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

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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