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Your Top Ten 2009 Albums - Page 3

post #31 of 43
Yeah, so I'm going to shamelessly repost something I wrote up elsewhere:

1. Mono - Hymn to the Immortal Wind | Post Rock/Noise | 4.25/5

I’m clearly biased here, but I just love this to bits. Sure besides the heavy classical influence this is pretty stock standard post rock, but in execution there’s just nothing done wrong. While this doesn’t push the genre anywhere new, it simply excels in its niche. Perhaps the biggest problem here is the production just doesn’t cut it for an ensemble of this size, and needs to be far more discerning. Standout tracks here are Burial at Sea, Ashes in the Snow and Everlasting Light.

2. Thy Catafalque - Róka Hasa Rádió | Avante Garde/Electronic/Black Metal/Folk) | 4.25/5

Took me a while to get into it, but there's something ineffeably awe inspiring about this album by some Hungarian band I'd never heard of before. Maybe it's the way it transcends genres and is impossible to pin down. Perhaps it's the way it wavers between an extremely soothing concoction of folk and electronica, and pretty ****ing dense metal and jumps in abruptly hilarious fashion between the two. Regardless it just has an inexpicably sublime, ecclectic vibe to it. As far as weakenesses go, since this album focusses on weaving atmosphere there are clear moments where it drags, oddly enough not on the 19 minute Molekuláris gépezetek which also just happens to be the stand out track.

3. Manchester Orchestra - Everything to Nothing | Indie Rock | 4/5

I think everything and more has already been said about this album, but a couple of things make it stand out for me. Dynamism, particularly. What annoys me about most indie is the songs are structured predictably and they don't ****ing go anywhere. Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, rinse, repeat. While this album doesn't revolutionise indie, it encompasses enough melodic nooks and subtelties to make itself distinctive. Vocals break out in bouts of agressive, heartfelt, belched intensity then collapse into disconsolate, subdued murmurs. Like a good book, melodies do not need to be conveyed chronologically to be affecting and coherent, and the album benefits this layering and added complexity. Standout tracks include Everything to Nothing and The River.

4. Shpongle - Ineffable Mysteries from Shpongleland | Psybient/Psytrance (that's what RYM said ...) | 4/5

I have no clue how to review this. It's good, just listen to it.

5. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More | Indie Folk | 4/5

Pretty cookie-cutter folk, but done really well. Perhaps the biggest boon is the handful of instruments every band member is capable of playing, everything from accordians to organs to double bass which gives the impression of a band much larger than a quartet. Songs all follow a fairly predictable, quiet intro, hoedown build up, chastened outro, but it sells itself on how convincingly it's done and the climatical technical complexity you don't often get on comparable folk like Damien Rice. Songs like I Gave You All, Little Lion Man and Thistle & Weeds, are all particular stand-outs. Plus it has banjos! That's right, banjos! Need I say more?

6. Rx Bandits - Mandala | Progressive Rock/Pop Rock/Reggae | 4/5

To sum up, a bunch of incredibly layered and technically proficient jazzy guitar jam session soundscapes, almost quite to the point where each song lacks anything to cling to and the album washes together a bit. Instrumental sections fade in and out effortlessly and the whole album seems shrouded over by a Latin influence with lyrics crossing over into Spanish every now and then. The other half of the songs almost have a pop rock feel to them, while at other certain moments the vocals sound eerily like Jack Johnson. Make of that what you will? Standout tracks include Breakfast Cat and It's Only Another Parsec....

7. Converge - Axe to Fall | Metalcore | 3.75/5

Converge are a band that demands your attention. Riffs will be drilled your mind until your brain is spasming from aneurisms and blood is leaking from your skin pores. Monotony in the middle section you say? The end couple of ballads are a congenial progression and maturing of an effective but stagnant brute force style but would have been better as an interlude to the core album rather than an end tack on? Huh, you say that Jane Doe effectively told a story and creatively broke up bouts of intensity whereas Axe to Fall is a more straightforward affair? **** you. Guitars will distort until you have lost all touch with reality and are imbued with an all consuming inhuman rage and hunger for human flesh. Listening to Converge is masochistic, and you will ****ing enjoy it. Standout tracks include Effigy, Cruel Bloom and Wretched World.

8. Rhian Sheehan - Standing in Silence | Ambient/Electronic | 3.75/5

One of the finest masterpieces of sound this year comes from the island country of New Zealand, from the multi-talented electronic producer, Rhian Sheehan. Standing In Silence is one of the most incredible and sincere portrayals of the consequences of having to deal with an out-of-control human existence whose life may well be limited by its own greed. While that description may paint a gloomy picture in some minds, those who are willing to take a chance will find that this is Rhian’s breakthrough album, his grand cinematic excursion, overwhelming with crushingly beautiful yet daring emotion. This is an album, that if overlooked, will not achieve its destination as one of the year’s most inspiring albums. Using unique instruments such as the glockenspiel, music boxes, and helpful hands from several notable musicians, including the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, there seems to be a never-ending dosage of mind-blowing splendor and self-reflection within this sonic gem. (Brett Hayes)
Pretty much what I would say, way better than I could say it. There are some really subtle and evocative sections here, but the album kind of overdoes the epicness value a bit in certain songs.

9. Blueneck - The Fallen Host | Post Rock | 3.75/5

Post-rock is not all about quiet-loud progressions. Really. It's about conveying mood effectively and almost subconsciously. While this album doesn't stray far outside the established genre boundaries, it does this rather well. Weaving Spiders Come Not Here is a great example of a song that sets a culminating mood all but on the back of a simple repeated piano melody. The focus is generally on minimalism with subtle echoes of strings and electronic distortions dotting the background, fronted by an ethereal voice paint every now and then, an almost Godspeed You! Black Emperor tone - all predictably but tastefully converging to a heavy instrumental section. Some standout tracks are Lilitu and Revelations.

10. Rodrigo Y Gabriela - 11-11 | Flamenco | 3.75/5

This is some involving and technical flamenco, but come on there's only so much straight up flamenco a man can take before his head explodes.

Honorable Mentions:

Gorod - Process of a New Decline
Thrice - Beggars
Panzerballett Hart Genossen: Von Abba Bis Zappa
Do Make Say Think - The Other Truths
Irepress - Sol Eye Sea I
Brand New - Daisy
fun. - Aim and Ignite
Fleshgod Apocalypse - Oracles
Sights & Sounds - Monolith
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Sunwrae - Autumn Never Fall
Vektor - Black Future
Closure in Moscow - First Temple
Mew - No More Stories
**** Buttons - Tarot Sport
Bibio - Ambivalence Avenue
Natural Snow Buildings - Shadow Kingdom
St. Vincent - Actor
Soap And Skin - Love Tune For Vacuum
Regina Spektor - Far
Metric - Fantasies
Fever Ray - Fever Ray
Christopher Tignor - Core Memory Unwound
Tim Hecker - An Imaginary Country
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros - Up From Below
Kiss Kiss - And the Meek Shall Inherit What's Left
Sarah Fimm - Red Yellow Sun
Toe - For Long Tomorrow
Trespassers William - The Natural Order of Things
Between the Buried and Me - The Great Misdirect
post #32 of 43
Here's my top 10 + mentions for 2009 records:

1. Zu - Carboniferous
2. Riverside - Anno Domini High Definition
3. OSI - Blood
4. Steven Wilson - Insurgentes
5. Indukti - Idmen
6. Porcupine Tree - The Incident
7. Redemption - Snowfall On Judgment Day
8. Exivious - Exivious
9. Rodrigo Y Gabriela - 11:11
10. Transatlantic - The Windwhirl

Honorable Mentions:

11. Mono - Hymn to the immortal wind
12. Diabo Swing Orchestra - Songs For The Damned & Delirious
13. Dream Theater - Black Clouds and Silver Linings
14. Dave Matthews Band - Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King
15. Muse - Resistance
16. Pearl Jam - Backspacer
17. Katatonia - Night is the New Day
18. Derek Sherinian - Molecular Heinosity
post #33 of 43
A ton of overlap here with many of the Top 10 lists already published by everyone from Pitchfork to the Washington Post. Personally, I didn't hear anything released in 2009 that I liked as well as Fleet Foxes' eponymous full length debut (2008), The National's Boxer (2007) or Okkervil River's The Stage Names (2007).

Okay, just thought of two that come close -- Andrew Bird's Noble Beast and Other Lives' debut.

Also enjoyed the re-mastered Beatles' releases. Those count, don't they?
post #34 of 43
Might as well narrow down my list to a top 10, my two absolute faves are:

01. Cobalt - Gin
Transcendent, atavistic experimental black metal with a progressive and atmospheric bent.

02. Helen - We Specialize In Cages
A trippy cocktail of drum n' bass/alternative/nu-jazz, a dash of funk, topped off with dreamy female vocals.

03. Obscura - Cosmogenesis

04. Weapon - Drakonian Paradigm

05. The Chasm - Farseeing The Paranormal Abysm

06. Exivious - Exivious

07. Alice In Chains - Black Gives Way To Blue

08. Katatonia - Night Is The New Day

09. Krallice - Dimensional Bleedthrough

10. Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures
post #35 of 43
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by McPanse View Post
A ton of overlap here with many of the Top 10 lists already published by everyone from Pitchfork to the Washington Post. Personally, I didn't hear anything released in 2009 that I liked as well as Fleet Foxes' eponymous full length debut (2008), The National's Boxer (2007) or Okkervil River's The Stage Names (2007).

Okay, just thought of two that come close -- Andrew Bird's Noble Beast and Other Lives' debut.

Also enjoyed the re-mastered Beatles' releases. Those count, don't they?
I agree, somehow 2009 lacks musicality, the last Grizly Bear is really good, but on the first time listen it seems like a bunch of noises,
post #36 of 43
Here's my top 10

1- katatonia "night is the new day"
2- porcupine tree "the incident"
3- osi "blood"
4- riverside "anno domini high definition"
5- swallow the sun "new moon"
6- dream theater "black clouds and silver linings"
7- paradise lost "faith divides us death unites us"
8- alice in chains "black gives way to blue"
9- the devin townsend project "addicted"
10- epica "design your universe"
post #37 of 43
Too hard picking just 10, here are my Top 39:

post #38 of 43

Top ten

These are mine:

Yo Lo Tengo- Popular Songs
Decemberists-The Hazards of Love
Grizzly Bear-Vekatimest
Espers- 111
Gomez -A New Tide
Tosca-No Hassle
Dinosaur Jr.-Farm
Sea Wolf-White Water, White Bloom
Built To Spill-There Is No Enemy
St. Vincent-Actor
post #39 of 43
My list, in particular order:

# Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
# Mark Knopfler - Get Lucky
# Porcupine Tree - The Incident
# Steven Wilson - Insurgentes
# Sirenia - The 13th Floor
# Delain - April Rain
# Dream Theater - Black Clouds and Silver Linings
# Yeah Yeah Yeah's - It's Blitz
# Dave Matthews Band - Gru Grux King
# Epica - Design Your Universe
post #40 of 43
Originally Posted by Davey
That Antlers has been getting a lot of good press and I was thinking of getting a copy, was there something that you didn't particularly like about it, or just not much listening time yet?

Originally Posted by DLeeWebb
No, I like "Hospice" a lot. I just don't think that it is better than the other music on my list. You're also correct, I haven't really had time to give it repeated listenings...
Originally Posted by tintin47
2) The Antlers - Hospice
1) ---

I am leaving 1 blank because I didn't feel like this year really had an album deserving of the no. 1 spot in my mind, or more likely I simply haven't found it yet. There were no albums that were simply magical for me, as there have been often this decade.
Originally Posted by GTRacer
Be warned: it's a very depressing listen... Haven't listened to an album that made me feel so shattered in a while. It's brilliant though.
Been listening a lot to the Antlers record over the last few weeks, and have to agree with GTR, brilliant. Quiet, yet epic sounding, a sweeping grandeur at times that goes well beyond the normal confines of pop music. Came across this list awhile back on NPR that gave me the final push I needed to explore this one (plus it was one of the only lists I saw that had my favorite Signal Morning in the top 10 too )...

Best Music Of 2009, From Robin Hilton : NPR
Robin Hilton - December 15, 2009 - Back in February, I wrote on the All Songs Considered blog that the new music of 2009, at that point, was already better than all of 2008. Some listeners charged me with heresy. It's not that 2008 didn't have memorable records (I'm thinking of Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago and Deerhunter's Microcastle). But, early on, 2009 seemed like it was going to be an unusually strong year. As the months passed, it just kept getting better, with new releases from St. Vincent, Wilco, Metric, The Dirty Projectors and many more.

For that blog post in February, I made an early Top 10 list, knowing full well that it would change and evolve as the year wore on. Now that we're at the end of 2009, I've looked back at that early list and found that four albums held on to the end (The Antlers, The Decemberists, Jason Lytle and Laura Gibson), while the other six (Animal Collective, M. Ward, Andrew Bird, Dan Deacon, U2 and Mirah) dropped off my personal list.

We all have our own system for making a list of favorite albums. All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen gives songs star ratings in iTunes, then looks to see which he rated highest during the course of a year. NPR Music producer Lars Gotrich reorders slips of paper with album titles on them, searching for the right mix. I go entirely by memory. When December rolls around, which albums stand out? Which ones are strong enough that I remember them and still listen to them at the end of the year? I had a hard time picking just 10 this year. But the ones listed below are a good place to start.

1. The Antlers
Album: Hospice
Song: Kettering

The Antlers self-released this stirring concept album in January and toured the country, playing for tiny clusters of curious listeners in noisy bars. By August, Frenchkiss Records had picked up Hospice and given it a proper release, while the band booked sold-out shows at the Bowery Ballroom in New York and other venues usually reserved for more established acts. Hospice, frontman Peter Silberman's elegy to a dying friend, rattles the heart. At times, it's full of so much grief and longing, it's admittedly a little hard to take. But instead of evoking despair, Silberman's poetry, his soaring orchestrations and delicate falsetto leave you in awe at how fragile and beautifully mysterious life can be on spaceship earth.
post #41 of 43
Huge Fan of RedSky0s list, I found some new favs for the year
post #42 of 43
post #43 of 43
I've got a top five:

5. Indigo Girls - Poseidon and the Bitter Bug
4. Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
3. Beirut - The March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland
2. Ramona Falls - Intuit
1. Tegan and Sara - Sainthood
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