Sunday, December 20, 2009


Michaella Solar-March is one of the coolest people we know. She does a million awesome things really well, like working for Spunk, the terrific record label that distributes bands like Akron/Family and Spoon in Australia, and before that she did an amazing show on a great radio station, and on top of that she also works on this cool thing and writes Grey Gardens, one of our favourite blogs on the whole internet. So we thought we'd capitalise on some of her coolness and get her to write a list of her best 2009 albums for us. Here's what she said:

Dear Rose Quartz,
So I always get super self-conscious about end of year lists. Don’t you think ten is a silly number? There were definitely more than ten amazing albums released this year. In fact, I tried to make a list of my top ten songs for a friend the other day but had to stop when my list was already sixty tracks long and I’d not yet reached ‘S’ in my iTunes library. But Max asked me to make a list of my favourite 2009 records. And I like Max, so I said yes. Only problem was, he specified that my list be ten albums long. Here goes nothing!

Mi Ami – Watersports
sample mp3: New Guitar

I always called these guys “Miami” as in beachside, Florida. It was only until I met my New Yorker that I learnt they were called “mee amee”. I found the album in his record collection and said how much I loved it, and his reply was to tell me they were his really good friends and that I was calling them the wrong thing. However you pronounce it (potato, potato), ‘Watersports’ is a rambling, screaming, crashing drum-driven mess and it's totally killer.

[MySpace / buy]

The xx - xx
sample mp3: Islands

Two things: I like moody electronic music and I also find it hard to concentrate while I am at work if I have music playing. This album is suuper moody which is one reason I am so into it, but another is that it is understated, and that gentleness means I can listen to it while I work without it distracting me from whatever I am doing. Double winning.

[MySpace / buy]

Glasser -Apply 12”
sample mp3: Apply

Apply is probably my favourite song this year. I'm a pretty indecisive person so I don’t want to say it definitely is my favourite song, but it's up there. Moody, pensive, sexy, and anticipatory. What a woman. I wish I could live in her head for a while. Every mix CD I made someone this year included this song. It’s just the best. “If the walls were too thin, you’d break right in” If you want to let your guard down babe, be sure I’ll get your back.

[MySpace / buy]

The Twerps - The Twerps
sample mp3: Dance Alone

I want to give every member of this band a hug. 1970s punk through a 1950s pop filter? Amazing.

[MySpace / buy]

Girls - Album
sample mp3: Lust For Life

I came to this record really late. I’d heard the singles and loved them, but I tend to shy away from albums when everyone's raving about how good they are. I want to come to them with fresh ears and I feel like I can’t when all I’ve read and heard everywhere is how brilliant something is. So I gave this some time. When I came around to listening to it in full (6 weeks ago, maybe) I died. I was missing out! Why did I do that to myself? This record is so good. It makes me want to move to San Francisco, buy a drum kit, and find a cute guy to sing and play guitar while I hit my kit with one hand and drink scotch and dry with the other.

[MySpace / buy]

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson - Summer Of Fear
sample mp3: The Sound

I loved Miles’ debut, and this continued on the same tangent as his first Kyp Malone-produced effort. Brilliantly crafted, introspective and melancholic, this album is tortured and burdened but somehow hopeful at the same time. I found this really cathartic – it is fucking heartbreaking but it's so awesomely refreshing to hear someone sing about the bullshit we all put ourselves through while we cross fingers we come out OK at the other end.

[MySpace / buy]

DaM-FunK - Toeachizown
sample mp3: Mirrors

OK, this is a tricky one. Issued as double album, Toeachizown is repetitive and not fully realised at times, but when it’s good it’s totally jamming. Plus, it’s a funk record and funk is always a little same-same so the repetition is to be expected. When it’s at its best, this album makes me want to have loads and loads of sex and that's definitely worthy of top ten listing.

[MySpace / buy]

Grass Widow - To Where 12”
sample mp3: To Where

This is the most exciting band I have heard in a long time. Sassy vocally-driven post punk with quirky, contagious 60s pop harmonies. It is messy and charming and great and I just want more!

[MySpace / buy]

Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
sample mp3: Stillness Is The Move

Stillness Is The Move. What a jam! Amber Coffman’s lead vocal commands your attention but she manages to still sound humble at the same time. Dear David Longstreth, you are a god. ‘Bitte Orca’ is like a more accessible version of ‘Rise Above’, ‘Rise Above v2.0: The pop years’ maybe? Which leads me to…

[MySpace / buy]

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
sample mp3: While You Wait For The Others

I know I'm being totally predictable and this album's on everyone’s lists, but when something is good, it's good, and you can’t argue with good. While You Wait For The Others gets me right there every time. I was in a Grizzly coma for about a month after this album was released and I used to sing along very loudly while at work. One time, my singing was so loud someone in the office across from mine tersely requested I “try to keep it down”. They obvs weren’t feeling my 100% Grizzly vibe. I was and still am excited that a band who had been on the fringes so long managed to break into the mainstream with such ease. Of course Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors also did that this year. Three cheers.

[MySpace / buy]

Honourable mention my friend Chris said I can’t include because it wasn’t a full length album (does it matter that this is a 7” not an album? Chris says it does, but what does he know?)

Best Coast - When I'm With You 7”
sample mp3: When I'm With You

I love 60s girl groups and Bethany of Best Coast combines the best of those manicured pop songs with a fuzzy, hazy blissful California vibe. Scuzzy pop. I spent a lot of this year listening to her for days on end without listening to anything else. I tried to see her twice in New York this past October but couldn’t get in to either of her shows. Still devastates me.

[MySpace / buy]

Others I would have liked to include had I been allowed more than ten albums:

Atlas Sound - Logos, Those Darlins - Those Darlins, Nite Jewel - Good Evening, Wildbirds and Peace Drums - The Snake, Bat For Lashes - Two Suns, DM Stith - Heavy Ghost, Warpaint - Exquisite Corpse, Real Estate - Real Estate, Washed Out - Life Of Leisure, Jim O’Rourke - The Visitor, Fever Ray - Fever Ray, Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion.

One I would definitely never include:

Amanda Blank ‘I Love You’ (I definitely was not in love with Amanda after this. Babe, that shit was tough).


seanbelling said...

werd on Best Coast

Michaella said...

ok so your introduction is possibly the nicest thing anyone has ever written about me... awww group hug!

Nat said...

Pretty good list - except for that GD Grizzly Bear album.

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