Overdue: Two Albums That Should’ve Made My List

Posted by Payton | Posted in album review, best of 2009 | Posted on 03-31-2010

Tagged Under : ,

It’s now the end of March – one-quarter of the year down. Just three months ago, I made my picks for albums/songs of the year. I gave you a list of 20 albums I believed to be the best of the year 2009. Now, I listen to A LOT of music, but as much as I try, I simply can’t filter through all that comes my way. Through these 3 months, I’ve had time to digest the multitude of tracks that I downloaded at the end of year preparing my lists. Here are 2 albums that, if I were to go back, would’ve made my list:

The first sorely overlooked album is Vetiver’s Tight Knit. The band, now on their 4th album, has often been associated with ‘freak folk’ acts like Devandra Banhart and Joanna Newsom, but I find their brand of folk to be far from freak. I’ve sampled Vetiver’s back-catalog since picking up this disc, and much of it is quite pleasant. Their songs tend to be low-key but feature prominent bass lines that create an equally lazy and positive vibe. Nowhere better have they found this niche than on Tight Knit.

A single song from this album found its way to me by list-making time and made my Top 50. ‘Everyday’ is easily the most accessible song from the album, but as you may have guessed from me taking the time to write about Tight Knit, it’s definitely not the only good track. The album begins the way I like ‘em – with an easy-going acoustic number. They increase the groove throughout the next couple tracks, but for the most part, the first side of the album remains peaceful. Beginning with ‘On The Other Side’, things start to get more interesting. ‘More of This’ stands out as the liveliest track in the set with a soft-punk guitar leading the way. Tracks 8 and 9 takes the sound a little lower to the ground with a hint of jazz. The final track, ‘At Forest Edge’, brings things full circle, setting the album down softly. The interesting mix of tempos and overall mellow attitude make Tight Knit a completely listenable album best enjoyed from a turntable on a lazy Sunday. Try it out.

Vetiver - On The Other Side
Vetiver - More of This
buy Tight Knit: [CD][Vinyl][mp3]

 

Not only did I miss this album last year, I also missed a chance to catch Dawes live back in 2009. They played a string of shows opening for This Mornin’ favorite Deer Tick and made a stop in Austin (check out a review of DT’s show with photos). Not having heard of Dawes, we decided to skip the opener in lieu of cheaper drinks down the road. Poor decision.

I downloaded Dawes’ debut North Hills just before finalizing my year-end lists. Their impassioned, harmony-laden ‘Give Me Time’ caught my ears first and sneaked in to my Top 50 Songs list. But that song is simply one of eleven amazing tracks. North Hills is a very accessible sort of Americana. Frontman Taylor Goldsmith leads the band’s chill-inducing harmonies with a smooth, almost familiar voice. North Hills supplies just about every variant of the folk/Americana sound you could ask for. Songs like ‘Love Is All I Am’ and ‘Bedside Manner’ keep the instruments subdued, allowing Goldsmith’s tender lyrics to come through bare and personal. Electric guitars are turned up in ‘When You Call My Name’ and ‘When My Time Comes’ creating a full sound that come across as uniquely Dawes. The rhythm section ushers in ‘My Girl To Me’, an impressively busy bass line keeping the groove. Although the stellar harmonies are present throughout, they boys of Dawes are simply showing off on ‘Give Me Time’ and ‘Take Me Out of the City’. I could go on, but just know that had I given North Hills a proper listen last year, it would have easily been a Top 5 album.

Dawes - When My Time Comes
Dawes - Bedside Manner
buy North Hills: [CD][Vinyl][mp3]

 

Dawes deservedly found themselves abuzz earlier this month at SXSW. Playing shows alongside last year’s breakout act Deer Tick sure didn’t hurt their cause. Even more, Taylor Goldsmith joined forces with DT’s John McCauley and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit to create of supergroup of prodigies who call themselves, simply, MG&V. They debuted at SXSW and you can catch some videos here.

The Lists: Top 50 Songs of 2009

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2009, lists | Posted on 01-12-2010

Tagged Under : , , , , , , , , ,

Finally, my first post of the new decade. After my ski trip, I was backed up with work, and I’ve had a lot of photos to edit. And for the second year in a row, the task of making my lists sort of drained the free-form fun out of what I do here. I’m ready to start finding new music as well as posting about some older stuff that had a hand in me starting this blog in the first place.

Truth be told, I wanted a little extra time to refine this list as it is quite large. So without further adieu, my Top 50 Songs of 2009:

50. Sunflower Rain – Ryan Adams
[purchase]
49. Dog Days Are Over – Florence and the Machine [purchase]
48. You Never Know – Wilco [purchase]
47. Sailor Song – First Aid Kit [purchase]
46. Ship Come In – Jonny Burke [purchase]
45. Give Me Time – Dawes [purchase]
44. – Brendan Benson [purchase]
43. Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear [purchase]
42. Goodbye Hollywood – JET [purchase]
41. Cry - Slaid Cleaves [purchase]
40. Don’t Come Calling – Stephanie Briggs [purchase]
39. Orion & Dog – Sea Wolf [purchase]
38. Boots Boy – Langhorne Slim [purchase]
37. Brother John - Middle Distance Runner [purchase]
36. The Guitar – Guy Clark [purchase]
35. In These Arms - The Swell Season [purchase]
34. Good Ol’ Fashioned Nightmare – Matt & Kim [purchase]
33. Cooperstown - The Felice Brothers [purchase]
32. Bells of Harlem – Dave Rawlings Machine [purchase]
31. Eager For Your Love – Tristen [purchase]
30. Nikorette – Conor Oberst & The MVB [purchase]
29. Champion Angel – The Low Anthem [purchase]
28. Lisztomania - Phoenix [purchase]
27. Heartbroken, In Disrepair – Dan Auerbach [purchase]
26. Round Here – Middle Distance Runner [purchase]
25. Ten Women – Conor Oberst & The MVB [purchase]
24. Hurtin’ You – Ben Kweller [purchase]
23. Smith Hill – Deer Tick [purchase]
22. Tell Me True - Sarah Jarosz [purchase]
21. Cage The Songbird – The Low Anthem [purchase]
20. Ten Thousand Words – The Avett Brothers [purchase]
19. The Traitor – Sea Wolf [purchase]
18. Funeral Singers - Califone [purchase]
17. Day Is Done – Ryan Bingham [purchase]
16. Everyday - Vetiver [purchase]
15. White Limo – The Felice Brothers [purchase]
14. Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap [purchase]
13. A Thousand Men – Joe Pug [purchase]
12. Far And Wide - The Roadside Graves [purchase]
11. Easy - Deer Tick [purchase]
10. Mama’s Eyes – Justin Townes Earle [purchase]
9. The Big Surprise - The Felice Brothers [purchase]
8. Speak of Trouble – Great Bloomers [purchase]
7. Laundry Room (live version) – The Avett Brothers [purchase]
6. Gunslinger - The Medders [purchase]
5. Take It In - Wye Oak [purchase]
4. I Got The Reason – Conor Oberst & The MVB [purchase]
3. Ticket Taker – The Low Anthem
[purchase]
2. Honeymoon – Bombadil
[purchase]

1. Ruby - Dave Rawlings Machine [purchase]

Ruby, let down your golden hair
When I’m standing at the bottom of your stairs
Ruby, I can see your TV on
But the people there, they flicker and they’re gone
So let down your golden hair for me tonight
Let down your golden hair for me to climb
Just like an old-time telegraph man
I came here with a simple job to do
‘Cause that news coming down the wire
Says that your head’s on fire
And I’m trying to get a message through to you

Ruby, you ain’t lonely yet
With your crystal and your Russian cigarette
Ruby, haven’t you heard before?
Working is the finest tower when it hasn’t got a door
So let down your golden hair for me to climb
Let down your golden hair for me tonight
Just like an old-time telegraph man
I came here with a simple job to do
‘Cause that news coming down the wire
Says that your bed’s on fire
And I’m trying to get a message through to you, Ruby

I’m that old-time telegraph man
And I came here with a simple job to do
‘Cause that news coming down the wire
Says that your world’s on fire
And I’m trying to get a message through to you

I’m that old-time telegraph man
And I came here with a simple job to do
‘Cause that news coming down the wire
Says that your world’s on fire
And I’m trying to get a message through to you
————-

The Lists: Top 20 Albums of 2009 (1-10)

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2009, lists | Posted on 12-22-2009

Tagged Under : , , , , , , , , ,

Part II of my Top 20 Albums of 2009


10. Justin Townes Earle – Midnight At The Movies

Bloodshot, 3.3.2009

Justin Townes Earle’s second album cemented his star-studded name as star in his own right and won the top spot in the first ever Bird List – by a landslide. Justin, like some of the best out there, has a difficult time translating his live show allure to a studio CD, but Midnight At The Movies does a damn good job trying. His rollicking, ‘Hillbilly Music’ (tracks like ‘Walk Out’ and ‘John Henry’) are where he grabs your attention, but it’s the slower, more personal songs (‘Mama’s Eyes’, ‘Someday I’ll Be Forgiven’) that truly separate JTE from other folk-country acts out there.

Justin Townes Earle – They Killed John Henry
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]

9. Sea Wolf – White Water, While Bloom
Dangerbird, 9.22.2009
Alex Brown Church and the folks behind him, better known as Sea Wolf, are probably one the most accessible bands I promote here. I have to admit that they had a little advantage making my top 10 due to the fact that I didn’t discover their 2007 release Leaves In The River until last year, and wanted to make up for not mentioning it in my inaugural posts. This year with White Water, White Bloom, Sea Wolf continued to make listener-friendly indie-rock paved with inspiring string pieces, powerful rhythm sections, and soaring vocals.

Sea Wolf – Dew In The Grass
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][iTunes]

8. Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers – Songs In The Night
Ramseur, 4.28.2009

Samantha Crain broke into the folk scene last year with a superb EP. Don’t let the fact that her debut full-length was released early this year and the hype surrounding her may have since slowed lead you astray. This is one killer album. Songs In The Night contains very mature writing and even better music created by The Midnight Shivers. It’s got a perfect mix of tempos – sing-along folk-rockers, contemplative acoustic ballads, and even a couple electric grooves. If I could pick a poster-band for the sound I want out of my Americana, this is it.

Samantha Crain & The Midnight Shivers – Devils In Boston
[Direct][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]

7. Middle Distance Runner – The Sun & Earth
Engine Room Recordings, 10.20.2009

Every year so far, I’ve had at least one album that made my list for one simple reason – it rocks. This year’s album that always seems to get my head bobbin’ is Middle Distance Runner’s The Sun & Earth. I stumbled across the D.C. band earlier this year thanks to a couple mind-numbing singles/EPs they released. I grabbed the full album released in October, delighted to see those tracks on it, and even more thrilled to enjoy the rest of the disc. It’s one of those albums that you seem to not remember tracks names simply because it’s 45 minutes of pulsating Rock n Roll intertwined with moments of acoustic bliss of that all melds together in you brain – in a good way.

Middle Distance Runner – Round Here
[Direct][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]

6. Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid
Nonesuch, 2.10.2009
I was skeptical of Dan Auerbach breaking from his bandmate to strike out on a solo mission. But I was a fool. Dan brought his funk-filled guitar licks to the studio, polished them off just a tad, and ultimately brought everything to his solo debut that The Black Keys were missing. Keep It Hid has the feel of an artist who knew the exact sound they wanted. Plus, who knew this blues-rocker could slow it down and give us a handful of touching down-tempo ditties to compliment his unique, blistering electric sound.

Dan Auerbach – When The Night Comes
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][iTunes]

5. Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Outer South
Merge, 5.5.2009
I had Outer South, the second album bearing Conor Oberst’s name and the first bearing The Mystic Valley Band, in my library for a while this year before I really gave it a listen. I don’t know what held me back – maybe I was overwhelmed by the amount of tracks on it and the fact that Conor participated in another release this year – but as soon as I listened once through, I knew it was a top 5 album. This year will mark the 3rd year in a row that Conor Oberst has placed an album in the top 5 here at This Mornin’. Last year, I made the claim that his self-titled album solidified his place as the Best American Songwriter under 30, and with this release I stand by that claim – though he only has 2 more months to hold the title. He will then have wait 5 years in a distant second place until Ryan Adams turns 40.

Outer South doesn’t necessarily show us anything particularly new about Conor – his songs continue to be energetic – only slowing when necessary – well-written, and most noticeably perfectly delivered. Conor has a knack for isolating a line apart from the music behind it with the effect of heightening the importance of that lyric like no one else. What sets this album apart from Oberst’s earlier work is his band. Although The Mystic Valley Band played on Conor Oberst, that album was more about Conor. On Outer South, he lends prime real estate to his bandmates letting them take 7 of the 16 tracks, including tracks as early as 3 and 4. The songs that Nick Freitas, Taylor Hollingworth, and Jason Boesel wrote and provide lead vocals for aren’t my favorite off the album, but they ain’t bad, either. Hollingsworth may have the standout non-Oberst song with his Replacements-esque ‘Air Mattress.’ Outer South is yet another disc from the Omaha alt-rocker that doesn’t have a single skippable track.

Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Cabbage Town
Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band – Air Mattress
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]
4. Deer Tick – Born On Flag Day
Partisan, 6.23.2009

Easily my most anticipated release of the year, Deer Tick’s sophomore effort obviously pleased me. But not right at first – if you read my initial reaction, you’ll see I was happy with it, but thought it paled in comparison to 2007’s War Elephant. What I grew to enjoy about the album after some time, however, was everything that sets Born On Flag Day apart from their debut. Aside from John McCauley’s grizzled vocals, this album doesn’t have the same grunge-rock feel of which we were introduced to Deer Tick. In its place as an overlying feeling on the album is a bit of a retro-vibe. Born On Flag Day boasts multiple tracks that sound straight out of a 50’s studio session outtake disc. Both vocally and musically, I’ve heard traces of The Everyly Brothers (when they tried out an electric set), The Animals, Chuck Berry, and even some Beatles when I listen to this album. John manages to get those familiar, classic rock tones from his sea-green Fender Strat, both on this album and in the band’s live show.
Deer Tick – Stung
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]
3. Bombadil – Tarpits & Canyonlands
Ramseur, 7.7.2009

I could sit here and regurgitate words that tell you how Bombadil is groundbreaking, brave, and stylistically unclassifiable, but if you’ve ever heard their music, that is all too apparent. The simple fact is, it’s fun to listen to them – and what else do you really need to know? Tarpits and Canyonlands outreaches the band’s last album in terms of accessibility and execution. Here, there are real songs, still liberally arranged with instrumental twists and turns, but in a more focused way. The guys took their time with this recording, and it shows. Most impressively, Tarpits‘ strongest parts may be the more subdued moments. The slow-building opener ‘I Am’ provides a gentle, yet ominous lead-in to an album with peaks and valleys in terms of tempo and activity, but never a dull moment.

Bombadil – I Am
Bombadil – Kuala Lumpur

[Direct][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]


2. Dave Rawlings Machine – A Friend of a Friend
Acony, 11.17.2009

I reserved big, comfy spot for this album in my Top 10 as soon as I learned of its release. Don’t get me wrong – I still analyzed the songs, but I already knew what we were getting. For an artist with a resume like Dave Rawlings, over a decade to hone his songwriting chops, and the likes of Gillian Welch and Old Crow Medicine Show ushering him in, A Friend of A Friend was bound to be nothing short of spectacular. The last thing I expected going in was to be most impressed by the strength of Dave’s original songs. ‘Ruby’ immediately shot to the top of my favorite songs list, while ‘Sweet Tooth’ and ‘Bells of Harlem’ are at once fresh and classically timeless. It’s a short and sweet album, with a perfect mix of Dave’s early co-writes, well-chosen covers, and original compositions that will no-doubt stand the test of time. Expect a further in-depth review of this one after I’ve let it simmer a little longer.

Dave Rawlings Machine – Sweet Tooth
[Direct][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]


1. The Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
Nonesuch, 6.9.2009

Last year, I expressed my thoughts on what I believe makes a great album. Most importantly, that it need be a cohesive, focused, flowing collection of songs, none being superfluous or out of place. The Low Anthem’s Oh My God, Charlie Darwin takes this idea to another level. It’s a beautiful record, start to finish, complete with ballads and rockers, an interlude, and a reprise. It flows seamlessly, taking you through ethereal hymns and turbulent gospel barn-burners. Some may argue that OMGCD was a 2008 release – the Providence-based band self-released the album in September of 2008 and were subsequently picked up by Nonesuch Records. The label then gave the record a proper release (including vinyl) in June of this year. I discovered the band just after this release and was pleased to see that their schedule crossed paths with mine and we would both be in Nashville at the same time – me for The Big Surprise Tour, them for an intimate show at The Basement. Catching a live show of theirs and meeting the band members had a big part in the placement of this album at the top of my list. Read my review.
The Low Anthem’s strongest quality – as a band and especially on this album – is their unmatched instrumentation. Between only Ben Knox Miller, Jeff Prystokwsky, and Jocie Adams, The Low Anthem travels with a trailer-full of gear, all of which gets used on a nightly basis. Their stage progression plays out like a carousel, or literally a game of musical chairs. Most instruments can be played by more than one member, each with their own personal flair. I read a few interviews with the band prior to this write-up (check out this well-written one). In one interview, Miller says they try to push their musical limits by limiting their play on instruments they are comfortable with. He says they walk blindfolded into the instrument room; they “prefer to stumble into beauty.” Another interesting note I picked up on, Miller says that band doesn’t get too caught up in listening to a lot of contemporary music. This is obvious in the end result of their own music – you can’t seem to pick out any specific influence or even compare it to anything else you’ve heard before: completely original music, earthy and natural.

The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin
The Low Anthem – Horizon Is A Beltway
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][iTunes]

————————————————-

The Lists: Top 20 Albums of 2009 (11-20)

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2009, lists | Posted on 12-16-2009

Tagged Under : , , , , , ,

Here it is folks! Expanded for 2009, my
Top 20 Albums of the Year – Part I.


20. Wye Oak – The Knot

Merge, 7.21.2009
It’s a loud, alt-rock album kept country with a heavy dose of steel guitar. Wye Oak is Jenn Wasner (guitar, vocals) and Andy Stack (drums, vocals). If being signed to Merge Records isn’t enough, the beauty of The Knot, their sophomore album, should help bring some attention going into the next decade.

Wye Oak – For Prayer
[Direct][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]

19. Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
Nonesuch, 6.26.2009
The boldly titled seventh album from alt-country mainstay Wilco did not disappoint. Jeff Tweedy continues to provide welcoming melodies and infectious guitar licks overlain with his unmistakably heavyhearted vocals. Each time I listen, I find a new favorite track. In fact, as I write this, I already wish I would have placed it higher in this list.

Wilco – I’ll Fight
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][iTunes]

18. Slaid Cleaves - Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away

Music Road, 4.21.2009
Folk storyman Slaid Cleaves may not pump out albums, but for our patience we get carefully crafted song showcases that continually impress. While Everything You Love doesn’t have a ‘Broke Down,’ there remain 11 songs filled with first-person experience that only Slaid could recount with such ease and grace.

Slaid Cleaves – Black T-Shirt
[Direct][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]

17. Stephanie Briggs – Birds Barely Know Us

Smith Entertainment, 3.31.2009
It’s strange that out of all the Texas acts I used to follow, a female, Stephanie Briggs, would bring an album that follows the general direction to which my musical tastes have shifted. What’s not so strange is that running around with the likes of Cody Canada, Stephanie learned how to use a guitar the right way. Calling New Braunfels, TX home, Stephanie (guitar, vocals) and husband Matthew (percussion, vocals) offer a freshly energetic album with an indie-edge.

Stephanie Briggs – Private Parts
[Direct][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]

16. The Felice Brothers – Yonder Is The Clock

Team Love, 4.7.2009
Since 2007’s Tonight At The Arizona, each of The Felice Brothers‘ albums have become slightly less enjoyable – mainly due to too much album-filler. But just as I passed through Yonder Is The Clock to check inventory, I remembered just how good the good ones are. Ian Felice can strike my fancy just as easily with a raucous barn-burner as he can with a plaintive dirge. Read my original review.

The Felice Brothers – Boy From Lawrence County
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][iTunes]

15. Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses – Roadhouse Sun
Lost Highway, 6.2.2009
Another product of the Texas Music scene, Ryan Bingham emerged with the basics only to build upon them to gain national success. I’ll admit, if I hadn’t found this album for $3.99 on Amazon, I most-likely wouldn’t have given it a shot this year. Sure glad I did – Roadhouse Sun is a dustblown disc expertly arranged with the fullest sound to come from Ryan yet.

Ryan Bingham – Change Is
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][iTunes]

14. Great Bloomers - Speak of Trouble
Maple Music Recordings, 4.21.2009
The Great Bloomers came out of nowhere (actually Canada) and brought us an easy choice for a top 20 list. Lowell Sostomi and crew offer piano-fueled, guitar-aided, harmony-highlighted folk-pop that oozes optimism. Listed first in their ‘influence’ column are The Beach Boys, and nowhere does that ‘influence’ ring truer than when they institute deft 4-part harmonies. Speak of Trouble jauntily guides you though 11 tracks of unique arrangements and sticky melodies.

Great Bloomers – Admit Defeat
[Direct][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]

13. Brendan Benson – My Old, Familiar Friend
ATO, 8.18.2009
This is Brendan Benson’s fourth solo album, but remains the only one I’ve heard. I was first introduced to Brendan when he joined forces with Jack White in The Raconteurs. When I heard My Old, Familiar Friend, it was quickly evident how much of Consolers was influenced by Brendan. If you like the pop melodies and smooth vocals from The Raconteurs, Brendan Benson comes highly recommended. First order of business for 2010: check out Benson’s back catalog.

Brendan Benson – Garbage Day
[Vinyl][CD][eMusic][iTunes]

12. The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You
Sony/American, 9.29.2009
Just two short years after The Avett Brothers topped my list of albums, it seems they are already the clichéd choice. Good news for them, but as you’ll remember from my original review, (sorta) bad news for me. Their meteoric rise from obscurity landed them in the studio with Rick Rubin for 2009’s I And Love And You. His polished touch on the album created a different sound that initially rubbed some of us the wrong way. From the small sampling of reviews I found that weren’t fawning over the disc, one common theme emerged: This album will grow on you. While in its second listening round, the album hit me in a different way. Once I got over the production choices, all that was left were the songs. And they were good.

The Avett Brothers – And It Spread
[Direct][Vinyl][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]

11. These United States – Everything Touches Everything
United Interests, 9.1.2009
Reigning Best Album champs These United States released their third disc in just two years. Last year’s Crimes was my choice for Best Album last year, but interestingly enough, I couldn’t find a song from it to include in my Best Songs list. The same approach was taken with 2009’s Everything Touches Everything, in which Jesse Elliot crafted a cohesive album. None of the songs were written with a single in mind, but rather each was written as an equally important element to the disc. Maybe it’s not quite as good as Crimes (due mainly to the fact that its opener was a stellar, thematic lead-in), but still an immense joy to listen to – and that’s all that matters.

These United States – I’m Gonna Assemble A City
[Direct][CD][MP3][eMusic][iTunes]

———————————-
Continue to Part II (Albums 1-10)….
2009’s Top 5 EP’s
2009’s Best Videos

———————————-
Refresh your memory with last year’s lists:
Top EPs
Top Songs
Top Albums, pt 1
Top Albums, pt 2

The Lists: Best Videos of 2009

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2009, lists, videos | Posted on 12-15-2009

Tagged Under : , , , , , ,

Here’s an unranked group of some of the best music videos from 2009. I didn’t scour the internet (or god-forbid watch MTV/CMT) for every video made this year. They are basically taken from those artists in my Top 20 Albums list (coming soon) that happened to make videos this year.

These United States – Everything Touches Everything

The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin

The Avett Brothers – Slight Figure of Speech

Bombadil – So Many Ways To Die

Dan Auerbach – Heartbroken, In Disrepair

Middle Distance Runner – The Unbeliever

Sea Wolf – Wicked Blood

Brendan Benson – A Whole Lot Better

The Lists: Top 5 Eps of 2009…

Posted by Payton | Posted in best of 2009, lists | Posted on 12-10-2009

Tagged Under : , , , ,

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but I’ve been cramming for finals. Ha. Not those… I’m done with school, remember. What I’ve been cramming is music. Into my ears.

You see, it’s that time of year again where every self-respecting blogger boils down the thousands of discs and songs they’ve collected over the year into structured, numerical lists. This year, my Top Albums list will part of The Bird List (for the record, I voted for The United State of Americana) – a sort of master list aggregated from over 40 Americana/Country/Folk blogs. Our finalized lists of 20 albums are due tonight, and the results will be tallied and will go live (here) on Monday the 14th.

So to answer your agonizing question… yes, my list is complete. And although I know you can’t wait any longer to see the definitive Top Albums of the year, I won’t be posting mine just yet. Like last year, I will begin my year-end lists with a small sampling of the Best EP’s of the year. This year we have 5, 2 up from last year. My albums list has doubled to 20. And I plan on offering somewhere near 50 of my favorite songs this year. Stay tuned, folks.

5. Angus & Julia Stone – The Beast [EP]

I found Australian sibling duo Angus & Julia Stone through Rollo & Grady. I was a little late to the party – they have putting out music for a few years now. This EP saw its US release early this year in preparation for their debut LP A Book Like This. Julia’s bubbly yet sultry voice (think Kasey Chambers, Joanna Newsom) is the initial attention-grabber, but Angus’ smooth vocals and lyrics will keep you listening.

Soldier
[CD][mp3][iTunes][eMusic]

4. Deer Tick – More Fuel for the Fire [EP]

As expected, 2009 was a huge year for Providence’s Deer Tick. Just five months after releasing their sophomore album, John McCauley and crew gave us a new EP sampling 3 new songs. ‘La La La’ might be the country-est tune Deer Tick has recorded thus far. Guitarist Andrew Tobiassen takes front stage on his tune ‘Dance of Love.’ And ‘Axe Is Forever’ is yet another retro-groove sure to stick in your head throughout next year.

La La La
[mp3][iTunes]

3. Jonny Burke – The Long Haul [EP]

Former 1/2 of The Dedringers Jonny Burke spent 2009 on the road across the country opening for such acts as James McMurtry and Ryan Bingham. Somehow, he found the time to record a 5-track EP. ‘Ship Come In’ enlists Austin’s Band of Heathens to help fill sound and vocals. ‘El Paso’ is a western lament a-la Townes Van Zandt.

El Paso
[CD][free download]

2. Tristen – Deceivers Are Achievers [EP]

A gracious reader emailed me to suggest that I may enjoy an EP from Tristen Gaspadarek, a Nashville-based singer and multi-instrumentalist. He was right. Tristen’s brand of jangly pop (rubbed in the dirt just enough to be folk) is right up my alley. Her youthful voice and original melodies have been known to stick in my head some.

Matchstick Murder
[mp3]

1. Joe Pug – In The Meantime [EP]

My favorite discovery of the year was, hands down, Joe Pug. He blew onto the scene last year with his Nation of Heat [EP], but it somehow slipped past me. I’m always a fan of simple acoustic music, and Joe has that art down to perfection. This EP – free on his website – consists of leftover tracks from the Nation sessions. Look for 2010 to be a breakout year for Joe as his touring has recently been shifted into full-gear (including some time overseas with The Low Anthem) and his debut LP, Messenger, is set for a February release.

Dodging The Wind
[free download]

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Refresh your memory with last year’s lists:
Top EPs
Top Songs
Top Albums, pt 1
Top Albums, pt 2