Albums of 2009

My best of 2009 originally sent out via email December 2009

Lists, lists, lists, lists……

A bit early, but as it’s not only the end of the year but the end of the decade, you’ll probably all soon be sick to death of such things as best albums/songs/celebs/tv series of the year/decade etc. etc. but of course the only one that matters is Rich’s 4th Annual Best Albums of the Year list, so keep reading!

Initially I was of the opinion that 2009 had been the best year for new music that I can remember, but on reflection it is more likely that I have listened to more new stuff this year than I ever have before! Through a combination of eMusic and Spotify it’s been much easier and cheaper to listen to loads of stuff I probably wouldn’t have investigated previously.

Due to this, I have not been able to trim my list down to the usual top ten, so this year will be a top twenty (pop pickers)! I have included Spotify links in brackets to the album in question where possible and I have knocked up a Best of 2009 Spotify playlist for those that either don’t have the time or inclination to plough through each album individually (part timers!) which is here; Best of 2009

If you don’t have Spotify you can download it for free, but it may now require an invite, if so do a search on Google and I’m sure you’ll find one. Otherwise just search for the band and they’re bound to have a Myspace that you can check out a couple of tracks from.

So, let’s crack on shall we? In reverse order;

20. The Mars Volta – Octahedron (The Mars Volta – Octahedron)
– Far more relaxed and accessible than last year’s “Bedlam in Goliath”, I believe they’re calling it their “acoustic” album!

19. …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – Century of Self (…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead – The Century Of Self)
– Was this 2009? Seems ages ago! Sixth album from the Texan rockers, this one back to form following the rather limp “So Divided”.

18. We Were Promised Jetpacks – These Four Walls (the album’s not on Spotify, but this single is; We Were Promised Jetpacks – Quiet Little Voices)
– Scottish indie rock in a very similar vein to Frightened Rabbit who, I’m sure you remember, did my favourite album of last year.

17. Dinosaur Jr – Farm (Dinosaur Jr. – Farm)
– Jay Mascis back with Lou Barlow produce their best album since “Where You Been”, IMHO.

16. Mew – No More Stories…. (Mew – No more stories Are told today I’m sorry They washed away No more stories The world is grey I’m tired Let’s wash away)
– Danish shoegazey rock, wins this year’s award for silliest album title! One of the best gigs of the year though!

15. The Longcut – Open Hearts (not on Spotify, myspace: The Longcut on MySpace Music – Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures …)
– Long awaited second album from this Manchester band (their debut “A Call and Response” was way back in 2005!)

14. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix)
– Infectious French indie-pop.

13. Engineers – Three Fact Fader (Engineers – Three Fact Fader)
– Another long awaited second album (self titled debut in 2005) they’ve developed a bit more of a rocky feel to the beautiful shoegaze-style harmonies of the first album, “Clean Coloured Wire” or “Hang Your Head” are two stand out tracks.

12. Grammatics – Grammatics (Grammatics – Grammatics)
– Audacious debut from this Leeds band, complex song structures with lead singer Owen Brinley’s almost operatic vocals laying over swooping strings and guitars. It took me a few listens but my patience was rewarded.

11. The Twilight Sad – Forget The Night Ahead (not on Spotify, myspace:www.myspace.com/thetwilightsad)
– Scottish indie noiseniks second, or should I say sophomore, album. No, on second thoughts I shouldn’t actually, horrible music journo term (I blame US music site Pitchfork)! Not quite up to the greatness of their debut but still extremely good.

10. Moderat – s/t (Moderat – Moderat)
– Catchy, dancey German electronica, very nice!

9. The Veils – Sun Gangs (The Veils – Sun Gangs)
– Songs with echoes of Nick Cave, Afghan Whigs and Arcade Fire amongst others. A real mixture of styles on this album, you never know what’s coming next, great stuff!

8. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – s/t (The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart)
– Despite the very emo name, these guys produce a lovely wash of shoegaze style pop/rock (3rd shoegaze on the list!).

7. I Concur – Able Archer (I Concur – Able Archer)
– Another Leeds band’s debut (I’m not biased honest, I’ve just seen these supporting various people recently!). One of their tracks, Sobotka, is about The Wire TV prog, so they’ve clearly got taste!

6. Silversun Pickups – Swoon (Silversun Pickups – Swoon)
– There are some serious TUUUNES on this, their second, album! One of the best is on the 2009 playlist ^ up there.

5. Mastodon – Crack The Skye (Mastodon – Crack The Skye)
– People may hate the “prog rock” tag but if you do tracks that are >8 minutes long, have more than one part and are about Rasputin, then, I’m sorry, you’re well into prog territory! This is no “Tales of Topographic Oceans” yawnfest though, riffs, guitar solos galore and insane drumming make this a great, great album!

4. Isis – Wavering Radiant (Isis – Wavering Radiant)
– This album was almost a shoe-in for best of the year, but it just goes to show how good the top three are that this is at no. 4! Fantastic, crushing heaviness from my favourite post-metal band! Definitely gets 5 out of 5 devil horns from me! \m/\m/\m/\m/\m/

3. And So I Watch You From Afar – s/t (And So I Watch You from Afar – And So I Watch You From Afar)
– InstruMENTAL rock from Belfast, impossible to sit still to, amazing live! With titles such as “Set Guitars To Kill”, “Tip of the Hat, Punch in the Face” and “Clench Fists, Grit Teeth, Go!”, you can tell they’re clearly not big on their slow ballads!

2. Future of the Left – Travels With Myself and Another (Future Of The Left – Travels With Myself And Another)
– Welsh three-piece, and another second album! I don’t know why I’ve only recently heard this lot, slapped wrist Rich, must try harder! Although this is at No 2, it’s pretty much a tie for best of the year, love this album!

1. Obits – I Blame You (not on Spotify (an utter travesty!) but they have their new single on there Obits – 7″ and their myspace is: http://www.myspace.com/obitsband)
– Rick Froberg (previously of Drive Like Jehu and Hot Snakes (that both featured John ‘Speedo’ Reis of Rocket From The Crypt)) and his new band stick to the formula of “keeping it simple”  and produce some incredibly catchy garage rock ‘n’ roll. Can’t say enough good things about this album, love it to death!

Honorable mentions also have to go to the following;

The Tupolev Ghost (mini LP) (The Tupolev Ghost – The Tupolev Ghost)
Crippled Black Phoenix – The Resurrectionist / Night Raider (Crippled Black Phoenix – 8 Songs)
Sonic Youth – The Eternal (Sonic Youth – The Eternal)
Fever Ray – Fever Ray (Fever Ray – Fever Ray)
Metric – Fantasies (Metric – Fantasies)
Maybeshewill – Sing The Word Hope In Four Part Harmony (Maybeshewill – Sing the Word Hope in Four Part Harmony)
Clutch – Strange Cousins From The West (Clutch – Strange Cousins From The West)
Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport (www.myspace.com/fuckbuttons)
That Fucking Tank – Tanknology (That Fucking Tank – Tanknology)
Redjetson – Other Arms (Redjetson – Other Arms)

Disappointments this year (they can’t all be winners) include;

Russian Circles – Geneva (loved their first two, this one’s quite boring)
Maps – Turning The Mind (his first was an excellent slice of shoegazey dreamy tunes, but this is a pretty turgid affair)
Muse – The Resistance (sorry Michelle!)
The Decemberists – Hazards of Love (rather forgettable, a shame as their previous two were great!)
Anthony & The Johnsons – The Crying Light (to be fair I need to give this more listens, but I wasn’t that impressed)

Finally, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin (you remember them!) released a live CD/DVD to celebrate 21 years as a band this month (called Re:United), and I almost put it on the list, but as it’s not really in any way new I don’t feel it belongs up there but it has to be mentioned if only for the fact that mine and Nic’s names are printed on the inside cover, fame at last!!

Right, I think it’s time to listen to lots of OLD stuff for a while now (like Ned’s for example!), before the glut of new stuff starts again!

Have a good music-filled Christmas and New Year guys! 🙂

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  1. #1 by Kuz on December 17, 2010 - 8:09 am

    I was just trawling through some of your old posts and found this. Can’t believe you like the Neds! I loved and still love them. I was in a teenage band that had two bassists, oh the memories. I don’t meet many people now who even remember them apart from my old friends from those days…

    This is a nice list too and I listened to lots of this into 2010: Fever Ray, Metric, ASIWYFA, That Fucking Tank, Crippled Black Phoenix and Russian Circles (which I liked).

    • #2 by MostlyArmless on December 18, 2010 - 10:46 am

      Oh yes, gotta love Ned’s!! God Fodder would be in my top ten all time albums I reckon, I never got to see them live at the time but managed to catch them at the Sheffield Boardwalk in 2004 and it was possibly the best gig I’ve ever been to, right up there with Rocket From The Crypt in 1995!

      Thanks for the comments, I need to revisit “Geneva”, I think at the time I wasn’t taken with the slower tempo than either “Enter” or “Station”, I will give it spin today.

  2. #3 by Kuz on January 6, 2011 - 4:02 pm

    God Fodder would be in my top 10 too! Love that record. I saw them at least once back in the day, around 1994 in Wolverhampton. Cracking gig – Grey Cells Green took the roof off. The best thing was that while there was the obligatory mosh up the front, there were plenty of fried people just grooving happily at the back.

    Hope you enjoyed Geneva. It’s funny, that was the first record I heard and so am less fond of the older records as the sound isn’t quite the same.

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