I’m too tired and you’re too anxious. Let’s get this show on the road. I’ll drop some kind of ’09 wrap up speech in “The Best Albums of ’09 / The Top 15” which should be out soooon. In the meantime, nibble on these biscuits. And leave your comments! You guys have piped up louder than ever lately and I love hearing what Team TBE thinks. Cause if two brains are better than one, well than imagi…. ok, we get it, let’s do this!
Oh, and since ranking albums is for wieners (songs
NOTE: For the original TBE post on the artist just click the Artist – Album link. Word.
— Â BEST ALBUMS: HONORABLE MENTION Â —
Cassettes Won’t Listen – Into The Hillside / Besides being a personally big year for remixes I also fell pretty hard for some instrumental music, a type I usually snooze through. Cassettes Won’t Listen simply blindsided me with Into the Hillside and it has been my go to album for speed-limit-pushing introspective driving, countryside-watching train rides, or tea-swilling study sessions. Each song is so well crafted and shines through with it’s own vibe. I really can’t imagine how any vocals would improve these jams.
Dragonette – Okay Delore / I don’t know if there is a term for the opposite of “sophomore slump” but for the sake of this article I’m gonna go with “second album dances circles around the debut.” Kinda catchy, right? Dragonette blew away any expectations I had for this album. “Fixin’ To Thrill” hinted that they were on the right track but who knew that they were actually riding the express train, destination: Downtown Electro-popsville. Their are a few rough spots to be found but not enough to prevent me playing the whole album anytime I need to practice my teenage girl pogo dance.
Fanfarlo – Luna / This album went criminally under-listend by me this year and that’s my mistake for the getting the version with all the bonus tracks which lags on with 4 extra tracks. Reservoir proper is a truly a thing of beauty. Lush, poppy, sensitive, and fun in all the right places. Fanfarlo get a lot of Arcade Fire comparisons but in my book they beat those Canadians at their own game and my iTunes play count will back me up on it.
fun. – All The Pretty Girls / This one has grown on me really slowly but it is a testament to it’s greatness that it made this list and is still getting better with each listen. “All The Pretty Girls” gets me pretty hyped as I bob along and “The Gambler” has recently caught me as a one of the most beautifully sincere love songs of the year. I guess it’s finally time I got over my nostalgia for The Format. So I may be a late comer to the fun bandwagon but hey, in the words of fun themselves, at least I’m not as sad as I used to be!
Hockey – Learn To Lose / If you know then you know. These guys put on a live show will blow your socks off and then walk over to those socks and put them on it’s feet and dance on your sockless body. All the socked stomping doesn’t quite translate to the album but anyway, I am into anthems and sing alongs, and Mind Chaos is packed with tracks that have been sonically high fiving me for months now.
Kasabian – Fast Fuse / The third time is a charm. Kasabian blow their own back catalog out of the water with the help of Dan the Automator and an abandoned insane asylum. Having finally got on board with Kasabian I really don’t get why this album didn’t blow up outside the UK. What’s up? #1 is the UK isn’t enough to even get a mention on a few US blogs? West Ryder is like a superhero with it’s ominous force and chiseled physique all poured into that slightly goofy outfit and yet somehow pulling it off. And like any good hero, arriving to my ears just in the nick of time (Dec.) to make this list.
Kings of Convenience – Peacetime Resistance / Albums like Declaration Of Dependance are not for everyone. Heck, most of the time they are not for me, but when I am in the mood to let my heart rate slow down a bit this is just the kind of rhythm I like it to have. Quiet enough not to intrude on a study session or sexy date but with still enough groove that I can shake a hip or two if necessary. A truly beautiful album.
La Roux – Tigerlily / This album didn’t get as many listens by me as it should have. The downside to such a long and protracted hype as La Roux’s is that by the time the actual album drops you are sick of 1/2 of the songs, and in this case, sick of 1/2 the band. Elly’s incessant blathering about being such a ‘rebel’ got old fast so it’s a good thing that her album was as solid as those early tracks hinted that it could be. Bubblegum-electro with just enough bitter flavor to keep us holier-than-thou music people from calling her a sell out. It is also a testament to their craftsmanship that those early tracks still hold up so well.
Mariachi el Bronx – Slave Labor (NEW to TBE!) / This album is so solid that I listen to it the whole way through every time. No jumping around, no letting other songs pop in my head to distract me, just me an my So-Cal roots getting down to sweet music and occasionally getting nostalgic for Mexican food. I don’t doubt that their “better” mariachi music was released this year but this is the band I know, this is the album I heard, and this is the one I love. And from everything I have read The Bronx have treated mariachi culture with the utmost respect. The whole project gets perfect 10s from me, album cover included.
The Very Best – Nsokoto (NEW to TBE!) / Man I wish I knew what Esau is singing about in these jams. Honestly, most of the time I don’t even think about it, singing along like we do when we can’t remember the lyrics and just throwing noises out there. It’s moments like now when I have to consciously think about the music that make me wonder if he isn’t just ripping on whitey and rambling about his favorite fish n’ chips spot in London. Well fish or chips, these be some sweet honey dips! Oh come on, don’t worry what that means, just enjoy the music. It’s the business.
— BEST EPs Â —
Dinosaur Pile-Up – Cat Attack / The EPs below can thank this one for creating this category. I rocked this 5 song collection so hard I was gonna throw it in with the Best Albums list until I decided to take the opportunity to recognize some of the other solid EPs that came out in ’09. Â For me, listening to these guys is like discovering grungy ’90s guitar rock for the first time all over again. Only I am older. And wiser. And it’s sooooo much more refreshing in the midst of these synth-saturated times. I am pretty damn stoked for a full album release.
The King of Rocksprings – The Perfect Guy / No synths on this jam either. Just straight up rock with a bit of that ska flavor for nostalgia. A bit rough around the edges but that’s part of it’s charm. “Throwing Phones / Kicking Dogs” shows a whole different side to his sound and is still my slow jam of the past few months.
Millionyoung – Hammock / In a year dominated with glo-fi fuzz bands who couldn’t make one song I could get into, Millionyoung dropped a whole EP of them. But he still got no love. It’s a cold world. Millionyoung makes it just a little bit sunnier.
Sigmund Droid – Implied I / Damn, this EP just makes me want to get hot and sweaty in the pit! It’s like that bass is tuned to mosh! It’s so nice to hear dirty dance music that doesn’t have ‘electro’ anywhere in it’s description.
B.o.B. – Mr Bobby / OK, so it’s not an EP but the mixtape is basically hip-hop’s equivalent of the Extended Play and the same effect is achieved: it’s gets up peeps stoked and builds hype for a full album. Mission accomplished. Clocking in at 22 tracks this could have easily been pared down to a solid 11 track album but the fact that it wasn’t tells me Bobby Ray is on top of shit and we can expect good things. Only thing I’m worried about is major label meddling…