Thursday, December 31, 2009


Man did this decade SUCK or what???  What a waste of 10 years.  Not musically, though!!  Music was the awesome yin to life's shitty yang for the decade.  I had to cut down my list from something like my 200 favorite records to this: the absolute-ultimate-unimpeachable-undeniable-unfuckwithable top 30 albums of the last 10 years!!  These albums are the jam and if you don't like at least a few of these, nuts to you old fogey!!!!  Don't come to my party because we are rocking the fuck out.

30. So - So (2003)

read the rest!

29. Jana Hunter - Blank Unstaring Heirs of Doom (2005)

28. Jay Reatard - Blood Visions (2006)

27. Black Dice - Broken Ear Record (2005)

26. Yellow Swans - Bring the Neon War Home (2004)

25. Snoop Dogg - Tha Blue Carpet Treatment (2006)

24. The Angelic Process - Weighing Souls With Sand (2007)

23. David Thomas Broughton - The Complete Guide to Insufficiency (2005)

22. Daughters - Hell Songs (2006)

21. Ratatat - Ratatat (2004)

20. Greg Ashley - Painted Garden (2007)

19. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Dandelion Gum (2007)

18. Panda Bear - Person Pitch (2007)

17. Wolves in the Throne Room - Two Hunters (2007)

16. Flying Canyon - Flying Canyon (2006)

15. The Pack - Skateboards 2 Scrapers (2006)

14. Comets on Fire - Blue Cathedral (2004)

13. Madvillain - Madvillainy (2004)

12. Harvey Milk - Special Wishes (2006)

11. The Dirty Projectors - The Getty Address (2005)

10. Six Organs of Admittance - School of the Flower (2005)

09. Om - Conference of the Birds (2006)

08. Mclusky - Mclusky Do Dallas (2002)

07. Animal Collective - Sung Tongs (2004)

06. Deerhoof - Milk Man (2004)

05. Mastodon - Leviathan (2004)

04. The Blood Brothers - Burn Piano Island, Burn (2003)

03. Genghis Tron - Dead Mountain Mouth (2006)

02. Tim Hecker - Radio Amor (2003)

01. Hella - Hold Your Horse Is (2002)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

top 10 2009 edition

Destroy-the-scene mentioned this in his top 10, but man, was this just not a great year for music or what?  There were a lot of albums that I'd call really solid and happily listen to again and again (Converge, Blues Control, Dirty Projectors, Antipop Consortium), but which were not exactly mind-blowing.  Every time I've sat down to make this list, I've just ended up feeling kinda down and uninspired.  Maybe it's because I listened to more music this year that wasn't new- or maybe I just did a poor job of seeking out the exciting and ground-breaking music that was made in 2009?  At any rate, there were definitely at least a few standouts this year.  One last note before we get started: the ordering of this list is fairly arbitrary, and based more on my passing whimsy than a intentional declaration of ranked superiority, so don't take the numbers too seriously.  Here's what I ended up liking best:

10.  Garage/Lo-fi
With apologies to Mr. DPW (who has a preference for logically-numbered lists) I couldn't find 10 proper records to round out this list and so I'm gonna fudge it on the first couple of these.  So yeah, "garage/lo-fi" isn't a band, but actually a wide swath of music I dug this year.  Apparently a lot of other people did too, given the ever-changing "hip/not hip" status of some of these bands.  There were great records this year from Blank Dogs, Thee Oh Sees, Ganglians, Vivian Girls, Wavves (ha ha man did this dude ever take in the nuts this year, critically speaking), Eat Skull, Dum Dum Girls and more.  I can't really talk about this type of music without mentioning what an incredible source id reverberations (RIP, kinda?) was on this front.

read the rest!

9. Dubstep
Another genre that I dug a whole hell of a lot this year was dubstep, not exactly a scene that produces a lot of full lengths- so I'll just say "uh....dubstep, in general".  In particular though, I'd say Joker definitely had the stand-out year- "Digidesign" and "Do It" got more play around my place than almost anything else.  I also really, really loved Zomby, Guido, Appleblim, Hudson Mohawke, the most recent Mary Anne Hobbs mix, and the free live concert series put on by a car company that doesn't need to be named.

8. Tonetta 777
I keep trying to get people to pay attention to this dude but feel like no one is listening.  Is there something about a middle-aged Canadian man, a total acid casualty of indeterminate sexuality, gyrating provocatively and lip-syncing to his own bizarro lo-fi jams that people find off putting?  Try "DRUGS DRUGS DRUGS", "A Beautiful Dream" and "$$ VIRAL $$" before you make up your mind.

7. Micachu & The Shapes - Jewellry
Destroy-the-scene did an excellent job of reviewing this album earlier in the year, plus this album made his list, so I don't have too much to add, other than this is one of the few truly original-sounding records I heard this year.

6. A Place to Bury Strangers - Exploding Head
I have a soft spot in my heart for APTBS' (as well as APTBS-related bands, Skywave and Ceremony) gothy take on shoegaze, and I feel like this album is definitely by far the most solid release from any of these groups.  You could make the case that this record is derivative and is standing on the shoulders of older, better artists; you'd probably be right.  Nevertheless I really enjoyed "Exploding Head" and found myself coming back to it again and again.

5. Ducktails - Ducktails
Looking at my playcounts, it would seem that I might've listened to this dude more than any other act this year.  This is, in part, because he already has a fairly sizable body of work (most of it really good!  some of it, not so much).  This release, though, is probably the best distillation of the relaxed, summer-time vibes that he does so well.  His live show, however, was kind of a weird one- loud, dissonant and punishing rather than chill and laid-back(??).

4. Om - God is Good
Look, basically any year an Om album comes out, it's gonna be in the top 10.  Even if every Om album sounds like the last Om album (save a new drummer, some extra instrumentation, a slightly varied vocal style, other subtle differences).  This band rules so hard and everyone should be listening to them.

3. Absu - Absu
I reviewed this earlier in the year, and I'm still way into it.  Really focused, memorable black/death metal- what this record might lack in intensity (particularly compared to my next pick...) it more than makes up in songwriting.  I maybe would not have ranked it so high if I had been familiar with this band's back catalogue prior to this year, but I wasn't, and this was a hell of an eye-opener.

2. Liturgy - Renihilation
I detailed the reasons I love this album last week, and I don't have too much to add to that.  But this was one of the few albums I listened to this year that really, really grabbed me.  The energy that this record possesses is immense, and it captivated me in a way that no other album this year did.  Just thinking about this record makes my head spin.

1. Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms
I guess the whole "chill-wave" "glo-fi" "whatever" backlash is in effect now, which serves to remind me why I don't bother reading music reviews anymore.  I really dug this album, and it got a lot of play time around my apartment and on roadtrips.  While I think the record improves significantly in the second half, it's a really fun album throughout, catchy and breezy and light.  Neon Indian put on a great live performance when I saw them too, transforming a somewhat insubstantial bedroom pop project into a compelling, dancefloor-moving show.  I've reached the point where I'm pretty burned out on this album, and I think it'll definitely be a "2009" record that is more tied to this specific time, rather than something I'll return to frequently, but I'm OK with that.  I don't think there was any other album this year that was more present in my life.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Best In Music 2009

So let me start this off by saying that I listened mostly to old music this year, at years end i only owned 16 cds from 2009 and most of them make it onto this list. I didn't really enjoy too much experimental music this year i think due in part to conserving money and just the wide range of artists releasing vinyl only, digital only, cassettes, limited run stuff that just costs too much to follow. plus i dont like reviewing stuff unless i own it(i don't download too much due to a crappy computer) but yeah so this year i found some great records but i know i missed a bunch as well, but here goes, these are my favorite albums of the year. and yes the bottom 2 are reissues or old material issued for the first time but that's why they are at the bottom, the real 2009 list begins at #14

Ween-At the Cat's Cradle, 1992(MVD Audio)
This live recording from right after "Pure Guava" came out catches Ween in their prime with just the two original members of Ween performing with a DAT machine, which is basically the bass, drum machine, and other noises on a recorded backing track that Ween sings and plays guitar to. The sheer nerdiness of these early shows is perfectly captured with this live album, it's like catching two nerdy as hell best friends making the exact inside joke filled music they want to make with no compromises, except it's all done in front of a small club audience that I can't help but be ridiculously jealous of.

read the rest!

Nirvana-Live At Reading(DGC)
Much like the Ween album this captures a band right in their prime as a live act and stuck in between their commercial break through and their critical triumph. Whereas Ween is all goof and fun this album is a pure perfected tight aural assault. Every song brims with energy and exuberance. You can tell they know they are great at this point in their career and the audience eats up everything. This is how a live album should sound no wait scratch that, this is how a live show should be played.

Grizzly Bear-Veckatimest(Warp)
To be honest I still don't really LOVE this album, I like it, it's boring as shit but oddly enough that's ok, the album flows really well in a kind of boring way, somewhat akin to the classic Yo La Tengo albums without actually being as good as those. Don't get me wrong this is good, just not amazing, not great, it just is and i'm ok with that.

Tyondai Braxton-Central Market(Warp)
This was the sound of an artist taking all their previous musical output and influence and throwing it all up on a wall to see what sticks, a lot of it does, a little bit doesn't but at least this asshole was TRYING in year where it sounded like a lot of people weren't. This was a wild ass ride for anyone into modern classical, van dyke parks, disney scores, Zappa, and the Fiery Furnaces. Extremely annoying to some, inspirational to others.

Lightning Bolt-Earthly Delights(Load)
It's a new Lightning Bolt album, it'a awesome, they add some more metal and country to the mix but yeah, it's Lightning Bolt through and through, thanks guys for making me drive my car a little more recklessly when I'm listening.

Animal Collective-Fall Be Kind EP(Domino)
5 songs apparently left off of Merriweather, I can see why because they are inherently different. It's basically them doing a disney musical song for the first track, a stoney hip hop inspired grateful dead psych jam for the second track 2 chilled out tracks after that and what could have been a great Person Pitch outtake by Panda Bear as the closing track, it's really good and an awesome way to end a year.

Black Mold-Snow Blindness Is Crystal Antz(Flemish Eye)
The Best electronic/lo-fi/experimental/hip hop album of the year, all done by Chad VanGaalen. This album has some new sounds on it without a whiff of pretension, just having fun with some synths and some samplers and a damn good imagination.

Julian Casablancas-Phrazes For the Young(RCA)
The first solo album by the lead singer of the Strokes. It's good, reminds me a little of poppy Eno mixed with some good 80s synth based music like Orchestral Maneuveurs in the Dark. His vocals are a great mix of lazy and energetic. The Lyrics are all pretty dark and interesting, so yeah the best thing a Strokes member has done.

Flaming Lips-Embryonic(Warner Bros)
Left field fuck you noise jam album from a band I was beginning to hate for what they were doing. I hope no birkenstock wearing, coachella attending, fucktard on ecstacy ever likes this album it's not for them, it's for us.

Ovens-Self Titled(Tumult)
Earlier in the year Aquarius put this out and said they were the best pop band in San Francisco, I listened and they were right.Probably the best thing they recommended all year. This is pop punk done without a hint of irony or regret. It's 44 tracks of perfect 2 minute pop songs.

Michachu and the Shapes-Jewellery(Rough Trade)
Take a young inventive musical genius, pair her with Matthew Herbert and you get some kind of electronic Indie pop album that sounds like what i wish Deerhoof were putting out currently. It's like the Raincoats met Lily allen and said fuck it to commerciality.

Them Crooked Vultures-Self Titled(DGC/Interscope)
Dave Grohl on drums, John Paul Jones on bass/synth, Josh Homme on guitar and vocals, and I'm killed.

Future Of the Left-Travels With Myself and Another(4AD)
Their best work since Mclusky, this had all of the nasty spite and cynicism of their past records and this time it was even catchier and meaner, hard to explain an album that just rips from start to finish.

This was the best pop based music made this year, super modern r n b influenced, dorky as shit and completely wussy, but catchy as shit. autotune, guest appearences by shitty Dirty Projectors members, Vampire weekend connections, horrible indie pop connections, but my god does it work.

Pissed Jeans-King Of Jeans(Subpop)
My favorite pissed off band currently making music, this album hates you and everything you stand for. This album is the perfect way to end a shitty day. To me this album represents the complete antithesis to the dirty scummy shitty city I live in.

Animal Collective-Merriweather Post Pavilion(Domino)
And this represents everything good about this city I live in, wait scratch that, the world we live in. This album has every shade of emotion, mood, musical style, feel, blah blah blah. It is a modern masterpiece that will be remembered for years to come, this is one we can tell our children about. IT IS JUST GREAT.

hope you all had fun