WTT: Top 100 Albums of 2009 (100-91)

91. Polar Bear Club - Chasing Hamburg
[Post-hardcore, melodic punk]
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Ever since I heard their debut release, Sometimes Things Just Disappear in 2008, I've been in love with this New York post-hardcore group and all their catchy pop-punk leanings that provide many sing-a-longs (or shout-a-longs). This album shows them continuing the trend, still filling the listener's ears with lines like "You don't have to be an asshole / to be an artist" that ring especially true coming from a band that sounds so honest and happy with what they're doing.

92. You Say Party! We Say Die! - XXXX
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I've never been a big fan of this Canadian dance-punk group, but there's something about this release that caught my attention. Their new wave leanings are either getting stronger or I'm just now noticing them, but this is a deliciously dancey album. Perhaps not a party disc, but, their name should tell you that much.

93. Hiawata! - These Boys and This Band is All I Know
[Indie pop]
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This quaint little group from Oslo have spent the last few years charming hearts all over the world with their earthy, powerpop-influenced indie pop sound. There must just be something about Northern Europe that causes people there to make so much of this blissful, cheerful music. Maybe it's in the universal healthcare. Whatever it is, I hope it doesn't change anytime soon.

94. Rodrigo y Gabriela - 11:11
[Instrumental, folk rock]
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If you aren't familiar with this duo of Mexican virtuosos by now, this is the time to start. Their music is made entirely with their two acoustic guitars, and they are absolutely incredible on these instruments. They manage to achieve a fuller sound than some bands with five or six people in them, and their technical skill is just unparalleled. But this isn't the mindless, masturbatory tripe most of us (myself especially) expect from the word 'virtuoso'; Rodrigo y Gabriela are excellent songwriters, and don't ever lose my attention. They truly push the boundaries of what can be done with a couple of guitars.

95. The Joint Chiefs of Math - You are Here.
[Post-hardcore, math rock]
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The Pennsylvania scene kicked all kinds of ass in 2009, and the Joint Chiefs of Math are a great example of that. This guitar and drum duo makes noisy, chaotic, mathy post-hardcore sounds. I think I read somewhere that they're like a more coherent Lightning Bolt, which is an excellent description. These guys take a tired sound and make it sound fresh and exciting again.

96. Over Stars and Gutters - Consider This Your Curse
[Punk rock, hardcore]
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I'm a sucker for a good local band, and I'm an even bigger sucker for Jawbreaker hero-worship. Aggressive and catchy and the same time, this Norman, OK group always sounds like they're having a great time with what they're doing, and it's an infectious sentiment, because their music makes you feel a little bit more alive (or at least a little bit more pissed off).

97. Viva Voce - Rose City
[Slowcore, indie pop]
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The terms slowcore and indie pop might seem like they can't exist within the same band, but don't tell that to this married couple from Portland. Their influences are across the board, from psychedelia to shoegaze to twee, and all that results in a dreamy, guitar-driven pop sound that totally envelops any willing listener. Catch them live if you can; they put on a wonderful show.

98. Michita - Three
[Hip-hop, jazz-hop]
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Michita is a Japanese DJ who makes mostly instrumental jazz-hop, with small amounts of rapping interspersed throughout. This album is full of beautiful, dreamy sounds that have a consistent feeling of frigid cold and dark nights, and it lets you sit back and contemplate whatever's on your mind. The hour-plus runtime doesn't once enter into my thoughts when listening to this.

99. Dial M for Murder! - Fiction of Her Dreams
[Post-punk, new wave]
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The latest group to hop on the post-punk revival train that's been oh-so-popular in the past decade, Dial M for Murder! is a two-piece from Sweden that makes gothic-tinged post-punk reminiscent mostly of recent groups such as She Wants Revenge. They don't bring much new to the table with this release, but it's a great escape from the, erm, less-inspired revival bands that get a lot more attention than this group (Interpol, anyone?).

100. Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Letting Up Despite Great Faults
[Shoegaze, electronic]
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This LA indietronica group has drawn a lot of comparison to New Order, and that's certainly an applicable comparison to make; I think what keeps them from being simply a nostalgia-obsessed novelty is that there's an almost-overbearing sense of youthful hope present in their fuzzy pop sounds, and this hope makes the listener feel like a kid again. It's music that takes you back to a time when friends don't hurt you, love is perfect, and the world is still a big, scary, exciting place. It's a nice feeling to have.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

while i have to say there are some great things in that list of 100 i can't say that i share your enthusiasm for k-os or alexisonfire.

kevin has a serious attitude problem and hip hop probably would have been better off if he'd quit making records after exit like he'd originally planned.

old crows is certainly not alexis' finer work. george sounds tim armstrong now with his new not quite singing or screaming thing and the rest of the songs are just kind of dull. what happend to the fun of watch out or the real angst of their S/T?

sorry to harp. you've got some magnificent stuff up here. keep up the great work.