My final listening diary of 2009, this time covering stuff that captured my fancy from October through December (okay, more like the first two-thirds of December: whatever). This sequence is titled Czarmania…
- Dark Meat “The Faint Smell of Moss”: Go ahead and hallucinate, you know you want to.
- Fruit “Sally’s Car”: My friend Miles pointed me at this one: ex-Kitchens of Distinction dude Patrick Fitzgerald’s late ’90s band. The entire album is available for free download…although I forgot to record the URL. Search away!
- White Mystery “Power Glove”: For some reason, several entries from the gasoline-choked garages this time around…
- Marmoset “Treat a Boy”: Is it geeky to spend lots of time wondering what key this damned thing is in? I can’t decide between the first chord and the second one…
- The Mantles “Don’t Lie”: Power garage – with some curious phrasing.
- Gigi Gaston “Je Suis Perdue”: This particular mid-60s French chanteuse happens to be wholly fictitious, an art project by Josh Gosfield. But the sound is correct.
- Sloan “Take it Upon Yourself”: I always underestimate these guys. Putting out very good albums every year is hard…even if none of them quite seem to be great albums.
- Mike Benign “All the Married People”: Ironic…cuz, see, Mr. Benign (which, in a weird twist of fate, is his actual name: “Stefaniak” is a pseudonym chosen to make him seem more ethnic) is himself one of them there married people. He emerged from the cocoon of family to play a few shows this year…and must’ve gotten bit again, because now he’s formed a band, to debut in a few weeks, called the Mike Benign Compulsion.
- Dominant Legs “Just Silly Ones”: All I know about this is that apparently it’s recorded in GarageBand and the guy to whom the software is registered is named Ryan Lynch. Funny how that works.
- Tindersticks “Black Smoke”: True fact: as the date on this track indicates, it was actually recorded in 2010, within the last (checks clock) 34 hours! Truer fact: they lied – it was done in 2009. An intriguing track from a forthcoming release, sent out in advance to the blogging hordes.
- Laminated Cat “Aquamarine”: No one who knows me will be surprised to find out that if you want me to listen to your song at least once, give your band, song, or album a reference to a feline. Sometimes, that works out quite nicely, as it does here.
- Anton Barbeau “Egg Hating Lady”: Slightly edited: there’s some “psychedelic” rabble of about 10 seconds that I lopped off for reasons of continuity. You can go to myspace and hear it too. Anyway: Barbeau does one of the things he does best: compels listeners to repeatedly sing rather nonsensical phrases because they’re too damned catchy not to. I swear to my god.
- Espers “Caroline”: I just know that someone in this band was dancing in flowing robes beneath the full moon last night. Although I hope they were on vacation, since I think they’re from Philadelphia, where unless those robes were made of several layers of wool, more freezing than dancing would have been entailed.
- Dirty Projectors “When the World Comes to an End”: This otherwise unreleased song was performed on Jimmy Fallon’s show. I haven’t quite decided whether Dirty Projectors’ songs are actually really good or I’m just too busy trying to pick my jaw up off the floor at their vocal arrangements to notice otherwise.
- Caribou Vibration Ensemble: “Brahminy Kite”: In which Dan Snaith, mathematician, transforms his elegant little electronic numbers into freak-jazz by means of adding a whole bunch of players: live from the New York edition of All Tomorrow’s Parties and courtesy WFMU.
- Pizzicato Five “The Audrey Hepburn Complex”: Someone (probably Stewart Mason) pointed me in the direction of this track’s YouTube video, whose soundtrack is a bit more experimental than the P5 stuff I know, which was more neo-jetset in tone. I like it.
- Bear in Heaven “Lovesick Teenagers”: And still there are Bear bands. Does the Pope play synth in the woods?
- Charlotte Gainsbourg “IRM”: The new thing is to write music about brain hemorrhages. Easier if you don’t have to, you know, actually have them first. Poor Ms. Gainsbourg: first that, then having Lars Von Trier tell her to pummel Willem Dafoe’s genitalia.
- Clean Equations “French Noise Piece”: If I were as verbally obsessive as I once was, this track would have had to have followed the Dirty Projectors track. It does not. (Pretend I didn’t notice that Charlotte Gainsbourg is French.)
- Modern Skirts “Soft Pedals”: This kinda reminds me of a less-precious Aluminum Group. That’s a good thing.
- Bobby McClure “Peak of Love”: From a compilation of semi-obscure ’60s soul singles, which I discovered seeking out a track recommended by the ubiquitous Dave Monroe. (I’ve never met the man in person, but he knows friends of mine in about every possible social configuration…I think it must be an alias.) Anyway: the track he recommended proved to be excellent…but I like this one even more. Intensity focused nearly unto obsession.
- Brimstone Howl “Suicide Blues”: This is here mostly because of the sound of the guitar breaks. I’m doing a little project around the house cutting some glass – and as it turns out, the guitars here work perfectly to that end.
- Vic Chesnutt “Flirted with You All My Life”: Rest in peace.
- David Bowie “When I’m Five”: This is a rather charming, very early little Bowie piece that I wish he’d properly recorded and released. Courtesy the very wonderful Pushing Ahead of the Dame, which is tackling every song Bowie’s ever recorded, chronologically (he’s up to 1970 at this point).
I have not even begun to figure out my 20 favorite album releases of 2009…my vague impression is that there were a lot of good ones, but I’m a bit at sea. That’s a symptom of the increasing ephemeralization of music: this year, I finished ripping my entire music collection onto a big-ass external drive, so it’s all in iTunes. I will pull out the actual CDs only rarely these days…and while I do still buy actual physical objects that contain music, they tend to become archival backups rather than the actual medium by which I listen to music.
That’ll eventually be the last post related to 2009 music.
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