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Thursday, December 31, 2009

LHNA's Best of 2009 pt. 1 (100-51)

"I'm just trying to act my age
Find some new ways to pretend
I'm not everybody's loser friend"

A sweet come-back-to-me love song to wipe that cynicism off your face.

97. Lily Allen - Not Fair
[Eliza:] A lot of unhappy Lily Allen fans wrote angry letters to NME complaining that she "sold out" because she changed the, ahem, 'controversial' line "I spent hours giving head" to 1950s-housewife-style "I spent hours kneading bread". Frankly, it doesn't matter whether it's one or the other about when the song is so addictive.

96. Best Coast - When I'm With You
[E:] What I like about this song is that is avoids hyperboles. No grand statements, no rich metaphors or romantic declarations. Just: when I'm with you I have fun. Because, at the end of the day, what else is there to it? When I'm with you I have fun. I hate sleeping alone. Simple as that.

95. Big Spider's Back - Perfect Machine
[E:] No idea why the band chose that horrible name for itself. Or what sort of contraption its members had in mind when they were singing about this "perfect machine" of theirs. I can't even make out the lyrics most of the time. But in unexpected moments after a glass of wine I find myself singing "I've got a perfect machine, I've got a perfect machine, I've got a perfect machine" ad nauseam; sometimes literally.

94. Monsters of Folk - Man Named Truth
[Steven:]Yes, this really should have sucked as hard as a porn star in debt, and yet, it's actually pretty good. Perhaps there's hope for Conor after all...

93. Orba Squara - Come So Far
Maybe my favourite song off Orba Squara's 'The Trouble With Flying'. Like the rest of the tracks from the album, it's extremely understated. It never peaks. It's content with dancing softly around, a leaf carried by the autumn wind. And that's precisely what makes it stick with you.

92. Go Away Birds - The Year of Letting You Down
Catherine Ireton proving she doesn't need to sing Belle & Sebastian songs to win us over.

91. Sunset Rubdown - Apollo and Buffalo and Anna Anna Anna Oh
[E:] The problem with Sunset Rubdown is their songs are often so complex they shift and transform right before your eyes when you least expect it and jump around and slip between your fingers. Each song seems to take so much out of you that it's hard to listen to the whole album. So you focus on two or three tracks that stand out. This is one of them.

90. Julian Casablancas - 11th Dimension
[S:] Well what do you know!?! Who knew Julian had it in him!? It bleeps, he beeps and pings and makes us want to shake our metallic asses.

89. Tinariwen - Imidiwan Afrik Tendam

88. Emmanuel and the Fear - The Rain Becomes the Clouds
[E:] Sometimes I have weird, dystopian-novel dreams about the end of the world. There is a huge hurricane, or a fire, or the trees start swallowing the Earth or the air solidifies and closes in on us and squashes us. My most memorable one is of a volcano. I've had this dream more than once. There is lava everywhere  - everywhere! - covering every little surface apart from skyscrapers and mountain peaks. I know it's the end of the world, me and everyone around me, we all know that. But no one is scared. It takes me a while to figure out why; and I'm swimming around and around in lava until it finally clicks: the reason no one is afraid is because nobody is hurt. Nobody is going to get hurt. It's the end of the world, yes, but not for us, we are all swimming in lava that I now realize is cold. It's not hurting us. The planet looks different but we're still the same. We'll build new homes that float on top of the volcano. It's all okay. It starts to rain. That's when I wish this song would start playing in my head.

87. The Lovely Feathers - Lowiza
[E:] If I say this is the catchiest song about asexuality you're likely to hear this year you'll probably think that's not saying much, right? After all, there aren't that many songs out there that tackle the subject. Well, uhm: "it's the catchiest song about asexuality you're likely to hear this year". There, I said it.

86. Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse - Little Girl
The coolest little girl in this whole town!

85. The Pastels vs Tenniscoats - Vivid Youth
[E:] When we run and then come home. When we lose each other and find each other. When we think it's over but it starts all over again. When we feel older every day and suddenly find something that makes us act like children again. When we do nothing but stare at the sky, and still understand each other perfectly. Silently. Easily. Like this.

[E:] Sister Suvi's 'The Lot' was one of our favourite songs of 2008. And, though I still think it's better than this one that doesn't mean there isn't a lot to love in this song. It just means this one needs more listens in order to get what they're trying to do here. It just means that this is the kind of band that will have you falling in love with a different song of theirs every month. It just means that it's a damn shame they broke up.

83. Cuddle Magic - Expectations
Thanks Said the Gramophone for this one.

For once a band that sounds exactly the way its name suggests it might.

[E:] A: "What do you call this? Can you call this hip hop? If not, what else? Do you call it electronic? What d'you call it? Experimental I suppose?"
B: "You call it brilliant. Then you recommend it to your friends. Then you start writing Anticon Rocks! with permanent markers on white T-shirts and give them out free at kids' lemonade stands. That's what you do."

[E:] They have disco parties in heaven every time someone plays this song.

  78.  Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Zero
[S:] 2009 was the year Yeah Yeah Yeahs took back the zero from Billy Corgan, while the latter lost the plot even further.


75. Black Lips - Starting Over
[S:] This was the year the Black Lips (almost) got  kicked out of India, released 200 Million Thousand and blew our minds (again) at Pukkelpop in August.
"We'll it’s just a wasted year
I'm doing my time
If things don't go right I'll drink some more beer
And I'll blow I blow out my mind" 

Hear hear.

74. Egyptian Hip Hop - Rad Pitt
[E:] Back in 2001, the Moldy Peaches released their by now legendary self-titled album. There was a song on it called 'On Top'. Its lyrics went like this:
"We hate dance and we hate rap
But we like to contradict ourselves
And that's alright
The irony of it all was that they were actually rapping these words, not singing them. It looks like someone was paying attention, because seven years later this couldn't-get-any-indier band decides to name itself Egyptian Hip Hop and put pictures of 50 Cent on their MySpace page. And make some good music while they're at it, too.

In the face of danger, these guys are not afraid. It's essential that you know that.

72. Girls - Hellhole Ratrace

Don't dismiss the track until you reach the shift at 3:20.

The only cover in this top, so it bloody well be good huh? Have a listen.
Can you get more... Swedish?

69. Fuck Buttons - Surf Solar
 [S] In which our heroes fill a rusty blender with several buckets full of coloured and trampled glass, feed it to a blender. Then RE-mix the contents of said blender (+a bag of sugar) and push RECORD while chasing small children around a small circular wallpapered room until all participants are puking up their cupcakes, feet are bleeding and the children crying.

68. Wale - New Soul

67. Dark Mean - Lullaby
"I close my eyes, haven't slept in five days
I'll sleep when I'm dead again."
[E:] In the year 2617, all the joie-de-vivre in the world will be squeezed in glass jars, left there to soak up the summer sun and freeze in the winter cold for a whole year. After exactly 365 days, on the first day of spring, the jars will be thawed and emptied out and their contents will reemerge as these two song lines. Mark my words.

66. Jónsi - Boy Lilikoi
[E:] I've tried thinking of little starving African children, 101 gruesome ways to carry out the capital punishment and puppies crushed to death by merciless filthy trucks - all in an attempt to wipe that ridiculous dopey smile that appears on my face whenever I hear this song. Pointless.

65. Warpaint - Billie Holiday
Well if you want to know me, I'm a war. Come paint.
We are birds of a feather.
We can't explain it any better than that.

64. The Crayon Fields - Impossible Things
[E:] I would like to play this song in the morning, rain beating confused drops against the window, a barely-alive flame glowing faintly in the fireplace; slippers on my feet, coffee mug in hand. I would like to say that it makes me feel good, makes me dance, makes me whistle. I would like to pretend its rhythmic handclaps are hopeful rather than nostalgic. I would like to be able to listen to it on cold days like this one without longing for warm summer sun. I still want impossible things.

63. Glass Ghost - Ending
Something new is happening, indeed.

62. Windmill - Big Boom
I can't say Windmill's 2009 effort is a great album. It's a good one. Not a great one. As far as concepts albums go, better than many. An album nostalgic for a lost childhood, for fleeting moments gone unnoticed. Well worth listening to for their fans. If you've never heard of them before though don't start with this. If you've never heard of them RUN get your hands on Puddle City Racing Lights. Fall in love with them. And then listen to this.

61. City Center - Open House
[E:] Doorbell. Key. Open house. Open Arms. Come in. Noise, noise, noise. Beautiful Noise. A thousand nails scratching, a thousand bottles breaking, a thousand voices screeching, noise. It's all coming together.

60. Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer

59. Horse Shoes - The Imperial School
"I want to be your only friend in life
I want to hold your hand all through the night"
So sweet.

58. Cass McCombs - Dreams Come True Girl (ft. Karen Black)
57. Daniel Johnston - Mind Movies

[E:] It is a truth universally acknowledged that all songs about time travel must have a few oh-oh-ohs and yeah-yeah-yeahs in them. These guys are well aware of that fact.

[E:] Fuck lovers. Why should we be lovers when we could be killers... just for one night?

[E:] The first time I heard this I thought of Cast Away. Yep, that movie with Tom Hanks and no one else in it. I wish my first thought would have been something else set on a desert island - something cooler than that - maybe Lost or The Tempest or Lord of the Flies or, heck, even Robinson Crusoe but no - it was Cast Away. I imagined Tom hanks crying his eyes out and asking the volleyball "Do you really think that they are coming back? We're stranded on this island..." And I smiled. Then I imagined him  hugging the ball romantically and singing: "I know I'd never make it without you". And I smiled. Then I stopped thinking of Tom Hanks and started paying attention to the soft tropical-sounding guitars and the singer's voice. And I smiled again.

[E:] Continuing with the Cast Away theme (I know, where the hell did that come from?) this song should play during the part where... well, come on you can guess this. YES, that's right , during the part where Tom Hanks thinks he's dead and then he's unexpectedly found by a passing cargo ship.  Of course that would make the movie funny for five minutes, something that its creators would definitely not want. It would totally ruin the "this is SO dramatic" atmosphere so maybe instead it should play during the part where... you know, fuck this. Forget Cast Away. The point is this is the funniest shit I've heard all year. If you can't see the humour in this, then I think it's safe to assume you have no soul. (ultimate proof: you probably didn't think Coco Jumbo was funny either) I mean just listen carefully to the way the singer/rapper shouts at the world: "I'm on a BOAT motherfucker!" with the same sense of pride and achievement as if he were saying "I've just single-handedly put an end to world hunger, motherfucker!" Someone less shameless would be embarrassed to do this. These guys don't give a fuck.

52. Yeasayer - Tightrope
A charity album one of the best of the year? Yep.

51. Taken By Trees - Anna
[E:] This song made me think of the countryside and barns and yellow hills in summer and how there are so many sounds out there I never pay attention to - crickets, bells, wind, voices, feet. The sound of leaves cracking under our boots,the sound of pencil on paper, the sound of our breath. It makes me want to start listening harder.

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Clicky Overload said...

Wow, amazing post!

Thank you so much for everything, you're still my favorite music blog.

All the best for the next decade!

Steven Seagal Smiles said...

salivating while listening!

Eliza K. said...

Thanks guys, we really appreciate (and NEED!) the encouragement.

Part 2 coming up later today!

Cybervixen said...

a beautiful list

Cybervixen said...

a beautiful list