I've listened to more music this year than any other year in my life. To quote another music enthusiast, Jason Tate, on end of the year lists such as this: "...not much you can do besides try and put the albums in order of your personal enjoyment. Not always easy, and my top 10 could probably all switch around. This is the best I can do. If you haven't checked these albums out yet -- get on it. Seriously." All the albums on this list have been enjoyable and this has been a great year(and particularly pop heavy). If you haven't already, you might want to check out my favorite songs of 2009. So let's get on with it.
1.MUTEMATH – Armistice - MUTEMATH's debut album was amazing. The process of creating a follow-up album put tremendous pressure on the band not to make the typical underwhelming sophomore album that many bands make(hi Crossfade...). This creation process nearly broke the band apart and scrapped a lot of material. After recouping from the problems, the band went back and created some music in intense sessions from scratch. This music is the most jive and well crafted music I've heard all year.
2.Manchester Orchestra – Mean Everything to Nothing - This album is meticulously created. It has such a good flow to it and every track sounds as good on its own as it does in context of the album. The band went as far as to create a music video for EVERY song(http://bit.ly/5Etr7W).
3.Say Anything – Say Anything - My favorite band releases an album they feel to be representative of themselves enough to be their self-titled. For such a progressive and heartfelt band, this must mean something. This album is more poppy than their previous records but that's not a bad thing. Every track has been stuck in my head at some point or another. Here's hoping Do Better can capture mainstream appeal when it hits single status.
4.Tegan and Sara – Sainthood - A longstanding duo of sisters(based on the album cover I thought they were lesbos, guess not..)that I have yet to hear until now. A collection of well written pop tunes. Balanced supremely between rock, pop, and female vocal edge.
5.RX Bandits – Mandala - Another longstanding band I just discovered this year. This album is a frenzy of intricate instrumentals and ska-ish vocals. I didn't know what "ska punk" was till I heard them and I think I like it.
6.Harvard – The Inevitable and I - A crazy good debut album. Produced by a guy who's done Circa Survive and Thrice, I'd say it's one of two bands on my list that sound like a stepping stone between Saosin and Circa Survive. Indie rock and post hardcore and some dark lyrics, you can't go wrong.
7.Fun. - Aim and Ignite - The most fun album of the year. It's impossible to review this album without that pun. Kudos to you guys. This album mixes orchestral instruments and theater sounding arrangements with the playfulness of Nate Ruess(The Format). It's pun.
8.Relient K – Forget and Not Slow Down - I'm a sucker for piano rock. This is another band that's been around that I'm just now finding. I particularly enjoy the songs on this album that have intros and outros that take simple themes and extend them.
9.Portugal. The Man – The Satanic Satanist - Probably the most accessible Portugal. The Man album yet. It's if they took Censored Colors and refined it into something more upbeat and moving. Can't wait for next year's American Ghetto album.
10.Person L – The Positives - I didn't like this album at first. Eventually I came around to this style of funk rock. Once you get accustomed to the grooves they lay down, you'll start digging the frontman's shouts and croons. Recommended listen when you need music while you're working.
11.Silversun Pickups – Swoon - A huge improvement over their previous material.
12.Mansions – New Best Friends - It's just so damned sincere.
13.Flood of Red – Leaving Everything Behind - That other band similar to Circa Survive and Saosin, recommended if you like progressive rock and higher pitched vocals.
14.30 Seconds to Mars – This is War - Finally this album comes out. Much more like their self-titled album. Crowd chants and biting lyricism, this album lives up to its title. Reminds me why 30 Seconds to Mars is one of my favorite bands. You haven't heard anything so icy, urgent, and epic this year.
15.Audrye Sessions – Audrye Sessions - Muse-y radiohead-y awesomeness.
and the rest:
16.The Dangerous Summer – Reach for the Sun
17.Emery - ...In Shallow Seas We Sail
18.The Dear Hunter – Act III: Life and Death
19.MAE – (m)orning (EP)
20.Trophy Scars – Bad Luck
21.We Shot the Moon – A Silver Lining
22.Grammatics – Grammatics
23.mewithoutYou - It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All A Dream It's Alright
24.Paper Route – Absence
25.Set Your Goals – This Will Be The Death of Us
26.The Antlers – Hospice
27.Metric – Fantasies
28.Thrice – Beggars
29.Anchor & Braille – Felt
30.As Tall as Lions – You Can't Take It With You
31.P.O.S. - Never Better
32.Brand New – Daisy
33.Dredg - The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion
34.Cursive – Mama, I'm Swollen
35.Between the Trees – Spain
36.Lily Allen – It's Not Me, It's You
37.All The Day Holiday – The Things We've Grown to Love
38.Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
39.Telekinesis! - Telekinesis!
40.Converge – Axe to Fall
41.Cartel – Cycles
42.Propagandhi – Supporting Caste
43.New Found Glory – Not Without a Fight
44.Dashboard Confessional – Alter the Ending (acoustic disc)
45.Thursday – Common Existence
46.The Swellers – Ups and Downsizing
47.Dethklok – Dethalbum II
48.Deas Vail – Birds & Cages
49.Muse – The Resistance
50.The Almost – Monster Monster
51.Paramore – Brand New Eyes
52.We Were Promised Jetpacks – These Four Walls
53.A Love Like Pi – The Atlas and The Oyster
54.Mayday Parade – Anywhere But Here
55..moneen. - The World I Want to Leave Behind
56.Mew – No More Stories Are Told Today, I'm Sorry, They Washed Away
57.Sherwood – QU
58.The Fray – The Fray
59.Madina Lake – Attics to Eden Thanks for reading.
1) Grammatics – Grammatics
I've never heard of this band before this year. This is their debut album. It's hard to describe why I like them so much. Everything from their vocals to the cello is so well balanced. It creates such a perfect homogeneous sound. The song "Relentless Four" perfectly balances the male vocals with a female counterpart with an intensity that sticks through the quiet and loud moments. I could live in the ambiance this band builds in every song.
2) Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing
A band with a terrific first 'official' album I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child, it seemed a impossible bar to raise. Fortunately they have with this new album. I think this band to bridge the gap between mainstream rock and indie rock. With all the intensity and musicianship of the best, they infuse emotion when they need to. Every part of this band is top notch from the lyrics to instrumentals. This album works best as a whole. They're making a music video for every song and already have quite a few up, go check out 100 dollars, the latest one.
3) Audrye Sessions - Audrye Sessions
So here's a band I only looked up because they are supporting Manchester Orchestra in the concert I'm going to see this week. This band is ridiculous. They take the same level of high musicianship that Manchester has but in a almost British sound flair. Also like Manchester, features a superb vocalist. Emotionally charged from start to finish, this is a solid rock album.
4) Silversun Pickups - Swoon
I was never quite into this band because I used to think they lacked excitement in their music and that it sort of got droll. This record fixes that. Every song on this album has lasting power. It's catchy and it's well layered. "The Royal We" is my initial favorite song. I can still listen to any given song on this album and enjoy it.
5) Paper Route - Absence
This record got me in a similar way that Grammatics have. A lot less play with electronics than their previous EPs, this album is all about building atmosphere. They sound a bit like Snow Patrol and Mute Math mixed. This album doesn't get old either.
6) Mansions - New Best Friends
7) Mae – (m)orning EP
whatismae.com 's charity benefit release a song a month plan created this EP. The last song released "Night/Day" is AMAZING, I look forward to the future EPs and album.
8) The Dangerous Summer - Reach for the Sun
Reminds me of The Starting Line. This record is consistently good although I think it gets even better towards the end than the beginning.
9) Cursive - Mama, I'm Swollen
A little disappointing but I only paid a dollar for it. It has a few great songs on it and it is still good ol' Cursive.
10) mewithoutYou - It's All Crazy! It's all False! It's all a Dream it's alright!
Disappointing too because it lacks the emotional intensity and spoken vocals of Brother, Sister, their previous album. Not to say it's bad because it's good, but it's like a big storybook more than anything else.
11) New Found Glory - Not Without a Fight - I didn't like NFG before but this is a damn solid album so now I do.
12) Madina Lake - Attics to Eden - I haven't had enough time with this but it has VERY catchy stuff and high energy.
13) Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown - Mainstream or not, this is a solid album.
14) Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You - Catchy and well produced, personal favorite song "Everybody's At It"
15) Maybeshewill - Sing the Word Hope in Four-Part Harmony - post hardcore, spoken word samples, numerous moments of bad assery
16) A Love Like Pi - The Atlas and the Oyster - electronic voice overlay in a good way, catchy blend of rock and electronics
17) Trophy Scars - Bad Luck
18) Thursday - Common Existence
19) Death Cab for Cutie - The Open Door EP
Anticipated albums forthcoming in 2009: Say Anything - Say Anything
Dredg - The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion
The Dear Hunter - Act III:Life and Death
Taking Back Sunday - New Again
Emery - In Shallow Seas We Sail
Moneen's new album
Sick Puppies - Tripolar
Incubus - Monuments and Melodies MUSE - THE RESISTANCE
30 Seconds to Mars's new album
Sum 41's new album
Lost Prophet's new album
Dead by Sunrise's first album
Portugal. The Man - The Satanic Satanist