Filed under: Best of 2009 Albums | Tags: Actor, Album, Animal Collective, Atlas Sound, best of 2009, Bitte Orca, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Dinosaur Jr., Dirty Projectors, Embryonic, Farm, Girls, Grizzly Bear, hometowns, it's blitz!, Jay-Z, Kid Cudi, Lady GaGa, Logos, Manners, merriweather post pavilion, muse, Passion Pit, Phoenix, Port O'Brien, self-titled, St. Vincent, The Blueprint 3, The Decemberists, The Fame Monster, The Flaming Lips, the hazards of love, the man on the moon: the end of day, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Resistance, The Rural Alberta Advantage, threadbare, veckatimest, Why There Are Mountains, Wolfgang Amandeus Phoenix, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
So, the champagne’s out, the fireworks have stopped, the ball has dropped. The year 2009 may be long gone … But the music is still here — vibrant and waitng for masses who have yet to consume it! Naturally we want to help y’all out. Here’s 20 Watts’ list of the 20 best albums of 2009, from us to you! Enjoy!
- 20:: The Flaming Lips — Embryonic
- 19:: Atlas Sound — Logos
- 18:: Port O’Brien — Threadbare
- 17:: Girls — Album
- 16:: Muse — The Resistance
- 15:: The Decemberists — The Hazards of Love
- 14:: Cymbals Eat Guitars — Why There Are Mountains
- 13:: St. Vincent — Actor
- 12:: Lady Gaga — The Fame Monster
- 11:: The Rural Alberta Advantage — Hometowns
- 10:: Yeah Yeah Yeahs — It’s Blitz!
- 09:: Dinosaur Jr. — Farm
- 08:: Kid Cudi — The Man on the Moon: The End of Day
- 07:: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart — Self-Titled
- 06:: Passion Pit — Manners
- 05:: Dirty Projectors — Bitte Orca
- 04:: Phoenix — Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
- 03:: Jay-Z — The Blueprint 3
- 02:: Grizzly Bear — Veckatimest
- 01:: Animal Collective — Merriweather Post Pavilion
Love and stereo,
Filed under: Best of 2009 Albums | Tags: 3rd planet, best of 2009, built to spill, Cymbals Eat Guitars, merriweather post pavilion, Modest Mouse, pavement, Releases of the Week, the moon and antarctica, Why There Are Mountains
From the triumphant screaming that kicks off “And the Hazy Sea” to the subtle acoustic guitar line that closes “Like Blood Does,” Cymbals Eat Guitars channeled the best of ‘90s indie rock and infused it with a 21st century spin on their March 2009 full-length debut Why There Are Mountains.
Few straightforward ‘90s-influenced indie rockers today have the stamina to last more than a few songs without sounding like derivative pastiches of Modest Mouse, Built to Spill or Pavement. Cymbals Eat Guitars proved they could do more with songs like “Indiana,” which opens saturated with guitar reverb and transitions (in a way somewhat reminiscent of Merriweather Post Pavilion‘s song divisions) effortlessly into “cleaner” guitar sounds, synthesized electronic manipulation, and even a few fleeting horn segments.
Innovation in instrumentation isn’t the only thing they’ve got going for them though. Cymbals Eat Guitars have a knack for crafting both strident, solo-heavy marathons like “Wind Phoenix (Proper Name)” and “Cold Spring” as well as shorter, more accessible songs like “Indiana” or “Some Trees.”
Musically Why There Are Mountains covers all of the bases a great debut should cover, and then some, and thematically, it works in much the same way. The penetrating lyricism of “And the Hazy Sea” make it one of the most interpretably dense lead tracks since Modest Mouse’s “3rd Planet.” Ambiguous references to the George Washington Bridge and the year 1999 steep the song and the band in a mystery which only makes them even more appealing.
Cymbals Eat Guitars did good this year, so let’s hope they continue to do so.
— Eric Vilas-Boas
Filed under: Releases of the Week | Tags: Animal Collective, fall be kind, Grateful Dead, merriweather post pavilion, Releases of the Week, unbroken chain, what would i want? sky
PREVIEW: VISIT Animal Collective’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 17/20 Watts
Met with the difficult task of following up one of the year’s best albums, Merriweather Post Pavillion, Animal Collective‘s Fall Be Kind was dared to deliver a product most acts would cower from. Lucky for us, the band that continues to rise to, and set the bar for the challenges of today’s music scene, was up for the assignment.
Fall Be Kind is everything Merriweather Post Pavillion is not. It’s raw, unstructured and loose. The tamed, harnessed pop conventions are gone, and in their place dance wild and schizophrenic sonic experiments in the mold of the band’s earlier material. Instead of aiming to recreate the sound of January’s hit album, Animal Collective remade their old sound in their new, more electronically-altered image. Continue reading
Filed under: Concert Stories | Tags: Colombia, concert coverage, Eric Hutchinson, G. Love & Special Sauce, Jason Mraz, merriweather post pavilion
PREVIEW: VISIT Jason Mraz’s MySpace
When I heard Jason Mraz was perfoming in Maryland, the same state I happened to be in, I knew I had to go. Being a poor college student and all, my friends and I opted for lawn seats. Best and worst decision of our lives.
So, on July 25, 2009, we ventured to Colombia, Md.’s Merriweather Post Pavilion to see our man. Eric Hutchinson opened the show with his happy, sunny music that mirrored the sky above. But as the stage crew switched over the set for G. Love & Special Sauce, the clouds rolled in, and it started to pour. Within minutes, we looked like the drowned rats that can be seen above (I’m on the left). As everyone huddled under their blankets, jackets and whatever else they could find, we shivered under our soaked towels and chattered our teeth along to G. Love, wishing we had better prepared ourselves for the monsoon, or splurged for pavilion seats. Continue reading
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: banana bread, Eating/sf, food, merriweather post pavilion, Music, the Black Keys, Thickfreakness
RELATED: Swedish Meatballs #2: Kleerup
There’s always a ton of album reviews and live coverage on this site, but we rarely ever talk about anything outside these realms on 20 Watts. After all, music is becoming ever more invasive in our lives, so why shouldn’t we take a look at some things that take our enjoyment of music to new places?
Here’s a creative site that takes two lovely things, music and food, and mixes them together. Eating/sf originally started out as a food blog from a couple (Matt and Kasey) in San Francisco, but as luck would have it, it’s evolved to include music recommendations that would coincide with each recipe on the page.
My personal favorite is the banana bread/Matt and Kim post, but the pairing of pasta with wild mushroom, bacon and peas alongside the album Thickfreakness by The Black Keys is pretty enticing. Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective with salmon and pesto (“If you aren’t going to challenge your sense of taste with something experimental and new — why not challenge your ears?”) doesn’t sound bad, either. Apart from originality, Matt’s a phenomenal music listener/fan/critic. He knows how to turn a phrase, so go check it out, then get to the kitchen.
Stop by their site, or you can follow Matt’s Twitter to get links to the page: www.twitter.com/matthewhickey
— Dan Creahan