Friday, January 01, 2010

Albums of 2009

Like Liblairian said in his previous post, this is the time of year to be bombarded with "best of" lists and I've got another one for you on this New Year's Day. Raised in this great music city, I love music and listen to it constantly. If the library didn't exist, I really don't know what I would do - I rely heavily on APL to buy the music by the bands I'm interested in, so I can give it a listen before committing to a purchase. True, I can just go to Waterloo and listen away anytime I want, but not for 3 weeks at a time like when I check out a CD from the library.

The below list is of albums the library owns that were released in 2009 that I really enjoyed (and am still enjoying). I'm going to go ahead and temper this list by mentioning that I have been accused of only listening to indie rock and having a feminine taste in music. In response to the first accusation, I'd say, yes, but that does not mean it is lacking in variety. In response to the second, if really enjoying a number of female artists makes one's taste "feminine", then so be it. Either way, I think there may be something in the list for everyone.

On a side note, feel free to Suggest a Title via FindIt, the library catalog, if we do not own the music you're looking for. And, if you don't know how to place a hold already, Ask a Librarian how you can get something sent to the branch of your choice and notified by email when it is available.

Around the Well - Iron & Wine

Samuel Beam, the man behind Iron & Wine, resides just outside of Austin, TX and only gets better each album he releases with his folky, lovely tunes. Read reviews and take a listen.

Blood Bank - Bon Iver
This is just a 4-song EP, not a full album, but the song "Woods" made it hard for me not to put on the list. Read reviews and take a listen.

Dark was the Night: A Red Hot Compilation - David Byrne
David Byrne is the man: lead singer of the Talking Heads, author of a new book, and the creator of this excellent compilation including music by artists such as Spoon, Arcade Fire, Blonde Readhead, Stuart Murdoch, and Conor Oberst. Read reviews and take a listen.

Hazards of Love - The Decemberists
Decemberists songs are like novellas set to music, and, considering Colin Meloy's (the lead singer) creative writing background, I guess this isn't surprising. This album is one long story complete with ghosts, a beast, a fair maiden, and an evil queen. Read reviews and take a listen.

I haven't dug a Doves album since The Last Broadcast released in 2002, but this new effort reminds me of why I like them so much and makes me wonder why more people aren't familiar with them. Read reviews and take a listen.
Zach Condon's previous work reflects a European influence, but this double EP is a bit different as it includes influences from Oaxaca, Mexico where Condon recently visited. It's still heavy with his Serge-Gainsbourg-like vocals and European riffs, but it all comes together into another great effort. Read reviews and take a listen.

I love this band and I'm not sure I would have really gotten into them if the library didn't have their albums. This one is their most accessible, but it is actually my least favorite; however, don't let that get in your way because it's still freakin' awesome. Read reviews and take a listen.

Neko Case has the clearest, most lovely voice and, for me, is singer-songwriting at its best. Read reviews and take a listen.

I love the style of pop Camera Obscura is so great at delivering. Their new album is no exception, though, my favorite is still their previous effort, Let's Get Out of this Country (watch a video of one of those tracks here). Read reviews and take a listen.

Andrew Bird writes and sings, plays violin, and whistles like it's nobody's business. Read reviews and take a listen.

Often referred to as part of the "freak folk" movement (and, indeed, they have done a lot of collaborating with Devendra Banhart), if you like Iron & Wine, you'll probably love Vetiver. Read reviews and take a listen.

More psychedellic folk-pop, this album is my favorite from the band so far. Read reviews and take a listen.

How could I leave you without some Austin bands? Here are 3 of my favorites from 2009 that you can find at the library:

The Century of Self - ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead
If you haven't heard of Trail of Dead by now and you've been living in Austin for 5 years or longer, I'd say you've been living under a rock. Get with the times and check out their new album. Read reviews and take a listen.

Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away - Slaid Cleaves
I initially stumbled upon Slaid Cleaves via the jukebox at the Horeshoe Lounge (the album Broke Down). His 2009 album does not disappoint and Cleaves still proves to be an amazing songwriter. Read reviews and take a listen.

Have you seen Black Joe Lewis live yet? Well, what are you waiting for? Read a review and take a listen.


Anonymous said...

Great Post! Thank you. Here, here to feminine taste...

Chris said...

I was just thinking that I needed some recommendations and here they were - and with links to the catalog - excellent.

Ragged Robin said...

Awesome! Hope you enjoy.