Sunday, December 27, 2009

Top 5 Albums of 2009

Writing essay form blogs is hard; here are 5 albums that came out in 2009 that were totally amazing

5-Propagandhi: Supporting Caste
It had been quite a while since a punk album has totally floored me and reminded me why I adore that music so much. Even Yidcore's terrific 2007 release They Tried To Kill Us. They Failed. Let's Eat! failed to be an amazing listen start to finish. However, Propagandhi managed to re-cement themselves in my head as one of the greatest punk bands around today. Supporting Caste features all the quintessential elements of any good Propagandhi album; attacks on Neo-Liberalism, vegan-heavy messages and ludicrously soaring songs that aren't so much composed of 'lyrics' as they are poetry or eloquent rants. First listenings revealed the songs that are still favourites to this day, but also exposed what I viewed to be the obvious weak tracks. It wasn't until some months later when I revisited the album that I realised the subtle charm of said tracks. These songs aren't as 'punk' as earlier Propagandhi, and a few are about the importance of love or the simple joy of seeing live music. Despite this new appreciation for the non-Propagandhi style songs, the early favourites are favourites now, with song being amongst Propagandhi's absolute best. This might just be their best album and it was a terrific start to 2009's musical season.
Stand Out Tracks: Dear Coach's Corner, Human(e) Meat, Potemkin City Limits, Last Will And Testament

4-Do Make Say Think: Other Truths
I really got into heavily into post-rock over the past year or two, and Do Make Say Think, along with 65daysofstatic, capture the feelings I crave from the genre most deftly. Do Make Say Think's 2003 Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hymn is one of my all time favourite albums and their 2007 release, You, You're a History In Rust, was also really excellent (despite a couple of horrible production choices). Their release this year was titled Other Truths which is definitely a misnomer of a name, considering 'other' is hardly a word I would describe the album as. It is utterly essential DMST, coming across as a culmination of years of experience in their style rather than an experiment into 'other' territory. This is not a bad thing, particularly when the album features but 4 ten minute songs titled 'Do', 'Make', 'Say' and 'Think'. It is quite obvious the band were trying to make an exemplary album of their various music styles. 'Do', follows the most action heavy path, with the band doing more in ten minutes than they had done on entire albums early in their career. 'Make' is the 'build up song' that every single post-rock band knows they have to put on every album. Really though, it is an great track and ends with some of their loudest and biggest music. 'Say' is the most interesting track on the album I feel, featuring a small amount of wordless vocals and a back and forth pattern between all the instruments. It's the 'sleeper hit' of the 4 tracks, and cannot be appreciated in one listen. 'Think', naturally, is the contemplative closer; not a beautiful as Hooray Hooray Hooray! or You, You're Awesome but still very very nice. This album is Do Make Say Think doing what they know how to do, and doing it damn well.
Stand Out Tracks: Do, Make

3-The Horrors: Primary Colours
What can I say about The Horrors? Their 2007 debut, Strange House, was one of the best releases in recent times. Gothic influences, tongue perfectly in cheek, lest banal Birthday Party sounds with a keyboard tone to die for. It was with bated breath that I waited for a follow up. Primary Colours is nothing at all like what one would expect. Shoe gaze bands like My Bloody Valentine and post-punk like late 80s Cure replace the Jesus Lizard/Birthday Party sounds of the first album. Vocalist Faris does not scream at all over the album's lush, 45 minute dream tones. The keys are just as excellent, but now they're much higher in the mix, and battling with wah driven guitar feedback. The drumkit could probably be reduces to a snare, bass and crash cymbal and the album would sound the same. The album is surely not for everyone, particular people who were hoping for more of the same, but this is a seriously excellent release from a band who managed to struggle through the hype and come out on top. I would reccomend this to anyone who likes the idea of labels like 'shoe gaze', 'dream pop' and 'garage indie'
Stand Out Tracks: Who Can Say, Primary Colours, Sea Within A Sea

2-Fuck Buttons: Tarot Sport
Fuck Buttons' 2008 debut Street Horrrsing was one of the most life changing albums I've ever heard. It opened up a new world of electronic influenced and noise-core based music for me. Seeing them in January (after a festival, on an island, around midnight) was one of the best concerts of my life. I adore this band and make no apologies for the trendy, too-cool-for-school hype. Tarot Sport, upon first listening, was just a little too close to their debut for me. I was really wanting a totally different experience for some reason and was just a touch disappointed with having an album that sounded similar and had the same droning feedback tone as their debut. A week later though, I listened to it again and the album's been on high rotation since. Yes, the album does sound similar to Horrrsing but I now realise that this is not a bad thing. Pop sensibilities and danceable rhythms are interlaced with the pulsing, horrifying, joyous electronica they know how to do. The opening song serves a bridge between their first album and this one. By the time the last song finishes, you're tired. This is not an album, or band, for everyone. But for those who like sonic experimentation, noise music or experimental electronica, Tarot Sport is a must own
Stand Out Tracks: Surf Solar, The Lisbon Maru, Phantom Limb, Flight of The Feathered Serpent

1-ROOT!: Surface Paradise
Melbourne band ROOT!'s first album Root Supposed He Was Out Of The Question was one of the best albums of 2007, and their follow up is definitely my album of 2009. The concept album is based around the idea of the surface paradise; an idea so obvious that I will not explain it to you here. Anyone who knows anything about the band will know that it is needless to say that the album is hilarious, but the band now know how to write awesome, catchy pop songs and play their instruments damn well. The country influence is all but gone, and a straight up rock sound replaces it throughout much of the album. Clever lyrics and 'so clever they're dumb' lyrics pepper the album, but the spoken word sections are where singer DC Root really shines. I cannot recommend this album enough. To everyone. If you don't get it, it will only make me like the album more. If you do get it, they'll be your current favourite band. I can't honestly assume the album will be heard by more than a small group of dedicated fans, but we are the lucky ones. Everyone else is just slightly too deep.
Stand Out Tracks: All of them


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