When it comes to album sales and reviews, 2009 was a big year for Lil Wayne, Coldplay and Taylor Swift. But what about the slew of local bands who cranked out their own excellent discs over the last 12 months? We haven't forgotten them, so we asked Julie Garisto, a local music aficionado and contributor to our Soundcheck blog, to list her picks for the best local albums of 2009. (Her comments follow each selection.) Times staff
1. Sons of Hippies, Warriors of the Light: "In my next life, I want to be SoH frontwoman Katherine Kelly."
2. Roppongi's Ace, Into the Night: "Vintage blues-Americana updated and generated by earnest and powerful vocals, tight musicianship and good production by Steve Connelly."
3. Have Gun, Will Travel, Postcards From the Friendly City: "Linchpins of the West Central Florida rustic belt show us a more introspective side — and we like it."
4. Anonymous, Sincerely Anonymous: "With verbal musicality, top-notch guest vocals and edgy cleverness, Chris Nunez takes us into the next generation of underground hip-hop."
5. Los Hijos de Ismael, En Pie de Paz: "The guys from Tampa's Triptico romance us with their Spanish folk music side project; delicate, spacious and gorgeous — but powerful."
6. Rich Whiteley, Ruby Fizz: "Folk, country, rock and pop combine with an achingly sincere vocal that never overdoes it."
7. Aych, Long Way From Home: "Love Hansel Wilson's honest rhymes and stylishly smooth production as he coasts the line between the street and underground without a wobble."
8. Jim Morey Band, Nuthin But Love: "Haunted by sexy demons from years past — jazzy swing, New Orleans stomp and darkly rhapsodic serenades."
9. Jeremy Gloff, 21st Century Love Songs: "Longtime folk-disco troubadour, social commentator and all-around sweet gentleman, Gloff enlists the help of Ronny Elliott and other luminaries of the scene for an impressively produced CD."
10. Dan Kincaid, The Walk Within: "Uplifting, confessional and inspirational tunes not neatly tied to any niche or scene."