Material Things: My Favorite Albums of 2009, #20-11

We’re already nearing the end of the list!  Has your favorite appeared yet?  Maybe it’ll be in the Top 20…

20. St. VincentActor

Stability is one trait that Actor does not possess.  Chalk that up to Annie Clark‘s lyrical construction and guitar style, the combination of which yields a lovely, twitchy collection of songs and mini-suites.

19. Erin McKeownHundreds Of Lions

The pint-sized songstress creates one of her finest, most eclectic albums.  The songs on Hundreds Of Lions range from folk to synthpop to pseudo-showtunes.  Each is intricate by design yet ultimately inviting and familiar in nature.

18. eelsHombre Lobo: 12 Songs Of Desire

E scuzzes it up for a raucous set of overdriven lust songs.  Hombre Lobo hisses and howls, but the songs themselves are expertly written (as usual), never relying on the volume to make up for half-assed material.

17. The Minus 5Killingsworth

Scott McCaughey‘s main project produces another album of elegant alt-country/power pop.  With contributions from buddies The Decemberists, Killingsworth is a tour de force for the revolving cast of musical compatriots.

16. DovesKingdom Of Rust

The British trio embraces a Madchester sound for their fourth album.  Electronic, ambient, even psychedelic country influences weave in and out of the album’s solid set.  Legendary producer John Leckie helps out on a few tracks, like the stellar “Winter Hill,” whose guitar figure is eerily familiar-sounding.

15. Antony & The JohnsonsThe Crying Light

Antony stripped back the instrumentation for his combo’s third album, leaving his emotion-wringing lyrics to be the focus.  Those lyrics drive a musically sparse album that is as impressive (if not as immediate) as its predecessor, I Am A Bird Now.  The accompanying EP for Another World features some great extras, as well.

14. Os MutantesHaih… Or Amortecedor…

You probably get it by now

13. The RaveonettesIn And Out Of Control

Sune Rose and Sharin follow up their feedback-iest disc with an album of dark pop tunes.  The songs on In And Out Of Control leap off the record with confidence and swagger, which is magnified ever further in concert.  Playful and coy yet full of twisted turns, the record hearkens back to the duo’s more straightforward early days.

12. Neko CaseMiddle Cyclone

A series of songs that are meant to be taken very literally, Middle Cyclone subverts the kind of enigmatic songwriting that Case herself often thrives on.  The result is an effortlessly cool album that somehow has enough time for more than half an hour of swamp noise.  As unnecessary as that is, the real songs are enough of a treat to more than make up for it.

11. Pink MartiniSplendor In The Grass

The “little orchestra’s” latest is another musical travelogue, spanning the many languages and styles of the world.  China Forbes is joined by many guests, but it’s the delicate original tune “Over The Valley” that is not only the finest of the songs on Splendor In The Grass, but one of the best in the band’s entire catalogue.

The Top 10!!

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~ by E. on December 24, 2009.

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