Off Beat Music Guide

Best of 2009 December 7, 2009

Filed under: Best of 09,Music,Uncategorized — bethstephenson84 @ 12:32 pm

This may be a little premature since there are a few more weeks in 2009, but I feel confident enough in my picks to believe that any music that comes out in the next three weeks probably won’t affect my list that much.

This was a really solid year in music. We saw several seasoned artists and bands make the albums of their career this year, and we also saw a lot of experimenting with sound which made for a very eclectic sounding 2009.  Bon Iver followed up his acclaimed 2008 release For Emma, Forever Ago with several small, yet amazing efforts in 2009.  Grizzly Bear continued their streak as Indie kings with their dazzling album Veckatemist. And everyone chipped in to make Dark Was the Night one of the best albums of the year.

There aren’t really any big surprises here if you keep up with the blog, but there are a few changes in the Top 5 from my picks earlier in the year. Please feel free to let me know what you think.

Best Albums of 2009

  1. Dan Auerbach- Keep It Hid
  2. The Decemberists- The Hazards of Love
  3. Elvis Perkins in Dearland- Elvis Perkins in Dearland
  4. The Dirty Projectors- Bitte Orca
  5. Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
  6. Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
  7. Dark Was the Night- Various Artists
  8. Bon Iver- Blood Bank EP
  9. Passion Pit- Manners
  10. Camera Obscura- My Maudlin Career
  11. The Dead Weather- Horehound
  12. Alberta Cross- Broken Side of Time
  13. Noah and the Whale- The First Days of Spring
  14. Mew- No More Stories Are Told Today I’m Sorry They Washed Away No
  15. Andrew Bird- Noble Beast
  16. Patrick Watson- Wooden Arms
  17. M. Ward- Hold Time
  18. The Middle East- Recordings of The Middle East
  19. St. Vincent- Actor
  20. The Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack– Various Artists
  21. Peter Bjorn & John- Living Things
  22. Kid CuDi- Man On the Moon: The End of Day
  23. The Avett Brothers- I and Love and You
  24. Dead Man’s Bones- Dead Man’s Bones
  25. Brandi Carlile- Give Up the Ghost

Best Songs of 2009

  1. “Blood Bank”- Bon Iver
  2. “The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid” The Decemberists
  3. “Two Weeks”- Grizzly Bear
  4. “My Last Mistake”- Dan Auerbach
  5. “Lisztomania” Phoenix
  6. “Useful Chamber”- Dirty Projectors
  7. “James”- Camera Obscura
  8. “Roslyn”- Bon Iver (Twilight: New Moon Soundtrack)
  9. “Pursuit of Happiness”- Kid CuDi (featuring MGMT)
  10. “Chains, Chains, Chains”- Elvis Perkins in Dearland
  11. “Real Desire”- Dan Auerbach
  12. “French Navy”- Camera Obscura
  13. “Sleepyhead”- Passion Pit
  14. “Song Three Blues”- Alberta Cross
  15. “The Hazards of Love IV (The Drowned)”- The Decemberists
  16. “Anonanimal”- Andrew Bird
  17. “Stillness Is the Move”- Dirty Projectors
  18. “The Reeling”- Passion Pit
  19. “Beach”- Mew
  20. “Nothing To Worry About”- Peter Bjorn & John
  21. “Treat Me Like Your Mother”- The Dead Weather
  22. “Hours Last Stand”- Elvis Perkins in Dearland
  23. “Foreground”- Grizzly Bear
  24. “For Beginners”- M. Ward
  25. “Big Red Machine”- Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner
  26. “The Darkest Side”- The Middle East
  27. “I Cut Like A Buffalo”- The Dead Weather
  28. “Not A Robot, But A Ghost”- Andrew Bird
  29. “Daylight”- Matt & Kim
  30. “Say Please”- Monsters of Folk

Concert Review: Dan Auerbach 11/14/09 December 4, 2009

Filed under: Concerting,Music — bethstephenson84 @ 12:02 pm
Tags: , ,

I like going to concerts alone every once-in-while.  Don’t get me wrong, having someone to share your mutual appreciation (or obsession) with is a great thing but if the situation arises where I must go it alone, I’m just saying I don’t hate it.

For one, it’s a lot easier to secure a front row position when you don’t have to worry about anyone but yourself. And equally as important, you can pull out all of the moves and obnoxious screaming you want and not have to worry about embarrassing your concert buddy.

I ramble on about this 1) to raise awareness of the awesomeness of the solo concert experience and 2) to describe my own Dan Auerbach concert experience (embarrassing moves and all).

If you caught my earlier posts on the Best of 09 (So Far), you’d know that Mr. Auerbach easily made the top of that list with his solo effort Keep It Hid, which was released in February of this year.

I’m gonna keep this as brief as possible, since I think the videos speak for themselves. Dan Auerbach puts on an amazing show. In fact, he’s the epitome of what a concert experience should be: He played all the songs from his album, making sure everyone got to hear his/her favorite and took us from extremely high highs with songs like “My Last Mistake” to beautifully low lows like “When the Night Comes” all while being frightfully ill with the flu!

I traveled from Charlotte to Chapel Hill to catch this concert and I could not be more grateful that DA was such a trooper and stuck it out through the concert even though he was visibly sick. Unlike the rock star persona he has with his band the Black Keys, Dan had to forgo cheap beer and liquor for hot cups of tea in between songs. I know, I know…If you are asking yourself right now if it’s possible for this man to be any more awesome, the answer is of course “no”.

It was honestly very difficult to hear his vocals on several songs, but I’m not sure if that was a technical issue with Cat’s Cradle or if it was a result of the flu. Whatever the case, the crowd filled in the vocals when necessary and the band deafened us with their amazing performances. And considering DA played all the instruments while recording the album, the band but insane amounts of energy into making the music sound even better than the original songs.

Sick or not, you would have been hard pressed to find moments where Dan faltered much. You’ve got to respect an artist that loves the fans enough to come out and give it everything he’s got, even if it wasn’t 100 percent.

I’d love to see the band again when everyone is on the top of their game, but if this is the only impression I am to be left with, I wouldn’t mind a bit. Excellent songs, excellent music, excellent band and excellent musician.

Check out some of my video from the show here:


Concert Review: Elvis Perkins in Dearland 11/5/09

Filed under: Best of 09,Concerting,Music — bethstephenson84 @ 12:01 pm
Tags: ,

I feel like the worst blogger in the history of the world for not keeping this thing up on a regular basis. And not to torture you with my laundry list of excuses, but the real world and my real life job have sort of taken over all of my time and then of course there was Thanksgiving where the food took over all of that time…but here I am, ready to play catch up.

My concert list for Fall was pretty long this year and it included some of my favorite artists of the year, Elvis Perkins in Dearland being somewhere near the top of that list. In all honesty, EPID’s self titled album would have been enough to keep me smiling all year long, but seeing them perform live was like having the most delicious gourmet icing slathered on the most beautiful cake you’ve ever seen.

The concert started out with New Orleans style funeral procession, or “Jazz Funeral,” where the musicians made their way through the crowd to the stage while blasting their brass instruments and drums in an upbeat number. I must mention that this concert was held at the tiny Atlanta based club, The Earl, which was at capacity with around 200 people, so this musical procession was literally felt by everyone. And it only added to the excitement in the room.

The band started the night off with “Gypsy Davy” from the recently release The Doomsday EP and lead into “Slow Doomsday” from the same album.  The band continued by playing of the remaining tracks on The Doomsday EP as well as several songs from my beloved Elvis Perkins in Dearland album. And then  as if they were reading my list to Santa, they graced us with “All the Night Without Love” and “While You Were Sleeping” from Perkins’ solo album Ash Wednesday.

Perkins’ band, comprised of a bunch of rag tag looking misfits who could easily make you believe in the gypsies of Perkins’ imagination, are unarguably talented.  At any given time, any given member could be playing any number of instruments, some of which I had never seen before. I counted one guy play at least seven different instruments! It really was a spectacle.

The band had great energy and put on an amazing show. I had high expectations for this concert because of how much I love both albums they produced this year, and I have no complaints about their live show. There’s always a sense of relief when you see in person that the musicians you love are the real deal. It’s kind of refreshing actually.

Check out some of my video footage from the concert here: