TONY top new music artists picks for 2009

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Christina Courtin
The local singer-songwriter released a beautifully textured self-titled debut LP on Nonesuch, featuring contributions from hotshots like Jon Brion and Benmont Tench. She performs regularly—and headlines the Rubin Museum’s “Naked Soul” series January 29.—Jay Ruttenberg

Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson
MBAR’s 2009 played out with the kind of messy weirdness that drew us to his music in the first place: He released an excellent, scruffy debut, then turned up in TONY’s dating section; he cataloged his adventures at SXSW for us online (drug-fueled midnight sessions on hotel treadmills); then released the strangely slick Summer of Fear, which he claimed was his real debut. A third album is in the pipeline.—Sophie Harris

Wavves
It’s fair to say that Nathan Williams’s Wavves had a pretty big year, both musically and not. The project’s second full-length, Wavvves, was lauded by critics across the country...and that’s when shit hit the fan. Williams had an overblown “meltdown” in Barcelona (where he disparaged his then-drummer, Ryan Ulsh), fought the Black Lips, recruited Zach Hill for a minute, then scooped up Jay Reatard’s backing band. Making waves, indeed.—Colin St. John

Charles Hamilton
Last year was not kind to this mercurial local rapper: A widely circulated video clip of him being clocked in the kisser by an ex cost him cred, while questionable moves (like crediting the late J Dilla with producing what would have been his debut album) got him dropped by Interscope. But after an extended breather, Hamilton resurfaced in December with a new mixtape, Normalcy, which showed that his precocious gifts remain intact. Maybe this year?—Steve Smith

Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society
Time will tell whether this Canadian composer and his newfangled big band will turn heads outside the jazz world, but within that community, the Secret Society’s dramatic debut, Infernal Machines, won more or less universal acclaim and proved that Argue—a blogger of note—could back up his brainy musings with equally impressive soundscapes.—Hank Shteamer

The stars of 2010
TONY’s picks to click in the new year.

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