31 January 2010

Best of 2009: The One-Shot Category

Over the next couple of weeks or so, I will unveil the bands that caught my ear in 2009 both old and new (and, where applicable, Canadian -- not so much because I live here now as because there's a real bounty of decent music coming out of the Great White North that deserves wider exposure down south and elsewhere).

As with every compilation of stuff, there’s always a few things that don’t make the cut for one reason or another, even though they are mighty fine. The selection I’m highlighting today is one such single: the reason it won’t fit into my “best of” is not because it’s not magnificently catchy (it is), or not representative of the sound I liked most this year (it is), and not because it shows great promise for the more from the group (it does). The problem is that as near as I can determine, this one song (not even a flippin’ b-side!) is all this band released in 2009 (at the very end of it, I might add) as a warm-up to their just-released 2010 album. Argh.

So rather than try to invent a new category (hmm ... how about “best tease 2009?” No no no) to pound this square peg into, I’ll serve it up as a sonic appetizer of sorts -- a single little treat to whet your appetite for what’s to come.

This song, “Days” by Sambassadeur, is very typical of the indie sound I have most enjoyed over the last few years. It will recall St. Etienne, Belle & Sebastian, last years’ #1 pick The Botticellis and some other yet-to-be-named bands we’ll be looking at for the best of 09.

I love the early-60s influences of the lush arrangement, the Sandi-Shaw-influenced vocal, the carefree mod lyric that evokes sunny fall days of that-girl frolicking, the Swedish pop trend that this is a part of, the under-three-minute clocking, the energy -- just all of it.

Have a listen, check out their earlier works (not quite all there, but this song shows that they’ve found their footing at last) on iTunes, visit the web site linked above for more sounds from the new album, and bask in the joy of a lovely new discovery -- still always a thrill after all these years.

Here’s my pick for Hit and Run of the Year, 2009: Sambassadeur.

“Days” by Sambassadeur

No comments: