Strangeglue Writer's Best of 2009: 30-21

Folkin' Noise is the only way we can describe this ten album sequence which constitutes the thirty to twenty-one region of the Strange Glue writer's chart.

One part represents the past, the tender strums of instruments as the players seek to lie themselves down in the dust musically-speaking. Becoming one with nature and using its subtle charms to sway people with lush, tender melodies which seek to speak to the free-eccentric inside us all.

On the other side of the tracks is the progressives. They want to use our technology to subvert the very nature of sound: pummelling our ears with wave after wave of obnoxious noise. Their hearts lie in the future dreamed in the minds of Phillip K. Dick and Joss Whedon. A world where the frailties of humanity become ever more dangerous as the technology we wield becomes increasingly powerful. There is neither utopia nor dystopia in this vision, just a human voice echoing through a million layers of ram cards and wave-manipulators.

Gorilla Manor

30 Local Natives - Gorilla Manor

Los Angeles collective Local Natives rose from seemingly nowhere to become one of 2009's most talked about bands and upon listening to their late-'09 released d├ębut Gorilla Manor, it's glaringly obvious as to why.

Originality is a major key to a lasting impression and whilst we entered the LP with nothing more than a questionable sense of curiosity, we came out with one of our new favourite bands.

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29 Royksopp - Junior

Moving further away from their more ambient roots and jumping head first into the dance-pop realm of 2009, Royksopp managed to cause quite a stir earlier this year with the release of Junior, the Norwegian pair's third full-length together.

Filled to bursting point with popular female guest-spots - Robyn, Lykke Li, Anneli Drecker and Karin Dreijer Andersson - and an overall sense of sugary energy, it's now, finally, made Royksopp a household name.

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Sigh No More

28 Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More

Charmingly twee, hugely captivating, brim-filled with gentle folk, rousing pop, alternative under-pinnings, explosive indie and rousing lyricism, you really couldn't ask much more from a band.

Mumford & Sons are of the few new English groups that carry that ever-affable 'cross-over appeal' and it only took a few singles for most of England to stand up and take notice. Radio-friendly or not, Mumford & Sons are still one of our favourites of the year.

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Fever Ray

27 Fever Ray - Fever Ray

One half of electro-duo The Knife and official solo wonder-woman Karin Dreijer Andersson AKA Fever Ray has slowly risen to become one of the most respected artists in her field.

Eerily bewitching, colder than ice and with a constant creativity ever prevalent in her musical endeavours, there was no way we could leave this early '09 full-length out of our end of year list.

Tarot Sport

26 Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport

Some people just don't quite get Fuck Buttons and admittedly, you can sort of see why.

Noise manipulation and walls of hissing feedback probably doesn't sound hugely appealing to a large portion of music listeners but for those that can look past that initial shock, well, you guys know exactly why they're sitting in our top fifty list this year.

Never before has noise sounded this meticulously crafted or as hypnotically fucked-up as it does on the groups latest effort Tarot Sport. It's a big barrier to break but once you're past it, you honestly won't look back.

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Luminous Night

25 Six Organs Of Admittance - Luminous Night

Ben Chasny entered a Seattle studio with an acoustic guitar, a flute player, a couple of percussionists and a phenomenal violin player by the name of Eyvind Kang; this was the nth gang to yet record under the Six Organs moniker and they made yet another incredible album.

Luminous Night made a stream of song, one which rewards those still interested in the chosen flow of an album, one whose roots can be traced to the many rivers that Chasny has dipped his steelstring in over the years: surging Psych-Folk, the rough and nimble pastorals of Renbourn & Jansch, Kurosawa soundtracks and drone.

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Julian Plenti Is Skyscraper

24 Julian Plenti - ..Is Skyscraper

The solo release from Interpol frontman Paul Banks originally had us here at SG a little worried.

Strange name, even stranger artwork and a first single that only managed a half-impressed shrug.

Thankfully, the full-length quickly snuffed out any anxiety we had with a diverse and interesting delve into the many facets of Banks and his ever-shifting personality.

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23 St Vincent - Actor

Favoured by everyone from The National to Xiu Xiu, Grizzly Bear to Death Cab For Cutie, St. Vincent AKA Annie Clark delivered her latest follow-up album Actor back in May of this year.

If only we'd known back then just how prominent the lady would be in our lives come late December of the very same year, we'd of been shouting her name from every roof-top in town.

Inspired by children's films, created on GarageBand and as crisp as a freshly picked Granny Smith, we're already looking forward to what she'll put her mind to next.

Welcome Joy

22 The Cave Singers - Welcome Joy

Impassioned and urgent in vocals (eccentric and slightly old man of the mountain in character), harmonies which reach out and stroke your very being.

Lyrics that lay passions and emotions bare for intense scrutiny: cloud burials for relationships and self deception, love or at least respect for the circling vultures and a search for a better way of living and being.

All of the above is animated and driven home by a heady romanticism flowing unimpeded through the veins of The Cave Singers.

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Merriweather Post Pavillion

21 Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

What happens when a great band surpass every expectation you once had for them and become one of the most important names in the music world?

You call them Animal Collective, that's what happens. Merriweather Post Pavilion will be celebrating its one year anniversary in little over a week but to many, it's still ten years ahead of anything else 2009 had to offer.

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