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01-04-2010, 11:37 PM
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GKJ's Top 50 Albums of 2009 Unveiled

Copied my post from the Entertainment Board to here. I know I was talking with people about my favorite albums of 2009, here the top 50.

So, at the end of 2008/start of 2009, I decided to make a goal for myself to listen to enough music to be able to come up with my own list for 2009. Most if not all of the other listmakers out there have more depth, I'm sure, not just in what they have, but what they hear when they listen, but for me it was a bit more of a process to expose myself to so much more stuff. Some of these will be the same as you've seen, but also, obviously, I'm going to bring some more albums into the mix (some because I didn't get to some stuff I saw that I would have liked to have heard more often). Additionally, I was all over BML's and Cerebral's lists (on the entertainment board), so I'll add a YT of my top track, but I'll throw out something different for overlapping picks. Maybe you'll find something here you wouldn't have otherwise ever found.

50. Thao With the Get Down Stay Down - Know Better Learn Faster; October 13 (Falls Church, Virginia)
Favorite Track: "When We Swam"

49. Brandi Carlile - Give Up the Ghost; October 6 (Seattle, Washington)
Favorite Track: "Caroline"

48. Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You; February 9 (London, England)
Favorite Track: "Everyone's At It"
I've heard Lily Allen to be described as "cheeky" which is apt, but I really like this song as part of my Top 25 songs of the year. "Not Fair" also focuses on sexual frustration.

47. Wilco - Wilco (The Album); June 30 (Chicago, Illinois)
Favorite Track: "You and I"
With Feist (I think you knew that though)

46. MuteMath - Armistice; August 18 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Favorite Track: "The Nerve"

45. Portugal. The Man - The Satanic Satanist; July 21 (Wasilla, Alaska)
Favorite Track: "People Say"

44. Harlem Shakes - Technicolor Health; March 24 (New York, New York)
Alternate Track: "Natural Man"

43. Sea Wolf - White Water, White Bloom; September 22 (Los Angeles, California)
Favorite Track: "Wicked Blood"
Video stars Shannyn Sossamon.

42. Pearl Jam - Backspacer; September 20 (Seattle, Washington)
Favorite Track: "Unthought Known"

41. Japandroids - Post-Nothing; April 28 (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Alternate Track: "Rockers East Vancouver"

40. Mew - No More Stories / Are Told Today / I'm Sorry / They Washed Away // No More Stories / The World Is Grey / I'm Tired / Let's Wash Away; August 17 (Hellerup, Denmark)
Alternate Track: "Cartoons and Macreme Wounds"

39. Monsters of Folk - Self-Titled; September 22 (Various, USA)
Favorite Track: "Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F.)"
Was slated for 2010 release, maybe should have waited

38. PMMP - Veden Varaan; November 3 (Helsinki, Finland)
Favoirte Track: "Kuvia"

37. Company of Thieves - Ordinary Riches; February 24 (Chicago, Illinois)
Favorite Track: "Oscar Wilde"
So, I first heard about this band at a Thriving Ivory (who did not make the list) show. I was only there because my cousin loves them, and then didn't want to go see the opening bands. I decided I wanted to find out what I missed so that I felt like I discovered something else, and it turned out they made the list. They're working on bringing them back to Philly.

36. Girls - Album; September 22 (San Francisco, California)
Alternate Track: "Laura"

35. Islands - Vapours; September 22 (Montreal, Quebec)
Favorite Track: "Vapours"

34. Andrew Bird - Noble Beast; January 20 (Chicago, Illinois)
Favorite Track: "Masterswarm"

33. M. Ward - Hold Time; February 17 (Portland, Oregon)
Alternate Track: "To Save Me"

32. Band of Skulls - Baby Darling Doll Face Honey; April 7 (Southampton, England)
Favorite Track: "Death By Diamonds and Pearls"
White Stripes Fans will like.

31. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains; January 25 (New York, New York)
Alternate Track: "Wind Phoenix"

30. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca; June 9 (Brooklyn, New York)
Alternate Track: "No Intention"

29. The Swimmers - People Are Soft; November 3 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Favorite Track: "Shelter"

28. Tegan and Sara - Sainthood; October 27 (Calgary, Alberta)
Favorite Track: "On Directing"

27. fun. - Aim and Ignite; August 25 (New York, New York)
Favorite Track: "All the Pretty Girls"

26. Electric Six - KILL; October 20 (Detroit, Michigan)
Lead vocals Dick Valentine's slapstickish band claim a return to roots to build on other cheeky recent releases. His side project could have hit the list as well, had I managed to get the album.
Favorite Track: "Body Shot"

25. Passion Pit - Manners; May 18 (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Favorite Track: "Little Secrets"
I had to listen to this for the most part in doses. Played too often, seems to get a bit bland to me despite the sunny disposition of the beats and melody. However, despite being lower on the list, still satisfied with the hype the album got based on their strong Chunk of Change EP.

24. Melody Gardot - My One And Only Thrill; April 28 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Favorite Track: "Who Will Comfort Me?"
For anyone who enjoys a little Jazz. Interesting story and pretty much how I got interested (other than Meldoy being pretty hot and from Philly). She was on a bike downtown and got T-boned on the freaken bike. Shattered spleen, and was confined not just to a bed, but on her back for a year. She also developed hypersensitivity to light and sound, requiring her to weak dark sunglasses. Anyways, she developed a music career through musical therapy, and learned to play guitar during the first year after the accident - while situated on her back.

23. The Dead Weather - Horehound; July 14 (Nashville, Tennessee)
Favorite Track: "Treat Me Like Your Mother"
Jack White has to be among the music artists of the decade, just on how much stuff he's released. This might be my favorite of what he's done. And there should be another album in 2010.

22. Howling Bells - Radio Wars; March 2 (Sydney, Australia)
Favorite Track: "Treasure Hunt"
Juanita Stein has a phenomenal voice, one of the best you'll hear for my money. If you've heard the band, I hope you agree. If not, I hope you'll be impressed.

21. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns; July 7 (Toronto, Ontario)
Favorite Track: "Don't Haunt This Place"
This is the album I listened to when I was bring driven to the emergency room when I had pneumonia. Also when I was sitting in my car waiting to drive home my drunk friends not too long after. Take that for what you will.

20. Bat For Lashes - Two Suns; April 6 (London, England)
Favorite Track: "Glass"
Last Monday on Y-Rock, they had a guest in from a website called (it's one guy I think), and he kind of put it well, perhaps a bit over the top suggesting that Natasha Khan invented a music genre that he termed "magical."

19. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone; March 3 (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Favorite Track: "This Tornado Loves You"
Have to agree with BML on a previous list when about Neko Case having among the best voices out there as well.

18. The Temper Trap - Conditions; June 19 (Melbourne, Australia)
Favorite Track: "Fader"
Most people will recognize "Sweet Disposition" from this album, featured on the "(500) Days of Summer" soundtrack. This is a real effort beginning to end, and "Fader" is one of my probably top 10 songs of the year.

17. Silversun Pickups - Swoon; April 14 (Los Angeles, California)
Favorite Track: "It's Nice to Know You Work Alone"
I think it's a moderate step forward from Carnavas.

16. The Ettes - Do You Want Power?; September 29 (Nashville, Tennessee)
Favorite Track: "No Home"
Bad quality, and the only video I could come up with. Added bonus for a song "Marathon" off of a previous album in this YT, they don't have a whole lot out there to look up.

15. The Joy Formidable - A Balloon Called Moaning; January 19 (Hold, Wales)
Favorite Track: "Whirring"
Alternate Track: "9669"
This is the album I may have had the hardest time picking a favorite song. I think I picked up on them from reading Nylon Magazine one day at work when I was bored. Pick any song, they're all really, really good, I don't think one really stands out. You can hear the Welsh in them as well.

14. Au Revoir Simone - Still Night, Still Light; May 19 (Brooklyn, New York)
Favorite Track: "Shadows"
Alternate Track: "Knight of Wands"
School-teacher look meets artsy keyboards and synthesizers. And when I name a Fantasy Football Team after one of the deep tracks, you're high up on the list.

13. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic; October 13 (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
Alternate Track: "The Sparrow Looks Up At the Machine"
Alternate Track: "Silver Trembling Hands"
I've heard less of the Flaming Lips than everyone else, but still familiar with them as well. It's been a long time since "She Don't Use Jelly" and this is a wholly different sound - already documented on these parts. However, for any band, it's impressive to release a 70-minute 12th album and still get such high praise for it, to take modern alternative with ambient and experimental sounds.

12. The Antlers - Hospice; August 18 (Brooklyn, NY)
Alternate Track: "Bear"
Alternate Track: "Kettering"

This album really needs to be listened to in full-context for the most part. Much had been discussed about this album here as it is. Most people interested in giving it a chance likely have.

11. The xx - xx; August 17 (London, England)
Favorite Track: "Islands"
Alternate Track: "VCR"
Picking an Album to sit at #11 just outside the Top 10 might have been the toughest decision in making the list. I wasn't expecting a lot after hearing "Crystalized" before getting the album, but there is a lot of strength to the album. It was recorded almost completely late at night, and it kind of sounds like it with goth-like hints in some of the melodies. Of any debut release, the xx are probably the most intriguing to me to see how they progress.

10. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest; May 26 (Brooklyn, New York)
Alternate Track: "Southern Point"
Alternate Track: "Cheerleader"
I guess I'm in the minority not having this as the #2 album. When I made the list I had this at a few places, almost out of the Top 10 and decided I couldn't bring myself to do it, as I've had it up there just about the entire time the album was out. Just a lot that is pretty great and will age well.

9. East Hundred - Passenger; January 13 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Favorite Track: "Plus Minus" (shortened by about 20 seconds, not full song)
Alternate Track: "Slow Burning Crimes"
East Hundred this year caught a huge break, and it turned into them becoming recognized the best new band, maybe best band period, of the Philly Music Scene. Former WXPN Host/Y-Rock Program Director/Divine Savior of Alternative Music in Philadelphia Jim McGuinn, heard their album, brought it in to XPN (and Y-Rock) played it for the staff, and became almost an overnight sensation locally. It originally took them a while (partially because the lead singer and guitarist broke off their relationship), but everything aligned perfectly for this band. I've seen lead singer Beril Guceri be compared to Nina Persson of the Cardigans, also putting her among the best voices on the list.

8. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix; May 26 (Versailles, France)
Alternate Track: "Fences"
Alternate Track: "Rome"
Like most other people, huge effort by Phoenix. They blew up here in Philadelphia, "1901" was voted the #1 song of the year by listeners on Y-Rock, this album voted best album of the year on Y-Rock. France is to indie music what Lativa is to the NHL. You're kinda hoping some more breakthroughs come out of there. I think it might be pretty tough for them to move forward.

7. Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer; June 23 (Montreal, Quebec)
Alternate Track: "Apollo and the Buffalo and Anna Anna Anna Oh!"
Alternate Track: "Idiot Heart"
I don't know guys, I think this represents Spencer Krug's best focus. To say it's great, if it's this high, goes without saying at this point. "You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)" is probably in my top 5 songs of the year. Frankly, I can't believe I only have them at #7.

6. Metric - Fantasies; April 7 (Toronto, Ontario)
Favorite Track: "Gold, Guns, Girls"
Alternate Track: "Sick Muse"
I'm so pissed I missed them when they came to Philly on the night before Thanksgiving (****ing Pneumonia). Anyways, I wasn't too impressed at the start, but it really grew on me throughout the year. If I made this list in July I'd probably have them in the 20's or 30's. The first words out of Emily Haines' mouth on the album "I Tremble" (from Help! I'm Alive), all the way through "Stadium Love" is just a whole bunch of energy and adrenaline running though you.

5. The Raveonettes - In and Out of Control; October 6 (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Favorite Track: "Gone Forever"
Alternate Track: "Suicide" (Really is better live)

Apparently, it seems I favor Danish music more than some people here who spent time in Denmark. This album I think represents Sune Rose and Sharin Foo's best work to date. It's aided that I also saw them live (the link from "Gone Forever" is from the show I was at in Philadelphia).

4. The Sounds - Crossing the Rubicon; June 2 (Helsingborg, Sweden)
Favorite Track: "Beatbox"
Alternat Track: "4 Songs & a Fight"
Maja Ivarsson, I love you. And so does Missy Margera, who was at the show I was at (w/ Bam). Being probably my favorite band, I'm a bit disappointed that this didn't end up at #1, as this album sat there a top my list for most of the year. And I'm not really sure if this is better than Dying to Say This To You, but that just means other stuff was that much better. I was stoked to finally see them live and they blew me away that I was considering getting in a car and driving to Cleveland by myself to see them again - on impulse.

3. Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career; April 20 (Glasgow, Scotland)
Favorite Track: "Honey In the Sun"
Alternate Track: "Swans" (Acoustic version recorded in a campervan)
In a year where I spent a lot of time and energy searching, researching, reading, listening and discovering for the first time, I'd have to say Camera Obscura was my favorite discovery of the year. The sound and melody of "Swans" on the album sounds a lot like that 50's or 60's in the summer, I think. And it was over the summer when I was down the shore when this grew on me to the point where I was considering it for my favorite album of the year.

2. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion; January 6 (Baltimore, Maryland)
Favorite Track: "Bluish"
Alternate Track: "In the Flowers"
There isn't really much to say that hasn't already been said about MPP. It's top 10 in just about every single list I've seen. Every song is a masterpiece of ambient, freaky, psychedelic, experimental awesomeness. And there's going to be much more to come.

1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!; March 9 (New York, New York)
Favorite Track: "Heads Will Roll"
Alternate Track: "Soft Shock"
It seems that this is a love-it, or hate-it album (our other listmakers, they did nothing for anyways admittedly). I've seen a lot of people like it more than what they've done. A lot of people think it's a complete departure from what the band is. I disagree with that obviously. On this board I've seen it described as a band realizing it's pull potential. Not gone, and not forgotten are Karen O's old barking and scratching vocals, but it's dampened and we bring in the synths (which based on this list as a whole, I like). Captivating live and recorded, I think it's a big step forward, and I'll worry about whether there is another step to take when they make another album.

By the Numbers
Countries Represented: 10
United States: 31
Canada: 7
England: 4
Denmark: 2
Australia: 2
Finland: 1
France: 1
Sweden: 1
Scotland: 1

States Represented: 15 (includes wherever Monsters of Folk is)
New York: 8
Pennsylvania: 3
Illinois: 3
California: 3
Tennessee: 2
Washington: 2
Virginia: 1
Oklahoma: 1
Maryland: 1
Louisiana: 1
Michigan: 1
Massachusetts: 1
Oregon: 1
Alaska: 1
Texas: 0 (Neon Indian could have made the list, but I didn't get to it until real late)
Georgia: 0 (WTF Athens?)

By Month:
January: 5
February: 3
March: 4
April: 7
May: 4
June: 5
July: 3
August: 5
September: 6
October: 6
November: 2
December: 0

Number of albums with at least 1 central female vocalist: 23
Number of albums with more than 1 central female vocalist: 3
Number of females in Girls: 0

Bands/Acts using periods: 3

Number of Albums I Share with Big McLargehuge: 21
Number of Albums I Share with Cerebral on Top 50: 17
Number of Albums on All 3 Top 50 Lists: 16
Albums I only Share with Big McLargehuge: 5
Albums I only Share with Cerebral: 1 (Japandroids - Post-Nothing)

(Each would be one more more if my list was 51 as There Is No Ememy from Built to Spill would be on it. Worth mentions again that they're from tiny but somewhat the large state of Idaho.)


Vancouver vs. Calgary
Canucks 2 Flames 1

Toronto vs. Montreal
Canadiens 3 Maple Leafs 2 in a shootout
Tegan Quin lives in Montreal, twin sister Sara stayed in Calgary

Chicago vs. Detroit
Blackhawks 3 Red Wings 1

Nashville vs. Detroit
Predators 2 Red Wings 1

NorCal vs. SoCal
Kings 2 Sharks 1 (I don't see Anaheim anywhere...)

Philadelphia vs. Pittsburgh
Flyers 3 Penguins 0!
(although I heard of a band from Pittsburgh that I will check out)

Philadelphia vs. New York


Song of the Year
"Heads Will Roll" - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Song of the Year Not Represented on the List
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - "Home"

Favorite Debut Album
East Hundred - Passenger

Favorite Debut Album from band/act not from Philadelphia
The xx - xx

Best Band With Ambiguous Meaning Behind Name of Band
The xx

Best Foreign Language Album
PMMP - Veden Varaan (Finnish)

Best EP's
1. Animal Collective - Fall Be Kind
2. Gang - The Electronic EP
3. Bon Iver - Blood Bank

Endurance Test
"Dragon' s Lair" by Sunset Rubdown (10:28)

Best Soundtrack
The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Worst Movie Associated with a Great Soundtrack
The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Best Movie Associated with a Great Soundtrack
(500) Days of Summer

Best Album Cover
The Flaming Lips - Embryonic

Worst Album Cover
The Ettes - Do You Want Power?

Red-Head Album (Which one of these 50 isn't like the others?)
Melody Gardot - My One and Only Thrill

Red-Head With an Awesome Voice
Neko Case

Song That Also Serves As a Public Service Announcement
"Everyone's At It" by Lily Allen

Most Wasteful Use of Eggs
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!

Coolest Optical Illusion
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

Best Album Named After Outdoor Concert Venue
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

Best Thing To Come Out of Wasilla, Alaska
Portugal. The Man

Possibly Idaho, too
Built to Spill....or college football, they try to make the bowls they play in exciting...

Earth's Elevations Are Completely Natural
Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains

Please Killer Whale
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca

Best Likely Unintentional Hockey-Termed Song Title
"Plus Minus" by East Hundred

Hottest Swede
Maja Ivarsson of The Sounds

Most Unlikely Swede
Felix Rodriguez of The Sounds

Saddest Album
The Antlers - Hospice

Awesome Song Title
"Let's Hallucinate Together" by Flashy Python

City That Shares a Home Base With Gender-Confused Band and Song Title of a Finnish-Language Album
San Francisco

Best Band from France with Same Name as American City

Best Band from America with French Name
Au Revoir Simone

International System of Units

A Cow May Have a Strange Accent

Icy Chap Stick?
The Flaming Lips

Time of Day I Wrote This Part
4:00 am

Philadelphia's Real Alternative

Stop Feeding the Rumor-Monger

"I wonder if Norstrom has Forsberg's spleen mounted on his wall." - KINGS17

My 50 Favorite Albums of 2014 (sorry it's late)

Last edited by GKJ: 01-05-2010 at 09:27 PM.
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