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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Irish Bands Named After Planes Top '09

Given the speedy evolution of digital music and the devolution of cd's, for maybe just a little while longer, we can take a look back at the year and pick our favorite full-length albums.

In the future, we'll probably debate which was the best mp3 of the past twelve months. But, for at least a sense of future nostalgia, I submit to you, my Top 5 Albums of 2009 and why I picked 'em.

1. Bell X1- Blue Lights on the Runway
- An aviation inspired band name and album title, clever lyrics, inventive new wave hooks go right for the gut, but Paul Noonan's sincere, yet almost deadpan delivery will keep the songs in my brain receptors for years to come.

2. Neko Case- Middle Cyclone
- As fearless and compelling as a record can get, the red headed siren gets savagely revealing on these boundless songs made all the more so by jazz-like tempo and idea shifts and killer lines like "the next time you say forever, I will punch you in the face." Hurts so good!

3. Cotton Jones- Paranoid Cocoon
- Michael Nau and Whitney McGraw, the Cumberland duo who used to front Page France, go from child-like pop wonderment, to darker, psychedelic harmonies that would be perfect cure for a fever in a Western Maryland cabin.

4. U2- No Line on the Horizon
- This was a very slow burn for me. But, then again, so was Achtung Baby and this record, if you can believe it, actually tops it! Like the Berlin-inspired 90's opus, this collaboration with Eno and Lanois was dying in the Moroccan desert until Bono, Edge, Larry, and Adam came together around a magical song about addiction, called "Moment of Surrender." What resulted after that, is a living-on-the-grid gospel album that would sound right pouring out of a minaret or a church.

Watch Eno talk about that song.

5. Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion
- Every year, I look for a record that doesn't sound like anything else; that doesn't faithfully beg, borrow, or steal, from anything.... that has no equal. The Boys from B'more deliver that kind of album, a sonic extravaganza that's intense, sexy, psychedelic, harmonic, pulsating, and sometimes, moving. Put this one in the time capsule!

We'd like to know what your favorite songs are for the year. Click here to vote and listen back on 12/20!

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