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Drew Beringer Well the first decade of the new millennium is about to come to a close, and how fitting is it that this year was one of the best year's musically in a while. Perhaps the strongest year since 2002-2003, pretty much every major band in our scene released a new album. There was always something to talk about; whether you hated it or loved it, there was never a dull moment on the AbsolutePunk.net boards. This is my fourth year here as a reviewer, and it's still an awesome gig. This is my fifth end of the year list for the site, and I hope all of you enjoy this list. I know @drewbtweets will.
Drew Beringer's Top 10 Albums of 200910. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (V2 Records, Loyautι): Phoenix was the breakout band of 2009. The French sextet had an amazing performance on Saturday Night Live earlier this year, and they have plenty of songs pop up in commercials and other ventures throughout the year. Snappy indie-pop, some standout tracks include "Lasso," "1901," and "Lisztomania."
9. Converge - Axe to Fall (Epitaph): Converge is two decades in and have already cemented their place in the metal hall of fame, but that hasn't slowed them down. Converge continues to be incredibly brutal like usual, but Axe to Fall shines because of all the risks the band took. Standout tracks include "Dark Horse, "Axe to Fall," "Effigy," and "Wretched World."
8. Clipse - Til The Casket Drops (Columbia/Re-Up Gang): The Thornton brothers released the classic Hell Hath No Fury in 2006, which was full of anger, fire, and a sense to prove themselves. Three years later, and Malice and Pusha T have followed it up with Til The Casket Drops, and while the fire and drive still remains (listen to "Freedom"), the duo definitely gets their shine on throughout the album, showing some positivity this time around. Gems include "Freedom," "Showing Out," "Door Man," and "Life Change."
7. Brand New - Daisy (Interscope, DGC, Procrastinate! Music Traitors): Probably the most polarizing album of the year, there is no middle ground here. In fact, Daisy sounds like something out of 1990s emo movement. Leadman Jesse Lacey amps up the intensity on this incredibly dark album, as he and guitarist Vinnie Accardi shared the writing duties this time around. Standout tracks include "Vices," "Sink," "Daisy," and "You Stole."
6. Morrissey - Years of Refusal (Attack/Lost Highway): Morrissey continues to be the ageless wonder, as this album is one of his best. The man croons and harbors his way throughout the album, and I was instantly hooked. This was also the last album the late Jerry Finn produced. Standout tracks include "Something is Squeezing My Skull," "That's How People Grow Up," "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore," and "I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris."
5. Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything To Nothing (Favorite Gentlemen): This may have been the most anticipated and buzzed about album on AP.net in 2009. And it delivered. It definitely has the makings of a classic, and Andy Hull is one of the best frontmen in the scene. This album is haunting and loud, as it commands your attention. Standout tracks include "I Can Feel A Hot One," "Everything To Nothing," "Pride," and "In My Teeth."
4. Mew - No More Stories / Are Told Today / I'm Sorry / They Washed Away // No More Stories / The World Is Grey / I'm Tired / Let's Wash Away (Sony): Wow, this album completely knocked me on butt. The Denmark trio created an encompassing and enchanting album that will please all your senses. It's a joy ride through the spectacular. Standout tracks include "Repeaterbeater," "Cartoons and Macramι Wounds," "Sometimes Life Isn't Easy," and "Introducing Palace Players."
3. P.O.S. - Never Better (Rhymesayers Entertainment): Say hello to the best hip-hop album of the year. Stefon Alexander released the most raw and passionate album of the year, with socially conscious lyricism and an attitude that can't be match. This album brought rock and hip-hop fans together for once as well, hopefully opening the door to the genre for previous non-fans. Standout tracks include "Purexed," "Been Afraid," "Drumroll (We're All Thirsty)", and "Optimist (We Are Not For Them)."
2. Tegan & Sara - Sainthood (Sire): The Quin sisters released yet another dynamic album in 2009, as they have seemed to master the 3 minute catchy indie-pop tune. The lyrics are once again the sisters' strong suit, as well as the continuing exploration and maturity in their song writing. Standout tracks include "Arrow," "Hell," "On Directing," and "Someday."
1. Every Time I Die - New Junk Aesthetic (Epitaph): We'll just put it this way: when I first received my advance of this album back in July, it was the only thing I listened to for weeks. New Junk Aesthetic is the heaviest ETID record to date and their best release since Hot Damn! (it may just become the band's best release over time as well). The Buffalo quintet set a goal to destroy people with their music in 2009, and they definitely accomplished that mission. My absolute favorite album of 2009. Standout tracks include "Roman Holiday," "For The Record," "Organ Grinder," and "Buffalo 666."
The Best of the Rest: 11-3011. Kevin Devine Brothers Blood
12. Wale Attention Deficit (Interscope/Allido)
13. Baroness Blue Record (Relapse)
14. Set Your Goals This Will Be The Death Of Us (Epitaph)
15. Thursday Common Existence (Epitaph)
16. fun. Aim and Ignite (self-released)
17. Thrice Beggars (Vagrant)
18. Regina Spektor Far (Warner/Sire)
19. Imogen Heap Ellipse (RCA)
20. Mos Def The Ecstatic (Downtown)
21. Mastodon Crack the Skye (Warner Bros/Relapse)
22. Between The Buried and Me The Great Misdirect (Victory)
23. You Me At Six Take Off Your Colours (Epitaph)
24. The Swellers Ups and Downsizing (Fueled by Ramen)
25. John Mayer Battle Studies (Columbia)
26. Say Anything Say Anything (RCA)
27. New Found Glory Not Without A Fight (Epitaph)
28. Passion Pit Manners (French Kiss)
29. As Cities Burn Hell or High Water (Tooth & Nail)
30. Florence and The Machine Lungs (Island)
Honorable MentionThe Devil Wears Prada With Roots Above and Brances Below (Ferret)
Owen New Leaves (Polyvinyl)
Relient K Forget and Not Slow Down (Mono vs Stereo)
The Flaming Lips Embryonic (Warner Bros)
Cartel - Cycles (Wind-Up)
John Nolan - Height (Doghouse)
Alexisonfire Old Crows/Young Cardinals (Vagrant)
In Shallow Seas We Sail (Tooth & Nail)
mewithoutYou Its All Crazy! Its All False! Its All A Dream! Its Alright (Tooth & Nail)
Poison The Well The Tropic Rot (Ferret)
The Chariot Wars and Rumors of War (Solid State)
Trophy Scars Bad Luck (self-released)
The Number Twelve Looks Like You Worse Than Alone (Eyeball)
Andrew Bird Noble Beast (Fat Possum)
Kud Cudi Man on the Moon: The End of the Day (G.O.O.D./Universal Motown)
Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)
Patrick Wolf - The Bachelor (Bloody Chamber Music)
Dirty Projectors Bitte Orca (Domino)
The Almost Monster Monster (Virgin)
Silverstein A Shipwreck in The Sand (Victory)
August Burns Red - Constellations (Solid State)
Propagandhi - Supporting Caste (Smallman)
The Sounds Crossing The Rubicon (Original Signal)
Jay Z The Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation)
Gucci Mane The State vs. Radric Davis (Brick Squad/Asylum/Warner Bros)
Polar Bear Club Chasing Hamburg (Bridge 9)
Grizzly Bear Veckatimest (Warp)
Anchor and Braille - Felt (Wood Water)
Best New Band fun. - If you are like me, you were crushed when The Format broke up, but lead singer Nate Ruess has created an even superior band in fun. with members of Steel Train and Anathallo joining him. Their debut album, Aim and Ignite is one of the best pop albums to release in 2009, fusing genres into beautiful sound.
Most Disappointing Album Taking Back Sunday New Again: Probably one of the most disappointing albums I've ever heard. So disappointing and awful that I don't even care about this band anymore. I don't care who they tour with or what they do with their careers anymore. Taking Back Sunday is officially dead. This album sucks. Period.
(Dis)Honorable Mentions Saosin In Search of Solid Ground: They lost everything that made me sorta like them in the first place. Boring.
Two Tongues Two Tongues: Two of my favorite lead men in the scene (Bemis and Conley) somehow found a way to make unfocused and ultimately forgettable music.
Nightmare of You - Infomaniac: Their debut was one of the best I've ever heard in 2005. In 2009, they slowed it down too much. Boring.
Worst Albums Breathe Carolina, Forever The Sickest Kids, Cobra Starship, Lights, Owl City, Never Shout Never, etc.: The obvious mentions, all of these bands are ruining music. I blame teenage girls. Also, you suck Gabe Saporta.
Saddest Break-Up Copeland : This band breaks up while crap like the aforementioned horrible bands get to sell out venues. Copeland was an ubertalented if not consistently underlooked band in the scene. Aaron Marsh has one of the best voices and I cannot wait to hear what is next.
The other saddest breakup:
Chiodos: Let's be real here, this band isn't anything without Craig Owens. Great life choice guys!
Best Lyrics1. P.O.S.
2. Keith Buckley Every Time I Die
3. Kevin Devine
4. Andy Hull Manchester Orchestra
5. Tegan and Sara Quin
Stefon Alexander wrote the best on Never Better. Real talk from P.O.S. all the way through.
Best Vocals1. Will Pugh - Cartel
2. Dustin Kensrue Thrice
3. Nate Ruess - fun.
4. Kevin Devine
No one can sing like Ruess, he is majestic on fun.'s debut. Kensrue can still wail with the best, but Will Pugh probably has the best voice currently in the scene. Morrissey's voice is still divine after all these years.
Label of the Year Epitaph: No doubt in my mind. Epitaph released 6 albums that made my Top 30 in 2009 - Every Time I Die, Thursday, New Found Glory, Set Your Goals, You Me At Six, and Converge. You can't mess with that. Total domination.
Best Movie Inglourious Basterds
2. The Hurt Locker
5. District 9
6. Star Trek
7. I Love You, Man
8. Up In The Air
9. The Hangover
10. An Education
Best Television Series True Blood: True Blood had an amazing Season 2 that kept fans guessing and anticipating what would happen next. It was the most fun I had watching television this year. Modern Family and Community are two new sitcoms in 2009, and both the best in 2009. Each cast is remarkable and display wonderful chemistry on the tube. How I Met Your Mother remains strong while Parks and Recreation is finally hitting its stride. The third season of Californication was spectacular, and Hank Moody is easily the best character on all of television. While only six episodes, The League was hilarious, and its second season next fall will definitely bring in more fans. Entourage bounced back with a strong Season 6, while The Office continues to get worse. And for any of you who might complain about not seeing House, Dexter, or Curb Your Enthusiasm on this list, please now I am currently in the middle of those seasons and haven't seen the latest season, so I'm behind the times. Look for them on the list in 2010
2. Modern Family
4. How I Met Your Mother
5. Parks and Recreation
7. The League
8. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
10. 30 Rock
Best AP.net Forum Sports Forum: The best posters and the best discussions. No other forum can compare to the debates, the laughs, and everything else. BURR!
Worst AP.net Forum Personal Life: This forum is bad news, kinda similar to letting your underage sister hang out with the singer from Blood on the Dance Floor.
Next Big Thing 2010 The Swellers and You Me At Six: I love both of these bands. The Swellers released the best album on Fueled By Ramen since Fall Out Boy's Take This To Your Grave, while You Me At Six's album Take Off Your Colours definitely reminds me of said Fall Out Boy album. Both bands will get even bigger in 2010.
Most Anticipated Of 2010 in no particular order
Motion City Soundtrack My Dinosaur Life ( Columbia) (January 19)
Hawthorne Heights Skeletons (Wind-Up) (Early 2010)
Vampire Weekend Contra (XL) (January 12)
Hellogoodbye TBA (Label TBA) (Mid to Late 2010)
The Ataris The Graveyard of the Atlantic (Label TBA) (Definitely before 12-21-2012, that's what bassist Bryan Nelson told me)
You Me At Six Hold Me Down (Epitaph) (Early 2010)
Craig Owens and Friends (Project, Label, and Release TBA, but should be great whatever Craig does)
Los Campesinos! - Romance is Boring (Arts & Crafts) (January 26)
The Roots How I Got Over (Def Jam) (TBA)
The Gaslight Anthem TBA (Side One Dummy) (TBA)
The Lawrence Arms - TBA (Fat Wreck) (TBA)
Four Year Strong - Enemy of the World (Decaydance) (Early 2010)
Anberlin - TBA (Universal) (TBA)
Deftones - TBA (Maverick) (April 27)
You, Me, And Everyone We Know - TBA (TBA) (TBA)
blink 182 - TBA (TBA) (TBA)
Saves The Day - Daybreak (Vagrant) (TBA)
50 Favorite Songs in no specific order
"For The Record" - Every Time I Die
"Arrow" - Tegan and Sara
"Purexed" - P.O.S.
"Repeaterbeater" - Mew
"I Can Feel A Hot One" - Manchester Orchestra
"It's Not Your Birthday Anymore" - Morrissey
"Vices" - Brand New
"Door Man" - Clipse
"Axe to Fall" - Converge
"Another Bag of Bones" - Kevin Devine
"1901" - Phoenix
"Chillin feat. Lady Gaga" - Wale
"You Were The Cancer" - Thursday
"At Least I'm Not As Sad (As I Used to Be)" - fun.
"In Exile" - Thrice
"Two Weeks" - Grizzly Bear
"Brother Sport" - Animal Collective
"Life in Marvelous Times" - Mos Def
"Divinations" - Mastodon
"Fossil Genera: A Feed from Cloud Mountain" - Between The Buried and Me
"If You Run" - You Me At Six
"Dirt" - The Swellers
"Assassin" - John Mayer
"Ahh...Men" - Say Anything
"The Few That Remain feat. Hayley Williams" - Set Your Goals
"Tangled Up feat. Hayley Williams" - New Found Glory
"Little Secrets" - Passion Pit
"Gates feat. TJ Bonnette" - As Cities Burn
"Deep South" - Cartel
"Dog Days Are Over" - Florence and the Machine
"Big Wiggly Style" - The Devil Wears Prada
"Midnight Regulations" - Alexisonfire
"Cutthroat Collapse" - Emery
"the Fox, the Crow, and the Cookie" - mewithoutYou
"Anonanimal" - Andrew Bird
"Soundtrack 2 My Life" - Kid Cudi
"First Train Home" - Imogen Heap
"Empire State of Mind feat. Alicia Keys" - Jay-Z
"Wasted feat. Plies" - Gucci Mane
"Dance Anthem of the 80s" - Regina Spektor
"Rust (The Short Story of Mary Agnosia)" - Anchor & Braille
"Dorchester Hotel" - The Sounds
"Temecula Sunrise" - Dirty Projectors
"Jake Leg" - Baroness
"Never I" - The Chariot
"Sahara feat. Aaron Gillispie" - Relient K
"New Leaves" - Owen
"Bad Romance" - Lady Gaga
"She Wolf" - Shakira
"Living Saints" - Polar Bear Club
Song Of The Year P.O.S. - "Purexed": The slow build up into the chaotic chorus made this song into my favorite track of the year, as I first mentioned it had the potential of doing back in February when I reviewed this stellar album. P.O.S. really hits home his points in music, and this one was the heaviest hitter.
Band of the Year Manchester Orchestra: The most hyped band of the year actually delivered with their album. Mean Everything to Nothing was probably the most buzzed about album on the site, and will be a scene classic for years to come. Andy Hull and company are quickly making themselves into one of the most formidable forces in music. Only bigger and better things lie ahead of Manchester Orchestra
So there you have it, leave comments if you feel like it, I love reading your guy's input. 2010 is fast approaching, and I'll have plenty of reviews for you all to read and comment on in the new year. Thanks for reading.
Shameless Self Promotion of the Year Follow Drew Beringer at www.twitter.com/drewberinger
08:58 PM on 12/21/09
I cannot for the life of me get in to New Junk Aesthetic. And I love ETID.
09:24 PM on 12/21/09
Nice list, honorable mentions included, and I think for Gates, you mean ft. TJ Bonnette.
11:19 PM on 12/21/09
wait. what were we talking about?
Drew. Me. You. ETID. Fucking Shit UP! let's make it happen!
10:07 AM on 12/22/09
(wanted with the southside)
10:18 AM on 12/22/09
Tonight I'm Burning Star IV
lol great list Drew. Your Most Anticipated list is awesome, totally forgot YMAEWK releasing a new album
11:31 AM on 12/22/09
Great list. I like so many albums from your list. And your Most Anticipated is perfect.
Though I still fail to see what makes New Again terrible. I've been enjoying it since June.
12:44 PM on 12/22/09
01:40 PM on 12/22/09
The fact that YouMeAtSix is even mentioned in this list kinda appalls me.
10:24 PM on 12/22/09
Good list, except Adventureland was a terrible movie.
10:59 PM on 12/22/09
drew, have you seen ETID tour with the new material? they seem even more energetic and amazing than ever before. for the record kills it live.