Paste has weighed in with its Best Albums of 2009, but over the holiday break, each of our editorial staffers is giving us a glimpse of his or her personal favorites from the year. Here’s associate editor Kate Kiefer on six records she’ll still love in 2019.
1. The Avett Brothers I And Love And You
When I first got this CD, I kept it in my car for at least a month before taking it out, and I still listen at least once a week. The band is playing in Atlanta on New Year’s Day, and I haven’t been so excited about a concert since Tom Waits came to town. Paste writer Bart Blasengame wrote this disturbing and true thing about the record in his Sept. review (gave it a 96 out of 100): “For the Avett Brothers to make this record took ginormous, pendulous testicles. Having conquered every Saturday night music hall and holler between Asheville and Portland, they have made a record that is not just a stab at the mainstream—it’s a harpoon through its sternum.” He meant that in the best way possible. I And Love And You is bold in its beauty.
2. David Bazan Curse Your Branches
Bazan used to be a storyteller, but with this record, the former Pedro The Lion frontman unloaded some of his personal experiences. His struggle with the idea of original sin is beautifully articulated here, and the music is as restrained and lovely as ever. I’ll share this one with my friends for years to come.
3. Elvis Perkins Elvis Perkins In Dearland
The third most famous singer named Elvis is proud to present his band. Here, he dresses his music in full regalia—with whistles, horns, organs and marching-band drums—and it’s exquisite. These tunes evoke early Americana—dancing around campfires at a time when European holdovers were still the main force steering our culture. His old-timey style doesn’t get old.
4. Brandi Carlile Give Up The Ghost
Carlile’s self-titled debut captured the collective Paste
heart back in 2005. Since then, her rootsy rock has become smarter, more exposed and more complicated, and her powerful voice is among the best of our time. This one’s her most memorable yet.
5. The Antlers Hospice
The Antlers’ latest is a concept album about an abusive relationship between a terminally ill patient and her caregiver in a hospice. Certainly not a feel-good record and certainly not background music, it’s thought provoking and stunning through and through. After a few listens, I found myself caught up in the story as if I were reading a tragic novel.
6. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
I’m mostly including this one for the song “Home,” which I’ve been listening to since my fabulous wedding photographers told my husband and me that they were using it for a slideshow of photos from our wedding. Now the folksy song reminds me of one of the best days of my life—it’s pure bliss, and so is the rest of the band’s self-titled record. I guess you could call it the anti-Hospice.