Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Year In Review 2009 - Top 10 Albums Part 3

In retrospect this year produced some killer music and a few really great full length offerings.  Lots of established artists and virgins newbies put out valiant efforts, so like everyone and their grandmother I came up with a Top Ten List from the past 12 months.  No live albums, box-sets or re-releases were harmed, or even considered for this list, Feel free to voice your opinions vigorously.
A lot of these albums I have already reviewed for Glide or other sites, so when that is the case I will link to my full review and try to say something else about the album here, because over the course of the year feelings can/do change on things.  Oh and give the groups some love by grabbing their albums, or even better, get up off your ass and see them live when they come around.

5-1 After the Jump
5. Horehound
The Dead Weather

I am a fan of the live show so much more then the studio album and that is probably why The Dead Weather’s debut release left me perplexed as to where I should rank it on this 09 list.  While it rumbles and smolders with a dirty late 70’s metal vibe, seeing the foursome on stage dulls the studio album a bit.  Like most Jack White projects it was conceived and executed quickly and once the musicians had time to gel it exploded in the live arena, but that shouldn’t take away from Horehound itself; these tracks tremble with vitality.  Mosshart’s sneer in “Treat Me like Your Mother”, the weird metal/funk of “I Cut Like A Buffalo” and the back breaking cover of Dylan’s “New Pony” is pure grimy muscle. It's true that Horehound should not be overlooked this year, but I am already amped to feel the boom at Jazzfest.  
(Full Review Here)

4.  Farm
Dinosaur Jr.

With Beyond Dino Jr. proved they hadn’t lost a step, with Farm they show they are better then ever (OK, You’re Living All Over Me excluded).  The playing and crunching guitars still ring and wail, but J takes a new tone with his singing, moving from disengaged to depressed and fragile adding another layer to the bands sound; a move that surprised me when I first heard it.  The single “Over It” has my favorite wah-wah in some time while the albums overall tone bombards the ear.  Barlow’s contribution of “Your Weather” and “Imagination Blind” impress, but the monster is the almost 9 minute “I Don’t Want To Go There” which feels so good I wish J never stopped solo’ing…and I hope Dinosaur Jr never stop making great albums.
(Full Review Here)

3. The Eternal
Sonic Youth

The more I listen to Rather Ripped the more I dislike the accessible texture,  I want screeching awkwardness with my Sonics, and that is the goodness that The Eternal brought back.  “Malibu Gas Station” and “Anti Orgasm” are off tempo nuciousness, “Poison Arrow” and “Sacred Trickster” both get the punk out and “Antenna” gasps elongated brilliance.  Back in form and back on the attack, happy days.  The Eternal just continues the trend of kick ass Sonic albums; game-set-boosh.
(Full Review Here)

2. Monsters of Folk
Monsters of Folk

Friends of mine were underwhelmed by this album and I think it all comes back to expectations; I went in with none, not being a fan of most of these artists, and simply love 14 of the 15 tracks here.  The only one I can’t dig into is the first, but then everything cooks.  “Whole Lotta Losin” “Man Named Truth” “Map of the World” all work so well that I want to listen to them as I type their titles.  “Ahead of the Curve” is picture perfect pop rock, and would be a huge hit if there was still a thing called radio out there.  Forget the pedigrees of the participants and appreciate the sounds contained within; pristine vocals, thoughtful lyrics, a top notch album.     
(Full Review Here)

1. Before The Frost…
The Black Crowes

Simply put I never thought I would like a Black Crowes album this much, yet I think Before The Freeze... is far and away the best disk of the year, it has it all.  Hard Rock (“Been a Long Time (Waiting On Love)”), Country (“Appaloosa”), Disco (“I Ain’t Hiding”), everything.  When the opening rollicking notes of “Good Morning Captain” hit I get amped and know I am in for a fun ride until the pain of “The Last Place That Love Lives” weeps from Chris Robinson.  I don’t think the band has sounded this relaxed, this loose, and this secure in their talents before, Chris in particular sounds aged/soulful/wise acting as a perfect front man.  Larry Campbell’s touch seems to be everywhere as well, and the vibe from recording in Levon’s barn seeps into the fretboards and cruises through the speakers as the album plays…and I haven’t even touched on the bonus album yet.
(Full Review Here)  

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