Tag Archives: 2009

Melody Gardot – My One and Only Thrill (2009)

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The haunting sound of Melody Gardot. For her second studio album, Gardot mined a dark piano jazz style, and no more so than on the title track. Critics’ references to a blue-eyed Nina Simone are very complimentary, but not that unfathomable. My One and Only Thrill was released on the Verve label in 2009.

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Desire – Under Your Spell (2009)

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In 2009, Chromatics’ Johnny Jewel and Nat Walker teamed up with vocalist Megan Louise to become Desire. Their debut album II was released on Italians Do It Better and explores the synthpop typical of Jewel’s label. The standout song ‘Under Your Spell’ would then appear as a centrepiece sound in the 2011 movie Drive.

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Moderat – A New Error (2009)

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moderat

It’s a Friday, so let’s go techno. Gernot Bronsert, Sascha Ring and Sebastian Szary are Moderat – a three-piece project from Berlin. In 2009, the trio released their self-titled debut on BPitch Control. ‘A New Error’ is the opening track. Have a great weekend.

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Timber Timbre – Magic Arrow (2009)

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Timber Timbre

Timber Timbre are a Canadian band/project formed in 2005 by Taylor Kirk, Mika Posen and Simon Trottier. Singer-songwriter Taylor Kirk’s dark and mysterious ‘Magic Arrow’ features right in the middle of 2009’s self-titled album. The band’s name refers to an early series of recordings made in a timber-framed farmhouse on the outskirts of Bobcaygeon, Ontario. By the sounds of it, in 2009, they were recording from an abandoned Wild West town. Haunting. Have a great week.

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Bill Callahan – Jim Cain (2009)

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Bill Callahan 2009

From one opening cut to another – ‘Jim Cain’ kicks off Bill Callahan’s 2009 Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle. “I started out in search of ordinary things/How much of a tree bends in the wind/I started telling the story without knowing the end/… I used to be darker, then I got lighter, then I got dark again…” Apart from some airborne sting arrangements, it’s a delightful spoonful of gentle self-indulgence.

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Julian Casablancas ‎- 11th Dimension (2009)

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Julian Casablancas 2009

Julian Casablancas released ’11th Dimension’ as the lead single from his debut album Phrazes for the Young. With Casablancas’s vocals laid over an electro-pop synth production, this sounded to my ears like Phoenix meets The Strokes. What wouldn’t there be to love?

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Generationals – When They Fight, They Fight (2009)

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Generationals

Generationals released their debut album, Con Law, in 2009. Borrowing heavily from Motown for a strong start, Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer then use cowbells, horns, a ska rhythm and harmonies to create something most unexpectedly nostalgic. I like it a lot. Have a great weekend.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2009

In no particular order…

Beach House – Used To Be

Empire Of The Sun – Walking On A Dream

Jay Electronica – Exhibit C

The Big Pink – Velvet

Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension

Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks

Phoenix – Lisztomania

Generationals – When They Fight, They Fight

Real Estate – It’s Real

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Honourable mentions also go to:  Mayer Hawthorne for ‘Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin’‘; Blue Roses for ‘Doubtful Comforts‘; The Black Eyed Peas for ‘Meet Me Halfway‘; Bibio for ‘Lovers’ Carvings‘; The xx for ‘Night Time‘; Local Natives for ‘Airplanes‘; Vib Gyor for ‘Red Lights‘, Bill Callahan for ‘Jim Cain‘ and Friendly Fires for ‘Skeleton Boy‘.

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Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks (2009)

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Grizzly Bear image

I am drawn by tunes more than lyrics. For example, I have always thought that Grizzly Bear’s upbeat “Two Weeks” is a song about holiday: “Save up all the days/A routine malaise”. But, the first single from the band’s third album, Veckatimest, is in fact about the slow breakdown of a relationship. The song features Beach House’s Victoria Legrand on backing vocals; that should have been a clue. I’ll stick with my two weeks’ vacation. Have a great week.

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Grizzly Bear – Cheerleader (2009)

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Grizzly Bear 2009

Grizzly Bear had come a long way since their debut album Yellow House was released in 2006. 2009’s Veckatimest was also a much more accessible affair. The single ‘Two Weeks’ may have taken all the plaudits, evidently helped by the backing vocals of Beach House’s Victoria Legrand, but ‘Cheerleader’ is the standout track for me. Its waltz-like groove is a great start to the week.

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Friendly Fires – Skeleton Boy (2009)

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Friendly Fires

‘Skeleton Boy’ was the fifth single off Friendly Fires’ eponymous debut album. Released a year after the album, the track is a classic example of the band’s anthemic dance pop. And once again, singer Ed MacFarlane’s voice stars. Have a great week.

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Jay Electronica – Exhibit C (2009)

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Jay Electronica

“They call me Jay Electronica/Fuck that, call me Jay Elec-Hannukah/Jay Elec-Yarmulke/Jay Elect-Ramadaan Muhammad Asalaamica/Rasoul Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala through your monitor.” Try that my friends. When Jay Electronic first delivered those lines, the hip hop world stood still. The rhymes were essential. The sound was vintage. Three years later Ben Goldsmith would divorce his heiress wife Kate Rothschild because of her affair with Electronica. He had climbed the heights.

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The Drums – Lets Go Surfing (2009)

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The Drums

We’re in the heart of winter and it’s time for some sunshine. Listening to The Drums’ Summertime EP for the first time is pure beach and breeze. The first track ‘Lets Go Surfing’ is a pop cut, with overtones of The Cure. Jonathan Pierce sings “Wake up, it’s a beautiful morning”… now that’s something for the carefree.

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Julian Casablancas – I Wish It Was Christmas Today (2009)

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Julian Casablancas

‘I Wish It Was Christmas Today’ was originally a Saturday Night Live skit featuring by Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan et al. back in 2000. A decade later, it was given an indie makeover by hero Julian Casablancas. The result sounds like a Strokes song with jingle bells and more than a hint of rebellion: “I don’t care what your momma says, Christmas time is near”.

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Lusine – Two Dots (2009)

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Lusine

Lusine is the recording name of Texas-born Jeff McIlwain (and the Armenian word for moon). ‘Two Dots’ is the first single from his second long player A Certain Distance. McIlwain delivers a lot of sonic tricks to accompany Vilja Larjosto’s vocals. Despite all the minimalist electronics, the song includes a pop hook and the semblance of a dance track. To prove a point and hear something more fully shaped for the dance floor, check out the Chad Valley remix.

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