Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Megan's Top 25 of 2009: 20-16

Part Two of my Top 25 is quite the mixed bag: Texans, Brits, Canadians and transplanted Alabamians all reside here. This gang of five can make you dance in a variety of ways, and I think they’re all the bee’s knees, the cat’s meow, and all that and a bag of chips (or crisps, for our UK friends).

I still remember being down in Austin last year for SXSW, and one of the bands I heard the most about on a constant basis was the local darlings White Denim (otherwise known as #20 on this here list). While I managed to totally miss them during my time in Austin, I didn’t forget to get my hands on Fits. It’s a noisy, groovy little record with some big guitar sound and some seriously addictive qualities, big bad vocals and crazy drumming being chief among them. The more I listened to it, the more I dug it, and the more I think you should probably own this album.

All Consolation (White Denim from Fits)

My friend Scott is to be thanked for introducing me to #19 Japandroids one evening before music trivia. As soon as I heard the thrashing, pulsating notes of “The Boys Are Leaving Town” I was pretty much hooked on Post-Nothing. They’ve got the guitar-driven danceable thing totally down pat, and this entire album is nothing more than a party. Not just any party, mind you, but one of those parties that’s so good you can barely remember what happened, but you know in your bones it was one of the most fun nights of your life. And bless their little hearts, they wanna French kiss some French girls. Too cute.

Young Hearts Spark Fire (Japandroids from Post-Nothing)

For some reason, the self-titled album by The xx strikes me as decidedly English. And it’s not just the accents that led me to such a conclusion, wiseguys. From the opening “Intro,” it’s got this sophisticated, polished air, swirled around by a cool gray mist, but with a bite, much like London on a foggy late Autumn evening. I avoided this record for a large part of the year, merely because of all the hype surrounding it (something I’m prone to do and almost always end up regretting). But eventually I caved, and I must say I’m glad I did. Songs like “Crystalised,” a potential heir to all those classic New Order hits, don’t come around all that often. It’s a positively haunting song, set alight by the smoky boy-girl vocals and hearty, driving beats.

mp3: Crystalised (The xx from The xx)

Viva Voce
isn’t just for university exams anymore. Their formula for success is easy: merely take an absolutely adorable, terribly talented couple out of the sticky heat of Alabama and put them smack into the misty mysticism of Portland (Rose City, naturally), and you’ve got a surefire recipe for success. #17 record of 2009 Rose City is muy fantastico, and the Mr. & Mrs. Robinson continue to put their folksy boy-girl harmonies with a slightly retro sound in a class all their own. Aided by doubling the size of the band to four members, this new batch of songs is too good to be missed.

Midnight Sun (Viva Voce from Rose City)

As with the Super Furry Animals, I’ve been smitten with Doves for a long, long time (going on ten years now). Simply put, their music is stunning. I can still remember feeling my jaw drop the first time I heard “The Cedar Room” on the radio nearly a decade ago. It gave me chills, made me cry, and can still do the same thing even today. And happily, Jimi, Jez, and Andy are still making beautiful music together. #16 LP Kingdom of Rust could belong to no other band, with their elaborate song construction and the epic feel to each track. This album demands attention from start to finish, and I for one am more than happy to oblige. It’s hard to pick, but I can especially recommend powerful title track “Kingdom of Rust,” “The Outsiders,” and the dreamily bewitching “10:03”. Oh hell, just listen to and fall in love with the whole thing.

Kingdom of Rust (Doves from Kingdom of Rust)

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