Dec
27

2009: End Of The Year Lists – Dave C.

By Dave C.  //  Editorials  //  No Comments

End Of The Year 2009

Dave C.:

Top 20 Albums Of 2009:

20. Maria Taylor – Ladyluck
The second solo album from Azure Ray’s Maria Taylor is some of the best music she has ever created. This album features a diverse and flowing string section and beautifully tragic poetry that is incredibly easy to relate to. I found inspiration in this album during a tough time this year.

19. Punch – Punch
This female-fronted feminist band combines blast beats with ‘80s hardcore.  The result is some of the most intense, pissed off, and intelligent music that I have heard in years. I wish I could loop it on my record player, because I could listen to this endlessly.  Also check out the Eyeless EP that came out this year as well.

18. The Swellers – Ups And Downsizing
When I heard this band got signed to Fueled By Ramon, I was afraid that they would join the ranks of other pop garbage on the label. It is no secret that they are heavily influenced by No Use For A Name, and this record is actually better than the last three No Use albums combined.

17. Wye Oak – The Knot
The sophomore album from this Baltimore duo really grew on me this year. Their modern brand of indie / folk is better than anything else going on in either genre at the moment. I would compare them to the Microphones and Azure Ray , but they really have their own sound.  I think I listened to “For Prayer” more than any other song this year. I was shocked that the press ignored this album, because it could have been a mainstream success.

16. Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Agorapocalypse
This is another band that completely reinvented themselves this year.  I was so surprised when I heard that the songs that are longer than 5 seconds and are actually structured like music! Don’t get me wrong, I love all their old stuff, but this album is the pinnacle of their career. The programmed drums are unlike anything I’ve heard before and apparently took Scott Hull over a year to complete.

15. The Sidekicks – Weight Of Air
Ohio’s The Sidekicks reinvented their sound and created one of the most refreshing punk records I have heard in years. I know it sounds like an unlikely mix, but I’d say it’s like The Replacements meets The Promise Ring, with elements of Young Pioneers. I can’t recommend this enough, whether you listen to punk or not.

14. Parasites – Solitary
Parasites got back together this year and released their first album in a decade. Other than the Descendents album in ’06 there hasn’t been anything else like it this decade. These guys are one of the best relatively unknown punk bands  of the ‘90s, and anyone who liked The Descendents will love them. These songs will be stuck in your head for months, they are very poppy and just perfect.

13. Obits – I Blame You
Rick Froburg from Hot Snakes / Drive Like Jehu has filled the void that was left when Hot Snakes broke up. Obits picks up where he left off with this infectious mix of ’60s garage rock and Fugazi. This album will never get old.
………

12. Shook Ones – The Unquotable A.M.H.
This Seatle punk band has grown a lot since their 2005 debut, Sixteen. They have gone from being influenced by Lifetime to creating their own sound that will resonate for years and in the end leave them ranked alongside their heroes.  It doesn’t get more fun and catchy than this.

11. City Of Ships – Look What God Did To Us
After witnessing their 2007 tour with Rosetta, I knew that the first full length from this band would be amazing. This album goes beyond any expectations I had for them. It’s not often that a postrock band dares to have a vocalist, and in this case the vocals really set them apart and above the others. The progressions on this album are also very heavy and would get anyone’s heart racing.

10. Crippled Black Phoenix – 200 Tons Of Bad Luck
This band consisting of members of Mogwai and Electric Wizard made one of the most original and mind-blowing records this year that barely anyone heard. Their sound is a combination of cinematic postrock similar to Godspeed and the psychedelic rock of the ’60s, seething with dark and sludgy undertones. It is disturbing, beautiful and unlike anything else.

9. Converge – Axe To Fall
Converge is one of the few bands that constantly evolves with each album. The latest step in their evolution has taken them into the realm of sludge metal. Notable guest appearances from Cave In’s Stephen Brodsky and Steve Von Till from Neurosis help make this a standout album for hardcore as well as metal.

8. Lighten Up! – Absolutely Not
From what I heard about these guys I thought they would just be another Kid Dynamite ripoff band, but they are so much more. This record is 18 minutes of melodic hardcore / punk that has found the perfect  balance between anger and fun. I would even compare them to 7 Seconds for their sing-a-longs and the generally uplifting feel to their music.

7. Jesu – Opiate Sun
Justin Broaderick’s latest stoner shoegaze / metal masterpiece might be his best offering amongst a hefty catalogue of releases. Overall it’s not as heavy as 2007′s Lifeline, and this allows him to appeal to a broader audience. He even incorporates some doom elements on this record, making his sound even more impossible to define and entirely his own.

6. Dinosaur Jr. – Farm
It’s no surprise that Dinosaur Jr. released one of the best records of the year. They have barely changed in a quarter of a century, yet their music always remains relevant and keeps getting better. That’s because truly honest and heartfelt rock is timeless. I hope they stick around for many years to come.

5. Krallice – Dimensional Bleedthrough
This record is absolutely hypnotizing.  Mick Barr from Orthrelm and Colin Marston from Dysrhythmia create some of the most complex and intense progressive black metal ever envisioned.
………

4. Heartsounds – Until We Surrender
Until We Surrender is the most inspiring skate punk record of the decade, both lyrically and musically. The band consists of Ben Murray and Laura Nichol from Light This City sharing vocals, with Murray recording all the drums, bass and lead guitar. I hope they get a touring band together, because this would be amazing live.

3. Russian Circles – Geneva
Chicago’s Russian Circles started as a more riff-oriented version of Pelican. With Geneva they have surpassed all of their influences to create the best postrock and postmetal album of the year. I saw them recently, and despite being a three-piece, they also put on a better live show than almost any of their predecessors.

2. Tim Hecker – An Imaginary Country
Tim Hecker is an absolute genius, and he takes drone to an art form that is almost comparable to classical. Each song starts off with a single drone that is meticulously layered to create a sound that conveys an incredible amount of passion. Imaginary Country is a very soothing record that could suck anyone into this genre that is often ignored for being hard to listen to.

1. Banner Pilot – Collapser
Minneapolis’ Banner Pilot carries on the tradition of bands such as The Lawrence Arms and Jawbreaker.  Brutally honest and poetic lyrics uttered through gruff vocals and set to gritty upbeat punk rock. The lyrics read like a book, and every song is near perfect. There’s no doubt in a decade from now this record will be considered a classic.

Top 5 Comebacks:

1. The Jesus Lizard
One of  my favorite stoner bands of the ‘90s has come back in full force in 2009 touring all of North America and Europe with and expanded, remastered version of their four best albums: Down, Goat, Head and Liar.

2. Jawbox
This classic band made a comeback this year after being broken up for a decade. They also rereleased For Your Own Special Sweetheart, one of the true classics of ‘90s rock. They also played a few shows in the states.

3. Sunny Day Real Estate
Another classic indie band that defined a generation of music got back together in 2009. They also released remasters of their infinitely influential albums Diary and LP2 and played a series of shows in New York.

4. Swervedriver
Not many people even knew them when they were around, but this has always been one of my favorite rock bands.  I would rank alongside Dinosaur Jr. and The Replacements, but they also were part of the shoegaze scene in the early ‘90s. They played a series of reunion shows this year, released a 7” of new songs and announced that they are recording a full length. They also released remasters of their incredible 1991 debut, Raise and sophomore album Mezcal Head.

5. Small Brown Bike
One of the most original and loved punk rock bands, Small Brown Bike got back together this year. They originally broke up in 2003. They played No Idea’s The Fest and a series of reunion shows in Chicago this fall. They also released a new 7” and they start recording a full length in 2010. Expect that to be in my list of next year’s best records.

Top albums of 2009 sorted by genre:

There were so many incredible albums in 2009 that I could not just leave it at a top 20. Here are all the other albums I loved this year sorted by each rock genre. I know it was hard to keep up with all the music this year, so this should be helpful for anyone who wants to catch up.

Postrock:
Blueneck – The Fallen Host
Caspian – Tertia
Castavet – Summer Fences
City Of Ships – Look What God Did To Us
Codes In The Clouds – Paper Canyon
Constants – The Foundation, The Machine, The Ascension
Fin Fang Foom – Monomyth
From Monument To Masses – On Little Known Frequencies
Kwoon – When The Flowers Were Singing
Like Bells – Like Bells
Lymbyc Systym – Shutter Release
Maserati – Passages
Mono – Hymn To The Immortal Wind
Neil On Impression – Loceano Delle Onde Che Restano Onde Per Sempre
The Appleseed Cast – Sagarmatha
The Mercury Program – Chez Viking

Postmetal:
Amenra – Afterlife
Black Math Horseman – Wyllt
Bosque – Passage
Dysrhythmia – Psychic Maps
Fog In The Shell – Private South
Irepress – Sol Eye Sea I
Keelhaul – Keelhaul’s Triumphant Return to Obscurity
Kongh – Shadows Of The Shapeless
Minsk – With Echoes In The Movement Of Stone
Pelican – What We All Come To Need
Russian Circles – Geneva
Serpent Throne – The Battle Of Old Crow
Tomydeepestego – Chronophage

Drone/Doom:
Aidan Baker/Thisquietarmy – A Picture Of A Picture
Arms And Sleepers – Matador
Chord – Flora
Gravetemple – Le Vampire De Paris
Jasper TX – Singing Stones
Jim O’Rourke – The Visitor
Mountains – Choral
Nadja And Black Boned Angel – Nadja And Black Boned Angel
Sunn O))) – Monoliths And Dimensions
Sylvester Anfang – Silvester Anfang II
Tim Hecker – An Imaginary Country
Zombi – Spirit Animal

Stoner Metal:
16 – Bridges to Burn
Baroness – Blue Record
Battlefields – Thresholds Of Imbalance
Big Business – Mind The Drift
Bloody Panda – Summon
Buried Inside – Spoils Of Failure
Culted – Beyond The Thunders Of The Upper Deep
Dark Castle – Spirited Migration
Devil’s Blood – The Time Of No Time Evermore
Gnaw – This Face
Heirs – Alchera
Kowloon Walled City – Gambling On The Richter Scale
Moss – Tombs Of The Blind Drugged
Mournful Congregation – The June Frost
Saviours – Accelerated Living
Struck By Lightning – Serpents
Zoroaster – Voice Of Saturn

Psychedelic:
A Place To Bury Strangers – Exploding Head
Astra – The Weirding
Bardo Pond – Peri
Crippled Black Phoenix – 200 Tons Of Bad Luck
Giant Squid – The Ichthyologist
Harvestman – In A Dark Tongue
Lightning Bolt – Earthly Delights
Om – God Is Good
Stinking Lizaveta – Sacrifice And Bliss
The Entrance Band – The Entrance Band
Wooden Shjips – Dos
Woods – Songs Of Shame

Hardcore:
Agoraphobic Nosebleed – Agorapocalypse
Blacklisted – No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me
Cave In – Planets Of Old
Coalesce – Ox
Converge – Axe To Fall
Graf Orlock – Destination Time Today
Iron Age – The Sleeping Eye
Lewd Acts – Black Eye Blues
Lighten Up! – Absolutely Not
Municipal Waste – Massive Aggressive
No Friends – No Friends
Outbreak – Outbreak
Paint It Black – Surrender
Pissed Jeans – King Of Jeans
Punch – Punch
Strike Anywhere – Iron Front
The Helm – Home
Trapped Under Ice – Secrets Of The World
Weekend Nachos – Unforgivable

Punk:
88 Fingers Louie – Lives
After The Fall – Fort Orange
Anchors For Arms – Remember Why You Came This Far
Atlas Losing Grip – Watching The Horizon
Explode and Make Up – Explode And Make Up
Half Hearted Hero – Defining Refining
Heartsounds – Until We Surrender
Nations Afire – The Uprising
Passenger Action – Passenger Action
Propagandhi – Supporting Caste
Protagonist – The Chronicle
Pulley – Time Insensitive Material
Rehasher – High Speed Access To My Brain
The Swellers – Ups And Downsizing
This Is A Standoff – Be Disappointed

Punk Rock:
Banner Pilot – Collapser
Ben Weasel – These Ones Are Bitter
Cloak/Dagger – Lost Art
Dear Landlord – Dream Homes
Jetty Boys – Sheboygan
House Boat – The Delaware Octopus
Iron Chic – Shitty Rambo
Noise By Numbers – Yeah, Whatever
North Lincoln – Midwestern Blood
Nothington – Roads, Bridges and Ruins
Parasites – Solitary
Polar Bear Club – Chasing Hamburg
RVIVR – Life Moves
Shook Ones – The Unquotable A.M.H.
The Lawrence Arms – Buttsweat And Tears
The Riptides – Tales From Planet Earth
The Sidekicks – Weight Of Air

Pop Punk:
A Day To Remember – Homesick
Acres Of Lions – Working
Broadway Calls – Good Views, Bad News
Farewell – Run It Up The Flagpole
Me Vs. Hero – This One’s For Our Friend
Set Your Goals – This Will Be The Death Of Us
Such Gold – Stand Tall
The Dangerous Summer – Reach For The Sun
The Wonder Years / All Or Nothing – Split
The Years Gone By – Something You Know Nothing About
There For Tomorrow – A Little Faster
This Time Next Year – Road Maps And Heart Attacks
Title Fight – The Last Thing You Forget
Transit – Stay Home

Rock:
Bob Mould – Life And Times
Chuck Ragan – Gold Country
Dinosaur Jr. – Farm
Frank Turner – Poetry Of The Deed
Jon Snodgrass – Visitor’s Band
Obits – I Blame You
Priestess – Prior To The Fire
Sights And Sounds – Monolith
Silversun Pickups – Swoon
The Thermals – Now We Can See
Tom Waits – Glitter And Doom
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!

Indie:
Built To Spill – There Is No Enemy
David Bazan – Curse Your Branches
Dog Day – Concentration
Felix – You Are The One I Pick
Golden City – Golden City
Health – Get Color
Joan Of Arc – Flowers
Maria Taylor – Ladyluck
Molina & Johnson – Molina & Johnson
Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
Old Canes – Feral Harmonic
Owen – New Leaves
Telekinesis – Telekinesis
Wye Oak – The Knot
Vic Chestnutt – At The Cut

Black Metal:
Belphegor – Walpurgis Rites: Hexenwahn
Bergraven – Till Makabert Vasen
Drudkh – Microcosmos
Krallice – Dimensional Bleedthrough
Liturgy – Renihilation
L’Acephale – Malefeasance
Lord Mantis – Spwaning The Nephilim
Nihil – Krach
Samael – Above
Saros – Acrid Plains
Wolves In The Throne Room – Black Cascade

Death Metal:
Antigama – Warning
Brutal Truth – Evolution Through Revolution
Cattle Decapitation – The Harvest Floor
Cripple Bastards – Age Of Vandalism
Dying Fetus – Descend Into Depravity
Goatwhore – Carving Out The Eyes Of God
Impetuous Ritual – Relentless Execution Of Ceremonial Excrescence
Mammoth Grinder – Extinction Of Humanity
Obscura – Cosmogensis
Portal – Swarth
Skeletonwitch – Breathing The Fire

Ska:
Bomb The Music Industry – Scrambles
Chase Long Beach – Gravity Is What You Make It
RX Bandits – Mandala
The Aggrolites – IV
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Pin Points And Gin Joints
The Snips – Blackouts
The Upgrades – Take A Risk
We Are The Union – The Gun Show Must Go On
Westbound Train – Come And Get It

Emo:
Battle Of Wolf 359 – The Death Of Affect
Comadre – A Wolf Ticket
Daïtro – Y
Drowning With Our Anchors – You Can Never Go Home Again
Elder – Reflect
Kaospilot – Shadows
Kidcrash – Snacks
Loma Prieta – Dark Mountain
Loom – Selva Molhada
Raein – Ogni Nuovo Inzio
What Price, Wonderland? – It Is True, It Is Shakey

Best Reissues/Remasters:
Amon Amarth -  Once Sent From The Golden Hall, The Avenger, The Crusher, Versus The World
Fridge – Early Output  (1996-1998)
Jawbox – For Your Own Special Sweetheart
King Crimson – Red, Lizard, In The Court Of King Crimson
Nirvana – Bleach
Sunny Day Real Estate – Diary, LP2
Swervedriver – Mescal Head, Raise
The Blood Brothers – Burn, Piano Island, Burn, Crimes, Young Machetes
The Jesus Lizard – Down, Goat, Head, Liar
Venom – Black Metal

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