Modern Mystery’s Top 25 Albums of 2009

 

1. The Wooden Birds-Magnolia
From the ashes of the classic indie band, American Analog Set, rose a new project from former frontman, Andrew “AK” Kenny, called The Wooden Birds. Shifting completely everything he’s done musicially, AK has come out with one of the most surprising releases of the year. Creating a record that is more folk than rock, no songs on the album contain any drums what-so-ever. The bass and vocals really take off and captivate you, the listener. The live sets of the song also include Matt Pond on guitar along with songstress Leslie Sisson. I’m not sure I’ve heard such a heart felt and warm record in the past 10 years.

2. Julian Casablancas- Phrazes for the Young
It’s been a long time since we heard from The Strokes as a unified band. A lot of fans were hesitant on the thought of a solo album by the charasmatic leader, Julian Casablancas, putting out music that doesn’t resemble his band at all. What a surprise it was when we found he took his love for a bit of 1980’s dance and incoporated it with his unforgettable voice and lyrics. The end result? One of the coolest records of the year. We’d expect no less from him.

3. James Husband- Parallax 1
It took 10 years for multi-instrumentalist and drummer from Of Montreal, James Husband, to create his solo album masterpiece. Husband is in the spotlight for the first time in his career and wow, is he certainly taking advantage of it. Providing one of the best indie pop records of the past year, he lets out a 60’s retro sound that no one can mess with. The end result is something as charming as it seems. Raw, catchy, and glorious.

4. Alvin Band-Mantis Preying
Rick  Schaier is not only an amazing drummer and artist, but he is also an extremely talented singer and songwriter. Schaier who spends most of  his time playing drums in The Miniature Tigers has begun a new chapter in his book in the form of ‘Alvin Band,’ this year and completely blew our minds. Blending a retro sound with updated electronics, this is one album you should pick up if you haven’t yet. The catchy hooks and vocals will only leave you wanting more. That my friends, is a good thing!

5. Bishop Allen- Grrr
It’s been a long night since Bishop Allen gained attention by two teenagers named Nick and Norah, and fans were at the edge of their seat wondering what the Brookyln line up would come up with next. Taking a further step into their brilliant indie pop sound, the band did not disappoint at all with Grrr. See it as the next chapter in the Bishop Allen movie, one that is bound to have many sequels in store.

6. Grizzly Bear-Veckatimest
Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you may have heard of a little band called Grizzly Bear. Somehow exploding this year, it was certainly one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2009. Every song is flawless. Catchy yet moody. Beautiful in every way. This album describes itself better than anyone ever could.

7. Bat for Lashes- Two Suns
Completely out of left field, the lovely miss Natasha from Bat for Lashes surprised us all this year with making a stunning, charming, and beautiful record. The combination of her voice and the spacey background music is enough to send chills down your spine. And it does just that. The haunting track “Daniel” captivated the attention of many, and the rest of the album is able to keep you around.

8. Flight of the Conchords-I Told You I Was Freaky
Yes, they are known for writing ‘funny’ songs, but on this record, FOTC became even witty and even more advanced it seems in their writing. Their songs, even though the lyrics are mostly ‘silly’, are composed perfectly from start to end. Jermaine and Bret are really on top of their game with this record. We can’t wait to hear more!

9. Phoenix-Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
This band always makes a great record, and their 2009 hit was no different. Everyone wanted a piece of Phoenix and boy, did they get them. This classic indie dance pop record was a must have for everyone who ‘knew what’s cool.’ Apparently, this was the world.

10. Girls-Girls
An unlikely hit, this retro indie duo shocked us all with such a raw and appealing debut album. This lo-fi record filled with melodies, doesn’t need any frills or thrills to make it great. It hold’s its own firmly which is a hard thing to mess with.

11. Cass McCombs-Catacombs
12. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Its Blitz
13. Pains of Being Pure at Heart-Pains of Being Pure at Heart
14. Casper and the Cookies-Modern Silence
15. Headlights-Wildlife
16. Japandroids- Post Nothing
17. Cymbals Eat Guitars-Why There are Mountains
18. Kevin Devine- Brother’s Blood
19. Joan of Arc- Flowers
20. Passion Pit-Manners
21. The Antlers- Hospice
22. Loney Dear-Dear John
23. Neko Case-Middle Cyclone
24. The Mountain Goats- The Life of the World to Come
25. Dirty Projectors-Bitte Orca

Modern Mystery’s Top 20 Songs of the Year

2009 was an incredible year for songs. No doubt about it. Even some of the last minute yearly additions were able to sweep the early year competitors off of their feet. In 2009 there was a surprise around every corner with the quality of songs written. I’m not sure there could have been a better ending to the decade. Check out our Top 20 Songs below!

1. Matt Pond PA- “Starting”
2. Wooden Birds- “False Alarm”
3. Grizzly Bear- “Two Weeks”
4. The Drums-“Let’s Go Surfing”
5. The Spinto Band- “Jackhammer”
6. Sloan-“Take it Upon Yourself”
7. Vampire Weekend-“Cousins”
8. Ryan Adams-“Go Ahead and Rain”
9. Julian Casablancas- “11th Dimension”
10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs-“Zero”
11. James Husband- “A Grave in the Gravel”
12. Alvin Band- “Temple Pressure”
13. Darwin Deez- “Constellations”
14. Surfer Blood- “Swim”
15. Bishop Allen- “Dimmer”
16. Jupiter One- “Flaming Arrow”
17. Phoenix- “1901”
18. Pains of Being Pure at Heart- “Young Adult Friction”
19. Japandroids- “The Boys Are Leaving Town”
20. Julian Plenti- “Games for Days”

Modern Mystery’s Top 10 Videos of the Year


This year was a great time for videos. Sending off 2009 and the decade with a bang, we chose our favorite 10 videos of the year. We’ll stop talking your ear off and let the videos speak for themselves.

1. The Spinto Band “Jackhammer”

2. The Drums “Let’s Go Surfing”

3. Alvin Band “Temple Pressure”

4. Grizzly Bear “Two Weeks”

5. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin “Glue Girls”
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6. Flight of the Conchords “Carol Brown”

7. MGMT “Kids”

8. James Husband “Windows”

9. Vampire Weekend “Cousins”

10. Bishop Allen “Shanghaied”

Modern Mystery Holiday Party Part Four

In this edition of our holiday party, we have a few of our Modern Mystery favorites entering the party. The lovely and charming boys of The Spinto Band, and the wonderful Ben Trokan from Robbers on High Street. Nothing says the holidays like great indie bands sharing some of their cheer with us. Enjoy reading!

Robbers on High Street @ Bell House, CMJ 2009 by ModernMystery. //  
Ben Trokan- Robbers on High Street

King Khan and the Shrines – What Is?
Death – For the Whole World to See
Reigning Sound – Love and Curses
Yura Yura Teikoku – Hollow Me/Beautiful
Chocolate Watch Band – The Inner Mystique
Budos Band 12″ EP
Life on Earth! – A Space Water Loop
PW and The Ghost Gloves Cat Wing Joy Boys EP
The Breakaways – Walking Out on Love
The Soft Pack 12″ EP

Craziest Thing that Happened to You This Year

I went to India.  Yeah, fucking India!

What do you love about the holidays?

Jingle All The Way.  “Put that cookie down!”

The Spinto Band Year End List

top 11 records:

Generationals- Con Law
Alvin Band- Mantis Preying
Mos Def – The Ecstatic
Neko Case- Middle Cyclone
MF Doom – Born Like This
Cryptacize – Mythomania
Sw!ms- Itemlord
Franklin Bruno: Local Currency: Solo 1992 – 1998
Drug Rug: Paint The Fence Invisible
Half-handed Cloud – Cut Me Down and Count The Rings
Nellie Mckay – Normal as Blueberry Pie

Crazy thing:
One wild thing that occurred was we found a chicken coop in Delaware and built a recording studio inside it.  The construction and decorating has taken up much of the year for us, but as always a close second to crazy things that happened this year would be discovering new places and playing rock music inside those places.  We hit up a bunch of new cities where we have never been and met a bunch of new people who we can now call friends.

Holiday faves:

Eggnog availability and acceptability. 
Christmas lights getting more and more elaborate.  Big ups to LEDs

Tom Hughes-The Spinto Band

Top 10 in Alphabetical Order:

Alvin Band: Mantis Preying
Broadcast and the Focus Group: Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age
Franklin Bruno: Local Currency: Solo 1992 – 1998
Circulatory System: Signal Morning
Cryptacize: Mythomania
Drug Rug: Paint The Fence Invisible
Generationals: Con Law
Half-handed Cloud: Cut Me Down and Count The Rings
Nellie Mckay: Normal as Blueberry Pie
The Sw!ms: Itemlord

Craziest Thing(s) That Happened To Me This Year:

1. We set up our own recording studio which has been a decade long dream come true.
2. Our tour of Europe at the beginning of this year was the best tour we’ve ever done. The most incredible crowds, sights, food and overall experiences I’ve had in a long time.

Favorite Thing About the Holidays:

The smell of fireplaces, both during and the morning after when it’s soaked into your sweater.

Modern Mystery Holiday Party Part Three

Welcome to the third installment of our Modern Mystery Holiday party! Today our list is filled with our favorite up and coming indie bands that will be making huge waves in 2010. Sit back with your glass of eggnog and enjoy reading!

Joe Paolucci-Modern Mystery Writer
Top Albums of 2009
 

 

Neko Case-Middle Cyclone
Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
Kings of Convenience- Declaration of Dependence
Atlas Sound-Logos
Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Camera Obscura- My Maudlin Career
Yeah Yeah Yeahs-It’s Blitz!
Yacht- See Mystery Lights
Wye Oak-The knot
M.Ward-Hold Time …
Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse-Dark Night of the Soul
Black Moth Super Rainbow- Eating Us


Krista De La Rosa-Modern Mystery Writer

Top 10 Albums of 2009

1. Reservoir – Fanfarlo
2. The First Days of Spring – Noah and the Whale
3. Hospice – The Antlers
4. Actor – St. Vincent
5. Monsters of Folk – Monsters of Folk
6. Mean Everything to Nothing – Manchester Orchestra
7. Hold Time – M Ward
8. Aim and Ignite – Fun
9. 2.0 – The XX
10. My Maudlin Career – Camera Obscura

Ivy Weir- Modern Mystery Writer

The best albums of 2009 (in Ivy-Noelle’s humble opinion)

5. God Help the Girl- s/t
I love Belle and Sebastian…so of course I love this weird indie-musical written by Stuart Murdoch. Catherine Ireton’s voice is absolutely beautiful, especially when giving new life to an old Belle & Sebastian staple, “Funny Little Frog”. Plus, the eponymous track is essentially the themesong to my entire life, haha.

4. Handsome Furs- Face Control
I’m in love with Dan Boeckner. And his wife, too! Handsome Furs have a truly unique sound and they’ve perfected that on their second album. It’s different enough from Boeckner’s other band, Wolf Parade, to be interesting- but similar in the repetetive guitar hooks and almost yelped vocals. Seriously great.

3. The Duchess & The Duke- She’s the Duchess, He’s the Duke
I almost didn’t give this album a chance, but boy am I glad I did. It’s raw, lo-fi, garage acoustic indie rock goodness. The male vocals are purely rock-n-roll, and meshed with the female back-ups it’s a great, vintage, 1960s feel. The lyrics are blunt and honest and work extremely well with the overall sound.

2. M. Ward- Hold Time
In my mind, M. Ward can do no wrong (well…She & Him. But that’s just because of my irrational hatred for Zooey Deschanel). “Hold Time” is classic M. Ward at his best- soaring melodies that somehow still seem as simple as the Appalachian folksongs from which he draws influence. Production value on this album is much higher than his past works, but it works- and Ward’s raspy, unique voice still shines through. Indie superstar collaborations make this one of the best albums of the year, and certainly of M. Ward’s career.

1. Matt & Kim- Grand
This is the album that broke Brooklyn’s Matt & Kim onto the mainstream scene- with “Daylight” featured in a Bacardi commercial, many of their hardcore followers accused them of selling out. But who cares? They are making unique, perfect pop music and if they’re also making money, good for them! This album is fantastic- there’s not a bad track on it. The whole thing flows like one crazy dance party from beginning to end. I also had the pleasure of seeing the duo in concert in July, and it was one of the craziest experiences of my life. I hope these two keep making music for a long time.

Songs:
5. “All We Want, Baby, Is Everything”- Handsome Furs
4. “Good Ol’ Fashioned Nightmare”- Matt & Kim
3. “Insane Lullaby (ft. James Mercer)” -Dark Night of the Soul
2. “Empire State of Mind” – Jay Z and Alicia Keys
1. “Two Weeks”- Grizzly Bear

Tucker Riggleman-The Demon Beat

Top 10 Albums of the Year

1. Japandroids – Post-Nothing
2. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz
4. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
5. Bon Iver – Blood Bank EP
6. Dandelion Snow – It’s Just A Bad Dream
7. Lucero – 1372 Overton Park
8. Dead Weather – Horehound
9. Stephen MacDonald & The Okay Win – We Are Bound
10.Kevin Devine – Brother’s Blood

Explanations:

1. This record had such a huge impact on me that I braved it to D.C. to catch them at a small club, which is hard to do since I hate D.C. – my car was broken into and I had some valuable things stolen. I was barely upset because their show was so awesome.

2. I played the fuck out of this record at work last year. I was a hall security guard type of a thing and I would just blare this stuff. Probably didn’t make me seem any tougher. The hooks are monumental.

3. Took a while to grow on me, but the slow pretty songs are gorgeous and abundant.

4. Great summer record. “Summertime Clothes” is one of my favorite songs of the past 5 years.

5. Justin Vernon could shit on a CD and I’d buy it.

6. Good friends of ours. Myself and BIG BULLET RECORDS helped put this out. I love the way Roger can take a song and make it so everyone feels something.

7. Their most well-rounded album to date, though I’ll still prefer the old classics.

8. Raunchy as fuck. Love it.

9. Another BBR artist, this one from Massachusetts. Steve is heavily influenced by Kevin Devine and I think his record is better than the one Kevin put out this year.

10. I still liked “Brother’s Blood”, but the demos that KD put out all year leading up the the album are more intimate and better overall in my opinion than the final versions.

Craziest Thing that Happened to You This Year?:

I’d say going to NYC and making a record in basically a day. It was surreal, and we are overwhelmingly happy with the results. Also, our first trip to NYC in late January was interesting. Jordan had a girl run on stage and stick a vial of weed in his shirt pocket while we were playing. Insane.

What do you love the most about the Holidays?

Seasonal alcoholic beverages.

Jordan Hudkins-The Demon Beat

JORDAN’S TOP TEN SONGS THAT HE LIKED OF THE YEAR:

1. Surfer Blood – “Take It Easy”

2. Henry’s Dress – “Zero/Zero/Zero”

3. Flake Music – “Sue Defender”

4. Kid Cudi – “Pursuit of Happiness”

5. The Who – “Tattoo”

6. Librarians – “Hard to Unwind”

7. Hammer No More The Fingers – “Nobody Knows”

8. Royal Bangs – “Poison Control”

9. Weezer – “Let It All Hang Out”

10. Enigma – “Return to Innocence”

Craziest Thing that Happened to You This Year?:

The craziest thing that happened to ME this year was a wild rickshaw ride I took in Raleigh, NC. The driver took me and two friends up into a parking garage, and then we sped down the spiral exit ramp. It was like a ROLLERCOASTER. Apparently, this kind of behavior is forbidden for a rickshaw driver, thereby exponentially increasing the thrill-index of our lil’ adventure.

What do you love the most about the Holidays?

Cranberry Sierra Mist…but I think that is always available now. C’est la vie!

Adam Meisterhans- The Demon  Beat

1. i didn’t like any records that came out this year. especially not kevin devine records.
2. i started taking anti-depressants.
3. egg-nog.

Jason Meeks-Binary Marketing Show

cass mccombs — catacombs
grizzly bear – vecktimest
antony and the johnson’s — the crying light
tUnE yArDs — bird-brains
jim o’rourke — the visitor
micachu and the shapes — jewellry
animal collective — merriweather post pavillion
bill callahan — sometimes i wish we were an eagle
st. vincent — the actor

Craziest Thing that Happened to You This Year?:

i guess it was breaking down in the middle of nowhere ohio while we were on tour and staying with complete strangers that told us their life stories. not to mention, some really weird secrets that we really didn’t want to know about..

What do you love the most about the Holidays?

i suppose the terrible holiday food to be consumed. it’s always fun to eat a 7 course meal that’s probably worth 5000 calories.

Abram Morphew-Binary Marketing Show

ennio morricone – la storia vera della signora dalle camelie
marissa nadler – little hells
thinguma*jigsaw – (awakeinwhitechapel)
blair harris – watercolor
bachelorette – my electric family
dead man’s bones – dead man’s bones
circulatory system – signal morning
bill callahan – sometimes i wish we were an eagle
two eyes meet redux – pop songs on illusions and tragedies
cass mccombs – catacombs

Craziest Thing that Happened to You This Year?:

seeing a naked gentleman painting himself white in a field of burning trash.

What do you love the most about the Holidays?

the silence that follows snow.

Bethany Carder-Binary Marketing Show

Sun City Girls- Napoleon & Josaphine
Alela Diane- To Be Still
Mount Eerie- Winds Poem
Castanets- Texas Rose,the thaw and the beast
Woods Family Creeps- Woods family creeps
Dear Olive- the ocean the sea
Diane Cluck- black with green leaves
Larkin Grimm- Harpoon
Orion Rigel Dommisse- What I want from you is sweet
Bacherlorette- my electric family

Craziest Thing that Happened to You This Year?:

Newton Falls Ohio. Being lifted atop a flatbed, while sitting inside a jeep watching the rapid lights, strange feeling…yes

What do you love the most about the Holidays?

Sharing a few moments with the ones ya Love, however far they may be..or near. it’s a swell feeling

Modern Mystery Holiday Party Part Two

Ah, Welcome to part two of Modern Mystery’s Holiday Party! Today we have some very special guests, including an indie up and comer, and a music journalist that inspired me to write. Yes, I’m excited about this! Prepare yourself for the sequel, and there is more on the way tomorrow. Enjoy!


James Wells- The Gay Blades

Top 10 Albums of the Year

Nothing really moved me this year, so there’s some singles in there…

– Kevin Devine “Brother’s Blood” – Still the best lyricist around, if a bit wordy.
– Jay Z “The Blueprint III” – Party jams for days.
– Metric “Fantasies” – BREAKTHROUGH ALBUM.
– Why? “Eskimo Snow” – only because Why? is so fucking awesome.
– Electric Six “Kill” – Great tour mates!
– Friendly Fires “Kiss Of Life” (Single) – Its that good….
– Portugal The Man “Satanic Satanist”
– Millions of Brazilians “MoBz EP”

Craziest Thing that Happened to You This Year?:

Finding out my estranged little brother overdosed on Heroine and died.

What do you love the most about the Holidays?

Setting up my xmas tree. Seeing other xmas trees set up. I understand that means that all those folks without xmas trees don’t provide me with what I love most, but its kind of like, how I prefer brunettes over blondes. Ya know?

Jason Nesmith-Casper the Cookies

Top things I liked this year

1. Faust at the 40 Watt / Faust workshop
It was as if Heather MacIntosh brought Athens an enormous present. It gave people that enormous-ribbon-sporting-brand-new-car-in-the-driveway feeling.

2. Os Mutantes live
I didn’t know what to expect, but it was certainly not to be blown away by an unashamed display of guitar pyrotechnics that would make Santana weep. Sometimes kids need to be reminded that knowing how to play really, really well doesn’t preclude them from making strikingly original music.

3. Beatles mono remasters
This is how remasters should be done. Except less expensive. If as a child I’d been deaf to their siren call to a life in music I would’ve learned a more lucrative trade and been able to buy both box sets and the Rock Band. Psych on me.

4. Pylon Chomp More reissue
It’s so nice to hear this record restored to its full, glorious potential.

5. Aquaserge- unreleased third album
The best new music I heard all year hasn’t even been released yet. This band will renew your faith in progressive music.

6. Playing a show with Karl Blau and Lake

7. St. Vincent / Pattern Is Movement concert

8. Yo La Tengo- Popular Songs

9. Venice Is Sinkning- Azar

10. Big Fresh- BFF

Craziest Thing that Happened to You This Year?:

A few crazy things happened. I watched the public’s value of music sink to an all-time-low. Musicians that were able to break even through touring and record sales in 2008 are now unable to do so. Maybe someday soon we’ll all be singing songs around the campfire again.

In New Orleans, Jandek came to our show. Jandek. Came. To. Our. Show.

But the weirdest thing that 2009 brought was far more serious than any of that. Athens lost many great musicians in sudden and unexpected circumstances. After two years of knowing Randy Bewley, I felt like I’d only just gotten to befriend him when he was suddenly taken from us. The day after his memorial service Athens had about 7 inches of snow dumped on it. We can’t wait to get rid of this year.

What do you love the most about the Holidays?

During the holidays even the crustiest old people allow themselves to be child-like. If it weren’t for Christmas lights I would be far more depressed in December, as I am in January and February.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Rob Sheffield-
Legendary Music Writersongs:
Adam Lambert, “Mad World”
Beyonce, “Halo”
Das Racist, “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Zero”
The XX, “Crystalised”
Jarvis Cocker, “I Never Said I Was Deep”
The Horrors, “Sea Within A Sea”
LaRoux, “Bulletproof”
Lady Gaga, “Lovegame”
Mogwai, “Scotland’s Shame”

albums:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It’s Blitz
Franz Ferdinand, Tonight
The XX, The XX
A Place To Bury Strangers, Exploding Head
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
Japandroids, Post-Nothing
The Dream, Love vs. Money
The Horrors, Primary Colours
Black Dice, Repo
Sunset Rubdown, Dragonslayer