Mar 29, 2009

2009 Quarter 1 Highlights

Sure, it is a little early in the year to start thinking about year-end lists and filing everything away in neat little boxes, but I also feel like the end of March is a good time to catch up on what great music has been released so far. With that in mind, here are twenty albums (presented in alphabetical order) and ten singles (roughly in order of enjoyment) that have made 2009 worth it so far.

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)
Antony & The Johnsons - The Crying Light (Secretly Canadian)
Black Lips - 200 Million Thousand (VICE)
Cannibal Corpse - Evisceration Plague (Metal Blade)
Cobalt - Gin (Profound Lore)
The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love (Capitol)
The-Dream - Love vs. Money (Def Jam)
Franz Ferdinand - Tonight: Franz Ferdinand (Domino)
Glasvegas - Glasvegas (Sony)
Handsome Furs - Face Control (Sub Pop)
K'naan - Troubadour (A&M)
Kylesa - Static Tensions (Prosthetic)
Mastodon - Crack the Skye (Reprise)
Morrissey - Years of Refusal (Lost Highway)
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone (ANTI-)
Obscura - Cosmogenesis (Relapse)
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Slumberland)
P.O.S. - Never Better (Rhymesayers)
Satyricon - The Age of Nero (Koch)
Tombs - Winterhours (Relapse)

"My Girls" - Animal Collective
"Wavin' Flag" - K'naan
"My Life Would Suck Without You" - Kelly Clarkson
"Walkin' on the Moon" - The-Dream f. Kanye West
"The Fear" - Lily Allen
"My Love" - The-Dream f. Mariah Carey
"I'm Confused" - Handsome Furs
"The Rake's Song" - The Decemberists
"Divinations" - Mastodon
"I Do Not Hook Up" - Kelly Clarkson

Mar 28, 2009

Diligo Sonitus

Two reasons why things have been quiet on the via//chicago front:

1. I took my LEED AP exam earlier this month and the studying for such had reached a fever pitch. I am happy to report that I passed!

2. I've begun work on a second blog, one dedicated to appreciating music on a smaller scale, song-by song. Please hop on over to Diligo Sonitus to check it out!

np: "Annan Water" - The Decemberists

I have to say, as talented as Colin Meloy and his merry band of literate indie rockers may be, I was afraid that the latest opus from The Decemberists was bound to be a bit of a slog and a chore to get through. A 17-song concept suite with Meloy and guest vocalists playing the parts of different characters? Come on, even for these guys this sounded like a bit of a stretch. I'm happy to report, after having spent a little time with The Hazards of Love, that my fears were completely unfounded. This thing is good - really, really good. The whole thing holds together very well as a storytelling narrative, more so than many other attempts at this sort of thing, and more importantly - the songs are really pretty good. There is a lot of what you might expect from the band at this point, namely the ornate instrumentation and sing-songy melodies, but there are moments when the bands get pretty dark and heavy. In fact, I'd go as far as saying I feel a bit of metal influence here at some points. Special recognition should definitely go out to the guest vocalists (Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond and Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond), who keep things lively and lovely. A stunning piece of work that may just wind up representing the band at their creative peak.