I'll admit that the blog has been a bit neglected as we've gotten progressively busier as the holiday season inches closer. Our Best of 2009 lists should be posted online by the end of this week, but while you wait for that I thought I'd post about some of my favorite local albums to come out this year. 2009 has been such a spectacular year for music both on the national and local levels. Yesterday morning Angela Brown, editor for Slug Magazine, Brad Wheeler, afternoon host on KRCL, and myself were invited to share our favorite local albums of 2009 on KUER 90.1. Check out the podcast here. I had a lot of fun being on the show and I loved listening to Angela and Brad's favorite local artists, some of which were new to me.
So, like I said, here's some of my favorite local albums of 2009. Come in on a cold, wintry day and check these albums out!
Palace of Buddies- s/t
It's very hard for me to write about this album because it's sort of in a category of it's own. This album is, what I would describe as, the perfect blend of rock and electronic. Listening to this album, it's hard to believe that Palace of Buddies are just two guys, Tim Myers and Nick Foster. The emphasis on this album is definitely music with most songs focusing on instrumententation rather than vocals (there are a few tracks with vocals) and songs range from catchy and upbeat, to slow and mellow.
Big Sky Tribunal- s/t
This album was released just a few weeks ago and I can't get enough of it. Singer, Brian Oakley (formerly of Dead Horse Point), has such a powerful voice- it's raw, but not abrasive; soothing, but not boring. Instrumentally, it's a beautiful and intricate album that's fairly melancholy, but has some surprising, wonderfully intense moments with bursts of heavy guitar and heart-wrenching harmonies. Track six, "It's Hard," is by far my favorite song on the album- it starts out instrumentally with a quietly fuzzed out guitar, builds up slowly and leads into mesmorizing lyrics ("the walls whisper through their teeth/we'll drink this night dry") and harmonizing. Listen to this album and don't be surprised if you find yourself in a in a blissful and contemplative trance.
Birthquake- Teepee EP
I've always loved instrumental music and I think there's something to be said for bands that can excite, intrigue and move people without saying a word. Birthquake is a band that does just that- their music exudes a certain playfulness, without lacking substance. Birthquake's music isn't really something you can explain to someone that hasn't heard it. It's sort of a funky blend of punk, tropicalia, and rock. This four song EP makes me very excited for their full-length album that's being released on December 19th at Urban Lounge (they are playing with Palace of Buddies and Mammoth- DO NOT MISS THIS SHOW!)
Libbie Linton- Bird Wings in the Bleak
Libbie Linton is to SLC what Laura Gibson is to Portland- an amazingly talented singer-songwriter who's voice will entrance and amaze you more and more with each listen. I can't really say much more than this album is beautiful and perfect in every way.
Will Sartain- For Love
Will writes some of the most straightforward and honest songs I've ever heard- songs that everyone can relate to, which is one thing that I think truly makes him a great musician. On this album, For Love, Will sings all about love and everything that goes along with it. This album definitely has Will wearing his heart on his sleeve; sharing very personal moments and feelings with the listener. "Write Down The Things You Care About" is my favorite track from this album and really shows Will's simple, but evocative and profound songwriting.
Glade Sowards is an extremely talented musician, but is also an extremely modest musician. For that very reason (and maybe a few others) friends and musicians close to Glade came together to release an album (as a surprise to him) of all his material which was previously unreleased in any physical form. Chances are you've seen Glade onstage with many local groups including Band of Annuals, Black Hens, The Platte and David Williams, but this album gives you a more personal glimpse into his music- his voice and songwriting finally get to take a well-deserving "center-stage" on this record.
David Williams- Western Interior Seaway
There's something about David William's voice that just gives me chills. His voice reminds me of a folkier version of Elliott Smith's. This album is one of those records you can throw on and listen to over and over again, loving it more with each listen. David's earnest voice and wonderful songwriting are evidence that this album is truly a wonderful folk-masterpiece.
The Platte- GRUS
A beautifully crafted and delicate album that you'll have to listen to countless times to fully absorb all the little nuances that make it so completely wonderful. The album immediately reminded me of earlier My Morning Jacket mixed with Bon Iver and Calico. There's a dash of pop in there, too. It's hard not to tap your foot and hum along with every tune.
What are some of your favorite local releases of 2009? I'd love to hear what everyone else has loved this year...please share!