Best of 2009

I’m not a huge fan of lists all together, but I love a lot of wildly obscure music and with that comes my second installment of my top 50 favorite songs that dominated my head phones and car stereo this past year.  Music that I listened to while working, partying, hanging with friends, feeling down, feeling happy, stuck in traffic, when I wasn’t stuck in traffic, music that has become my soundtrack from 2009.

2009 was a year that seemed like everyone and their computer became a DJ and when an artist put out something new, it only took a matter of days sometimes hours before someone chopped it up and put their own spin on it.   The only rule I made for this list is that it had to be completely organic, the music the artist intended for you to hear.  You won’t find any remixes in the top 50 but they certainly accounted for a large portion of what I pushed play to this year.

It’s embarrassing how much I love some of this music and my goal of this list is so that you, my friends, can discover something new to love.  I’m excited to hear any feedback you may have.

Happy listening and I hope you find something new on here to fall in love with.

-Brian

[Click on file name to play and right-click to download]

50.) Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero   [Right-Click to Download]

The “Karen O” obsession for me has hit a new high with this track from the band’s third album titled, It’s Blitz!

49.) Washed Out – New Theory

A music project that’s only 4 months in the making has produced some really enjoyable dream induced music for me this year.

48.) Florence + The Machine – Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

Florence + The Machine has turned into one of my favorite female artists of 2009.  She’s got some big pipes on her and I think her new album titled Lungs is very appropriate.

47.) Peaches – I Feel Cream

Since Kylie Minouge didn’t come through for me in 2009, Peaches filled my every void for sexually explicit pop-diva vocals that are perfect for any dance floor.

46.) Doves – Jetstream

I wasn’t all that thrilled by their forthcoming album “Kindom of Rust” but this song Jetstream was one I couldn’t stop listening to for the entire year.  The build up of this song is just bloody fantastic.

45.) People Under The Stairs – Trippin at the Disco

Here’s a hilarious video for one of my favorite hip-hop groups in the entire universe.  It’s refreshing to know that they’re still keeping things light-hearted while producing one of the catchiest hip-hop songs of the year.

44.) Dan Black – Symphonies

One of the more obscure covers I’ve ever heard, but the cover of Biggie’s Hypnotize is one glorious mashup that certainly took the hipster blogs by storm this year.   It became so popular that when it came to be released as a single, copyright problems arose,  the lyrics were rewritten and the new single “Symphonies” was born.

43.) Kings Of Convenience – Boat Behind

Don’t wait to discover the musical stylings of Erlend Oye in both Kings of Convenience and also his electronic project,  The Whitest Boy Alive.   The song Boat Behind is my favorite from the album Declaration of Dependence. It’s gentle fiddle riffs over groovy acoustic guitars  in the song is what I have come to love from this duo.

42.) Q-tip – Damn You’re Cool

Q-tip has a flow like no other and his recent album release Kamaal The Abstract, seemed to go unnoticed in 2009.  What was originally set to release back in 2001, finally dropped and it brings me straight back to 2001 when Tribe Called Quest was on heavy rotation in whatever high-powered roadster I was driving at the time.

41.) Dada Life – Happy Hands & Happy Feet

The title track from the Sweedish duo, Dada Life I have been played over and over this year.  The warped vocals and disco beat are sure to keep you swaying those hips, or just tapping uncontrollably like me in your car.

40.) The Hood Internet – Two Weeks Of Hip Hop (Dead Prez vs. Grizzly Bear)

Who knew a classic Dead Prez track would blend so beautifully with the indie inspired band Grizzly Bear.  The result is pure gold and a track I’m sure I’ll be listening to for a long time.

39.) Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros – Home

I remember seeing this ensemble of kooky looking people on David Letterman this past year.  Little did I know they were about to create such an infectious melody that really just makes you want a jig whenever you hear it.

38.)  Blakroc – Dollaz & Sense (Featuring Pharoahe Monch & RZA)

Take some of Hip-Hops finest and combine it with the bluesy guitar riffs of The Black Keys and you’re toying with a very short list of rock-rap collaborations in years past.  Luckily this album nailed it all the way through and I wouldn’t call it Rap-Rock but just Rap in its purest form without the boats, cristal and big booty hoe’s.  Maybe RZA’s spiritual zone will better explain what this music is all about.

37.) Hockey – Too Fake

A band that blew up the spot with their live performances at SXSW this year.  I had a real tough time picking between this and my other favorite Work by them, but couldn’t resist how much I love the chorus of this song.  A band from Portland, OR that I hope blows up this year, they deserve it.

36.) Throw Me The Statue – Hi-Fi Goon

An insanely catchy tune and I think I like it more since the title reminds me of myself.  An album that really flew under the radar this year,  but the infectious hook of this song can’t go unnoticed.

35.) Fever Ray – Seven

This song is creepy as hell and wonderfully weird to listen to while lurking in the shadows.   If you’re familiar with The Knife, then you’re familiar with Karin Dreijer Andersson and her spooky Sweedish lullabies.

34.) Bloody Beetroots – House N° 84

A Italian bred DJ duo known that’s best known for their heart pounding house music.   The Bloody Beetroots may be too hard for most, but I’m a firm believer in that there’s a time and a place for music and this should only be played when doing something really really extreme.

33.) Health – Die Slow

When is noise considered music?  or when is music considered just a bunch of noise?  Health, seems to bridge the gap by playing their instruments like they’re on fire, singing indecipherable lyrics and the result is mind-blowing chaos.  You may think this sounds like a car crash but I think it’s a perfected collision of noise.

32.)RJD2 – A Beautiful Mine

You may recognize this song from the opening sequence of Mad Men. While I was too busy watching the much cooler of the television shows, I continue to be impressed by RJD2 still doing his thing after all these years.  But seriously, I’ve heard Mad Men is a great show just haven’t gotten the chance to watch it (as the Jersey shore fills up my DVR queue. ha).

31.) Hudson Mohawke – Fuse

This track reminds me of some sort of opening sequence for the latest National Geographic program.    Listen if you enjoy that sort of light-speed flute synthesized sound, or just give a listen if you don’t know what the hell light-speed flute synthesized sounds like. But this kid is a veteran in the game at only 23yrs old and it really shows with his debut album Butter.

30.) Neon Indian – Deadbeat Summer

This song takes me straight back to snap bracelets, British Knights and neon colored track suits.  Not sure what it is about this song and album but it gives me that nostalgic feeling all the way through.   Usually this sort of slow electronic blips aren’t for me but the experimental effort of the entire album and how it creates this slew of past enjoyable memories is reason enough for me to keep going back to it.

29.) Micachu And The Shapes – Golden Phone

Mica Levi, a 21 yr old girl/boy? from the UK brings a deliciously messy lo-fi song and that happens to be extremely fun to listen to.    The only song that makes me want to play 4-square in the school yard.

28.) Calvin Harris – I’m Not Alone

Calvin Harris has succeeded with his new ‘throw your hands up in the air’ kind of album.  The tracks dig deep into that trancy electro sound that makes your body sway sporadically combined with that pop album feeling where you just can’t get the songs out of your head.  This guy pumped out the hits this year and even some of his remixes have been becoming , what he did to Passion Pit’s The Reeling was amazing,  I swear I probably played only that song for an entire weekend.

27.) The Go Find – Everybody Knows It’s Gonna Happen Only Not Tonight

Never heard of this Belgium group before this teaser track from their new album to be released in February of 2010.  But the dreamy acoustics and horns throughout the song makes for a nice laid back tune.   If this song is what to expect for their third album, I’m already excited.

26.) Classixx Feat. Jeppe – I’ll Get You

This song is infectious, plain and simple.  And the music video for the song was a collaboration with some famous indie photo-blog guy named Cobrasnake, but I think he hit the nail on the head in portraying that this is the kind of song that makes you want to bike ride through Santa Monica.

25.) The Gossip – Heavy Cross

Not a huge fan of most of everything else I’ve heard from Beth Ditto but this track is a standout.  Her vocals are incredibly fierce and piercing all the way through and with the amount of air time I gave this song I figured it to be well deserving of a top 25 spot.

24.) Andrew Bird – Anonanimal

As always with Andrew Bird’s work, it convinces me to listen closely to the complex folk masterpieces he’s able to create.  It doesn’t hurt that he’s a classically trained violinist who seems to create these incredible layers of music by whistling, his organic sounding voice and his immense musical talent.  This song I think is some of his best work and I think you’ll agree.   His live shows ought to be quite pleasing to the ears if  this live performance is any indication.

23.) La Roux – In For The Kill

La Roux made a huge splash in 2009 and became one of the most remixed artists out there and it’s not because her original ideas aren’t worth listening to.   Her music with just careful tweaks and more of an up-tempo beat have created some of the best dance floor bangers I heard all year.

22.) White Rabbits – Percussion Gun

From the opening drum sequence this song takes off into a frenzy of indie rock percussion which makes me want to rush out and buy a drum set, then I’m reminded of  how awful I am at catching the beat.  The White Rabbits sound may be familiar if you enjoy the band Spoon, which is no surprise since the album was produced by Spoon front man Britt Daniel.    Once this song takes off and running, it’s sure to emit a blanket of energy straight through your ears and down to your feet.

21.) Just Jack – Embers

This song Embers is one that gets its charge in the beginning from the orchestra stringed infusion, the song mellows out and then without notice, erupts in to a huge explosion of layered vocals with drum and bass melodies.  Just Jack is an English musician and his third studio album titled All Night Cinema is certainly worth the purchase.

20.) The Vanish – Heartbeat

Dance-rock or pop-disco, whatever you want to call it, this is the type of music that has just dominated my iTunes this year.   This sort of synthesized pop music that in past has only come from an Australian pedigree.  The Vanish was formed when the duo left their New York City desk jobs in 2008 and it came as no surprise when I found out later that they spent both of their childhoods in Australia.  I don’t mean to sound cliché, but could they be the next thing to bring this type of music to the States?

19.)Bombay Bicycle Club – Always Like This

A group that has put college on hold this year to create an album called I had the blues but shook them loose, really shook up the interwebs this year with fun and danceable indie music.  This album is really good straightforward indie rock, without all the smoke and mirrors and in my opinion the song Always Like This is some of their best work.

18.) Deadmau5 & Kaskade – I Remember

Canadian producer Deadmau5 had formed quite the impressive following this year as he rose to the top of DJ stardom.  I admit, I’ve followed him ever since I laid eyes on that mouse head but have since come to recognize how impressive his work is rather than just his mouse persona.  This guy is on the forefront of house music production and has created some very recognizable tunes this year.  If you ever have the opportunity to see this guy live, do it.

17.) Ellie Goulding – Starry Eyed

I’ve been a wee bit obsessed with Ellie Goulding ever since I heard the song Starry Eyed.  This girl seems to have it all, but is it enough to become the next pop goddess? Ellie has been named by many as the next big thing to look for in 2010 and the pop perfection of the track and video for Starry Eyed has certainly helped.  If you’re a girl, there’s no denying that you are going to dig her music.

16.)Yeasayer – Ambling Alp

This experimental band from Brooklyn crafted an extremely catchy tune that incorporates all that is an experimental indie rock band.  This single is from their upcoming album Odd Blood that is due out in February and it’s guaranteed to keep you rocking in a good mood.  If you are a fan of MGMT and Passion Pit, you’ll be excited about what this band has to offer.

15.) Midnight Juggernauts – This New Technology

The Midnight Juggernauts hail from Australia and they’re certainly worth checking out and keeping an eye on in 2010.  The song This New Technology combines the bands pulsating bass, layered guitars and futuristic sounds to create a sound that is extremely pleasing to your ears.

14.) Two Door Cinema Club – Something Good Can Work

Two Door Cinema Club are from Northern Ireland and have managed to create some of the most infectious party pop music of 2009.    I stumbled upon this group after listening to a Kitsune Maison compilation CD and it instantly became a top play for me this summer.  All theses kids now is a commercial spot featuring their music or cross the Atlantic and start touring in the States.  A band that has huge potential to blow up in 2010.

13.)Minus The Bear – Into the Mirror

I’ve grown to love MTB over the years and their album Menos el Oso is one of my favorite albums of all time, so of course I was excited when I began to hear snippets of their new songs earlier this year.  Their new album is tentatively set for release as early as February, but who knows.  This song title leaves me questioning what happened to the nutty and wacky song titles like Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse from previous albums.

12.) Basement Jaxx – Raindrops

No longer the jump around and mash your feet kind of songs that you would expect from Basement Jaxx.  But in 2009, this group has re-invented themselves into sounds from another planet and away from the old massive house beats of past and into a poppy psychedelic tune that is sure to keep you groovin’.

11.) Here We Go Magic – Tunnelvision

There’s just something wistful and memorizing about this song that makes the mysterious lyrics and simple melodies easy to listen to.  Is it a song or just one big verse that seems to carry you off far away into space.  HWGM is far from your ordinary folk band and has received its well deserved praises all year surrounding their debut self titled  album.

10.)We Were Promised Jetpacks – Quiet Little Voices

This Scottish four piece has put together some of the best pop-punk music of the year and their album These Four Walls are on many best album lists of 2009.  If you’re not familiar with them and you love to play drums on your steering wheel, Quite Little Voices and It’s Thunder and it’s Lighting are perfect.  It’s frantic and repetitious from the start but it’s when it erupts half way through that you hope nobody catches you at a red light.  It’s sort of embarrassing.

9.) Magistrates – Heartbreak

This funky 80’s style song went relatively undiscovered by many this year, but dig a little deeper and you never know what kind of gems you will find.   This song and their other instant hit with me Make This Work have gone through countless plays this year and proof is in my iTunes.   It’s insanely poppy and a song that’s easy to enjoy the shit out of.   It was a real letdown to read last month that they have since called it a day and the members have left to pursue other musical projects but this song is well deserving of a top 10 spot.

8.) The Whitest Boy Alive – Burning

The Whitest Boy Alive and the voice of Erlend Øye have managed to strike yet another chord with me.  A song that has so much style and created with so few instruments and post-production that I wish it just went on forever, it’s that sublime.

7.) Hey Champ – Cold Dust Girl

A trio from Chicago that has proved it can create an indie-pop hits to light up any nearby dance floor.  A band where you don’t even have to cross the Atlantic to get all the synthesized melodies this song has.   Here’s to hoping that this song and their others songs manage to create enough stir and acclaim to get picked up by a label in 2010.

6.) Friendly Fires – Kiss Of Life

One of my favorite albums of the year, Friendly Fires hails from England and their re-released album in 2009, showed no signs of stopping when it came to producing great dance inspired music.  Kiss of Life is a laced with catchy samba drums and Ed Macfarlane puts on his ridiculously good demonstration of dance moves in the video.  One of the best live performances I’ve ever seen and seeing Ed do his jig on stage was pure entertainment.

5.) Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks

Grizzly Bear’s album Veckatimest was one of the most talked about albums on hypem.com this year and continues to receive praise as the album has crafted such a copious amount of cheerful and sweeping  indie melodies.   The song “Two Weeks” is a testament of the bands work ethic in producing some of the best indie rock we’ve heard in a long time.

4.) Miike Snow – Silvia

Once producers for the huge Grammy Awarded Britney Spears hit Toxic and  others by Kylie Minogue and Madona, this band had dedicated 2009 to produce music under the name of Miike Snow (named after a Japanese film director).   You can expect a high level of production from the album which isn’t all surprising considering where they got their start.   The twisted vocals and electronic blips and bleeps of this song make for a song and album that I suspect I’ll come back and listen to years down the road.  Here’s a live in-studio video of Sylvia with even more synthesized keyboard magic and the break down at the end around the 5:15 min mark is just pure bliss.

3.) The XX – Crystalised

A band full of 20 something’s from London have combined their musical talents and created some of the best down-tempo cult like music I have heard to date.   The rumbling drums and chilly synths give Crystalised and the entire album a late-night vibe to it, perfect for a midnight drive or stroll.    These kids are bound to blow up and I’m not sure if the mainstream is quite ready for it.  But having the opportunity to see them live last month has given me an entirely new respect for the simplicity and undeniable groove of The XX.

2.) Phoenix – 1901

In 2009, Phoenix was the band that bridged the gap between mainstream and indie rock music this year.  And the song 1901 was the soundtrack of multiple media productions this year as it came as no surprise that the catchiness of these Frenchmen was an instant hit with the masses.  An album and song that needs no introduction, listen for yourself.

1.) Passion Pit – Moth’s Wings

This is the song that got me hooked on Passion Pit this year and I’ve never looked back.   Sure I was familiar with them last year from their early release Sleepy HeadsManners. The album is packed with songs where people can just sing-a-long and/or dance-a-long and just find complete enjoyment from this music.  Who doesn’t want that?  My favorite song this year Moth’s Wings deserves to be played loudly, over and over again. but a year later and much has changed.  What was once just a cutesy song for a girlfriend as a Valentine gift has turned in becoming a full blown band with a major label deal and their first full length album titled.

Whew. Hope you’ve enjoyed my this list as much as I did making it.  Let me know what you think!

  1. pump out the jamz pls.

      • haphazardmixtape
      • January 14th, 2010

      Carla B! I’m back in the blogging game, let me know what you think!

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