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Best of 2009 - 2009 Eric

ARTICLE: Best of 2009 (Eric)

A tough year by anyone's standards, but great music was still produced and here are my top 10 favourites of 2009 in no particular order..

Baroque- La Fiaba Della Buonanotte
Italian 'Glam Pop' whatever that is. Dark and heavy classical rock with lot's of Queen references and perhaps a little Robby Valentine although not quite as over the top. Some Mott The Hoople and David Bowie too, but with vocals in Italian who can tell?

A-Ha - Foot Of The Mountain
A return to the Synthpop sound of their early work, A-Ha's latest album is a masterwork of Scandinavian pop. Icy and distant while warm and intimate, this is the best disc they've have done in years.

Kyle Vincent - Where You Are
Vincent seems to live in a perpetual time warp going all the way back to his days in the legendary Candy, finally landing in a place where 1970's AM pop never went away and dusty old 45's like 'Brandy' and 'Dancing in the Moonlight' are given the respect they so richly deserve. This disc proves he hasn't lost touch with his alternate universe, capturing the spirit of the 'Me' decade like no one else.

The Duckworth Lewis Method - The Duckworth Lewis Method
A concept album based on the game of Cricket. The duo of Thomas Walsh of Irish pop delights Pugwash and Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy channel ELO, The Beatles, Monty Python and XTC to create one of the most inventive pop albums of the year and trust me, you don't have to be British or understand Cricket to enjoy this little gem.

Mika - The Boy Who Knew Too Much
Those who miss the creative spirit of Freddie Mercury need not fear for Mika has picked up where the great one left off and this follow-up to 2007's 'Life in Cartoon Motion' is superb. Ok, more 'Hot Space' and 'Mr. Bad Guy' than 'A Night at The Opera', but still... Maybe May and Taylor should give him a call.

Oliver Benz - The Curtain
One of the best things I've heard to come out of Switzerland in years, Benz offers up a progressive pop sound similar to Spock's Beard and more importantly early Kansas with plenty of good modern pop ala Ben Folds. An artist to watch.

Stackridge - A Victory for Common Sense
Classic Beatles influenced pop from these veterans of British Pop. Every cut is superb filled with melody and humor and could very well be my most played new release this year. Let's hope we don't have to wait another ten years for the next one eh boys?

Roger Joesph Manning Jr. - Catnip Dynamite
I've made no secret of my adoration of Jellyfish and Manning's solo work and this CD is no different. 'The Willie Wonka of Pop' indeed - more please!

Wendy and Lisa - White Flags of Winter Chimneys
Never been a big fan of Prince, Wendy and Lisa's work with their oddball former boss or their own albums, but this CD is far different. Lush pop and ambient music with progressive rock touches in the style of '80s Yes. Not a widely distributed disc, it seems to be exclusive to their web site, but well worth tracking down. Without a doubt the biggest surprise of 2009.

Bryan Scary & the Shredding Tears- Mad Valentines
Not so much a CD but an CDEP and packed to bursting with creativity. Jellyfish and early Queen are good points of reference, but there's just way too much going on here to pigeon hole these guys. Over the top and outstanding!

Rarities, Anthologies and Compilations..

Pugwash - Giddy
Now signed to XTC's Andy Partridge and his Ape Records imprint, this is a collection of cuts from Ireland's best kept pop secret Pugwash culled from their early near impossible to find early albums. Thomas Walsh makes no secret of his worship of Jeff Lynne and ELO, but throws The Beach Boys, The Beatles and of course XTC into a dazzling collection housed in beautifully elaborate packaging that makes this collection a must own.

V/A - Clap Your Hands and Stamp Your Feet: 24 Nederglam Tracks From the early '70s
Unbelievable labor of love compilation focused on the glory days of Dutch glam rock. Infamous and unknowns like Zingara, Heart (no not that Heart - silly!), Smyle, Melody, Pantherman, Catapult and other bands that'll shake your platform boots and the glitter from your hair! The best glam comp in years!

The Bee Gees - Odessa (Box Set)
3 CD's, red flocked box cover (like the original), booklet and sticker- this is the way it should be done. The Bee Gee's magnum opus, their answer to progressive rock and The Moody Blues packed to the gills with bonus tracks, demos, alternate cuts and even a promotion spot. It would prove to be their undoing briefly, but 'Odessa' stands as their finest effort and this reissue treats it as such and more.

In Summary
Finally special mention for the UK's Esoteric label that has brought so many good, but forgotten progressive rock albums to light once again and Rock Candy for their continued work and having the good sense to reissue Trigger and Reggie Knighton Band on CD. Last but not least the glam/pop label 7T's for resurrecting the best and sometimes the worst of 1970's pop, but making it fun and carefree like it's 1974 all over again.

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#1 | gdazegod on January 04 2010 01:03:10
Good choice with A-Ha Eric. Some of the songs on there are well suited. I love the opening 'The Landscape', the synth-pop of 'Sunny Mystery', while the title track 'Foot Of The Mountain' is very similar to fellow Norwegian Erik Faber - who is a fave of mine. You can't help think that bands like A-Ha, Icehouse, and a few of the British synth-pop bands from the 80's are tailor made for todays commercial music environment. Talk about retro in reverse! helpless
#2 | KelvHellrazer on January 31 2010 16:41:47
Eric,Sad didnt even no half these cds were out
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