Converted from paper version of the Broad Ripple Gazette (v06n25)
Rick On The Records - by Rick Zeigler
posted: Dec. 18, 2009
RICK'S TOP 20 ALBUMS FOR 2009 - part 1
My picks are NOT based on what I predict or feel the "most significant" albums of the year are. They are simply based on which albums have given me the most listening enjoyment throughout the year.
11. LOW ANTHEM-OH MY GOD CHARLIE DARWIN
This is an Americana album of unvarnished beauty, with feathery vocals and subdued instrumentation yielding a feeling of listening around a campfire -- with a couple of good "hoot & holler" songs thrown in for good measure.
12. DECEMBERISTS-HAZARDS OF LOVE
This blindingly ambitious song-suite dealing with shape-shifting lovers and other such concerns unites folk-rock beauty with Led Zeppelin crunch. Colin Meloy's songwriting and arranging skills are on full display.
13. BAND OF SKULLS-BABY DARLING DOLL FACE HONEY
Yet another excellent debut, with songs veering from strutting rockers to soft-focused ballads, all carried along by dual male/female vocals.
14. LEVON HELM-ELECTRIC DIRT
Former Band drummer/singer/songwriter returns with his second album in as many years, showing every alt-country youngster how it should be done. And his voice is still a thing of wonder.
15. JAMES HAND-SHADOW ON THE GROUND
Country done the way Hank Williams did it-'nuff said.
16. SCHOOL OF THE SEVEN BELLS-ALPINISMS
Former Secret Machines guitarist unites with twin female singers to yield an album with crystal clear vocals combined with less clear (fuzz/reverb/distortion) guitars. Brilliant!
17. BLACK JOE LEWIS-TELL 'EM WHAT YOUR NAME IS
Yes, it's derivative of the sixties soul-stompers put out by Stax, but it works so well, who cares?
18. BACHELORETTE-MY ELECTRIC FAMILY
The most critically ignored pick on my list, My Electric Family is an album centered on the dangers of isolation in our computer-dependent age, but with the pop-centric music itself being largely composed and recorded on her home computer.
19. JAY FARRAR/BENJAMIN GIBBARD-ONE FAST MOVE OR I'M GONE: KEROUAC'S BIG SUR
Recorded for inclusion on an upcoming Jack Kerouac documentary, and with lyrics taken from Kerouac's novel concerning Big Sur, the music here wonderfully combines Death Cab For Cutie frontman Gibbard's pop delicacy with Uncle Tupelo/Son Volt founder Farrar's alt-country leanings. It shouldn't work but it does.
20. CRIBS-IGNORE THE IGNORANT
More blustery anthems out of England, with huge hooks and knowing swagger. I put it last because it's too new to know how long it will last, but for now, I can't get enough of it.
MOST OVER-RATED ALBUM OF THE YEAR
I know this is dangerous territory, as my shop has sold a ton of these, but I just can't get into Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion. Yes, they're talented, and yes, they know how to spit out great snippets of sound one after the other. But could they PLEASE write a couple of actual songs, rather than just stringing their ideas together one after the other?
Rick Zeigler, along with his wife, Jeanne, owns Indy CD and Vinyl at 806 Broad Ripple Avenue. Back in his musician days, his band opened for the likes of U2, XTC, Gang Of Four, The Pretenders, Los Lobos, and, um, Flock Of Seagulls, among others. You can read all of Rick's reviews at www.indycdandvinyl.com. Email your music questions and comments to rick@BroadRippleGazette.com