Best Albums of 2009 – So Far

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”


Dan Auerbach
Keep It Hid
“The Prowl”


Fever Ray
Fever Ray
“If I Had A Heart”


Foreign Born
Person to Person
“Vacationing People”


Grizzly Bear
“Ready Able”


J. Tillman
Vacilando Territory Blues
“First Born”


Leopold and His Fiction
Ain’t No Surprise


You Can Have What You Want
“Future Primitive”


Speck Mountain
Some Sweet Relief
“I Feel Eternal”

album art

Shadows on a River
Shadows on a River
“In Business”


The Veils
Sun Gangs
“The Letter”


White Rabbits
It’s Frightening
“The Salesman”

Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest is Far From Hype


Grizzly Bear, Ready, Able“:

I had been hearing the hype on Grizzy Bear’s Veckatimest all year long. After being force fed tracks like ‘Cheerleader’ and ‘Two Weeks’ for months upon end, I wasn’t quite convinced of all the hullabaloo. Then I saw them perform at the Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX at SXSW this year and I became a believer. Having the foresight to arrive at the church a good three performances before the show, I was one of the lucky disciples to make it in.  Inside this cozy little chapel, we all sat silently and squished in our pews anxiously awaiting what would be our first full drink of their forthcoming album, Veckatimest.  

The band, and the setting, did not disappoint.  Not by a long shot.  Watching the band at the altar, with the setting sun glowing through the stained glass windows while the angelic harmonies of Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen floated up through the arches of the church was both heavenly and transcendental.  I had goosebumps the entire time.  I was especially moved during the track ‘Ready, Able’.  Something about the haunting orchestral arrangement of that song just gets me every single time. It’s by far my favorite on the album and the refrain, “They go we go, I want you to know,what I did” has been permanently etched in my brain.

That performance was the highlight of SXSW and one of my most memorable so far this year.  And hearing the album unfold in all of it’s haunting beauty, beyond the chamber pop appeal of tracks like ‘Two Weeks’, made me a convert. It is really that good and entirely worthy of the praise, and your attention.

Grizzly Bear will be performing two nights at The Fillmore in San Francisco this month, June 21 and 22, with Here We Go Magic. A great line up.  Get tickets while they last.

In Anticipation: Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest


Listen to “Cheerleader” :

Grizzly Bear‘s forthcoming release, Veckatimest, is due out May 26 and is easily one of the most anticipated albums so far this year.  On par with the buzz of Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavillion.  After seeing them perform their new work at The Central Presbyterian Church in Austin, TX at SXSW, I fully understand why.  It was one of the most beautiful performances I’ve seen and left me with goosebumps.  I too cannot wait for this album to come out.  Add me to the list of eager fans counting down the days.

The band is touring extensively in support of the new album.  Be sure to check their MySpace page for the latest tour info. For San Francisco-based readers, they will be performing at The Fillmore on June 21, 2009 with Here We Go Magic.  A fantastic line up!

Pre-order the album direct from the band.