Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best of 2009

1. Pomegranates - Everybody, Come Outside!
From the first few seconds, it was clear that this was the album where Pomegranates went from promising to amazing.

2. Grant Hart - Hot Wax
Knowingly or not, Grant Hart went back and explored the influences that he poured into his work with Hüsker Dü. The results are astounding.

3. Rachel Taylor Brown - Susan Storm's Ugly Sister and Other Saints and Superheroes
Rachel Taylor Brown discusses righteousness, asceticism and joy in a way that goes straight to the soul.

4. Dead Weather - Horehound
How is it that Jack White can have move in so many artistic directions and never stumble? He and Alison Mossheart are a natural fit.

5. The Slits - Trapped Animal
Reunion albums are tricky at best, but the Slits return to form as if they'd never been away.

6. Shirock - Everything Burns
On the surface, this one might seem a little too much like a mix of U2, alt rock and emo. However, there is a love here that elevates the album from being good to being a blessing.

7. Paul McCartney - Good Evening New York City
McCartney has done some of his best post_Beatles work late in his career, but he's yet to release a live album that captures the energy and excitement of his current work as well as past classics...until now. The track selection is Beatle-heavy, but he mixes things up with fresh arrangements and newer songs that make this a really fantastic live release.

8. Admiral Browning - Magic Elixir
Without abandoning the essential slow, heaviness of stoner rock, Admiral Browning find a way to make it dynamic in a way that only the very best in the genre do.

9. Elvis Costello - Secret, Profane & Sugarcane
Elvis Costello has the unique ability to insert himself into any genre seamlessly while still maintaining his own very unique identity. Here, he works with distinctly American folk, country and bluegrass to make his best album in years.

10. Elin Palmer - Postcards
Few albums tell a story this well in the lyrics, but Elin Palmer does it with the music.

11. The Mars Volta - Octahedron
It's not TMV's best effort, but still makes the top ten. At very least, I really respect how they don't just do what's expected even if I would have loved another album in the vein of Amputechture and Bedlam in Goliath.

12. Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - What It Takes to Move Forward
Strange as it may seem, one of emo's best records came out just when you thought the genre was dead.

13. Girl in a Coma - Trio BC
Girl in a Coma draw on a much broader set of influences for their sophomore album and open up limitless possibilities.

14. Sepultura - A-Lex
Now Cavalera-less, Sepultura still show they have both bold artisitc goals and tons of energy.

15. Latin for Truth - We Are Sick of Not Having The Courage To Be Absolute Nobodies
These three songs have great melodies, wild rhythms and more heart that you hold onto.

16. The Cold Beat/Movers & Shakers split 7"
Two fine, organic punkish tunes from each band make for a nice EP. Movers & Shakers channel early Elvis Costello.

17. Incite - The Slaughter
Being fronted by Max Cavalera's stepson, Incite are inevitably forced into the daunting task of surviving Sepultura comparisons, but they perform admirably.

18. Tia Carrera - The Quintessential
This isn't quite as heavy as their past material, but Tia Carrera keeps just enough control of their psychedelic meanderings to keep the FDA from classifying the album as a controlled substance.

19. Carcrashlander - Where to Swim
How can an album be this stylistically diverse and yet so cohesive? Cory Gray once again finds a way. Amazing.

20. Rapid Cities - Machinery Saints
This is mathy post-hardcore played with such abandon that its source is more in the heart than the head.

21. The Reptilian - Boys' Life
Quirky and clever, The Reptilian's brand of post-hardcore makes no compromise in intensity.

22. JFA - To All Our Friends
While their name (Jody Foster's Army) might be lost on those too young to remember the Reagan years, their high-energy skate rock can still connect with any age.

23. Victor! Fix The Sun - Person Place or Thing
Victor! Fix the Sun takes post-punk to wider vistas as they explore genres near and far along the way.

24. Thieves and Liars - American Rock n Roll
Less bold artistically than their debut, Thieves and Liars' second offering is a more concise hard rock album that walks on the path of the righteous.

25. Brian Bond - Fire & Gold
Folk for punks? Punk for folkies? Either way, it's a fine record.

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Blogger Metal Mark said...

The Admiral Browning disc is amazing. I can't believe I let is it for like two weeks before playing it. My initial reasoning for delaying playing it was "they are from Maryland so they have to suck". I was wrong.

Normally you avoid being bit by the nostalgia bug, but do you really the new JFA live disc was one of the best of the year? It was good and I know you like them much more than I do, but one of the best of the year?

9:04 PM  
Blogger Ray Van Horn, Jr. said...

Whoops, at #11, Mars Volta actually missed your Top 10.

I should've added that Costello album to my non-metal album favorite awards at my joint...I remember that was very good

10:48 PM  

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