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2009: Albums of the year

January 15, 2010

2009 was huge for music. Blink 182 returned to the road and announced a new album was in the works. Kanye West wanted to let Taylor Swift finish, but not until he got something off his chest. Bands were getting their vans and trailers broken into/stolen/vandalized. It seemed like every platinum-selling rapper was getting busted with guns. And pop-punk was resurging with more force, with a slightly different style.

So without further ado, here’s what I liked in 2009.

10. RX Bandits – Mandala

Can this band make a bad record? The answer is “absolutely not.” The RX Bandits have been releasing freaky-good albums for years, and Mandala is no exception. This record contains all of the RX Bandits’ signatures: crazy guitar work, amazing synth lines, Matt Embree’s socially conscious lyrics and jam after jam after jam. The RX Bandits are one of the best live bands out there, and every person should get the opportunity to see them once. It’s a religious experience.

9. Poison the Well – The Tropic Rot

Poison the Well never disappoints. They have been changing their sound over every album, and with their latest release, The Tropic Rot, they have shown their most mature work. Jeffrey Moreira is one of the most versatile vocalists in music. On this album, he really showcases his talents. The band went to more of a melodic and “bigger” sound on this record, and it worked out perfectly. The Tropic Rot is the perfect follow-up to their dynamic 2007 release Versions.

8. Fireworks – All I Have to Offer is My Own Confusion

Why does it seem like there’s a sudden rush of great bands from Michigan? What’s in the water over there? Well naturally, Fireworks hails from Detroit in the Great Lake State. They are already taking the music scene by storm with their first full length album on Triple Crown Records. All I Have to Offer is My Own Confusion kicks you in the face from the opening snare hit and never lets up. Fireworks brings the fun every night they perform. They have been already been attached to some major pop-punk tours, supporting New Founds Glory in 2009 and then again hitting the road with NFG and Saves the Day on 2010. You can check out their video for “Detroit” over here.

7. Thrice – Beggars

I have to admit, I was a bit underwhelmed by Thrice’s last couple albums. So I was a bit skeptical when it came to this record. But, Thrice seems to have found their perfect songwriting formula on Beggars. We all know when we listen to a new album from this band we’re not going to get Deadbolt anymore. This band has grown up, and grown up in a great way. They don’t have to fill their albums with wailing guitar solos and pounding double bass to show how heavy they can be. Beggars is a beautifully composed record that really restored my excitement for the band.

6. New Found Glory – Not Without a Fight

After years of listening to different bands and different types of music, I always come back home to New Found Glory. Coming off an album that wasn’t considered to be their best work, NFG hit us with a powerful album in 2009. The band showed that they could stay true to their pop-punk roots, while creating their heaviest record (Heavy compared to their previous albums, not Lamb of God). Not Without a Fight makes you want to put your Dickies shorts back on and dig up that old Hurley T-shirt from the bottom of your drawer.

5. fun. – Aim and Ignite

I have missed The Format since the day they broke up, so as soon as I heard Nate Ruess was starting a new band, I was instantly on board. I had always wondered what the Format’s follow up to Dog Problems would sounds like, and when Aim and Ignite was released, I think we all knew what that direction was. This album has the same theatrical feel that we heard from The Format. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of these songs in a trailer for your next favorite indie movie.

4. Broadway Calls – Good Views, Bad News

Good old fashioned pop-punk right here. This record is great. Good Views, Bad News is chock-full of anthems that bring me right back to why I became interested in the genre in the first place. Palm muting and a whole bunch of “whoa’s.” What else could you want in a record? Every song on this album could be your new favorite pop-punk song.  Broadway Calls is the coolest band out of Oregon since The Kingsmen wrote “Louie Louie.”

3.  Alexisonfire – Old Crows/Young Cardinals

When the year-end lists first started coming out on all the popular Web-sites, I noticed one huge mistake with nearly all of them; this album wasn’t on many lists! This album blew me away when I heard it the first time. These Canadians have made another great album. From the muffled bass line to open the record, I was hooked. Old Crows/Young Cardinals has such a deep sound that they have been lacking on their previous records. Dallas Green continues to be one of the best singers in the business, and his voice blends perfectly with the raspier George Pettit. More people need to hear this record. This is their third full-length album, and their first two have gone platinum in Canada. Wake up America!

2.  The Swellers – Ups and Downsizing

Ups and Downsizing was my most anticipated album of the year. I wanted to kill someone at Fueled by Ramen when my pre-order package arrived late, but it was well worth the wait. The Swellers delivered another great pop-punk album. In my eyes, The Swellers give us a sound the pop-punk has been missing in recent years. These “pop-punk revival” bands have become too concerned with how neon their Nike Dunks are, but The Swellers give us a break from that flashy culture and deliver a great record. Hailing from Flint, Michigan, they have had their share of heartache since the economy took a dump. Nick Diener wore his heart on his sleeve when he wrote this record. Fresh off a tour with Paramore, this band is looking to have a huge 2010.

1. Bomb the Music Industry – Scrambles

Scrambles is hands down, the number one album of the year. It is one of the best punk albums I have heard in years. Bomb the Music Industry has been making great DIY punk/ska for years for the generous price of zero dollars. This album really highlights Jeff Rosenstock’s songwriting. Rosenstock talked about the album before it came out saying it has “lots of piano. lots and lots of it. not much punk, not much ska so might as well stop listening?” Well I’m glad I kept listening. On Scrambles, Rosenstock gives you a deep glimpse into his life, while still maintaining the laugh out loud lyrics that have become a signature of the band. Epic songs weren’t exactly a staple of their previous records, but on this record, several tracks really stand with huge sounds that could fill an arena. While I was fully expecting to enjoy this record when it came out, in no way did I think it would reach number one on my year-end list. It absolutely blew me away how beautiful and artsy this record was, while still keep their gritty, DIY image. Bomb the Music Industry is a truly admirable band, vowing to only play all-ages shows for $10 or less. Rosenstock asked in April if you could “imagine what shit would be like if you hadn’t been to a punk show before you were twenty-one? Would you still be listening to this music, would you still be booking shows, would you still be involved in any of the things you are involved in today?” Congratulations BTMI for a great year. You’ve set the punk-rock bar so high.

Other great albums

Big D and the Kids Table – Fluent in Stroll

MC Lars – This Gigantic Robot Kills

Weezer – Raditude

This Time Next Year – Road Maps and Heart Attacks

mewithoutYou – It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright!

Andrew W.K. – 55 Cadillac

NOFX – Coaster

Paramore – Brand New Eyes

Jay Z – The Blueprint III

Great EP’s

The Lawrence Arms – Buttsweat and Tears

Patent Pending – Attack of the Awesome

A Wilhelm Scream – Self titled

Biggest disappointments

Set Your Goals – This Will Be the Death of Us

Brandnew – Daisy

What to look forward to in 2010

New Blink 182

New Motion City Soundtrack (Review coming soon!)

New Wonder Years (Review coming soon!)

New Glassjaw (Hey, I can be hopeful right?)

New Interpol

Agree? Disagree? Let me know.

2009 was good, but who knows, maybe 2010 can outdo it.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2010 9:42 pm

    Sad to see you didn’t like Daisy as much as I did. I did love Scrambles though. How come Say Anything’s album didn’t make the list?

    • January 26, 2010 9:46 pm

      Say Anything was good, but not amazing in my eyes. There were a lot of good albums this year. It was hard to make this list for sure.

  2. loxlee permalink
    January 27, 2010 3:25 am

    This year was a good year for music, I agree with imacrayon, Daisy is a fantastic album although it is a definite grower.

    No ETID? Blasphemous!


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