I used to post about music much more often to WTBHNN, don’t really know why I haven’t done so lately, but thought I write up a my thoughts about what I spent my time listening to in 2009.
I continued the 2008 trend of listening to internet radio, particularly SOMA FM‘s Groove Salad (almost nightly), but also like DI.fm Ambient, SOMA FM Space Station, the Atlanta Blues Society’s Bluescast as well as traditional radio from Alberta (the always interesting mix of roots, blues, folk, soul and agricultural reporting from CKUA), Louisville, Kentucky’s WFPK (singer-songwriters, pop, blues, world rhythms, jazz, americana), and classic rhythm and blues and soul from Orlando’s Star 94.5 (the latter a carry over from our time in north central Florida back in the 1990s).
I also continue to believe that a subscription to NAPSTER is one of the all time great deals in music, particularly if you have a way to stream digital music throughout your house (like SONOS).
But even with internet radio and Napster, I found it necessary to keep buying cds (check out my 2009 collection here). I still buy by the album (as opposed to solo tracks), but this year I definitely downloaded more music than I purchased on cd (mainly eMusic, but also iTunes). A total of 149 or 9 fewer than in 2008.
My listening seemed to be more retrospective than past years—I never tried to duplicate my my LPs or cassettes in the digital format—but there was a plethora of great reissues this year including: (The Beatles, Big Star, Richard Thompson, Neil Young, Nick Lowe, etc.). And my continuing obsession with Robert Pollard‘s music moved me to buy a lot his back catalogue that I didn’t have previously. Plus the latest edition of Rhino’s Nuggets series: Where The Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968.
There were definitely some trends in my own listening. Pollard/Guided By Voices/Boston Spaceships dominated my time, as usual, with three complete albums from Spaceships and two longer players from Pollard solo, plus one from the Circus Devils and GBV’s Suitcase 3 (4 cd box set).
The Beatles stereo box is amazing (and turned Colin on to music of my youth, which is cool). I was impressed by how much better the remasters sound compared to what I listened to on my GE Wildcat portable stereo (see photo above). Let It Roll, is a fabulous single disc collection of George Harrison’s work and I also like Yim Yames’ (aka Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk) ep Tribute To Harrison.
And, one of the power pop progengy of Beatles For Sale, Big Star, got the deluxe box treatment too—Keep An Eye on the Sky is so good that even the music snobs at Pitchfork gave it a 9.3! Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs’ Under The Covers Vol 2 is not particularly innovative, but it’s lots of fun and their cover of Big Star’s “Back of the Car” is first rate.
On the new music front, Boston Spaceships tops my list with the second of their 2009 releases, Zero to 99, closely followed by Iggy Pop’s fabulous jazz album Préliminaires.
“Supergroup” Monsters of Folk (Jim James, M. Ward, Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis) eponymous release and M. Ward’s work solo and with actress Zooey Deschanel (She & Him) are outstanding alternative/pop/indie rock albums. In a similar vein, Iron & Wine, Neko Case, A. C. Newman (the latter two of The New Pornographers) all checked in with notable albums.
Speaking of supergroups, what sounds like the guy from Queens of the Stone Age singing and playing guitar with the bass player from Led Zeppelin and the drummer from Nirvana? Them Crooked Vultures.
My country/americana yearnings were deeply satisfied by Levon Helm, Paul Burch (I worked with Burch’s parents at SUNY Binghamton :), Rosanne Cash, Brandi Carlile, Dave Alvin and Todd Snider. The four disc box My Dusty Road reveals Woody Guthrie with a clarity not heard before, plus a several never released tunes.
Blusey releases by Shemekia Copeland, J. J. Cale, Derek Trucks Band (particularly the track with Susan Tedeschi singing the lead), Booker T., and Robert Cray hit the spot.
Old standbys delivering in 2009 included: Bob Dylan (who also had the best new xmas tune of the year), Wilco, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, Chris Isaak, Marshall Crenshaw.
Lastly, I’m not a huge metal fan, but I loved the dvd documentary of Iron Maiden‘s world tour, Flight 666. And the cd soundtrack of the live shows was another good bit of fun for 2009.
E Wayne’s Faves of 2009 (New Music)
- Zero to 99, Boston Spaceships
- Préliminaire, Iggy Pop
- Together Through Life, Bob Dylan
- Electric Dirt, Levon Helm
- Popular Songs, Yo La Tengo
- Monsters of Folk, Monsters of Folk
- Them Crooked Vultures, Them Crooked Vultures
- The Eternal, Sonic Youth
- Middle Cyclone, Neko Case
- Still Your Man, Paul Burch
E Wayne’s Fave Reissues/Boxes 2009
- The Beatles stereo box
- Walking On A Wire: 1968-2009, Richard Thompson
- Keep An Eye On The Sky, Big Star
- Quiet Please: The New Best of Nick Lowe
- Let It Roll – Songs of George Harrison (Remastered)
- My Dusty Road, Woody Guthrie
- Chris Gaffney Tribute: The Man of Somebody’s Dreams, Various Artists
- Flight 666, Iron Maiden
- Best of the Hightone Years, Buddy Miller
- Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, Neil Young