FT50: Songs of 2009

bestof2009cover_songsWe have to start this list off with a disclaimer.  We have three writers, all with different tastes, so the list should reflect that a little bit.  Also, these are our opinions, and by no means, are they meant to be seen as an “end all be all” to the question of what were the best songs of 2009.  That being said, we like our list quite a bit.  Sure, it’s got some expected numbers at the top, but the rest of the list is genius.  We’ve got some of the songs streaming for you, and the rest take you straight to youtube.  Follow the jump for full list.

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Constantines @ Emos – 6/6

iwasakingOut of all the shows this week, this is definitely the one I have been looking forward to the most. Whether it be the post-punk of Constantines, the crazy antics of Crystal Antlers or the tunes of my favorite new band I Was a King (pictured at left), it’s destined to be a night that my ears won’t soon forget. Sure, there are other greats gracing Austin this Saturday like The Strange Boys, Oh No Oh My or Au Revoir Simone, but this is the show you definitely need to be at. Buy your tickets.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/09-you-are-a-conductor.mp3]

Download: Constantines – You are A Conductor [MP3]

I Was a King – s/t

king

Rating: ★★★★½

Occasionally the overseas hype makes its way to these Eastern shores, and in those cases it rarely amounts to much.  This time, I Was a King, aim to put all that hype to rest, as they have an album of such quality that it’s hard not to immediately fall in love with every single song on the album.

From the opening moments of the album, there is a definite haziness to the production, as if the album was washed in a dense Irish fog; that sentimentality will remain throughout the record, though the album definitely breaks through in a major way.

More than likely, you will find that this album borrows largely from the late 90s Brit-pop as the guitars carry a certain amount of fuzz, and you would be hard pressed not to find some similarities between the band and Teenage Fanclub. There’s elemental grit on almost every single song that comes your way, but beneath it sleeps that great pop beast that is near and dear to our hearts.

One issue that some might take upon immediate listens is that the lyrics are not openly decipherable; one must listen closely throughout the entire album in order to get a hold on the precise subject matter.  But isn’t this what we all want from our music?  Does music have to be so immediately accessible?  No! This album answers that time and time again, as it unfolds with rewarding moment after rewarding moment.  And those vocals are so warm and inviting that they recall little known band The Comas, so much so that one might confuse the singers as the same man, but alas, there is a great distance between the two.

It’s difficult to describe such an album that goes all over the place and yet remains stationary.  The album artwork in this case is a sufficient descriptor of the album, as each song is full of different colors and sounds.  In part the album is 90s power-pop, but psychedelic moments shine through from the same core, only to be outdone by the space fuzz guitarmonies that cradle the vocals.  This is an album that refuses to be defined, and it refuses to sit in one place.  Here you have ADHD recorded, perfected, and sold to appease your ears.

No matter what you find enjoyable, you will find that this album is perfectly suited for you and your listening.  It’s not overtly abrasive where you can’t sleep with it at night, nor is it near mellow enough where you don’t want to crank it all the way to eleven; you won’t be able to put this one down.  Please, spin it again and again.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/14-norman-bleik.mp3]

Download: I Was A King – Norman Bleik [MP3]

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