Been a few weeks since we posted any WWTBs…lots to catch up on.
…and a few things we’ve failed to mention over the past few weeks:
The Tough Alliance - “A New Chance (Juan Maclean remix)”
A problem I have with year-end lists is that mine quickly become outdated as I spend the first couple months of the following year playing acclaimed music catch-up. Last year for instance, I ranked M83 as my favorite album but over the past year, I came to appreciate 2008 releases by Air France (thanks Tuneage!), Vampire Weekend and Crystal Castles. Some spoilsports might argue that “such is life” and that it’s futile to fix the present, but an inaccurate list is a time capsule of taste and uh, why the hell not?
Hence this song: my favorite song at the moment and my personal pick for “best remix of 2009”. Those fleeting designations will no doubt change over the next few weeks, but it’s all about the message: Any day is a new chance—a new romance. The line about “a place where diamonds never fade away” is a red herring because the only such place is the here and now. In other words, embrace the present and give the new year and decade your fiercest enthusiasm.
Tristan’s Favorites for 2009:
Also, I’m seeking submissions for my Tumblr-oriented “albums of the decade” poll. Submit a top-ten ballot if you’re into that sort of thing.
Micachu & the Shapes - “Vulture”
Another year, another batch of best-of lists, then? Like Bill said: not quite. Rather than trying to identify the best albums of the year, we’d much rather share our favourite albums this year. Which is great for me, because thanks to a lot of travelling, I barely listened to anything released in the last 6 months of this year; you’ll note that most of my favourites this were released before June or July. In no particular order, let’s get on with this.
Richard’s Favourites of 2009:
No big surprises here. I could have sworn Insides was a 2008 release, so I’m glad I checked that, because it really was one of my favourite releases this year. Bitte Orca was a late bloomer for me, but I’m very happy that I eventually gave it a proper chance. I’ve posted a Micachu track along with this because, despite the early hype at the beginning of the year, everyone seemed to forget about her as the year wore on, and I think that’s a shame.
My resolutions for the new year are definitely going to include not only catching up on this year’s music, but making sure I keep up on what 2010 has to offer.
Dirty Projectors - “Useful Chamber”
What makes the latest LP by Dirty Projectors so inviting is the fact that the group’s front man, Dave Longstreth, stepped back from the mic to let the group’s strongest vocalists Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian showcase their occasionally ethereal, endlessly powerful vocals. Unlike many other groups with an experimental, artistic slant, Dirty Projectors seem to have found the benefits of the voice as a true, natural instrument, bending and shaping melodies and seamlessly blending harmonies to elevate their material.
On Bitte Orca, a near-perfect trio of songs pops up in the middle of the album to easily situate the album as one of the best (if not the best) album of the year. On “Stillness Is the Move,” Coffman channels her best r&b diva with vocal riffs to rival some of the most popular mainstream pop singers. The album then cuts to “Two Doves,” a soft, scrumptious, and delicate solo piece for Deradoorian. Finally, we get “Useful Chamber” a song that at times sounds cataclysmic and euphoric. A simple drum beat and the return of Longstreth’s voice transitions into a spattering of lightly placed synths, a spoken-word-like verse, and finally an explosion of sick guitar riffs. The song cannot be classified with any one genre which ultimately makes it enthralling.
Listen up, kids, this week’s list is a short one but a good one:
- Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca (buy the CD/MP3s) (pictured above)
- Sonic Youth - The Eternal (buy the CD/MP3s)
- Mos Def - The Ecstatic (buy the CD/MP3s)
Dirty Projectors and David Byrne - “Knotty Pine”
Dark Was the Night is a killer 2-disc compilation album from 4AD being released Feb. 17th. The album features music recorded specially for the compilation (some new songs, some covers) and the artist list is a veritable who’s who of noteworthy acts: Arcade Fire, The Books, Jose Gonzalez, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Yeasayer, Feist, The Decemberists, and the list goes on and on. As if that wasn’t enough, all proceeds from Dark Was the Night benefit the RED HOT Organization. So it’s not just a pretty line-up, it’s for a good cause as well.
“Knotty Pine”, from the Dirty Projectors and David Byrne, is the lead-off track from the album, and I think it does a great job of setting the stage for the rest of the compilation. It’s upbeat, fun, it features a piano, and you can’t go wrong with pianos. A new song from the record is streaming at DWtN’s MySpace page everyday until the album is released on Feb. 17, but if you’re already convinced it’s worth owning, head over to the official page and pre-order the album.