(Pssssst. Looking for the previous year-end Media Guy's Pop Pick giveways? They're all linked here. The entry deadline for all the random drawings is Dec. 31, so you've still got time to get in on the holiday win-a-thon.)
It's been pretty much a foregone conclusion since June, when The Dirty Projectors' "Bitte Orca" was released, that it would end up on tons of year-end "Best Of" lists. (Actually, make that April, since it was inevitably leaked on the internet early.) The band, the project of Brooklyn-based art-rocker Dave Longstreth (more than a dozen members have come and gone, so the Dirties really consists of whomever Longstreth feels like working with at any given time), has been around since 2002. But 2009 has clearly been its break-out year, what with David Byrne and Bjork engaging in high-profile collaborations/performances with them, and artists such as Questlove of The Roots blissing out over them (check out the TwitVid he posted of an impromptu Dirty Projectors back-stage performance at "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon").
What's great about the Dirties is that it's entirely pointless to try to describe them in a clause, a sentence or even a paragraph, because they might just be a genre unto themselves. (You can hear samples of every "Bitte Orca" song on the album's Amazon page.) As reviewer Cory Tendering of Lost at Sea magazine put it back in June, the band's latest album "signifies something exciting and all too infrequent in popular music: striving for a sound that doesn't have a definite audience. If this never breaks the band into larger pursuits (the X-factor being Longstreth's love-it-or-hate-it voice), this is a miniature masterpiece that exists just perfectly in the unpredictable and exciting universe it's created for itself." (About Longstreth's voice: He's an arty crooner in the tradition of Antony of Antony & the Johnsons. So, yeah, an acquired taste. But he doesn't dominate every track.)
Anyway, "Bitte Orca" is my choice for The Most Fascinating Album of the Year. Maybe you want one of the two copies of "Bitte Orca" (in your choice of physical CD or digital download) I'm giving away in my random drawing? See the details below.
P.S. Stay tuned: There are three more days of picks (and six more giveaways) to come.
THE FINE PRINT: To enter the random drawing for one of two "Bitte Orca" albums (in your choice of physical CD or digital download) in this informal Media Guy's Pop Pick giveaway, send me an e-mail with "Bitte Orca" in the subject line on or before December 31 (the cut-off is 12 midnight EST). You must have a valid U.S. mailing address and be 18 or older.
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Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco