REVENGE OF THE WRITERS: Best & Worst of 2009

In which the folks who
work in the trenches get in the last word. Hey, nothing’s stopping you from
doing your own list!

 

BY THE BLURT CRÜE

 

As part of our year-end wrap-up, we hereby present our third
and final installment, giving the forum over to the staffers and writers and
their personal picks for 2009. We think we have a pretty diverse and lively
crew here at the BLURT ward (it helps that we ply them hourly with tequila and
Oxycontin), and their selections reflect a true music aficionado’s eclectic
ideals. Guarantee: all dialogue reported verbatim. Thanks to all those who
participated in our poll this year.

 

Also, from Tuesday: THE ARTISTS HAVE SPOKEN: Top Tens of 2009. Vivian Girls, Devendra Banhart,
Marshall Crenshaw and others submit their fave raves.

 

And from Wednesday: 2009 IN REVIEW: The Blurt Top 50. As the title suggest, the toppermost of the
poppermost for the year just done, BLURT-style.

 

2008 Best-Of coverage
is here and here.

 

Follow BLURT on Facebook and Twitter.

 

***

 

ANDY TENNILLE, Blurt
Associate Editor, Winston-Salem
NC

 

Albums:

Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid

Dave Rawlings Machine – Friend Of A Friend

Heartless Bastards – The Mountain

The Felice Brothers – Yonder Is The Clock

Monsters of Folk – Monsters of Folk

Lonely H – Concrete Class

Buddy & Julie Miller – Written in Chalk

Avett Brothers – I And Love And You

Dinosaur Jr. – Farm

Alberta
Cross – The Broken Side of Time

 

Reissues/Archival:

Nirvana – Live at Reading

Big Star – Keep An Eye On The Sky

24 Carat Black – Gone: The Promises Of Yesterday

The Beatles – Remasters

Pax Nicholas and The Nettey Family – Na Teef Know De Road of Teef

 

Best New Artists:

Lonely H

Monsters of Folk

Dave Rawlings Machine

Dan Auerbach

Alberta
Cross

 

Worst New Artist:

Jonas Brothers

 

Artist Who Should
Retire:

Jonas Brothers

 

Top Tours:

Dave Rawlings Machine, Winter 2009

The Big Surprise Tour, Summer 2009

Lonely H/Caleb Caudle & the Bayonets, Summer 2009

 

Best Concert:

Dave Rawlings Machine, Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro NC
November 2009

 

Music Book:

John Cook – Our Noise: The Story Of Merge Records

 

Coolest:

Digital Harinezumi Video Camera

 

Most Annoying:

Jonas Brothers

 

Most Fucked-Up:

Tennessee
DEA @ Bonnaroo

 

***

 

JENNIFER KELLY, Northampton MA

 

Albums:

The Clean – Mister Pop (Merge)    

Akron/Family – Set ‘Em Wild/Set ‘Em Free (Dead Oceans) 

Lotus
Plaza – The Floodlight
Collective (Kranky) 

Fresh & Onlys – 
Grey Eyed Girls (Woodsist) 

Jack O and the Tennessee
Tearjerkers – Disco Outlaw (Goner) 

Sharon van Etten – Because I Was In Love (Language of
Stone)  

Tyvek – Tyvek (Siltbreeze)  

Sir Richard Bishop -The Freak of Araby (Drag City)  

The Bats – The Guilty Office, (Parasol) 

A.C. Newman -Get Guilty, (Merge) 

 

Reissues/Archival:

The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms and The Good Earth (Bar-None)

Red Red Meat -Bunny Gets Paid Deluxe (Sub Pop)

Gods Gift Pathology -Manchester
1979-1984 (Hyped2Death)

Zero Boys – Vicious Circle (Secretly Canadian)

Volcano Suns – Bright Orange
Years and All Night Lotus Party (Merge)

 

Best New Artists:

Fresh & Onlys

Lotus
Plaza

Sharon von Etten

Tonstarttsbandh

Dry Spells

 

Best Concerts:

Jay Reatard at Pearl
Street, Northampton MA November 25th

Dinosaur Jr./Akron
Family at SXSW

 

Film/DVD:

Tinariwen Live in London

 

Music Book:

Alex Ross – The Rest is Noise

 

Coolest:

The Saturday night Todd P party at SXSW with kids sitting on
the top of cars, kids hanging out of trees, kids everywhere…and a long list of
great bands including Kurt Vile, the Ohsees, Woods, caUSE co-MOTION and
others. 

 

Most Annoying:

Another year on dial-up with no real prospect for joining
the 21st century.  (Yes that’s me at the
coffee shop, downloading review CDs.)

 

Most Fucked Up:

Not getting in to see the Sonics at SXSW… did even 1% of all
those badge jockeys on line ever love them the way I did? [See my list of best concerts below, Jen. Catch you in Austin next March! -Managing Ed.]

 

 

***

 

FRED MILLS, Blurt
Managing Editor, Asheville NC

 

Albums:

Flaming Lips – Embryonic (Warner Bros.)

Doveman – The Conformist (Brassland)

Saint Etienne – Foxbase Beta (Heavenly)

Gov’t Mule – By A Thread (Evil Teen)

Raveonettes – In and Out of Control (Vice)

Crocodiles – Summer of Hate (Fat Possum)

Swell Season – Strict Joy (Anti-)

Avett Brothers – I and Love and You (American
Recordings/Columbia)

Sweet Billy Pilgrim – Twice Born Men (Samadhisound)

Jason Isbell
& the 400 Unit – s/t (Lightning Rod)

Michelle Malone
– Debris (SBS)

Reigning Sound – Love & Curses (In The Red)

Sonic Youth – The Eternal (Matador)

Toubab Krewe – Live at the Orange
Peel (Upstream)

Sally Shapiro – My Guilty Pleasure (Paper Bag)

Dennis Diken With Bell Sound – Late Music (Cryptovision)

The Ettes – Do You Want Power (Take Root)

Maria Taylor – Lady Luck (Nettwerk)

BLK JKS – Mystery EP (Secretly Canadian)

Depedro – Depedro (Nat Geo Music)

 

Reissues/Archival:

Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers – The Live Anthology
(5CD/3DVD edition) (Reprise)

Big Star – Keep An Eye On The Sky (Rhino)

R.E.M. – Murmur Deluxe Edition (IRS/UMe)

U2 – The Unforgettable Fire: Super Deluxe
(Mercury/Universal)

Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In
Space BP Deluxe Edition (Dedicated)

Pylon – Chomp More (DFA)

King Khan & the Shrines – What Is?! (Vice Music)

Various Artists – Can You Dig it? The Music and Politics of
Black Action Films 1968-75 (Soul Jazz)

Thee Midniters – Complete: Songs of Love, Rhythm &
Psychedelia! (Micro Werks)

Those Bastard Souls – Twentieth Century Chemical (Darla)

 

Best New Artists:

BLK JKS, Johannesburg South Africa

Wiretree, Austin TX

Caleb Caudle & the Bayonets, Winston-Salem NC

Gabriel Sullivan, Tucson
AZ

Toubab Krewe, Asheville
NC

 

Worst New Artists:

Wavves

Florence
And The Machine

The Entrance Band

Thao With The Get Down Stay Down

Elvis Perkins In Dearland

 

Artists Who Should
Retire:

Kings of Leon

John Mayer

Echo & the Bunnymen

Lilly Allen

The Beatles

 

Top Tours:

Leonard Cohen

Rodriguez

Bruce Springsteen full-album concerts

Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul Revue

Avett Brothers

 

Best Concerts:

Leonard Cohen – Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, Asheville 11-1-09

King Khan & the Shrines – Orange Peel, Asheville 3-12-09

Beastie Boys – Orange Peel, Asheville 6-10-09

Sonics – Emo’s, Austin TX 3-20-09

Rodriguez – The Grey Eagle, Asheville 1-10-09

Warren Haynes Christmas Jam – Civic Center, Asheville NC
12-12-09

 

LATE ADD/UPDATE: Toubab Krewe – Orange Peel, Asheville 12-30-09 (I’m adding this the morning after so may still be in the throes of afterglow, but this just may be the best show I saw all year.)

 

Film/DVD:

Anvil! The Story of Anvil Sacha Gervasi, dir. (VH1 Films)

Lambchop – Lambchop Live @ XXMerge (Merge)

Leonard Cohen – Live at the Isle of
Wight 1970 (Columbia/Legacy)

Nirvana – Live at Reading
(Universal)

Soul Power – Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, dir. (Antidote Films)

 

Music Books:

Barney Hoskyns – Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits
(Broadway)

Steve Knopper – Appetite for Self-Destruction (Free Press)

Wilson Neate – Pink Flag (33 1/3 / Continuum)

Bruce Eaton – Radio
City (33 1/3 / Continuum)

John Cook – Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records
(Algonquin)

Michael Plumides Jr. – Kill The Music (Booksurge.com)

Mixerman – The Daily Adventures of Mixerman (Backbeat)

John Einarson w/Chris Hillman – Hot Burritos: The True Story
of the Flying Burrito Brothers (Jawbone)

Johnny Otis – Listen to the Lambs (Univ. Of Minnesota Press)

Peter Blecha – Sonic Boom! The History of Northwest Rock,
from “Louie Louie” to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Backbeat)

 

Coolest:

Bands turned into LEGOs- not the “LEGO Rock Band” video
game, but people actually reworking LEGO mini-figures into the images of bands.
(For example, here’s the Arcade Fire turned into LEGOs minifigs: www.flickr.com/photos/minifig/354774059,
and here’s one for U2: www.flickr.com/photos/minifig/72055008.)
This may not seem particularly cool or new but as anyone with a gradeschool kid
who’s nuts over LEGOS will tell you, there’s something subversively compelling
about LEGOs that gradually takes over, which makes seeking out band LEGOS on
the internet a pretty fun timesuck.

 

Most Annoying:

Finally edging out Neanderthals who yak loudly on cellphones
in public spaces are people who take the ubiquitous Twitter question What are you doing? (or, more recently, What’s happening?) literally, rather
than rhetorically, and proceed to tell you Exactly. What. They. Are. Doing. (or
thinking. or thinking about doing. or what they just finished doing.) Twitter
is a fantastic communication tool
, but when used in a TMI manner that’s
essentially anti-information, it becomes the digital equivalent of people
muttering inanities to themselves in public spaces. Memo to musicians: you’re among the most guilty parties here, as
you obviously think that tweeting, say, the fact that your airplane just landed
or that you’re getting ready to go eat a sushi dinner, is inherently
fascinating to your fans. But it ain’t. Memo
to all
: consider tweeting content that might be useful to others (and
include hyperlinks), and please spare us your narcissistic spurts of solipsism.

 

Most Fucked Up:

At the risk of seeming ungrateful for all the wonderful free
music that is sent to me as an editor and a journalist, the most fucked-up
musical development of the past year or so is the exponentially accelerated
rate at which record labels service the media via digital streams or downloads
rather than sending out hard copies as they have in the past. Now, I’m not
dumb; digital promos are green, they cost next to nothing and involve zero
overhead, and on the surface at least seem to dovetail into how consumers will,
er, consume music in the future. But I’m here to tell all you industry folks
that it just ain’t so.  For starters, the jury’s still out on whether
we’ll be storing our collections on clouds and hard drives or if we’ll cling to
the physical artifacts like Luddites to their hand-plows (I have 10,000 LPs and
45s in my den that suggests the latter). And from an editorial point of view,
the whole process of downloading an album and relevant artwork and artist
biographical information is more cumbersome than booking a vacation to Cuba;
there’s no consensus among labels as to which download or streaming delivery
mechanism they use, so those of us on the receiving end have to contend with an
array of services of wildly varying efficiency, some of them apparently designed
by trained chimps back during the dial-up era. (Hello, FATdrop!) With a CD,
here’s all that’s involved: (1) Open package; (2) Insert CD in nearest player –
which in my case, is frequently the car stereo on the way home from the Post
Office; (4) Listen/assess. Memo to labels – you’re not thwarting piracy in any way, shape or form with digital
servicing; with free software readily available, even streams can be copied to
hard drives or burned to disc, so instead of beating the bootleggers you’re
just pissing off the writers. Memo to
musicians:
the audio quality of promotional streams and downloads tends to
be less than ideal, so if you allow your music to be serviced in that fashion
to journalists, you’re essentially saying that you don’t care what your little
piece of artistry sounds like to those folks who are actually going to be writing
about it for the public. Memo to self:
go purchase a back-up CD player along with that USB turntable I’ve been
eyeing….

 

***

 

AARON KAYCE, Petaluma CA

 

Albums:

Alberta
Cross – Broken Side of Time (ATO)

Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse – Dark Night of the Soul

Built to Spill – There Is No Enemy (Warner Bros.)

Mastodon – Crack The Skye (Reprise)

The Mars Volta – Octahedron
(Warner Bros.)

The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You (Sony)

Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures
(DGC/Interscope)

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)

Vieux Farka Touré – Fondo (Six Degrees)

Steve Earle – Townes (New West)

 

Reissues/Archival:

Fela Kuti – The Best of The Black President (Knitting
Factory Records)

Radiohead – Kid A: Special Collectors Edition (Capitol)

The Beatles – Stereo Box (EMI)

Nirvana – Bleach/Live At Reading (Sub Pop/Universal)

Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (Capitol)

 

Best New Artists:

Them Crooked Vultures

Monsters of Folk

Elliott Brood

BLK JKS

The Low Anthem

 

Worst New Artist:

Lady Gaga

 

Best Concerts:

Widespread Panic – The Fox Theater, Oakland, CA
– 11.13.09

Them Crooked Vultures – The Fox Theater, Oakland, CA
– – 11.19.09

The Mars Volta -Outside Lands Music Festival, San Francisco, CA
– 08.29.09

 

Most Fucked Up:

Not sure it’s “the most fucked up thing” but it’s definitely
fully disturbing and needs to be seen by everyone: the movie Food Inc.

 

***

 

LEE ZIMMERMAN, Miami FL

 

Albums:

Avett Brothers – I And Love And You (Columbia)

Carolyn Mark and NQ Arbuckle – Let’s Just Stay Here (Mint)

Jeff Larson – Heart of the Valley (Human Nature)

Patrick Bloom – Ghosts of Radio (Mud Dauber)

Nanci Griffith – The Loving Kind (Rounder)

Michelle Shocked – Soul of My Soul (Mighty Sound)

Slaid Cleaves – Everything You Know Will Be Taken Away (Music Road)

Monsters of Rock – Monsters of Rock (Shangri La)

Jay Farrar/Ben Gibbard – One Fast Move Or I’m Gone
(soundtrack) (Atlantic)

Ian Hunter – Man Overboard (New West)

 

Reissues/Archival:

Big Star – Keep An Eye On The Sky (Rhino)

Dolly Parton – Dolly (RCA/Legacy)

Del
Lords – Johnny Comes Marching Home, Based on a True Story, Frontier Days
(American Beat/Rykodisc)

Creedence Clearwater Revival – The Singles Collection (Concord)

Bert Jansch – Santa Barbara
Honeymoon/L.A. Tunraround, A Rare Conundrum (Drag City)

Soundtrack – The Wizard Of Oz-The Ultimate Edition (Rhino)

 

Best New Artists:

The Duke & The King

WPA (Works Progress Administration)

Sam Shrieve

Kim Virant

Lee Alexander

 

Worst New Artist:

Any of those wannabes who won American Idol

 

Artist Who Should
Retire:

Mick Jagger (His abundance of crags and wrinkles overshadow
his feeble attempts to prove he’s still young and vital. WE love ya, Mick, but
seriously – you’re almost 70 and you’re starting to look a wee bit silly.  You simply don’t share Keef’s cool.)

 

Top Tours:

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

U2

Jackson Browne

 

Best Concerts:

Jackson Browne — The Fillmore, Miami, 11-21-09

Roger Daltrey – Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, 11-29-09

Robin Williams – Hard Rock Live, Hollywood, 10-21-09

 

Film/DVD:

Pirate Radio

Taking Woodstock

The Zombies – Odessey & Oracle {Revisited}

 

Music Book:

Tom Weschler/Gary Graff — Travelin’ Man – On the Road and
Behind the Scenes with Bob Seger (Painted Turtle)

Christopher Hjort – So You Want To Be A Rock ‘N’ Roll Star –
The Byrds Day-By-Day 1965-1973 (Jawbone)

John Einarson with Chris Hillman — Hot Burrito: The Story of
the Flying Burrito Brothers (Jawbone)

Bill Bruford – The Autobiography (Jawbone)

 

Coolest:

Tough choice in these days of unrelenting economic pitfalls
and squabbling politicians (see comments below). So I’d have to say what I’m
pleased to point to a steady trend that continues unceasingly year after year –
namely, the ongoing flow of great new music, most procured by artists who still
reign well below the radar but somehow manage to output sounds that give hope
for rock’s steady revival.

     Oh… and let’s not
forget the Cayamo Cruise. March 2009  –
terrific artists (Lyle Lovett, John Hiatt, the Indigo Girls, Tift Merritt,
Brandi Carlile, Vienna Teng, Joe Ely et.al.), continual music and the pleasures
of a sea cruise – not to mention a bountiful breakfast buffet and lovely
cocktails with little umbrellas – add it all up and it’s a combination that simply
can’t be beat. Looking forward to 2010 and posting my exclusive reports for Blurt!

 

Most Annoying:

Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin – Politics aside –
self-righteous blowhards are never in vogue. (see below)

 

Most Fucked Up:

The divisive nature of politics in this country and the perpetrators
of this outrageous behavior on both the left and the right.  Doesn’t matter if they’re liberal or conservative,
Democrat or Republican – all are guilty of putting self-interest first and
slamming those that disagree.  Whatever
happened to the ability to respectively disagree?  Why is there no national agenda that can be
forged through partnership and compromise? 
Partisan politics suck, lobbying usurps the people’s priorities, and
elections become the only cause of action. It matters not the administration –
what’s true now for Obama was true during the reign of George W and Bill
Clinton.  Animosity must cease.  We’re all Americans and first and foremost
and we ought to allow ourselves the privilege of being patriots and put the
cause of country first.  Yeah, things are
mighty, mighty fucked, but its time for the politicians to shut up and quit
wrangling and pull together in doing the job they were elected to do. Down with
dogma!  I’m an Independent and proud of
it!

 

***

 

STEPHEN M. DEUSNER,
Sunnyside, Queens, New York

 

Albums:

Phoenix
– Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Sissy Wish – Beauties Never Die

Neko Case – Middle Cyclone

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion

Girls – Album

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!

Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orce

Flaming Lips – Embryonic

Miranda Lambert – Revolution

Reigning Sound – Love & Curses

 

Reissues/Archival:

R.E.M. – Reckoning

Big Star – Keep an Eye on the Sky

Chris Bell – I Am the Cosmos

Various: Fire in My Bones: Raw + Rare + Otherworldly
African-American Gospel (1944-2007)

Isaac Hayes: Hot Buttered Soul/Black Moses/Shaft OST

Al Green: album reissues

Nick
Cave: album reissues

 

Best New Artists:

Lady Gaga

Girls

Sharon Van Etten

Dum Dum Girls

Lissie

 

***

 

ERIC
SCHUMACHER-RASMUSSEN, Beaver Dam
WI

 

Albums:

The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You (American)

Bruce Springsteen -Working on a Dream (Columbia)

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
(Lightning Rod)

Frank Turner – Poetry of the Deed (Epitaph)

Tegan and Sara – Sainthood (Vapour)

Mos Def – The Ecstatic (Downtown)

Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown (Reprise)

Pearl Jam – Backspacer (Island)

The Big Pink – A Brief History of Love (4AD)

Lucero – 1372 Overton Park (Universal)

 

Reissues/Archival:

Woody Guthrie – My Dusty Road (Rounder)

The Beatles – The Beatles (Capitol)

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
(Capitol)

Those Bastard Souls, Twentieth Century Chemical (Darla)

Pearl Jam -Ten (Epic)

 

Best New Artists:

Frank Turner

Lady Gaga

The Big Pink

Kid Cudi

Mayer Hawthorne

 

Artist Who Should
Retire:

Radiohead

 

Best Concert:

Bruce Springsteen, Hard Rock Calling, Hyde Park, London

 

Film/DVD:

Pirate Radio

Control

 

Music Book:

Steve Knopper: Appetite for Self-Destruction (Free Press)

 

Coolest:

Bruce Springsteen playing full albums, especially The River and The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle.

 

Most Annoying:

John Mayer

 

Most Fucked Up:

The cover of that new John Mayer album. [You got that right. – Ed.]

 

***

 

HAL BIENSTOCK, New York NY

 

Albums:

Girls – Album (True Panther/Matador)

Wilco – The Album (Nonesuch)

Iron & Wine – Around the Well (Sub Pop)

AC Newman – Get Guilty (Matador)

Jay Reatard – Watch Me Fall (Matador)

Richmond
Fontaine – We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River (Arena Rock/El Cortez)

Mission of Burma – The Sound The Speed The
Light (Matador)

Lightning Dust – Infinte Light (Jagjaguar)

Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs (Matador)

Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (Anti-)

 

Reissues/Archival:

Rolling Stones – Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out! 30th Anniversary
Edition (Abkco)

Leonard Cohen – Live in London (Sony)

Grateful Dead – To Terrapin Hartford ’77 (Rhino)

Big Star – Keep An Eye on the Sky (Rhino)

Elvis Costello – Live at the El Mocambo (Hip-O)

Fela Kuti – Best of the Black President  (Royat)

Devo – Are We Not Men/Freedom of Choice (Warner Bros.)

Nirvana – Live at Reading
(Geffen)

The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms/The Good Earth (Bar None)

The Vaselines – Enter the Vaselines (Sub Pop)

 

Top Tours:

Wilco

Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

Leonard Cohen

TV on the Radio

Steely Dan

Delta Spirit

 

Best Concert:

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (performing The Wild, The Innocent & The E Street Shuffle),
Madison Square Garden,
11/7/09

Wilco/Yo La Tengo, 7/13/09, Keyspan
Park, Coney
Island

Leonard Cohen, 10/23/09, Madison Square
Garden

 

Music Book:

Robert Hilburn – Cornflakes with John Lennon (Rodale)

 

***

 

IAN MATHERS, Guelph, Ontario,
Canada

 

Albums:

Doveman – The Conformist (Brassland)

Fever Ray – s/t (Rabid)

Phoenix
– Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (V2)

The Mountain Goats – The Life of the World to Come (4AD)

Mountains – Choral (Thrill Jockey)

Matt & Kim – Grand (Fader Label)

Timber Timbre – s/t (Arts & Crafts)

Japandroids – Post-Nothing (Polyvinyl)

Yob – The Great Cessation (Profound Lore)

Brock Van Wey – White Clouds Drift On and On (Echospace)

 

Reissues/Archival:

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
(Parlophone)

The Beatles – Revolver (Parlophone)

God’s Gift – Pathology: Manchester 1979-1984 (Hyped2Death)

The Feelies – Crazy Rhythms (Bar/None)

The Feelies – The Good Earth (Bar/None)

 

New Artists:

Timber Timbre

Japandroids

Variant

Divisible

The xx

 

Worst New Artists:

Discovery

The Big Pink

Michachu and the Shapes

 

Artist Who Should
Retire:

Bob Dylan

 

Top Tours:

Mogwai/The Twilight Sad

Leonard Cohen

Fever Ray

Los Campesinos!

Andrew WK & The Calder Quartet

 

Best Concert:

Mogwai/The Twilight Sad – The Phoenix,
Toronto
04-05-2009

Mountains – The Music Gallery, Toronto 15-6-2009

Stars Like Fleas – The Attic, Guelph 28-4-2009

 

Film/DVD:

Low: You May Need a Murder (Plexifilm)

Joy Division (The Weinstein Corporation)

 

Coolest:

Community. I’m not supposed to suddenly have a new favourite
TV show, especially a sitcom.

 

Most Annoying:

Everybody’s going to say it, but: Twilight.  If it walks around in the sun, it’s probably
not a vampire.

 

Most Fucked Up:

If we mean fucked-up in a good way, I’d say the
interpretative dance (to solo cello) Andrew W.K. did for an encore when he
played with the Calder Quartet.

 

***

 

JASON FERGUSON, Winter
Park FL

 

Albums:

Bat For Lashes – Two Suns (Astralwerks)

Heaven & Hell – The Devil You Know (Rhino)

Blind Man’s Colour – Season Dreaming (self-released)

Crippled Black Phoenix
– 200 Tons of Bad Luck (Invada)

The Low Anthem – Oh My God Charlie Darwin (Nonesuch)

St. Vincent – Actor (4AD)

David Sylvian – Manafon (Samadhisound)

Visqueen – Message to Garcia (Local 638)

Wendy & Lisa – White Flags of Winter Chimneys (self-released)

Various Artists – Dark Was the Night (4AD)

 

Reissues/Archival:

Big Star – Keep An Eye on the Sky (Rhino)

Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Contonou – Vol. 2: Echos
Hypnotiques (Analog Africa) V

arious Artists – Factory Records: Communications 1978-92
(Factory/Rhino)

Various Artists – Ghana Special: Modern Highlife,
Afro-Sounds & Ghanaian Blues 1968-81 (Soundway)

Various Artists – Where the Action Is: Los Angeles Nuggets (Rhino)

 

Artist Who Should
Retire:

Prince – He released a decent album this year (Lotusflow3r),
but packaged it with a truly subpar one (MPLSound) and an execrable “protege”
product (Bria Valente), proving again that the man is his own worst enemy. The
fact that he ripped off fans to the tune of $77 to access a website that
implied (though, technically, didn’t promise) tons of material but delivered
little more than the very same albums one could pick up at Target for $13. Seriously,
dude: Just pay someone to build you a website where you can sell your
unreleased tracks for $5 apiece; you’ll make a bajillion dollars and won’t have
to worry yourself sick with keeping up with kids half your age.  

 

Best Concerts:

Riverboat Gamblers

Motorhead

The Low Anthem

 

***

 

JASON GROSS, New York NY

 

Albums:

Titus Andronicus – The Airing of Grievances” (XL)

…And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead – The Century
of Self (Ricther Scale)

K’Naan – Troubadour (EMI)

Telekinesis – Telekinesis! (Merge)

Dan Deacon- Bromst (Car Park)

Living Things – Habeas Corpus (Jive)

Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (Anti-)

Wussy – Wussy (shake It)

Roman Candle – Oh Tall Tree in the Ear (Thirty Tigers)

Sonic Youth – The Eternal (Matador)

 

Reissues/Archival:

Various Artists “100% Dynamite! Dancehall Reggae Meets
Rap in New York City”
(Soul Jazz)

The Feelies “Crazy Rhythms” (Bar/None)

Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson “1980” (Soul
Brother)

Various Artsts “African Pearls: Senegal 70 –
Musical Effervescence” (Syllart)

Ruby Braff “For the Last Time” (Arbors)

 

Best New Artists:

An Horse

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart

Taggy Matcher

Cliff Hillis

Vall

 

Artist Who Should
Retire:

U2 (I don’t care what their box office is)

 

Top Tours:

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Ghostface/Skyzoo

Common/The Roots

Phoenix/Passion Pit

Bonnie Raitt/Taj Mahal

 

Best Concerts:

The Fleshtones – Hiro
Ballroom, New York
10-23-09

The Raincoats – Knitting Factory, New York, 10-16-09

Rhys Chatham – Lincoln
Center, New York
8-9-09

 

Film/DVD:

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

It Might Get Loud

Pirate Radio

 

Music Book:

Robert Palmer – Blues & Chaos (Scribner)

Marcus Gray – Route 19 Revisited (Jonathan Cape)

Pete Fornatale – Back to the Garden (Touchstone)

 

Coolest:

The FM3/Throbbing Gristle Buddha Machine

 

Most Annoying:

Any award show

 

Most Fucked Up:

Blurt not having a
list for singles. [Ouch! Okay, next year,
we promise, Jason! – Ed.
]

 

***

 

ZACHARY BLOOM, San Francisco CA

 

Albums:

Bat For Lashes – Two Suns (Astralwerks)

Passion Pit – Manners (Columbia
/ DMZ)

Raveonettes – In And Out Of Control (Vice)

Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
(Slumberland)

Discovery – LP (Beggars / XL)

Phoenix
– Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Glass Note)

The xx – xx (XL)

Arctic Monkeys – Humbug (Domino)

Glasvegas – Glasvegas (Sony)

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)

 

Best New Artists:

Pains of Being Pure At Heart

Passion Pit

The Antlers

The xx

Dead Man’s Bones

 

Artist Who Should
Retire:

Robert Pollard (I’m sorry)

 

Best Concert:

Bat For Lashes – Great
American Music
Hall, San Francisco
6-13-09

 

Film/DVD:

It Might Get Loud. (dir. Davis Guggenheim)

 

Coolest:

The Book of Basketball – Bill Simmons (Ballantine / ESPN).
The smartest, funniest, and most enjoyable sports writer/podcaster takes a page
from Prince and releases a virtually unedited, 736-page tome, emptying his
brain of everything he knows (and has ever thought) about the NBA.

 

Most Annoying:

It’s so hard to pick just one reigning pest. Here are some
things that annoyed, disappointed, bothered me for their tediousness and/or
ubiquity: Monsters of Folk, Brett Favre, Bradford Cox, The Beatles. And Feist
at that god awful Dark Was The Night live show at Radio City Music Hall. Watch her bob her idiotic
head as Sharon Jones easily blows all the blowhards off the stage.

 

Most Fucked Up:

Without fully understanding what was happening, I was roped
into singing a karaoke duet of “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” with my future
mother-in-law. I insisted everything be taken literally: cars and baseball,
it’s about cars and baseball!

 

***

 

WILSON NEATE, Carmel NY

 

Albums:

Duckworth Lewis Method – Duckworth Lewis Method (1969
Records)

Githead – Landing (swim~)

The Horrors – Primary Colours (XL)

Tim Hecker – An Imaginary Country (Kranky)

Jodis – Secret House (Hydra Head)

Health – Get Color (Lovepump United)

Crippled Black Phoenix
– 200 Tons of Bad Luck (Invada)

Shackleton – Three EPS (Perlon)

Shrinebuilder – Shrinebuilder (Neurot)

Akatombo – Unconfirmed Reports (Hand-Held Recordings)

 

Reissues/Archival:

801 – 801 Live (Expression)

Harmonia & Eno 76 – Tracks and Traces reissue (High Wire
Music/Grönland)

Bruce Gilbert – This Way (Editions Mego)

Serge Gainsbourg – Histoire de Melody Nelson (Light in the
Attic)

Kraftwerk – The Catalogue (Astralwerks)

 

Artist Who Should
Retire:

Tracey Emin

 

Film/DVD:

Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany

Scott Walker: 30 Century Man

On/Off: Mark Stewart From the Pop Group to the Maffia

 

Music Book:

Wilson Neate – Pink Flag (33 1/3 / Continuum)

Jon Savage – The England’s Dreaming Tapes (Faber)

Jah Wobble – Memoirs of a Geezer: Music, Mayhem, Life
(Serpent’s Tail)

 

Coolest:

Doctor Johnson’s pronouncements on Twitter and his monthly
“Dictionary of the new Musick” column at TheQuietus.com

 

Most Annoying:

Mainstream American “news” media

 

Most Fucked Up:

Mainstream American “news” media

 

***

 

STEVEN ROSEN,
Cincinnatti OH

 

Albums:

Various Artists – Dark Was the Night (4AD)

Pastels/Tenniscoats – Two Sunsets (Domino)

Antony
and the Johnsons – The Crying Light (Secretly Canadian)

Wussy (Shake It)

Art Brut – Art Brut vs. Satan (Cooking Vinyl)

Jarvis Cocker – Further Complications (Rough Trade)

The Revelations featuring Tre’ Williams – The Bleeding Edge
(Decision Records & Traffic Entertainment)

Various Artists/Stuart Murdoch – God Help the Girl (Matador)

Ian McLagan & the Bump Band – Never Say Never (00:02:59)

Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs (Matador)

 

Reissues/Archival:

Van Morrison – Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood
Bowl (Listen to the Lion)

Various Artists – Where the Action Is! Los Angeles Nuggets 1965-1968 (Rhino)

Woody Guthrie – My Dusty Road (Rounder)

Sun Ra – Interplanetary Melodies/The Second Stop is
Jupiter/Rocket Ship Rock (Norton)

Tiny Tim – I’ve Never Seen a Straight Banana (Collectors’
Choice Music)

 

Best New Artists:

Monsters of Folk

Adam Lambert

 

Worst New Artist:

Kris Allen

 

Artist Who Should
Retire:

Bachman-Turner [Wait –
didn’t they just un-retire, like, a few weeks ago? – Confused Ed.
]

 

Best Concert:

Leonard Cohen, Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison (Denver) CO, June 8

 

Film/DVD:

Leonard Cohen – Live in London (Sony)

Zabriskie Point (Warner Bros.)

Anvil! The Story of Anvil (Abramorama)

 

Music Book:

Barney Hoskyns – The Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom
Waits (Broadway)

Jon Hartley Fox – King of the Queen
City: The Story of King Records (University of Illinois Press)

 

Coolest:

Talk of a federal jobs bills that may revive the WPA. Hope it
revives the Federal Writers Project.

 

Most Annoying:

Tea parties.

 

***

 

ZACHARY HERRMANN, Philadelphia PA

 

Albums:

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)

Marissa Nadler – Little Hells (Kemado)

Elvis Perkins in Dearland – Elvis Perkins in Dearland (XL
Recordings)

Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (Anti)

Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs (Matador Records)

Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca (Domino)

Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid (Nonesuch)

Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest (Warp Records)

Girls – Album (True Panther Sounds)

Taken By Trees – East of Eden (Rough Trade) 

 

Reissues/Archival:

Big Star – Keep An Eye on the Sky (Rhino)

Chris Bell – I Am The Cosmos, Deluxe Edition (Rhino)

Leonard Cohen – Live in London (Sony)

R.E.M. – Reckoning, Deluxe Edition (A&M)

Tom Waits – Glitter and Doom Live (Anti)

 

Best New Artists:

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Girls

Dan Auerbach

Volcano Choir

St. Vincent

 

Worst New Artist:

Asher Roth

 

Artist Who Should
Retire:

Bon Jovi

 

Top Tours:

Dan Auerbach

Peter Bjorn and John

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Of Montreal

John Doe and the Sadies

 

Best Concert:

Dan Auerbach, 9:30 Club, Washington DC
(2/28/2009)

 

Film/DVD:

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Soul Power

 

Coolest:

The widening of Disney – getting Pixar, Marvel Studios and
Guillermo del Toro all in the house that Walt built is very exciting for geeks
like me.

 

Most Annoying:

The slow, televised death of U.S. health care reform. Balloon
Boy. Jon and Kate. Kanye West. Sarah Palin’s refusal to just go the hell away.
Choose your pick.

 

Most Fucked-Up:

Watching fellow friends and recent graduates return home one
after another… jobless. 

 

***

 

JONAH FLICKER, Brooklyn NY

 

Albums:

Fever Ray – Fever Ray (Mute)

Double Dagger – More (Thrill Jockey)

Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II (Ice H20/EMI)

Polvo – In Prism (Merge)

Wye Oak – The Knot (Merge)

Bon Iver – Blood Bank (Jagjaguwar)

Jay Z – The Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation/Atlantic)

Built to Spill – There is no Enemy (WB)

Blank Dogs – Under and Under (In The Red)

Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport (ATP)

 

Best New Artists:

Tapedeck
Mountain

Digital Leather

 

Worst New Artist:

Wavves – I championed this debut album when it first came out,
but the past year has not been kind to Nathan Williams, proving what a dud he
and his music really are.

 

Artist Who Should
Retire:

Kings of Leon.
They used to rock. Now they’re just embarrassing.

 

Best Concert:

Polvo at The Bell House, Brooklyn, NY

 

Film/DVD:

All Tomorrow’s Parties – Jonathan Caouette, dir. (Warp
Films)

 

Most Annoying:

TMZ-style music journalism – namely extensive coverage of
the Black Lips Wavves fisticuffs. Sure, it’s we all love a good, wimpy, indie
rock throwdown, but who really gives a shit about douchebag musicians slapping
each other at a stupid bar.

 

***

 

RON HART, Lincoln Park NJ

 

Albums:

Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Part II (ICE H20-EMI)

Elvis Costello – Secret, Profane and Sugarcane (Lost
Highway)

Iggy Pop – Preliminaires (Virgin)

Jesu – Infinity (Avalanche)

Flaming Lips – Embryonic (Warner Bros.)

Dam-Funk  – Toeachizown
(Stones Throw)

Kurt Vile – Childish Prodigy (Matador)

Atlas Sound – Logos (Kranky)

David Sylvain – Manofon (Samadhi Sound)

DOOM – Born Like This (LEX)

 

Reissues/Archival:

Beatles – Remastered Catalog (Capitol-EMI)

Bert Jansch – LA Turnaround (Drag City)

Buddy Holly – Memorial Collection/Down the Line: Rarities
(Decca-UMe)

Isaac Hayes – Hot Buttered Soul/Black Moses/Shaft Expanded
Editions (Stax-Concord)

Leonard Cohen – Live at the Isle of
Wight 1970 (Columbia-Legacy)

 

Best New Artists:

Them Crooked Vultures

Dam-Funk

Real Estate

The Laughing

Kid Cudi

 

Worst New Artist:

Susan Boyle

 

Artist Who Should
Retire:

Eminem

 

Top Tours:

 Bruce Springsteen

Paul McCartney

Sonic Youth

Pearl Jam

Jay-Z

 

Best Concerts:

Bruce Springsteen -at Giants Stadium (2nd Born to Run show)

Paul McCartney – at Citi Field

Jay-Z – at All Points West

 

Film/DVD:

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Adventureland

Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley

 

Music Book:

Paul Drummond – Eye Mind: The Saga of Roky Erickson and the
13th Floor Elevators, The Pioneers of Psychedelic Sound (Process)

 

Coolest:

Plaidstallions.com – any fan of old suburban nostalgia must
go here now.

 

Most Annoying:

Twitter – It’s a sad day when journalism can be pared down
to 140 characters.

 

Most Fucked Up:

The passing of our beloved family cat, Coco.
She was the sweetest kitty on earth and is greatly missed.

 

***

 

STEVE KLINGE, Wilmington DE

 

Albums:

Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillon (Domino)

Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career (Merge)

Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (Anti-)

Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca (Domino)

Marianne Faithfull – Easy Come, Easy Go  (Decca)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – s/t  (Slumberland)

Passion Pit-Manners (Frenchkiss)

Allen Toussaint – Bright Mississippi (Nonesuch)

The Very Best – The Warm Heart of Africa
(Green Owl)

Yo La Tengo – Popular Songs (Matador)

 

Best New Artists:

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Passion Pit

Mayer Hawthorne

The xx

The Antlers