Sade Sundays
While looking at each other through binoculars in my bedroom, I told Mike that Year-End Lists are sort of fun until you’ve read a few. After that, the nostalgia becomes overwhelming, like finding the old trunk that contains all of your old comic books and junior high love letters. It makes me wonder if bloggers call each other on the phone the night before they post their lists; like 6th grade girls, they coordinate Top-Albums instead of outfits.

This is kind of like how Mike accidentally left my copy of Under the Banner of Heaven at some seedy motel in Cleveland after attending his cousin’s wedding. Skipping an apology or offer to replace the book, he told me that it really ruined his flight home because he still had 10 pages left to read. The man will never suffer an indignity, not unlike many Year-End Lists, this one included.

Top Album of 2009:
Tune-Yards – Bird Brains (Marriage Records/4AD). Brokenhearted-bold, reminiscent lyrics. Androgynous, upfront vocals layered over sampled found-sounds and field recordings like tiny, shiny bells dropped into rusty tin cans. Electrified ukulele and broken hip-hop beats I can get behind. The album on a whole seems aimed directly at some one/place she believes in.

[audio:|artists=Tune-Yard|titles=Sunlight] Tune-Yard – “Sunlight”

Top Songs of 2009:
While a great album is as hard to find as a human without pretense, I found these individual songs to be wholeheartedly satisfying, like the moments when people don’t feel the need to bullshit their way around town.

[audio:|artists=Nice Face|titles=Mnemonic Device] Nice Face“Mnemonic Device” (Sacred Bones).
Immersed in a little-known sub-genre called “shitgaze”, it reminds me of one night this past August going to a loft show in Chicago. A band called Lasers and Fast and Shit played and we sweated hard in the humidity while drinking ice cold Miller Lites.

[audio:|artists=Levek|titles=Geographic John] Levek – “Geographic John” (self-release)
It’s as if Grizzly Bear pulled a Dick Van Dyke and their antics actually appealed to me. David Levesque lives in Orlando and uses this moniker to create music akin to muggy jungles where snow falls in the summer. The reverb-laden hand claps sound like the sun when you’re sitting in the shade. This is one of the best songs I’ve heard all year.

[audio:|artists=Wave Machines|titles=Keep The Lights On] Wave Machines – “Keep The Lights On” (Neapolitan)
Wins the Most Confusingly Incredible Pop Song of the Year Award. It’s beyond anything else in their recorded repertoire, and they might just be the next MGMT based on this fact alone; but the single is still enough to make me remember how pop music makes and breaks hearts.

[audio:|artists=The Light Rays|titles=Surf Song] The Light Rays – “Surf Song” (Sun Fight Records)
If I was afraid of the water and octopi, this song would scare the swim shorts off me. Luckily, my parents gently shoved me off the dock believing I’d figure it out. I did. The arpeggio on the cheap Casio keys makes me want to go catch a wave on Lake Michigan.

[audio:|artists=Patrick Bower|titles=The Last Hurrah Again] Patrick Bower – “The Last Hurrah Again” (self-release)
Turns out this dude is the brother of one of Mike’s best friends in Resting Rooster, from Bloomington, IN. Now living in NYC, Bower creates this lazy-rambler that makes me think of a Jens Leckman/Jonathan Richman hybrid who’s leaning against a fence, under a tree in New Mexico, smiling.

While doing his best impression of Bob Dylan singing Christmas songs (sounding like a real bastard, somewhere between Tom Waits and Van Dyke Parks), Mike made an uncomfortable exit by bumping both the cars in back and in front of him before pulling away, and waved goodbye like Jack Nicholson in The Shining saying, “go check it out!” Example:

Then he drove off to North Berkeley. Who knows when I’ll see him next, but his departure served as one more reminder that we have yet another year to think about things, construct lists, and do our jobs while winging it.

About Sade Sundays: Sade Sundays is a two-part monthly column written by Michael Tapscott and Joshua Rampage. A profundity has never slipped past the lips of a man who lives a life of quiet desperation. He has time for no such subtleties. So basically, Joshua and Michael have time on their hands. They spend it together one Sunday a month, dispensing boozy wisdom and violent, undefended revelries. You may listen, but you may also render their words as a call of the wild, a spear from St. George into the side of the dragon beast, or a meaningless squabble. Contact us: