Archive for December, 2009

Best Albums of 2009

Posted in Uncategorized on December 28, 2009 by greenwolfman

2009 was without a doubt a great year to be a fan of metal, garage rock, or rock in general. We saw the formation of a super group that exceeded expectations (Them Crooked Vultures), the release of of Rick Froberg’s new baby (Obits), and some damn fine garage albums (Heartless Bastards, and Three albums from King Khan). The number of good metal albums is just freaking ridiculous. I say ridiculous because one of the best albums was put out by a cartoon band. It has been hard trying to pick out a top ten, but after much deliberation I am ready to begin that list.

1. Mastodon – Crack The Skye

This was a tough call because number two really blew me away, but the new Mastodon album is damn near perfect. Doing a concept album can be risky, and there are plenty of pitfalls you can succumb to, but these boys from Georgia avoided them all. Great lyrics, melting riffs, and what is some of the best drumming of the year made Crack the Skye the winner.

2. Them Crooked Vultures – S/T

John Paul Jones is still a God on Bass, and Dave Grohl is probably the best drummer of his or my generation. When you combine this with skills of Josh Homme you get the record that should have followed Songs For the Deaf.

Yes this is a stoner rock album, but it is also has catchy hooks, bass lines that you can dance too, and poignant lyrics. My only complaint with the album is at times Homme cannot pull off the vocals he is trying for.

3. Obits – I Blame You

Rick Froberg has the midus touch. When you look back at his career you see a catalog of successful albums. The Obits album not only lived up to this standard, but I think it raised the bar.

This is not a post hardcore album, but a true rock and roll album that draws more from garage than punk. The album has surf riffs, garage hooks, and bass lines that make you want to shake it. If you do not own this you have been missing out.

4. Heartless Bastards – The Mountain

Detroit Cobras move over because you just got your ass handed to you by this trio. Erika Wennerstrom sounds like Gracie Slick back in the day, and the rest of her band plays slow, heartfelt garage rock that reminds me of a feminine Black Keys.

5. Baroness – Blue Record

This album could arguably have a higher ranking, but I think 5 is solid when you consider what I put before it. Baroness has managed to produce a progressive folk metal album that has in fact become a gateway album for many of my friends.

6. The King Khan and BBQ Show – Invisible Girl

Canada has produced a lot of good indy bands, and some of the best garage rock. King Khan and BBQ had big shoes to fills after their last album, but they have kicked their own asses. Some songs are heartfelt, some are just silly, and others are just an ass shacking good time.

This album also wins for best album artwork.

7. Russian Circles – Geneva

Russian Circles are one of those bands that were good, and technically amazing, but while I enjoyed them I never had one of their albums just punch me in the gut. This one did. The title track alone made this album a winner. Rhythmically tight, with heavy guitars that weave through riffs that feel like a roller coaster ride. Pitchfork described the album as October sounding, but I think it is epic sounding. These Chicagoans proved that prog rock can be both complex, and entertaining.

8. Isis – Wavering Radiant

This was a coin toss, and I will be honest and admit that Russian Circles may have gotten a higher ranking because they are Chicagoans. Wavering Radiant is a progression for Isis that started with “In the Absence of Truth” and has been refined in their 2009 release. Isis is still a heavy band, but their melodic touches are a nice addition that I think are turning this band into more math metal, and a little less prog.

9. The Almighty Defenders – S/T

I am just going to steal another description here:
“On the Black Lips’ 2009 tour of India, following an incident at a rowdy show in which Cole Alexander kissed fellow bandmember Ian St. Pe and exposed his private parts on-stage, the Lips fled the country while rumors of their arrests circulated the internet. The tour was canceled and the group members fled to the residence of King Khan (musician), who was living in Berlin at the time. Over the course of eight days, in a typically booze-sloppy Black Lips fashion, they laid down 11 tracks with Khan and his King Khan & BBQ Show bandmate Mark Sultan. On June 17, the full group made its live debut, performing a set in choir robes at the North by Northeast festival, and Vice Records made plans to release the Almighty Defenders’ self-titled debut on September 22, 2009.[1]”

What more do you need to know?

10. The Bronx El Mariachi

A hardcore band from LA puts out an album of mariachi/salsa songs that have poignant lyrics. I love this album, and I have been waiting for something like this for about 10 years.