The Secret History - Photo by J B Hardy

So much of the best music we heard this year was not released in album form. So we thought it only fair to give some credit to those artists who released some of the most brilliant work of 2009 as EPs, singles, compilations, free downloads, MySpace and Last.fm streams, and YouTube videos (as well of a few albums we just never managed to obtain copies of).

Initially, I considered ranking these, but the thought of putting some of them before others broke my heart. Instead, they are divided into two groups: “Songs we really like” and “Songs we can’t live without”. Kristin’s picks and mine are mixed together, though a handful of these tracks appeared on both our lists. Those songs are marked with an * (read: asterisk).

Also, the moment I post this, I will think of at least a dozen other songs that ought to have been included. Oops. I guess that’s what the blog archive is for.

You can find most of these songs on MySpace/Last.fm/Facebook/YouTube. So, if you missed one, go find it. I don’t have time to insert all the links right now.

Songs we really like:

Swimming in Speakers

“Serve Them Well”, Swimming in Speakers (Swimming in Speakers EP)*
“When We Swam”, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down (Know Better, Learn Faster)
“Out There”, The Subhuman (Sur la Route)
“Dance Serene”, The Hard to Get (Looking Good EP)*
“Fragile Meadow”, In a Cabin With the Black Atlantic (Reverence for Fallen Trees)*
“Vengeance is Sleeping”, Neko Case (Middle Cyclone)
“Marilyn”, Nic Dawson Kelly (Old Valentine)
“While the Flies”, The Joy Formidable (A Balloon Called Moaning)
“French Navy”, Camera Obscura (My Maudlin Career)
“Man Sings About Romance”, Laura Marling (Ghosts EP)
“Doubtful Comforts”, Blue Roses (Blue Roses)

Blue Roses - Photo by Danny North

“Mockingbird”, The McMakens (Sleep Easy)
“Fly Me Away”, Annie Little (Fly Me Away EP)
“Dearheart”, Dear Reader (Replace Why with Funny)
“Close My Eyes”, The Peekers (Life in the Air)
“It’s Not the End of the World Jonah”, The Secret History (Desolation Town EP)
“Gin and Platonic”, The Just Joans (The Smittens/The Just Joans Split EP)

Songs we can’t live without:
“You’re Gonna Miss Me”, Lulu & the Lampshades (youtube video)*
“Girl On an Unmade Bed”, Lisbee Stainton (Girl On an Unmade Bed)
“Songs in the Night”, Samantha Crain & the Midnight Shivers (Songs in the Night)
“So Many Ways To Die”, Bombadil (Tarpits and Canyonlands)
“Funny Little Frog”, God Help the Girl (God Help the Girl)*
“Tyrannosaurus Rex for Christmas”’ The Lovely Eggs (A Very Cherry Christmas 5)*
“Worried Shoes”, Karen O & the Kids (Where the Wild Things Are [soundtrack])
“Prayer for a Marriage”, The McMackens (Sleep Easy)
“Let It Slip”, The School (Let It Slip EP)

When I was 12 (the old lineup, as far as I know)

“Make Believe Hearts”, When I was 12 (Dear Eskimo)
“Cradle”, The Joy Formidable (A Balloon Called Moaning)
“Thig am Bata”, Julie Fowlis (Uam)
“In Knowing”, Swimming in Speakers (Swimming in Speakers EP)
“Bobby On Repeat”, Parlours (MySpace only)
“Fais Battre ton Tambour”, Emily Loizeau (Pays Sauvage)
“Lalita”, The Love Language (The Love Language)
“Under Her Sails”, Malpas (MySpace only)
“On My Usual Catch Up with Cecilia”, Hari and Aino (free download)

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