Posted by: nick
2009 has been an excellent half-year for music so far. Within this post await our top 10 albums up until June 26th. Admittedly there are a couple of newbies in there that haven’t had as many plays as the rest but they’ve made such an impact that they couldn’t be left out. Hasty? Maybe. It’ll be interesting to see where these albums finish in our end of year list come Christmas time.
If you feel like having a moan then why not start with controversial omissions like Animal Collective (above cover) and The Low Anthem albums? What do you make of those records? There hasn’t been enough time to sink our teeth properly into Sunset Rubdown’s new album ‘Dragonslayer’ but it’s odds on to be a fast list climber.
We’d love to see your top 10s so post them as comments below this article should you please.
Anyway here goes!
1. The Horrors – Primary Colours
Primary Colours is the superb second album by Southend’s The Horrors. It’s produced by Geoff Barrow of Portishead and is full of psychedelic keys, monstrous distorted guitar riffs and shock (Horror!) – good vocals! Farris Badwan will never win any singing prizes but his new style fits the music brilliantly. The album wears its influences on its sleeve (My Bloody Valentine, The Cure, Jesus And Mary Chain) but to me sounds fresh and relevant. It should be stressed that Music Mule is in no way a fan of earlier material so if you too put yourself in that bracket then don’t be put off. A great record.
2. White Denim – Fits
This White Denim album was only out on Monday but its quality is already undeniable. A record that shows off this great Austin 3-piece’s versatility. As well as their custom garage-rock numbers there’s acoustic guitars, psychedelic jams and even some Spanish! They possess the best drummer around in Josh Block and the best rock singer/guitarist in James Petralli. Will this be even higher come the end of year list?
3. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
The eponymous debut from Brooklyn four-piece, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, is a distorted indie-pop masterpiece. More than anything it’s the gorgeous guitar sound that gets you. Reminiscent of The Smiths mixed with Jesus and Mary Chain.
4. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
Grizzly Bear’s third album ‘Veckatimest’ sees the band on their best form yet and looks set to propel them into the limelight. It’s rare to have one super talented songwriter and vocalist in a band but Grizzly Bear has two, chief songwriters, Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen. Rossen is evidently still buzzing from the success of his Department Of Eagles side project last year. Superb singles ‘While You Wait For The Others’ and ‘Two Weeks’ (which features Victoria of Beach House on backing vox) are accompanied by a seriously high caliber of album track like ‘Cheerleader’ with it’s rolling drums and bass line. Then there are the trademark Grizzly Bear harmonies. Simply gorgeous.
5. Harlem – Free Drugs
Harlem are a rock’n’roll/punk 3-piece from Austin. A better alternative to Wavves for us. 3-minute surf-tinged punk is the order of the day, brilliantly delivered (in a sloppy way of course). And you can’t argue with lyrics like ‘I hate every book I’ve ever read, they’ve got the words I’ve never said’ (South Of France).
6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz
Can Yeah Yeah Yeahs make a bad album? Thankfully it seems not. It’s Blitz doesn’t eclipse it’s predecessor ‘Show Your Bones’ but YYY’s ‘dance’ album of sorts sounds fresh and packs all the rocking punch and tender moments we’ve come to expect from this great band.
7. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
Dave Longstreth delivers the most accessible Dirty Projectors record yet. It’s still intricate and at times plain weird but the melodies are generally more tangible. The propulsion of female members Angel and particularly Amber further into the vocal limelight has given their sound a new dimension like on lead single ‘Stillness In The Move’.
8. The Leisure Society – The Sleeper
Gorgeous folk record from Brighton based 6-piece The Leisure Society. Based around the song writing talents of Ivor Novello nominated Nick Fleming the album is rich in harmonies, beautiful string arrangements but overall it’s the pop sensibility that takes it to the next level.
9. The Strange Boys – The Strange Boys and Girls Club
The Strange Boys are a young Austin four-piece with a foot rooted firmly in the past. 60s Stones sounding rock’n’ roll with the Dylan like wail of front man Ryan Sambol. A sunny day record that ingrains itself into your consciousness. Not a million miles away from their city-mates Harlem (above) but there’s a bit more blues going on, their riffs sometimes evoking slower Kills and White Stripes songs.
10. Passion Pit – Manners
The debut album from Massachusetts chipmunk voiced, electro-pop genius Michael Angelakos and band a.k.a. Passion Pit. These are unashamedly good time electro tracks with 80s influences, a soaring falsetto and some Avalanches style production. ‘Sleepyhead’ may well be the best indie dance track of 2009. ‘Little Secrets’ won’t be far behind. The slower numbers work surprisingly well too, check out ‘Let Love Grow Your Tail’. The only let down is no place for the AMAZING ‘I’ve Got Your Number’.
Our end of year Albums of 2009 list is now live. Check it out after the jump.