Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Best of '09

Not really any need for an introduction, here is what has been providing the soundtrack for Deformative in 2009.

Mi Ami - Watersports
In hindsight, last year's African Rhythms ep provided only the briefest hint at where Mi Ami would take their unique brand of West Coast tropacalia with their debut full-length. As thrilling as that release was, Watersports upped the intensity and the ambition, its sonic explorations both perfectly suited and a deviant cousin to the year's obsession with all things 'Hypnagogic.'

These Are Powers - All Aboard Future
Industrial hip-hop? Not quite, but it's as close as you're likely to come to putting a label on these Brooklyn experimentalists. Much less dissonant than their previous efforts but still with plenty of noise present, All Aboard Future blended parts of Black Dice with fractured post-punk rhythms to make an album of quintessentially New York grime.

Girls Names - C10 Cassettes
Two handsome chaps making honest-to-goodness surf pop, predominately about girls and eh, blood. Proof the zeitgeist cares not for borders, these stupidly addictive, reverb-soaked lo-fi recordings straight outta Belfast could easily have come from the sandy shores of San Francisco, a place where many of the bands they have shared the stage with this year originate. The cassettes have sold out now but you can still buy the downloads from the irreproachable Cass/Flick for a measly $4.50 (exchange).

Woods - Songs of Shame
More addictive pop music, this time of a more acid-folk variety. Songs of Shame is a collection of songs at once strange and accessible; innocent and mature, with a creeping resonance that suggest they will be a staple for hungover mornings and lazy Sunday afternoons for a long time to come.

Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms
Neon Indian vs. Washed Out - it's been the argument that has dominated the blogosphere (ha!) all year (not really). Facetiousness aside, it really has been the year where the proliferation of blogs obsessed with all things 'chill' have allowed these two bedroom composers to garner worldwide followings. In the hypothetical argument, this blog would be giving the win to Neon Indian (by a long shot) for producing a gloriously sunny album which includes two of the best tracks this year - '6669 (I don't know if you know)' and 'Ephemeral Artery'.

Fievel - Go West
Good on any band that gives away music for free. And especially if it is music of such charmingly unassuming brilliance as this ep. Emanating a quiet confidence that allows their influences to be worn comfortably but also having a slew ideas brimming over and crucially, an element of tenderness that is missing from most electronic music, Fievel discreetly bettered everything else in Melbourne this year. Download for free here.

Fievel don't have any videos so go have a listen on Myspazz instead.

Wet Hair - Glass Fountain
Along with Captured Tracks, Not Not Fun dominated 2009. Wet Hair may be less celebrated than their more well-known peers, Sun Araw, Ducktails and Pocahaunted but their hypnotic drones, anchored by other-worldly revered-drenched vocals, proved to be much more compulsive, even if there is an overall feeling of unease throughout. A good album to fall asleep drunk.

Not Squares - Aye Yo Pa/IYouUsIt
Do you like to dance? Not Squares certainly do, and they like to make other people dance too. And they do this very well with their frenetic, shouty, literate disco-punk. They are an ever-evolving bunch too, currently aiming for a more space-kraut approach to induce contortions in their listeners, but these two tracks represent the pinnacle of the first configuration of Not Squares - like the mutant offspring of Black Eyes and Liquid Liquid.

Edan - Echo Party
A 30 minute bricolage of the most obscure hip-hop records from Traffic Ent, stitched together with obsessive attention to detail and fucked with using everything from a moog to a kazoo, Echo Party is another history lesson from one of the greatest producers around and the best damn party mixtape you'll find.

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion
You love this album. You've listened to it countless times this year. You think it is a stone-cold classic and you're right. It was Animal Collective's year. Enough said.

Other good listening in Hecuba, Desire, Vivian Girls, Hype Williams, Graffiti Island, Yo La Tengo, Health.