Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 Year Ender (is it over yet?)

Okay, so this took me some time to finally get posted, and everyone is already getting stoked on 2010, but this is as definitive as I could possibly get it. Still a ton of records left to hear that got a few others excited (ie. still waiting to hear this Black To Comm LP that everyone's flipping for), so we'll have to round up the missed 2009 records sometime later in 2010...maybe. Sorry, no links in this post, but we all know how to do a Google search, right? Pretty much all of these records have been played on the show at one time or another and have gotten a proper write-up on the blog, so I tried to keep the writing to a brief blurb. Anyways, on with the list...

Garage Rock Lo-Fi and everything in between...

The Fresh & Onlys "s/t"(Castleface) and "Grey Eyed Girls" (Woodsist)
Not much more to say about these guys, especially considering they've had damn near weekly play on the show. Absolutely timeless pop perfection. Not sure why they weren't a lot bigger in 2009. These two full lengths are essential listens of the year, but if you're like me and have played these two LPs to death you can still check out full lengths by the group's many offshoots, including Sonny & The Sunsets (featuring Tim Cohen and Shayde Sartin), The Sandwitches (two former F&O's backup singers), and Tim Cohen's solo joint. 2010 should hopefully see the release of their promised full length on In The Red, another Tim Cohen LP, and, hopefully, another avalanche of singles.

Meth Teeth "Everything Went Wrong" (Woodsist)
Coup number two for the exploding Woodsist label. After over a year of waiting Portland's Meth Teeth finally deliver their debut full length LP. The album is actually a coupla' re-tuned oldies with some newer material tossed in. Excellent review over at Dusted that also contains a brief history of the band.

Hunches "Exit Dreams" (In The Red)
One of two swan songs this year from Portland's defunct Hunches (the other is a limited comp featuring outtakes and a Peel Session) and easily their most potent punch-up to date. Following their two previously brasher full lengths, The Hunches managed to slow things down every so often, though the results are just as wrenching as anything else released before hand. Fans of those first two assaultive records should still be content with the tightly wound garage bombs unleashed here.

Nothing People "Late Night" (S-S)
A major leap from last year's debut LP "Anonymous" and one of this year's most aptly titled albums. "Late Night" is a woozy, jumbled and jangly record perfect for a post-midnight spin on the decks; 2009's best comedown record.

Amen Dunes "D.I.A." (Locust)
Well this one pretty much dropped out of nowhere and disappeared even faster. Amen Dunes is one Damon McMahon, who recorded this record somewhere up in the Catskills (originally from Philly), though he has apparently moved on to China since the release of the record. Little information is floating around about this guy, which fits this mysterious lo-fi stoner-folk record quite well, if you asks me. Listen to a live session at WFMU here (courtesy of the Free Music Archive).

El Jesus De Magico "Scalping The Guru" (Columbus Discount)
Not even sure I wanted to put this in the garage etc. list but there wasn't room anywhere else. Two side long slabs of mystic kraut-psych that manages to be groovy and a little frightening.

Grass Widow "s/t" 12" (Captured Tracks) & "s/t" LP (Make A Mess)
Top notch post-punk revival from San Francisco's underrated Grass Widow. Harmonized vocals, taught and clean guitar lines mark a refreshing, gimmick-free, back-to-basics sound that seemed to get lost in the shuffle.

Dan Melchior Und Das Menace "Thankyou Very Much" (S-S)
Best record yet from this prolific brit, and it's a double LP to boot! Not usually a fan of double records but damn near every track here is catchy and memorable, not to mention pretty damn funny.

Pens "Hey Friend, What You Doing?" (De Stijl)
More brits! This time it's three young ladies clumsily bashing out their sincere idea of DIY punk. One of the many highlights at this past years SMMR BMMR fest.

Eat Skull "Wild and Inside" (Siltbreeze)
"Wild and Inside" could have just contained the ridiculously catchy 'Stick To The Formula' and then just pit farts for the rest of the record and I still would've ranked this rather high. Luckily there are plenty of other amazing tracks to help compliment one of my favorite songs of 2009.

Can't forget about these...

Blank Dogs "Under and Under" (In The Red)
The guy releases his most ambitious, inventive record to date and no one seemed to care. Blank Dogs overload, me thinks.

Little Claw "Human Taste" (Not Not Fun/Ecstatic Peace)
Not quite as good as the debut from a few years back, but still a worthy follow-up.

Mantles "s/t" (Siltbreeze)
Another great west coast garage-pop revivalist. Should've been much bigger in '09.

Thee Oh Sees "Help" (In The Red) & "Dog Poison" (Captured Tracks)
Not nearly as good the perfect "The Master's Bedroom Is Worth Spending A Night In", but both releases- not to mention a non-stop flurry of 7 inches- help keep Thee Oh Sees at the top o' the garage heap.

The Intelligence "Fake Surfers" (In The Red)
After the mediocre "Deuteronomy", The Intelligence strike back with one of their best records.

Noise Rock

Helluva year for super abrasive, feedback riddled, hate rock. So much so that I had to shape an entire list around all this noise.

Mayyors "Deads EP" (Hurling Man)
The elusive Mayyors, who were the best part of the already amazing SMMR BMMR fest, topped those previous two seven inches and raised the bar so high it'll be a serious feat if anyone can topple these guys, themselves included.

Twin Stumps "s/t" (Dais)
Tearing Brooklyn apart one Animal Collective at a time.

Anals "Total Anal" (Permanent)
If Brainbombs weren't still active, you'd think that the band had reformed as France's Anals.

Drunkdriver/Mattin "A List Of Profound Insecurities" (Badmaster)
Billy Bao's Mattin adds a thick later of distorted, electronic squelches to Drunkdriver's pummel-a-thon, which adds up to one of the more assaultive releases on this list.

No Balls "s/t" (Release The Bats)
This one disappeared quicker than anything else on the list, and with good reason. No Balls is apparently 2 members of Brainbombs (though the debut 7 inch from earlier this year was supposedly a single member) and this record plays like a stripped down version of their current band, albeit with a murky layer of noise permeating the whole thing. Oh yeah, and it's also pretty much instrumental.

Pissed Jeans "King Of Jeans" (Sub Pop)
After years of releasing mom-friendly dreck like Fleet Foxes and Band Of Horses, Sub Pop apologize to long-time fans of the label and sign Pissed Jeans for a couple records. Though not as varied as "Hope For Men", "King Of Jeans" is more than enough for the growing throngs re/discovering the AmRep catalog. Hey, Sub Pop, if you really wanna satisfy us re-issue them damn Six Finger Satellite LPs.

TV Ghost "s/t" (In The Red)
Birthday Party-styled organ-driven spook-garage from Lafayette, Indiana.

Six Finger Satellite "Half Control" (Load)
Okay, so it's nowhere near the perfect "Paranormalized" or "Severe Exposure", but it's also hardly the same band as ten-plus years ago. J. Ryan and Rick Pelletier (both original members) and co. manage to scrape up enough demons to make another compelling record, albeit recorded in 2001. A recently recorded new album was released just a few weeks back. Haven't heard it yet, but the reviews haven't been too positive. I'll still give it a shot...

Billy Bao "May 08" (Parts Unknown)
Another fine edition to the growing Billy Bao legacy from Mattin and the crew. Not quite as unforgiving as past releases on S-S or Parts Unknown but still a potent punch to the neck.

And Everything Else...

Oneohtrix Point Never "Zones Without People" (Arbor)
Absolutely mesmerizing analog synth-work from one half of the mighty Infinity Window.

Infinity Window "Artificial Midnight" (Arbor)
Dualing synths from two contemporary virtuosos. See above for more...

Zola Jesus "The Spoils" (Sacred Bones)
Sacred Bones had another amazing year and this lo-fi and industrial-tinged LP clinches the top spot. Zola (aka Nika Roza Danilova) had a busy year, releasing the Former Ghosts LP with Freddie Rupert and Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu, plus another full length on Troubleman Unlimited. 2010 will probably be even bigger for the Madison, Wisconsin native.

A Sunny Day In Glasgow "Ashes Grammar" (Mis Ojos Discos)
Not quite as enjoyable as their debut from a few years back, but "Ashes Grammar" works better as a more cohesive album, which is seamlessly stitched together across 2 LPs.

Peaking Lights "Imaginary Falcons" (Night People)
Easily one of the more beautiful records of the year. An Eno-esque descent into decaying ambiance.

Dave Phillips "They Live" (RRR)
Two side-long slabs of creepin' 'n crawly. Foxy Digitalis sums this one up better 'an I ever could.

Sunn O))) "Monoliths & Dimensions" (Southern Lord)
Finally, a Sunn O))) record that I'll probably listen to more than once every coupla' years. Best LP package of 2009.

Sun Araw "Heavy Deeds" (Not Not Fun)
Jammed this one more times than I can count. Cameron Stallones peels back the heart of his inner groove and gets down low and skronky for his finest release yet.

True Widow "s/t" (End Sounds)
Much thanks to AQ Records for placing this as one of their records of the week. Anyone who was waiting for the slowcore part of the 90s revival should look no further than True Widow's debut. After hearing this you'll be dusting off your old Seam and Codeine records in no time. One of '09s most overlooked records.

Inca Ore "Silver Sea Surfer School" (Not Not Fun)
An ethereal and dream-like patchwork of lo-fi bliss. Seriously haunting and beyond proper description, as I just proved.

Black Math "s/t" (Permanent)
Goth-y garage in a way too limited run. Released by Chicago's Permanent Records, which has been one of the most consistent new labels of the past year. Keep 'em coming.

Dalek "Gutter Tactics" (Ipecac)
Another dense sonic barrage by hip hop's only visionaries.

Shearing Pinx "Weaponry" (Divorce)
The Pinx deliver Vancouver's best LP release of 2009 and then abruptly announce it as part one of a two LP set. Catch 'em live before they are no more...

Natural Snow Buildings "Shadow Kingdom" (Blackest Rainbow)
France's drone-folk duo make their first huge splash on vinyl--a 3 LP set of sprawling and immersive drone that has little comparison.

Twelve Inches

Dum Dum Girls "Catholicked" (Captured Tracks)

The Girls At Dawn "s/t" (Captured Tracks)

Magik Markers/Sic Alps split (Yik Yak)

Woven Bones "The Minus Touch" (Zoo Music)

Ganglians "s/t" (Captured Tracks)

Little Girls "Thrills" (Mexican Summer)

The Bitters "Wooden Glove" (Captured Tracks)

Wooden Shjips "Contact" (Mexican Summer)

Washed Out "Life Of Leisure" (Mexican Summer)

Records I'm still waiting to hear/are in the mail...

Black To Comm "Alphabet 1968" (Type)
Meercaz "s/t" (Tic Tac Totally)
So Cow "s/t" (Tic Tac Totally)
Shit & Shine "229-2299 Girls Against Shit" (Riot Season)
King Midas Sound "Waiting For You" (Hyperdub)
Grouper/Roy Montgomery split LP (self released)
Emeralds "s/t" (Gneiss Things)

Best shows
Mayyors, Pens, Meth Teeth@SMMR BMMR
Robe & Allied@anywhere they played
My Bloody Valentine@Seattle's WAMU Theatre
Sic Alps w/Magik Markers@The Rickshaw Theatre
Blues Control@Little Mountain Studios
Jonas Reinhardt w/Valet & Sinoia Caves@Little Mountain
Wooden Shjips@ ANZA Club
Kurt Vile & Eat Skull@Holocene, Portland, Ore
Barn Owl@behind the Museum Of Anthropology, UBC
Grouper@St Andrew's-Wesley Cathedral
The Fresh & Onlys@Pat's Pub
Jesus Lizard@Capitol Hill Block Party, Seattle
Golden Triangle@Garage Fest, Portland, Ore
The Intelligence@The Biltmore (twice)

(I'm probably forgetting a bunch of stuff from the beginning of the year. Local readers should drop a comment and let me know what I'm forgetting)

Other year enders worth peeping

2010 releases to be juiced up for

AFCGT LP on Sub Pop
Hozac Hookup Klub, year 2
Tim Cohen LP on Captured Tracks
Shearing Pinx LP number two on Divorce
Golden Triangle LP on Hardly Art
US Girls LP on Siltbreeze
Best Coast LP on ???
Dum Dum Girls LP on Sub Pop
Moon Duo on Captured Tracks
Magic Lantern LP on Not Not Fun


JohnnyO said...

A solid list.

Jason said...

Comprehensive list! Tons of stuff I forgot about and I'm going to go do something about. Great wrap-up as always.

David Glickman said...

Just so you know, besides this being a great list, Best Coast will be releasing the debut on Black Iris.

Bjorn Olson said...