Monday, December 21, 2009

Top Records of 2009

This is a movie blog, but I am first and foremost a huge music fan, so I decided to make one of these lists.  Enjoy!  Both Jonesy and I will have our review of Avatar and our top movies of the year coming up later this week!

Grizzly Bear-Veckatimest: The only way I could have made this more cliché is to have Merriweather Post Pavilion.  But seriously this record been this year’s Fleet Foxes, the record that I know backwards and forwards and have tried to dissect thoroughly. The songs are vague but personal, complex but catchy, I feel it is everything an album should be.  The track listing is amazing especially the last two songs I Live With You and Foreground.  What I find interesting is that a lot of the songs for me might not convey certain meanings but they convey images; snow covered forests, towns full of people, spacey wormhole time travel, aimless wandering in a fog. I will say that I am a bit biased given that Two Weeks has become the “song” for my girlfriend and I.

Mastodon- Crack The Skye: This is definitely my favorite metal record, but please don’t hold that against me, given the fact that I have not been listening to a lot of metal nowadays, apart from Mastodon, Converge a couple of others most of it bores me to death.  It’s like the 80’s all over again, a bunch of talented dudes that are not doing anything artistic or creative.  Enter Mastodon!  They continue to change and refine their sounds and letting new influences peek through every time they come out with something.  With this record they take their often ridiculous concept album stories to a great extent.  I won’t get into it though I am sure that there’s something about Rasputin, betrayal, wormholes, and resurrection.  Either way, the music is brutal when it needs to be or harmonically complex when it needs to.  The complexity of the solos seems to be getting better and the harmonies in the vocals keeps things interesting.  Overall this feels like their strongest record since Leviathan.

The Swell Season- Strict Joy:  There have been many break up albums in the past years, Bon Iver’s For Emma Forever Ago seem to come to mind and Noah and The Whale’s newest CD is another one as well.  But if standard break up albums are comparable to cheesy Hugh Grant romantic comedies then Strict Joy is comparable to the complexity of 500 days of summer.  It’s not about just breaking up and feeling shitty, but it’s about trying to grow as a person afterwards and not repeat the same mistakes again. The songs themselves are well written with an obvious Van Morrison influence. You can really tell they have indeed grown up as a group, and musicians, with the arrangements seeming more complex, and better structured than on the Once soundtrack. Kudos to Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova for being able to be in the same room together and make this record

Beatles Remasters:But Javi?! You silly goose, those records were made over 40 years ago! And to that I say screw you buddy, have you actually listened to these records remastered they might as well have been new.  The amount of clarity and new nuances that I am able to pick up from these CD’s is astounding.  You can hear some of the vocal harmonies clearer, the hi hats in the drums are more pronounced.  In tracks such as Tomorrow Never Knows the remastering feels more evident as you hear things you never though existed.  Honestly trying to describe them is a moot point; you have to hear it yourself. 

Sunn 0)))- Monoliths and Dimensions: Sunn 0))) has been one of my favorite bands since I heard them through a friend almost 5 years ago.  I have always found noise and drone metal to be fascinating for its lack of tonality and almost down right disrespect of regular song structures.  With this album Sunn 0))) has managed to, in a way, legitimize noise in the eyes of a lot of people.  Their string arrangements and choruses throughout this records that only add to the mysticism of the songs and make you want to listen more.  By no mean an accessible album especially for people that think Nickelback is “music” but still one of the most adventurous and exciting forms of music out today.

Atlas Sound-Logos: Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox has created a rather dreamy little solo record, I must admit I haven’t listened to Deerhunter in forever ago and have never listened to any of the Atlas Sound records.  But if this record is anything to go by I will be relistening and buy new albums by Mr. Cox.  All of the songs have a sort of dreamy quality that when listened to in complete sequence it does feel like a great dream sequence.  Not to jump on the Animal Collective boner bandwagon but Noah Lennox contributes to what maybe one f the best songs on the record too. 

Antlers-Hospice: having come to know this record recently solely based on the recommendation of the NPR All Songs Considered podcast, I was amazed at how quickly I liked it.  It is a sad affair being a concept album about a dying friend.  You can hear the emotion on this record in the most unconventional ways, not necessarily through a sad minor chord progression but through the textured sounds weaving in and out of the speakers.  The vocals show feel so delicate, and heartfelt that it adds to the mood of the record in a way that feel so right and true.   I can’t imagine anyone that has ever dealt with death not be moved by this record.

Pyramids with Nadja-S/T: This one I feel I am really biased towards because I know main Pyramids dude and I know completely where he is coming from.  Pyramids came out with a debut album last year that surprised a lot of people. Much like the debut, this collaboration with wife and husband duo Nadja has more in common with bands like Jesu and My Bloody Valentine than say, Khanate or early Earth. The soft parts are pretty and otherworldy while the heavy parts feel more like a climax of sorts in the way of this record.  Once again this album is not a collection of songs it’s an experience, and I think that due to records like this, I believe the album format will prevail.  This album is definitely something worth listening to from start to finish.

Avett Brothers-I and Love and You: Not since Sufjan Stevens and the few times Fleet Foxes uses it, have I ever liked a band that uses banjo so much.  Their sound has indeed changed, maybe it was Rick Rubin, maybe it was a major label debut sort of deal, but regardless, they have managed to create a fine set of songs this time around, evoking the feeling of a calm, peaceful, secluded place.  Let’s not forget that their songs become deep meditations such as in “I and Love and You” or good rockers such as “Kick Drum Heart”

St Vincent- Actors: As an album I’ve listened to a lot this year, I think I enjoyed this the most for its unconventional arrangements, and a lot of little details.   The biggest impression that I got was that I was listening to a movie score but it happened to be in the form a pp song.  I think her voice is pretty unique and definitely should be held up there with Feist as one of the best singers of in recent times. Having seen her recently with Broken Social Scene as a back up singer only added to my adoration for her, as well.  And listening to her collaboration with Andrew Bird in the Blogotheque site was really inspiring.  

No comments:

Post a Comment