Top 25 Albums of 2009 Top 25 Albums of 2009

Pinpoint Music’s

Top 25 Albums of 2009

You know where this conversation is going. You sit at a table of friends and strangers making friendly, inoffensive observations to perhaps increase your chances of approval, and amongst the friends and strangers you meet someone who seems like a decent person. After talking for some time, testing the waters of compatibility, you realize this might be the type of person you’d get a long with. You’ve made obscure references to episodes of the Simpsons, talked about how rad Obama (so dreamy) is and maybe even shared some awkward physical contact; but you know where this conversation is going. Someone is going to ask “What kind of music do you like?”, “Who’s your favorite band?” and “Whats your favorite album?” – any one, if not all three, in any order. Impossible. Just be sure to choose your next words wisely, you are being judged.

The writers and contributors of Pinpoint Music have put their collective balls on the table, answered the tough questions; and without further ado, here are the Top 25 Albums of 2009.

The Rival Sons

Before The Fire

The Rival Sons are like rock and roll defibrillators – surging electric life back into the heart of what we thought was lost.

Matt & Kim

Grand

Who knew a record this warm and energetic could be recorded while, “playing a keyboard in a winter coat and cut off gloves, sitting in a Vermont bedroom with no heat in December…mixing wearing only underwear, sweating at 5am in a Brooklyn apartment with no air conditioning…”

Sonic Youth

The Eternal

Trademark feedback and formless freakouts; it seems like it’s standard procedure for Sonic-Youth to release another top record.

Silversun Pickups

Swoon

Smooth but raw, vast but intimate, dark, driving and compelling. The vocals, while silky and sweet, are saturated with attitudes of both sadness and anger. The drums and bass are sometimes subverted, sometimes relentless exactly when they need to be.

Neko Case

Middle Cyclone

I jumped in a car today at 6am and ventured down the 99 to Fresno, California. Don’t ask me why I was going to Fresno, but as I sat in the passenger seat in the wee hours of the morning, thoughts moving slowly, nursing a hangover; all I wanted was Neko Case and this album.

Orphans and Vandals

I am Alive and You are Dead

I am Alive and You are Dead is sparse and efficient, yet its scope spans about a dozen years in time, several nations worth of geography, and just about every possible human emotion. The songs are like conversations between Al Joshua, singer and guitarist for Orphans & Vandals, and the rest of the band. The music seems to be egging him on to reveal sinister details, and comforts him in moments of despondence. And Joshua is more than happy to oblige.

Dananananaykroyd

Hey Everyone

Party. Just fucking party. Big balloons and blue palms from high-fiving so hard your teeth rattle and so fucking frequently it’s a wonder there’s a friend left who would ever dare come within striking distance of your wild and frothing élan.
As fun to listen to the twentieth time as it is the first this blend of hardcore, and pop, will leave you feeling both the urge to dance and trash the joint.

Nico Vega

Nico Vega

In 2007 Nico Vega released their first EP. 2 years and 2 EPs later they delivered their first full length album – a self-titled debut album of impressive proportions. The three piece powerhouse delivers a surprising diversity of sounds that has surpassed the expectations of fans and critics alike. With forceful instrumentals and raw, passionate vocals Nico Vega is one of the most notable releases of 2009.

Animal Collective

Merriweather Post Pavilion

Arguably their most ‘pop’ album so far, Merriweather Post Pavilion is latest project completed by the sonic veterans in The Animal Collective. As with all of their albums, everyone wondered “what will they do next” and the album released to a bevy of expectations and pre-conceptions. Nobody was disappointed. Merriweather Post Pavilion perpetuates The Animal Collective’s musical virtuosity and is sure to satisfy fans, embrace non-fans and silence detractors.

Pissed Jeans

King of Jeans

Pummel out some seriously sinister jungle rhythms, rev up the chainsaw power chords, and make one of the few truly dangerous indie records in some time.

Bill Callahan

Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle

Steven Wright with an acoustic guitar and a story to tell; Bill Callahan might have one of the most comforting sounds in all of music. However, unlike other feel-goody singer/songwriters with an acoustic guitar, there’s tension and conflict here, adding a very sincere depth that makes Sometimes I Wish I Were an Eagle undeniable.

Gray Young

Firmament

You know this record. It’s written in you. Something forgotten among all the years and lovers you’ve known and disregarded with a heavy heart and the tepid knowledge that some things aren’t meant to be. It’s out there somewhere. Perfect.

BlakRoc

BlakRoc

Ignore the hype, the names and the concept, what you’ll realize is; this is what Jesus meant by “rap-rock”. Refreshing, re-listenable qualities to the album that you don’t always get in hip hop.

Mi Ami

Watersports

Despite the band’s talk of loose structure and instant composition, these songs are tight, and the album holds together as a whole incredibly well. These guys have something here, and seem ready and eager to continue evolving.

The xx

xx

xx is a wonderfully bleak debut album, and it’s refreshing that a brand new indie band can release such a confident and unpretentious record and gain due credit. It’s a heavy listen, but one that you’ll keep coming back to.

Grizzly Bear

Veckatimest

As the 3rd studio album Veckatimest is unique to the rest of Grizzly Bear’s albums in its approach and, subsequently, its sound. The band proclaims this album as the best integration of writing from all band members so far and, while staying true to their overall sound, brings an exciting and successful experimental sound.

Crippled Black Phoenix

200 Tons of Bad Luck

Brooding rock worthy of being the score for a descent into total madness. This album will rate high with fans of the post-rock genre in particular, but is a recommended listen to anyone who enjoys a rock epic.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

It’s Blitz!

Open minded fans will find a lot to love here. This is an album that sounds great blasting at a party. It’s exciting that these guys were not trapped by their garage roots, and it will be interesting to see where they go next.

Future of the Left

Travels with Myself and Another

The Refused and The Dead Milkmen made babies and Travels with Myself and Another was born.  Punk rock attitude yet randomly melodic; definitely the soundtrack to standing on your coffee table and throwing empty beer cans at the wall with your friends.

The Antlers

Hospice

You’ve got to love hearing something described as a high risk album. Besides being overly ambiguous, it’s normally a term synonymous with shit music. That’s because high risk albums miss the mark almost all of the time. Then there’s the exception to the rule; enter The Antlers, Hospice.

Hospice is a musical landscape that flows seamlessly through very progressive sounds. When you hear the flawless blending between of the entire group it’s almost unfathomable to think that Peter Silberman wrote the majority of the album before there was even a complete band.

Part Pop, part Garage, part Melancholy, Hospice is one of the most surprising and innovative albums you’ll listen to this year.

Obits

I Blame You

It’s pretty impressive when a group can slow down their meter, while incorporating elements of Blues, and still manage to bring an aggressive sound. Obits, I Blame You, sounds like the bastard child of a torrid love affair between the Brooklyn Indie scene of today, and the San Diego Surf Punk scene of 1980’s. It is a much needed change from what’s coming out of NYC right now and is an complete and moving album.

The Happy Hollows

Spells

The Happy Hollows are a sugar frosted Juggernaut. Their October release of Spells is both inspired and energizing. This album is sneaky good and layered thick. “Captain” Sara Negahdari is a phenomenal musical talent who possesses amazing range, and truly gets what it is to be a lead. It takes a rare harmony to create this cohesive of an album. The firecracker that is Sarah, the precision of Charlie Mahoney (vocals/bass/guitar) and driving drums of Chris Hernandez all come through on an album that is a shockingly powerful debut.

The Flaming Lips

Embryonic

The Flaming Lips’ sound has never rested in a static state. For those who are only familiar with the Lips through their turn of the century releases, The Soft Bulletin, and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, their new release, Embryonic, will sound foreign.

As the title alludes to this is an album of rebirth for the Lips. A baptism that pays homage to their Acid-Psyche / Noise-Pop roots. This is a compelling album that will be very polarizing to listeners. If you go in with pre-conceived notions of what the Lips sound like prepare for shock. If you understand that the Lips embody reinvention than prepare for a one of the most engaging and accomplished albums of the year.

Phoenix

Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

The energy and rhythm that carries the listener through Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix makes for an undeniably enjoyable ride and is certainly the band’s greatest accomplishment thus far. The new album by Phoenix is a fun, charming and technically proficient addition to their already established repertoire.

Japandroids

Post-Nothing

For all its idyllic carefree romanticism of youth, Post-Nothing is a deceptively moreish record. Whilst you might expect an album of high energy garage rock to be a fairly expendable number, it easily sucks you in. Thirty five minutes really will fly in, as Japandroids have offered us a lush and expansive soundscape of naivety and hopefulness. It’s a delightfully simple premise; get your mate, crank up the volume, and set out to make honest, expansive tunes. You really do need to settle down with a couple of beers and let this thoroughly wash over you. Only complete immersion will do. Simply outstanding.



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