WTT: Top 25 EPs/Demos/Singles of 2009

25. Andrew Jackson Jihad - Operation Stackola
[Folk punk]
Myspace | Try It

Everyone knows who Andrew Jackson Jihad is by now, so on this little EP released before their full-length, they decided to start covering artists like David Bowie and French Quarter and Spacejam Dub. This certainly got everyone excited for Can't Maintain (but more on that later).

24. Modest Mouse - No One's First and You're Next
[Alt rock]
Myspace | Try It

Modest Mouse released this collection of B-sides and unreleased tracks from their previous two albums in a staggered fashion, doing a two-track vinyl single every few months. I think they're getting back on track with this, because it's a lot better than We Were Dead.

23. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Higher than the Stars
[Dream pop, twee]
Myspace | Try It

You know by now what to expect from this New York City dream pop group, and the first four tracks of this EP are more of the same (wonderful) sounds they've been putting out for the past two years. The real standout here is the Saint Etienne remix of the title track, which proves itself to be one of the strongest tracks in TPoBPaH's catalog to date.

22. The Shoes - Stade de Reims 1978
[Electro club]
Myspace | Try It

Bangin' electro club shit from (where else) France, this EP has two tracks and two remixes of said tracks. As far as I know this is all this duo has released so far, but it makes me want more; that is, as soon as I'm finished dancing.

21. The Mary Onettes - Dare
[Post-punk, indie pop]
Myspace | Try It

This Swedish indie pop group takes a lot of cues from jangle pop, but also from '80s post-punk groups like Echo and the Cure. Some really choice cuts on this EP.

20. Deastro - Orange Swimmer Red Summer
[Dream pop, synth pop]
Myspace | Try It

This guy just doesn't let up. For the past few years Deastro has been releasing tons of material, all of it somehow at the same level of quality and not all sounding the same. This EP is no exception, and has him continuing with his dreamy synthy electronic noodling.

19. Massive Attack - Splitting the Atom
Myspace | Try It

New album in 2010 - who's fucking excited? I'm fucking excited.

18. Hightide Hotel - Secret Somethings
Myspace | Try It

I fell in love with this band in 2009, and this acoustic EP just cemented that love for their noodley indiemo sad bastard music. Big hopes for their 2010 debut album.

17. The Silent Years - Let Go
[Alt rock, indie pop]
Myspace | Try It

I think a lot of my love for this release comes from the fact that it has a track called "Taking Drugs at the Amusement Park". Come on. That's a great song title (and, coincidentally, a great song).

16. Paul Baribeau - Demo Tape 09
[Folk rock, singer-songwriter]
Myspace | Try It

Oh, Paul Baribeau. How do you manage to do the same thing over and over and yet still sound so painfully honest and sincere? Highlight here is "Eight Letters".

15. The Cavalcade - Meet You in the Rain
[Jangle pop, twee]
Myspace | Try It

I'm going to be straight-up with you - this EP isn't much more than unabashed Sarah Records worship. But in a music world of whiny indie rock and obnoxious assholes, is that really such a bad thing?

14. Complaints - Complaints
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Fast and jamming hardcore punk with a crooked smile. None of these songs even crack two minutes, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

13. Algernon Cadwallader - Hot Green
[Math rock, emo]
Myspace | Try It

The fact that this is a Best of 2009 list somewhat bothers me when it comes to this "release", because honestly, I don't think it ever actually got "released". The band leaked it onto Soulseek way back early in the year and it's just stuck, and upon further investigation I can't find any information about it, leading me to believe it's been delayed yet again. Well, fuck it, it's already here and it's awesome. Who doesn't love Algernon?

12. Foreign Objects - Demo Tape
[Post-punk, pop-punk]
Myspace | Try It

Snarly-yet-poppy post-punk with a female vocalist; what's not to love?

11. Merchandise - Merchandise
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Simply calling this group post-punk feels a bit inadequate, but I'm not sure what else to label them. They have similarities to Foreign Objects (see above?), so let's go with that.

10. Allo, Darlin' - Henry Rollins Don't Dance
[Indie pop, twee]
Myspace | Try It

This EP, at first glance, seems so silly that it's easy to write it off as kitschy nonsense. But when you get into the feel of what the band is trying to accomplish with their laid-back, ukulele-driven indie pop, you realize that when they sing songs like "Heartbeat Chili", which is about chili that needs hearts to be made, they're being incredibly honest and lovely and, yes, undeniably cute.

9. By Surprise / Hightide Hotel - Split
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Hightide Hotel strikes again, but the real stars on this release are By Surprise. Their tracks kick the split into high-gear early on with pop-punk leaning shoutalongs, letting Hightide take side two down a notch.

8. God Help the Girl - Stills
Myspace | Try It

Gotta put it on a record, gotta write a new song, there ain't no way around it, he's in love wi- sorry, what? It's hard not to sing along with this (even harder to maintain your dignity while doing so, but you know, I've come to realize that dignity is severely overrated).

7. His Clancyness - Hissometer Cassette
[Dream pop, lo-fi]
Myspace | Try It

I don't know what it is about this tape that enamors me so. The bedroom-pop genre has been done to death in the past few years, and I'm even more sick of it than most, but there's something about His Clancyness that just keeps me coming back. Maybe it got to me at the right time, maybe it was just luck that I don't love some other tape, but this is a brilliant piece of dreamy, wistful lo-fi pop.

6. The Gaslight Anthem - Live at Park Ave.
[Punk rock, folk punk]
Myspace | Try It

The Gaslight Anthem wowed everyone in 2008 with their incredible sophomore album, The '59 Sound, so it makes sense that most of the songs on this live, acoustic EP are from that album. They're wonderful, but the true reason to get this is for the acoustic performance of "Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts" from their previous Senor and the Queen EP, as well as the new song "Once Upon a Time".

5. A Wilhelm Scream - A Wilhelm Scream
[Melodic punk]
Myspace | Try It

This little teaser from melodic punk giants A Wilhelm Scream didn't get much press, and that's a shame, because it's just as great as what fans have come to expect. They too have an album coming out in the near future, so heads up for that.

4. Merchant Ships - Bummer Times
Myspace | Try It

Merchant Ships, like so many other screamo bands, released a puny amount of material and then broke up. Unlike most, though, their puny amount of material is worth keeping around.

3. The Kickdrums - There Might Be Blood
[Hip-hop, electronic]
Myspace | Try It

Garage rock, hip-hop, electronic? I don't know. Whether they're shredding your face with guitar riffs or sampling MC5, this band never lets up on this EP. Try to sit still - I dare you.

2. The Octopus Project - Golden Beds
[Electronic, garage rock]
Myspace | Try It

This experimental electronic group from Austin, Texas has been turning heads for years, and this EP continues to do exactly that. Previously an instrumental band, they now make full use of vocals, and on some tracks find themselves turning into a flat-out garage rock group. What's next for the Octopus Project? Nobody knows except them, it seems.

1. Snowing - Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit
[Emo, post-hardcore]
Myspace | Try It

How could #1 be anything else? Snowing were the emo kings of 2009. They dropped this demo back in the first quarter, and since then have been gaining an impressively sizable fanbase and generating a shitload of internet hype - everyone and their grandmother has blogged about these dudes. It's been a long time since a new band has excited me this much, and so many others seem to feel the same way. Catchy, emotional, and intense, these five tracks mark the debut of a band that has a bright, bright future ahead of them.


The Nils - Sell Out Young (1985) and Paisley (1986)

I've been craving more material from this band ever since I stumbled across their 1987 self-titled debut album. The Nils were a Canadian powerpunk (aka powerpop/pop-punk) group active from 1978-1994, who never really got much recognition for their great music; fans of Husker Du's later material (Flip Your Wig specifically, since that's the album that most reminds me of the Nils), or really just anyone who likes catchy punk rock, should be sure to check out these two EPs (as well as their full-length release).


Trailhead - Trailhead

Two tracks from Denton, Texas artist Trailhead, one of which ("45 Years Young") is sort of a pop-hop song while the other ("Civil War") is a folksy indie rock track; really promising stuff, get into it

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Charles Crossingham - Talkers Talk (2009)

Catchy-as-shit pop rock from Raleigh, North Carolina, Crossingham (I believe) self-released this debut EP but the production is wonderfully tight, especially for a first effort; this isn't your average bedroom pop; of special note is the track "You and Me (Stick Figure Love Song)"

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One Hundred Words for Snow - Discography (1995-1998)

This '90s emo/indie rock group from SoCal flew totally under the radar when they were together (and since), and only recorded a handful of tracks in their four-year run, all of which are included in this download; this is really top-class stuff, and not as all the mediocrity that one expects when they stumble on yet another 'real emo' band; also, they reunited this summer, so be on the lookout for new material

Facebook (They don't have a Myspace)
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Slow Club - Christmas, Thanks for Nothing (2009)

Merry belated holidays to everyone, hope you all had good ones; I also hope you enjoy this new EP from folksy twee duo Slow Club

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Previous Posts:
Because We're Dead
Let's Fall Back in Love


Hint - Portakabin Fever (2003)

Hint is a DJ from Sussex who makes chill, downtempo trip-hop laid down over subdued dance beats; he constantly genre-hops, incorporating elements of hip-hop, folk, electronica, and soul, managing to blend all this together into a coherent whole

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Harvey Danger

Throughout their 17-year run, Seattle alt rock group Harvey Danger never pulled any punches or cut any corners with their music. Their debut, Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone?, was a pummeling rock record that somehow failed to turn a lot of heads like it should have; however, it did feature their one hit single, "Flagpole Sitta". Then, instead of selling out and trying to repeat the success of that track, they came back a few years later with King James Version, which showed them relaxing a bit from the high-octane approach of Merrymakers, and this album was even less successful financially, despite critical acclaim. This album was when their clever lyrics and lack of concern for financial success really began to show. Then, in 2005, they did what at the time was unthinkable - they released their third album, Little by Little..., entirely for free on their website. And you thought Radiohead was the first to play that game. One critic wrote of the album, "If Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone? is a rebellious kid kicking over trashcans in his neighborhood, then Little by Little... seems to be that kid all grown up, taking out the trash, putting the lid on tightly, getting in his Jetta, and driving to work."

Harvey Danger never got the attention they deserved, and this year they decided to call it quits, departing with a collection of demos and unreleased tracks called Dead Sea Scrolls. It's too late to help this band stay together, but their music is still waiting to be heard by so many people, so I've uploaded their entire discography, including a bootleg of their final song both written and performed, "The Show Must Not Go On." Give this band a listen; I think you're going to like what you hear.



One for the Team - Build it Up (2008)

"One for the Team’s sophomore release, “Build It Up,” is a record chock full of loud, sunny, sparkling pop-gems of an alarmingly contagious magnitude with constant dueling male/female vocals and enough harmonies to melt the icicles from the Minnesota winter that created it.

While the record was written by Ian Anderson quietly on an acoustic guitar in his bedroom, it was assembled and shaped by a group of friends who took what once were introverted, gentle songs to the extroverted poppers that they now are."

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Camper Van Beethoven - Key Lime Pie (1989)

Camper Van Beethoven, a California group active mainly throughout the '80s, were one of the lesser-known forerunners of the alternative rock movement, playing a brew of punk, folk, country, world music, jangle pop, ska, psychedelia, and pretty much whatever else you can think of; this band experimented almost non-stop with their sound, and ended up far-removed from even the 'typical' alt rock sound of the period, which is what makes them so important, and also what makes them so criminally overlooked; this album was the last released on their original run (they've since reunited), and it was their most financially - if not critically - successful album, and therefore their most recognizable and a great place to start; whatever your musical tastes, this is a band you need to know

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This is Me Smiling - This is Me Smiling (2007)

A fun little four-piece from Chicago who plays chillaxed pop rock; their song "Mixin' Up Adjectives" has ended up on a few compilations, so if you've heard them at all it was probably that song, but this album is full of great tracks that get stuck in your head

I don't feel like I'm giving much of a description of this, but I promise it's not because I don't love the album, it's because I woke up like ten minutes ago...besides, that's why I post the Myspace links (since apparently there's been some confusion), so that you can check out what the band sounds like before 'committing' to a whole album

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The Life and Times of William Shakespeare - Secrets Don't Make Friends (and, Apparently, I Don't Either) (2008)

Some nice folksy singer-songwriter stuff from Mesa, Arizona; lo-fi and acoustic as you'd expect, and this doesn't really cover any new ground, but what does anymore? It's an enjoyable little album

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i slide to the side and i act uncouth

I know the general consensus over the past week has been that a twitter account for the blog is unnecessary, but there have been enough people express interest in it that, well, I've gone ahead and done it anyway. Oops. I've also created a facebook group, because I figure if I'm going to go Web 2.0 on your asses I might as well do it all at once. So go follow and join them and invite your friends and all that fun shit.

Twitter Feed
Facebook Group

On to the future!


Over Stars and Gutters - Consider This Your Curse (2009)

Here's the debut full-length album by Norman, Oklahoma (woo, locals!) group Over Stars and Gutters, who play gruff-as-fuck melodic punk rock that likes to walk the line between hardcore and pop-punk; think Jawbreaker, Dillinger Four, Alkaline Trio, and all that fun stuff

They self-released this album earlier in the year, and it's getting a re-release next year, so for that they've got it up on bandcamp with a name-your-price deal set up, so go check it out and help out some great up-and-comers

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Belle and Sebastian - Peel Session Christmas Party (2002)

Indie pop group Belle and Sebastian went into John Peel's studio in 2002 to record this collection of Christmas tracks, some of which are standards and some of which are covers of other artists' more modern creations (such as James Brown's "Santa Clause, Go Straight to the Ghetto"); a few of their own, non-Christmas themed tracks are also present here, but they fit right in don't distract from the holiday cheer

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Previous Posts:
If You're Feeling Sinister


we're all going to hell (let's go)

As you can see, there's a poll over to the right about whether or not the blog should have a twitter page. I'm only asking because I don't want to bother unless some people actually think it's worthwhile, in terms of either helping you keep up with posts or drawing in more readers. Your thoughts are appreciated as always, so leave a comment if you've got something to say.


Mixtape: Friends, Wimps & Broken Hearts

This mix is pretty aptly titled. I tried to include mostly songs that had to do with friendships - good and bad - but there are some wimps and broken hearts to be found here too. What's a good mixtape without some heartache and stories of off-kilter relationships?

I think this is a pretty fun one, and people in my car who've heard snippets have enjoyed it, so hopefully you will too. Cheers.

Title: Friends, Wimps & Broken Hearts
Length: 1:16:42

Side 1: Do You Think We Could Pretend?

1. My American Heart - "All My Friends"
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers - "My Friends"
3. Piebald - "Karate Chops for Everyone but Us"
4. The White Stripes - "We're Going to Be Friends"
5. The Matches - "Needs and Wants"
6. The Rentals - "Friends of P."
7. Eels - "Old Shit, New Shit"
8. Vampire Weekend - "Bryn"
9. Rocketship - "Friendships and Love"
10. Kurt Vile - "My Best Friends (Don't Even Pass This)"
11. LCD Soundsystem - "All My Friends"

Side 2: If We're Both Not Married

1. fun. - "Be Calm"
2. The Get Up Kids - "Ten Minutes"
3. The Ruse - "Beautiful is Gone"
4. The Rural Alberta Advantage - "In the Summertime"
5. Eve 6 - "At Least We're Dreaming"
6. Youth Group - "See-Saw"
7. Slow Club - "When I Go"
8. Eyedea & Abilities - "By the Throat"
9. Smash Mouth - "Why Can't We Be Friends"


Tilly and the Wall - Bottoms of Barrels (2006)

This Omaha, Nebraska group makes cheerful folksy indie pop or twee or whatever you want to call it; one of their claims to fame is that instead of a drummer they use a tapdancer (really)


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