December 31, 2009

Top 20 Albums Heard in 2009

Posted in music at 6:00 pm by berzerkeleyan

Just like 2006 and 2008, I compiled a list of albums that got the heaviest rotation this past year.  And just like those lists, the year in which the album was released was irrelevant.  Since I’ve already written about most of them at some point this year, I won’t bother providing too many explanations.

Here they are.

20. Patrick Watson “Wooden Arms” (2008)genre: Canadian Chamber Rock. The background textures on each song make repeat listenings enjoyable.
19. Fleet Foxes “Fleet Foxes” (2008)genre: Americana.
18. Yeah Yeah Yeahs “It’s Blitz!” (2009)genre: Techno Punk. Their normally aggressive sound was softened a bit on this album. But that didn’t take anything away from this release.
17. Kasabian “West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum” (2009)genre: Britpop.
16. Andrew Bird “Noble Beast” (2009)genre: Freak Folk.
15. White Lies “To Lose My Life…” (2009)genre: Neo Post Punk.
14. Kings Of Leon “Because Of The Times” (2007)genre: Southern Rock-n-Soul. I admit it, I didn’t like these guys when their first album was released in 2003. It was only after they released “Only By The Night” that I was sucked in. I’ve been playing catch up all year.
13. The Stills “Oceans Will Rise” (2008)genre: Neo Post Punk. This album made its way on the list due to a heavy campaign in the final weeks of December. It’s unclear how much staying power it has.
12. Friendly Fires “Friendly Fires” (2008)genre: Geeky Funk. The dweebiest Duran Duran wannabees you will ever see. But boy is their take on dance funk infectious and fun. They were one of the more memorable acts I saw live this year.
11. Doves “Kingdom Of Rust” (2009)genre: British Prog Rock.
10. Department Of Eagles “In Ear Park” (2008)genre: Freak Folk.
9. The Veils “Sun Gangs” (2009)genre: Emoschlock.
8. The Bird And The Bee “the bird and the bee” (2007)genre: Bliss Pop. I fell hard for this group this year. Sweet and twee, I could always rely on this band to brighten my mood.
7. Snow Patrol “A Hundred Million Suns” (2008)genre: Emoschlock.
6. Hard-Fi “Stars Of CCTV” (2005)genre: Britpop. Last year’s list had Hard-Fi’s second album on it. This year I played catch up and listened to this one repeatedly. A very anthemic, very catchy collection of songs.
5. Ash “1977” (1996)genre: Britpop. As big of an Ash fan as I am I didn’t get this, their debut album, until this past year. Big mistake.
4. Portishead “Third” (2008)genre: Electronic Paranoia.
3. Kings Of Leon “Only By The Night” (2008)genre: Southern Rock-n-Soul.
2. Ra Ra Riot “The Rhumb Line” (2008)genre: Indie Chamber Pop.
1. The Bird And The Bee “Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future” (2009)genre: Bliss Pop. The runaway winner by a very large margin. This album was absolutely devoured this summer like a jackal devours a piece of meat.
Advertisements

December 28, 2009

Music Rotation — 21 Dec

Posted in music at 8:00 pm by berzerkeleyan

This past week:

Doves “Kingdom Of Rust” (2009)genre: British Prog Rock.
Kasabian “West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum” (2009)genre: Britpop.
Andrew Bird “Noble Beast” (2009)genre: Freak Folk.
The Horrors “Primary Colours” (2009)genre: Gothic Shoegazer.
Hard-Fi “Stars Of CCTV” (2005)genre: Britpop.
Hard-Fi “Once Upon A Time In The West” (2007)genre: Britpop. Both of Hard-Fi’s albums are a lot of fun. Anthemic, and fun to belt out while driving.
Malcolm Middleton “A Brighter Beat” (2007)genre: Scottish Indie.
LCD Soundsystem “Sound Of Silver” (2007)genre: Techno Punk.
Béla Fleck “The Bluegrass Sessions: Tales From The Acoustic Planet, Volume 2” (1999)genre: Bluegrass.
The Stills “Oceans Will Rise” (2008)genre: Neo Post Punk.
White Lies “To Lose My Life…” (2009)genre: Neo Post Punk.
Stephen Malkmus “Stephen Malkmus” (2001)genre: American Indie Rock.
KT Tunstall “Eye To The Telescope” (2004)genre: Pop Folk.

December 20, 2009

Music Rotation — 14 Dec

Posted in music at 3:12 pm by berzerkeleyan

For the week:

Cat Stevens “Teaser and the Firecat” (1971)genre: Folk.
The Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour” (1967)genre: Rock.
Jeniferever “Spring Tides” (2009)genre: Bliss Pop.
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” (2009)genre: Prog Rock.
Herbie Hancock “Maiden Voyage” (1965)genre: Jazz.
Serena-Maneesh “S-M Backwards” (2008)genre: Shoegazer.
Beastie Boys “Paul’s Boutique” (1989)genre: Hip Hop.
The Bird And The Bee “the bird and the bee” (2007)genre: Bliss Pop.
Manic Street Preachers “Journal For Plague Lovers” (2009)genre: British Rock.
We Were Promised Jetpacks “These Four Walls” (2009)genre: British Indie Rock.
The Stills “Oceans Will Rise” (2008)genre: Neo Post Punk. After being bitterly disappointed by their second, I waited over a year before purchasing this. Wow, big mistake. Though not as brilliant as their first, it is a very solid album. In very heavy rotation at the moment.
XX Teens “Welcome To Goon Island” (2008)genre: Power Punk.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs “It’s Blitz!” (2009)genre: Techno Punk.
Sugarcubes “Life’s Too Good” (1988)genre: Power Punk. Twenty years on (!!), this album still sounds fresh.

December 13, 2009

Top Twenty Albums of the Oughts

Posted in music at 8:35 am by berzerkeleyan

I’m no spring chicken. I can associate key moments of my life with the Punk, Disco, Post Punk, New Wave, New Romantic, Modern Rock, Rap/Hip Hop, Grunge, Alternative, and Britpop eras of years past.  It is with that background that I can say with a large measure of confidence that this has been a very impressive decade for music.  Though I can’t define a dominant genre over the past ten years, that might be due to how diverse the artists on my list are.  The range of musical styles can be directly attributed to the death of radio and the advent of the internet as the primary means by which artists build a fan base.  With so many acts more easily able to reach out and develop an audience, it’s been simply impossible to collect them all.  But that doesn’t mean I didn’t try.

Like all lists, it was hard to narrow this one down to just twenty.  Some excellent releases were omitted.  In spite of that, I’m happy with what I put together. Keep in mind that this is by no means meant to resemble an official critic’s list.  It is simply those albums that I listened to the most throughout the decade.

Read the rest of this entry »

December 6, 2009

Music Rotation — Nov 30

Posted in music at 5:52 pm by berzerkeleyan

This past week:

Scorpions “Love At First Sting” (1984)genre: Metal.
Lee Morgan “The Sidewinder” (1964)genre: Jazz.
Mazzy Star “So Tonight That I Might See” (1993)genre: alt.country.
Portishead “Third” (2008)genre: Electronic Paranoia.
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” (2009)genre: Prog Rock. This is another winning album from this band. Their sound is strange, unique, and completely awesome. They’re coming to town this Saturday, and I will be there.
Paul Weller “22 Dreams” (2008)genre: Mod Rock.
Flight Of The Conchords “Flight Of The Conchords” (2008)genre: Comedy.
Grizzly Bear “Veckatimest” (2009)genre: Freak Folk.
The Bird And The Bee “the bird and the bee” (2007)genre: Bliss Pop.
The Horrors “Primary Colours” (2009)genre: Gothic Shoegazer.