Monday, November 30, 2009

Matty B's Top Ten Albums of 2009

man...some tough decisions to be made here (and i'm sure in my mind i'll retroactively change this around a dozen times...)

however here's my list for 2k9!

10. The Low Anthem- Oh My God Charlie Darwin

With the first haunting notes on "Oh My God Charlie Darwin" the Low Anthem creates what amounts to an instant classic track. Lead singer Ben Knox's spine tingling falsetto voice throws a chill right up the back of your neck. For that track alone "Oh My God Charlie Darwin" almost certainly puts itself into elite territory for the year. As outstanding as that single track is, it's hard to imagine the band populating an entire album with that level of emotiveness & drama. What emerges instead is an incredibly satisfying mix that inhabits the territory somewhere in between Nick Drake, Neil Young & most notably Tom Waits. With the Low Anthem, the Tom Waits comparisons will be a fact of life, however they successful channel the best qualities of Waits, harnessing both the abstract & Americana elements that can be found on Heart of Saturday Night, Loose Change & Closing Time without going too over the top with the gravel vocals. Overall a very good debut by these guys. I'm really looking forward to seeing them develop as a band.

9. Discovery- LP

When I first got the debut from the collaboration between Vampire Weekend keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij and Ra Ra Riot singer Wes Miles, my honest immediate reaction was "What the hell is this auto-tuned over the top crap?!" and I put it away for a good month. It took hearing KEXP in Seattle repeatedly spin both "Orange Shirt" and "Carby" for me to actually rationalize & come around to the album. It's funny how hearing music in a different context can influence your opinions. In the case of "Discovery" a little bit of patience with the extreme playfulness & straight up bubblegum party music. Soaked in autotune & heavy thumping electro-nintendo-esque bleeps & bloops, hand claps & deep groovin beats....if Owl City is The Postal Service's emo teenage brother lamenting it's solitude, than Discovery is almost certainly it's smart alecky, College sophomore sibling partying it up & discovering itself. The lyrics here are so deliciously over the top & at the same time resonant that there's moments of "Are they serious?" where in a teenage heart-achey kind almost hope they are. Only weak spot on the whole record as I see it is Jackson 5 "I Want You Back" cover...which just really doesn't belong. Guest vocal slots from Dirty Projectors Angel Deradoorian & Vampire Weekend Singer Ezra Koenig round this off as a full on pleasurable & enjoyable listen perfect for getting your blood flowing.

8. Passion Pit- Manners
In 2008 Passion Pit singer Michael Angelakos released the excellent "Chunk of Change" EP as Passion Pit but predominantly featured as a bedroom solo project. The need to play live necessitated the addition of band members, which Angelakos subsequently included in the band's proper full length debut as true collaborators. What emerged was an instantly euphoric experience that both resurrects some of the sounds & attitudes of early/mid 80s dance music while injecting an energy & aesthetic of it's own, unabashedly delivering exuberant celebrations of love, yearning & heartbreak. One thing that makes Passion Pit special (and most probably separates them from many of their peers) is the fact that this goes out beyond being just dance music & has a real element of seriousness to certain spots. Songs like "Moth's Wings'" & "Kingdom Come" definitely have some real epic qualities to them that make for an extremely well rounded record. The standout tracks however are definitely the dance jams. "The Reeling" (the album's first single) pumps & thumps with Angelakos falsetto coloring the song & of course the biggie here is the squirmy & incredibly infectious "Sleepyheads" that is really a dance anthem for the ages. I've heard these guys are outstanding live. I'm looking forward to finding out.

7. Neko Case- Middle Cyclone
In my mind, Neko Case can do no wrong. Case's latest offering "Middle Cyclone" stands up as yet another tremendous offering in what has been an incredibly consistent career. Case's powerful & hauntingly beautiful voice drives here as always however it's the left of center approach & stellar songwriting that makes this a truly great record. Middle Cylcone is more out front than it's predecessor "Fox Confessor Brings The Flood" with less dramatic effect & a more straightforward approach. That's not to say the album isn't without some level of the experimentation that Fox Confessor brought with it with the unique instrumentation & non-traditional arrangements. Over the years many have tried pin the 'alt country' label to Case, something she has resisted (fairly emphatically) and for good reason. What Neko Case does fits well outside of just a genre associated with a limited range of standards & instead traverses into a territory that is inhabited more by the likes of artists like Wilco & M. Ward. Middle Cyclone represents another solid offering in what has proven to be an incredible career that appears to be just now hitting it's prime. Stand out tracks include "This Tornado Loves You", "People Got a Lotta Nerve" and Harry Nillson cover "Don't Forget Me"

6. The Decemberists- The Hazards of Love
I'm sure this pick is going to raise a few eyebrows with some of my more critical readers as the Decemberists 2nd major label offering (and 1st rock opera) was not universally critically acclaimed & in some circles outright panned as overambitious & lacking direction. Colin Meloy even wrote on his twitter prior to the album's review "I can feel it...Pitchfork's going to turn on us"....and sure enough pitchfork followed suit with a mediocre review. I'm here to defend "The Hazards of Love" as being an exceptionally outstanding record that's really does live up to the concept that it's trying to pull off. The thing that I think a lot of the critics missed on "Hazards of Love" is that to truly appreciate the record, you have to actually take the time to explore & understand the expansive story-line.... Love, Peril, Murder, Tragedy, Adventure, Shape-shifting Fawns, Forest Queens, Evil Rakes,...children returning from the afterlife to avenge their own deaths.... it's all here set to an unlikely backdrop of what amounts to thumping, 70s style, guitar, harpsichord & B3 driven hard rock. Without taking the time to understand the storyline, I could see how one might not enjoy this one and it just might not be for everyone. As someone that really enjoys lyrics & theaterical concept however, I live for this kinda stuff. Cinematic through & through, I can almost see the story playing out in my mind when I listen to the record. Some of the standout moments on this record are provided courtesy guest Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond) in her role as "The Forest Queen" (and live...Shara is like nothing you've ever seen) If Hazards of Love didn't knock you out on a first spin, i'd highly recommend a good revisitation.

5. Camera Obscura- My Maudlin Career
For my number 5, I very well may have been heavily influenced to bump Camera Obscura up a couple of slots after a really stellar performance last weekend at Turner Hall. 4 albums in, and it appears with "My Maudlin Career" Camera Obscura has found a place of comfort & maturity without losing the innocence & playful attitude from the earlier recordings. For band-leader Tracyanne Campbell, the Belle & Sebastian comparisons have been something that has been almost a given throughout the bands career not only because of sibling connection with former B&S member Isobell Campbell, but also because of the fairly distinctive kicked back & orchestral style that must almost certainly be an affect of both band's native Glasgow Scotland. My Maudlin Career finds itself both embracing the mutual likenesses to B&S and at the same strangely forging a truly unique & individual sound & style of their own that almost falls somewhere into the incredibly satisfying territory of 60s Soul/R&B girl groups. MMC has some incredibly lush string arrangements and tastefully inserted horns however the real star of this album is Camera Obscura's signature bop & swing, which make their music incredibly danceable when married to a little bit of a groove. Some great work done here with vocal harmonies and Tracyanne's ability to oscillate between the upbeat and the melancholy moments. Standout tracks here are definitely the singles "The Sweetest Thing" & "French Navy"

4. The Dirty Projectors- Bitte Orca
My first introduction to The Dirty Projectors was their last record "Rise Above" which was a sort of conceptual reimagination of Black Flag's "Damage" helmed predominantly by band leader Dave Longstreth. Based upon what (to me) seemed like kind of a quirky experimental band, I could have never imagined what a tremendous record they would go on to make what absolutely has to be one of the most interesting, eclectic & intriguing records of 2009 with "Bitte Orca". Traversing styles from indie-pop to world rhythms to straight up R&B (so much so that Solange Knowles did an "R&B" cover of "Stillness Is The Move" that didn't really sound all that unlike the original version ) Bitte Orca simply runs wild with imagination & retains it's previous quirks without surrendering to them. One of the biggest successes here is the incredibly endearing & charismatic dueling female vocals from Angel Deradoorian & Amber Coffman. Longstreth may be the visionary behind The Dirty Projectors, however the girls are clearly the stars of the show. Longstreth's ability to step back from the center & make this a true collaborative effort between the individual members really harnesses the greatest strengths of the band that ultimately makes this a very successful record. With all of it's complexities & diversity, Bitte Orca still manages to find a nice balance & middle ground that acts as center for the record and rather than relying simply on the easy parlor tricks, has some really tender moments of beauty as well. All of this makes for an extremely brilliant record that takes the best elements of it's contributors & is masterfully executed.

3. The XX- XX
One of the wisest axioms in all of popular music is that it's the empty spaces in between the notes where all of the real beauty & art takes place. Nowhere during 2009 is this better exemplified than on the debut album by South Londoners "The XX". The members of The XX barely 19 years old when they began recording XX (which reportedly took close to a year to do). The record just exudes atmosphere & throughout has an extremely dark & noir-ish feel makes you feel like your cutting through a cloud of vapor with just a slight electronic undertone. I have to admit, this album for me was just purely addictive. In my office, i listened to it so much that it was beginning to get a little embarrassing & I'd find myself sneaking it on when nobody was around just to get one more fix. That's for good reason though.... it's one of those records that reveals new and brilliant elements with every single listen. For what on the surface sounds like a fairly minimalist & understated outing, there's a hell of a lot going on here. From the incredibly intricate & emotive atmosphere's being created to the dueling guy/girl vocals that almost sounds like a relationship taking place before our very ears, The XX is without a doubt something to be discovered over time. There's extreme friction, sadness & triumph communicated throughout this record & it's best experienced either through a blasting stereo or a pair of headphones. The guys have already have been remixed by everybody and their mother & it's easy to see why you would want to. The spaces between each note just invite the listener to interpret & reinterpret their own experience as they take the dark & intriguing journey that The XX brings them on.

2. St. Vincent- Actor
St. Vincent (AKA Annie Clark) made a large impact on me personally with 2007's "Marry Me" which at the time ultimately became one of my favorite (and most revisited) records of that year. 2009s "Actor" is a clear step forward & quite honestly is an absolutely exquisite work that juxtaposes emotions & conventions at every turn. Layer upon layer of instrumentation, vocal overlay & complex arrangement makes up just one piece of the puzzle of what makes Actor great. On Marry Me, Clark clearly proved that she was capable of creating moments of beauty and what she does even more successfully on Actor is create those moments of beauty only to shred them to bits the next moment to create a wildly unpredictable emotional climate that makes for a strangely satisfying rollercoaster ride that juxtaposes beauty with madness & innocence with violence. It's this non-willingness to take the easy way out of the sparklingly beauty laden female singer-songwriter that sets Annie Clark apart from the rest. She's beautiful & intriguing and at the same time prickly and maybe just a little bit psycho..... this can all be a little unsettling especially when you're just getting comfortable with some of the more serene moments, however this deconstructionist bent is all part of the package and at the end of the day, that's what makes it intense, gripping & exciting to listen to. Standout tracks here are the decidedly unsettling "Marrow" in which we are barraged by almost alien sounding instrumentation, "Actor Out Of Work" and one of my faves "The Bed" in which Clark explores some truly sinister themes with some of the most sonically beautiful moments on the record.

1. Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion
On January 5th 2009, the popular music blog Stereogum asked a very simple yet poignant & intriguing question Is Merriweather Post Pavillion The Best Record of 2009 and it wasn't just Stereogum..... "Looks like it, sounds like it too..." SG continues... Pitchfork shortly thereafter gave the record a rare & coveted 9.6 rating and from there on out came an avalanche of critical praise....and of course with that much praise came a fair amount of backlash (ironically mostly from Animal Collective fans from back in the day...). for me however, MPP has indeed lived up to the hype & then some. Named for the Baltimore Amphitheater that the member of AC grew up going to see mega-massive shows at, the name of the album is a direct reference to their efforts to make music that could be played in that large scale setting & without creating something overblown or dumbed down, Animal Collective has genuinely found a significantly larger audience through their efforts. In my opinion, a rare case of a band being discovered by the masses for the right reasons. With just a mind-numbingly complex amalgamation of brilliant vocal harmonies, bizarre rhythms and impossibly nebulous layers of pulsating sound, Merriweather Post Pavilion steps back from the former quirkiness & tribal grunts, screeches & moans that (I think) tended to bog down their previous work in favor of a record that is both incredibly intricate & elaborate and at the same time surprisingly melodic (and dare I say catchy??). I don't think it's too much of a stretch to consider the group's "Panda Bear" to be something of a modern day Brian Wilson, however at the same time arranger "Archeologist" and partner in crime "Avey Tar" make for a balance and rough edge that simply is only achievable with all three contributing members at the helm. At the end of the day, although it may have seemed like they were jumping the gun a little early....i think there was a strange profound wisdom is Stereogum calling this one by January 5....I have to say I agree.

Honorable Mentions:

Yacht- See Mystery Lights
Just barely left this one off my top 10. Celebratory, quirky & dancey...Yacht has made an excellently fun exploration of the paranormal & supernatural with this exceptional record

Freelance Whales- Weathervanes
Great record somewhere along the lines Sufjan Stevens crossed with The Postal Service. Maybe not the hippest areas to be exploring these days in a slightly more rough & tumble indie atmosphere, nevertheless worth a good serious listen

Bat For Lashes- Two Suns
An excellently spooky & gothic 2nd outing from UK's Bat For Lashes. Lots going on here from an artist that for the record puts "Florence & The Machine" to shame....

Sea Wolf- White Water, White Bloom
Another one that stepped in and out of my ten a number of times as I mulled over the arduous task of picking just 10. Excellent Mike Mogis produced record that kinda sounds how I wish the Conor Oberst solo stuff had turned out....

thanks for reading! Best of the Decade coming up shortly!!

See ya December 27 at Trocadero!

Vega's Top 10 Albums of 2009

Hiya, I'm Vega. You can find me at or wandering around aimlessly. I used to work for the Exclusive Company, Vinyl Fever (in Tampa), Camelot Music (when they were still around) and briefly for the Pabst. I love music. Even if it's mainstream and popular. If something catches my ear you can be sure I'll tell anyone willing to listen. For example, if you haven't heard of the supergroup Apparatjik (Guy Berryman of Coldplay, Jonas Bjerre of Mew, Magne Furuholmen of A-Ha and producer Martin Terefe) you need to listen to this.
Anyway, on with the list...

10. Coldplay - LeftRightLeftRightLeft
I'm not even sure this one should count since Coldplay never actually released this 9-track live CD. It was given away to all attendees during the last leg of their Viva la Vida tour. With very little enthusiasm, I went to the show at Alpine Valley and was pleasantly surprised with their performance. It felt on-par with the Rush of Blood days. This live disc didn't leave my CD player for a full week after the gig.

9. Julian Casablancas - Phrazes for the Young
If you're like me, you're sick of waiting for a new Strokes album. For the time being, this will have to do. To be honest, I was quite taken with the track "Tourist." Now that I think about it, I like them all. I find Julian's solo endeavor more pleasing than Albert Hammond Jr's. But that's just my opinion.

8. Vedera - Stages
I randomly discovered Vedera last April when I went to a show in NYC to see a relatively unknown band open for Eisley. Unknown to me, The Envy Corps left the tour 2 days earlier and I had the pleasure of seeing Vedera instead. Kristen May looks like a pixie, but that small frame holds a powerful voice. Check out the songs "We Sing," "Back to the Middle" and "Satisfy."

7. Doves - Kingdom of Rust
I love this album. I was thrilled to hear "Kingdom of Rust" on the Zombieland soundtrack.

6. Editors - In This Light and On This Evening
Although I adore Editors, I was a bit disappointed in this album particularly because it's lacking in their signature guitar work. My favorite track can be found on the UK special edition bonus disc and is called "This House is Full of Noise." One thing I appreciate is that this album is just as dark, if not darker than their previous two. Great songs to brood over.

5. Owl City - Ocean Eyes
I was on a road trip through the Appalachians when this album popped up on my iPod. After having to double check that it wasn't Ben Gibbard, I proceeded to listen to the album 3 times in a row. Favorite tracks include "Meteor Shower" and "Tidal Wave."

4. Mew - No More Stories...
No More Stories / Are Told Today / I'm Sorry / They Washed Away // No More Stories / The World Is Grey / I'm Tired / Let's Wash Away. What a mouthful. Album highlight "Introducing Palace Players" is strangely sexy with its crazy intro time signature.

3. We Were Promised Jetpacks - These Four Walls
One day when I was unemployed and bored (which seems to be most days), I decided to go on the SXSW website and click on every link to every single band slated to perform this year. I made a list of bands that I liked according to the sample tracks posted on each artist's SXSW info page. I then kept tabs on albums released by these bands. Most of them turned out to be duds, but this one was the gem I had been mining for. Sounds like a lot of work just to find new music, doesn't it? This album made it completely worthwhile. Check out "Quiet Little Voices" and the opening track "It's Thunder and It's Lightning." So good, it's shortlisted for my best of the 2000s compilation.

2. Mutemath - Armistice
Arguably one of the most energetic live bands currently touring, Mutemath's second full length felt like a continuation of the first. It is definitely a separate entity, yet the transition to the sophomore album was incredibly smooth and almost seamless. I'm pretty sure Twilight helped them gain in popularity, but this band is worth the fuss. Check out "Backfire" and the epic 9-minute "Burden."

1. MUSE - The Resistance
If you have ever met me, even for 30 seconds, you would have ascertained that MUSE is my favorite band on the planet. Of course The Resistance would be my #1 album of 2009! If you ever had a doubt that Matthew Bellamy and company were capable of filling stadiums with their massive sound, give this album just one listen. Even the weakest track on the album (which is so obviously stadium rock it would make Bon Jovi fans cry) doesn't get skipped when I plug this sucker in. I never know which track is my favorite because they are all so different, but I will say that "MK Ultra" and "Resistance" are amazing. "Unnatural Selection" has a similar complexity to older fan-favorite from Origin of Symmetry, "Citizen Erased." The 3-part "Exogenesis: Symphony" is beautiful, although understated. Check out the video below. If you're not moved by their music and visuals, you better check your pulse because you might be dead.

Noteworthy extras:
Nods to the following songs for being generally great, even if the albums they came from are not worthy of my top spots.
Little Boots Hands "Stuck on Repeat"
Regina Spektor Far "Blue Lips"
Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix "Lisztomania"
Röyksopp Junior "The Girl and the Robot"
Twin Atlantic Vivarium "Audience and Audio"

Sunday, November 29, 2009

John's Top 10 Picks

Alright, I got motivated this year. Although sadly I can not (as of right now) attend the party, I really think I'll try to ship some mix CDs off to make an appearance there. So who am I? Hi. I'm John. You can visit me at (or don't, as it may scare you about the list that is to come).

That being said, let's get to the list. I'm posting now, because I'm not going to hold out hope for any better albums between now and the end of the year. These albums are in no particular order. I figure if they were good enough to make my list, they can all be at an even level.

Girl Talk - Feed The Animals

Before I even start, start this playing in another browser window. Go ahead, I can wait. This song is what kicks off 'Feed the Animals' and the album doesn't slow down from there. I love this album for so many reasons, including reminding me of songs that I love and exposing me to new favorites. The way I look at it is this: Games like 'Guitar Hero' expose youth to songs they never knew existed because they were recorded way before the children were born. What Girl Talk does is roughly the same, cramming as much music as possible into a short amount of time.

And did I mention, about halfway through the album he busts out 'The Carpenters' Click the video below to enjoy that!

Just amazing stuff.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

I love this band for their (even if calculated) lo-fi sound and for all their song topics sounding cheerful even when they shouldn't be. Case in point, 'This Love is Fucking Right' which can be found below. For as little as I follow bands from the 80s who sounded like this, I sure love it when they do it.

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

They've got party jams

and they've got slow jams

I don't know what else to say, except that until this album I had no clue who Animal Collective really was. I still find a lot of their music very hit-or-miss, but this album is good stuff. Plus, enjoy their ridiculously trippy cover art. Either drugs are heavily involved in their music making process, or they are doing a great job of pretending.

Neko Case - Middle Cyclone

Although not as great as some previous albums, Neko still has an amazing voice. Lucky for her 2009 had few enough album choices to allow her a spot. Although you might feel a bit ripped off when you realize the last 30 minutes of this album is just cricket noises.

Mew - No More Stories...
This band has been the best discovery for me this year. All of their music just tickles me in a way I can't begin to describe. So as usual, let's just listen to the music. Here's the first song off their ridiculously long titled album (23 words of a poem).

And after the half forwards/half backwards madness of that song, they continue on into prog-rock goodness.

And just because I feel they deserve a third video:

Definitely check them out along with their other album 'And the glass handed kites'

The xx - xx
Although I knew I enjoyed Interpol, I didn't know that I would enjoy The XX. They definitely have some shared qualities, although The xx manage to keep it more electronic and more mellow at all times. Imagine my shock when I saw the following video getting MTVu air-time:

The entire album is best listened to with headphones so you can hear all the crazy quiet stuff going on. Also, my money goes for the song 'Islands' because the bass is just bananas. Love every bit of it.

Dan Deacon - Bromst
After forcing myself to suffer through an online documentary about the making of Bromst, I found myself strangely sucked into the world of Dan Deacon. I had heard a few solitary songs from earlier works and enjoyed them, if only for their 'eclectic' value. However, as I should have guessed from my love of Sigur Ros and Godspeed you Black Emperor, this album has great value as background music to getting work done, or whatever you may be doing. I don't quite know what Mr. Deacon's goals are for making music, but I like it.

I can only imagine that Ms. Stefani IS surprised at this song.

God Help the Girl - Soundtrack
So here's the thing. Being a longtime Belle and Sebastian fan means that I have to subsequently try to keep track of every side-project the eleventy-billion members have had over the years. This latest effort, which technically is a soundtrack to a movie which may or may not ever be released, features many new recordings, as well as a few covers of previous Belle and Sebastian songs. I don't think that qualifies it as a 'greatest hits' album, so that's why it's on the list. Enjoy!

Here's a link to their other single, which sadly I can't find an embeddable video for:

Beyonce - I am Sasha Fierce
Okay. I can see there's an elephant in the room here. Hate/Debate/Do what you must. But Beyonce delivers a solid album of normal and bizarre songs. Really I'm more into this album for the juxtaposition that Beyonce has delivered with the double-album concept. Ballads and normal songs, club bangers and dirrrrty whore music.
She's got it all, and it's fun. And yes, I can admit that I have found myself singing along at the top of my lungs on some of those slow jams.
Why you should be scared: Which is worth watching the video for. Crazy shit.
Why you should respect:

Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career

Okay, play this while reading. Camera Obscura definitely has a particular genre that they are trying to fill. It's been like this for many albums. I don't know what else to say, except that this album is equally solid and provides a great soundtrack for a day spent lounging around the house, perhaps cleaning or doing dishes. For some reason it transports me to a simpler time; a time that I can only recreate through doing menial labor.

That's all I've got. I'll try to remember to re-visit to comment on any arguments made.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Top 10 Albums of the Year Lists & Listening Party 2009!!

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!!
For the 7th year in a row, that means the following things:
-The Detroit Lions lose at football. (....and in life? 34-12)
- Black Friday went off with only minimal fatalities (but let's face it..Zhu Zhu Pets...totally worth it)
-You've enjoyed Turkey in non-sandwich form for the 1st time since last Thanksgiving....

.......and most importantly....Matty B releases the official rules for the:
*and for extra credit Best of the Decade!!!

That's Right!! Milwaukee's music geeks annual celebration of the finest albums of the year!
Time to lock yourself inside, harness your inner obsessive, crank your stereo, start making the tough decisions & post your favorite albums on my weblog: this year...follow the lists on Twitter! @TopTenAlbums

In it's 7th year, this is a BIG DEAL! Not only is this a great way to prove your superior taste & knowledge to your peers in list form, this is also an excellent opportunity to find out about loads of awesome music you might have missed or overlooked this year.

This year also marks the end of the 2000s.... Extra Credit for all those music-obsessed enough to make the mind-bendingly arduous task of making a "Best of the Decade" list (yay! I've been waiting all year for that!!)

and of course, let's not forget the gala event of the lists: "The Top Ten Albums LISTENING PARTY" upstairs at Trocadero on Sunday December 27 8pm

This year's Top Ten Party takes place upstairs at Milwaukee's outstanding "Trocadero" 1758 N Water St Milwaukee WI
Enjoy free Riverwest Stein with creation of your list (while supplies last ), talk music & compare lists with like-minded music freaks like yourself!!!

We're doing a "Mix CD Swap" so make sure to bring a bunch of mix CDs of your fave songs with copies of track listings & trade them with your friends. PLUS- Make sure to bring your loaded up iPod or fave CDs so YOU get to play GUEST DJ throughout the evening.

(and please come ready to the good folks at Diablos Rojos have graciously donated the room....least we can do to thank them is order some food)

so without further ado...pressure's on....let's get to:


All lists are posted at
here's how...
Username: top10albums
Password: oftheyear

under "Manage Your Blogs" go to "New Post" & get listing!!
(or just e-mail them to me at & I'll put em up for you")

and now....


1. Albums of must have a release date between November 1 2008 & January 1 2010- always rule #1... always the hardest one to follow. For the end of Decade lists revise that to November 1 1999 thru January 1 2010. Haven't listened to 10 worthy albums yet? Get the age of file transfers & ubiquitous long as you have a have access.. Good sources for verifying album release date: itunes.

2. Every selection must be accompanied with a short yet thoughtful explanation- Because what's the point of telling us what your favorite albums are if you don't tell us why? (right?) I've been known to write some pretty lengthy descriptions....although a sentence or two will suffice (perhaps a haiku?)...point is...if it's good enough to make your should be worthy of some thoughtful description.. a few examples from last year... here here and here

3. Make a Top 10 Albums of the Decade List for Extra Credit- Not a requirement but highly recommended since you only get to do this one every 10 years! Shorter, more succinct descriptions suggested (or no descriptions if you must....) However this is definitely going to be a topic of conversation so all you overachievers should take a crack as this. Pitchfork, Paste, NME & a number of others have already posted theirs.... Overachieving music geeks should be all over this one...

4. NO GREATEST HITS ALBUMS!!!- Sorry dude....not budging on this.... Unless the greatest hits album contains all songs that came out this year (which i guess in Lady Gaga's case...might end up being possible)...let's try our best to keep it to new or previously unheard music.... Reissues, B-Sides compilations & other non-new material should be taken on a case by case basis.

5. Leaked & Internet only albums- You get music on the internet? And sometimes before the artists intended release date??? And you haven't been arrested by the RIAA? This year we'll call it the "Beach House" rule..only the 2nd year directly addressing the omnipresent possibility of albums with future release dates that you've already heard. Leaked albums are acceptable however a couple of things apply. Let's try to stay away from putting the same album on a list 2 years in a row & secondly...make sure you have the actual copy....that could be embarrassing otherwise...

6. Audio & Visual Aids encouraged- CD Covers, embedded video, album inspired art....whatever you need to make your point! (if you need help getting those posted, just drop me a line at & i'm happy to help)

7. Positive/Negative Comments welcome- This is all about dialogue & discovery of music. Positive comments are good, although nothin wrong with mixin it up with a little debate though... If for instance you just don't see the true inner-beauty of Wavves or the didn't think Raditude was all that rad afterall...let em know (although if your gonna go negative...better make sure your list is up for the thrashing too.... mmkay?)

8. PLEASE share this with your music loving friends- Everyone's invited to participate. Everyone's invited to the listening party. (doesn't matter if we know you or not...we want your list....we want you to come to the listening party!)

9. In order to be taken seriously your list must be posted in a timely fashion- Sure....we'll still read your list, however we'll be forced to assume that the reason I didn't see it til FREAKIN JULY was because you just wanted to make sure nobody would read it....Listening Party is December 27. That cool? cool...

10. Any of these rules can be bent, broken or reinterpreted at any time for any reason- So am I telling you that after reading all of these rules that what I really meant to say is that none of the rules matter at all? ....yeah...that's pretty much what I'm telling you.... don't freak out.

That should just about do it!

Have a list-worthy day & we'll see you at The Listening Party December 27 at Trocadero!


-Matty B

PS questions/concerns etc, you can always e-mail me at or shoot me a call at 414-333-6634

PPS- Top Ten Party Public Service Announcement....

-The Top Ten Party is a Listener Supported Event. Beer, giant notepads, sharpies, wristbands & other random odds & ends all cost money....a small donation for party attendees is greatly appreciated
-Diablos Rojos has graciously donated the space at Trocadero & provided beer at a very reasonable cost..... The least you can do is have a little bite to eat at the party...their food is awesome...plan on eating there if ya can...