Sunday, 31 January 2010

The Best Albums of 2009


With a mere 3 posts in 2009 (and even now - still fashionably late) you'd be forgiven for thinking we wouldn't be in a position to list our favorites of the year. Well, despite some major upheavals in our personal lives which definitely impacted our ability to appear here on a regular basis, our ears have not been shirking their honeyed duties. As a result, we bring you a bumper round-up of what we believe to be not only one of the best years of the decade, but also the perfect end to one of the best decades since Rock 'n' Roll first flickered into existence.

In a year where the mainstream music industry on one hand is piling the dung heap higher than ever with evermore glossy karaoke TV talent shows and on the other still failing to address the licensing and territory issue which threatens to drag it even further into the mire, choosing to have governments and clod-hopping authorities turn music fans into criminals rather than provide the download culture with a comprehensive reasonable, universal and fair solution - which surely is within their power alone to provide - the alternative/real music industry is turning out better and better music in greater numbers than ever before.

Hundreds of great albums were released this year, making it difficult to keep up with the onslaught. Quite a few appearances from old faithfuls were mostly welcome: Superdrag, Tommy Keene, Von Bondies, Cheap Trick, Terry Anderson, Green Pajamas, Ian Hunter, Mother Hips, NRPS, NGDB, Parallax Project, Mother Hips, Willie Nile, Kyle Vincent, and Naomi Star amongst them, but overwhelmingly, the majority of names were brand new (or almost new) to us - long may it continue.

In keeping with previous years, genres blur and it's hard to say what's pop and what's not. So we present a variety of lists which cover our chief area of taste but also others which for one reason or another, beg inclusion. As usual, these-are-some-that-we-have-loved, so we can't put them in any kind of order, except alphabetical. However, we have numbered them for convenience sake.

The Best Power Pop Albums of 2009
  1. All Star United - The Good Album
  2. American Suitcase - Pillowsky
  3. Andy Lehman & The Night Moves - Lowcountry
  4. Anne Soldaat - In Another Life
  5. Ben Folds Presents - University A Cappella
  6. Benjamin R - The Other Side Of Nowhere
  7. Bigbang - Edendale
  8. Biscuit - Cinnamon Fade Out
  9. Bishop Allen - Grrr...
  10. Black Hollies - Softly Towards The Light
  11. Blame Ringo - Lucky Number 9
  12. Bob Evans - Goodnight, Bull Creek
  13. Bob Mould - District Line
  14. Bobby Emmett - Learning To Love
  15. Brendan Benson - My Old, Familiar Friend
  16. Campbell Stokes Sunshine Recorder - Makes Your Ears Smile
  17. Cass McCoombs - Catacombs
  18. Casper And The Cookies - Modern Silence
  19. Cheap Star - Speaking Like An Elephant
  20. Cheap Trick -The Latest
  21. Chris Richards - Sad Sounds Of The Summer
  22. Cornershop - Judy Sucks A Lemon For Breakfast
  23. Creede Williams - After The Letters
  24. Dashboard Confessional - Alter The Ending
  25. David Brookings - Glass Half Full
  26. David Mead - Almost And Always
  27. Deleted Waveform Gatherings - Ghost, She Said
  28. Dennis Diken With Bell Sound - Late Music
  29. Dexateens - Singlewide
  30. Dolly Rocker Movement - Our Days Mind The Tyme
  31. Duckworth Lewis Method - The Duckworth Lewis Method
  32. El Goodo - Coyote
  33. Eric Knox - Top Ten
  34. Everclear - In A Different Light
  35. Fate Lions - Good Enough For You
  36. Films - Oh, Scorpio
  37. First In Space - This Is Not Here
  38. Fun - Aim And Ignite
  39. Glenn Tilbrook And The Fluffers - Pandemonium Ensues
  40. Gourds - Haymaker
  41. Greater California - All The Colors
  42. Howie Day - Sound The Alarm
  43. Humbugs - On The Up Side
  44. Ian Tanner - Things Never To Say Out Loud!
  45. Jason Falkner - All Quiet On The Noise Floor
  46. Jeff Litman - Postscript
  47. Jeremy Miller Band - Way Too Fast
  48. Jet - Shaka Rock
  49. Johan - 4
  50. John Brodeur - Get Through
  51. June - Magic Circles
  52. Junior League - Smile Shoot Smile
  53. Kyle Vincent - Where You Are
  54. Leftovers - Eager To Please
  55. Lovetones - Dimensions
  56. Madd - Are Pretty Quick
  57. Madness - The Liberty Of Norton Folgate
  58. Marc Carroll -Dust Of Rumour
  59. Mark Cronk - Playing Katchup
  60. Martin Carr - Ye Gods & Little Fishes
  61. Matt The Electrician - Animal Boy
  62. Meat Puppets - Sewn Together
  63. Michael Carpenter - Redemption #39
  64. Miles Nielsen - Miles
  65. Mika - The Boy Who Knew Too Much
  66. Minky Starshine - Unidentified Hit Record
  67. Minster Hill - Capturing Clouds In A Bottle
  68. Mockin' Birds - Spread Your Wings
  69. Morningwood - Diamonds And Studs
  70. Naomi Star - Through The Eyes
  71. New York Dolls - Cause I Sez So
  72. Official Secrets Act - Understanding Electricity
  73. Orange Peels - 2020
  74. Parallax Project - I Hate Girls
  75. Passports - Is It True
  76. Peter Holsapple & Chris Stamey - Here And Now
  77. Pogo Pops - Where The Action Is
  78. Pronto - All Is Golden
  79. Pugwash - Giddy
  80. Reno Bo - Happenings And Other Things
  81. Research Turtles - Research Turtles
  82. Resonars - That Evil Drone
  83. Riverdales - Invasion Usa
  84. Riverwinds - Riverwinds
  85. Roger Klug - More Help For Your Nerves
  86. Secret Powers - And The Electric Family Choir
  87. Scott Warren - Quick Fix Bandage
  88. Shazam - Meteor
  89. Sheer - Here And Now And Long Before
  90. Solly - You Know What You Should Do
  91. Sons Of Great Dane - Why Ramble
  92. Spiral Stairs - The Real Feel
  93. Spongetones - Scrambled Eggs
  94. Spongetones Present Jamie & Steve - English Afterthoughts
  95. Stephen Lawrenson - Somewhere Else
  96. Stereophonics- Keep Calm & Carry On
  97. Stellastarr - Civilized
  98. Strangefinger - Into The Blue - Remarkable?
  99. Soundtrack Of Our Lives - Communion
  100. Summer Set - Love Like This
  101. Surrogate - Popular Mechanics
  102. Taylor Mills - Under The Surface
  103. Telepathic Butterflies - Circle Man
  104. Tody Castillo - Windhorse
  105. Tommy Keene - In The Late Bright
  106. Tomorrows - Jupiter Optimus Maximus
  107. Train - Save Me San Francisco
  108. Tripwires - House To House
  109. Two Hours Traffic - Territory
  110. Valley Lodge - Semester At Sea
  111. Von Bondies - Love Hate And Then There's You
  112. Webstirs - So Long
  113. Wheels On Fire - Get Famous
  114. Wild Bores - Wild Bores
  115. Willie Nile - House Of A Thousand Guitars
  116. Wiretree - Luck
  117. Yeah You's - Looking Through You


The Best Alt Country/Roots/Organic of 2009
  1. 1220 - Killin' For A Livin'
  2. Andy Lehman & The Night Moves - Lowcountry
  3. Avett Brothers - And Love And You
  4. Ben Folds Presents - University A Cappella
  5. Ben Harper& Relentless 7 - White Lies For Dark Times
  6. Blue Rodeo - All The Things That Are Left Behind (2cd)
  7. Boo Hewerdine - God Bless The Pretty Things
  8. Bottle Rockets - Lean Forward
  9. Brad Peterson -The Ductape Album
  10. Brian Jay Cline - Nashville Tracks - Maybe
  11. Brother Trucker - The Flyover
  12. Calico Brothers -Tell It To The Sun
  13. Carbon Leaf - Nothing Rhymes With Woman
  14. Chris Isaak - Mr. Lucky
  15. Chris Knight - Trailer II
  16. Chuck Prophet - Let Freedom Ring (2009)
  17. Clarks - Restless Days (2009)
  18. Cracker - Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey
  19. Cross Canadian Ragweed - Happiness And All The Other Things
  20. Deadstring Brothers - Sao Paulo
  21. Dinosaur Jr - Farm
  22. Don Gallardo - Sweetheart Radio Revolution, Etc.
  23. Elvis Perkins - Elvis Perkins In Dearland
  24. Gilded Palace Of Sin - You Break Our Hearts We'll Tear Yours Out
  25. Gloriana - Gloriana
  26. Gomez - A New Tide
  27. Grand Atlantic - How We Survive
  28. Hot Dogs - Nothing But A Bad Day
  29. Ian Hunter - Man Overboard
  30. Ike Reilly - Hard Luck Stories
  31. Jason Isbell - And The 400 Unit
  32. John Fogerty - The Blue Ridge Rangers Rides Again
  33. John Wesley Harding - Who Was Changed And Who Was Dead
  34. Jon Allen - Dead Mans Suit
  35. JTQ - New World
  36. Karima Francis - The Author
  37. Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson - Rattlin' Bones
  38. Kings Of Convenience - Declaration Of Dependence
  39. Kingsbury Manx - Ascenseur Ouvert!
  40. Leaving Tx - Late Gettin' Started
  41. Lemonheads -Varshons
  42. Levon Helm - Electric Dirt
  43. Locksley - Be In Love
  44. Low Anthem - Oh My God, Charlie Darwin
  45. Maplewood - Yeti Boombox
  46. Megafaun - Gather Form And Fly
  47. Michael Martin Murphey - Buckaroo Blue Grass
  48. Minus 5 - Killingworth
  49. Mother Hips - Pacific Dust
  50. Nanci Griffith - The Loving Kind
  51. New Riders Of The Purple Sage - Where I Come From
  52. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - Speed Of Life
  53. Paolo Nutini - Sunny Side Up
  54. Pines - Tremelo
  55. Pinto -Short Songs About Konging
  56. Quantic And His Combo Barbaro - Tradition Intransition
  57. Refreshments - A Band's Gotta Do What A Band's Gotta Do
  58. Rhett Miller - Rhett Miller
  59. Roger And The Rockets - Walking Band
  60. Sam Baker - Cotton
  61. Scott Miller - For Crying Out Loud
  62. Sister Hazel - Release
  63. Statesboro Revue - Different Kind Of Light
  64. Stereo Deluxe - When The Party's Over
  65. Terry Anderson & The Olympic Ass Kickin Team - National Champions
  66. Thea Gilmore - Recorded Delivery
  67. Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures
  68. Timothy B. Schmit - Expando
  69. Tom Caufield - The Times Are Never So Bad
  70. Train - Save Me San Francisco
  71. Uncle Kracker - Happy Hour
  72. Webb Wilder - More Like Me
  73. Western States - Bye & Bye
  74. White Lies - To Lose My Life
  75. Wilco - Wilco (The Album)
  76. Wrinkle Neck Mules - Let The Lead Fly


A Dozen & 1/2 Fab EP's From 2009

  1. Chris Richards - That Covers That
  2. Codaphonic - Edison's Rival
  3. Cobbwebs - Demos
  4. Greg Pope - Pete
  5. Honeydogs - Sunshine Committee
  6. Jeremy Nail & the Incidents - EP
  7. John Brodeur -Slutty Nurse
  8. Josh Abbott Band - Brushy Creek
  9. Joshua James - Sings Songs
  10. Leisure Society - A Product Of The Ego Drain
  11. Mini - Must Try Harder
  12. Paul Westerberg - The Ghost Gloves Cat Wing Joy Boys
  13. Riffbackers - Sometimes
  14. Rooney - Wild One
  15. Sloan - Hit and Run
  16. Syrups - Hear Here
  17. Tearaways - Knackered
  18. Whiskey Dawn - Dear Nashville

Special Mentions for 2009

Big Star - Keep An Eye On The Sky [Box Set] - Essential Box Set Of The Year for the brilliant but unappreciated Archie Bell support set alone - a 1000 musicians smile in ironic recognition!
Brothers Streep - Anna Paquin - Greatest Comedy Song With A Power Pop Flavor from these young gifted South African satirists
Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream - Bruce's single is perhaps the Most Pop Thing he's done Since 'Hungry Heart' - more like this please Bruce.
Clay Broome - Sunscreen Secrets - Clay, I love this! - When does it get official release?
Clem Snide - Hungry Bird - Consistently Great Singer/Songwriter still delivering the goods
Noel Gallagher - The Dreams We Have As Children - Fave Live Album
Prince - Crimson & Clover - Fave Bubblegum Cover of the Year
Jayhawks
- Music From The North Country - Most welcome Anthology of the Year
Jon Boden
- Songs From The Floodplain - Best UK Folk Album of the Year
Chris Smither - Time Stands Still - Best US Folk Album of the Year
Sadies & John Doe - Country Club - Great New Partnership
Avenues (From Leeds UK) - The Saddest Demise Of A Brilliant Band
Booker T Jones - Potato Hole - Best Fabulous Return
Graham Coxon - The Spinning Top - Massive Change Of Direction Award goes to Graham for his embrace of something like Nick Drake bedsit country
New York Dolls - Cause I Sez So - Favorite Re-Emergence
Spinal Tap - Back From The Dead - Welcome Re-serving of the Year
Richard Lloyd - The Jamie Neverts Story - Best Hendrix Covers We've Heard all Decade
Tragically Hip - We Are The Same - Favorite Canadians of the Year
Wolfmother - Cosmic Egg - Best Trad Hard Rock Album

We've largely sidestepped tributes, compilations and reissues - not that there weren't some great examples of each, bur we had to draw the line somewhere. Looking forward to more great music in 2010.
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29 comments:

beyesn said...

Wow, you posted! Anyway, I love Bob Mould's music, but District Line came out in early 2008.

NY Slim said...

Great list, very thorough and thoughtful. Love that you included Creede Williams, Jason Faulkner, David Mead and Cornershop....4 of the best records I heard this year regardless of genre.

MrQwerty said...

Beyesn - Ah yes, we got there in the end. I guess we didn't hear 'District Line' until part way through last year. Glad to report it would be a great album in any year. Only drawback is we didn't come across Bob's actual 2009 release 'Life & Times' at all - so look out for that one to feature in our 2010 round-up maybe!

MrQwerty said...

NY Slim - Many thanks. Four distinct beacons there from 2009. We came to the Cornershop album quite late, but boy was it worth it. They've seriously eclipsed everything they've done so far with 'Judy', turning raga-rock on its head - and they emanate not far our current neck of the woods, which is kind of nice!

Roger Häggström said...

Thanks for mentioning us! One of 76 is not bad :-)

Cheers,
-Roger (& the Rockets)

Anonymous said...

You overlooked the best one:

Dog Eared Moonlight by the Milk & Honey Band

gcn said...

Great work putting this list together guys!

What I love about these best-of lists is that I always find a few gems I missed so I've got a bit of catching up to do.

And thanks for posting some Canadian bands like Blue Rodeo and Tragically Hip. There is so much amazing music here in Canada that the rest of the world really needs to hear. Chromewaves is a really good blog that I think you guys would like that covers a lot of Canadian bands. http://www.chromewaves.net.

One other thing... Madness had a new album? I totally missed that one. Going to check them out on Spotify later today!

Thanks again guys!

MrQwerty said...

Roger - Thanks for dropping by - "One of 76" is really good as is 'Walking Band' which this writer dug like crazy! And think of all the ones we rejected or maybe even overlooked - remember this was an exceptional year. Things could have been different, at least the Rockets didn't finish 2009 like...

...'Dog Eared Moonlight'- this passed us by, Anon. We both agreed that although not our #1 choice, it's quietly but completely engaging songs really hit the mark. Also the album seems to have reached a new level of maturity that earlier Milk & Honey Band records do not possess. Thanks for the nod - we are already compiling a list for 2010 which will collect together those from 2009 that got away.

roger häggström said...

>"One of 76" is really good
>as is 'Walking Band' which
>this writer dug like crazy!

Glad you liked it! We did our best for you :-)

Cheers,
-Roger (& the Rockets)

MrQwerty said...

Hi GCN - thanks for your comment. We're the same, the best of lists are great as nudge to go and seek out what you may have missed out on.

We're happy to pay kudos to the many great Canadian bands which exist in Rock 'n' Roll's rich tapestry. I feel that like Australia/New Zealand & S Africa that these territories are often overlooked in favour of the standard Brit & American output, which whilst important does not always deserve top billing over everywhere else, which frequently has to try that bit harder for recognition. And that's just the traditional English speaking areas... - don't get me started on how neglected the rest of the rock world is outside our western comfort-zone!

BTW - we are now enjoying the Chromewaves blog - thanks.

weaselrina said...

I honestly can't wait to delve into some of this.
I've been so behind on listening to music this past year that Nearly everything is new to me.

You've done the legwork for me, now i'm going to start listening and reporting back to you.

Where to start, where to start -

With Cornershop I think.

weaselrina said...

Ooh. or Ian Hunter

weaselrina said...

Ok.. first reporting back - I love love love the Cornershop record!

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socialboom1 said...

this is a great list- i have just spent the last hour checking it out- alot of bands i am familiar with and dig already but many of them i just listened to for the first time beetle turbo, or a name was finally put with a sound i have been meaning to research. thanks mike! you are a critic in the best sense of the word-

socialboom1 said...

so much about this subject. So much so that you made me want to learn more about beetle turbo. Your blog is my stepping stone, my friend. Thanks for the heads up on this subject.

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