Hello everybody!!! It is good to be back!! Sorry about the mass hiatus but I was in South America for a couple of months and it has taken me a month to get my head back. Many thanks must go to Adso for the great work at keeping the blog pumping with all your music needs.
Now in the same vein as my Top 15 albums of 2007, my Top 25 of 2008 and Adso’s Favourite 15 albums of 2009 I bring my Top 30 Albums of 2009. Now this list has been my most thought about yet as I started drafting it up in November during the start of a massive night in Buenos Aires. It has been on my mind ever since and it is finally time to get this fucker down on paper and make it official so I can start thinking of this year. The good thing about going away in November for a couple of months was that I was stuck for 2 months with my current library of music and therefore was able to fully concentrate on the 2009 albums without any new distractions.
My list also includes 6 albums which Adso had in his showing that our taste in music crosses over in the middle however there is still enough room on each side to keep things interesting around here and that is why it works so well.
Top 30 Albums of 2009
30. Lindstrome and Prins Thomas – II
Lindstome is definitely one of my favourite produces of the last couple of years and definitely probably one of the most intelligent. This effort with Prins Thomas was intriguing and has its place and time. Instrumental and progressive the album takes you through many shades of space.
29. Fischerspooner – Entertainment
I find it personally very disappointing to see Fischerspooner this far down my list as their last album could have topped this year if it was released now. I guess I may be living for nostalgia for the past and my tastes have matured beyond the Electroclash of a few years ago however I do believe that this album was poorly produced compared to their last couple and it did not quite get me there. Saying that it does deserve its spot for its pop value and electro moments.
The gossip really took their talent, their audience and the current scene mixed it together and made a really good pop record. No one can deny that Beth Ditto has an amazingly remarkable voice although it is sometimes better to imagine it coming from someone else. Although the production on this record is layered much more than earlier they are still able to keep their three piece feel with all focus being from the rhythm section and the vocals. The record is pure indie dance.
27. Mumford and Sons – Sigh No More
Well I picked up this album just before I left and enjoyed it quite a bit overseas when I needed to chill. I only picked up the album because they were playing at Lane Way and I had not really heard anything about them before this. Little did I know I would come back to them being Australia favourite band. The album has some fantastic acoustic ballads however it does not keep up this standard the whole length and that is why it hit the position it did with me.
26. Fever Ray – Fever Ray
On first few listens of this album I was immediately captivated and thrilled at the originality of the sound and the depth’s it delivered. I was unable however to go any deeper and the album halted just as it begun and ceased to grow. She would be a fantastic live act with big dark speakers enhancing the situation.
25. Peter Bjorn and John – Living thing
I loved this album much more at the time and if they released it in November then it would probably be a lot higher. Every track is good yet the lack of any real body hits it short of great. The strong point definitely has to be the vocal harmonies, quirky melodies and humorous themes. Perfect for remixes although I cannot really remember any good ones??
This album was my little bit of grungy nostalgia for the year. It came at a time when I really was craving some whiney vocals, big licks and simple distortion. Missed them play at Splendour which I was really disappointed at as I think they would produce heaps of energy live and there is nothing better than a good old mosh pit when you are in the mood for it.
23. Silversun Pickups – Swoon
I had never really listened to the Pickups before except for a couple of their singles but I am really glad I got a hold of this album as it was pumping. My last two top lists of the year included an indie rock album at number 1 and indie rock albums all over the list however this year I do not think there is one true indie album which is really disappointing. However there are a few great rock albums instead and this being one of them.
A real spacey disco album which included a perfect addition with the album being 1 continuous mix. Another album really for those certain moments but one that at the same time can really hold its own by the uplifting changes. The album cover really describes it well – a cowboy in space, grooving to his own adventure.
21. Zero 7 – Yeah Ghost
Zero 7 was a real surprise packet for me at the end of the year. One of the albums which grew on me when I was overseas. The production on the album is flawless and the addition of a range of vocals over a range of different beats and melodies of all speeds and sizes creates a truly original album which nowadays is hard to come by.
20. Junior Boys – Begone Dull Care
The live stand out at Parklife last year by far. Their progressive minimal beats are perfect for closing your eyes and grooving to. Begone Dull Care has been my favourite Junior Boys album thus far with very consistent tracks which flow flawlessly throughout the album. The stand out track for me was definitely Dull To Pause with its uplifting raw guitar riff, friendly vocal line and a wickedly catchy high pitch synth melody – get it from Adso’s post.
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs really turned it up a notch on this album with deciding to dive right into the electronic scene which made artist hugely popular in 2009. The scene really swallowed them up with the help of some massive synth lines and bangers most notably their track Zero. The production was massively tight on this album with the focal point staying on the vocals throughout. Was unable to make it back for Sunset Sounds to catch them live so hopefully next time.
Placebo was another band who gave me my rock fix during the year. I did not really hear much of this album at all last year and do not think I saw them make an appearance of Triple J hottest 100? I am sure the lead singers whiney voice annoys the shit out of some people but I absolutely love it – it vomits angst’s and really puts meaning behind each word. I think these guys are coming to Sound Wave in Feb however I do not think I will be able to put up with all the metal to see them.
17. The Sounds – Crossing The Rubicon
This is another album which I basically heard nothing about this year, I have a feeling it did not do too well?? But once again I loved it. It took a much rawer attempt at pop then their last two but still kept it really rocking. I love the singer’s punk voice and imagining her singing makes it even better as she is beautiful. The album has really strong break downs and I do believe still has the ability to work on the dance floor – especially the track Beatbox.
16. Chairlift – Does You Inspire You
I found Chairlift’s album really interesting and original. The vocal lines are amazing and the beats can be real deep or real uplifting – this creates a constant emotion throughout the album.
15. Florence and the Machine
I just recently saw Florence and the Machine at Lane Way and for anyone else who saw Florence sing they will know what I am speaking about when I say she is an absolutely amazing performer. Her voice is so strong and accurate it is hard to take your eyes off her. The album is incredibly uplifting throughout and the production creates a strong vibe which centres on each vocal line. Florence could be a very very big pop star if she decides to stop making such cool music – so let’s hope for all of us that she continues along the line of Lungs.
14. Metric – Fantasies
It seems that a lot of the bands I have included in this list seem to have front women – I do not think it is any personal preference or taste of mine just that the chicks killed it in 2009. I have been into Metric for awhile and have really enjoyed their previous albums however Fantasies really stepped it up a notch in terms of overall production – I think it was the first album which Australia really noticed the Canadians. There are some really strong tracks on this album including Help I’m Alive, Sick Muse and Gimme Sympathy. The vocals and guitars are definitely the focal point throughout the album mixed with some big beats and synth lines creating another indie dance crossover.
13. Beyond The Wizards Sleeve – Beyond the Wizards Sleeve Re-Animations, Vol. 1
Well I know many of you do not really think a remix album should count in this list right?? Well it is my list and I can do what I want. I would even probably call this more of a mix then a remix album as the Continuous Mix by Erol got a lot more plays then the album itself. I was able to put the mix on in any situation with any group of people and it was able to be listened to – either that the group of people did not tell me to change the music or that the group of people fucking loved it. I am not much of a fan of mixes usually however I have not listened to one more than this, well other than a couple of Soulwax’s live ones
Equal 12. Tiga – Ciao
Yes the Dewaele’s production with that little singer from Montreal called Tiga. I honestly thought that this album was going to be able to hit the charts this years and we would start hearing some of the tracks on Nova – from all reports it did not seem to happen which is very surprising. Now other than a few gag worthy vocal lines this album contained absolutely massive beats and once you got past half way Tiga’s cheesy lines were long forgotten. The stand out track for me was defiantly the last being Love Don’t Dance Here Anymore – the 10 min epic with a massive amount of variation and a massive amount of fun.
Tiga – Love Don’t Dance here Anymore
Tiga – Overtime
Equal 12. Peaches – I feel Cream
I could not decide which album I liked better out of Tiga and Peaches so I have given them both 12th spot. I felt that these albums gave me very similar feelings while listening to them and were equally as good. Peaches relied on a few more producers then Tiga using the likes of Simian Mobile Disco, Soulwax, Drums 4 Death and Digitalism – this is evident throughout the production with some absolutely massive tracks my favourite being More produced by Simian Mobile Disco. The track I Feel Cream could be a club classic and I can’t believe I have not heard DJs play it more?
This album got a lot of people very excited this year. It came out just as people were starting to take The XX off repeat and were looking for something a little more upbeat. When first listening to the album I had suspicions that it could have been produced by a very well known electronic producer however on doing some research it turns out it is a production team called Bloodshy & Avant – I would love to look into some of their other stuff as the extra electronic parts which they have throughout the album make it what it is. Ok on clicking through to Bloodshy & Avant name on Wikipedia I have just come aware that they have produced the likes of Britney Spears, Madonna, Kelis, Kylie Minogue and Jennifer Lopex – aren’t we lucky that they got together with the singer and made something this cool!
We are now starting to get into albums which I absolutely loved this year. My taste of music was massively swayed towards the disco beats in 2009 and luckily for me there were some great releases. Woolfy are DFA babies from the UK and their album if filled with funky beats driven by strong drums and bopping bass. Like every good dance album it has its pop elements but also it’s long spaced out trips. The album sounds like nothing else this year and I would love to see these guys reproduce it live. I do not think they have gained much popularity here in Australia but one of them came for a DJ set in 2009 so hopefully he liked the place so much that the band will return!!
Adso first got me into White Lies during an earlier post and luckily for me it was before they played at Splendour in the Grass festival. I could not quite believe it when the singer came out who seemed to be a really young scrawny dude with this absolutely massive voice which he reproduced perfectly on the day. The vocals are filled with stories of hope, lost ambition, sadness and redemption – they are able to take you right into their tracks and make you feel sympathy with the music.
White Lies – A Place To Hide
White Lies – To Lose My LIfe
Who Made Who are one of my favourite bands and The Plot really highlighted how much they have matured since their first album. Their live show this year was awesome, unfortunately they came out just before their album was released so I am dying to see them again – these guys are real characters I would love to see WMW and Datarock on the same night (O wait I did a couple of years ago). WMW kept a similar formula to their last album being big octave disco basslines coupled with dancey drum beats and piecing guitar however the big change was the addition of intelligent vocals which created even more catchy tracks.
Well Datarock has to be the most posted about band on this blog in the last year and have done very well on both Adso (Number 7) and my lists. A lot of people describe Datarock as 80’s nostalgia but I do not really agree with that – I believe that their sound is modern electronic pop. Anyone who has seen them live knows that their shows are an absolute ball with music to match it. I do believe that Australia is their second home and it will not be long until we see them again.
Datarock – The Pretender (Holy Ghost Dub)
Datarock – Give It Up (Kissy Sell Out Remix)
Datarock – Molly
I would have to say that The XX were definitely 2009’s buzz band and they sure as hell lived up to it. Their mix of electronic lounge, dub step pop has grasped audiences of all shapes and sizes in 2009. Their back and forth technique of sharing the vocal verses between male and female creates a type of ambiance that makes you feel as if you are listening in on a conversation. The foundation of their music is minimal melodies, a focus on basslines, of course the soothing vocals and effects and I believe most importantly the drum patterns which have thrown them into the electronic scene. I had the absolute pleasure of seeing them live recently at Lane Way and I was both shocked and pleased at their performance. I had no idea that they were a bunch of Goths as their music points in the opposite direction – this alone intrigued me however not as much as the fact that the dude doing the beats was producing them all with his fingers on a drum pad – that was the fucking coolest.
What a surprise packet The Lost Valentinos album turned out to be. I am a little disappointed that there are not more Aussie bands in my list but I am glad that one got this high. I listened to this album heaps overseas as it is a concept album about the end of Inca times in Peru and that’s where I was for some of the time. The production on the album is first class and the use of pure synth sounds have fattened each track up to the point that the dance floor is begging to feel the album dropped. They came in at number 9 on Adso’s list due to the fact that the last songs let it down for him – I did not feel that at all as I believe the whole album in each of its parts makes for a fantastic whole. The last tracks hold the most emotion in the entire album. Great album Valentinos and I do hope to see you soon!!
The Lost Valentinos – Great Leap Forward
The Lost Valentinos – Midnights
The Lost Valentinos – Bismarck (Canyons remix)
The Juan Maclean album is really the pinnacle of the sound which I was searching for all year. I hold a lot of similarities between The Juan Maclean and LCD Soundsystem and not only the obvious ones (same label, some of the same band members) but due to the complexity of each track and the amazing compositions to pull it all together. Each track delivers something different and some of the tracks are so good that every time you listen to them you find something different to like about it – and once you add that to all the other things that you have found in the past you start to want to make music. Although they gave me one of my favourite albums of the year they also gave me one of my biggest disappointments of the year when I found out that they were not playing live at Summafieldayz – but we will not talk about that.
The Juan Maclean – The Simple Life
The Juan Maclean – Accusations
Rules was the first album of the year which I truly enjoyed and it has continued to be one of the last. I was still able to put this album on in December and enjoy it as much as I did at the start of the year. On occasion during my decision making process I thought due to its amazing staying power that it did deserve the number 1 spot. However a wise women did tell me something very true and that is it has stayed so long at the top due to the fact it is so easy to listen to and able to be listened to in any situation. She also pointed out that it was their second album and a lot like their first – both of these things are very true and are the reason why it is sitting at number 2. The fact that you can listen to this album at any time of the day or night is testament of how well it was produced. I believe that its strongest quality are the running bass lines which get into your head and determine each beat and direction of the track until you start singing the bass lines instead of the words.
Well here it is, my number 1 album of 2009 out of all the many albums I listened to. When I first heard Fail Forever which was definitely my favourite song of 2009 I thought that this band would be huge. When I first heard Ten Makes A Face I knew that this band would be huge, however for some reason or another they are not huge? I have a feeling it has been due to the fact that their album has been restricted in its release and promotion. I am not even sure if it has seen a realease outside of Scandanavia?? So maybe just maybe 2010 could be their year. I for one sure as hell hope so because I need to see them live – so much do I need to see them live if it does not happen in the near future I may have to go overseas to see them. Their album is perfectly original with so much variation and genre between each track it would be hard to put the tracks together if you did not know it was them. The lead singers voice is stunning, to a stranded of Antony Hegarty. DJs should really get a hold of this and start playing some of the tracks on the dance floor as they could pump it. The vocal harmonies throughout the album are incredible and the slower tracks highlight this. I am really glad that an album like this was released last year as it gives me hope for the future that there is amazing stuff out there to always be discovered – so keep looking.
Well that is it for 2009 come February 2010. I now hope we can all leave the past behind and finally get on with our lives. I know 2010 has already produced a few smashing albums and the direction and the sound of dance music is consistently running further away from the commercial shit that is starting to pollute our airwaves – being electro hip hop. Here is to another year of A Derogatory Term – Thanks for reading.