Before we get to the second part of our year end track list, a little Pittsburgh music scene house cleaning needs to get done.
Good Night, States just released a free download of their rendition of the Christmas classic, “The Christmas Song.” Download the track here from their website, and try your damnedest to get into the Christmas Spirit.
Black Moth Super Rainbow’s frontman Tobacco is making his bid for the most challenging hip-hop remixer in the game right now with a head spinning version of The Anti-Pop Consortium’s “Get Lite.” I love that even from the first moments of the song, you know its Tobacco working the production. Check it out.
Anti-Pop Consortium – Get Lite (Tobacco Remix)
Oh, and last but not least Donora hits up the Brillobox this Friday with Morgantown upstarts The Librarians and Satin Gum. Tickets are six bucks, so there is not reason not to go.
Anyways, speed of the pittsburgh sound’s Top 70 Tracks of 2009 continues after the jump with tracks 50-31.
50 “Day N’ Nite” (Crookers Remix) – Kid Cudi
49 “I Start to Run” – White Denim
At first, White Denim appears to play their soulful, fuck-me rock in “I Start to Run” like The MC5 played “Kick Out The Jams” on their seminal live album from 1969: sexual, slightly unhinged, and dripping with a dirty, sweaty funk swagger. By the time they hit the minute mark, I can’t tell if the loping bass lines or the “down from the mountains” howl of the vocals sounds like Austin, Texas, White Denim’s hometown, or somewhere completely primal and uncharted. The group initially seems to wear their influences on their sleeves, but as the track evolves, in frantic yet thick wallops, any semblance of modernity dissolves into an elemental fury.
Caveman funk? Can I call it that? Let’s just put it this way: years from now (2012), when the world is a post apocalyptic shell of its former self, White Denim will still be pounding out “I Start To Run” in a forest turned to ash, getting a damn good sound out of the dying world.
48 “Moth’s Wings” – Passion Pit
47 “On the Floor” – Family Portrait
46 “Knock You Down” – Keri Hilson ft. Kanye West and Ne-Yo
45 “Silver Moons” – Sunset Rubdown
Of all the songs of all the Wolf Parade offshoots that have seemed to dominate the indie soundscape since 2003 (Frog Eyes, Handsome Furs, Sunset Rubdown), “Silver Moons” is something of an anomaly; it may be the most “traditional” track out of any of their catalogs. Almost Victorian in its decorum and set to the beat of a stately procession march, the track plays out like a massive epitaph of a King quietly assessing his fading empire.
Whether the narrator appears to be reciting a living will or contemplating his forced exile, Spencer Krug’s lyrics portray a truly noble departure with a cryptic beauty, “confetti floats away like dead leaves in the wagon’s wake/there were parties here in my honor til you sent me away/and now silver moons belong to you.” Breathtaking in its scope, sadness and sophisticated pomp, “Silver Moons” is a stunning addition to Krug’s robust body of work.
44 “Keep it Goin’ Louder” – Major Lazer ft. Nina Sky and Ricky Blaze
43 “Osaka Loop Line” – Discovery
42 “To The Dregs” – Wavves
For most of the music world’s year end lists, if Nathaniel Williams Wavves project makes any appearance, chances are “I’m So Bored” or “No Hope Kids” have something to do with it. “To The Dregs,” however, never seems to get the respect it deserves. Situated early in Wavvves, “To The Dregs” proved to be Mr. Williams strongest example of the lo-fi, surf rock movement that seemed so pervasive in 2009. The brilliantly bright progression of “Ooooh’s” that arrive in the track’s first five seconds are alone with the price of admission, gaining even greater stature as they fight through the drugged out, distorted haze of Williams’ primitive recording techniques.
Even with all the drama, the concert meltdowns, rampant drug use, constant beefs with indie icons and a snotty “live fast, die young” cliche of a personality, nobody, and I mean NOBODY, is writing better pop songs than Wavves right now.
41 “Warm Heart of Africa” – The Very Best ft. Ezra Koenig
40 “Young Hearts Spark Fire” – Japandroids
39 “Losing Feeling” – No Age
38 “Mouthful of Diamonds” – Phantogram
Beat boy/girl street psych duo Phantogram know how to document a night’s worth of adventure. Every track these to kids seem to produce could be the sound track to either a head spinning club trip, a shady bathroom drug deal, or rooftop party that doesn’t fade out even as the sun rises. The squeaky, 90’s hip-hop production splashes and foreboding beat immediately give way to a laid back guitar lick just as lead singer Sarah Barthel’s vocals cut through the mix like, well, a diamond edged saw. Think Massive Attack meets Broken Social Scene.
Even with CMJ Superstars Sleigh Bells cornering the market on boy girl electro-rock duos, Sarasota Springs, NY natives Phantogram continue to make those unforgettable evenings last forever. A full-length is expected soon, I hope.
37 “Treat Me Like Your Mother” – The White Stripes
36 “This Blackest Purse” – Why?
35 “Two” – Antlers
34 “Russia” – Ramona Falls
Ramona Falls’ (Menomena’s Brent Knopf) Intuit was arguably the most underrated release of the year. With “Russia,” Brent Knopf exhibits the same level of compositional virtuosity harnessed by the likes of contemporary pocket composers Andrew Bird and Final Fantasy but also manages to paint an atmosphere of gothic, ethereal beauty. Flickering violin picking, hollow vocal echoes and thunderously abrupt transitions are all game here as the track transforms on multiple occasions before the three minute running time concludes. I can’t really do justice to a track, this beautiful so I won’t. Just listen for yourself.
33 “Lisztomania” – Phoenix
32 “Fables” – The Dodos
31 “All We Want, Baby, Is Everything” – Handsome Furs