The Best of January: 2009

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

As much as Strawberry Jam turned me off from being a AC fan, Merriweather has slowly restored my faith in the band. Although it may not quite be “the album of the year” like those crazy folks over at Pitchfork are trying to convince you of, it does have its moments of pop madness. Get this: an Animal Collective song can actually stick in your head for days at a time. Especially “My Girls” (although I heard they’ve been dropping the ball on this track live). It looks like we’ll be hearing the hype on this one for the months to come

Cotton Jones – Paranoid Cocoon

The vintage psychedelia craze right now is unbelievable. Everyone’s cashing in, but Cotton Jones has been doing it all along. Feautring Ex-members of Page France, songwriter Michael Nau has been writing genuine indie-pop songs that aren’t too trendy like so-called psychedelic counterparts MGMT, and their new full-length, out on Suicide Squeeze, is a consistent collection of songs that have time to grow and live inside your head. This will be a sleeper of 2009, for sure.

Clouds – We Are Above You

Hydra head can say it better than I can: "…And they said it couldn’t be done. Then again, "they" say a lot of things, don’t they? And in this case, when they implied, insinuated, or outright insisted that Boston rock freewheelers Clouds couldn’t possibly get any more awesome, they – in the sadly timeless words of our soon-to-be ex-president – severely misunderestimated our immensely talented and totally gregarious homeboys. And so it follows that Clouds have followed up last year’s Legendary Demo with an even bigger, better; and more brilliant slab of Hott Rock Action. Led by the estimable and inimitable Captain Adam McGrath, who brings his impeccable musical pedigree (see: fellow Hydra Head all-stars Cave In) to bear upon this lofty enterprise, Clouds deliver all the anthemic choruses, white-hot licks and psychedelic grandeur that anyone could ever possibly hope to cram into a single album made by mere mortals. Not that we’re bragging or anything. "

Andrew Bird – Noble Beast

Noble Beast is quite possibly my new favorite Andrew Bird album. Not only does it have the beautiful construction of Mysterious Production of the Eggs, but it builds upon it to create possibly his greatest arrangement yet. Most of his 2008 career was spent recording this record, which is evidenced by the meticulous detail he put into the recordings. Everyone’s been hyping the Animal Collective record, but i’m going to be hyping this.

PPP – Abundance

Abundance marks the arrival of PPP as a band. They have developed a new sound that’s even bigger, and an album that’s more dynamic and organic than their first. While Triple P brought worldwide notoriety to the Detroit-based PPP production crew and their global collective of like-minded and soulful collaborators, Abundance raises the stakes. They have reclaimed the music of their city. The golden Motown era sounds that their parents played while they were growing-up have been given a thorough and respectful re-rub for a new century and a new generation of listeners.