Thursday, December 31, 2009

Scott M's abbreviated top 10 roundup

Alas, the fates have conspired against me and this year I shall not be able to put quite the effort into my annual top 10 that I prefer to. However, it wouldn't feel right to skip the list entirely, so I'll give you my rundown with some limited explanation. And here we go...

Honorable Mention: Titan: It's All Pop!
I would love to put this on the list proper, but two things prevent me from doing so. First, it was released just after Thanksgiving 2008, making it not a 2009 release even though it (barely) qualifies under the rules. Second, it's a collection of songs from the late 1970's, so it's not really new music in any sense. Basically, in 1978 two guys from Kansas City liked power pop so much they started a label to put out music by local power pop acts. However, they had no business plan- many of their deals didn't even involve contracts- and unsurprisingly they folded in 1981. The collection gathers everything they released as Titan records, plus about 20 other tracks that either went unreleased or ended up on other labels. The result is about 2.5 hours of great music in three minute bursts. From the opening salvo of Secrets' "It's Your Heart Tonight" to the giddy handclaps of Arlis' "I Can't Take It" to the surprising brawn of The Boys' "Yesterday's Circles," the two discs are full of songs that make you wish some of these acts had a competent label, but also glad that they managed to get anything out at all.

10: Girls- Album
Calling your band Girls is a sure way to piss people off. Just try typing it into google. Calling your album "Album" isn't any better. It seems almost like a way to cut the uncomfortable intimacy of the songs. I won't presume to get inside the artist's head, but it must be like writing in a diary. The uncomfortableness of the confession is tempered by the fact that the confession itself is hard to find. In any event, all of this analysis is secondary to the fact that the album is good, though that's as much for the brutal honesty and shocking self-insight in the lyrics as anything else. I personally think the music itself is OK- not bad by any stretch of the imagination- but it wouldn't be half as interesting if it weren't part of such a raw package.

9: Camera Obscura- My Maudlin Career
There's something baroque about about Camera Obscura that increases with each subsequent release. Their music is ornate, with irregular bits floating in a sea of sound- bells and violin runs and "oohs" swirling beneath that lovely voice. This is my favorite album of theirs since Underachievers Please Try Harder, and I didn't think that album would be topped. The loss of a male vocal presence was noticeable on their last album (in spite of the fantastic one-two punch of "Lloyd, I'm ready to be Heartbroken" and "Let's Get Out of this Country"). On Career, Camera Obscura seem to have regrouped a little and figured out just how to best play their songs. This has lent a certain timelessness to the songs that is appealing and gives them an added resonance. As catchy as "Knee Deep at the NPL" was, I'll listen to "Swans" and "French Navy" much longer.

8: Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
I like this album. I can't tell you why, other than it's pretty. I just enjoy listening to it, and sometimes that has to be enough.

7: Neko Case- Middle Cyclone
Neko Case has the kind of voice that's impossible not to like. It's forceful, pitch-perfect, and can bend any song to it's whims. As a showcase for that voice, any Neko Case album has merit. When it's served by songs as catchy as "People Got a Lotta Nerve" or as twisty as "Vengence is Sleeping" it becomes top-10 material. Seriously. It's all the voice.

6: Drums- Summertime!
There's a Cure-meets-Smiths-meets-Zoloft thing that runs throughout the Drums 2009 EP that's especially ingratiating and ultimately likeable and appealing. Like the Cure, the music is roomy and full of echo, and the vocals are distant. Like the Smiths, the songs are driven as much by specific guitar lines (as opposed to chords) that are pushed up to the front. However, the songs themselves are not as dour and melancholy as one would normaly associate with those bands. These moods are not absent, but they're tempered with a certain optimism that those bands rarely managed. While either of those bands could have managed the best song on the album- the stuck-on-repeat "I Felt Stupid"- neither could have pulled off a song like "Let's Go Surfing," with it's whistling hook and brand-new-day hope. I'm looking forward to the next album, since I think there's too much potential in Drums to continue to talk about them in terms of obvious musical touchstones.

5: Pains of Being Pure at Heart- S/T
You can make the argument that the album is a little same-y throughout. You can argue that they're aping Belle & Sebastian by way of the Jesus & Mary Chain. I will concede both of these points. And I will tell you that I think this is an extremely good album anyway. It's tight and catchy and I find myself coming back to it again and again and again. The songs are solidly constructed and immediate without losing impact on repeated listens.

4: Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavillion
Two confessions. First, I grew up in Maryland and the closest major outdoor concert venue was, in fact, Merriweather Post Pavillion. Thinking that I didn't need an Animal Collective live album, I largely ignored it until I was told that it was a studio effort. Second, I'm not a huge fan of Animal Collective. Aside from "Who Could Win a Rabbit," I haven't found much appealing in their music or the music of their side projects. However, I find myself coming back to this album in spite of that. I can't name a song that I particularly like. But I downloaded the album about three weeks ago, and I keep putting it on. It's growing on me, but not enough to overtake the rest of the list.

3: XX- XX
The XX are a study in economy of music. There isn't a note out of place, and nothing extraneous is laid to tape. It's either a hook, a foundational part in full service of the feel of the song, or ideally both. This fits the lyrics, which tend towards themes of self-contained love that works all the better for the boy-girl vocal interplay. Nowhere is this more apparent that in "Crystalised," where the "Hay-i-ay-ay" first serves as a lead-in to the next singers' verse, then is harmonized as a chorus, and then phased out entirely in favor of "clo-oh-oh-ser." It's foundational, then a hook, and it's present only as long as is strictly necessary. And the hooks are bitching.

2: Dirty Projectors- Bitte Orca
The Projectors' Dave Longstreth likes to see himself and his songs in a classical-music light, and that certainly shows in this latest effort. Songs have distinct sections that make them more like suites, and themes re-appear with different instrumentation. And yes, everyone makes a big deal out of how there are 3/2 time signatures and other such complexities and eccentricities slathered liberally throughout the album. But the real accomplishment is that these ideas are always in service of the song. Too often, a complex idea- unusual time signature, odd chord progression, etc- is the kernel and the song is constructed around it. On Bitte Orca, though, those ideas are there because the song needs them. To give an analogy, Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" is a great melody that literally cannot work in any time signature other than 5/4. Though odd time signatures are a hallmark of that whole album, one gets the idea that the song was less "I need a song in 5/4" and more "I have this awesome song and I need to write it in 5/4." It's the latter idea that suffuses every second of Bitte Orca and makes it more than an interesting exercise and instead a great, great album.

1: Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
I had a thesis at one point this year that WAP is a secretly difficult album. The music is so pleasant and easy to listen to that it runs the risk of simply washing over you and therefore requires the kind of active engagement that one normally reserves for the latest by Radiohead. I've backed off this idea a little, though I reserve the right to return to it. The fact remains that this year's Phoenix album goes straight for the reward center of the brain, giving you just enough to leave an impression but not so much that you don't hit repeat four or six times before moving onto the next track. From the bouncing piano and descending guitar that buoy "Lisztomania" to the joyous "Hey-hey-hey" of "1901" to the thundering drums of "Lasso," every song has something to overwhelm you with awesomeness. In fact, it took me a month or so to realize that the lyrics were actually pretty self-aware and shockingly well-written for anyone, let alone people who don't speak English as a first language. Which I guess inadvertently proves my earlier thesis.

Eric's Top 10 of 2009

10. Mos Def "The Ecstatic"


Mos Def puts out his best album in a long time with this collection of eclectic beats and wonderfully obtuse lyrics that are instantly recognizable as Mos Def. In an era where hip hop gets lazier and lazier, its nice to see people like Mos Def lead the way.

9. Muse (The Resistance)


The Best Queen album of the year (in a year where Queen themselves actually released an album). While at times Muse can induce some serious eye rolling (seeing a 3 movement symphony on a rock cd is usually never a good thing), there is no denying their ridiculous talent for coming up with stadium leveling choruses. Like "Black Holes and Revelations," the good definitely outweighs the bad on this disc.

8. Portugal. The Man "The Satanic Satanist"


Saw these guys at Schubas this year and it shed an entirely new light on this disc for me. While the disc gives off a laid back hippy vibe (I mean, look at that cover) live they actually brought a little acid-rock edginess. The show made me think of them as the closest thing to Pink Floyd this side of Secret Machines.

7. Animal Collective "Merriwether Post Pavilion"


Unlike Portugal the Man, I kind of gave up on this disc after seeing them live at Lollapalooza this year. Their show was way too avant garde for me, and kind of turned me off of this disc for a while. Then about a month ago, I was riding the train somewhere between still buzzed and hungover and put this disc on and realized why I liked it so much to begin with. Probably the most lush, creative disc to come out this year, it really challenges you to discover all of its many layers. I recommend getting some expensive headphones and putting this one on.

6. Franz Ferdinand "Tonight"


This album represented a big step forward for Franz. The basic building blocks of Franz songs are there, but this time the gloss is stripped way back and the focus is more on the keyboards than guitars. There's a swagger that opens the album, but you can also tell there is an undercurrent of unease throughout that rears its head starting with the epic "Lucid Dreams." If the first few tracks are the pre-party and night out at the bar, "Lucid Dreams" starts the stumble home ending with "Katherine Kiss Me" which would be akin to that last beer while sitting on the porch wondering where it all went wrong.

5. Arctic Monkeys "Humbug"


Unfair or not, there are certain bands that I choose to ignore on principle based on the kind of hype they get right away. Arctic Monkeys were one of those bands. Then I saw them at Lolla this year and ended up totally eating my words. This album was a revelation of sorts, a great disc of well crafted pop songs that kept the balance between catchy without being too poppy and instrumental prowess without getting too prog rock about it. Definitely a band I will be listening to more of.

4. Them Crooked Vultures


One time while watching Nirvana's Unplugged on MTV, I remember saying out loud "man, Dave Grohl is a terrible drummer." Well, after him pummeling me into submission on albums like "Tenacious D," "Songs for the Deaf" and now this one, I take it all back Dave Grohl. Can you ever forgive me? While the songs on this album take a decided lean towards the Josh Homme spectrum of the trio, a lot of times its the rhythm section that is the real star here. Songs like "No One Loves Me, and Either Do I" "Elephants" and "Gunman" show off what a hard rock supergroup can do instrumentally, but the most exciting parts are when Jones and Grohl lock into that ENORMOUS Zeppelin-esque groove. Maybe all those bands from the 60's have it all wrong hiring Bonham and Starr's kids to drum for them. It looks from here like Dave Grohl is the MAN for all of them.

3. Doves "Kingdom of Rust"


What else is there to say about Doves except note how criminal it is that Coldplay is huge and they are not. Yet another solid at worst, soaring at best album from these guys. Grittier than anything they've put out to date, yet some of their best songwriting.

2. Handsome Furs "Face Control"


For the second time on my list, a side project of the previous years #1 album has made my top 3 for the year. I love everything about this album from the skittering, sparse beats to the frantic, paranoid half shouted, half sung vocals. While paranoia has often been a hallmark of Dan Boeckner's music, here it comes front and center instead of taking a back seat to the instrumental heroics of his day job fronting Wolf Parade. In a year where I was stressed to the breaking point a few times, I found a lot of comfort in this album. And if not for a couple songs on my #1 album, "All We Wanted Baby Is Everything" would probably be my top song of the year.

1. Mastodon "Crack the Skye"


Ok, I admit it. Deep down I'm just a big guitar nerd. And for sheer guitar awesomeness without getting all Van Halen-y about it, there was really no topping Mastodon this year. From the mind bending riffs of "Quintessence" (which is probably the most ridiculous song I've heard in years) to the sweet classic rock soloing of "The Czar" to the borderline terrifying screams of the title track, this album blew my mind from start to finish. I'm not a big metal fan, so its nice to hear a band that can bring that kind of virtuosity to more conventional rock without sounding to wrapped up in themselves. That's exactly what Mastodon does.

Lifetime Achievement Awards


Phish "Joy" Pearl Jam "Backspacer" U2 "No Line on the Horizon"

While these are probably my top three favorite bands ever, none of them made my top ten list. The encouraging part is that these are all discs that are better than the last couple discs from these bands. So even though they didn't crack my top ten, I would feel remiss if I didn't list these discs somewhere.

Album That Everyone but Me Liked: The Decemberists "The Hazards of Love"

I just didn't get it I guess. It seemed way too heavy handed for me and the recurring themes just weren't that strong to be on the disc three of four times.

Album that didn't live up to the bands stellar live show. Heartless Bastards "The Mountain"

When I saw this band open for Wolfmother (Yeah, I like Wolfmother), they were gritty, dynamic and rocked. This album was none of those things. A big disappointment really.

That's all! Wishing everyone the best new year.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Annie's Top 10 of 2009

Annie Ruth’s Top 10 of 2009
Year of the Supergroup

10. Wolfmother – Cosmic Egg
Most people’s issue with Wolfmother is that they are a pretty blatant rip-off of bands like Black Sabbath. I can’t argue with that; but I will argue that I love Black Sabbath and they rip it off pretty goddamn well. Let’s not over-think this band – Stockdale is a great front man, and the guitar work is nothing to scoff at. Just sit back and enjoy some throwback rock n roll.

9. Handsome Furs – Face Control
Handsome Furs is definitely a band that on paper I should hate, but they do what they do so well I can’t help but enjoy this record. Sparse and mostly synthesized, there’s not much to it but what’s there is leveraged to its full potential. The Russian tossed in throughout doesn’t hurt either (“Nyet Spasiba”)

8. The Von Bondies – Love, Hate, and then there’s You
I’m probably the last one out there who thinks the Von Bondies matter now that Jack White has up and deserted the D-town garage rock scene. Nevertheless the Von Bondies have put together a nice little record here with raw and catchy tunes that keep the scrappy Detroit spirit going, with lyrics like “We are the spark, we are the great, we keep our cities loud and far. We keep their ears glued to the streets – we are the underground.”

7. Del the Funky Homosapien & Tame One - Paralell Uni-verses
Del is still one of the most underrated rappers in the game and this new project with Tame one only pushes the boundaries of his fantastically weird flow further. Digging through his closet and pulling out obscure samples and beats that perfectly compliment their lyrics, this is one of Del’s best collaborations since his outing in Gorillaz. Best lyrics –“Life sucks, reality blows. Responsibilities is killing me. All I wanna do is rock and do shows.” Can we all not relate?

6. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand: Tonight
This album took a bit to grow on me but it’s earned some steady rotation on the iPod. The whole album could easily be the soundtrack for your next epic night out on the town – building momentum as it goes along, and coming down to some slow jams just in time for that point of the night where you’re having your last beer with your buddies on a front porch somewhere (or if you’re a member of this band, probably in an alley or gutter in Leith). Definitely a step forward for Franz – they have established they aren’t just a novelty act, and I’m looking forward to what these chaps will do next.

5. Electric Six – Kill
How I love it when local boys make good! This is the tightest album E6 has put out since Fire – much less filler than there has been on past albums, and this sounds the most like an album of all the E6 albums (as opposed to a collections of songs they’ve been playing in a frathouse basement somewhere). The Detroit references alone would have earned this a place on my list (“there aren’t any people on the people mover” – “you can’t kill Detroit” – “the Detroit river isn’t a good place to scuba”) but they threw in a bonus by dedicating a whole song to how much Ohio sucks. Bless! “Body Shot” is also one of their most fun songs to listen to – I don’t know where they got the inspiration for this one, but it’s one of the most complex E6 songs they have put out. This concert was also a blast to attend (St. Andrew's Hall, Detroit) – they brought on an all-girl acapella group to perform “Gay Bar” which was followed by the band playing “Gay Bar Pt. 2” and ended the show with what they called the Dance Trilogy – Dance Epidemic, Dance Commander, and Improper Dancing. For my money, you can’t beat the booty-shakin’ raunch of a live E6 show. This group just revs my engine. In spite of (or perhaps because of) their cheese and juvenility, I just heart E6.

4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!
When I heard YYYs new album was going to be their dancefloor material, I have to say – I was pretty horrified. Why run a great thing? But they proved me wrong. YYYs proved they could master the synthesizer while staying true to their original spirit. “Runaway” drips with the dramatic – spare piano building into vibrating strings – the crescendo of this part sends chills down my spine. It’s the perfect compliment to the subject matter – an ode to a lover you can’t live with or without. And I always love the token YYYs love songs – Hysteric is another touching step in that tradition. Oh yeah, and the dancefloor songs are pretty good too.

3. Ida Maria – Fortress 'Round my Heart
How is it that Scandinavia breeds such adorable little musicians? It must be something in the water. This album is good plain fun rock with a dash of punk and a tablespoon of pop. Some of these lyrics are so token to what many of the young adults are experiencing entering the working world and trying to find their purpose…“Find a cure, Find a cure for my life....Pin a smile on my face, put a price on my soul” – anyone who wound up in a job they didn’t quite dream about as a kid can relate – do we sell out & settle or look for the cure? And “Queen of the World” is the ultimate lady lush soundtrack. This was hands down my favorite set al Lollapalooza this summer – everybody in the vicinity couldn’t help but be infected my Ida’s onstage enthusiasm.

2. Them Crooked Vultures (s/t)
John Paul Jones on bass? Check. Dave Grohl on drums? Check. Josh Homme on guitar/vocals? Double-check! This group is basically a wet dream for hard rock fans around the globe. And it lives up to the hype – it’s face meltingly good. The only reason this didn’t get #1 is that unlike Dead Weather, many of the songs sound distinctly influenced by the Foos, Led Zep, or QOTSA as opposed to new entities in themselves. But in certain moments - like midway through opening track “Nobody Loves me and Neither do I” when they drop the hammer of thor and unleash the darkest bowels of rock – they transcend into something epic. Bottom line is, I would sacrifice a human baby to get tickets to their next show in Chicago.

1. The Dead Weather – Horehound
I just love it when my rockstars play nice with each other, and Dead Weather is an example of the great things that can happen when musicians step out of their comfort zone (although I’m starting to think that Jack White just permanently lives outside of his comfort zone). Dead Weather is truly a supergroup who together make something infinitely better than the sum of its parts. Although there are members in this band from the Kills, the White Stripes, the Racontuers, and Queens of the Stone Age, together they sounds like something unique and separate from all of these groups – we hear glimmers of their past work but none ever dominates the sound. Live, they ooze with suspense – I got tickets to both nights the played the Vic and I did not regret it one bit.

Best Concert – LAYN Rocks with Slash and Friends
This benefit for the LA Youth Network, supporting homeless teens, at the Avalon in Hollywood was a gathering of Slash’s closest friends…and counted among those is Dave Navarro, Travis Barker, Tom Morello, Andrew Stockdale, Duff McKagan, Perry Farrell, Steven Adler, Billy Idol…oh yeah, and perhaps you’ve heard of Ozzy Osbourne? They rocked out with Led Zepplin, GNR, Black Sabbath, Wolfmother, Billy Idol, and Jane’s Addiction material just to name a few….as well as some new Slash solo material, which is magnificent. In addiction we all learned that Slash still owns the flannel shirt from the November Rain video, ‘cause he was totally rocking it onstage. Just seeing not one but THREE guitar legends onstage at once was worth the ticket price.

Check out this “Mountain Song” clip with Farrell, Navarro, Slash, Morello, and Barker. And some incredibly lucky studio bassist who got booked for this gig.

Best Video – “Treat me like your Mother”
Allison and Jack are the coolest mofos on the planet in this video – just add leather, cigarettes, a desert and machines guns. Notice at the end how you can see through the bullet holes in Jack’s chest.

Erv's list 'o da year.

Had an interesting year in music this year. I've spent most of my time cultivating my music history appreciation. This year for me has been full of 50's-70's rock, r&b, soul to classical symphonies (an interest brought up in me by one of my picks from last year, the score to The Dark Knight).The following is a list of the new albums this year I felt the strongest about. I listened to a lot of stinkers and disappointing albums, for example The Appleseed Cast's disappointing "Sagarmatha." So this list might not equal 10, but it's because I've listened to these albums more than just about anything else this year.

1. Ben Kweller - "Changing Horses"
I've listened to the shit out of this album. I'm honestly surprised nobody else has this album on their list. Everything about this album sounds like home and sounds familiar. The whole album has this folk/early country feel to it. I would find myself listening to this album all day long before I would even realize the whole day has gone by. I've listened to this album more than I've listened to anything else this year. He was also my favorite show of the year as well. Listening to this one on vinyl is also a treat. Has a much richer sound to it.

2. Mos Def - "The Ecstatic"
Mos Def is one of the best MC's out there. This album is just another in a long line of albums that prove that fact. I was instantly hooked from the first song through the last. Nothing can beat the track "Quite Dog Bite Hard" though.

3. Blakroc - "s/t"
The Black Keys, Mos Def, Q-Tip, RZA, Ludacris, Ol' Dirty Bastard, Jim Jones, Pharoah Monch, Billy Danze, Noe, Raekwon, and Nicole Wray. That pretty much says it all. Stay off tha fuckin' flowers.

4. Thrice - "Beggars"
This band's musical tastes and influences have grown and changed over there years as have mine. This is another album that just proves they aren't the one dimensional band that people pegged them as on their first few albums. This band is gonna be around for awhile, I highly recomend picking this album up.

5. Frank Turner - "Poetry of the Deeds"
Also another one of my favorite shows this year. Folky/punky/wise coming of age music. Had I got this one earlier in the year, it probably would have been high up, but alas.

There you have it folks, my top 5 of the year. Do yourself a favor and listen to them all, or send me an e-mail at: and I'd be happy to help you "find" them.
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Gary's last 2nd Top 10.


10. Dark Was The Night
All in one place, all at one time, not for headlines, but instead for a good reason. Does indie rock shine any brighter than this? In 20 years future music fans can spend time with this music to discover indie rock.

9. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion
It was pretty much impossible to avoid the gravity's pull from this record. The songs resonated blissfully in a way that no other music had before or has since. I know that this cd has ranked really high everywhere, but I don't really like Animal Collective and it still made my top 10! It all sounds so new.

8. M. Ward - Hold Time
Matt Ward is like a magnet for all things good. There are no moments of a musician trying to figure out what everyone else will like, or who may be hip to work with. All too often when discussing M. Ward, the focus is placed upon the "old timey" sound of his music. What goes unnoticed are the beautiful pop nuances of his stylish songs.

7. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
There is nothing flashy about these guys. They don't do things that cause them to end up on the pages of Perez Hilton. The only youtubes you will find of them online will be when something amazing happens at a live performance. And that is often. This is the record that you can and should listen to over and over again to allow it to reveal its beauty.

6. The Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
Is this the same band from song to song? This album is incredibly diverse and schizophrenic in a beautiful and eerie way. The songs are are magical.

5. Pearl Jam - Backspacer
While U2 works really hard to be THE BIGGEST BAND IN THE WORLD, Pearl Jam kicks their ass with every single new release and live performance. This band does not need a 10 million pound stage to power the incredible energy they deliver night after night and the same can be said of their recorded music. With every studio release they get closer and closer to the power and the energy of their live show.

4. Wilco - Wilco (The Album)
Jeff Tweedy and band have grown to become incredible song craftsmen. And they now also have zillions of fans who all think that they know what the next record should sound like. Given that they have been running from the obvious their entire career, I believe in them and I believe in the journey that they are on. I can't wait for the next new recording.

3. Noah And The Whale - The First Days Of Spring
This is a beautiful album. Like a journey filled with atmospheric storytelling. While I am sad that somebody obviously got their heart broke to be able to make this music, the reward for me is this cd. I found myself listening to this cd a lot.

2. Girls - Album
It was hard to avoid the hype that surrounded the debut by Girls. That hype may be more of a reflection of the instant online journalism world that we now live in, than anything to do with the band or the cd. Yeah, the backstory was BIG, but the music was bigger and better. Poppy, but in a very Jane's kinda way. I hope that these guys get a chance to grow. No matter what happens, this cd is the real deal.
and oh, say it into the mic, please..

1. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Holy heck do I like this cd! I really felt like it was gonna be tough to top "Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.", but Neko did it. Neko has evolved from an alt-country siren to a songwriter who is at the top of her game. She's a first-rate storyteller, with an incredible band and a voice that will turn your head, close your eyes and make you feel every note. And oh, she loves dogs. Matt and I had a dog heaven experience with Neko and the band.

(secret dj) Bill's Top 10 of 2009

Ask me to make the same list in 3 months and it'll be different. Best of the rest includes the 2009 albums by Metric, Pearl Jam, Phoenix, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Jay-Z.

Just missing the list were The Tallest Man on Earth "Shallow Graves", The Thermals "Now We Can See", Jay Farrar & Ben Gibbard "One Fast Move or I'm Gone", and We Were Promised Jetpacks "These Four Walls".

10) Them Crooked Vultures "Them Crooked Vultures" - I changed my mind on number ten several times, but ultimately stuck with my gut instinct on this rocker.

9) Alexi Murdoch "Away We Go (soundtrack)" - While many of the songs to this soundtrack have been previously released, this is the first major release by this artist. A bold choice for anchoring the whole soundtrack. A few classic songs are mixed in, but it's Murdoch's songs and Nick Drake channeling that sets the tone.

8) Wolfmother "Cosmic Egg" - third and so far best album by the group, and would've scored higher if it could maintain, but there are some throw away tracks.

7) Wilco "Wilco" - why shouldn't this be in the list? While it's not better than their last two albums, its not worse either, merely coasting will keep you in this time Mr. Tweedy.

6) White Denim "Fits" - Listened by chance and still digesting this souped up garage rock. Lo-Fi quality adds to the charm to their second album. I Start to Run

5) Avett Brothers "I and Love and You" - I feel that I arrived to late or too early for the Avett Bros. train. Great live performances pushed this record up, along with my second favorite song of the year that references New York City. I and Love and You

4) Raveonettes "In and Out of Control" - the least conceptual album they've done in a while. Figures then that this is also the most listenable album they've done in a while. Last Dance

3) Matt & Kim "Grand" - a punked-up version of Mates of State. That's just fine by me. Lessons Learned

2) Tinariwen "Imidiwan: Companions" - In my end of the year rush I stumbled on this and preferred listening to this album instead of trying new ones. I don't understand a word of it, but the middle-eastern blues sounded good to me. Outlawed in Algeria, so they must be doing something right. Tenhert (The Doe)

1) The Dead Weather "Horehound" - This is the one that said to me, "I'm a rocker. I rock out." Treat Me Like Your Mother

abby & sophie's top ten and then some

first, i'd like to say that my husb. has excellent picks
then, nothing flashy because a magician never reveals the secrets behind her illusions, but tada!!:

10. the yeah yeah yeahs "it's blitz!"

9. the pains of being pure at heart "the pains of being pure at heart"

8. choir of young believers "this is for the white in your eyes"

7. bat for lashes "two suns"

6. st vincent "actor"

5. neko case "middle cyclone"

4. the decemberists "the hazards of love"

3. camera obscura "my maudlin career"

2. elvis perkins in dearland "elvis perkins in dearland"

1. karen o & the kids "where the wild things are"

we also like listening to:
yim yames "tribute to"
laura gibson "beasts of season"
sufjan stevens "the bqe"

plus two tracks off albums not on this list that are awesome:
the dirty projectors "stillness is the move"
julian casablancas "11th dimension"


Marshall's Top 10 of 2009

It was kind of a struggle for me to pick 10 albums... I'm the kind of person who usually ends up discovering their favorite album of the year about 4 years later!

10. lightning dust - infinite light

9. the decemberists - the hazards of love

8. the thermals - now we can see

7. phoenix - wolfgang amadeus phoenix

6. the pains of being pure at heart - the pains of being pure at heart

5. god help the girl - god help the girl

4. justin townes earle - midnight at the movies

3. taken by trees - east of eden

2. julian casablancas - phrazes for the young

1. camera obscura - my maudlin career

Alex B's Top 20 of the 2000s

1. Wilco “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” (2001/2002)

2. Outkast “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” (2003)

3. The Postal Service “Give Up” (2002)

4. Kanye West “Late Registration” (2005)

5. Whiskeytown “Pneumonia” (2001)

6. The Arcade Fire “Funeral” (2004)

7. Jens Lekman “Night Falls Over Kortedala” (2007)

8. Belle & Sebastian “Dear Catastrophe Waitress” (2003)

9. Bon Iver “For Emma, Forever Ago” (2008)

10. Sufjan Stevens “Come on Feel the Illinoise” (2005)

11. The Dirty Projectors “Bitte Orca” (2009)

12. St. Vincent “Actor” (2009)

13. M. Ward “Transistor Radio” (2005)

14. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings “Dap Dippin’ With” (2002)

15. Fleet Foxes “Fleet Foxes” (2008)

16. The Roots “Phrenology” (2002)

17. The White Stripes “Elephant” (2003)

18. The Flaming Lips “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” (2002)

19. The Promise Ring “Wood/Water” (2002)

20. Beirut “The Flying Cub Cup” (2007)

Dave Rudey's Top Ten Songs- OF THE DECADE

No odd scoring here-

just a favorite list.

Top Ten Songs of The DECADE!!
By Dave Rudey

And I'm just being honest....
1- Hey Yeah!- Outkast
“Shake it like a Polaroid picture!”
What a fun song with so many great memories! 608- 810---- just a great party song.

The Native American ceremony here is PRICELESS!

2- The Rat- The Walkmen
“When I used to go out I would know, everyone that I saw- now I go out alone, if I go out at all.” (115 plays on ITunes…and that still makes it #2 on the list)

3- The District Slips Alone Tonight- (The Shins + The Postal Service)
The Shins cover of this song is amazing, and of course, the original has a great tune and lyric as well.

4- Parallel Lines- Kings of Convenience
Jeff and I always say this is a song to end a movie with.

5- (tie) Crazy- Gnarls Barkley
Bodysnatchers- Radiohead
“This is the 21st century!”

6- Bright Eyes- “The First Day of My Life”
7- Maps- The Yeah Yeah yeahs and Don’t You Evah- Spoon

8- The Predatory Wasp of The Palisades- Sufjan Stevens
This is such a beautiful, sad song that according to ITunes, has received the most amount of plays (121) wow!

9- Ball and Biscuit- The White Stripes
Love the Dylan cover of this one…. “

10- The Story I heard- Blind Pilot
Meet the singer at Schubbas- great guy- great band.

Dave Rudey's Hollisitically Scored List

(Good Halloween Party this year)

2009 was the year of the song. It looks like artists are focused, less and less, on coming out with a complete thought it an album form and going after that big “Audi” tune. No knock on artists, but the album, as a form of contemplation and continuity, did not have a good year in 2009.

However, before I begin, I want to reflect on something I said last year, and how awesome and prophetic it was. “Use Somebody is a close second for song of the year. It’s such a great track and really and excellent, strong song“
AND that was LAST YEAR! Talk about an overplayed “song of the year”- Use Somebody has really blown up. I knew that song was good. As I reflect back, I am surprised that I knew it would be THAT good.

After completing this list, I was surprised at how few “concept” records I listened to this year. Artists, and I would put this on I-Tunes, are focused more and more on a few quality songs. Not to say that artists knowingly put filler on records, but take the “White Rabbits” Record or Phoenix “Wolfgang” record for example. Those records have some great songs. And those great songs have no relation or nothing in common with other songs.

Percussion Gun has nothing to do with The Lady Vanishes; 1901 has nothing to do with Lasso- artists are writing great songs but I just do not see the connection between them.

So what is my number one (1) record? Well, I do not really have one. Instead, I have five what I would call “great” records, along with a group of some good ones. If I had to pick, my number one and favorite record was Declaration of Dependence by Kings of Convenience, but I am not sure it is all that complete of a record.

Here is my list:
It is divided into A- records and B+ records with description
Great 2009 Records
Anchor Albums (or comparably good records):
2008’s The Bake Sale- The Cool Kids
2007’s Neon Bible

Declaration of Dependence – Kings of Convenience
- Favorite songs on record- Scars on Land/Boat Behind

1901 “The Audi Song” and Lasso
Sorry to Dr. Moshe- he is right- this did come out in 2009.
"Merriweather"- Animal Collective
(maybe the only complete record- with a theme of loss)

Wilco (The Album)
( I really do not like that Feist song however- feels very contrived and big money)
Am I alone on this one- I thought this was a good record.
Grizzly Bear
(love the Beach boys sound)

Good Albums
Comparable Records-
2007- Sky Blue Sky- Wilco
2004- Radiohead- Amnesiac

Good record. Love Percussion Gun.

Top rap record- “We are- you can call me C-esar

And my final really good record is one I need to spend more time with.

Regina Spketor's -

Chads Decade List- Top 25

1. Wilco- yankee hotel foxtrot

2. The Strokes- is this it

3. White stripes-white blood cells

4. Flaming lips- yoshimi battles the pink robots

5. Avalanches-since i left you

6. Interpol- turn on the bright lights

7. Destroyer- destroyer's rubies

8. Sufjan Stevens - Illinois

9. the shins- oh, inverted world

10. Panda Bear- person pitch

11. Beck - Sea Change

12. Broken Social Scene- You Forgot It in People

13. Spoon - Kill The Moonlight

14. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell

15. arcade fire- funeral

16. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

17. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

18. Radiohead- Kid A

19. The Postal Service - Give Up

20. Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker

21. kanye west- college dropout

22. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Awake It's Morning

23. Dismemberment Plan - Change

24. Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala

25. Sigur Ros - Ágætis byrjun