Biscuits, Triscuits…


A Year Remembered in Music
December 30, 2009, 7:15 pm
Filed under: music and musings

Music in the year of 2009 went up and down, both new releases and what I personally chose to listen to.  Honestly, there are albums that were definitely great this year, but I didn’t feel the need to go into the ones we all know about.  Also, there are several ways to review a year in music. I choose to do it with a mix cd, 12 songs for the year, representing each month. To download, click 2009: A Year in Review

January-  No Age- “Eraser”

January of 2009 was like a fresh start, a new year, a new president, but we need something to hold it together. So No Age’s “Eraser” is a perfect start to the year. It’s biting just like the New York weather in January, but it contains pieces of 2008 in it, as well as snippets of sounds chasing back to the 70’s. Giving January of 2009 the perfect jump start.

February- The So So Glos- “Island Loops”

The So So Glos music feels like soundtracks to the summer. So in the middle of winter, it’s important to feel like at some point, it will be warm again. This album came out in 2008, but  the ability to dance when it’s freezing is pretty important, so it’s ok that it’s not from 2009. The So So Glos themselves still had an amazing year in 2009, touring Europe twice and opening for some large acts with their throwbacks to the original ideas of punk.“Island Loops” reinforces the Clash influence with Reggae beats, but creates the atmosphere of dancing like crazy in a dim chilly warehouse, lit by Christmas lights. It’s nice to think about, and nice to do.

March- Woods- “Rain On”

Woods started blowing up around this time. “Rain On” helps define the month of March in 2009 with this organic, basement feel that had felt somewhat lost for a while. Most of 2009’s winter was wrapped in subpar lo-fi, shoegaze music that just kept repeating itself. Woods was a secret surprise. Warm and uplifting, completely unassuming and gentle, somewhat of an odd duck at the time, but also fitting in with the surf-y background elements and experimental styles. It also speaks some truth in the song, “Oh how the days will rain on you.” There’s no denying that.

April- Faces On Film- “I’ll Sleep to Protect You”

This song feels like rain, which April often brings. This Boston band’s debut album was not released in 2009, but carries the weight of memories and music that should be heavily present in the following year. Singer/songwriter Mike Fiore sings out, “Car in the Driveway/ Children are fed/ I wish you were home/ You wish I was dead.” The song tries to tell a story with poignant lyrics and jangly instrumentals, reaching and longing, feeling lonely yet uplifting. Another characteristic shared with April of 2009. It wasn’t quite warm yet, bulbs were still trying to find their way to warm soil and water was pouring down, but still there was hope there.

May- Broadcast- “Man is Not a Bird”

Broadcast is not new, but May 2009 was sunny and blooming with hopes of a long, hot happy summer.  “Man is not a Bird” in it’s lo-fi, sing-song-y fashion feels like flowers stretching all around, and warmth over riding your body.  May felt like a happy month with ideas of what the following would feel like, the sun just starting to learn how to burn.

June- City Center- “Bleed Blood”

City Center’s self-titled album did come out in 2009 and represented a fluidity that comes with summer. The ability to go from the hot sun, into cold water but have it flow so easily just because it’s June. “Bleed Blood” reminds us that we do all bleed the same thing. Like children cutting their knees on sand as they run down the beach to getting blood taken for check ups or sitting in the hot sun feeling as your blood flows, boiling through your body. June was full of burn, summer cooking, sprinklers, grass, and the beginning of summer. And like the song says, “And don’t forget to listen to your feelings. Feel it all the time, you’re bleeding, and love always wanting more.”

July- Dirty Projectors- “Two Doves”

July 2009 was a whirlwind of music and movement. With the start of outdoor summer shows, Dirty Projectors recent release became a beautiful summer hit. Much like July, this song is short, beautiful and bittersweet. With plucking guitar and sweet strings, “Two Doves,” rolls through the speakers like sweat in July rolled down our arms and dripped onto the new summer grass.

August- Grizzly Bear- “On a Neck, On a Spit”

August was a little more gritty, the weather was more up in the air, storms rolling through the states. It felt more earthy and in tune with nature than the past couple months that were just upbeat and high energy. August grabs hold of reality, reminding you summer is almost over. “On a Neck, On a Spit” perfectly displays the organic feelings that August of 2009 brought. It’s slightly epic and dramatic, but earth-toned and continually bouncing back with acoustic guitar the sounds of fingers creaking along the guitar strings. August was drawn out and a little bit manic, but it got everything re-aligned to prepare for fall.

September- Lou Reed- “This Magic Moment”

What would be more appropriate to start the Fall with than an old favorite covered by an old favorite. Dark and brooding but twisting the words originally recorded by The Drifters, and drawing them out long and hard to keep the warmth emanating out of the speakers. Lou Reed is a good go to, September is a time to get back into the habit of being regularly, getting back to the norm. This September was fast and hard, it stung with feedback and rolled with crackling drums. It was still warm and surprisingly so. It felt pretty much like this.

October- Neon Indian- “Teriminally Chill”

In last ditch efforts to try to conserve the energy of summer, Neon Indian released his summer-y, airy tunes in October of 2009. The album Psychic Chasms electrified and distilled itself into thin air with fluctuating keys and warm, lo-fi vocals. “Terminally Chill” has just enough edge to it that it’s not only a summer splash, it pulls in the chilliness of the air that started to blow through windows and was breathed in through our nostrils.  The song bounces and bleeds it’s energy all over the dance floor, all over Brooklyn, all over October.

November- Headlights- “Secrets”

In November it finally got cold, and the chilling memories of people you may see for the holidays, or people you may never see again over the holidays begins to infiltrate your mind. Headlights captures perfectly in their new album the ideas of growing up, getting old, and moving forward. It’s not always happy, but it is slightly exciting, with clanging cymbals, and quick paced, rolling vocals. It gets you ready for winter, prepares you for what’s to come, both good and bad.

December- Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros- “Home”

Wrapping up the year with messages of warmth and home are Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros with their home-grown, earthy tune “Home.” Naming a million things that could make one feel home, signifying family and love, this is what December does right? The end of thanksgiving, Christmas, new years, all times you want to be with those you love aka: home, wherever that may be.  Horns splash and a chorus whistles, there’s a spoken interlude that’s all sweet and gushy, but adorable at the same time. It paints a great picture of what we’d all like home to be, what we’d like December to be. We may not get that in 2009, but maybe, maybe we will in 2010.

Thanks for sticking with me from the middle of 2009 til the end. I will try to update more regularly, I will include some good releases from 2009, not just representative songs, and also some album and show reviews that are long overdue.

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