Friday, 13 April 2012

List: Top 10 Albums of 2009

2009 threw up some amazing album. We saw the return of several artists released their third studio albums, all to be disregarded at mediocre material. This left a huge gap for new and innovative artists to breakthrough in 2009. As always, here are the albums that came close but didnt manage to break into the top 10.

Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms
Antony and the Johnsons - The Crying Light
Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions

10.  HEALTH - Get Color

HEALTH picked up from where they left off after 2007's self titled album. This time around they focused more towards melody and dynamics rather than just straight noise. It pays off in my opinion because of the great synthesizer drones mixed with the heavy raw drumming which reminds me of fellow noise thrillists Battles. This album has 'Die Slow', a perfect single with very static synthesizers and soaring guitars which create a dreamy atmosphere within the noise soundscapes. The whole album is one dream filled mess of fast paced drumming, monotonous guitar riffs and a dance-punk vibe at it's heart.

9. Jon Hopkins - Insides

The outsider album of 2009 comes from Jon Hopkins. He's known for his ambient recordings and more recently delivering a few melodies for superstars Coldplay. His music is a mix between glitch and straight forward electronic music which has a Four Tet kind of vibe, but much more heavier and louder. The first half of this album is truly magnificent with many glitch filled tracks of soundscapes and nightmarish instrumentals. 

8. Atlas Sound - Logos

Deerhunter front man Bradford Cox has his own psychedelic side project known as Atlas Sound. This album was released on 4AD and features Panda Bear of Animal Collective and Lætitia Sadier of experimental giants Stereolab. Several of these tracks are extremely poppy and have loops of excellence. The music here is much more denser than the Deerhunter albums, and Cox relishes this. He has a knack for creating these eerie atmospheres within his music and Logos has all of his work put into one album. 

7. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Before 2009 had even kicked off, the french quartet had already established both themselves and their sound as something to both enjoy and return to, albums such as 'United' catapulting them beyond the traditional four-man set-up known far and wide around the World. Wolfgang... did more than continue their genuinely charming strum of hopping guitar playing, energetic drum beats and optimistically-fluttering vocals. The album was one of immense confidence and shined through the clog of one-and-the-same indie bands in some of the best nine tracks of the year - 'Love Like A Sunset' timidly then frivolously exploding through, like an almighty white dwarf.

6. The Yeah Yeah Yeah' - It's Blitz

The New York trio impressed with their third studio album. It had several outstanding tracks ranging from deep electronic tracks to ballads with Karen O at the centre of attention. The true credit goes to the instrumental duo who created an album of noise and passion with simple instruments. This album was produced by two big names and it shows. It's a magnificent sound and they know it. It's classed as a mix between synthpop and dance-punk, with heavy use of electronics and the reverb pedal applied to the synthesizers.

5. Clubroot - Clubroot

The garage beats and dubstep melodies of Clubroot can be (and are heavily) compared to those of Burial, but this is all good nature. This is his debut album and what an album it is. It's easy to get lost in the reverb and all the dreary vocals, but it's hard to listen in sunlight. This genre was once called trip-hop, but has swayed towards what we now know as 'dubstep' these days. It's odd because Massive Attack can be heard in Clubroot's material. Many of these tracks are extremely ambient and have very deep textures of drum and bass. 

4. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic

The Flaming Lips have become one of the most appreciated bands of the 2000's. Topping off their great decade is the experimental and guest filled Embryonic. This is the first double album by The Flaming Lips, and arguably one of their best albums to date. It has the  neo-psychedelia vibes of MGMT on the thunderous track Worm Mountain. It also features Karen O who gave her bits over the phone. Everything about this album is both indie and passionate. Wayne Coyne never fails to amaze me, Embryonic takes the average album and twists it to find heaven or hell. It's loud and it's heavy, it's messy and it's a Flaming Lips album..

3. Fever Ray - Fever Ray

The Knife topped the 2006 albums, and Fever Ray manages to make the top three in 2009 as well. Her voice is out of this world and the instrumentals are downtempo, hauntingly beautiful and electronic trip-hop, dramatic and amazing. The tribal instrumental tracks are by far the most monstrous on the album, but it's not until final track 'Coconut' that the listener understands this album. Everything falls into place on this track. The Joy Division influence, the industrial influence, everything has it's place and Fever Ray comes together. 

2. The Antlers - Hospice

Hospice is possibly the most emotional and lyrically depressing album of the decade. The Antlers managed to turn heads and make people think, when listening to their music. It has the brilliant 'Sylvia' and two chord track 'Two'. It fell into my hands and I instantly hated it, I really did hate it. It takes several listens to understand and appreciate this album because it's deep and heavy on the emotions. The concept is outstanding and front man Peter Silberman delivers one of the best vocal performances of the year on the final track and uplifting, destructive.. Tear dropping finale 'Epilogue'.

1. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

It's not exactly a shock that Animal Collective top the 2009 list. They just had to because this album is clearly the most beautiful and fun filled album in for a very long time. Strawberry Jam has the synthesizer hooks and beautiful vocals, but it holds no ground on Merriweather Post Pavilions epic atmosphere and production. The structures are electric and take form of many different genres of music ranging between synthpop and industrial. They use electronics extremely well and it can be heard both in the studio and live. The deep drum beats standout, as do the layered vocals and carefully applied delay. This is one of those albums that you can keep coming back to and hear something new every time. It's what makes Animal Collective special. 

~Music Review Database

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