The record that blew me away more than any other this year was “The Midnight Organ Fight” by the Scottish band Frightened Rabbit. You keep waiting for a bad song, and one never comes. Their melodies are incredible, and there’s an intensity in the performances that just makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.
I had a hard time finding a video that conveys the album’s impact; this is an acoustic version of “The Modern Leper,” but I’m playing the full-band version this morning.
Number 2 for me is the Canadian band The Most Serene Republic. This technically came out in late 2007 but it didn’t hit my radar until early this year. So I’m cheating. But man, is this good. Imagine the Polyphonic Spree, fewer people, more intensity, less cheese. Here’s the video for “The Men Who Live Upstairs”:
The rest of this list is in no particular order – I love them all:
- Goldfrapp: Seventh Tree
- Duffy: Rockferry
- Kings of Leon: Only By The Night
- Nada Surf: Lucky
- Daniel Martin Moore: Stray Age
- Snow Patrol: A Hundred Million Suns
- The Ting Tings: We Started Nothing
- Calexico: Carried To Dust
Also, if ambient music is your thing at all, you’ve gotta check out the amazing soundtrack to an equally amazing video game that came out this year. On the surface, Braid looks like just another Super Mario-ish game, albeit with lovely painted graphics. But a few minutes in, it starts to reveal a mature and unsettling storyline, ultimately a very touching story about regret and loss and how dearly we wish we could go back in time and do certain things differently. It’s almost worth buying an Xbox just to experience this game, if you don’t have one – or at least ask a friend with one of you can use it some Saturday afternoon and offer to buy him the game (it’s only about $15, made by an indie developer).
Thanks for a great year, you all … here’s to a gooder than hell 2009!