Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Best of 2009

Can't beleive that this decade is over. Crazy to think that the garage, "New York" sound, and new-new wave that were becoming all the rage when the decade started have now given way to, well, I don't even know what the current "sound" is.

Anyway, here's my Best of 2009. I found that I liked invidual tracks better than albums as a whole in 2009, so even if these are my "top" albums, I do not necessarily think they are top quality overall:

10. The Whip - X Marks Destination - Excellent dance-rock with a new wave feel, Manchester's The Whip will either make you get up and dance, or get up and scream. (Ok, this album came out in 2008, but didn't make it's US debut until 2009)

9. 2020 Soundsystem - Falling - Cool, dancey grooves that sound like another Soundsystem (LCD), but with more of an electro than funk flare.

8. Hotels - Where Hearts Go Broke - Shades of early New Order and early Duran Duran (especially on "Lelani") from this shoegazey, post-punk band from Seattle.

7. Doves - Kingdom of Rust - Solid effort from Doves, certainly more upbeat (as much as Doves can be) than previous albums. "Spellbound" harkens back to Lost Souls.

6. The XX - XX - Artsy, cool trip-hop tunes. The XX is just a kick, a snare, and a few samples away from being Portishead. The Them Jeans Drum remix of "Shelter" shows how great these The XX is with hard drums behind them.

5. The Cribs - Ignore the Ignorant - As usual, great guitar rock from The Cribs, and Johnny Marr's influence is quite apparent here. "We Were All Aborted" and "We Share the Same Skies" are fantastic tracks.

4. Moby - Wait for Me - Downtempo and chill in parts, in your face in others, Moby puts together yet another engaging album. The Apparat remix of "Pale Horses" really brings something to the table.

3. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - How can you resist the catchy "1901"? Seems like this album is showing up on a lot of top 10 lists, so apparently not many people could. "Fences" may be the best track on this upbeat indie-rock album from the French rockers.

2. Franz Ferdinand - Tonight - great album from start to finish. Classic Franz - dancey, upbeat, witty lyrics. Led by singles "Ulysses" and "No You Girls," Franz once again makes you dance. "Lucid Dreams" is also a standout track.

1. Metric - Fantasies - I've always liked Metric, but for the first time, I think they put together a complete package with their latest album, Fantasies. "Help, I'm Alive" is such an incredible song (and the Twelves' remix is even better), and singles "Gimme Sympathy" and "Sick Muse" are great sing-song indie rock tracks.

2009 also saw the fantastic remix of Saint Etienne's Foxbase Alpha - wonderfully entitled Foxbase Beta - a crisper, modern take on the classic album. Air France also put together a great remix of "Spring," which may be my favorite Saint Etienne track.

Great tracks from 2009 - Empire of the Sun's "We are the People", Hook and The Twin's "Transport", the aforementioned Twelves' remix of "Help I'm Alive", Detachments' "The Flowers That Fell" (and its remix by Parallels), The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's "Higher Than the Stars" (and the Saint Etienne remix of that track), Passion Pit's "The Reeling" and even U2's "Magnificent" (and the Fred Falke remix as well).

Finally, I'm not sure what to make of The Bravery's Stir the Blood. It's pretty synth/electro heavy, which I love, but the vocals and lyrics are so poor. I know Sam Endicott wants to be all DIY, but I'd love if he would work on his vocals a bit more. I'm still a fan of The Bravery, but it's hard to take them seriously.