432 words on Music
It’s scary. Another year passed. And I find it hard to pinpoint a definite music highlight for it (and so do my friends). There are a number of nice albums but excitingly mind-blowing ones? Not so much.This could mean that I already lost my interest in music to simply not discover the good stuff anymore or that 2009 didn’t bring us as much cool stuff as one could have hoped for. The personal John Peel spirit dying or a slow end of a decade which - for me - started on a high note with the likes of the Moldy Peaches and the White Stripes?
Many existing bands seemed to use 2009 for fine albums along the style of earlier works. Listenable, possibly enjoyable but not particularly exciting. Be it Air or Kings of Convenience who re-did some of their older albums, Franz Ferdinand or Mando Diao who enjoy their success now or Element of Crime who remain charming as ever [even including a killer line about getting stuck in tram rails while riding your bike in Bremen].
Others were more interesting but didn’t live up to my (incredibly high) expectations with their new albums - say Múm, Malajube, The Thermals, Yeah Yeah Yeahs - or felt fresh and interesting but not exactly new like, say, Japandroids or The Pains of being Pure at Heart, both of which start growing on me but trigger a certain déjà-vu feeling.
As far as ‘the press’ are concerned the albums or the year are either by Animal Collective or by The XX. And Merriweather Post Pavillion is a very good album with the most mesmerising cover art of the year while I think that the XX album is OK but I’m too much of a snob to really like it.
If there’s a musical motto of the year for me it may be Copenhagen. The city sent us both Cody and The Elephants to see and both bands were excellent. My friend Lenny from Copenhagen also recorded an EP.
Haldern was good as well this year, with great gigs by Noah and the Whale and Loney, Dear, Final Fantasy and The Thermals as well as the opportunity to discover Patrick Watson and really enjoy Dear Reader.
Finally, my personal album of the year surprisingly remains that by Les Trucs whom I accidentally saw in summer. I doubted their ‘Nintendocore’ would hold up for so long, but it did!
What were your favourites this year? Where’s the interesting stuff happening?
I really liked the second Engineers album, and the debut from Seeland as well. Also really liked Marmoset’s LP, and as far as chart stuff goes the La Roux album wasn’t bad. The Broadcast/Foxus Group record was interesting, though not really song-oriented. I only just picked up the new Monolake (haven’t even had a chance to listen to it yet, but I’m sure I’ll enjoy it), and Bop’s “Atraxia” genuinely sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard before (a rarity these days, I’m afraid.)