This was a year of mixed priorities for me, and less of a focus on music than in prior years. Life gets in the way of such things, and as a result, this is a bit of a smaller list than I've presented in other years. That being said, the sound is no less potent, interesting and fun to listen to. Here's who I thought were some of the best new artists of 2009:
Allie Moss - Passerby
Allie Moss was an artist that I came across in October in a large pile of music. In these instances, I tend to throw a bunch of new artists together into a single playlist and listen to them all by album and then shuffling the songs together, and inevitably, Moss was one of the artists that I kept going back to. Her debut EP Passerby was a treat to listen to, with a quiet, unreserved sound that blends a kindly voice with an easygoing guitar that is reminiscent of Ingrid Michaelson. Her song Corner, in particular, is one of my favorites.
Andrew Belle - All Those Pretty Lights
Andrew Bell is another artist who released a debut EP, All Those Pretty Lights, that I first heard this year, and will be releasing his first studio album in February of 2010, entitled The Ladder. He also released a live album, with a diverse range of covers, from Coldplay to the Decemberists, to Death Cab For Cutie, entitled Sundays at Rockit. Belle's sound is fun and laid back, and a good model for indie-pop music.
Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons - Death Won't Send A Letter
Cory Chisel and the Wandering Sons burst to my attention earlier this fall with their first album, Death Won't Send A Letter, a followup to their Cabin Ghosts EP released last year. This album absolutely blew me away with it's Baptist, folk-rock and country influences, and starts of with their great song Born Again right off the bat. They balance infectous energy and fantastic lyrics to become a group that is well worth watching out for.
Elizabeth & The Catapult - Taller Children
Elizabeth & The Catapult is a fun outfit out of Brooklyn, who released their first album this year, entitled Taller Children. The album as a whole is breezy and free, reminiscent of Sarah Bareilles, but without a lot of the commercialish-pop vibe that artists like that have. They have a unique sound and tone, one that varies a bit throughout the album. This is a pure summer album, one that recalls sunny, lazy, summer days. That's a good feeling to instill.
Glide & Swerve - Bring Back Love
Shifting from indie-pop and folk, another band that really caught my ears this year was Glide & Swerve, an electronica duo put together their first album, Bring Back Love, that is warm, soothing and interesting throughout. One of the major pitfalls that I've heard with electronica is a tendency to become overly repetative, but Glide & Swerve manages to largely avoid that between songs. The end result is a solid album with a good beat, feel and vibe.
Myra Flynn - Crooked Measures
Indie-Soul/R&B/Folk singer Myra Flynn is someone who's been around for a little while, playing music in the Vermont area. Last year, she was laid off from her job, and decided to go to music full time. The end result was Crooked Measures, one of the best, richest and most dynamic first albums that I've heard in a while. Crooked Measures is an emotional album, raw, refined and absolutely fantastic.
The Wooden Birds - Magnolia
The Wooden Birds is the product of Andrew Kenny, which put out its first album out this year, Magnolia. This album is low, smokey and rhythmic, with a very cool indie-folk sound that is very catchy. The album as a whole feels stripped down, minimalistic and full of a driving beat. Magnolia is an interesting album that kept me coming back for more.
Corner - Allie Moss
All Those Pretty Lights - Andrew Belle
My Heart Would Be There - Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons
Race You - Elizabeth & The Catapult
And I Smile - Glide & Swerve
So It Goes - Myra Flynn
False Alarm - Wooden Birds