Dic 10 2009, 8:57
10. Brand New - Daisy
I was never the biggest Brand New fan growing up, I'll admit that. I hated Your Favorite Weapon the first time I heard it and I only liked a handful of tracks off Deja. When I actually gave Devil and God a first listen in the fall of 2007, I fell in love with it. I was eagerly waiting to hear the follow up to that and Daisy really caught me off guard. There is something wrong with Jesse Lacey and we can hear his mindframe cracking in Daisy. This album probably had one of the coolest introductions to the first track I've heard in a long ass time. Lacey's yell and scream might have caught some old fans off guard and I know a lot of people that really dislike this album..but what I like about Brand New is they're not getting stuck in their genre like their peers and their experimental nature actually comes across succeeding instead of so many others.
9. The Paper Chase - Someday This Could All Be Yours, Part One
The Paper Chase are a scary band. They do experimental jangle indie pop (can you believe there is such a thing?) better than most and this album builds on the strength of that. Only the Paper Chase could pull off a concept album about a natural disaster and pull it off with such intensity and wit as they do. Seriously, this album was recorded before the swine flu outbreak and they're pretty much narrating the world's fear about it in tracks like "the Common Cold". I saw them at the Firebird this past July and while I thought the mixing was a little off and the show could've been a little bit longer, I was blown away by the musicianship these guys have. Apparently, the sequel to this concept record is coming next year...
8. Yo La Tengo - Popular Songs
Yo La Tengo have been codenamed the "essential critic's band". In my opinion, they are one of the last bands of that age who can pull off jumping from genre to genre and not look like a bunch of old timers not wanting to give it up. The first time I heard the single "Here to Fall" over the summer, I was surprised at how trippy and James Bond like it sounded. Yo La Tengo are smart and cunning musicians, the albums they produce feel like motion pictures to me as each track offers a completely different piece of scenery each time you listen to it. I feel they are at their best though with those awesome 90s indie rock tracks like "Nothing to Hide".
7. Tegan and Sara - Sainthood
I have to give props where props are due. Daniel Madrigal showed me Tegan and Sara my senior year in high school with So Jealous and I really wasn't sure what to think of it the first time I heard it. It was a complete guilty pleasure for me. When they started to become a little bit popular I gave their 2007 album the Con a listen and I wasn't impressed and at that point had written Tegan and Sara off completely. Once again, Dan told me Sainthood was a record I was going to get hooked on and he couldn't have been more right. There is such an emotional anguish to this record that it's hard to explain, if Tegan and Sara wanted to do a less noisy Pinkerton but full of the awkward relationship abdonement found in that album..it would be Sainthood. The production on this album is really fantastic too, tracks like "Hell", "The Cure" and "Northshore" will have you bobbing your head to the beat but could also make you realize how much your life hasn't been completely what you wanted it to be.
6. Kings of Convenience - Declaration of Dependence
I'm going to be an idiot and say the first time I heard Kings of Convenience it reminded me the first time I heard Iron & Wine. The gentle voice and soothing acoustic guitars really drew me in, of course these are two completely different acts with Sam Beam growing up near alligators down in Florida and the Kings boys being from Norway. Either way, Iron & Wine has become almost a parody of what I enjoying about them and KOC have blown me away with this new record. It is a wonderful, relaxing record and the harmonies constantly leave me speechless. It is the perfect record to just relax in bed to. I was also quite impressed by how good of lyricists these two guys are. I recommend you go listen to "Me in You" right now...seriously, do it.
5. Noah and the Whale - The First Days of Spring
Noah and the Whale's debut was a great record full of adorable twee pop that made you just want to get up and dance about how great your life was. The first time I heard I felt exactly how the record sounded. Enter seven months later and the follow up to their 2008 debut is the most emotionally gripping record about the end of a relationship and the difficulty of getting yourself back these 22 year old ears have ever heard. The lead singer Charlie Fink and band member Laura Marling's relationship ended sometime before recording for this album had started so this is basically a concept album about their relationship ended. Before you judge the album just on that alone, listening to it will blow you away as they ditched a lot of the happy happy twee sound for an incredible and beautiful Sigur Ros maturity. I've also never heard an album where the lyrics are pretty much summarzing me as an individual at that moment. It's heartbreaking and soul devastating...but that's life and there's nothing better to listen to during that timeframe.
4. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
At War With the Mystics, the Lip's 2006 album, was such a huge dissapointment for me I was ready to close the book on the Flaming Lips all together. Which was a shame as Yoshimi is my second favorite album of all time. After seeing their feature film Christmas on Mars and that ended up being shit..I thought it was almost time to the fearless freaks to close the book and call it quits. I couldn't have been more wrong the first time I heard "Silver Trembling Hands" over the summer. Everything about this album from the length, the sound texture and atmosphere to even the freakishly creepy album cover has sparked new life into this band. The album is full of glithy, staticy krautrock and for a band that always seemed to talk about the wonders of life and quite optimistic, this is quite a departure from the past couple of albums we've heard from them in a decade. This harks back to some of the earlier freak-out experimentation of the early and mid 90s. It's quite a bleak record but the music is heavy and full of tremendous soundscapes. Welcome back boys.
3. Nurses - Apple's Acre
What a treat this record is. It's such a damn shame they had to cancel all the dates in their fall tour because these guys are really, really good. These Portland, Oregon guys have made a record that sounds completely homegrown on a farm and you can't seem to get enough of it. In no way, is this a hick-ish venture...there's something unexplainable about these guys and how they treat music overall. This is experimental pop music at it's best. For those that GET this sound, it's an essential record..I don't expet these guys to ever be on top 40 radio but the sounds these guys produce is so incredible and it was constantly on repeat the first time I heard it.
2. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Paviion
I'll be honest. I didn't care for this the first time I gave it a listen. Their 2007 album Strawberry Jam is such a strange album but was actually one of the most fun records to listen to as you experienced something new with each listen. Go figure, thats what happened after my second listen to MPP. Animal Collective is probably one of the coolest bands out there right now because everything they seem to do just works for them 100%. A friend of mine once said that if Shel Silverstien ever wanted to write lyrics for a band, it would be Animal Collective. He's completely right, they invoke so many strange visual images with each song but they are so well crafted it sucks you right in. The same thing can be said about the music, the first time I heard "Summertime Clothes" I couldn't believe such music existed. The whole album is incredible as a whole and they are constantly pushing themselves to do great and innovative things.
1. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Without a doubt, my favorite album of the year. Even with Two Weeks taking off, there's something magical about this band. They seem like they are everyone's favorite band these days from the guys in Radiohead to Trent Reznor to even Jay-Z..which is surprising because they have a sound that some could find quite damn boring to the casual or untrained music ear. They are a freak folk band that has influences from the Beach Boys to even some Jefferson Airpane. Their sound is so unique to them and it captures your attention which each lsten. I had the pleasure of being front row for their show at the Blue Note in Columbia back in October and I was blown away by how precise they were with their instruements. Edward Droste has the most epic and beautiful singing voice I've ever heard live. There's something truly special about this band as it's even hard to write about them..you just have to listen to it and experience it for yourselves.
Netherfriends - Calling You Out EP
Girls - Album
Cursive - Mama, I'm Swollen
Morrissey - Years of Refusal
Sonic Youth - The Eternal
David Bazan - Curse Your Branches
Built to Spill - There is No Enemy
Napalm Death - Time Waits for No Slave
dredg - The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion
Joan of Arc - Boo Human
Silversun Pickups - Swoon
The Middle East - The Recordings of the Middle East
Major Lazer - Guns Don't Kill People...Lazers Do
Atlas Sound - Logos
Sunn O))) - Monoliths and Dimensions
Worst Albums of the Year
Converge - Axe to Fall
Weezer - Raditude