The Scumbo Memorial "Best Albums of the First Half of 2009" Thread
I remember Scumbo periodically throwing up threads to discuss the year so far last year, so I decided to dedicate this to him and do it again this year, right at the year's halfway point. Just list off some albums you've heard so far released this year that are good, helping those who aren't as hip to know what to look out for from January-June 2009. And discuss the rest of 2009's potential while you're at it.
I'll throw some out there, in no particular order; most are probably known by a lot of you already...
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse - Dark Night of the Soul
Mos Def - The Ecstatic
Passion Pit - Manners
Akron/Family - Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free
P.O.S. - Never Better
And, a compilation that's fantastic:
Dark Was the Night
Probably most looking forward to The Flaming Lips' new one right now.
I would place the aforementioned Veckatimest and Bitte Orca in my top tier, along with Bat for Lashes' Two Suns, Depeche Mode's Sounds of the Universe, and Antony and the Johnsons' The Crying Light. The consistency and coherence of Sounds have particularly impressed me - Dave Gahan is in top form throughout.
Bibio's Ambivalence Avenue is a solid album that seems to have been overlooked. I've also enjoyed No Line on the Horizon, Andrew Bird's Noble Beast, and Merriweather Post Pavilion.
Doves - Kingdom Of Rust
Manic Street Preachers - Journal For Plague Lovers
Yeah Yeah Yeah's - It's Blitz!
along with Animal Collective and Depeche Mode that have already been mentioned....
I cannot believe that I forgot to include Morrissey's Years of Refusal among the best of the year thus far. For some reason February seems like nine or ten months ago.
I haven't been buying too many CDs lately, but here are albums I've enjoyed so far this year, in no particular order:
Neko Case--Middle Cyclone
Sonic Youth--The Eternal
Andrew Bird--Noble Beast (and even moreso the bonus disc Useless Creatures)
Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band--Outer South
Wilco--Wilco (The Album)
M. Ward--Hold Time
Pronto--All Is Golden
Nels Cline's album and The Eternal have been my favorites. I have a hunch those two and the new album by Carla Bozulich's band Evangelista (due out in October) will be my favorites for the year.
Vecky and MPP already being mentioned, there isn't a lot for me to add.
U2 - NLOTH
Metric - Fantasies
Director - I'll Wait for Sound
Dylan's new album deserves an honourable mention too not amazing but it's still pretty good
Biggest disappointments so far:
Morrissey - Years of Refusal (Same old same old, and it's no longer interesting sadly, it's decent just the weakest thing he's released in years)
Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown (Nothing special, just a lesser version of American Idiot)
Maximo Park - Quicken the Heart (More like slow the heart with boring songs)
Grizzly Bear's new album could go either way right now, I might either end up loving it or completely disappointed in it
Alrighty then, let's see:
No Line on the Horizon - U2: Best album of the year so far and best album of my favorite band since Achtung Baby. You all probably know what I mean by saying this, but I'll explain: Achtung Baby is my favorite album of all time, and therefore, my favorite U2 album. Ergo, No Line is a masterpiece. Also, best album of the decade so far.
Sun Gangs - The Veils: This list is not in order, but this happens to be the second best album released this year so far. I can't explain. Just listen to it. Atemporal feeling, beautiful vocals, great lyrics. Just listen.
Together Through Life - Bob Dylan: Another great work from Bob; better than Modern Times, andthat's saying a lot already. Simple, fresh and beautiful, it seems to get better with time.
Kingdom of Rust - Doves: "Jetstream", "Kingdom of Rust", "House of Mirrors"... full of good songs and it flows really well. It needs a few listens to be fully appreciated, but it's a good, well-crafted album. The feeling of one big song comes to mind.
21st Century Breakdown - Green Day: Not better than American Idiot. But then, that's far from being a bad thing on its own. It actually comes close to Idiot and damn, that's one hell of a compliment. "Know Your Enemy" is a rocker as catchy as "American Idiot" and again, the album flows well and is packed with a lot of good tunes. And while Breakdown doesn't have another "Boulevard", Idiot doesn't have a "21 Guns" either.
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum - Kasabian: Get their first effort, the self-titled Kasabian and mix it with their follow-up Empire, some psychadelic sounds and a spaghetti western felling and you get this. I admit I hated it at first - and second - listen, but now I'm tempted to say it's their best along with Empire. Maybe it's even better than their second.
Hands - Little Boots: Best pure-pop album in this decade along with The Fame and Confessions on a Dance Floor. That's all I'll say and I think it should be more than enough.
Working on a Dream - Bruce Springsteen: Not as good as his last efforts with The E Street Band, but then again Magic and The Rising are among the best things in his entire career. This one is not quite there (yet) but The Boss still can make an album good enough to be among the best of the year at least. The fact that one of his best songs is here also helps. :wink:
LeftRightLeftRightLeft - Coldplay: They're great live. Sue me.
Maybe Yeah Yeah Yeah's It's Blitz! and Jarvis Cocker's Further Complications should also be here, but let's see what happens til the end of the year. Those listed I'm almost sure that'll make the end-year list with reservations for Coldplay, Bruce and Doves.
I expect Horehound by The Dead Weather to be a strong contender for top 10, maybe 5. And Muse, if they're still releasing something this year.
If we're tossing disappointments in there, Regina Spektor's latest is so, so bad.
Shut your mouth.
I get sucked into Two Suns immediately with the percussion in "Glass." Fucking fantastic.
But I'm talking about Sha-- no, this time I'm actually not talking about Shaft.
As a top 5:
1. Passion Pit - Manners
and then these fuckers are second tier:
Fever Ray - Fever Ray
Grizzily Beer - Becky Timest
Royksopp - Junior
Doves - Kingdom of Rust
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
Bruce Springsteen - Working On A Dream
The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love
Wilco - Wilco (The Album)
Regina Spektor - Far
Bob Dylan - Together Through Life
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - S/T
Franz Ferdinand - Tonight: Franz Ferdinand
Nickel Eye - The Time of the Assassins
Little Boots - Hands
Silversun Pickups - Swoon
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Lookin forward to:
Pearl Jam, Arctic Monkeys, Jemina Pearl, The Dead Weather, FLips, Leighton, Chezza, etc.
Shuttlecock, No Net on the Horizon
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz!
Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca
Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Dinosaur Jr., Farm
Been a pretty rough year for me, away from music, so I haven't been able to listen to as much as I usually do. Haven't even heard the Dino album, laz. If I thought that "Over It" kinda sucked, do you think that I should bother with the album? I'm only a fan in passing (ie, I only have Your Living All Over Me and mostly didn't give a shit about Sebadoh), for context. Anyway, after thinking about it for like five minutes, it looks something like this...
1) Future of the Left: Travels With Myself and Another
2) Lotus Plaza: The Floodlight Collective
3) Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion
4) Super Furry Animals: Dark Days/Light Years
5) The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
6) The Fiery Furnaces: I'm Going Away
7) Sunset Rubdown: Dragonslayer
8) Dan Deacon: Bromst
9) A.C. Newman: Get Guilty
10) Asobi Seksu: Hush
That's a pretty fluid list, right now. Even near the top. I mean, if that Los Campesinos! record winds up coming out later this year, rather than earlier next year, it is conceivable that my top three records will be Welsh, as I am hopelessly in love with Dark Days/Light Years. Added to this list or just after it could be some, all, or even none of the following records, mood depending:
The Phantom Band: Checkmate Savage
The Horrors: Primary Colours (the record suffers a bit, at the hands of the longer numbers...they're not bad songs, but I feel that they overstay their welcomes, after several listens)
Special shout-out to Charles Spearin and The Happiness Project. Magnificent stuff.
i'm not seeing enough mention of the new Phoenix album. it's my favorite of the year.
1. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
2. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
3. St. Vincent - Actor
4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
5. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
6. Wilco - Wilco (the Album)
7. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
8. Here We Go Magic - Here We Go Magic
9. Bob Dylan - Together Through Life
10. Bat for Lashes - Two Suns
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