Site Network: Home | About

Best Of 2009

Well it's that time again, time to rate my favorite releases of the year. Hope you enjoy..

25. Julian Plenti – Julian Plenti is Skyscraper

This one took me a few listens to appreciate and to separate my previous expectations. It’s not Interpol nor is it meant to be. This is Paul Bank’s playing around by himself seeing what he is capable of. The mood is much lighter; the Joy Division influences are gone replaced by a gritty indie rock experience.

24. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz

Bye bye garage rock, hello cleanly produced indie dance rock. The screeching vocals and disjointed, ear piercing guitars are gone; instead keyboards and thick synthpop envelop Karen O’s vocals. It’s nice to see the band branch out and Karen does an amazing job singing in this new manner. The songs are fun and listenable something earlier songs were not. I don’t see it as a sell out; the Kills progressed in the same way which opened the doors to a wider range of style.

23. Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johannson – Breakup

I am not a huge Pete Yorn fan, I find him quite boring but when he recorded with Scarlett Johannson I couldn’t ignore. Scarlett’s first release, a cover of Tom Wait’s songs was very good; her unique voice captured the music perfectly. This time around, Scarlett is paired with Pete playing off of each other with a sixties summer sound. It’s not She and Him, instead it’s a basement record between two former lovers.

22. Kasabian – The West Rider Pauper Lunatic Asylum

When it comes to emulating the best of the 90s Brit Rock scene, Kasabian come out on top. By their 3rd release the band strives to create a new sound while paying homage to those before them. Unfortunately this new direction doesn’t surface until the 5th song which was a little disappointing. Don’t get wrong, the previous 4 songs are great but nothing new. The expanded sound merges psychedelic, spaghetti western and Beatles influences into a sonic landscape the band should be proud of. The hard hitting electro beats surface from time to time to remind us that Kasabian can still rock out.

21. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone

While playing with the New Pornographers, Neko Case was just a number and didn’t give much to the band but solo she is a force to be reckoned with. Neko does Alt Country like no one else and grows with each and every solo release. Middle Cyclone features fiddles, slide guitars, lots of strumming and Nashville vocals. This isn’t a honky-tonk Country record, more American Gothic with a sultry twang.

20. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast

Whistling, violins and glockenspiel’s are a few of the instruments used by Andrew Bird. Former member of the Squirrel Nut Zippers, Bird has amassed a collection of releases while exploring different sounds on each. His latest Noble Beast is soft, folksy whistle rock tailor made for a soundtrack to a children’s book. The release is whimsical with an introspective view of Bird’s mind.

19. Pink Martini – Splendor In The Grass

Jazz, latin, classical and lounge a few of the styles Pink Martini incorporates into their orchestral sound. China Forbes leads the band singing in multiple languages and plays well with the various influences. The release begs to be played on a lazy Sunday morning or during a pretentious dinner party.

18. The Postmarks – Memoirs From The End Of The World

This is the Postmark’s 2nd release and a must have. The kitsch 60’s soundtrack arrangements blend perfectly with Tim Yehezkely’s voice who is actually a female. Her vocal range isn’t wide just soft and sweet and reminiscent of many 60’s heroines. Think James Bond mixed with Henri Mancini and you have the Postmarks.

17. Deer Tick – Born On Flag Day

I was quite disappointed by John McCauley’s interview on Sirius radio this past summer, his lack of personality and willingness to share with his listeners any insight into his music nearly cost him a spot on my list. I think the guy is a douche but his music is amazing. It’s gritty and unadulterated Alt Country, thru the lens of a drunken and pissed off hipster.

16. Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions – Through The Devil Softly

Former Mazzy Star creator, Hope Sandovol is back with a haunting release full of lush vocals, soft acoustic guitars and breezy atmosphere. I can’t recall how many nights I fell asleep to this release. The warm sound was relaxing as well as Hope’s whispering lyrics.

15. Florence & The Machines – Lungs

Part Beth Orton, Feist, Sarah McLachlan & Cat Power, Florence Welch delivers an amazing debut full of beautiful melodies and cutting folk rock. Florence’s voice is one that can transcend many musical styles, which allows her to genre hop if she is so inclined. Another debut from a young UK artist, Florence & The Machines have helped the lagging UK indie scene recover from the disastrous few years of post punk.

14. Son Volt – American Central Dust

Tear in my beer, melancholy and pure Alt Country are what Son Volt achieved this time around. The sound is not complicated nor does it vary in tempo but for fans of Americana and the early 90s will welcome this release with arms wide open. Slide guitar, whiskey soak vocals, fuzzy guitars and Hammond organs dominate the musical landscape. There are no modern electronic sounds, no fancy production just straight up tunes from a bunch of talented musicians.

13. U2 – No Line On The Horizon

Musically, the last decade has been boring for U2. They went back to their “roots” and became drab and dull. Not sure what it was but U2 changed directions and made their music interesting once again. They didn’t revolutionize the industry; instead they gave us a release without the incessant Bono whining and messiah complex. There are few pop songs but nothing that can be made into an iPod commercial. I’m fine with that; we need a break with something more about music and less about Bono.

12. Cornershop – Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast

Disco/Funk/Rock/World Fusion are just a few characteristics of Cornershop’s music. The 1st song Who Fingered Rock’n’Roll might be the best song of the year. With its mix of sitars, infectious grooves and northern soul, Cornershop has created a memorable gem that everyone should enjoy not once but many times over. If you are in need of a party record, this one should be it.

11. Alice In Chains – Black Gives Way To Blue

14 years after the last studio album and subsequent death of lead singer Layne Staley, Alice in Chains return with a new release and lead singer. The sound is dark, heavy full of sludge and beauty only AIC are capable of. New vocalist Patrick Lachman does his best impression of Layne and at times you can’t tell the difference between the two. This cd is both a tribute to Layne as well as a sign that the band was more than just the singer. The proverbial chains have been broken and I am curious to see what AIC has in store next time around.

10. Depeche Mode – Sounds Of The Universe

DM never disappoints and this time around it’s no different. The dark and heavily layered sounds create a captivating experience. The slow progression builds into a complex web of keyboards and electronic drums. Live instruments are not left out and add to tiers of sound. Dave Gahan’s vocals are strong, lasting and reminiscent of Songs of Faith and Devotion.

9. Gomez - A New Tide

The always out of place UK jam band, Gomez narrowed their sound and focused on clear and concise songs. Alternating vocals cater to the styles of each singer but keep the mood upbeat and lively. There are subtle Electronic hints as well as Alt Country poking thru leaving the listener with a better understanding of how slight fusions can make for great music.

8. Editors – In This Light An On

Editors, the UK’s answer to Interpol. This was true for a while but Editors finally found a sound they can work with and expand on. On this release, the band fully embraced the 80s synthpop sound and mashed it up with the darkness of Joy Divison. It’s clean and tightly produced with no feedback or rough edges. This one was a grower for me, it took a number of listens but by the end I was hooked.

7. Echo & The Bunnymen – The Fountain

31 years later Ian McCulluch and Will Sergeant are still making relevant and amazing music. There were a few years during the early 90s when the band broke up but since 1996 they have been going strong. The Fountain tosses any stereotype you would attach to a 50 year old by the wayside. This release is full of life and showcases Echo’s strengths. Biting hooks as well as beautiful melodies meander throughout the cd accompanied by Ian’s signature voice and Will’s guitar lines. The cd is timeless, it could have been released in 1989, ‘99 or ‘09 and you wouldn’t even know.

6. Moby – Wait For Me

Moby has been hit or miss and as of late, it’s been a number of misses. This time around, Moby gave up the dance floor and looked inward. He did what he does best and created a borderline ambient release. The deluxe version does contain ambient versions of each of the songs but this is somewhat boring compared to the originals. The warm/cold atmosphere Moby creates with haunting organs and lush female vocals is downright intoxicating and one that should be listened to over and over.

5. The Black Heart Procession – Six

The BHP enjoys the dark and brooding world of folk music. They excel at capturing a sound and engulfing all that surround them. While it’s dark, it’s not Goth more a sad Americana with beautiful piano melodies. Tension varies throughout the release, which adds to the depth created here.

4. Air – Love 2.0

Love 2.0 is the closest Air has come to their debut Moon Safari. The songs are still cool and breezy electronic but with some weight. The mood is lighter as is the tempo but not quite up to dance speed. The cd is full of kitsch organs, cinematic overtones and lush female vocals. While Pocket Symphony was a headphone release, Love 2.0 is meant to be enjoyed on surround sound.

3. Grant Lee Philips – Little Moon

Grant Lee returns with an eclectic mix of songs that keep your toes tapping and head swaying. This is Grant Lee’s strongest release to date. The multidimensional approach harkens back to GLB while showcasing Grant Lee’s taste for a perfect pop tune. Americana/Folk/Rock blended together with an uncanny eye for excellence.

2. The xx – xx

A brilliant debut from a bunch of UK hipsters too young to remember there influences but smart enough to build on the sound and make it their own. The xx have taken a minimalist sound with bantering vocals and transformed it into an amazing release from start to finish. Hints of Interpol and slacker electronic fill the room with a dark and moody vibe.

1. Soulsavers – Broken

For the 2nd time, Mark Lanegan teams up with the Electronic duo The Soulsavers to release a beautifully produced Mark Lanegan record. While it’s billed as the Soulsavers, the cd is more or less another solo for Lanegan. The release is dark, brooding and heavy all characteristics of his previous work. The Soulsavers take what Mark does best and complicates the sound with layers upon layers of atmospheric sounds. This cinematic approach gives Mark a full orchestration for his voice to weave in and out of fuzz, reverb, heavy riffs and menacing beats. I like to think of the Soulsavers as remixers of Mark’s previous work. Breathing new life and broadening the view Mark may never had imagined when he first went solo.

Posted by mardenhill 12/16/2009 02:48:00 PM  


  1. Jenna said...
    Dude. I have been so out of things as far as music is concerned, this list helps loads. I just downloaded The XX yesterday, and who knew Editors had a new album? Way behind! I must now go and get half this list. Thanks, man :)
    mardenhill said...
    not a problem,i love the xx and usually listen to it a couple times a week. it was a toss up between them and mark for the top spot. about a week before posting my list i finally made up my mind. another really good cd is honey honey but after some digging i realized the cd came out in nov 08 so it couldn't earn a spot.
    Anonymous said...
    I just got an ipod touch, and my girlfriend loves the games on them, so she wants an iphone. What are some good girly games that she might like. She has a cooking game and Sally's Salon, but they stress her out because they are too strategic. What are some good easy-going girly games she might like?

    [url=]unlock iphone[/url]
    Anonymous said...
    Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!
    Anonymous said...
    [url=][b]wetter co[/b][/url]

    [url=][b]anton wetter[b][/url]
    オテモヤン said...
    Anonymous said...

    A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits and channels those deposits into lending activities. Banks primarily provide financial services to customers while enriching investors. Government restrictions on financial activities by banks vary over time and location. Banks are important players in financial markets and offer services such as investment funds and loans. In some countries such as Germany, bank have historically owned major stakes in industrial corporations while in other countries such as the United States banks are prohibited from owning non-financial companies. In Japan, banks are usually the nexus of a cross-share holding entity known as the keiretsu. In France, bancassurance is prevalent, as most banks offer insurance services (and now real estate services) to their clients.

    The level of government regulation of the banking industry varies widely, with countries such as Iceland, having relatively light regulation of the banking sector, and countries such as China having a wide variety of regulations but no systematic process that can be followed typical of a communist system.[url=]CLICK HERE[/url]
    Anonymous said...
    Lyme disease is a condition that is created by a specific bacterium that is referred to as Borrelia Burgdorferi.
    [url=]lyme disease pictures[/url]
    Anonymous said...
    The skin disease is characterized by multi-colored fiber-like (filamentous) strands extruding from the skin!
    Anonymous said...
    Multifarious times placidness preserver own a presentiment blameworthy if they fritter away effortlessness all at on a bygone grounds to reparation in narcotize [url=]viagra[/url]. The greatest bib chore your kids to invest to lucubrate exactly medication, [url=]ambien[/url] and in the demarcation of outmoded maturate into an trained in crate with medication [url=]buy meridia[/url] or [url=]flagyl[/url].
    grubbii said...
    Randy -
    It is your old pal, Rick Grubb - from the BBDO days. The only album I even knew on this crazy list of yours was Alice in Chains. And, although Patrick Lachman DID tour with AIC for a while, the new singer on the "Black Gives Way to Blue" album is William Duvall (a black man, at that!)
    Anonymous said...
    online dating service in uk [url=]online dating service[/url] canada dating dating flash game online
    Anonymous said...
    Correctly your article helped me truly much in my college assignment. Hats off to you post, choice look audacious in behalf of more related articles promptly as its one of my pet subject-matter to read.
    Anonymous said...
    Sorry for my bad english. Thank you so much for your good post. Your post helped me in my college assignment, If you can provide me more details please email me.
    Anonymous said...
    virginia board of health doctors [url=]evecare[/url] allergies muscle pain
    paso robles mineral springs hotels [url=]Order Cheap Generic Drugs[/url] juvinille diabetes [url= ]how to cure vaginal infection [/url] health and safety contacts
    alcohol too good for drugs [url=]reglan[/url] drug deal gone bad in olive hill
    medical transcriptionist michigan [url=]diovan[/url] colorado health legislation [url= ]medical waste disposal containers [/url] south african occupational health and safety act
    Anonymous said...
    louis vuitton shoes chinese brand infant shoes [url=]melanie klein[/url] clothes manufacturing in denver bridal party shoes [url=]remove highlighter from clothes[/url]
    Anonymous said...
    pictures orgasm positions legs [url=]ed strips[/url] landstuhl regional medical facility
    public health concerns into patent legislation [url=]exelon[/url] heart related info for elementary children [url= ]paul burke bodybuilding [/url] free orgasm porn
    amoonoosuc county health [url=]pletal[/url] increased stress oxidative disease
    floirda health [url=]grifulvin v[/url] department of health and hospitals in new york city [url= ]how parents help with student anxiety [/url] eukanuba kidney cat sale
    Anonymous said...
    travel calm coachman travel tailers
    [url=]travel to disneyland[/url] bay hauler travel trailers [url=]lao airways[/url]
    travel tea cups
    [url=]tx to ca air travel deals[/url] ndian rocks travel park [url=]cadbury tours hamilton ontario[/url]
    westfalia travel trailer club travel costa raica [url=]internet discounts car rental specials ny[/url]
    Anonymous said...
    bhool bhulaiya or jab we met online to watch full movie [url=]queen of outer space[/url] movie medusa super troopers the movie
    london movie [url=]believe in me[/url] movie theatre dawsonville ga tyra moore free movie downloads
    original tv movie who is the black dahlia [url=]all about eve[/url] jackson michigan movie theators
    sex movie [url=]2009 lost memories[/url] linda shortman movie review soul food movie
    movie rental [url=]scream 3[/url] the game plan movie flintstones movie funny dirty
    Anonymous said...
    characterization of the movie flicka [url=]next of kin[/url] movie soundtrack t 10 captain america movie
    inkheart movie [url=]symphony hour[/url] story of butterfly effect movie of mice and men movie book
    big spender horse movie [url=]brief moment[/url] the secret garden movie
    movie times smixer [url=]babylon 5 the river of souls[/url] movie why did i get married casting for the next american girl movie
    lesson plans for to kill a mockingbird the movie [url=]spies like us[/url] french movie 5x2 musical score movie scene archive
    Anonymous said...
    pirates movie [url=]man of her dreams[/url] narnia caspian movie playboy movie torrent
    types of movie [url=]the three faces of eve[/url] movie scream 4 remove soundtrack from a wmv file with windows movie maker
    today show movie review [url=]the old mill[/url] the long journey home movie
    united artists movie list6coming home [url=]brokeback mountain[/url] stardust movie 91709 movie reveiw of my life without me
    foot ball movie based on true story [url=]the hard word[/url] peter fonda 1997 movie brick the movie
    Anonymous said...
    movie music soundtrack clips [url=]dreamgirls[/url] kansas city prime movie striptease movie forum
    carmike movie theater [url=]six feet under[/url] database of movie review beatles movie
    ipod copy movie [url=]american dad [/url] briggadoon movie
    the indiana ice age and not the movie [url=] breaker morant[/url] lennox movie theater columubs ohio royale movie theater in prince george mall in maryland
    jacob and esau movie [url=]harley davidson and the marlboro man[/url] watch hole movie of halloween 5 buy dvd movie

Post a Comment