B-Sides: Tentative Top Ten

Tomorrow, some people from OPB’s “In House” are coming to the Bitch office to ask us about our top five favorite albums of 2009. This means that we have been spending a fair amount of time racking our brains to come up with a serviceable top five list that won’t reveal to the public radio-listening public that at least one of us (hi, that’s me) has been mostly jamming out to Linda Ronstadt records from the 70s for the past six months (I guess you can’t submit a 2009 top five list unless the albums actually came out in 2009?).

At any rate, today’s B-Sides is a test run of our top five list, expanded into a top ten. It gives us a chance to see if you think this list works, plus it’s always nice to take a break from a busy day to watch music videos. Make sure to give us plenty of feedback! Oh, and keep in mind that we are only considering women-centric bands (which means that at least one woman has to play a key role in the band). Let the listing commence! (These are in no particular order whatsoever and are just culled from a mishmash of emails we sent back and forth last week about albums we liked this year. Also, I am including a single from each album for the purpose of video watching, but we really are talking about the albums and not just the singles here. OK, enough disclaimers.)

Vivian Girls, “Everything Goes Wrong”

How fun are they? The Vivian Girls are a great pick-me-up no matter what mood you’re in.

The Gossip, “Music for Men”

Has the Gossip ever done anything that isn’t totally fucking super? I doubt it. They are the coolest.

Karen O and the Kids, “Where the Wild Things Are Sountrack”

Not only did the Karen O.’s music really enhance the film, it’s also great just by itself. There is no “official video” for any of the Karen O. and the Kids’ stuff, so I am just posting this cute fan video instead.

Thao with The Get Down Stay Down, “Know Better Learn Faster”

Anyone who has been reading the blog or magazine lately knows that we’re big Thao fans. Who can blame us? Thao with The Get Down Stay Down rules! And how great is that animated video?

Jaqee, “Kokoo Girl”

Sweden has so many awesome musicians, not least among them being Jaqee. I don’t know about you, but Jaqee’s music makes me want to dress up in fun clothes and eat cupcakes. Which is a compliment, obviously.

Neko Case, “Middle Cyclone”

Neko Case never ceases to amaze. Her voice is ridiculously good, and her lyrics say those things you didn’t even know you felt until you heard them. Does that make sense? It does when I listen to her, anyway.

Bat For Lashes, “Two Suns”

Not only is this a great album, but Natasha Khan’s exploration of alter-egos and dual personalities is pretty cool too.

Fever Ray, “Fever Ray”

Just when you thought Sweden couldn’t get any better (well, musically anyway) Karin Dreijer Andersson from The Knife goes and makes a solo album. It’s great – did you expect anything less?

Yo La Tengo, “Popular Songs”

Ah, Yo La Tengo. Do you ever fantasize that you are Georgia Hubley and that you and your husband Ira Kaplan just sit around writing beautiful and precious songs for one another? Is that just me? Whatever, this album is great.

The Thermals, “Now We Can See”

So catchy!

What do you think of this top ten? What would you add or remove? Give us your feedback in the comments section!

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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4 Comments Have Been Posted


Y'all seem to have your hands full of good music already, but since you asked for reader input:

Janelle Monae's first official release has been indispensable to my ears this fall:

And Grass Widow seems like they'd have a happy home on this list:

And Portland's own Dirty Mittens had an EP out recently. I think it was this year:

The Gossip, Neko Case, bat

The Gossip, Neko Case, bat for lashses, and Fever Ray ROCK!!! Is it just me, or does anyone else think that Fever Ray sounds a lot like Bjork musically and vocally? lol

The songs I heard by the Vivian Girls and Thao and the Great Down Stay Downs were mediocre to me...but then again I haven't heard any of the other songs on their albums so don't listen to me. I personally didn't like the Jaqee KoKoo but I generally don't listen to music that sounds like hers.

I'd add The Dead Weather's album called Horehound because VV Mosshart is awesome:

The Unthanks

If it doesn't have to released in the US this year then The Unthanks' <i>Here's the Tender Coming</i> is a must.

This is them performing "Lucky Gilchrist" on a recent TV appearance in the UK: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enGRCQxvH-0

A quote from Rachel Unthank says a lot "We're singing about sensitive subjects like domestic abuse but not as victims but with defiance and humour."

Albums of '09

Spinnerette's self-titled has been in rotation in my CD player since it was released in June. Although it pales in comparisson to anything ever released by the Distillers, it's still a pretty solid album.

Priscilla Ahn and Ingrid Michaelson have released some gems with <i>A Good Day </i> and <i>Everybody</i> respectively.

As for my favorite album of the year: WHY?'s <i>Eskimo Snow, </i> which was released in September. On this album, their sound is totally different than any of their previous albums. It usually sucks when bands do that - creating sounds to flush a toilet to, but WHY? kept it fresh, and kept it good. If anyone likes artsy music that provokes thoughts and sounds unexpalinably beautiful... this is a kick ass album.

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