Whew, I’ve been wanting to get this post up for about 3 weeks now, but you know how it goes – life prevails and hobbies sometimes take a back seat. Well, here it is. My mid-year Best Albums of 2009…so far. Out of all the music I’ve sorted through thus far this year, these are the albums that bubbled to the top, the ones I happily came back to again and again. They may not all be Pitchfork approved (or even rated for that matter), but they worked for me.
I’m not going to go through the diligence of ranking them, so I’ve listed them in alphabetical order. I’ll save the ranking exercise for the end of year round up. Until then, I hope you find some new music to enjoy!
Band of Skulls
Baby Darlin Doll Face Honey
“Death by Diamonds and Pearls”
Cymbals Eat Guitars
Why There Are Mountains
“And The Hazy Sea”
Keep It Hid
“If I Had A Heart”
Person to Person
Vacilando Territory Blues
Leopold and His Fiction
Ain’t No Surprise
You Can Have What You Want
Some Sweet Relief
“I Feel Eternal”
Shadows on a River
Shadows on a River
There’s always a bit of fear and trepidation when I anticipate a show as much as I did this one. Usually you’re setting yourself up for a disappointment, but that was not the case Monday night at San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill. The stellar double header of Foreign Born and The Veils definitely goes down as one of my top concerts so far this year.
Both bands were excellent, but I have to say Foreign Born really delivered an outstanding performance with a rich, polished and professional sound rarely seen at the likes of this venue. And they had a stage show too. When’s the last time you saw a show at Bottom of the Hill with two drummers, stage lighting and smoke effects? It was a first for me. They were tight.
The Veils, Finn Andrews, bared his soul during the show giving such a passionate performance he could barely compose himself after “Larkspur.” Wow, was all I could say. His vocals reigned true throughout the night and his graciousness on stage was and unexpected surprise for me. Impressive all around.
I had so much fun last night at The Veils and Foreign Born show at Bottom of the Hill that I’m deeming it Veils/Foreign Born Day at The OCMD. Luckily, both bands have cooperated with me and released new videos today. Check it out. I think Finn Andrews was wearing the exact same outfit on stage as in the video. Be forewarned, “Begin Again” is pretty intense and graphic.
Live footage from the show last night coming soon!
Wow. There is an absolute stellar line of music happening tonight at Bottom of the Hill featuring London-based The Veils, So Cal up and comers Foreign Born and Cleveland buzz makers Other Girls. Two of whom also happen to be the creators of my more beloved albums this year. Why the hell this show isn’t sold out is beyond me. It’s quite possibly one of the finest line ups I’ve seen all year. So if you’re SF-based, I highly recommend you get out to see it. Regardless of where you live, you should definitely add these albums to your collection.
The Veils frontman and songwriter, Finn Andrews, makes me swoon. His voice is stunning, his lyrics are soul baring. Couple that with a heady rush of guitars and you’ve got yourself ballad rock epitomised (nod to the Brits here with that spelling). For a band that constantly earns comparisons to Nick Drake, Morrissey and Jeff Buckley, it’s almost incomprehensible why they are not a bigger deal.
Sun Gangs is their third release and I would go so far to say it might be one of the sleeper albums of 2009. And now for a little music trivia. Did you know that Finn’s father Barry Andrews is a renowned musician himself? Playing with the likes of XTC, Brian Eno, David Bowie and Iggy Pop.
Foreign Born started in San Francisco in 2003 after singer Matt Popieluch and guitarist Lewis Pesacov graduated San Francisco State University. After playing a few shows, the pair went down to LA to clean up their rough demos. The results were promising enough for Lewis and Matt to quit their menial jobs and move down to LA where the current line-up of Foreign Born was, yes, born.
Their first LP, On The Wing Now, was released in 2007 and their latest effort, Person to Person, just released last month. I adore their first single from the album, “Vacationing People” and had the chance to see them perform at SXSW earlier this year. Judging by the number of recognizable faces in the audience at that show, it was evident that I’m not the only one who loves them either. After all, if Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste deems you as his “favorite new band”, you must be doing something right.
Finn Andrews of The Veils performs an acoustic version of the title track from the band’s new album, “Sun Gangs”. I adore this song and seeing this performance makes me so excited for their upcoming performance at Bottom of the Hill on July 13. Tickets are still available at the time of this post. And to sweeten the pot Foreign Born will be joining them. Ahhh!