Logan’s Top 10 of 2009
As I mentioned in my blog post, I have really enjoyed 2009. Narrowing down the amount of records I liked to ten was really really really really really difficult. There are about 25 or 30 albums that deserved a spot on this list (a list I will expand on in the next couple days, hint hint). Four records battled for the number one spot. However, I managed to create an accurate representation of my favourite records of the year, and this is what I came up with:
1. Mastodon – Crack the Skye
Mastodon’s newest opus didn’t have an immediate impact on me to the extent that it does now. As a viewer of Remission being the band’s best work, it was hard for me to grasp that the they are now a prog band, and a rather amazing one at that. It is Blood Mountain on steroids; everyone is better at their instruments, Brent Hinds can sing better than just about anyone in metal, and the emotion and personal attachment to the record shines through in the lyrics. Seeing Crack The Skye played in full live helped me appreciate it even more, making it nearly impossible to beat out for my favourite record of the year.
It goes without saying that Them Crooked Vultures are a supergroup, but what makes Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, and John Paul Jones so special as a unit is that they didn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Instead, they have created the best rock ‘n roll record in years, combining the swag of Queens of the Stone Age, the bluesy riffing of Led Zeppelin, and Foo Fighters-esque choruses. Truly the catchiest and most danceable record in years.
It seems very odd to me that I have Converge in the third spot on this list, when I predicted it being first, and after listening to it five or ten times, still considered it to be the best album of the year. However, while the prolific quartet has put together their most definitive and “best” record yet, it lacked the punchy after-effect of my numbers one and two. Still, Axe to Fall is one hell of a record, and will easily be compared among the band’s best works.
I can’t believe I am the only Hearwaxer to see the sheer brilliance in Veckatimest. Emotional power, incredible vocal harmonies, innovative percussion, and well-layered songs contributed to the best indie release of the year. Truly, every indie record afterwards felt just a bit flatter than it would have if it wasn’t for the release of Grizzly Bear’s newest achievement.
I can’t believe this band is on hiatus. It Hates You was a fundamental achievement in kick-assery from everything from straight up catchy rock and roll to doomy heaviness that trumps Torche on their best day. As Jesse said in his summary, It Hates You really has something for everyone.
Hip-hop had a bunch of high profile releases that really didn’t do much for me. Clipse were on my radar for a top ten entry from the announcement of the record’s development last year, and as soon as I heard Til the Casket Drops I knew it was the album that I expected, and then some. A matured duo, Clipse have learned to rap about more than just the coke game, and with stellar production and great guest appearances, they have put together the best release of their career.
Stonecutters take the sludgy vibe generated on early Mastodon records, throws in some thrash and proggy elements for good measure, and it results in one of the heaviest, most riff-driven records of the year. People need to hear this band. Plus, the record is called Christhammer. Doesn’t that just beg to be heard?
Just wanted to say to everyone who acknowledges this record’s awesomeness: I told you so. Funniest part about this is that no one claimed it to review, even though I recommended it. Fools.
Kylesa have been impressing sludge fiends for the last five years or so, but nothing could have prepared them for the monster that was Static Tensions. Heaviness, groove, catchiness, atmosphere; these elements were all prominent in making for one of the year’s best records. It is a shame it came out so early in the year (because I played the shit out of it then!), or else it would be top five material.
The tenth spot in my list could have gone to a ton of records, but few others give me the odd (and awesome) vibe that Black Eye Blues does. It is a different hardcore record, one that includes a prominent amount of bluesy, soulful lyrics and guitarwork. Oh yeah, and like my review says: swagger. This record has plenty of it, making it a viable contender for top record honours.