music. But Natasha Khan on this album is just so damn seductive. Seriously, listen to the lyrics on “Daniel” (Daniel when I first saw you/ I knew you had a flame in your heart) and try not to swoon.

3. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest (Warp) – You get pulled in by the immediacy of “Two Weeks” but stick around for the immaculately produced pop songs the rest of the album has to offer. “While You Wait for the Others” may be even better than “Two Weeks” because of its haunting breakdown.

2. Animal Collective – Merriwether Post Pavilion (Domino) – A culmination of what the band has been building to ever since dropping straight up experimentation in favor of experimental pop on Sung Tongs: a beautiful, nearly flawless experimental pop album. And “My Girls” still kicks so much ass, 6 months later. Why oh why didn’t they have a night set at Bonnaroo?

1. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Glassnote) – It’s one of those albums where you have a favorite song right off the bat (“1901”) and then you realize the first song they played on SNL (“Lisztomania”) also kicks ass before really listening to the second half of the album and realizing there’s gold there too (“Lasso,” “Rome,” “Big Sun,” “Armistice”). Then they drop the next single (“Fences”) and you realize just how good that song is too. And finally, the two largely instrumental songs you tended to skip at first (“Love Like a Sunset, Pts 1 and 2”) you really start digging. Then finally it hits you: you love the entire damn album.

Others receiving votes: Passion PitManners, Cymbals Eat GuitarsWhy There Are Mountains, The FieldYesterday and Today, Telekinesis! – s/t, JapandroidsPost-Nothing, VetiverTight Knight, The Kingsbury Manx – Ascenseur Overt


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