top six songs of 2009

January 12, 2010

(as previously posted here)

Inspired by Rudy Klappers top 10 albums of 2009 (the entire top 20 is posted online!), I decided to once and for all clean off last year’s musical slate with a best SONGS of 2009. And surprise! None of the songs are on albums from Klapper’s list, so get over to iTunes and check these babies out.

Micachu and the Shapes- “Golden Phone”

It was hard to choose which song off Micachu’s debut album Jewellry would make the Best Songs list, but “Golden Phone” wins as it aptly demonstrates the Brooklyn-via-England band’s ability to mash up sounds from miniature guitars and household appliances to make an ear-tickling organized mess. Front-woman Mica Levi’s androgynous voice lends a soothing edge to the looping instrument sounds and ambient noises, most of which are played in reverse (and then forward) throughout the album.

Fool’s Gold – “Surprise Hotel”

A rotating band of Silverlake hipsters glued together by its Hebrew bi-lingual frontman, Fool’s Gold is America’s answer to Saharan nomads Tinariwen. With upwards of 10 people on stage per show and a museum’s-worth of African drums, the band’s debut single “Surprise Hotel” is a mix of electric guitars and tribal beats that makes the Early Man in all of us want to start a harvest dance.

Fool’s Gold-“Surprise Hotel (Micachu Remix)”

Imagine the last two blended together in a caucophony of tribal beats and vacuum cleaner ambient sounds that defies all laws of physics and acceptable music.

Scott H. Biram—“Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue”

It took three years for one-man band Scott Biram to release his 2009 album Lost Forever/Somewhere Gone and when he finally did, it was  somber and ballad-heavy, a turnaround for the dirty blues revivalist who built his career on raucous, alcohol-fueled hollerin’ songs. “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue” is Biram’s intelligent blues-writing trying to cope with a devastating breakup and the result is enough to make up for the lack of his typical hoe-down energy.

Crystal Antlers-“Until the Sun Dies (Part 1)”

This song was technically released on a limited 7” back in 2008, but the Long Beach psych-rock band re-recorded the jam for their debut full-length album (and Touch and Go Records’ last new release), Tentacles, which came out in March of ’09. Although it’s not as mainstream-friendly as the record’s single “Andrew,” “Until the Sun Dies (Part 1)” is a better representation of the Antlers’ signature sound: a blend of 70s dark-psych and leftover-grunge backed by a fitful Echoplex keyboard and an extra percussionist nicknamed “Sexual Chocolate.”

Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp”

Bands that have no other genre are usually billed as “experimental,” but Yeasayer’s newest song shows that the Brooklyn band is not only experimenting, but they’re blowing up the lab. Taking 60s classic rock elements and tear it apart with atypical instrumentation, electronic overtones and a heaping dose of weirdo-pop psychedelia, “Ambling Alp” is the first single from the yet-to-be-released album Odd Blood and if you were dancing through the wilderness in a dream, this would be the soundtrack.


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