Friday, December 18, 2009

Top 20 albums of 2009

It was a strong year for new albums as a whole. I don't feel like I listened to as much new stuff as I really wanted to, but what I did I really liked. Here is my top 20 albums of the year.

1. Manchester Orchestra “Mean Everything To Nothing”
2. Brand New "Daisy"
3. Cursive “Mama, I’m Swollen”
4. Future of the Left "Travels With Myself and Another"
5. Mastodon “Crack The Skye”
6. Sonic Youth "The Eternal"
7. Converge “Axe To Fall”
8. Isis “Wavering Radiant”
9. Coalesce “Ox”
10. Silversun Pickups “Swoon”
11. Animal Collective “Merriweather Post Pavilion”
12. NOFX “Coaster”
13. Slayer “World Painted Blood”
14. …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead “The Century of Self”
15. Kreator “Hordes of Chaos”
16. Mono “Hymn To The Immortal”
17. Pearl Jam “Backspacer”
18. Propagandhi “Supporting Caste”
19. Japandroids “Post-nothing”
20. City of Ships “Look What God Did To Us”

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Best Records of the 00's - At The Drive-In "Relationship Of Command"

Everyone liked this record back in 2000. Seriously. When you are thinking about great rock records from this decade, I think fans of pretty much every genre of rock music like At The Drive-In's "Relationship of Command". It's easy to get but at the same time it's also didn't sound like a lot of what was out at the time.

To some people At The Drive-In seemed like a breath of fresh air that came out of nowhere. Those "in the know" (LIKE ME cause I'm so cool) had their previous releases and knew what this band was like. A post-punk Fugazi-ish sound but almost faster and with a great sense of how to do the whole soft/loud contrast, At The Drive-In had put together some great songs - but with "Relationship of Command" they seemed to put it together to last the whole record. The band also had great energy in their live shows and were really a sight to behold. Unfortunately, they got big and then it killed the band. They broke up and two noteworthy bands formed from their ashes - Sparta and The Mars Volta. Both bands then went on to only put out one good record each. Bummer. Maybe they cash in for a reunion tour soon?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Best Records of the 00's - Idlewild "100 Broken Windows"

In the year 2000 my now wife/then girlfriend lived with a couple of guys (what a beginning to a post). One of whom was (is?) an indie rock loving dude who shared some of the same musical interests as me and whom I also watched a lot of Saved By The Bell with. A band he was totally on the nose with that I wasn't really familiar with was Idlewild.

I give him major props for this one. Once I heard it I was immediately hooked. It was punky, but it also for some reason reminded me of R.E.M. at times. It's the scottish band's second album, and their first one (titled Hope Is Important), sounds totally raw. 100 Broken Windows is like taking that record and making it more catch and melodic. I probably listened to it 100 times in 2000 and 2001, especially the song Roseability. Idlewild unfortunately doesn't tour as much as they should so I've only seen them twice but both times they really delivered. The records after this are also worth checking out (although really only The Remote Part and Warnings/Promises). Here's what you should listen to:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Best Records of the 00's - Jimmy Eat World "Bleed American"

Jimmy Eat World came on the scene in the late 90's and made a bit of splash with their album Clarity. Clarity has a huge fanbase, and old school fans of theirs also have a special place in their heart for Static Prevails. While I really like Clarity, and kinda like Static Prevails, the band's breakthrough for me is Bleed American.

Coincidentally (or not?) that was also their breakthrough commercially. The band refined their sound a bit from slower melodies to a lot of fast paced power pop songs for this album, and you can feel it. It's definitely a record that zooms all the way through the end. Although I like some of the follow up albums Futures and Chase This Light, they are nowhere near as good as Bleed American, or what came albums that came before it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Best Records of the 00's - Miracle of 86 "Every Famous Last Word"

Every once in a while a record will come along that is really great and nobody knows about it. It feels good to be one of a few people who really appreciate it. You feel bad for the band because they never got big because of the record, they were never playing arenas, never signed a multi record multi million deal. In fact they put the record out and then broke up like a year later. If you meet someone that knows and also loves this record, you are instantly surprised and taken aback that they know of it, but you also immediately trust their taste in music.

Oh yeah I'm talking about "Every Famous Last Word" by Miracle of 86. Every song is great. And nobody ever bought it or talked about it. You all done fucked up. Although Kevin Devine, luckily, is doing just fine and still making great music. But this record ruled. In fact I can't find any Miracle of 86 shit on YouTube - so here's Kevin doing a couple of songs solo. They sound different though obviously.

Check it out:

Friday, October 2, 2009

Best Records of the 00's - Eminem "The Marshall Mathers LP"

I think in the summer of 2000 there was a couple of records I had in rotation - but nothing ruled like that year's Eminem release. Every song seemed so crazy and angry, but at the same time clever, and I loved it.

At the time I worked for a really really small company, where I basically sat in a room with my boss and my one coworker. Me and my coworker Andy listened to this so much we knew pretty much all the words, all the background noises and sound effects and would recite them at times. Although it seems really dated now, with the references to the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and Carson Daly, at the time it fit as an angry piece of music countering the smiley pop music that dominated. The next record from Eminem "The Eminem Show" was also good, but not quite as great. The two after definitely slipped with "Encore" probably under the category of albums that blow. Here's some of my favorite tracks from Marshall Mathers LP:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Best Records of the 00's - Against Me! "Searching For A Former Clarity"

I had been pretty familiar and interested in the band Against Me! before this record, as their previous albums were solid punk sing along fun. This is the one that really brought it home though. The songs sounded loud, the lyrics were great and it felt like it had been a while since a new punk band really made things sound new. To me this sounded new and it sounded relevant.

I also totally played the shit out of this when I got it, listening to it just about every day, singing along and driving my coworkers who sat in cubes near me crazy. A couple of them even started to know the choruses to songs like "Miami" and "Holy Shit".

The band is also one of the best live bands around. I can't praise them enough. The record after this "New Wave" is also very good, but a little different and "Searching For..." is still my go to Against Me! album. Check out a couple of these tracks here on YouTube: