Even though I always miss great music and wish that I could have included it on the list I will still give it the old college try. Here goes...
JOE'S TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2009
10. Florence and The Machine - Lungs
I first heard of this band while in an Urban Outfitters and had to remember as many of the lyrics in order to head home and google them to find out who it was. I think it's kinda tough to be in a female fronted band today and ignore the baggage that comes with the terf. In many people's eyes there are only 5 kinds of sounds that female fronted bands can have- Paramore, Tori Amos, Aimee Mann, L7 or Katie Perry. This band successfully does none of these and finds a sound that seems to suit them nicely and finds a balance that is both feminine and tough at the same time that really works for them. The singer's voice has a little bit of Grace Slick in it- which is shockingly a good thing.
Download this: Drumming Song
Then This: Cosmic Love
9. Jenny Owen Youngs - Transmitter Failure
Another female fronted band- I was a fan of Miss Youngs since I found her on Myspace a few years ago. For me, the magic in this record is the growth. For someone on their 2nd record, you gotta appreciate the many subtle styles she plays with with every song. I think with her last record it would have been easy to write her off as "just another sensitive chick with a guitar" if her songs weren't so dang good- but thankfully in this album she's put that rumor to rest for good.
Download this: Led to the Sea
Then This: Transmitter Failure
8. Regina Spektor - Far
Wow- three girls in a row! That's gotta be a record for best of lists for me.
Anyway- I'm sure that I don't need to explain why this record is on there. Everybody loves her. Why shouldn't they?
Download this: Eet
Then This: Machine
7. Sondre Lerche - Heartbeat Radio
My friend Ian once said about a Sondre Lerche song: "Finally a Sondre Lerche song that doesn't bore the crap out of me" - which I have to admit was something I had to agree with. It was that hesitency that lead the way upon listening to his newest record... and to my surprise, he made a full record that doesn't bore the crap out of me. Actually- I liked it a lot. Maybe it's me, maybe I've changed and his music is exactly the same but in any case- it's nice to see that even a band that I wrote off 5 years ago can write a record that can change my mind. Maybe an amazing Blue October record is on the way...
Download this: If Only
Then This: Good Luck
6. The Dodos - Time To Die
Okay, I think that Fables is the best song of the year. It's certainly the song played most on my iTunes since the record came out. It's always nice when a band can surprise you with how much you like a record. I liked their last offering but this was a very pleasant surprise with how much I liked it. For me- with so much music that is out there now, you have to give me a good reason to really get into your band and The Dodos have an album full of them.
Download this: Fables
Then This: Troll Nacht
5. The Generationals - Con Law
I love old Motown and the music of the 50s and early 60s - so in that regard I a never get super stoked when a band tries to copy that sound without really doing it earnestly. When I heard "When they Fight, They Fight" I decided that these guys did it pretty good. They have a kind of "retro vibe" at first that eventually just turned to "good songs" after a few listens- which is actually what happens when you listen to many of those old Motowns songs anyway.
Download this: Exterior Street Date
Then This: Nobody Could Change Your Mind
4. The Mountain Goats - The Life of the World to Come
What can I say that all my friends haven't already said about The Mountain Goats. Bottom line: another great record from the amazing John Darnielle who explores his thoughts on the Bible with his deft lyrical ability. I admit to liking last year's Heretic Pride a little more - you can't go wrong with The Mountain Goats. I'm sure as long as they make records, I'll put them on my top 10 lists.
Download this: 1 John 4:16
Then This: Deuteronomy 2:10
3. Iron and Wine - Around the Well
It's pretty crazy that even this b-sides record is better than most bands a-sides. I worry with each record that I will get tired of Iron and Wine's sound. Any band with such a specific sound can get tiresome - hence the reason I did not include Passion Pit on this list - I can only take a few songs of the falsetto voice and then I need to take a break - but with Iron and Wine, Sam Beam simply refuses to write bad songs - and although his voice is unmistakably iconic to the sound, they never feel recycled (at least to me anyway).
Download this: The Trapeze Swinger
Then This: Peng! 33
2. Ida Maria - Fortress Round My Heart
Four girls! That has to be a record. Any way - I just have one question for this one: Where the hell did she come from? Catchy-Land? Is that why she has such a funny accent? Maybe. Her songs certainly prove she has at least a visa to stay there on a work furlough. I heard her stuff on a podcast I subscribe to and got the record as soon as I could. At the time I was working a really sucky job and getting to drive to and from work playing this record was the only good thing about it (well- that and the pay check I guess). I dare anyone to listen to this record and not get caught up in how much fun it is.
Download this: I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked
Then This: Queen of the World
1. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amedeus Phoenix
I like Phoenix a lot. Their records have been evolving pretty steadily but once they hit "It's Never Been Like That" I felt that they found perfection - so I was worried when this record came out that they had changed again - to my surprise they had just picked up where that record left off and made one equally as addictive and make you feel equally as cool when you listen to it. I always felt like a lot of the reason that some white suburban kids love hardcore gangsta rap is because of the bad ass that they feel like when they listen to it. The swagger it gives them. This record has that effect on me in that I can't help but feel like a good looking guy wearing sun glasses who always says something clever and never trips on a big crack in the sidewalk. Obviously I rarely feel that way- so obviously I love this record.
Download this: Lisztomania
Then This: 1901
Ah- just download the whole record! Trust me, you won't be sorry.
Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
Miniature Tigers - Tell it To The Volcano
St. Vincent - Actor
The Temper Trap - Conditions
Coconut Records - Davy
The Morning Benders - Grain of Salt EP
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - S/T
Passion Pit - Manners
The Thermals - Now We Can See
Lucero - 1372 Overton Park
Pete Yorn - Back & Fourth
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Switchfoot - Hello Hurricane
Tegan and Sara - Sainthood (well- 5 songs off of it anyway).
So there it is! See you next year!!