This article originally appears on Boston Band Crush ). First, let me admit to you that I was reminded of reaching the top of the climb to 2010 and the importance of declaring some bests by Ryan’s Smashing Life’s great post declaring the best of the year so far: http://ryanssmashinglife.blogspot.com/2009/06/best-of-album-list-z-from-first-half.html. I am taking a slightly different angle. Here is the best of 2009’s local offerings so far according to my ears. I was going to keep it to 5, allowing the remainder of the year to fill the next 5 slots, but I couldn’t bear to go below a nice round 6 choices:
6. MEandJOANCOLLINS – Love. Trust. Faith. Lust.
My favorite thing about MEandJOANCOLLINS is that every time I listen to this album or see them perform live, I have a completely different sense of what it is that they’re doing. Sometimes I let the reviews and the bios convince me that they are essentially a neo-glam effort, but if I open my mind a bit, I hear a fun-time party band mixed with post-rock washes and amusing lyrical turns and twists. Ignoring for a moment, the wonderful male/female gender-dominance interplay, the band makes me wonder what they’ve got spinning on their turntables…is it Bowie or Elvis Costello? Mark Bolan or Jonathan Richman? Sweet or Crowded House? Next time I’m at any of their places, I’ll be sure to check and get back to you…
5. Logan 5 and the Runners – Featurette
So as not to be too redundant, I present my own words from http://blog.mikeandsophia.com/?s=http://www.bostonbandcrush.com/2009/01/show-crush-logan-5-and-runners-cd.html:
While Logan 5 and the Runners don’t quite play songs about sci-fi schlock (as their name might have you believe), you can clearly pick out the interwoven elements of post-hippie-era, entertainment-industry trashiness in their loungy glam sound. I could even imagine them floating in Carousel with lasers blasting all around them, though I would hope they would not be judged too harshly, as their music is quite intriguing.
Back to the trashiness, they even have a song, “Neely O’Hara,” paying tribute to a character from Valley of the Dolls. The vocals have a sort of relaxed, but emotional delivery reminiscent of slower Bowie and Bryan Ferry (of Roxy Music), as well as much of the bombastic modern britpop movement spawned, perhaps, by Jarvis Cocker (of Pulp).
4. The New Collisions – EP
This 4+ song peek into the world-domination plans of The New Collisions shows that they are not joking about reviving the female new wave army of the mid-’80s from the dead. “No Free Ride” and “Beautiful and Numb” are even full of subtle and interesting social commentary that you fail to notice until you finally drop to the floor in exhaustion and just let the hooks reverberate in your skull. There is no doubt that this is just the beginning for them.
3. Gene Dante and The Future Starlets – The Romantic Lead
“A Madness to his Method” alone makes this whole record stand out as one of the best so far. The videos for that track and the NSFW “C**kstar” reveal the lovely blend of the suave and slimy, the dapper and the dirty, and the glam and the gloom. The songs are fun and theatrical, but also come off as really heartfelt and honest. I’m already looking forward to hearing more from Gene and the Starlets after hearing the wonderful unreleased track “The Love Letter is Dead” live. Gene and co. also have the best band web site I have ever seen: http://www.genedante.com/
2. The Daily Pravda – Burning Bible Diamonds
This actually gets released on July 11th, but one of the privileges of being a Band Crusher is that sometimes, treats like this fall into your hands before your birthday comes around. I’ve only had a short time to listen to this record, but it immediately captured me with its strong resemblance to the glory days of Suede (first album and maybe a little of the second), down to the “Chemical Dancer” song title and falsetto. I am really looking forward to seeing them perform at The Middle East on the 29th, but you’ll hear more about that pretty soon.
1. The Everyday Visuals – (Self Titled)
Well, I met these fine gents at SXSW before I had heard a note from them. After meeting them, I was excited to give a listen and wow, oh wow, was I glad I did. Absolutely wonderful instrumentation and haromization reminiscient of the best output of The Beach Boys and great current indie like The Shins. I kept telling people who like The Fleet Foxes to toss their Foxes albums and get some TEV instead to fill their harmony quotas. Not only are TEV musically and vocally fulfilling in every way, but they’ve got the final and most important piece, really, really great songs with interesting lyrics and themes. Local music aside, I think I have listened to this album more this year than any other album. If I had to pick a favorite song from the band (and of the year so far), it would be “Limb From Limb” or maybe “Florence Foster Jenkins”…except that I also sometimes prefer “I’ll Take It All In Stride” or “Boom! Boom! Boom!” Why do these guys have to make it so hard for me to pick the best song of 2009? Good thing I have 6 more months to sort it out. Until then, I am going to listen more.