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Skank Top Album List 2009


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Wow, we made it to 20th without this thread. That's restraint. *insert link to thread I missed in October*

Anyhoo, here's my Sunday morning take on something I've been pondering for the last couple of weeks..

1. Deer Tick - Born on Flag Day - Never easy to pick an absolute, but this album was the one I reached for from patio season to the falling of the leaves. Raw, real, and killer songs.

2. Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns - Nipping at the heels of number one, I loved the songs and sound of this, but what put it over the top was repeated listens to the backing drums which really drive this boat. Start with the last two tracks first so you don’t miss em.

3. Attack in Black - Years (By One Thousand Fingertips) - It took a few listens before I put my finger on it, but each great Canadian band touches on it at some point. That patience and restraint which unplugged or played on feedback finds it way into your Canadian Neil Young part of your heart. It didn’t translate when I saw them live, but this album is so solid start to finish.

4. The Black Crowes - Before the Frost/ Until the Freeze- Throw caution to the wind and record your next album live in front of a small audience in Levon Helm’s barn. Sure it can’t hurt. Play this one back to back as double album or apart, this solidifies the Crowes as band that has brought its influences with them while creating a sound all there own.

5. Akron/Family - Set Em Wild Set Em Free - The most artistically spirited record of my year. A punch in the gut start that just snowballs and before you know it, you are dancing and chanting in your living room

6. The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You - The purest album of the year. If you aren’t taken in by the title track, there are plenty of tracks on this one for you to fall in love with.

7. Monsters of Folk - Monsters of Folk - How could you put this many of my favorite artists in a band and not have it make my top ten? Multiple listens reveals new layers as you try to pick apart who singing and playing what and where.

8. Wilco - Wilco The Album - I bet you stopped listening to this album. Go back and really give this one a good headphone listen.

9. Knaan - Troudabour - I couldn’t get enough of this album earlier this year. Melodies that span genres and gives me a Bob Marley feel with its scope and message.

10.N.A.S.A - Spirit of Apollo - These guys must have had magical powers to get these team-ups, but the backbeat is all them and this is the hip-hop album for discerning listeners.

Honourable Mentions

11. Derek Trucks Band - Already Free - Bluesy home-run

12.Japandroids - Post Nothing - debut sonic slaughter

13.The Constantines - Too Slow For Love - stripped down retakes that have replaced the originals as some of my favorite takes on them

14.Elvis Costello - Secret, Profane and Sugarcane- Back to back albums now, but a beautiful country album to boot

15.Great Lake Swimmers - Lost Channels - More please

16. The Phenominal Hand Clap Band - Self Titled - This was my most asked “ Who is this that is playing†question at social gatheries - Fun

17. Huron - Huron - Ian Blurton helps gives these guys a sound that is both deep-fried and powerful -lots to be proud of here

18. Grizzly Bear - Velcomist - Single of the Year in “Two Weeksâ€

19. Steve Earle - Townes - Rainy Day Record

20. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone - Another great record from the other reason the New Pornographers are so awesome.

Get It, But Still Can’t Embrace It that special way

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Them Crooked Vultures

Wanted to Love it, but after repeat attempts still can’t

Flaming Lips -Embyronic

Albums Released Last Year I Didn’t Learn To Love Until This Year

Okervil River - The Stand-Ins

Ray LaMontage - Gossip in the Grain

The Gaslight Anthem - The 59 Sound

Albums I’ve discovered in the last week from others recommended that may in the above category next year

Fruit Bats - The Ruminant Band

Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca

That's it. Go nuts folks. Feel free to comment and make your own categories. Stay tuned for the Top 50 of the decade!

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Get It, But Still Can’t Embrace It that special way

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Them Crooked Vultures

Wanted to Love it, but after repeat attempts still can’t

Flaming Lips -Embyronic

I completely agree with these. Love alot of your pics ScottieK. Looking forward to checking out some of the others for the first time.

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In no particular order:

Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More

Deer Tick - Born on Flag Day

The Deep Dark Woods - Winter Hours

Alela Diane - To be Still

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit - Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit

Fruit Bats - the Ruminant Band

Monsters of Folk - Monsters of Folk

Timber Timbre - Timber Timbre

Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle

Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Yo La Tengo - Popular Songs

Honourable mentions:

The Felice Brothers - Yonder is the Clock

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Wilco - Wilco (The Album)

Vetiver - Tight Knit

Girls - Album

A little bit of a let down:

Dinosaur Jr. - Farm

Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band - Outer South

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In no order (and with all due respect to genres I don't normally listen to such as hip hop and metal), although the first selection is probably the best album released this year.

Where The Wild Things Are (soundtrack) - Karen O and the Kids

Derek Trucks Band - Already Free

Swell Season - Strict Joy

Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid

Cuff The Duke - Way Down Here

Purple Hill – Beechnut St.

Them Crocked Vultures

Monsters of Folk

The Dead Weather – Horehound

Patrick Watson - Wooden Arms

The Avett Brothers – I and I Love You

Magnolia Electric Co. – Josephine

Von Bondies - Love, Hate and Then There's You

M. Ward – Hold Time

The Soundtrack of Our Lives – Communion

Silversun Pickups – Swoon

Bonnie Prince Billy – Beware

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Here are my favourites.

Japandroids - Post-Nothing - album of the year for sure

Daniel Fred & Julie

Mount Eerie - Wind's Poem

The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love

Rick White - 137

Timber Timbre

Bonne Prince Billy - Beware

Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle

Bike for Three! - More Heart Than Brains

Best compilation - Dark Was The Night

Most disappointing - Wilco (The Album)

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I just don't keep up the way I used to, but I'll still chime in on what I enjoyed:


1. Three- Joel Plaskett. Some love him, some hate him. I am firmly in the first group. At least 100 days this year I woke up with some of these songs in my head.

2. Set Em Wild Set Em Free- Akron Family. The family without its elder songwriter, still keeping it interesting.

3. Silversun Pickups- Swoon. These guys keep creeping back into my weekly play list, and thats just fine with me.

4. Dan Auerbach- Keep it Hid. Great selection of more wonderful music from one half of the The Black Keys.

5. Knaan- Troubador. Just pure simple fun, and then you start to grasp the lyrics. Time for a detour down Heavy Rd.

Honourable Mentions

Elvis Costello - Secret, Profane and Sugarcane- The more I hear from Elvis, the more I wish I had paid attention earlier in his career, and mine for that matter.

Cracker- Sunrise in the Land of Milk and Honey. They're baaack!

DMB- Big Whiskey and the Gru Grux King. I know these guys are so 10 years ago to most around here, but they still shake ribs at the Palace from time to time. This gets repeat listens and the more I hear it, the more I like it.

Black Crowes- Before the Frost. An unbalanced album of great songs. It just feels like every song has a stolen element in it. See: CSNY- Wooden Ships, moe.- Kids, Dead-a few tunes. This should have been a double release officially with rockers on Disc 1 and the acoustic stuff on 2. The DVD companion Cabin Freeze is a much better package.....

Sondre Lerche- Heartbeat Radio

There is no Enemy- Built to Spill

The Empyrean- John Frusciante

Get It, But Still Can’t Embrace It that special way

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Patrick Watson- Wooden Arms

Wanted to Love it, but after repeat attempts still can’t

Flaming Lips -Embyronic. You hit the nail on the head here SK. So passable it hurt. I was just flat out dissapointed with this one.

Modest Mouse- No Ones First and You're Next. Pretty decent album, but falls way flat after the triumphs of the past few records and Johnny Marrs appearance.

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Guest Low Roller

TOP 6 in no particular order

The Dead Weather- Horehound

Iron & Wine- Norfolk

Mos Def- The Ecstatic

Nosaj Thing- Drift

Yeah Yeah Yeahs- It's Blitz

The XX- XX


The Big Pink- self titled

Biblio- Ambivalence Avenue

Bon Iver- Blood Bank

Camera Obscura- My Maudlin Career

Doom- Born Like This

Fever Ray- self-titled

Fruit Bats- The Ruminant Band

Jay-Z- Blueprint 3

Phish- Joy

Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Various Artists- Dark Was The Night

Got it, but have not developed an opinion yet

Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavillion

Easy Star All-Stars- Easy Star's Lonely Dub Hearts Band

Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest

Monsters of Folk- self-titled

Muse- The Resistance

Neil Young Archives vol.1

Q-Tip- Kamaal The Abstract

Raekwon- Only Built For Cuban Linx pt.2

Them Crooked Vultures- self titled

Wilco- Wilco (The Album)

Yim Yames- Tribute to EP

Have not listened to it yet, but want to

Akron/Family- Set Em Wild Set Em Free

Flaming Lips- Embyronic

Girls- Album

Japandroids- Post Nothing

M. Ward – Hold Time

Modest Mouse- No Ones First and You're Next

The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love

The Soundtrack of Our Lives – Communion

Von Bondies - Love, Hate and Then There's You

Just plain unlistenable

Don't remember as I typically delete it right away.

I would like to thank my obsessive ID4 tagging in MediaMonkey all year for making this extensive post possible.

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I'll just list almost all of the current albums that I bought this year, and make it my top 10 list:

Chickenfoot - Chickenfoot

DMB - Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King

Phish - Joy

The Hip - We Are The Same

Pearl Jam - Backspacer

Dream Theater - Black Clouds & Silver Linings

Joe Bouchard - Jukebox In My Head

Gov't Mule - By A Thread

Trail of Dead - The Century Of Self

AIC - Black Gives Way To Blue

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I wrote this for PULSE..

10. Broken Records — Until The Earth Begins To Part (4AD)

- Broken Records are a septet from Edinburgh, Scotland, who successfully found a way to blend alternative rock, strings, Celtic brogue and topical lyricism. And as such, they have a concise, ardent and ebullient album, and one of the best debuts in 2009. A few of the songs are off an EP released last year, but the overall product far surpasses that. Until The Earth Begins To Part is one such album that once on your iPod, will be there until the battery dies.

- www.myspace.com/brokenrecordsedinburgh

9. Team William — Team William (Bang!)

- I had to put this album in the top ten, even if no one has heard of it, or the band responsible. Team William are an independent quartet from the French part of Belgium that make gorgeous, haunting pop-rock, somewhere between Coldplay and The Notwist, whilst simultaneously encompassing the best of both worlds. Love or hate, one cannot deny Chris Martin's ability to write pop hooks, and this young foursome take such lessons and apply them to darker, more experimental territories. It's available on iTunes and well worth seeking out, as here's hoping 2010 is a breakthrough year for Team William.

- www.myspace.com/teamwilliam

8. The Twilight Sad - Forget The Night Ahead (FatCat)

- The Twilight Sad got darker, richer, fuller and scarier, and we're all better for it. Forget The Night Ahead is a loud, screeching, distorted listen, and one that reveals more with each listen. It's far better than their debut, Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters and a successful stab at mixing the ethereal beauty of Mogwai with the heavy handedness of Arab Strap. It's extremely Scottish too, and I like that.

- www.myspace.com/thetwilightsad

7. The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns (John, Dear)

- This is one of the lovelier Canadian debuts of the year, and the first on this list (although many more will be Canadian as you read on). Don't Haunt This Place is one of the best Canadian songs written this year, and the rest of the album follows suit with disorganized, languid garage pop, emulating soundscapes within and outside of Alberta. The name may be slightly odd, but this collection is divine.

- www.myspace.com/theraa

6. Mastodon - Crack The Skye (Reprise)

- Since Blood Mountain, Mastodon have become one of my favourite metal groups. The way they intermingle noise and melody and master difficult instrumentation is awe-worthy, and follow-up Crack The Skye is just as good. It is one of those metal albums for those afraid of metal, like the best of Slayer or Opeth. It's dark, masterful, chock full of meaty riffs and utterly gorgeous.

- www.myspace.com/mastodon

5. Fanfarlo - Reservoir (Canvasback)

- If Fanfarlo were American, I think they would as big as Bright Eyes or Beirut. Rich, choral melodies are painted through each song on Reservoir, an album written in ode to many historical foibles humans have chased after in yesteryear, including fashioning wings to oneself and jumping off the side of a house. Both 'The Walls Are Coming Down' and 'Harold T. Wilkins' are terrific singles, and the use of mandolins, trumpets and percussion is tasteful and elegant throughout. It's a stand out debut.

- www.myspace.com/fanfarlo

4. Japandroids - Post Nothing (Unfamiliar)

- I didn't like this record at first. It ended up taking five or six listens, but finally, stuck in public transit I think, it hit me. Post Nothing is glorious. It's a whole slew of cacophonous and encroaching noise, wrapped around a set of songs too drunk to speak for themselves and caught up in the sheer spectacle of it all. It reveals everything that I loved about Mudhoney in the early 1990s, with an added dose of sarcasm. Let's hope this is not their one and only, because in some ways it is too good to be true.

- www.myspace.com/japandroids

3. K'Naan - Troubadour (A&M)

- While Troubadour may not be as heavy hitting as his debut, The Dusty Foot Philosopher, it is still a terrific record. Still relying on his 'childhood' growing up in Somalia, K'Naan delivers a masterful performance, one brimming with compelling stories, songs and sing-a-longs. And with 'Waving Flag' chosen as the World Cup anthem for 2010, I'm sure this album is going to get the global attention it deserves. A fantastic record from an equally fantastic artist.

- www.myspace.com/knaanmusic

2. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (V2)

- The first two songs on this record make the album. While the rest trail off slightly and often don't command as many repeated listens as 'Lisztomania' and '1901', this album as a whole was a highlight of 2009 from the Parisian hipsters. And while it is not without its faults, it still remains one of the best pop records of the year, and far and wide the band's career defining release to date. Oh, and the album title is brilliant.

- www.myspace.com/wearephoenix

1. Dan Mangan — Nice, Nice, Very Nice (FUM)

- To me, this is the album of the year. While Dan Mangan may look like a 'man with a guitar', he has crafted a masterpiece that is equally endearing, beguiling and masterful, all at once. While only 26, these are songs that are overflowing with maturity, such as the sing-a-long classic 'Robots', the ode to touring 'Road Regrets' or one of the best songs written about simply enjoying life, the exhaustion inspired 'You Silly Git'. But above all, this album has 'Basket' on it. It's a song written for his grandfather, and probably the most beautiful odes to aging written in some time. Please go buy this record. Your heart will thank you.

- www.myspace.com/danmangan

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In no particular order:

Japandroids - Post-Nothing I'm listening to this for the first time right now and I understand why it's been mentioned so many times. Awesome.

The Got to Get Got - Sahalee I live in Dartmouth now so these guys are my favourite local band at the moment. Super catchy noise rock.

Land of Talk - Fun and Laughter I'm surprised I've never seen this band mentioned on this board. This EP has both Brad and Andrew Barr playing on it.

Tom Waits - Glitter and Doom Live Dude is 60 years old and at the top of his game. No Marc Ribot on this tour, but a great band nonetheless.

Caledonia - We Are America This a Nova Scotian band that hasn't had much exposure. They have sort of a rootsy classic rock sound. Solid album worth checking out: Caledonia myspace

The Dead Weather - Horehound The first Jack White album I could really get into.

Jenn Grant - Echoes Super pretty album.

Tim Fite - Change of Heart Tim Fite is the new Beck. You can download all his stuff for free at www.timfite.com.

St. Vincent - Actor I still find myself reaching for Marry Me more often, but Actor is very good.

Them Crooked Vultures Supergroups always disappoint to some degree, but this album is pretty fucking good.

Rock Plaza Central - At the Moment of Our Most Needing Some people seem to really dislike this band, but their albums get a lot of play at my house. This is arguably their best album yet.

Nirvana - Live at Reading Pretty great live album.

Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle I add this reluctantly because if I'm in the wrong mood I can really be critical of this album, but I've certainly played it a ton.

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I made a concerted effort to search out more world music this year, stumbling upon several great albums

Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective - Watina : From Belize, great haunting vocals with groovy polyrhythms

Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba - Segu Blue – This West African / Malian group can really get that driving African grove going, and they’ve got some beautiful vocals to boot.

Ali Farka Toure & Toumani Diabate - In the Heart of the Moon – From Mali, gorgeous acoustic album featuring the debe (also featured in Toubab Krewe), just beautiful.

Anoushka Shankar & Karsh Kale - Breathing Under Water : I suppose the root of this album is East Indian, but it really covers the gamut from chamber music to electronic to rock to ballads with Nora Jones and Sting each guesting on a tune. One of those wonderful albums that truly defies genres

I also discovered some great western music this year. I fell in love with the beautiful composition and soulful honest song writing of Sufjan Stevens. I also discovered Ben Gibard in all his forms (Death Cab, Postal Service); he’s really a great story teller. This was also the year of back catalogues for me. I rediscovered some of my favorite Slip tunes, and The Beatles, Bruce Cockburn and Paul Simon back in high rotation.

I’m looking forward to investigating some of the artists listed here. I saw Rural Alberta Advantage at hillside this summer and really enjoyed their music. I’ve also felt the hook from Phoenix and Kings of Leon. Neko Case was one of my favorites at Bluesfest

Thanks to all on this board for sharing their love of music, it’s our common thread.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know if I really got any new albums throughout the year, but out of the suggestions on this thread I got a bunch of stuff in the past few weeks. Here are my favourites:

Bonnie Prince Billy - Greatest Palace Music - beautiful!

Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

NASA - The Spirit of Apollo

Japandroids - Post Nothing

oh and two that I don't think have been mentioned:

The Very Best - Warm Heart of Africa

Bela Fleck - Throw Down Your Heart (soundtrack)

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I love most if not all of N.A.S.A., when it really hits it hits. It's arguably a better supercollab than Blakroc. I'm not sure if that Bon Iver albums from '09 officially but that tune re:stacks has been tearing my asshole a new heart for months.

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I bought a couple of CDs on December 31st that are definitely albums of the year for me:

Propagandhi -- Supporting Caste This album is quite a bit more metal than punk and heavier than anything they've done in the past. Fantastic thrash.

Howe Gelb -- Wingin' It This is a live CD/DVD package from Gelb's Canadian tour with the Voices of Praise choir. Here's a clip from the DVD:


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I'll add a few to the list that I've been digging on this year;

These United States - Everything Touches Everything

The Heavy - The House that Dirt Built

Langehorne Slim - Be Set Free

Emmitt Nershi Band - New Country Blues

Umphrey's McGee - Mantis

mstrkrft - Fist of God

I can't for the life of me get into the noise that is the Japandroids that you all seem to be raving about though.

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