Here’s what I liked this year. It’s kind of a lot of current releases for me, actually…
(Rather Roughly Ranked)
Hot Snakes: Thunder Down Under
My favorite band. Recorded. Live. Perfectly.
The Raconteurs: Broken Boy Soldiers
I love everything Jackie White does. I love everything Brendan Benson does. The Greenhornes are alright, I suppose. The Raconteurs fucking rule. I always thought this record sounded like a cross between Abbey Road and Zeppelin II, which, if you know anything about my taste in music, makes it no suprise that I dig it so much. I could go on an on about Jack White’s bad ass guitar, or the dudes’ pristine harmony, but I won’t.
Mogwai: Mr. Beast
I listened to this record more than any other one this year, I think. I like it because it’s thick and evil, and then it’s soft and beautiful. The vocals are great. All the songs are great. I love the lap steel. I love it all.
Sonic Youth: Rather Ripped
I fear that I may like Rather Ripped too much. Right now, I can almost say it’s my favorite SY record, but I don’t know if I like it better than Dirty (and Daydream Nation). But I realllllly like it- right from the very opening chord (which reminds me of A Hard Day’s Night) all the way to the end. I actually like Kim Gordon’s vocals, as well. And Incinerate is bad ass- even if I did hear them play it 10 times in one day (soundcheck) when I went to see them. It just made me like the song more.
The Sword: Age of Winters
I had a metal rebirth this year, to be sure, and it was all thanks to The Sword. What’s better than songs about Wolves, Trolls, Spiders, and Axes played by a band that is the modern day equivalent to an American Black Sabbath? Not much, really. Plus, I liked this band before they even had a record out, so I’m an old school Sword-o-phile.
Mastodon: Blood Mountain
More metal. The definition of a record that slays. Better than Leviathan, even though, at first, I was not into hearing an album about an adventure up a mountain (as compared to Leviathan- an album about Moby Dick). It’s better without being too much of a departure, which is super challenging- especially when you go from Relapse to Warner. But shit, it fucking rules. Plus it has Josh Homme and Cedric Bixler-Zavala.
The Mars Volta: Amputechture
Hmmmmmm. Sometime Cedric and Omar get a little too hippie. Like Frances the Mute (sorta). I dig this record tons though. If the only good song on it was Tetregrammaton, I would be satisfied (it’s not). The way the guitars, drums, and bass lock up on that song is the reason I love the Volta. Plus, John Frusciante played most of the guitar.
Pete Yorn: Nightcrawler
Oh, Pete. You’re a vetran of my year end lists. By far the most boring show I’ve been to lately, so I wasn’t too excited for this CD. The teaser EP bummed me as well. But, as always, Pete, you pulled it off. Vampyre is a sweet song, as was the single (the one that DG played drums on… the name escapes me). Many, many choruses stuck in my head after each listen. Reminds me of LA at night in the summer, by the pool at the Roosevelt.
The Strokes: First Impressions of Earth
I liked the old Strokes, I like the new Strokes. So do you, you just won’t admit it. Perfect rocking pop, Cars-style, and therefore near to my heart.
Lakes: Photographs EP
OK, OK, Jason is one of my best dudes, and Seth is up there also, but this isn’t friend favoritism. I really like this record, and listen to it often. What other justification than that can I offer? It’s super good. I’d listen to it if it were two other random dudes. But it’s not- it’s my friends and I’m super proud of them.
Mogwai: Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait
A late entry. I don’t even think this is available in the US yet. It’s very mellow, and I would love to see the film. Even before the last World Cup, Zidane was an interesting dude, and I could imagine how these songs fit the film perfectly.
The Beatles: Love
I was super super super sceptical about this to begin with. But then I heard it. It’s fascinating. There’s really no way to describe it if you haven’t heard it- so go listen to it. If George Martin and his son Giles don’t win Producer of the Year Grammys for this, well, then, I guess I wouldn’t really be suprised. But they should anyway.
Muse: Black Holes and Revelations
Suprise of the Year, for sure. Not really into their other records at all, but I love this one. I think Freddie Mercury would like it too. Almost all the songs are greatness. I can’t stop listening to it.
Blood Brothers: Young Machetes
Super wierd and abrasive, but kinda oddly poppy. Great sounds and production, thanks to Guy Piccioto, of course.
Morrissey: Ringleader of the Tormentors
Morrissey still does no wrong. Not as good as the last one, but it’s still Morrissey, and therefore, better than most anything else.
Eagles of Death Metal: Death By Sexy
Rock party goodness. Shitty and sleazy, in a good way.
Tom Petty: Highway Companion
Tom Petty reminds me of my parents having parties when I was little, so almost any Petty record gets instant good vibes.
The Vines: Vision Valley
I don’t care what anyone says- I (still) love The Vines.
(I was kinda dissapointed in these next three. I had high hopes, and didn’t dig the records as much as I thought I should have. Oh Well.)
Isis: In The Absense of Truth
Pretty much only one song I’m into- the free download teaser I got months before the record came out. Seesh.
The Appleseed Cast: Peregrine
Good, but the older ones are sooo much better. Peregrine is just wierd, and I don’t know why.
Converge: No Heroes
Really, the first time I’ve been dissapointed by Converge. I’ll admit, You Fail Me was a damn near impossible record to surpass, but even though the songs are all pretty short, they don’t have the right energy. Not like mid-period Black Flag (what it should be). But, after all, it’s Converge and I like it anyway.
(to be edited, of course, later.)
[edit: 1:30pm: I should totally do a list of the worst records (better yet, the most dissapointing) of the year. but that may be near impossible. stay tuned. maybe. any suggestions?]
[edit: 12/21: added The Beatles, Tom Petty and Isis. Also, I realized I hadn’t heard the …Trail of Dead CD, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt and put it up there.]
[edit: 12/29: added Hot Snakes. How could I forget my favorite band? jesus. switched the …TOD record (which, after acquiring, I’m not that into) for the Muse record (which I love), and added comments.]