THE 9 SONGS THAT MOVED ME THE MOST THIS YEAR

December 23 2009
below is a list of the songs that moved me the most in 2009. not all of them are from 2009, but for whatever reason they hit me in the right spot and were incredibly inspirational and emotional for me.

BON IVER "FLUME" (DAYTROTTER SESSION RECORDING)
i heard so much buzz about Bon Iver's "For Emma, Forever Ago" album this year. i tried and tried to get into it, but just couldn't get past the strangeness of Justin Vernon's voice. Then, one day this summer, it all clicked for me and i absolutely fell in love with the album, in particular the songs "Flume" and "Lump Sum." Being a fan of Daytrotter i noticed they had a Bon Iver session, so i grabbed it. The version of "Flume" on this recording absolutely floored me. He slows it down, draws it out, gives us one of the most incredibly delicate and textural break downs in the middle and somehow manages to make the song even more haunting and beautiful.
http://www.daytrotter.com/dt/bon-iver-concert/20030270-3737628.html

GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS "CONCRETE HEART" and "UNISON FALLING INTO HARMONY"
Great Lake Swimmer's "Lost Channels" was without a doubt the most anticipated and most loved album of 2009 for me. Everything i love about them was, thankfully, still present in their new work. i prefer the quiet songs (no surprise there) where Tony Dekker's lyrics, voice and guitar style really shine. These two songs were really high points in my musical year. This band, more than any other, makes me wish i could abandon all of my electronics for a quiet space and a guitar.
http://www.greatlakeswimmers.com/

IRON AND WINE "UPWARD OVER THE MOUNTAIN" (live in Melbourne, OR, 2008-03-12) (from PlayedLastNight.com)
arguably my favorite Iron & Wine song, this live recording ups the tempo and fills out the composition with a backing band, which Sam Beam often does in live situations. There's something in this recording that moves me more than the album… i think it's the slight tweaks to the vocal melody at the end of various lines.. and the fact that he is such an incredible performer and amazing guitar player. reminds me of the Iron & Wine show i saw at Other Music in NYC earlier this year.
http://www.playedlastnight.com/

DAMIEN JURADO "OHIO"
a bit of a late one here, as i only found this song a couple weeks ago when researching guitar chords for Neil Halstead (apparently Neil's chords and this song were the same, with a capo move.. and now i forgot the song). There seems to be a theme going on here with my favorite songs of the year so far. Simple, singer/songwriter affairs. Quiet, distant, melancholy… stuff that makes me want to close my eyes and listen.
http://www.subpop.com/releases/damien_jurado/full_lengths/rehearsals_for_departure

KEITH FULLERTON WHITMAN "TRACK 4 (2WAYSSUPERIMPOSED)"
This 21 minute piece, released on Room40, has officially entered my "favorite electronic songs of all time" list this year. This, to me, is modern electronic music perfection. I listened to this work countless times while falling asleep on airplanes and in faraway hotels. it covers everything a piece such as this should have. deep bases, analog percolations, beautiful tones, and a gentleness of craft.
http://www.room40.org/releases-EDRM408.shtml

SLOWDIVE "BLUE SKIED AN' CLEAR"
you can listen to a band for many years, but for some reason a song you've heard many times just hits you differently, based on your life at that time. "Blue Skied An' Clear" from the "Pygmalion" album is one such song. I think i was on a train listening to the album on my iPod when this song came out and it was like "my god, why haven't i noticed this before".. and it hit me in such a different way. I'd listen to it on repeat for days after and easily was one of my favorite songs this year.
http://www.boomkat.com/item.cfm?id=19695

MOJAVE 3 "SHE'S ALL UP ABOVE"
i listen to my Mojave 3 collection a lot. This song stuck to me this year more than any other, it's among their most delicate and just amazing chord progressions, singing and lyrics. it always ends too soon.
http://www.4ad.com/mojave3/releases/spoon-and-rafter-1/

JOSE GONZALEZ "HEARTBEATS"
despite being Jose Gonzalez's most popular song… i think it deserves that distinction for a reason. more clutter-free beauty and honest songwriting.
http://www.jose-gonzalez.com/
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