TheBlueIndian.com’s Top 10 Tracks of 2009
10. The Working Title
Formerly signed to major label, Universal Records, The Working Title now only consists of lead-singer, Joel Hamilton. Honestly, when the band broke the news of its inevitable break-up, I was definitely upset. But, after hearing The Working Title’s [a.k.a. Joel Hamilton] 2009 release “Bone Island,” which features its catchy gem, “Physical Love,” I was quickly reminded just how brilliant this Hamilton fella is. After a long, hard day at work, “Physical Love” is the perfect one to blare on the way home to see your significant other.
Listen to “Physical Love” HERE.
“The Fox, The Crow, And The Cookie”
[Tooth and Nail]
With their 2009 release of the full-length, “It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright,” I’m sure mewithoutYou made a ton of new fans. And in the process, it’s safe to say they probably made some of their current fans scratch their heads. Certainly different from their previous release, the record, as a whole aptly represented in the cleverly written track, “The Fox, The Crow, And The Cookie,” sort of puts on display what it’s like working with indie-stand-out, Daniel Smith (better known as The Danielson Famile). Mr. Smith, the producer of the record, certainly left behind his fingerprint of influence, but fans can certainly appreciate the band’s decision to work with Dan and ultimately depart from the older, expected sound.
Listen to “The Fox, The Crow, And The Cookie” HERE.
In my opinion, there is not a better opening track to an album than David Bazan’s “Hard To Be” on his 2009 full-length, “Curse Your Branches.” With nearly 1 minute and 40 seconds of instrumental build, Bazan’s thick and husky voice comes in with an almost arrogant tone singing, “You’ve heard the story. You know how it goes.” The synths during the first minute and a half of the track prepares the listener for the next 40 something-minutes of what is to most of his Pedro the Lion fans simply a sad break-up with God. I take that back, fan or not, this record, as Bazan admits is his break-up with God. However, the last track of the record, “In Stitches,” which almost made the Top 10, leaves the listener wondering if in fact this break-up is a permanent one. Nonetheless, “Hard To Be” certainly demonstrates Bazan’s brilliant songwriting and undoubtedly reminds us of just how painfully honest his lyrics can be.
Listen to “Hard To Be” HERE.
Neon Indian certainly doesn’t disappoint with his 2009 release, “Psychic Chasms,” especially with the very memorable gem of a track, “Deadbeat Summer.” The track was pretty much on repeat on my iPod during the long, lazy days of my Georgia summer. Neon Indian is certainly doing something special and it’s not necessarily because he has the word “Indian” in his stage name, although that may be part of it. “Deadbeat Summer” reminds you of those salty days at the beach when your bones are tired from excessive frisbee throwing.
Listen to “Don’t Give Up” HERE.
Vocally, I feel like Dignan’s 2009 record, “Cheaters & Thieves” is their best effort to date. The track, “Two Steps” demonstrates my proclamation perfectly. With obvious influence from indie band, “Grizzly Bear,” the track begins with a vocal arrangement that will certainly stick with you. Undoubtedly different from their previous efforts, “Two Steps” still maintains that creative and truly indie sound that we all fell in love with when Dignan first came into existence. A crowd favorite over the course of excessive touring in 2009, I personally believe it will be Dignan’s “Two Steps” that will be the key to many doors to success during the coming year, 2010. It has certainly caught the attention of such bands as Colour Revolt, Cursive, and Thrice. You can expect big things from this band in 2010, as well as many, many years to come.
Listen to “Two Steps” HERE.
About as perfect as a record can get, Grizzly Bear’s “Veckatimest” wouldn’t be half as good without the bouncy track number 2, “Two Weeks.” Yes, this song has that much impact on the record as a whole. With “Two Weeks,” Grizzly Bear maintains their synth-snapping, pop sensibilities while continuing to wow us with their untouchable melodies. And these melodies, primarily driven by a soft, but bold falsetto, remind us of Brian Wilson and the rest of The Beach Boys. Too often these days, we hear records and singles that were not labored over, but with “Veckatimest” and especially its hit track, “Two Weeks,” it’s easy to declare that this gem was carefully nurtured over a period of time.
Listen to “Two Weeks” HERE.
Reminiscent of a mixture between Nick Drake, Sufjan Stevens, and Sam Beam, Besides Daniel certainly did their own thing in 2009 with their hit track, “The Field.” Unquestionably a crowd favorite, this song will take any listener, regardless of their imaginative abilities, to a magical and even dreamy place of unending love, joy, and peace. Heavenly in its composition, “The Field’s” combination of flawless guitar plucking, tasteful taps on the xylophone, and carefully written lyrics can be a listener’s anthem for their anxious anticipation of life after death or it can merely serve as a listener’s daydream of being lost in the middle of nowhere with their lover. The best lyric, no doubt, is when Danny Brewer sings, “And I lay here as we’re breathing in rhythm now.” Folks, “The Field” is a must.
Listen to “The Field” HERE.
Washed Out’s “Feel It All Around” battled very hard in my mind for “Number 01” on “TheBlueIndian.com’s Top 10 Tracks of 2009.” In fact, it wasn’t until recently that I declared it 2nd place. I personally believe it was this single “Feel It All Around” off of his debut release, “Life of Leisure” that truly catapulted Washed Out [a.k.a. Ernest Greene] into such blissful and even unimaginable success. Surely Greene didn’t foresee these lo-fi [often described as “no-fi”], nostalgic disco-pop tunes that he was creating in his bedroom located in the middle of a Georgia peach orchard would usher in such raging and ever-growing popularity on the internet. Greene has only been making music under the moniker, Washed Out, for a handful of months, and after his New York debut (2nd show ever), the New York times gave their review this title, “A Georgia Blog Star Plays New York.” Since becoming married recently, Ernest spends his hours in his new loft apartment in downtown Macon creating more hits while receiving complaints from uptight neighbors who can’t hear brilliance in the making if someone shoved their head in Beethoven’s piano.
Listen/watch “Feel It All Around” HERE.
Austin Crane, the songwriter, and the band are perhaps best described as “way ahead of the game.” Most dudes in their early twenties are writing songs about girls, love, and the lack thereof. However, Crane and his boys are writing moody and perhaps even scholarly tunes about faith, disbelief, God, and ultimately, the pursuit of something much more powerful than their songwriting. In the opening track, “The First Shall Be,” the listener can easily appreciate the harshness of Crane’s vocals combined beautifully with the ingenious musical support of his super-talented musician friends and band-mates, Nathan Poole, James Gibson, and Caleb Weathersby. The track begins with this unsettling organ part provided by the producer of the record, Kenny McWilliams. After about 12 seconds of this droning organ part alone, Weathersby’s characteristic and recognizable drumming kicks in with Crane’s guitar strumming soon to follow. But, it is perhaps when Gibson’s first plunk of bass at the same time Poole’s wavy lead guitar part kicks in after the first handful of lines of the first verse that the brilliance of the tune is truly born. I’ll never forget the first time I heard this track. I was riding home one night a few months ago with it blaring in my car. From the moment “The First Shall Be” began, I remained glued to my car seat until it finished. For the four minutes and four seconds that the song played, I genuinely don’t believe I needed a seat-belt to keep me stationed if I were to get in a wreck. The song absolutely sucked me back to my car seat and left me dazed wondering why this was the first time I had experienced Austin Crane. My decision was relatively easy, folks. Austin Crane’s “The First Shall Be” easily takes the place of TheBlueIndian.com’s number 1 Track of 2009.
Listen to “The First Shall Be” HERE.
You can purchase the record, “Place at the Table” HERE.