Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but I've been cramming for finals. Ha. Not those... I'm done with school, remember. What I've been cramming is music. Into my ears.
You see, it's that time of year again where every self-respecting blogger boils down the thousands of discs and songs they've collected over the year into structured, numerical lists. This year, my Top Albums list will part of The Bird List (for the record, I voted for The United State of Americana) - a sort of master list aggregated from over 40 Americana/Country/Folk blogs. Our finalized lists of 20 albums are due tonight, and the results will be tallied and will go live (here) on Monday the 14th.
So to answer your agonizing question... yes, my list is complete. And although I know you can't wait any longer to see the definitive Top Albums of the year, I won't be posting mine just yet. Like last year, I will begin my year-end lists with a small sampling of the Best EP's of the year. This year we have 5, 2 up from last year. My albums list has doubled to 20. And I plan on offering somewhere near 50 of my favorite songs this year. Stay tuned, folks.
5. Angus & Julia Stone - The Beast [EP]
I found Australian sibling duo Angus & Julia Stone through Rollo & Grady. I was a little late to the party - they have putting out music for a few years now. This EP saw its US release early this year in preparation for their debut LP A Book Like This. Julia's bubbly yet sultry voice (think Kasey Chambers, Joanna Newsom) is the initial attention-grabber, but Angus' smooth vocals and lyrics will keep you listening.
4. Deer Tick - More Fuel for the Fire [EP]
As expected, 2009 was a huge year for Providence's Deer Tick. Just five months after releasing their sophomore album, John McCauley and crew gave us a new EP sampling 3 new songs. 'La La La' might be the country-est tune Deer Tick has recorded thus far. Guitarist Andrew Tobiassen takes front stage on his tune 'Dance of Love.' And 'Axe Is Forever' is yet another retro-groove sure to stick in your head throughout next year.
La La La
3. Jonny Burke - The Long Haul [EP]
Former 1/2 of The Dedringers Jonny Burke spent 2009 on the road across the country opening for such acts as James McMurtry and Ryan Bingham. Somehow, he found the time to record a 5-track EP. 'Ship Come In' enlists Austin's Band of Heathens to help fill sound and vocals. 'El Paso' is a western lament a-la Townes Van Zandt.
2. Tristen - Deceivers Are Achievers [EP]
A gracious reader emailed me to suggest that I may enjoy an EP from Tristen Gaspadarek, a Nashville-based singer and multi-instrumentalist. He was right. Tristen's brand of jangly pop (rubbed in the dirt just enough to be folk) is right up my alley. Her youthful voice and original melodies have been known to stick in my head some.
1. Joe Pug - In The Meantime [EP]
My favorite discovery of the year was, hands down, Joe Pug. He blew onto the scene last year with his Nation of Heat [EP], but it somehow slipped past me. I'm always a fan of simple acoustic music, and Joe has that art down to perfection. This EP - free on his website - consists of leftover tracks from the Nation sessions. Look for 2010 to be a breakout year for Joe as his touring has recently been shifted into full-gear (including some time overseas with The Low Anthem) and his debut LP, Messenger, is set for a February release.
Dodging The Wind
Refresh your memory with last year's lists:
Top Albums, pt 1
Top Albums, pt 2