Material Things: My Favorite Albums of 2009, #50-41

Once again, the time has come to judge albums that most people haven’t heard of.  For me, this was an interesting year in music because, as I mentioned halfway through said year, the albums I liked the most were ones that many other people liked as well.  Now, I’m not saying that I won’t listen to something that’s popular with like-minded music lovers, but year-end lists (like many of the ones I’ve already read) lose a lot of pizazz when they all feature the same albums.  At any rate, I gathered a list that I feel best represents my favorite albums of the past year.  Like my (apparently very popular) decade list, Finer Feelings, I’ll be presenting my list in segments, with little blurbs about each album.  I’ve already reviewed a good lot of them, but I’ll try and come up with some fresh material.

Let’s get to reflectin’, shall we?

50. Jason LytleYours Truly, The Commuter

If the last thing you heard was that the former Grandaddy leader was left for dead, you best give his solo debut a listen.  Equal parts tender balladry and chugging power pop, Yours Truly, The Commuter might not be The Sophtware Slump 2, but it is good to see Jason still hanging around.

49. Big Bad Voodoo DaddyHow Big Can You Get?: The Music Of Cab Calloway

Finally, after a live album, a Christmas album and years of touring, the BBVD returned with a huge horn section and a collection of classics from the “Hi De Ho” Man.  While I would love to hear some more originals soon, the newly expanded sound is a very welcome change, keeping the band from fading stagnantly into the scene they helped create.

48. Cheval SombreCheval Sombre

Drowsy, spacey, acoustic.  Not the most original combination, but a winning one nonetheless.  With Dean & Britta and Spacemen 3‘s Sonic Boom helping out, the debut album from the mysterious man?/band? is a delicate winner.

47. Reverend Horton HeatLaughin’ & Cryin’ With The Reverend Horton Heat

Less “Rock” than “-Billy” this time around, the Reverend and company are at their musical peak.  With songs that are riotous without being groaners, the trio walk the line between nod-and-wink cleverness and truly strong songwriting.  And they walk it mighty well.

46. Dent May & His Magnificent UkuleleThe Good Feeling Music Of Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele

The uke-strumming, wobbly-throated crooner’s Paw Tracks debut is as far from Animal Collective as you can get.  Very much a “good feeling” record, this collection of old-timey summer tunes and originals begs to be played at your next hukilau or cocktail party.

45. My Robot FriendSoft-Core

Rising from the ashes of the aborted Robot High School project, Soft-Core is a joyous, if a bit scatterbrained journey into the circuitry of Howard Robot.  Though he’s joined by many collaborators, including Alison Moyet, it’s the solo Robot songs (possibly intended for Robot High School) that really make this album worth the long wait.

44. Nouvelle Vague3

Not just another collection of new wave covers by chanteuses who’ve never heard them before, 3 brings some of the original vocalists into the mix.  Hearing Martin Gore reprise his part on “Master & Servant” is fun enough, but the ska-into-reggae take on “Ça Plane Pour Moi” is the real treat.

43. PapertriggerSnake Sale

The Philadelphia-based monsters are on some kind of big hiatus as they reshuffle their lineup, but at least we’re left with their full-length debut.  A menacing set of waltzes, marching bands and progressive rock, Snake Sale is continued proof that only the good die (or, at least, break up) young.

42. Sondre LercheHeartbeat Radio

The Norwegian heartthrob’s Rounder debut, Heartbeat Radio is a fully realized vision.  Poppy, jazzy, chamber-y, the album has it all.  Pair that musical excellence with Lerche‘s always superb songwriting and you’ve got a disc that rivals Duper Sessions very closely.

41. Deer TickBorn On Flag Day

If Delta Spirit were a little bit more country-y, they’d probably sound like Deer TickBorn On Flag Day is a rousing and rollicking stomp of an album that always makes time for detours into heart-wrenching slower material.

Ready for the next 10?

~ by E. on December 21, 2009.

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