Best of 2009 (Rick)
One major thing to keep in mind is that if something doesn’t come out on LP/Record/Vinyl/Wax/Plastic/… then there’s a good chance I didn’t give it a full shot. There are also cases of things I just haven’t fully heard yet for one reason or another (Basement Jaxx, Sunn, others… and yea, they are notable). My only claim with this list is that these are the albums (full albums, mind you) that I’ve most enjoyed from the past year. Were I to mention all the singles and EPs that I’ve enjoyed to an equal degree the list would be considerably longer. I’m not going into that though. Enjoy this list. On another day it might find a different order with different content.
1. Fever Ray “Fever Ray”
This is almost cliche, but I think this is the best album of the year. I didn’t think it would be upon initial listen, but I came back to this one time and time again. Melancholy.
2. Cloaks “Versus Grain”
I don’t remember what led me to listen to this – some blog post somewhere. I had ignored their first 12″ on Werk Discs back in 2007 (2008 stateside). I then wrote a love letter via my own blog post this year upon finally giving them a shot (a couple months after their full length actually dropped). To see my full thoughts: HPSU “Dear Cloaks”
3. Iron Age “Sleeping Eye”
4. Hatred Surge “Deconstruct”
#3 & 4 share members so I’m writing this up together. Iron Age takes pieces from a bunch of different psychedelic biker bad ass influences as well as some death metal and hardcore. Nothing is new (ever anywhere) so why not just take parts of things you love and mush them together. Of course, that could be a recipe for disaster. Here it works brilliantly. As for Hatred Surge – short, fast and sweet. It’s like when you want to do a really good belly flop and you do. It hurts and rules.
5. Cathode Terror Secretion “Spectre Of History’s Design”
6. Halflings “Self-Esteem”
These guys are from the same area and released records at the same time on the same label (RRR). It’s noise. It’s power electronics. It’s brutal and it’s a cathartic wash of full body massage (change the settings by adjusting the volume – preferably all the way up).
7. Bill Callahan “Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle”
Here’s another album I wouldn’t have expected to be on this list upon initial listen. Bill Callahan used to record as Smog. This is his third album under his own name. It is his best under his own name by far. If’n you like Mark Kozelek like I do you will enjoy this’n.
8. Kryptic Minds “One Of Us”
Here’s the second album on my list that would fall into the dubstep category. As opposed to Cloaks though this one is very much the definition of dubstep. These fellas have put out the best examples of by the books (not by the numbers) dubstep this year. It avoids cliches and doesn’t come off as being made purely for dance floor fodder. This is worthy listening music (not just atmosphere). It’s a bit dark and minimal. Solid.
9. Royksopp “Junior”
What’s funny about this album is that at one point this is what I would’ve hoped the Fever Ray album would sound like (having just heard that Karen of the Knife was producing a solo effort). I wanted the dancey part of the Knife. Of course, Fever Ray is atop this list. Royksopp is right here. Karen is actually on a couple tracks here too (along with a cast of other guests). Royksopp has been around for a solid ten years (formed 1998, first album in 2001). They produce left of center dance music. This effort is exactly that. It’s happy and fun and seemingly the antithesis of most of my list so it really needs to be on here.
10. Estrogen Highs “Tell It to Them”
Local New Haven based boys playing trashy rock that I enjoy. If you like rock and roll you should check it out.
11. V/A “Hyperdub 5”
Hyperdub is a dubstep label that’s been going on for 5 years now. This double disc set (on CD – a few 12″s with key tracks were also released) full of it’s history and great new tracks. Joker, Zomby, King Midas Sound, many others. Top notch!