Thursday, December 10, 2009

Deckfight's favorite albums of 2009

In most respects, 2009 was a pretty good year for music. For me, personally, most of
my favorite bands released albums--Brand New, Thrice, Thursday, Viva Voce, Animal Collective, The Decemberists, mewithoutyou--if there had been a Five Iron Frenzy re-union show, then that would've covered all my base instincts.

But actually two (kind of) new acts captured my attention at the here's a list of Deckfight's favorite albums this year, followed by 5 faves from Andrew. Also somewhere in there, Deckfight's favorite record labels of the year.

19) Mountain Asleep, Hello Anxious

Raw, raw, raw from Louisville, KY. Frantic breakdowns that defy hardcore and strut too much for math-rock. Watch out for the madness on "Tom Hanks." I think you can still download it from here for free.

18) Lonnie Walker, These Times Old Times

Alt-country, folk-rock, singer-songwriter, just remember there is no one named Lonnie Walker. Much pleasure here, and great song structures.

17) Wilco, (The Album)

Of course not as great as Yankee Hotel Foxtrot or Ghost is Born, but a step up (again) from Sky Blue Sky. They're working on finding the happy medium between ambient feedback and bowing to becoming the flavor of the month.

16) Avett Brothers
, I and Love and You

Potent lyrics (dare I say emotionalism?) carry this one above the wannabes.

15) Cursive, Mama I'm Swollen

Desperate soundscapes meet desperate lyrics. Love "In the Now." Let's see where they take this next.

14) The Winter Sounds, Church of The Haunted South

Some might call it Killers-lite, but as I said back in June: "It's the combination of its bop meeting its earnestness that makes me fall for it." Find the song "Trophy Wife" as soon as possible.

13) Shark Speed,
Sea Sick Music

Minus The Bear with a loose swagger.

12) Animal Collective,
Merriweather Post Pavilion

Surprised everyone is still swooning over this, to me Feels is still the album to beat. But, who would've thought AC would be making catchy songs over & over again? Somehow they've created high interest in the high pitch.

11) Brand New,

Remember "Vices." Don't forget "At The Bottom." And respect "Sink." There's yet another interesting transformation going on here.

10) mewithoutyou
It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's Alright!

Initially confused, then disappointed, then surprised at their boldness. Only move that could've been made to keep the band together, and exploit Aaron's talents while setting the band up for a great future.

9) Hammer No More The Fingers,
Looking For Bruce

Great debut from CMJ darlings. Perfect for minimalist-alt-grunge-sarcastic set.

8) The Decemberists,
Hazards of Love

Played this so much this year, almost forgot it came out this year. I don't mind "grand" and "sweeping" and sounding "epic" on vinyl. Don't mind those things at all.

7) Japandroids,

Short, but sweet and every song is a winner. Let's hear it for the noise.

6) Mt. St. Helen's Vietnam Band

Thought there would be more buzz for this band, as this is some of the wittiest, catchiest best rock songs with cool bass I've heard all year. Oh yeah, the percussion is great too. Maybe think of the Beach Boys decamping for the mountains and gathering some distortion for a campfire. Love "Who's Asking," "Cheer For Fate," "Albatross, Albatross" and "Going on a Hunt."

5) Generationals,
Con Law

Generationals: "Angry Charlie"

Guess this would be my pick for "breakout" band of 2009. There are stories here, actual narratives told to sweet grooves. Its simple, dance-able, soulful easygoing ways prove hard to resist. Especially when they play "When They Fight, They Fight."

4) Manchester Orchestra,
Means Everything to Nothing

Manchester Orchestra: "I've Got Friends"

I didn't want to like this album, but I did. I really did. Maybe I love it. "Shake It Out" is incredible, incredible. Ditto for "I've Got Friends" though the opening sounds suck. These are karaoke faves for the new generation. Whatever this new brand of southern-rock that Manchester Orchestra and the bands of Favorite Gentleman are ushering in, I'm excited to hear it.

3) Castevet,
Summer Fences

Here's a live vid of "Berwyn to Bryn Mawr":

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Not all the kids were duped by Warped Tour emo/screamo bands and still have a healthy respect for math rock and want to see it proliferated. Just found out their new album comes in February. Wow, wow, wow.

2) Fun.,
Aim and Ignite

Fun.: "Be Calm"

They hit bull's eye. With a penchant for pizazz and a flair for the fantastical, Fun channels everyone's desire to sing and dance in their kitchen (try not to with "Be Calm"). If there was any justice in the world, "All The Pretty Girls" would be the dance club hit of the year. There's so much drama here. If Glee ever wanted to do an indie rock show, they should cover Aim and Ignite.

1) Red Collar, Pilgrim

Red Collar: "Pilgrim"

Usually with semi-local bands (they're a few hours up the road) I wait for the flaw, the fatal flaw where everything works except for..... . But with Durham, NC's Red Collar, everything works. Their stage show is knockout. Mike and Jason bring it every night. Their blend of punk rock bar anthems will grab you, their working man screeds will keep you.

And here's a Tues: an article on Red Collar.

Two favorite record labels of the year:

1) Count Your Lucky Stars: Releases from Castevet, Empire! Empire!, Joie De Vivre, Perfect Future

2) Dead Oceans: Releases from Mt. St. Helen's Vietnam Band, John Vanderslice, Phosphorescent, Akron/Family, Bishop Allen, Bowerbirds

Album from 2009 I was most disappointed with: Thursday, Common Existence

Album from late 2008 that I loved all of 2009: Peachcake

Andrew's Top 5 Albums of The Year

1) 200 Million Thousand - Black Lips
Buncha kids from Atlanta making psychodelic garage rock songs that are innovative while sounding like something that might have come out in 1966.

Volume 2 - All Your Science
Crazy club beats over indie rock guitars? Yeah, something like that.

3) Time to Die - The Dodos
Follow up to last year's Visiter is not much of a departure from the last disc, but who cares with percussion this good.

Losing Feeling EP - No Age
On this EP, this duo demonstrates that they are the best noise/punk/avant-garde/art rock band on the planet.

5) Post-Nothing - Japandroids
Yet another duo and yet another album that sounds familiar, then busts out all sorts of surprises.


  1. great post, and thanks for the new music ideas.

  2. This is the best list that I have seen all year. Saw Lonnie Walker last Friday in Chapel Hill for FREE. It is it was the second best show I had been to this year, behind the Avett Brothers in Charlotte, of course. Mt. St. Helen's Vietnam Band is most definitely an awesome album through and through as well.


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