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Nialler9’s albums of 2009

Nialler9’s albums of 2009

10. Neon Indian – Psychic Chasms

Psychic Chasms

Alan Palomo’s side project away from Vega in which he intended to turn out an album in a matter of weeks ended up much more interesting than his main project. A psychedelic, woozy 30 minute journey blasting strangely filtered synths and pop melodies through a hazy filter. And in ‘Deadbeat Summer’, we have one of the jams of the year.

MP3:Neon Indian – Deadbeat Summer

MP3:Neon Indian – Terminally Chill


[Myspace | Buy: Amazon / iTunes / eMusic ]

9. And So I Watch You From Afar – And So I Watch You From Afar

ASIWYFA

Rarely has a post hard-rock instrumental album captured the imagination of nigh-on everyone who has heard it. From the monstrous opening thunderclap of ‘Set Guitars to Kill’ to the elegiac yet triumphant ‘The Voiceless’, ASIWYFA have invigorated a genre that many felt had little capacity left to thrill. And So I Watch You From Afar is also one of the best-sounding records of the year; filled with dynamics; from the low-end comforting rumble of the bass to the high-fretted riffs at its peak, everything about it feels near-perfect. We can only hope the conquering continues into 2010 when their Letters EP is released in February.

MP3:ASIWYFA – Clench Fists Grit Teeth GO!

[Myspace | Buy: Amazon / iTunes / eMusic ]

8. Fever Ray – Fever Ray

Fever Ray

Karin Dreijer Andersson goes it alone without her brother from The Knife. Following on from my album of the decade, here the results are more atmospheric with the dark, eerie parts far-outweighing any lighter pop sensibilities. Andersson’s lyrics are obfuscating and odd references to “dishwasher tablets” and being “very good with plants” don’t help but there’s a consistent and comfortable desolation to it all. The music videos and live shows which accompanied the album only served to expand that feeling into other mediums.

[Official site | Buy: Amazon / iTunes / eMusic ]

7. Bibio – Ambulance Avenue

Bibio

What’s most impressive about Ambivalance Avenue is the sheer eclecticism of its 42 minute length. It flits from a funky lo-fi jam (‘Jealous of Roses’) to an ambient dreamy escapade (‘All The Flowers’) to beat-driven J-Dilla-esque instrumental hip-hop (‘Fire Ant’) to electric folk (‘Haikuesque’) to synth-driven Clark-esque electronica (‘Sugarette’) within the album’s first seven songs. What makes it work thematically as an “album” is the sweetness, a delicate use of guitar and a joie de vivre that few can imprint so beautifully in the music.

MP3:Bibio – Jealous of Roses

[Myspace | Buy: Amazon / iTunes / ]

6. Theophilus London – This Charming Mixtape

Theophilus London

I played this a lot this year so it deserves its spot here. A free download first released earlier in the year, it showcases Brooklyn boy Theophilius’ rhyming style over the likes of Amadou & Miriam, Kraftwerk, Lauryn Hill, Bill Withers, Squarepusher, Whitney Huston and some original electro and dance compositions. He’s got better ever since and his debut album proper This Charming Man is also out (though I’ve been playing this so much I never actually got around to getting it until right… now).

[Myspace | FREE download ]
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