Best of 2009 Artist List

By almost any metric, 2009 was a bumper crop for great new music. With bands increasingly bypassing the record industry entirely and releasing albums, singles, live sets, and more themselves via download, there was almost too much fascinating, worthwhile music on offer this year. Still, better an embarrassment of riches than a thin harvest, eh? While the mainstream continued its seemingly inexorable tide towards machine-like homogenization – notwithstanding a Lady Gaga or Lil' Wayne adding somewhat unorthodox wrinkles – musicians got down to making a lot of very personal, very beautifully constructed, downright fabulous music. And while the general belief that most artists will earn the bulk of their monies in concert from here on out is probably true, that doesn't diminish the rise in quality we're hearing in recent studio work.

Advances and price cuts in software and hardware are bringing expensive studio technology into bedrooms, garages and tiny private studios in ways totally impossible to imagine only a few years ago. Nothing will ever replace the warm hum of analog tape for some folks, but the tools and, perhaps more importantly, the means of distribution are becoming increasingly democratized. Brian Wilson's "teenage symphonies to God" are being composed and sent into the world outside the parameters and red tape of an increasingly confused industry. And these same artists are hitting the road to present their unique, non-commercial wares (as "commercial" is defined by modern tastemakers like MTV, Rolling Stone, et al.) to anyone who will listen, building fan bases through social networking, word of mouth and an engaged blogosphere anxious to discover honest, unfamiliar music. There's a healthy sense of creative boil that happily recalls rock 'n' roll's initial 1950s boom, where hit singles were forged in record shop recording booths and local sensations found national and even international acclaim on the wings of a single release.

It's too early to say where music making is going in the near future, but it's clear that there's a massive shakeup underway. Musicians need to figure out how to make this new freedom pay, and audiences that genuinely care about the people making the music they love will need to stop stealing it and pony up enough to ensure the continued bloom of this musical renaissance. Now is the time to support local talent and independent neighborhood venues, and drop a few coins into your fave band's PayPal account. As the massively successful tours of still-vital giants like Bruce Springsteen, U2 and AC/DC, or the smaller scale rises of original new voices like Fleet Foxes, The Low Anthem and Of Montreal, indicate, people are listening now more than ever, ready for music that will enlighten and delight them.

-Dennis Cook

Patterson Hood - Drive-By Truckers


Patterson Hood
1. Bloodkin - Baby They Told Us We Would Rise Again
On the surface, no frills, meat and potatoes rock (and damn proud of it) but a closer listen reveals the finest songwriting all year as this 24-year-old band sings the horrifying tale of their trip back from the abyss and sees it through to a joyous life-affirming conclusion. It's like that Leaving Las Vegas movie with a happy ending - unbelievable if weren't true. Such well-treaded territory would suck if not for the magnificence of its execution. "Wild Rhododendrons" is the finest songwriting I've seen all year, and "The Viper" and "Heavy With Child" are just as good. Meanwhile "Easter Eggs" is the best song of man love I've ever heard (including "Bobby Jean" and "Angie").

2. Bob Dylan - Together Through Life
3. Iron And Wine - Around The Well
4. PJ Harvey and John Parish - A Woman A Man Walked By
5. Girls - Album
6. M. Ward - Hold Time
7. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
8. The Dexateens - Singlewide
9. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
10. The Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
I just recently caught up with 9 and 10 and they could well move up in coming months. I'm sure there's several albums lurking out there that I will love just as much that I haven't found yet. I'm always looking and listening so I'm sure the list will change up until next year's.

-Best Reissue(s): The Jesus Lizard Reissues
-Favorite Song: "Wild Rhododendrons" (Bloodkin)
-Favorite Tracks: "Black Hearted Love" (PJ Harvey and John Parish) / "Belated Promise Ring" (Iron and Wine)
-Favorite Live Performance: Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings / Iron and Wine at No Depression Festival in Seattle this summer
-Movies I've Loved: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Up, A Serious Man, Where The Wild Things Are, Let The Right One In, Inglourious Basterds

Dave Schools - Widespread Panic, Stockholm Syndrome

Dave Schools
1. Dan Auerbach - Keep It Hid
2. Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years
3. Polvo - In Prism
4. Numero Group (Reissue by Various Artists) - Light: On The South Side (2 LP + Book)

1. Jeff Beck - 04/23/09 - Fox Theater Oakland, CA
2. All Tomorrow's Parties Nightmare Before Christmas - 12/04-12/06 - Butlins Holiday Centre Minehead, GB
-Curated by My Bloody Valentine. Standout sets include: Sun Ra Arkestra, Sonic Youth, Witch, My Bloody Valentine
3. Dinosaur Jr. - 11/05/09 - House of Blues West Hollywood, CA
Honorable Mention:
Dead Confederate & Meat Puppets - 09/20/09 - Hopmonk Tavern Sebastopol, CA

David Murphy – Sound Tribe Sector 9

David Murphy
1. Empire of the Sun - Walking on a Dream
2. Big Gigantic - Wake Up
2. STS9 - Peaceblaster : Make it Right Remixes

1. Ghostland Observatory | Ogden Theatre | Denver, CO
2. Grizzly Bear | Emo's | Austin City Limits Festival | Austin, TX
3. Depeche Mode | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO

Kyle Hollingsworth - SCI

Kyle Hollingsworth
1. Fiery Furnaces – Take Me Around Again
2. Gregory Alan Isakov - This Empty Northern Hemisphere

I enjoyed the This Is It compilation, but honestly, I have been overwhelmed by kid's CDs like Ralph's World and the kid's Putumayo sessions.

1. David Byrne | Performing Arts Center | Denver, CO
2. Flight of the Conchords | Red Rocks | Morrison, CO
3. Rothbury weekend

Petter Ericson Stakee - Alberta Cross


Petter Ericson Stakee
1. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
2. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
3. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
4. Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
5. The Beatles - White Album (remastered) - I know this is cheating, but the job they did on all the remasters is stunningly beautiful and breathes new air especially through this classic.

1. Neil Young at Hyde Park, London
2. Blur at Hyde Park, London
3. Bonnaroo - especially Wilco's set... truly inspiring.

Jon Gutwillig - The Disco Biscuits


Jon Gutwillig
Anything Joker put out in 2009. He's making really awesome dubstep. He had a lot of remixes in 2009, as well as official releases, so I guess he gets all of my top spots for the year.

I played 100 concerts. Starkey at Camp Bisco (the namesake festival we founded and curate) was really cool. When Phish did the dedication at Hampton to Fishman's dad and Marc (Brownstein, Disco Biscuits bassist) was sitting next to him that was pretty funny. Charlie P & M80 Dubstation (my dubstep project) jamming samples together in ATL was sickness! Benga on the world beat tip in Philly was ragin'.

Aron Magner - The Disco Biscuits

People To Watch In 2010

Electronic music has mostly in the past been about the party or setting the mood. As technology has improved there are many artists redefining the changing landscape of electronic genres.

There's a new movement of young artists with equal parts musician, DJ, sound sculpture and producer that are re-shaping electronic music and how it is performed. I was blown away last week when I saw Alex B whack down the house for an official Disco Biscuits after party. This young lion has masterful control of his software that enable all of his original and banging tracks constant manipulation for live, almost improvised, computer performance.

Aron Magner
Also out of Colorado is the young Derek Smith (aka Pretty Lights). Derek took the changing climate of the music industry and used it to his direct advantage. In an new era where music fans feel more entitled to receive their music without paying for it, Derek said, 'That's cool, then here it is," and released Filling Up The City Skies for free on his website, instantly catapulting his career to a new level and gaining multitudes of fans around the country almost overnight. The music speaks for itself. Deep electronic grooves with attention grabbing glitch and ear candy all with a type of soul not normally conveyed in dance music.

Eliot Lipp frequently runs in this same circle and performs with Alex B in the project Lipp Service. His 2009 release, Peace Love Weed 3D, almost feels retro-electro yet still pushed the boundaries of computer manipulation. His use of analog synth melodies lends a warm and engaging quality to his tunes. His songs evolve and have a story to tell from beginning to end.

Daedelus is more of an experimental musician frequently on bills with the artists above. He is unique as his main "instrument" is a rather insidious device know as a Monome. He is one of the pioneers of the Monome, which is nothing more than a matrix grid of unlabeled small buttons. They are all exclusively user programmable through very esoteric software enabling the end user to manipulate the parts of the tracks in a very unique way. He is the Clara Rockmore of this almost cryptic device.

And then there is Simon Posford, a revered producer and artist and pioneer in the electronic music world. He is also a very highly respected mentor of mine that I finally got to work with for the five tracks that he produced on our forthcoming album, Planet Anthem. Simon has a special ability to take an organic sound, be it a vocal or an acoustic guitar, and tweak it in such a loving way that it maintains the original feel that emanated from a human yet somehow still evolves into digital code. A delicate balance of real and surreal all masterfully placed over global beats with soundscapes that percolate your ears as if they were brain candy, all while providing for an incredible melodic and harmonic song structure. Check out one his projects, Shpongle's Tales of the Inexpressible and you'll see what I mean.

Marco Benevento - Duo, Garage A Trois

Marco Benevento
1. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
2. Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse - Dark Night of the Soul
3. Wilco - Wilco The Album
4. Nathan Moore - Folk Singer
5. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic

1. Medeski, Martin & Wood | December 2009 | Lupo's | Providence, RI (Dec)
Billy, Billy, Billy - what an amazing drum solo

2. Marco Benevento Trio | June 2009 | Carnegie Hall | New York, NY
3. The Slip | August 2009 | Bowery Ballroom | New York, NY

Derek Vincent Smith - Pretty Lights

Derek Vincent Smith/PL
1. Jay Z – Blueprint 3
2. Gramatik – Street Bangers (Vol. 2)
3. Passion Pit – Manners
4. Blockhead – The Music Scene
5. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

1. Justice | Ogden Theatre
2. Bonobo | Ogden Theatre
3. Phoenix | Bonnaroo

Bradford Cox - Deerhunter

1. Privacy - Songs
2. Kurt Vile - Childish Prodigy
3. Animal Collective - Fall be Kind EP
4. St. Vincent - Actor
5. The Breeders - Fate to Fatal EP

1. The Breeders at ATP Minehead
2. St. Vincent in Atlanta
3. Animal Collective at ATP NY

Reed Mathis - Tea Leaf Green, Papa Mali

1. JFJO - Winterwood
My last record with Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey is also my favorite. Brian, Raymer and I did basic tracks in March 2008, and I finished the mixes in January 2009. It was put up as a free download on, but I'm still hoping to press physical copies with awesome artwork and stuff. We'll see. A gorgeous album, 15 years in the making!

2. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
I definitely gave this one repeated listens. Amazing production. I like the song "Foreground."

Mathis by Miller
3. Dorian Small - Newlyweds
Possibly my favorite musician out there.

4. Surprise Me Mr. Davis - ?????
Not sure if they even titled or released this, but it's streaming on their website, and it's absolutely crushing! Nathan Moore with the Slip - it truly just does not get any better. Thank the lord for Mr. Davis.

5. Medeski Martin & Wood - Radiolarian III
These guys played everything there was to be played, all before the year 2000, and they've been through the looking-glass ever since. The Radiolarian Series is their freakiest and most human stuff in a long time, much to my liking. They continue to sum up what I love about improvising.

1. Phish | 08.02.09 | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO
My first Phish show, and my first Red Rocks show - quite an eye-opener. Watched the second set from side-stage, looking out at the sea of delighted humans. Kept thinking, "Hmmm.... not a bad band!"

2. Ornette Coleman | 11.08.09 | San Francisco Opera House | S.F., CA
My first Ornette show, one of my all-time heroes. Went with a very old friend. Ornette's band was him, plus drums, and TWO basses. Yes, please!

3. Medeski Martin & Wood | 12.04.09 | Lupo's | Providence, RI
My 20th MMW show. Watched from side-stage, then from the rigging up above the stage. I love getting music lessons! What benevolent musicians they are. Freaking cosmic virtuosos.

Olly Peacock – Gomez

1. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
2. Andrew Bird - Noble Beast
3. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Up From Below
4. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
5. Slaraffenland - We're On Your Side

1. Andrew Bird | Radio City Hall | New York, NY
2. Frightened Rabbit | Whitehaven, U.K.
3. Fink | Belfast, Northern Ireland

Jake Cinninger
Jake Cinninger - Umphrey's McGee

1. Mastodon – Crack the Skye
2. Slayer – World Painted Blood
3. Job for a Cowboy – Ruination
4. Robben Ford – Soul on Ten

1. Ugly Suit | St Louis, MO
2. Buddy Guy | Telluride, CO
3. Lamont Cranston Band | Minneapolis, MN

Ryan Stasik by Vann
Ryan Stasik - Umphrey's McGee

1. Hall and Oates | Irving Plaza | New York, NY
2. Made in Iron | Burlington, VT
3. Marsha Stasik | Stand-up Comedy | Kalamazoo, MI

Brendan Bayliss - Umphrey's McGee

Brendan Bayliss
1. Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
2. Modest Mouse – No One's First and You're Next
3. The Beatles – Remastered catalog

1. Snoop Dogg | Lollapalooza
2. Paul McCartney | Shea Stadium
3. Lisa Lampanelli | Chicago, IL

Joel Cummins - Umphrey's McGee

Cummins by Gordon
1. Kings of Leon – Only by the Night
2. Passion Pit – Manners
3. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
4. Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
5. Pretty Lights – Passing by Behind Your Eyes

1. Taj Mahal and Bonnie Raitt | Ravinia | Chicago, IL
2. Andrew Bird | Schubas | Chicago, IL
3. Passion Pit | Treasure Island Festival | San Francisco, CA

Andy Farag - Umphrey's McGee

Farag by Gordon
1. Jay Z – The Blueprint 3
2. J Dilla – Just Stay Paid
3. Kings of Leon – Only by the Night
4. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

1. Tool | Lollapalooza
2. Foreign Exchange | Chicago, IL

Keller Williams

1. Danny Barnes - Pizza Box
2. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
3. Zach Deputy - Sunshine
4. Power up the Planet

Keller Williams
A compilation of cool music with the proceeds going to providing solar power for folks with nothing. Great cause and the mix of songs is bitchin'.
5. The Pimps of Joytime - Funk Fixes and Remixes

1.Umphrey's McGee | Summer Camp - Felix Pastorius and Les Claypool sit-ins. Massive fire works customized to the music.
2. Girl Talk | Rothbury - Late night show mentality
3. String Cheese Incident | Rothbury - Epic production.

Art Neville - Funky Meters, The Neville Brothers

Art Neville by Smith
1. BlakRoc - BlakRoc
2. Dr. John – City That Care Forgot
3. Cyril Neville – Brand New Blues
4. Mos Def – The Ecstatic
5. Paramore – Brand New Eyes

1. Dumpstaphunk | Tipitina's | Jazzfest | New Orleans, LA
2. The Neville Brothers | Mawazine Jazzfest | Rabat, Morocco
3. Funky METERS | Fuji Rock Festival

Jason Isbell - Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Jason Isbell
1. The Beatles - Remasters (Duh!)
2. Them Crooked Vultures - self-titled
3. Justin Townes Earle - Midnight at the Movies
4. The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing
5. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular

1. Wilco | Sloss Furnace | Birmingham, AL
2. Earl Greyhound | Turf Club | St. Paul, MN (with us)
3. The Mother Hips | The Doug Fir | Portland, OR (with us)

Jerry Joseph - Jackmormons, Stockholm Syndrome

Jerry Joseph
1. Richmond Fontaine - We Used To Think The Freeway Sounded Like A River
2. Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3
3. The Swell Season - Strict Joy (my wife made me put this... but she's right)
4. The Mother Hips - Pacific Dust
5. The Revelations Featuring Tre Williams - The Bleeding Edge
6. Keith Jarret - The Koln Concert

As for shows, I live in NYC and never see anything... except:
1. The choir at St. Josephs on 125th
2. Thievery Corporation in Denver

Andrew Barr - The Slip, Surprise Me Mr. Davis, Land Of Talk

Andrew Barr
1. Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
2. Tuneyards - Bird-Brains
3. Lightning Bolt - Earthly Delights
4. Nathan Moore - Folksinger
5. Mos Def - The Ecstatic

Favorite shows I played:
1. Carnegie Hall w/ The Marco Benevento Trio
2. FME music festival in Abitibi Quebec with Brad Barr
3. Montreal Music Festival in Ghent Belgium with Land Of Talk

George Porter Jr. - The Funky Meters

George Porter Jr.
1. John Scofield - Piety Street
2. Water Seed - Early for The Future
3. Diane Birch - Bible Belt
4. Alec Ounsworth - Mo Beauty
5. Jack Brass Band – self-titled

Shows Played
1. The Meter Men | New Orleans Jazz Fest
2. The Funky Meters | Tokyo
3. Runnin' Pardners | 08.08.09 | Red Rocks Amphitheatre
4. Porter Batiste Stoltz | 10.30.09 | Tipitina's French Quarter | New Orleans, LA (the band's last gig as a band)

Joe Russo - Duo, Furthur, Gene Ween Band, Bustle in Your Hedgerow

Joe Russo
Albums (in no order)
1. Cass McCombs - Catacombs
2. Patton Oswalt - My Weakness Is Strong
3. Matt Trowbridge - Radio Soap Star Opera
4. Bob Dylan Christmas In The Heart
5. Sean Bones - Rings

Shows I Saw
1. Monte Good and The Honky-Tonk Heroes | 3/24/09 | Robert's Western World | Nashville, TN
2. Dr. Dog | 6/27/09 | Prospect Park Band Shell | Brooklyn, NY
3. KISS | 10/10/09 | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY

Shows I Played
1. The Gene Ween Band | 3/22/09 | The Earl | Atlanta, GA
2. Benevento-Russo Duo (Acoustic) | 8/17/09 | Highline Ballroom | New York, NY
3. Furthur | 12/12/09 | Asbury Park Convention Hall | Asbury Park, NJ

Stanton Moore - Galactic, Garage A Trois, Dragon Smoke

Stanton Moore
I've been so busy this year I haven't really gotten a chance to peep out anything outside of what I've been involved with. Here are my top picks for albums I appeared on in 2009.

1. Stanton Moore - Take It To The Streets (digital download)
2. Street Sweeper Social Club - self-titled
3. Diane Birch - Bible Belt
4. Alec Ounsworth - Mo Beauty
5. Garage A Trois - Power Patriot

Top Picks For Shows I Played in 2009
1. Galactic | The Fillmore | San Francisco, CA (with special guest Zigaboo Modeliste, drummer for The Meters)

2. Anders Osborne | Jazz Fest | New Orleans, LA
Introduced new band with myself, Robert Walter and Anders. We rehearsed all week at my house before the gig and are now finishing up a record with that new lineup.

3. Garage A Trois | DBA | New Orleans, LA
Power Patriot record release and Skerik's birthday.

Skerik - Garage A Trois, Dead Kenny Gs


1. Sunn O))) - Monoliths and Dimensions
2. Future of the Left – (most of) Travels with myself and another
3. Lightning Bolt - Earthly Delights
4. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

Honorable Mention: McTuff - Volume 1, Dead Kenny Gs - Bewildered Herd, Garage A Trois - Power Patriot

1. Wayne Shorter Quartet | Zellerbach Hall | Berkeley, CA
Incredible, life making, spiritual event

2. Sunn O))) | Neumo's | Seattle, WA
Attila incantations: unparalleled.

3. Sunn O))) Duo | Vienna and Prague
Simply the heaviest thing on earth.

Mike Dillon - Go-Go Jungle, Les Claypool, Garage A Trois


Mike Dillon
1. Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures
2. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
3. Aceyalone - The Lonely Ones
4. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
5. Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics - Inspiration Information 3

1. Wayne Shorter Quartet | October 2009 | Zellerbach Hall | Berkeley, CA
2. The Secret Chiefs 3 | They killed everyone the Oddity Faire Tour
3. Aloke Dutta (solo tabla) | July 2009 | Blue Nile | New Orleans, LA

My Best Shows
1. Mike Dillon's Go-Go Jungle | May 2009 | Dragons Den (late night) – Jazz Fest | New Orleans
2. Garage a Trois | December 2009 | The Independent | San Francisco, CA
3. Dead Kenny Gs | Jazz Fest '09 | Megalmaniacs Ball | New Orleans, LA
4. Illuminasti Trio with Brian Coogan | Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro | New Orleans, LA

Eric McFadden

Eric McFadden Trio
1. Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures
2. The Dead Weather - Horehound
3. Spinnerette - Baptized by Fire
4. Vic Chesnutt - At the Cut
5. Sam Baker - Cotton
6. Tom Waits - Glitter and Doom
7. PJ Harvey and John Parish - A Woman A Man Walked By

1. Paul McCartney, Mastodon, Leonard Cohen, The Cure, X, Public Enemy - Coachella - April 2009
I was really impressed and amazed at all of these performances. Rarely have I seen so many sets of such high caliber at one festival... and this wasn't even the extent of it. I should really just list this as "Coachella 2009."

2. The Melvins - Grand Regency - San Francisco

3. Nels Cline Singers - Cafe DuNord, San Francisco, CA - September 3, 2009

4. Them Crooked Vultures - Fox Theater - Oakland, CA - November 2009
How can you go wrong with this lineup? Well, I guess they could if they tried... but they didn't. Rock is alive.

5. Gov't Mule - Apollo Theater - Barcelona, Spain - November 15, 2009
Best Mule show I've seen in a while, possibly ever. I even got to join them for a couple numbers.

6. The Pogues - Regency Ballroom - San Francisco, CA

Zack Smith - Rotary Downs

Zack Smith
1. Scrambler Sequill - Secret Passageways
2. Mastodon - Crack the Skye
3. Caddywhompus - EP
4. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
5. Big Rock Candy Mountain - Hey Kid

1. Rotary Downs | Halloween - October 31 | DBA, New Orleans, LA
Cmon, it was the best show of the year... glow in the dark, smoke machines n shit...cmon!

2. BROOKLYNOLA - Generationals, w/ the BKLNOLA All Stars | May 8 | Public Assembly, Brooklyn, NY
Simon Lott, Mike Gamble, Marc Friedman, Tony Barba, Bryce Wymer, Mitch Paone

3. Not So Super Super Hero Party 7 | February 21 | Hi Ho Lounge, New Orleans, LA
Featuring Brian Coogan/Simon Lott/Mike Gamble/Anthony Cuccia/Justin Peak

Cody Dickinson - North Mississippi Allstars, Hill Country Revue

Cody Dickinson
1. Lily Allen – It's Not Me, It's You
2. Lucero – 1372 Overton Park
3. The Dead Weather - Horehound
4. Snow Patrol – A Hundred Million Suns
5. MGMT - Congratulations
6. Paramore – Brand New Eyes

1. Dave Matthews Band (w/ Hill Country Revue) for 2 nights July 31 and August 1 at the Verizon Wireless Center in Noblesville, IN
2. Snoop Dogg at Bonnaroo
3. Hill Country Revue with 8 Ball & MJG on Halloween night at the Hi Tone in Memphis, TN

Todd Snider

Todd Snider
Albums (no particular order)
1. Robert Earl Keen - Rose Hotel
2. Phish - Joy
3. Robyn Hitchcock - Good Night Oslo
4. Drivin' n' Cryin' - Great American Bubble Factory
5. Tim Carrol - All Kinds of Pain

Shows (no particular order)
1. Les Claypool | All Good Festival
2. Robert Earl Keen | Bonnaroo Music Festival
3. Great American Taxi | Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Ethan Miller - Howlin Rain

Ethan Miller
1. Omar Souleyman - Highway to Hassake
2. White Denim - Fits
3. Master Musicians of Bukkake - Totem One
4. Extra Golden - Thank you very Quickly
5. Pissed Jeans - King of Jeans

Steve Molitz - Particle, Phil Lesh & Friends, Playing for Change

Steve Molitz
Albums (no particular order)
1. Greg Giraldo - Midlife Vices
2. Paul F. Tompkins - Freak Wharf
3. Patton Oswalt - My Weakness Is Strong
4. Doug Stanhope - From Across The Street
5. Flight Of The Conchords - I Told You I Was Freaky

1. Jamie Cullum | 07.17.09 | Juan Les Pin | Antibes, France
2. Playing For Change with Special Guests Ziggy Marley & Toots Hibbert | 11.13.09 | Nokia Live | Los Angeles, CA
3. David Byrne | 06.12.09 | Bonnaroo Music Festival | Manchester, TN

Steve Gorman - The Black Crowes

Gorman by Weiand
1. The Zombies | Azkena Festival | Spain
2. Bleu | 3rd and Lindley | Nashville, TN
3. AC/DC | Sommet Center | Nashville, TN

Scott McMicken - Dr. Dog

This year feels like any year ever! Such beauty.

1. Floating Action - self-titled
2. Dan Auerbach - Keep It Hid

McMicken by Grayson
3. Elvis Perkins In Dearland – self-titled
4. M. Ward - Hold Time
5. Pepi Ginsberg – East Is East
6. Alec Ounsworth – Mo' Beauty

The Zombies | Azkena Festival | Spain

Man, as I start thinkin' about it, I realize that the quality of any given show I see has so much to do with my willingness to experience the beauty of that particular moment. I've seen great shows I missed and I've missed great shows I've seen. My nephew jammed the toy room to tears!

Peter Morén - Peter Bjorn and John


Peter Bjorn and John
1. El Perro Del Mar - Love Is Not Pop
2. Papercuts - You Can Have What You Want
3. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
4. Existensminimum - OK Boys
5. Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - self-titled
6. Girls - Album
7. Brothers Of End - The End
8. Anna Järvinen - Man Var Bland Molnen
9. Where The Action Is - LA Nuggets
10. Cass McCombs - Catacombs

1. Dinosaur Jr. | SXSW
2. Neil Young | Stockholm
3. El Perro Del Mar opening for us every night this fall tour

Harley Prechtel-Cortez - Red Cortez


Harley Prechtel-Cortez by Law
1. The Antler's - Hospice
2. Various Artists - Legends of Benin
3. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
4. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
5. Leonard Cohen - Live at the Isle of Wight 1970

1. BLK JKS at SXSW – March 18 - The Paradise - Austin, TX
On par with South by Southwest chaos we lugged all our equipment from one block to another to make a show in haste and when we got there the BLK JKS were playing before us and it was absolutely captivating. It stopped us in our tracks and made us forget where we were - which is hard to do in those few fragmented days in March in Austin, TX.

2. Opening for Morrissey at Carnegie Hall in Pittsburg, PA - Saint Patrick's Day 2009
The first Carnegie Hall ever built I believe and when we peeked inside it was like playing an old Opera Vaudeville place that was just majestic. Made us feel like we were teleported into another time. During soundcheck you see Morrissey on side stage watching us sing our songs of change and revolt, out of key and dissonant. Saint Patrick's Day opening for Morrissey in that building was quite surreal.

3. Tallest Man on Earth - April 1 - Pabst Theater - Milwaukee, WI
I went through a rough time this year, a lot of personal and family sadness that eventually released the inner hibernating beast whilst simultaneously tricking the spirit inside the confines of my detuned heart. We did a lot of tour hopping in the spring all around the country - once we started traveling with Kristian (TMOE) I felt it serendipitous that I could watch him every night and vicariously live in each song. When he performs it is one of the most genuine things I've seen. I needed that right then and there.

Brian Venable - Lucero


1. Skeletonwitch - Breathe The Fire
2. Baroness - Blue Album
3. Kylesa - Static Tensions
4. Black Tusk/ASG split CD
5. Coliseum – "True Quiet/Last Wave" 7-inch

1. Southern Discomfort Tour with Black Tusk, Kylesa and Skeletonwitch
2. Bison when they toured with Tombes and Kylesa
3. Backstage at Mastodon in Detroit!

Larry Herweg - Pelican


1. Isis - Wavering Radiant
2. The Life and Times - Tragic Boogie
3. Satyricon - The Age of Nero
4. Converge - Axe to Fall
5. Jawbox - For Your Own Special Sweetheart reissue

1. Nine Inch Nails | Henry Fonda | Los Angeles, CA
2. Jesus Lizard | Metro | Chicago, IL
3. Sunny Day Real Estate | House of Blues | Anaheim, CA



1. Fever Ray - self-titled
2. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
3. Bear in Heaven - Beast Rest Forth Mouth
4. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
5. Girls - Album

1. Them Crooked Vultures | Reading
2. Dirty Projectors | Brooklyn Pool Party
3. MGMT | Rock en Seine | Paris

Jeff Miller - New Monsoon, The Contribution


Jeff Miller
1. The Mother Hips – Pacific Dust
2. Levon Helm – Electric Dirt
3. Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
4. Radiohead – In Rainbows
5. Railroad Earth – Amen Corner

1. Railroad Earth | The Fillmore | San Francisco, CA
2. The Mother Hips | 19 Broadway | Fairfax, CA
3. Mark Karan | Sausalito, CA

Zac Lasher - U-Melt

For me, 2009 was not so much about new music as it was about hearing some legends at a new peak of their career, with that in mind I submit to you my picks.

1. The Beatles - Abbey Road (remastered)

2. The Beatles - Revolver (remastered)
3. The Beatles - Rubber Soul (remastered)
4. The Beatles - White Album (remastered)
5. The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (remastered)

It's hard to compete with the best. The remasters sound absolutely amazing, and I for one was very happy to have a little bit of Beatlemania in my life in 2009.

1. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band | 09.30.09 | Giants Stadium | East Rutherford, NJ
For night one of his five-night run to close the old stadium, Bruce opened with a brand new, never before played song appropriately titled "Wrecking Ball." Over the course of the 3+ hour show they went through the Born To Run album in its entirety, which was one of the best things I've ever seen on a stage.

2. David Byrne | 06.08.09 | Prospect Park | Brooklyn, NY
David has a unique brand of genius, and when he teams up with Brian Eno, the results are unbeatable. The show focused on the many musical collaborations the two men have had over the years, and featured a lot of great old school Talking Heads songs. With the entire band (and three dancers) dressed all in white, Mr. Byrne's artistic mind shone through in a wonderful way.

3. Steve Winwood | 01.16.09 | United Palace Theater | New York, NY
Every time I see Steve play he blows my mind. The amount of soul that he exudes when he sings, not to mention the fact that he doesn't need a bass player as he is one of the greatest organists around. This night in January had Steve in top form.

Ben Kweller

Ben Kweller
1. Conor Oberst - Outer South
2. Mason Jennings - Blood Of Man
3. Wilco – Wilco (The Album)
4. Mastodon - Crack The Skye
5. Pearl Jam - Ten (remixed)
6. Them Crooked Vultures – self-titled

Continue reading for more Best of 2009 Artist List...

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