Laura Gibson

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2009 Top 25Well it’s that time again. It’s been a good year in music for sure – so much so that we’ve bumped our list up to 25 albums this time around, and even then we were having to painfully cut out some clearly great records.

Remember, this list represents our favorite albums of the year, not necessarily the best albums of the year. If we had to pick what we thought were the very best albums critically, this would probably be a very different list. But we’re no critics, so that’s not what we’re going to do. These are simply our very favorite albums of the year – the ones that made us laugh, cry, dance, smile, press repeat, wet our pants, etc. This is what we’ll remember when we look back on 2009.

Here we go:

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BeastsSometimes records take their sweet time before winning me over – like they’re just waiting until I’ll really appreciate them. I think that’s one of the dangers with caring too much about hype, because no matter how great an act is, I might not really love listening to them right this minute – but I probably will in a month or two when I really need it, like on a road trip or holed up studying for an exam. So why force it? If something’s really brilliant, it’ll get it’s time.

This was the case with Laura Gibson’s gorgeous album Beasts of Seasons. It was released earlier this year, but it didn’t really reveal itself to me until sometime this fall. I can’t remember why I put it on again, but its earthy tones and old folk-like melodies has perfectly scored the falling leaves and shortening days for me, and now its one of my favorites of the year. Its songs are beautiful and haunting, as Gibson’s warm nylon guitar is matched perfectly by the judicious use of instrumental flourishes, and her craggy voice spins tales of sorrow and quiet affirmation with a genuine gift for poetry. For example (from “Funeral Song”):

“With no sorrow
Ask no greater pardon
Than the pattern
Time is carving in your skin”

Beasts of Seasons is out on Portland’s Hush Records. Check it out.

mp3: Laura Gibson – Spirited
from the album Beasts of Seasons (Amazon/iTunes)

mp3: Laura Gibson – Funeral Song
from the album Beasts of Seasons (Amazon/iTunes)