Best Albums of 2009
Rather than compiling a huge list at the end of the year, not having enough time to do a good job, and simply throwing something together really fast, I'm going to start compiling my thoughts on albums over the whole year - month by month.
The Appleseed Cast - Sagarmatha
I went through a pretty big Appleseed Cast phase about 3 years ago - listening to their then fairly fresh and new Peregrine . There is a distinct picture in my head of driving south on I-25 in Colorado, passing the Cuerno Verde rest area, then turning West on 160 on our way to Pagosa Springs - listening to both Peregrine and Mare Vitalis  while the wife slept in the passenger seat. It was good driving music. Good for long stretches of road with no conversation. For some reason, they dropped almost completely off my playlists since that trip. I was pleasantly surprised to see this new album pop up this month and have happily consumed it while riding around town for the past few weeks. It rings familiar - long instrumentals - sparse lyrics - alternating complex and starkly simple compositions. Very much in the indie-emo-whatever we're calling this now vein of music that the Appleseed Cast emerged in about a decade ago. I think this one will stick with me better than any of their previous releases. Top tracks are As the Little Things Go, The Summer Ends and South Col [download mp3].
Say Hi - Oohs & Aahs
I still have a large chip on my shoulder concerning Eric Ellbogen's Brooklyn-Seattle based band, Say Hi. Why? Because before shortening his name to Say Hi, he had, arguably, one of the greatest band names ever - Say Hi to Your Mom. Oh well. Maybe he's matured or something - I obviously haven't. That quip aside, Oohs & Aahs is probably my favorite album of his to date! There is a lack of lyrical content about robot girlfriends, ghost and vampires . . . but it is catchy! Top tracks are Elouise, Hallie and Henry, Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh [download mp3] and The Stars Just Blink For Us.
General Elektriks - Good City for Dreamers
I have made mention of General Elektriks before. The brainchild of R.V. Salters - keyboardist extrodinaire that is featured on a host of Quannum Records releases - Blackalicious, the Lifesavas, Lateef and the Chief (Maroons), Honeycut, etc . . . I even posted a video of him once. He is one of the funkiest keyboardists around, and had some made dance moves to boot. I've never been fanatical about his vocals, but the beats and grooves are top notch. Top Tracks are Take Back the Instant [video], You Don't Listen [download mp3] and Mirabelle Pockets.