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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A Modern Mystery Holiday Party with Kay Stanton of Casper and the Cookies

Christmas is approaching fast but our Holiday Party still has a few more days to go. Today’s guest at the Modern Mystery Holiday party is Kay Stanton from the incredible Casper and the Cookies!

Kay is one of my favorite women in rock and roll. Actually, she is my favorite.  From making music to art, there is nothing this girl can’t do. Kay kindly shared with us her Top 10 Albums of the Year as well as a beautiful Christmas memory.

I can’t wait to hear Casper and the Cookies’ Modern Silence that is due out next month!

Kay’s Top 10 albums (in no particular order)

1. Everthus the Deadbeats – John Kill and the Microscopic Lullaby
2. AQUASERGE – TAHITI COCO
3. Keith John Adams – Unclever
4. Atlas Sound – Let The Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel
5. Big Fresh – BFF (Big Fresh Forever)
6. Dead Confederate – Wrecking Ball
7. The Flaming Lips – Christmas on Mars
8. Okay – Huggable Dust
9. Lake – Oh the Places We’ll Go
10. Deerhoof – Offend Maggie

Best Show:

Yo La Tengo @ The Melting Point, Athens, GA, 1/14/08

Best Thing that Happened to You This Year:

The best thing that happened to me this year was probably getting to do a small Japanese tour back in February with the Cookies. It was a pretty amazing trip, despite (or maybe because of) blizzards, small spaces, strange toilets, and crazy rides. We got to play shows in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Kyoto, squeezing in as much sightseeing and eating as possible.

Weirdest Thing that Happened to You This Year:

Weird stuff happens to me all the time, but I suppose the weirdest thing that’s happened to me recently was being bitten by my pet frog, Wayne (yes, he’s named after Wayne Coyne). I guess he mistook my fingers for lunch, latched on and wouldn’t let go. Wayne is an Argentina Horned frog (aka Pac Man frog) and he doesn’t have teeth, exactly, but he has a bony ridge that feels kind of like a series of razor blades. So, I would have been feeling like a fool with this large frog attached to my hand if I hadn’t been shocked by how much it freakin’ hurt. I got him to let go, and my hand was bleeding, and it felt like it was covered in extra sticky snot. Maybe I should do a remake of the Flaming Lips’ ‘Spiderbite Song,’ but call it the ‘Frogbite Song.’

Favorite Holiday Memory:

My favorite holiday memory is of hanging ornaments on my grandparents’ tree in Pennsylvania. I was probably only five or six, but I remember it being dusk outside, but I could still sort of see the snow glowing bluish (and that was a pretty amazing thing to a kid who was born in Georgia). The ornaments were these beautiful glass bells and baubles; some of them had the little starburst cut-outs that some ornaments have. It was warm, and I was with my sister, and the whole family. I’ve had lots of good ones, but that’s still gotta be my favorite.