Exclaim! Readers' Favourite Avant-garde/Experimental Albums of 2009:
1. Charles Spearin
2. Animal Collective
4. Jill Barber
5. Do Make Say Think
1. Charles Spearin The Happiness Project (Arts & Crafts)
"Clever and inventive, this is the music of life by the people that surround all of us. Charles Spearin has created something as engaging as it is entertaining. Its specialness lies in our ability to relate to it and hear our familiar sounds."
Sean Wraight, London Ontario
"Although probably too tame for Destination Out, Charles Spearin's album, from an experimental point of view, is probably one of the most interesting (and fun to listen to) experiments I've heard in a while. Experimental content with pop sensibility. Fantastic!"
Eric Lehman, Toronto Ontario
"Spearin has done what the Books have done in the past, but Spearin adds a human compassion and heart to his music. Few other albums have made me smile and so happy as this one has. Another wonderful release from Arts & Crafts."
George Frankson, Vancouver BC
"One of the most creative musical concepts I have ever heard. Simply, an amazing record."
Chris McCluskie, Surrey BC
2. Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion
"Definitely more experimental than most of the hyped releases. It has a few hooks, but the hypnotic arrangements and sequence of songs ending on the sublime 'Brother Sport' are what make this a special record for 2009."
Ian Jack, Port Hope ON
"One of the best experimental CDs to come out this year!"
Ashley Devereux, Brantford Ontario
"Great songs, great feel."
Matthew Smith, Brooklin Ontario
3. Tortoise Beacons of Ancestorship (Thrill Jockey)
"Another solid release from our favourite instrusperimentalists."
Jason Hayter, Stratford Ontario
"'Not easily classifiable but still great."
Sean Moore, Camrose Alberta
"This seemed to get lost in the shuffle. or maybe just taken for granted and that's a shame cause it's awesome. They found a groove or two on this one. And less xylophoney too."
Darryl Brant, Toronto Ontario
"Tortoise are still beyond classification. This album seems to exist in several genres at once."
Trevor Carter, London Ontario
4. Jill Barber Chances (Outside)
"This is one of my favourite releases of the year with its old school sound and smooth vocals by Jill. The resurgence of jazz elements in pop music today such as Jill Barber's latest is exciting to see, and music like this has led me to look back and pick up some records by the original jazz greats: Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Etta James, Dave Brubeck."
Lisa Sproull, Montreal Quebec
5. Do Make Say Think Other Truths (Constellation)
"Naming the songs 'Do' 'Make' 'Say' and 'Think' was obviously intentional — this is classic DMST and that's all we really need."
Chris Cook, Ottawa Ontario