Thursday, January 14, 2010

Favourite albums, 2009.

I stayed pretty close to home (i.e. Toronto), music-wise, in 2009, but for good reason. Here are the 15 albums and EPs that I liked the most, in alphabetical order by artist:

Bahamas - Pink Strat
I love this album to pieces. It's so simple, so beautiful. And Afie Jurvanen is a great character on stage.
Download: "Lonely Loves"

Gentleman Reg - Jet Black
G Reg & band have a place in my heart. Reg has some great lyrics, and I'm not usually into lyrics too much. My favourite verse (from "We're In A Thunderstorm") is "I'll dress myself up and run around." How fun.
Download: "We're In A Thunderstorm"

Great Bloomers - Speak of Trouble
A solid debut full-length from a great young band. Great Bloomers' pop-folk, roots-rock songs are pretty much designed for me to like them. Plus, Lowell Sostomi's got a great voice.
Download: "Speak of Trouble"

Great Lake Swimmers - Lost Channels
After I got over my momentary, "Polaris, what?" cringe, I started to really get into this album. GLS are one of my favourite bands, and I go back and listen to all their records with regularity. This one's a little more upbeat, but still contains songs that kill me dead with their beauty.
Download: "Palmistry"

Green Go - Borders
I don't tend to listen to dance music unless I'm at a show, and so great albums like this don't get as much ear-time as other, more folk-pop albums. Put Everything All the Time's s/t EP in this category, too.
Download: "Fool Me Once"

Joel Plaskett - Three
I have tended to stay away from already well-known musicians, but I heard this and knew it was worth hearing again---and again. Though I've never seen Plaskett live (unless you count at the Polaris gala), I can't help but be drawn in by this charming, fun, serious triple album.
Download: "Through & Through & Through"

Julie Doiron - I Can Wonder What You Did with Your Day
The first track on this loveable album begins, "I'm living the life of dreams with good people all around me." Julie's joie-de-vivre is hard not to fall for.
Download: "When Brakes Get Wet"

Think About Life - Family
Pow! The most underrated album on this list. The die-hards may prefer the first album, but I like the better production quality and more obvious funness of this one. Dance!
Download: "Set You On Fire"

Timber Timbre - s/t
What I can I say that hasn't been said before? This album is fantastic: soulful, moody, and with at times simple (yet powerful) arrangements. The songs fit singer/songwriter Taylor Kirk's vocal style perfectly.
Download: "Demon Host"

Two Hours Traffic - Territory
Ok, so I don't like it as much as the brilliant Little Jabs (2007), but this album is nothing to sneeze at. A number of great tracks make this record worth listening to almost as much as that other one.
Download: "Territory"

Various artists - Friends in Bellwoods 2 compilation
This for-charity compilation double album is stronger than it has any right to be, especially the first disc. Stand-out exclusive tracks and a few choice picks released elsewhere make this record a must-have for any Canadian music fan.
Download: Sylvie Smith, "On Our Own"

The Weather Station - The Line
Tamara Lindeman sounds like no one I've ever heard before. More people should listen to and love this album.
Download: "East"

The Wilderness of Manitoba - Hymns of Love and Spirits EP
By now you know I like folk and I like good vocals. WOM's debut outing, combined with my memories of near-magical backyard shed shows, make this album one of my most listened to records of the fall.
Download: "Evening"

The Wooden Sky - If I Don't Come Home You'll Know I'm Gone
This band really took off this year, and for good reason. Front-man Gavin Gardiner's got one of the country's best young roots-rock voices, but this group is a lot more than that: a rock band with a big, beautiful heart.
Download: "Oh My God (It Still Means A Lot To Me)"

Zeus - Sounds Like Zeus EP
I was impressed but not completely sold when I first heard this band. But it didn't take long before I got it. This is classic rock with a new twist, and it's very catchy. I can't wait to hear the full-length, out next month.
Download: "I Know"


Anonymous said...

You haven't seen Joel live?!?! Get a ticket to one of the Thrush Hermit shows... I know it's a bit more money that you usually dole out for shows, but $17 for such legends is well worth it.

Brenda Lee said...

Great picks!
And I concur, go see JP live. Amazing showman. I would almost kill to see the Thrush Hermit reunion but alas, I'm in Vancouver and too broke to fly out.

historyjen said...

hmm... my concert calender is already pretty full around that time...