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Saturday, 19 December 2009

Greatest Albums of 2009. #15. - #11.

15. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (May 26, 2009)

(Indie Pop/Electro/Pop)

Phoenix's fourth full-length, 'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix' for them, is as much a development as it is a revolutionary step forward in terms of sound and success. Starting out in 1999 as Air's backing band, a three year break has seen Phoenix go away, polish, and to an extent reinvent their Daft Punk, Air, Tahiti 80 influenced electropop sound. The result is tighter and sleeker than ever before - there's a lot of solid pop hooks and light synths to keep any listener happy. 1901 was available from February 23 as an advance free download from the album, and Lisztomania followed July 7. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix is the Frenchmen's strongest release to date - and the ambitious album title reference, in my book, is 100% justified.

- 1901 (MP3)

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix on Amazon

14. Moderat - Moderat (April 28, 2009


Moderat is the self-titled debut album from the longstanding collaboration between Modeselektor and Apparat - a project which, though highly anticipated amongst many, in true Burial-esque fashion, took 7 years to yield any physical results. Taking elements of dark ambient music as well as shades of underground dance - Moderat is a German techno masterpiece. You can quite clearly hear both artists influence in and amongst these recordings, and Modeselektor's long-time work with Thom Yorke shines through particularly strongly. Dark synth-dub resonates throughout a range of often-upbeat, but equally often downbeat snippets of anger and frustration in the form of Moderat - one of this years most innovative dance collaborations.

- Rusty Nails (MP3)

Moderat on Amazon

13. Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport (October 14, 2009)

Fuck Buttons are a blog-favourite London based electronica duo who made their way into the public eye with a debut album - Street Horrrsing, but more notably their heavy remix of Fever Ray's single If I Had A Heart. Their music is typically adrenaline pumping electronica scattered across tribal rhythms and topped off with some background screaming, which is dubbed low enough to put only the ignorant off without a prior listen. Cascading hypnotic structures are interwoven amongst quivering expanses of ambient psychedelia - and the Tarot Sport LP is Fuck Buttons' latest showcase. Download Surf Solar for the ultimate taster, Fuck Buttons are truly at their best on this ten minute epic.

Fuck Buttons
- Surf Solar (MP3)

Tarot Sport on Amazon

12. Devendra Banhart - What Will We Be (October 27, 2009)

(Freak Folk/New Weird America/Psychedelic)

Devendra Banhart, in my eyes, is a truly prolific musician; he's done almost one full length a year since the first back in 2002 as well as collaborating with a whole host of contemporary musicians - Andy Cabic of Vetiver, Jana Hunter and the band Megapuss amongst others. This week he even announced his latest side project with Strokes (and former Megapuss) drummer Fab Moretti. The new album is his latest show of musical versatility - lush acoustic melodies and laid back sunny accompaniments joined by his friendly, warming and highly distinctive voice. Ever present are psychedelic lyrics and an air of maturity in his execution, despite the childish eccentricity he often comes across with. What Will We Be is the latest solid installment from the leader of the US freak folk scene.

Devendra Banhart - Baby (MP3)

What Will We Be, on Amazon

11. Harlem Shakes - Technicolor Health (March 24, 2009)
(Indie Pop/Rock/Alternative)

Harlem Shakes (2006-9), headed by Todd Goldstein (now of Arms), were a New York band who, despite only managing to release one album, surrounded it in a whirlwind of hype which they more than lived up to. Technicolor Health is an upbeat guitar pop album in the same vein as Born Ruffians, White Rabbits and Fanfarlo - with high pitched harmonies and easy melodies coated in matured layers of synth, keys and driving percussion. Although they may come across as one of the simpler, less innovative acts on my list, I feel the need to stress that Technicolor Health is an incredibly well constructed album - that's the reason its on here. Constantly adding new layers of instrumentation at perfect times is a skill difficult to learn; this band stick to a formula but keep their tracks easily accessible to all.

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