I know, I know, who needs another look back at the musical year that will forever be remembered as 2009? Well, I for one need to jot down a few notes about the year’s music, if only for myself to look back on in my dotage. If anybody else is interested by what I write here too, then that’s a bonus. I’ll try and make that the only clichéd sentence though..!
I’ll get to the music of 2009 in a moment, but the most enduring image of 2009 was the look of sheer unbridled joy on the face of Andrew Strauss as Graeme Swann took the final Australian wicket as England won back The Ashes at The Oval in August. He just looked so happy. It must have been wonderful to be Andrew Strauss’s mum or dad on Christmas morning watching him open his presents. I have my own reasons for fondly remembering 23rd August too, as I listened to TMS while walking soaking wet in Dent with Sally at the end of a weekend away.
Now…the music. One caveat on everything that follows – it must be stressed that there is a lot of music I read about but didn’t actually hear in 2009, so my judgement is biased by what I’ve heard. I suggest listening to the following tune while reading on; all will become clear:
My favourite lyric of the year came from Wild Beasts, in The Fun Powder Plot:
“This is a booty call, my boot, my boot, your asshole”
My sonic palette evolved in 2009 as I got more into beats and bleeps, and in particular Warp Records, celebrating their 20th anniversary. I probably played more Warp tunes in my show than any other label in 2009, and there were several other notable Warp days for me in 2009. For instance, the Warp20 (Sheffield) day, Battles, Flying Lotus and Nice Nice in Manchester, or the Warp20 (Minutes) night Phil, Laura and I did on BCB.
My favourite single of 2009 was Rosenrød by DiskJokke. I’m not suggesting it was the best single of 2009, but it certainly represents my growing interest in electronic music, and contains my favourite bit in any tune of 2009 – the passage around the 3:43 mark. Thanks to one of 2009′s online developments, Soundcloud, you are probably listening to it now.
I haven’t got a favourite LP of 2009. There have been plenty of contenders, but to my ears, each of them has a lull, so I can’t put any one LP on a personal pedestal. It was also interesting, when looking at various 2009 polls, to notice the great divergence in opinion there was in the music press. Grizzly Bear, The Phantom Band, and The Horrors all topped polls, but none of those were even included in every poll, nevermind being near the top. In terms of LPs, for me 2009 was the year of the re-issue, as there were welcome re-issues by Big Star, Neil Young, Kraftwerk, The Beatles and Spiritualized.
In terms of live music, well Animal Collective towards the start of the year were fantastic; The ATP Festival in May was, as ever, full of multiple highlights; and towards the end of the year, seeing Daniel Johnston is something I will never forget, with or without the aid of the memory jogger that is this here blog.
If I were to make a playlist to become a double-CD compilation, called Now That’s What Albert Calls Music: 2009, it would look like this:
01 DiskJokke – Rosenrød
02 Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks
03 Camera Obscura – French Navy
04 Animal Collective – My Girls
05 Wild Beasts – The Fun Powder Plot
06 Brakes – Consumer, Producer, a Chicken Or An Egg (BCB session)
07 APSE – 3.1
08 Fever Ray – I’m Not Done
09 Sibrydion – Femme Mental
10 School Of Seven Bells – My Cabal
11 Fool’s Gold – Surprise Hotel
12 Allo, Darlin’ – Henry Rollins Don’t Dance
13 HEALTH – Die Slow
14 The Low Anthem – Charlie Darwin
15 The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Higher Than The Stars
16 My Latest Novel – All In All In All Is All (BCB session)
17 Phosphorescent – Can I Sleep In Your Arms
18 Blue Roses – Cover Your Tracks
01 Au Revoir Simone – Another Likely Story
02 Future Of The Left – Arming Eritrea
03 Slow Club – It Doesn’t Have To Be Beautiful
04 Fuck Buttons – Surf Solar
05 Wildbirds & Peacedrums – Today / Tomorrow
06 Richard Hawley – Don’t Get Hung Up On Your Soul
07 Daniel Johnston – Queenie The Doggie
08 Fever Ray – Seven
09 The Grave Architects – Highway Be True
10 Clark – Growls Garden
11 Choir Of Young Believers – Why Must It Always Be This Way (BCB Session)
12 The Phantom Band – Throwing Bones
13 Atlas Sound and Panda Bear – Walkabout
14 Japandroids – Young Heart Sparks Fire
15 PJ Harvey and John Parish – Black Hearted Love
16 The Antlers – Two
17 The Flaming Lips – Watching The Planets Collide
18 Grizzly Bear – While You Wait For The Others
19 Tinariwen – hidden track from Imidiwan: Companions album
I contemplated Spotify playlists for the above, but as half the songs aren’t on Spotify it didn’t seem worth bothering with.
Finally, a mention must go to those musicians who passed away in 2009. I’m afraid I can’t remember them all, but here are three: Ellie Greenwich, Vic Cheshnutt and Michael Jackson.