December 10, 2009
These are the albums I have recommended most to friends over the year (my personal metric for favorite music). Please feel free to share your favorites in the comments, and please check out others' online "best of 2009" music lists.
My favorite eleven albums of 2009, along with free and legal mp3 downloads (where available):
Alela Diane's sophomore album To Be Still is more fully realized than her 2004 debut, Pirate's Gospel. The added instrumentation enhances her unique voice, and her strong songwriting stands out in one of the year's finest albums.
The Antlers: "Two" [mp3]
Hospice is the year's most haunting release, a skillfully constructed and performed concept album.
Longtime Gillian Welch sideman David Rawlings has crafted the folk album of the year, filled with heavenly vocal harmonies and Rawlings' inimitable finger-picking guitar.
Girls in Trouble is the talented singer-songwriter Alicia Jo Rabins, and her debut album is filled with stories of women from Jewish history that resonate strongly in today's world.
This Vancouver duo plays honest, refreshing, and slyly clever rock and roll.
Filled with "brilliant pop moments (says the Observer) and "deceptively mellifluous bedsit pop" (according to the Times Online), Jewellery is an engaging, compelling, and often surprising listen. (from my review of the album)
Micachu and the Shape's Mica Levi is a budding musical genius, constantly redefining and re-imagining music by her own rules.
John Darnielle's Bible verse-inspired album shows the greatest singer-songwriter of our time still growing in his craft.
I have long been a fan of Rhett Miller and the Old 97s, and his solo albums are among my favorite discs. Rhett Miller contains his most personal songwriting yet.
In its review of this album, Pitchfork noted Sharon Van Etten's "unerring sense for crafting memorable, seductive melodies." Van Etten is the total package, her intensely personal lyrics matched to her innate musical sense and confident vocal delivery combine to impress with every track on this album.
Those Darlins play fun, honest, and often raucous cowpunk born in the hills of Tennessee, and their live show is one of the best I saw all year.
Spoon's Britt Daniel brings surprisingly polished production to White Rabbit's often piano-driven second album.
also at Largehearted Boy:
2008 Largehearted Favorite Albums
2007 Largehearted Favorite Albums
2006 Largehearted Favorite Albums
2005 Largehearted Favorite Albums
2004 Largehearted Favorite Albums
2003 Largehearted Favorite Albums
2002 Largehearted Favorite Albums