Top Albums of 2009


Jan 19 2010, 0h21

1. David Bazan - "Curse Your Branches"
After waiting 2 years for this album to come out, it was well worth the wait. Bazan's first full LP took a detour from his Pedro the Lion recording which focused on fictional characters to center on Bazan's falling out of religion. These are some of the most personal lyrics I've heard and it's evident that by taking his time Bazan really did the album justice. I just have to wonder he's going to go from here.

Hard To Be... The album's first track and my favorite off the disc... all stripped down...


2. M. Ward - "Hold Time"
Matt Ward's most eclectic effort yet. I still think Matt Ward is the most dependably superb guitarist and lyricist out there.

Ward performing One Hundred Million Years off Hold Time


3. Justin Townes Earle - "Midnight at the Movies"
After seeing JTE live in 2009, it made me a believer in the music he's creating. I've never heard someone mix authentic country and Merle Travis picking like him before. And it sounds so current too. This guy is going to go light years ahead of his tiresome father.

JTE performing They Killed John Henry


4. Yo La Tengo - "Popular Songs"
This has always been one of those bands that I knew once I started paying attention to I would really get into its back catalog. Popular Songs was the excuse for me to start in on their material. I think it helped me seeing them live too. Probably the best show I saw in 2009.

And the Glitter is Gone


5. Bill Frisell - "Disfarmer"
The album is inspired by Depression-era photographer Michael Disfarmer's sobering images of rural America. Of all of the Firsell records I've listened to I've never heard him quite this on top of his game. With an underlying theme in the melody running through the entire record, these short recordings are barren and haunting and accompany Disfarmer's photographs perfectly.

Hear and see some of the pictures...


6. Monsters of Folk - "Monsters of Folk"
At first listen I wasn't too interested in this supergroup combo of Mike Mogis, Conor Oberst, Jim James and M. Ward. But all the songs have really grown on me. After seeing them first play in 2004 performing their own individual songs I was always interested in what they could produce together in terms of original material. This was a nice surprise in 2009.

Here's Ward doing the lead vocals on Temazcal. A track that Oberst fronts on the album version.


7. Mason Jennings - "Blood Of Man"
I wasn't expecting such a quick turnaround between "In The Ever" and this new record. But Jennings returned with the greatest leap of sound in his career and I think he nailed the transformation. It's also impressive to note that he played all the instruments on the album and produced it all on his own at his cabin in the great state of Minnesota.

Jennings' performing the haunting Sing Out live in MPR's Current Studio


8. Dave Rawlings Machine - "A Friend Of A Friend"
I've always been interested in Rawlings and his guitar playing, his work with Ryan Adams and Conor Oberst, so I was excited to learn his own album was coming out this year.



9. The Flaming Lips - "Embryonic"
This was such a welcome to my ears after 2006's "At War the Mystics." The record is a long blur of acid rock and reminds me why I first got interested in their sound in the first place.

Watching the planets


10. Do Make Say Think - "Other Truths"
They returned with a four-song blast. I feel like DMST peaked with Winter Hymn, Country Hymn, Secret Hymn but I still find myself falling in love with each of their albums.

The four tracks on the album are Do, Make, Say and Think. This is Do.

Honorable Mentions: A.A. Bondy - "When The Devil's Loose", Cursive - "Mama, I'm Swollen", Magnolia Electric Co. - "Josephine", Dinosaur Jr. - "Farm" and Ramblin' Jack Elliot "A Stranger Here"


  • MichaelJoMayer

    Your 5, 6, and 9 would make my list, along with Magnolia Electric Company.

    Jun 9 2010, 23h33
  • SpoonRiver

    I think if I were writing this list again "Popular Songs" would be #2. It's definitely stuck with me longer.

    Set 18 2010, 4h46
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