Top eight local albums of 2009

2009 came with a great local soundtrack. I know: I reviewed dozens and that didn’t even make a dent in the number of local releases Asheville musicians put out. While my top eight (in no specific order) is only a small sampling of what’s available, this list does represent the albums I kept on replay. Got your own list? Add ‘em below.

• The Nova Echo, self-titled
Gorgeous, layered electro pop and hooky lyrics position The Nova Echo to be tapped for movie sound tracks, teen-drama TV shows and major fandom. Just my prediction.

• Floating Action, self-titled
2009’s offering by prolific multi-instrumentalist Seth Kauffman is the musician’s most fully realized to date. Lo-fi production, hints of MoTown and Caribe, instantly catchy refrains and dancable tunes make this a must-have disc.

• potpie vs. Krzysztof Appalachia
Former New Orleans electronica artist potpie relocated to Asheville and set about transcribing his new landscape into a series of sounds. Not songs in the strictest lyrical sense, the two (very long) tracks are highly inventive and inspiring soundscapes of Appalachian flavor and ambiance.

• The Honeycutters, Goodnight Irene
Old school country in the truest sense, Irene is free of twang and ten-gallon hats but full of real emotion, family history, quick wit and strong liquor. 

• The If You Wannas, Island Diplomacy
Smarty, savvy rock with pop licks and garage-y, bombastic energy is what you get from The Ifs. This band knows what they do best and they deliver consistently. Island is new material but plays like a greatest hits collection.

• Night’s Bright Colors, Absinthe Twilight
Released online, as a free download, this collection by local artist Jason Smith is lush, moody and meandering. It’s also accessible, romantic and cozy as a fireplace on a frosty fall night.

• Truth & Salvage Co. self-titled EP
Though now based in L.A., members of Truth & Salvage Co. (who came through town last fall, opening for The Black Crowes) were once part of Asheville mainstay Scrappy Hamilton. Their four-song EP is super-produced country-tinged rock with nods to the 70s, California livin’ and faded blue jeans.

• Reigning Sound Love and Curses
At once modern and vintage, fresh and familiar, Reigning Sound‘s latest is another stellar work of soul-influed rock with plenty of raw edge.

—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter


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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall has lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. She is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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6 thoughts on “Top eight local albums of 2009

  1. Ryan

    Honeycutters sound good! I live in Durham and have never heard of any of these bands. We need some more cross-pollination.

  2. Great Choices. Here’s my tops.
    1. Good Night Irene – The Honeycutters
    2. Engine – Taylor Martin
    3. Thesis Statement – Silas Durocher and Everybody Knows
    4. Tellico – Dehlia Low
    5. Warm People – Stephanies ID
    6. Worn Our Shoes – Lance Mills
    7. Sweet Release – Velvet Truckstop
    8. Absinthe Twilight – Nights Bright Colors
    8. Dave Desmelik – Onlooker

  3. NC Local Music Fan

    Good list.

    @Ryan: my band lives half in Asheville, half in Durham, and we play most shows in the Triangle because we find it’s more receptive to our type of music (indie rock).

    I’m not convinced that the two music environments (neither is well-developed enough to call a “scene”) are reconcilable. I’d love to see more cross-pollination, but I’ve perceived huge differences in the approaches and expectations of bands and fans in the two places’ local music cultures.

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