Category Archives: Best of 2009

#10: The Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca

bitte orca

I’m actually listening to The Dirty Proejctors’ Bitte Orca right now as I write this. I don’t know what it is about this album that is just so addicting. Perhaps it’s the fact that it is so original and crafty. Perhaps it is the diversity in the vocals. Could it be all of the melodies going on at once that I adore?

Admittedly, the music on the album is a little sloppy. But it’s sloppy in that good indie way. That way that all imperfect bands hope to sound. You can’t explain it, you just hear it. And you feel it.

This album is critically acclaimed, and rightfully so. I’m glad to say that it is the album to start our top 10 countdown. It’s a doosy and one that will be remembered for years to come.

The best songs are:

  • Cannibal Resource
  • Stillness is the Move
  • Two Doves

Here is the cool video for “Stillness is the Move”:

#11: Cage – Depart From Me

cage

I must admit that I am very strict and picky when it comes to hip-hop. A lot of it out there stick together and form an amoeba of un-listenable music. However, the minority of that figure that sits outside of the creation happens to be fantastic. After all, hip hop can be some of the most inventive music around. With all of those lyrics, there is so much room for artistic creativity and ingenuity.

Cage’s Depart From Me falls into that minority. It’s a very refreshing album that offers a wide range of interesting facets. The music and beats are well made. The rhymes are hypnotic. And the lyrics are poetic. The album has all of the right tools to be deserving of making this countdown.

Some of the songs you should check out from this album are:

  • Nothing Left To Say
  • Dr. Strong
  • Strain

Here is a video of Cage’s “I Never Knew You” (directed by Shia LeBouf):

#12: Portugal the Man – The Satanic Satanist

portugal

A few years ago, after Church Mouth was released, Portugal the Man was my favorite new discovery. I saw them live with Rocky Votolato and The Fall of Troy in two separate occasions. They blew me away each time. I was stoked to even know about them.

Years later, the band is still on the up and up. They are continuously touring alongside noteworthy acts and have been managing to build their fan base every single night.

The Satanic Satanist is one step up from Church Mouth, which topped this countdown in 2009 at #13. It’s a little more sarcastic and definitely more bluesy and well-pieced together. It seems that they are slowing finding their ultimate sound as a band.

My favorite tracks on the album are:

  • People Say
  • Work All Day
  • Lovers in Love

Here is a live video of “People Say” on FuelTV:

#13: Bell X1 – Blue Lights on the Runway

Bell X1

How do you describe an act like Bell X1? It’s actually a very difficult task doing so. They sound like they could fit in with an 80’s British act, yet they sound extremely original at the same time.

All I can say for sure is that Bell X1 has been an under-appreciated band for a few years now. The Irish group is finally getting some recognition this year with their newest album, Blue Lights on the Runway, but it is quite overdue. Outside of U2, Bell X1 could make a run as the best band to come out of Ireland.

Some of the best songs on the album are:

  • The Great Defector
  • Amelia
  • One Stringed Harp

Check out “The Great Defactor” on YouTube:

#14: Rain Machine – Rain Machine

rain

For those that are fans of TV on the Radio (like me), you hopefully have heard of Rain Machine by now. Kyp Malone, the guitarist/vocalist for TV on the Radio, has branched off and created this debut self-titled album – an album that is extremely reminiscent of TV on the Radio.

It’s no doubt that Kyp is the brains behind TV on the Radio. The sound, the songwriting, and the feel of this entire album could trick TV fans into thinking this was another album of theirs. With that said, there is no question that this is an artistic and well thought out album that has a lot to offer.

Hopefully Kyp decides to continue the Rain Machine project in the future.

Here are the best songs on the album:

  • Give Blood
  • Smiling Black Faces
  • Winter Song

Check out this video of Rain Machine’s “Give Blood”:

#15: Bat For Lashes – Two Suns

batFor the second time in three years, Bat For Lashes lands on this countdown. UK’s Natasha Kahn, the female vocalist behind Bat For Lashes, first graced this 25 Days of Music countdown in 2007 with the #23 Fur and Gold. Little did we know that then, she was just getting started.

Two Suns is bigger and better than its older brethren. This time around, BFL shows more passion and soul behind her music. The result is a more cohesive and infectious piece of art that “could” cater to any music lover.

Some of the best songs on the album are:

  • Sleep Alone
  • Daniel
  • Siren Song

Watch this live performance video of “Daniel” below:

#16: Muse – The Resistance

muse-the-resistance

Muse has always been one of my favorite obscure rock bands. As a three-piece, they have always amazed me with their musical capabilities and constant evolution in sound. In music, it’s difficult to carve out your own sound in such a broad genre of music, but when you do it successfully, it is recognized as an amazing feat. That has to be why Muse is adored so much all around the world.

I have to proclaim that the new album, The Resistance, does not compare to the band’s most incredible album, Absolution, but it still deserves plenty of praise. It almost seems that Muse can do no wrong. Let’s hope they forever continue on the path they are on.

Some of the best tunes from the album are:

  • Uprising
  • Resistance
  • Guiding Light

Before you leave, check out the music video for “Uprising”:

#17: Jarvis Cocker – Further Complications

jarvis_cocker

Following the demise of Pulp, Jarvis Cocker branched off on his own by releasing a solo album titled Jarvis in 2006. The #17 album that you are reading about, Further Complications, is just his second solo album. He obviously seems to be getting better and more comfortable with being by himself.

From my perspective, Jarvis Cocker is a lot like a Frank Zappa. He isn’t like Frank Zappa, but he could be categorized as a Frank Zappa-esque artist. He’s quirky and doesn’t take his music too seriously. To me, those attributes are most appealing when you can still write quality tunes.

Some of my favorite songs on the album are:

  • Angela
  • I Never Said I Was Deep
  • FuckingSong

Watch this video of Jarvis’s self-titled track “Further Complications.”

#18: Neko Case – Middle Cyclone

neko

Neko Case is quite an atypical case. She has been acclaimed by critics for essentially her entire musical career, yet she does not fit into any general genre no does she necessarily stand for anything in particular. She is just a musical genius. And that is what is so appealing to everybody.

She reminds me of an Aimee Mann. Someone that doesn’t have to appeal to people with good looks or as a fashionista – just someone with infectious music and a desirable voice.

Middle Cyclone, her latest record, is right up there with 2006’s Fox Confessor Brings the Flood. She seems to know how to create an artistic album instead of just throwing together a group of songs. As if you didn’t know by now, that’s the type of strategy that gets you ranked on the 25 Days of Music countdown.

My three favorite songs on the record are:

  • This Tornado Loves You
  • Polar Nettles
  • Fever

Here is her recent performance of “This Tornado Loves You” on Letterman:

#19: Glasvegas – Glasvegas

glasvegas

I have to admit that I had not heard about Glasvegas until recently. There was a lot of hype around their debut self-titled album so I felt the need to do my due diligence. What I received was an amazing surprise. Glasvegas, in my eyes, is the best new British band to cross into the U.S.

If you are an avid follower of MusicMastermind.com, you may know that this countdown has been known to follow foreign acts. British acts, in particular. I don’t know why this is. To be honest, most British acts bother me. Perhaps it’s just that the exceptional ones happen to be the best in the world…? Who knows? All I know is that Glasvegas definitely fits into this same category.

Some of my favorite tunes on the album are:

  • Flowers and Football Tops
  • Go Square Go
  • Stabbed

Here is a video of Glasvegas’s first single “Geraldine”: