06 April 2010

My Top Albums of 2009 (a little late, though...)

Between teaching, coaching middle school girls volleyball (Go Rockets!), St. Patrick's Day/The Second Annual Legend's Charity Breakfast, and a new, special lady friend (special both mentally and in my heart), the first quarter of my 2010 has been jam-packed. I'm going to keep this a lot shorter than normal because I want to catch the end of the Penguino's game, plut I'm going to see Black Rebel Motorcycle Club tomorrow and want to get a full night's rest before I rock out (getting old-rocking out past my bedtime takes effort).

This is going to look barbaric...

My Top Albums of 2009


5. Heartless Bastards The Mountain
Released 3 February 2009 (Fat Possum)



My musical kick over the last few years has been a lot like Walter Sobchak's ringer in The Big Lebowski: dirty laundry. No, my music hasn't been clean and fresh; it's been filthy. I need distortion, fuzzy guitars, loud drums, and a frontman (or in the case of Hearless Bastards...a frontwoman) who can belt-it-out.

Key Tracks: "The Mountain," "Hold Your Head High," and "Out at Sea"





4. Pearl Jam Backspacer
Released 22 September 2009 (Monkeywrench)



Took a huge gamble by self-releasing this album only through Target and independent record stores, but they have nothing to prove. A solid album, but comes nowhere close to 2006's self-titled effort. The overall tone of the album is cohesive, however, the quality of the songs as a whole is way off. Still, hats off to my boys for making music that is both much better than the music being released today, and for still bringing it twenty years into an amazing career.

Key Tracks: "The Fixer," "Johnny Guitar," and "Unthought Known"





3. The Avett Brothers I and Love and You
Released 29 September 2009 (Sony/American Recordings)



This album was one of those pieces of art that just finds you at the right (or wrong depending on how you look at it) time. Made me understand love a little bit better than I did before. "I and Love and You" is one of the most beautiful and heart-felt songs I've heard in a good number of years. The whole album is amazing; great indie-folk.

Key Tracks: "I and Love and You," "And It Spread," "Kick Drum Heart"





2. Wilco (The Album)
Released 30 June 2009 (Nonesuch Records)



Wilco can't fail. Umm, yeah...I don't think I can say it any better than they just can't fail. Or maybe they won't fail? I havn't decided on that one yet. Hmm. Whatever...you know your band is better than the rest when they release a song that rest-assures its listeners that the world will turn out just right because Wilco will be there in the end ("Wilco (The Song)"). This album didn't get a lot of press or attention (for a new Wilco release), but I think it's their best since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.

Key Tracks: "Wilco (The Song)," "You Never Know," "I'll Fight"





1. Manchester Orchestra Mean Everything to Nothing
Released 21 April 2009 (Favorite Gentlemen Records)



I saw these guys two weeks ago at Mr. Small's Theater in Millvale and they absolutely blew me away. So much raw energy and a genuine stage pressence/command of the crowd. And their music is so complex and full of life. And so dynamic. And meaningful. And-I'm-spent.

Oh, and much like Heartless Bastards, they had me at distortion.

Key Tracks: "The Only One," "Pride," "I Can Feel a Hot One"




Honorable Mentions



Chuck Ragan Gold Country
Released 1 September 2009 (Side One Dummy Records)
Key Track: "Done and Done"





Dinosaur Jr. Farm
Released 23 June 2009 (Jagjaguwar)
Key Track: "See You"




Fanfarlo Reservoir
Released 13 October 2009 (Wea/Atlantic)
Key Track: "Comets"




Neko Case Middle Cyclone
Released 3 March 2009 (Anti-)
Key Track: "This Tornado Loves You"




U2 No Line on the Horizon
Released 3 March 2009 (Interscope Records)
Key Track: "Unknown Caller"



Looking forward to 2010...

~Apples in Stereo Travellers in Space and Time 20 April 2010
~ Arcade Fire
~ Bad Religion
~ Band of Horses Infinite Arms 18 May 2010
~ Ben Harper and the Relentless 7
~ Black Keys Brothers 18 May 2010
~ Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Beat the Devil's Tattoo 9 March 2010
~ Broken Social Scene Forgiveness Rock Record 4 May 2010
~ Fleet Foxes
~ Interpol
~ Kaki King Junior 13 April 2010
~ Matt Pond PA The Dark Leaves 13 April 2010
~ LCD Soundsystem This is Happening 18 May 2010
~ MGMT Congratulations 13 April 2010
~ Minus the Bear Omni 4 May 2010
~ Murder by Death Good Morning, Magpie 6 April 2010
~ The National High Violet 11 May 2010
~ New Pornographers Together 4 May 2010
~ Of Montreal False Priest
~ Social Distortion
~ Stereophonics Keep Calm and Carry On 11 May 2010
~ Stone Temple Pilots self-titled 25 May 2010
~ Ted Leo + the Pharmacists Brutalists Bricks 9 March 2010
~ The Constellations Southern Gothic
~ The Gaslight Anthem American Slang 18 June 2010
~ Rogue Wave Permalight 2 March 2010
~ The Roots How I Got Over 8 June 2010
~ The Strokes
~ The Walkmen
~ Titus Andronicus Monitor 9 March 2010
~ Tokyo Police Club Champ 11 May 2010
~ Vampire Weekend Contra 12 January 2010