Thursday, December 10, 2009


Gotta say I've found it kind of hard to remember/figure out which "songs" are my absolute favs this year because a) THERE HAVE BEEN SO MANY GOOD BANDS COMING OUT WITH ONLY JUST A HANDFUL OF EUPHORIC AND INVENTIVE SOUNDS and b) most of them are submerged inside 15 minute long tapes or LPs and thus harder to post on a blog. But whatever, I've had to go with those anyway to "stay true to myself". I think I've lost track of heaps of stuff this year from working craploads and putting on shows in a small English city; I either couldn't remember if these ones were from this year or couldn't fit them on to the list:

Miami Horror - Don't Be With Her
Smith Westerns - Tonight
Black Joker - Watch Out! Part One
Dum Dum Girls - Catholicked
Toro Y Moi - Blessa
Truman Peyote - Sara Delta
Cow's Lips - A Complete Diagram

BUT YEAH, totally loved these next twenty in particular:

1. James Ferraro - Chrome Wave Arena
from Edward Flex Presents: Do You Believe In Hawaii?

I was enjoying all this Skatersy stuff earlier in the year but it wasn't until seeing James Ferraro and Spencer Clark each play solo in Newcastle's ridiculously mystical Mordern Tower that it really clicked. California Games dreams and VHS transcendence glow out of the Zangiefy roars and carbon gnarls, peyote grandeur and a vision that for me is more coherent and instantly relatable to both my own childhood (brings back 6am Saturday morning cartoon sessions, joystick obsessions, KFC towering over teen streets like a "dark tower" indeed) and current aesthetic interests.

[Last.FM / buy]

2. Najavo Bixby - Moonlighting

Kind of impossibly ecstatic and I'm not sure how Judd Hower has put this one together, alls I know is every time me and my pals have had two to three beverages and are about to "head out" I'm always reaching for this one. And the second half party drop; sheesh.


3. Taterbug - Chemical Vacation
from The Savage Young Taterbug CS

Tucked in the greasy folds of these super weird and trebely textures are some of the strongest feelings I can remember from this year and it's great how they're only half disguised under DIY gunk, "boys can be sirens too" for sure, and the hypnotic love on the scrawny wrists is creepy and sincere.

[MySpace / Buy]

4. Real Estate - Atlantic City
from Real Estate / Atlantic City Expressway

There are a handful of versions of it and I'm almost tempted to post the Parasails version (the first version?) but this lush indie pop jam is so homely and warm and at once pastoral and beachy. Totally addictive and subtly inventive in an enormous canon of pop greatness.

[MySpace / buy]

5. Matrix Metals - Flamingo Breeze
from Flamingo Breeze

It's just so weird, the neo-primitive retro futuristic FUN that oozes out of these claps and plastic beats. Taps into the 80s technology commercial feel and past ideas of the future that we're in right now with ridiculous glee and my absolute favourite sort of aesthetics. Just sounds real good.

[Last.FM / buy]

6. Speculator - We Don't Give A Shit

THOSE BLOWN OUT DRUMS! And Jesus & Mary chain rips all converted into Hal Hartley-style emotion real sweet and broken.


7. Ducktails - Landrunner
from Landscapes

It doesn't get any more 90s than this; those drums are pretty daggy (SO GOOD) and the somewhat uncharacteristic washy fuzz on this one makes it stand out from the other tropical greatness. Bodacious linear repetitions.

[MySpace / buy]

8. Dunebuggy - French Playground
from Dunebuggy CS

Trust Ryan Garbes and Charles "Taterbug" Free to blow their mutant pop/punk in chunks like these. Can't stop obsessing over the defunct Americana and genius John Candy/family film/summer camp feelings. Somehow it drips w/ "free highs" rather than unease, interesting amongst all the wide-eyed fuzz.

[MySpace / buy]

9. Eat Skull - Heaven's Stranger
from Wild & Inside

Way different from anything on the ultra wasted, scuzzy and wild eyed masterpiece Sick To Death but I guess this is what happens in winter when guys like these sit down for a bit and get a bit escapist. Just real beautiful and moving ending-y/driving into the sunset-y but still gritty as.

[MySpace / buy]

10. Fluffy Lumbers - Harry Dolland's

Perfect bittersweet teen fuzz pop w/ excitingly familar chord progressions and melody fueled distortion.


11. Weed Diamond - Walk Away
from Demo

Pretty straight forward lo-fi jam but somehow amazingly catchy too me; it's got those upbeat tropical guitars at a pretty chill level with something mega apt about the name Weed Diamond and the prismic colours and light that comes out of this.


12. Black Dice - Bob
from Chocolate Cherry

In some ways a minor blip on their larger radar but it's just total chillage running down in their typical sludge, stretched out melodies, palm tree imagery all melted and stuff, just really into that feeling eh.

[MySpace / buy]

13. Peaking Lights - Silver Tongues, Soft Whispers
from Imaginary Falcons CS

So circular and peaced out, helped by the mythos of where these guys live (in some Jodorowsky-style valley/forest) somewhere but still straight up analog beauty.

[MySpace / buy]

14. Holy Shit - Rough & Tumble

Is this from this year? A total banger either way; schhomp! Drugged out and happy go lucky, tapping into some mean Weekend At Bernies feelings.


15. Times New Viking - No Time, No Hope
from Born Again Revisited

We all know these guys but they're seriously getting better and better and way more New Zealandy as well; dig on their cover of "Anything Could Happen" and the way the bung organs chime on this one in that summer winds refrain at the very start, pulling off relevant "world views" in a shitstorm of irony that is semi-eschewed by amazing song ability.

[MySpace / buy]

16. Wet Hair - Cult Electric Annihilation
from Psychic Chasms

There's been a few classics from these guys this year especially Ryan Garbe's solo Born Under The Sun tape but this gem is super positive and apocalyptic at once, death party styles, super jammy and loose but somehow pushed forward in that way they do, neo-prog or something right? Totally boss.

[MySpace / buy]

17. Kurt Vile - Freeway
from Constant Hitmaker

I wouldn't hesitate in saying that Kurt Vile is the best "songwriter" to come to the foreground of 2009 and it's amazing to know he's getting better at putting lyrics/chords/feelin's together increasingly cohesively. Nice and conventional folk/pop/indie rock but drenched in spring air and reverb with long hair flailin'.

[MySpace / buy]

18. The Mantles - Don't Lie
from The Mantles

Crazily intricate jangles that grow and grow but burgeon nonstop and look back at our New Zealand favourites. Crazy good pop song, just enough fuzz, slightly obvious chord progression which is EXACTLY what you wanna hear and they just roll with it.

[MySpace / buy]

19. Lotus Plaza - Red Oak Way
from The Floodlight Collective

This real lucid and delay-heavy style is a favourite of mine and I think this is partially because of how amazingly synesthestetic the cover art goes with the general sound is (love the light leakage in a big way cf. my Flickr). So dreamy and with massive colour blur all over.

[Last FM / buy]

20. Blues Control - On Through The Night
from Local Flavor

People say they're somewhat sporadic in their recorded output but these krauted out rhythms matched with both New Agey/Equinochial textures are just totally delicious, submerge more than ever until ten minutes in where the liquid drums come out. Such a beguiling mix of "things" in this one, like their wider oeuvre.


parallelliott said...

Cool list. Love that Blues Control cut.

gervin said...


how to dress well said...

killer list!

have to say--- no one has put this song called 'remembering you' by I am the Cosmos on their list---- that's my jam! especiAlly listning to it transition into 'my love' by the dream and mariah. okay.

thanks for your work dude

Darlene Brown said...

Thank ya

Carlos said...

swell list, mang. that ducktails is total apogee for me. wish i had it back in the days of cosmo's cosmic adventures (even if it probably sounds nothin' really like it)