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Top 10 albums of 2009

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Top 10 albums of 2009

This year the music industry in 2009 continued to trend towards the digital download model making more music than ever before available to the masses. There were a number of standout albums, and promising bands that emerged this year. Below is a list of the top 10:

10) Rated O by Oneida

So dense, it almost takes an active, analytical listener to truly appreciate the breadth and depth of this album. Largely instrumental, the Brooklyn band spans a litany of mind-bending genres in this album. From psychedelic 20 minute jams to structured rhythmic rock, Oneida braves new musical territory with this gem.

9) Horehound by The Dead Weather

It seemed like 2009 was the resurgence of the “supergroup.” Jack White (The White Stripes and The Raconteurs), Alison Mosshart (The Kills and Discount), Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age) and Jack Lawrence (The Raconteurs and Greenhomes) suddenly formed The Dead Weather this year and the result is nothing less than some of the best rock and roll produced in years. Horehound is simply sublime. Reports are the group is working on a follow up album.

8) Humbug by Arctic Monkeys

Humbug took the Arctic Monkeys in a new direction from their past work. Darker, more mature and developed, the music flows more deliberate and less sporadic than previous works. Song such as “Crying Lighting” and “Dangerous Animals” still seep the signature AM sound, but the guidance of Queens of the Stone Age’s frontman Josh Homme, who produced the album recorded in Joshua Tree, Calif. Is evident throughout. The result is a more deliberate, stoic and untimely cohesive album.

7) Octahedron by Mars Volta

Characterized by a smooth subdued pace, pined up more by Thomas Pridgen’s insane drumming than ever before,Octahedron steps towards a more “traditional” album than previous works. Still filled with spectacular guitar by Omar Rodriquez-Lopez and surreal screeching vocals by Cedric Bixler-Zavala, MV continues to advance music is a direction unexplored by any other artist. This is the kind of deep, dark and phenomenal album one has come to expect from MV.

6) Manners by Passion Pit

Following on 2008’s promising Chunk of Change, Manners is the ideal follow up full of everything one could ask for. Rhythmic beats, fun hooks, choppy synchs and airy lyrics that make up one of the year’s most pleasurable albums to listen to. It just one of those records that makes the listener feel good.

5) It’s Blitz by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Some might frown upon commercial success, and Karen O and the crew have seen the limelight this year more than ever before. It’s Blitz achieved that new degree of success by departing from its conventional formula. Still true to its roots, the YYY added a heavy amount of synthesizers and reverb to the album taking the band to the next level.

4) Old Money by Omar Rodriguez Lopez

Perhaps one of the most complex albums of 2009, Lopez, of Mars Volta, unleashed a juggernaut with Old Money that could be interpreted a million different ways. Much like MV, Old Money is an epic journey of disjointed sounds, rhythms and themes. Revolving around otherworldly themes of dreams and nightmares, the album is an intricate mix of instruments and textures making for a surreal listening experience.

3) Felt 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez by Felt

In a time when hip-hop is pretty uninspired, primarily composed of guys ripping off each other’s beats and rapping about cliché’s, comes Felt’s new album produced by Aesop Rock.  Murs (Living Legends) and Slug (Atmosphere) compose an intelligent original piece of work in their latest tribute to b-list celebrities. Adding Aesop to the mix adds an edge to Felt 3 that the previous two albums didn’t have.

2) Them Crooked Vultures by Them Crooked Vultures

Another superband to make this year’s list and the members pretty much say it all: Dave Grohl, of the Foo Fighters and Nirvana, Josh Homme, of Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal, and John Paul Jones, Led Zeppelin. The combination creates a classic rock album that chock-full of heavy guitar riffs and thumping bass. The album sounds more like a QOTSA than anything, but that may be Homme’s predominance on vocals.

1) Cosmic Egg by Wolfmother

Who cares if Wolfmother frontman Andrew Stockdale wasn’t even alive when Robert Plant and Ozzy Osbourne were in their heyday. Nearly 40 years later he is blatantly ripping off their style with a precision that makes listeners have flashbacks to ZoSo. Stockdale takes his new band and breathes a second life into the notion of comprising an album around power chords thundering bass lines, reverb and wailing vocals.

See 2008’s list here.

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Wolfmother’s Cosmic Egg streaming now

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Cosmic Egg

When the Australian hard-rock trio Wolfmother released its debut in 2006 it was like a vision of Led Zeppelin reincarnate.

There are sessions on that album where I have to remind myself I’m not listening to Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. The point being: these guys rock hard.

So when two of the group’s founding members departed citing creative differences, it seemed like this month’s follow up album – Cosmic Egg – had the potential to fall short.

Singer Andrew Stockdale, the sole member of the original group remaining, crafted a new band in the same image as the original delivering a blistering array of hard rock tracks.

The band has unveiled the album, streaming in full on its MySpace Page, and not only does the album bring the heavy 70’s rock vibe it created on its self-titled debut, but Wolfmother expands upon the thick metal bass driven beats.

Stockdale takes a page from Robert Plant’s vocals and detours into an mix of hard and fast songs combined with a few bluesy and slower songs such as “Far Away”

The first single “New Moon Rising” is already making its way onto the airwaves and is the signature sound associated with Wolf Mother. The music video for the song features the band performing with a Kaleidoscope of visual effects. The live shots are combined with animated color sequences creating a trippy 70’s-style show.

The album hits stores Oct. 27, but check it out streaming here.

Tracklist:

1 California Queen
2 New Moon Rising
3 White Feather
4 Sundial
5 In the Morning
6 10,000 Feet
7 Cosmic Egg
8 Far Away
9 Pilgrim
10 In the Castle
11 Phoenix
12 Violence of the Sun

Written by David Young

October 18, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Posted in Album Review, Music

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