Top 20 Albums of 2009: Part Two
11. Soap&Skin – Lovetune For Vaccuum
Raised on a pig farm in rural Austria, there was always a chance that 18 year old Anja Plaschg was going to turn out a bit strange. Sure enough, her tenuous debut album is a nervous, muted affair – it’s as disturbing and depressing as it is austerely beautiful. Sure, it won’t bring a smile to your face, but lose yourself to Anja’s glittering piano and fragmented, accented lyrics and you’ll find something much better.
12. Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs
Yo La Tengo never fail to amaze me – 12 albums in, and they still manage to create music with the same unfaltering levels of ceaseless experimentalism as they did 25 years ago. ‘Popular Songs’ follows in the tradition of genre mish-mash ‘I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One’. Yo La Tengo manage to juggle – and juggle well – numerous genres, including organ-driven soul, dreamy shoe-gaze and 60’s influenced motown. Jaw-droppingly impressive.
Read my review of ‘Popular Songs’ HERE:
13. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
For almost a decade, Chicago-born singer-songwriter Andrew Bird has been the most reliable purveyor of the kind of graceful, orchestral folk that has helped make the names of artists like Beirut and Iron & Wine. ‘Noble Beast’ is the follow-up to his seismic ‘Armchair Apocrypha’, and while ‘Noble Beast’ doesn’t quite scale it’s predecessors dizzying heights, it’s still a thing of whimsy and beauty, especially the swooning simplicity of ‘Effigy’, and the busy, clickety-clack of ‘Tenuousness’
14. Fiery Furnaces – I’m Going Away
The Fiery Furnaces can never be described as an easy band to listen to, but ‘I’m Going Away’ finally heralded the reigning of their wild creativity into a format that was a lot more palatable than previous efforts – their odd mixture of old-fashioned throaty blues and sonic squiggling is still very much prevalent, and there isn’t anything as prosaic as a chorus, but every song (at least) has a recognisable melody, and Eleanor’s drawled, Bob Dylan-y vocals have never sounded stronger.