Top Albums from 2009

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23 déc. 2009, 17h59m

TOP 5 EPs of 2009

05. Art Fag 7" - Best Coast

A short EP full of sunny beach pop, including my favorite, "Sun Was High (So Was I)". Though short and simple, I found myself revisiting this 7" many times. The best way to reminisce about summer in any kind of weather.

04. No One's First and You're Next - Modest Mouse

Yeah, I agree. Modest Mouse since M&A doesn't have the raw and edgy flare, but tracks like "Whale Song" and "King Rat" show why "new" Modest Mouse is something be acknowledged as well.

03. Rainwater Cassette Exchange - Deerhunter

A short EP that works so well as a 4-piece offering of Deerhunter's new direction. Different from Microcastle, different from Logos -- Deerhunter shows why they are one of indie-rocks most versatile bands.

02. Summertime EP - The Drums

What separates these guys from other "Summertime" bands is how well they mix "oldies" type strong structure with relevant presentation. The sound like the Cars if they were from the 2000s and lived on the beach.

01. Fall Be Kind - Animal Collective

Animal Collective has proved has they can make use out of any idea, any instrumental. Sampling vocal tracks from Grateful Dead, and using pan flutes are just some of the techniques used on FBK, an EP that gets the last of MPP out of their system while foreshadowing their new directions. "I Think I Can" closes the album out perfectly, sounding like a track from Sung Tongs if only acoustic guitars were replaced with wet synths.


HONORABLE MENTIONS

Dark Was The Night - Various Artists

Horehound - The Dead Weather

Set Em' Wild, Set Em' Free - Akron/ Family

Farm - Dinosaur Jr.

Album - Girls


TOP 20 ALBUMS OF 2009

20. It's Blitz! - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Stepping back from the gritty rock n' roll approach, Karen O maintains the balls out rock but with a more electronic presentation. However, songs like "Dull Life" prove they still got rock in their blood. An interesting change in direction, and a kick ass album t'boot.

19. The Knot - Wye Oak

Wye Oak was a random band I discovered and grew to love this year. The Knot is comprised of alternative and shoegazy guitar parts mixed with haunting vocals from lead singer, Jenn Wasner. The album floats along and drifts, thanks to the brilliance in dynamics the album demonstrates. A rocking yet mellow album.

18. Jay Staid Paid - J Dilla

Despite the death of legendary producer and emcee J Dilla in 2006, Nature Sounds has expanded his discography with this album, mostly comprised of old tracks laying around in the studio. Though a mix of various b-sides and experimental tracks, Jay Staid Paid is an album that pays great homage to its posthumous creator. It reminds us why he was truly the best of his craft.

17. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix

Phoenix dominated the summer. An album full of fun tracks that are addicting and danceable comprise this breakthrough album from the veteran, French band. An album that defined the "indie dance-pop" obsession circa summer 2009.

16. Solar Life Raft - DJ/ Rupture

Similar to Rupture's '08 release, Uproot, Life Raft does a similar job on using the formulas and techniques that made that '08 gem so appealing. Dub step mixed with house, jungle beat and industrial move this unique hip hop/ beat album. Not quite the same tone as his previous album, but a good direction nonetheless.

15. Childish Prodigy - Kurt Vile

CP was a great album that defined my autumn. Great singer-songwriter stuff here with somber and melancholic tones. Beautiful lyrics and wonderful instrumentals. Perhaps not the best album for raising spirits, but definitely a great one for a reflective mood. "Overnite Religion" and "Blackberry Songs" are my top recommendations.

14. Eskimo Snow - Why?

Recorded during the Alopecia sessions, ES maintains the lyrical quirkiness but loses its hip hop edge. They substitute the classic hip hop beat song structure with manic percussion, through the form of glockenspiel or xylophone. Yoni Wolf continues to flex his literary talents, as his lyrics are chilling and whimsical all at the same time. True, it is no Alopecia, but then again, I don't think it's trying to be.

13. Tarot Sport - Fuck Buttons

Every preconceived "weird" band became a little more pop-sensical in 2009, and never has electro-noise group Fuck Buttons ever been more appealing. Tarot Sport is hard to listen to when not in the mindset to truly absorb the sound - that is what makes this album special. With the increase in technology and the increase in what sounds music now encompass, it is interesting to see band like Fuck Buttons at the brim of advancement, illustrating, through music, a futuristic and dreamy vision.

12. Songs of Shame - Woods

This album reminded me a lot of the 1960's. It also reminded me of smoking pot and going on a hike through the mountains, reflecting on what nature provokes in the human emotion, and how simple acoustic music can cut so deep. Woods gets quiet and somber on this album, while also showing they can perform freak-out acid rock breakdowns (see: "September With Pete). A solid album from a band with lots of potential.

11. Here We Go Magic - Here We Go Magic

A mix between tribal, lo-fi, experimental, and folk is what makes up the sound of this 4-piece, Brooklyn based group. Whispery vocals over reverbed out acoustic guitars, arpeggiating synth lines and other washed out sounds. A mix of the Books and early AnCo.

10. Embryonic - Flaming Lips

Perhaps the trippiest album to come out this year from a well-known name (yes, I will put this against the trippiness of Merriweather). To me, it sounds like our generation's Dark Side of the Moon, which seems fitting, due to the fact that the Flaming Lips plan to release a Dark Side cover album by next year. Seriously though, these guys have developed a fine legacy for their musicianship, and Embryonic expanses their catalogue while keeping the nuances that makes the Lips so enjoyable in the first place.

09. Gather, Form, & Fly - Megafaun

Before this release, Megafaun was known as the creators of a small EP released last year, and also as the back-up band for Justin Vernon a while back. They certainly make a name for themselves on this release. GF&F is freak-folk but with a more southern attitude. "Worried Mind" would remind you of Akron/ Family circa Love is Simple, but tracks like "Darkest Hour" may even out-space "Ed is a Portal". A great, great album which I thought was overlooked for the most part this year.

08. Post-Nothing - Japandroids

Who knew a two-man garage/ fuzz punk group could sound so full? An album full of great distorted pop, exemplifying the angst of teenage life and the impulsive aspects of young-aged love. Apparently, these two young Canadians are amazing live, though I am yet to see for myself. "Crazy/ Forever" is an epic ballad with a heavy breakdown, and "Young Hearts Spark Fire" will get stuck in your head for days.

07. Logos/ Rough Trade EP - Atlas Sound

A bit poppier than his '08 release, Logos remains peculiarly noisy and listenable at the same time. "Sheila" is an instant indie-rock classic, and "Walkabout" and "Quick Canal" show how frontman Bradford Cox can collaborate wonderfully with other great musicians to enhance his own sound. The EP, which contains B-sides and alternate recordings of songs from Logos stands great by itself as well.

06. Real Estate - Real Estate

By the far, the best album to simply chill out to this year. Beautiful guitar counter harmonies, and washed out vocals. Also, these guys prove how relevant the phaser effect can still be. Songs like "Fake Blues" or "Suburban Beverage" are like drugs in music form. It's hard to not listen to this album on repeat.

05. Bitte Orca - Dirty Projectors

Again, another "more listenable" album from an artist this year. I love the DP formula: ecstatic vocals from Dave Longstreth with three chicks doing R&B like harmonies over it. Throw in some legit guitar work and some catchy melodies and you'll know why Bitte Orca appeared on just about every "End of the Year" list.

04. Help - Thee Oh Sees

An energized rock n' roll album that is reminiscent of 60s garage pop psychedelia. All the songs on this album are catchy, and the capture such a raw energy with a contrasting hazy tone. This is my favorite drug album from this year, and by listening to "Ruby Go Home" once, you'll probably understand why.

03. Bromst - Dan Deacon

The more and more I listened to this album, the more I realized how utterly perfect it was. Songs like "Snookered" and "Of the Mountains" are straight up epic build-ups. His stereotypical zaniness is kept with tracks like "Woof Woof" and the hard-to-listen-to, but complete soundscape masterpiece "Wet Wings". The dynamics, vocal melodies, effect choices -- that's what make this album one of the best of the year.

02. Veckatimest - Grizzly Bear

My number one and two from this year's list are pretty much interchangeable. It really depends on the day of the week, my mood, etc. But what makes Veckitimest so great, and what makes it a complete masterpiece is how well the songs stand individually and how well they fit together. Ed Droste's voice has never sounded better, and peeping how well these guys can pull off these songs live (shit, sometimes they even sound better live), it is a true example of how the music is greater than the band itself. "Two Weeks" is amazing, but you probably already knew that. Subtler tracks like "Cheerleader" or "Ready, Able" carry the album through its end, leaving you chills as "Foreground" hits its last few chords. A beautiful, beautiful album.

01. Merriweather Post Pavilion - Animal Collective

Everything that could be said about this album has already been said, chewed up, spit out. This album has been loved, hated, hated than loved, loved than hated. What makes it number one for me is how often you can revisit it and become so quickly entranced in it, just like the first time you heard it. If you were to shed all the bullshit, all the hype, and listened to this album with just the album in mind, it truly makes for the best album of the year.

I woke up New Year's Day to find that this album had been leaked. It literally was the first album I listened to in 2009. What makes this album special is how it remained my favorite, 12 months later, and with myself grown into a different person. This album has grown with me, and on me. It's like an old friend that will keep your ears company just about whenever you ask it to.

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