The 10 Best Albums of 2009
I had a hell of a lot of trouble getting this list together. Relistening to albums, figuring out which ones to cull from my list. I rediscovered some great great discs though. And my top 10 will be just below…for you!
But first off, I feel as though there are a few albums I should give a small shout out to. Although these discs didn’t make my top 10 list, they did make my shortlist (a list that ended up being not very short at all)…and man it was difficult trying to cull that down.
So, in no particular order, the honourable mentions list is:
Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
Passion Pit – Manners
Bertie Blackman – Secrets and Lies
The Little Stevies – Love Your Band
Bluejuice – Head of The Hawk
Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
Tiga – Ciao
Without further ado though, here it is. The MAAMF Top 10 Albums of 2009:
10. Lisa Mitchell – Wonder
I think people in general were a little skeptical about Lisa. Her first two EP’s were nice and soft and had that folkpop kinda sound, but people were a little “well there’s a lot of folk-pop singers out there…and this one came from Australian Idol, so I think we’ll say no”. I think Lisa proved them wrong when she released Wonder. It’s a great collection of songs. You can check out a full review of the album here as well as one of the standout’s from the album, So Jealous, just below.
9. Jet – Shaka Rock
I think a few were pleasantly surprised when they heard this, the third record from Melbourne rockers Jet. I read somewhere that whilst it’s not an amazing album, it is still a great solid rock ‘n’ roll album. Call it a come back record or whatever you like. It’s still good. And so is the second official single from the album Hearts On Fire.
8. Yves Klein Blue – Ragged & Ecstatic
These boys, in my opinion, put forward a great album that seemed to go largely unnoticed, especially in terms of reviews and hype etc. They’ve put together a great album, with nice piano lines and a really good mix of styles. You can tell there’s a whole heap of influences in their music and their sound isn’t strictly dictated by current radio, or even current western music. The track Polka is an obvious example of this for sure. Check out the full review here as well as the first single from the album, Getting Wise.
Yves Klein Blue – Getting Wise
7. Miike Snow – Miike Snow
I’ve just done a search for them on the blog to see what i’ve written previously…and turns out they haven’t been mentioned. At all. Easily one of the most hyped albums of the year (and thankfully one that lives up to the hype), it is such a great collection of well crafted and well written pop songs. It would seem the Sweedes have this in the bag! Check out one of my faves from the album, Cult Logic, just below.
6. The Bloody Beetroots – Romborama
I remember speaking to a friend and we had our usual conversation about what we’re listening to. I raved on and on about these dudes. This album hits hard. And kinda doesn’t give up. Same thing with Miike Snow though, I haven’t mentioned the guys before on the blog. Am a little perplexed by that because this kicks and pushes and all that. I think the reason I like it so much is that you can tell the guys are from Italy. There’s something about the instrumentation, the melodies, the chords, the playfullness that reminds me of Italian lessons in Primary School. Fave off the album would have to be the lesser known Warp 7.7 (Warp 1.0 got played a hell of a lot as it was one of the singles taken from the album.
The Bloody Beetroots – Warp 7.7
5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!
When I first heard Zero, the lead single from It’s Blitz, I loved it. However, as I wrote for my first ever album review for this blog way back in April, “I’d grown accustomed to Zero…it’s thumping sound and Karen O’s distinct vocals made it a really cool, catchy song. But after being played all over the shop…it was starting to sound a little less amazing. However, after hearing it in the context of the full album, it makes sense to me again. That seems to be one of the great things about this album. It flows really well and has enough of a mixture of sounds to not make it sound repetitive or boring.” And i’d have to agree. I now love Zero. Great song. And it’s a great album too.
4. Jack Penate – Everything Is New
I don’t know how many people would put this in their top 10. I get the impression young Jack flew under the radar for a few this year, which is a pity, because Everything Is New, is just that. It’s all a bit new. His first Album, Matinee was firmly rooted in the Britpop genre. This album sounded completely different. The man reinvented himself almost…and a bloody good job of it he did! Although it comes in at just over 30 mins, it’s the move to a more soulful sound that gets me. One of the best off the album would have to be So Near…and you can check that out just below.
3. Jonathan Boulet – Jonathan Boulet
I only bought this a few weeks ago and only reviewed it just over a week ago…but man. When an album leaves you a little taken aback you know it’s a good one. Mr Boulet does this. And pretty fucking well too! The dude possesses some great song writing skills. I don’t really know what he reminds me of. It’s a little all over the place, but I think that’s what’s good about the album. There are obvious standouts like A Community Service Announcement and 321 Ready or Not. But then there’s also every single other track. They all have this great ease about them all. There’s just something about an artist that seems to not really care about what people will think of his music. Or at least gives that impression. And for that fact, this album easily gets my number 3 spot.
Jonathan Boulet – 321 Ready Or Not
2. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Well…I actually thought this would get to number one. It almost goes interchangeable with the first but number one just tips it at the post (I bet you’ve scrolled down already to check it out. Cheeky bugger!). I remember writing that as soon as I heard this album, I knew it would be a contender for album of the year. I was right about that! It may be just a tiny bit too short (it clocks in at a little over 36mins), but I think the fact that every song on this album is such a great pop track makes the length seem irrelevant. It was definitely a hype album. Just looking on The Hype Machine now and Phoenix are the second most blogged artists. I don’t know when the hype will end! Totally deserved though…and totally deserving of the number 2 spot.
1. The Temper Trap – Conditions
wow. This is it. TTT provide my best album of 2009. It’s such an impressive debut. I remember writing back in July when I reviewed the album that it reminded me of Motorace. They sound absolutely nothing like Motorace I know, but I think it’s just their ability to fill out songs. And it’s probably also that Motorace produced a bit of an Australian classic album in Five Star Laundry, and I think The Temper Trap have done that too. It’s extremely difficult to fault in my opinion. All the tracks are great. They all provide something different. And to all those haters out there (trust me, every review I read, someone has posted about how they suck and are corporate produced shit or something like that), cool. We’re all entitled to our own taste. I don’t know what the guys ever did to you but you don’t hear me whining about how I don’t like some stuff! Anyway, this is meant to be an album poll. I’m pumped to be seeing these boys at The Forum down here in Melbourne in a month or so. Should be amazing. Solid awesome great Australian record…and Me, And All My Friend’s top album of the year.
The Temper Trap – Science Of Fear
Lisa Mitchell – The Corner Hotel 22/09/09
ok. So last night we checked out Lisa Mitchell play at the Corner Hotel. All in all, was a good show. I was a little skeptical about how Miss Mitchell would be able to pull it off live, but her voice sounds bloody great. So, it was probably great production as well.
She opened with Heroine. If you have the album, or have heard the track, you’ll know that it’s a strange kinda track. But yeah, back to the live show. Heroine started to play and the curtains opened…and nothing. No-one was on stage. I thought, shit! She’s got the wrong night! Ha…or shit! she’s doing this all with backing tracks? But I was wrong. Thankfully. Lisa jumped on stage singing heroine and slowly, one by one, the band members joined her tapping away at different percussion instruments. Jumping around, Miss Mitchell gave the show a really fun opening vibe.
One of my favourites, So Jealous came a few songs later. Pulled off really well live I must say. Has such a great vibe that track. Much love for it. Other standouts were Coin Laundry (complete with a story about how punters have begun piffing dollar coins at her during the line “Do you have a dollar? Do you have a dollar?”), the smooth Pirouette (written in spite of her not being a ballerina…), Red Wine Lips was awesome too. Stevie was also great – had the crowd singing along. She chose to end with Neopolitan Dreams in the same way as Heroine began: with the band members, as well as the support acts Oh Mercy and White Birds & Lemons coming on, singing along, and playing an assortment of percussion instruments. Great vibe with the audience singing the “Ba da da da da da da” line. Good way to finish up!
The absolute standout though was a track that I overlooked when I initially reviewed her album. Oh Hark! was easily the best of the night for me. Once again, had a great fun vibe (they seem to be her best songs.), and the jungle style drums keep it rollicking along.
If there was one thing that I didn’t think was so amazing, it was Lisa Mitchell’s piano playing. She can play, that’s for sure. But when she hits the low keys, it’s as if she’s trying to deafen us. It kinda made Love Letter, which is such a beautiful song (the opening line is one of the best), a little difficult to digest. I had the same problem when I was learning piano, and especially if you’re singing (something I could never ever do), it’s a bloody hard thing not to do. But, for her first headline tour, she’s shown that she has got the beginnings of some pretty good chops.
Oh, and just one last thing. She speaks so softly!!! I mean, she is really cute and presents herself as a pretty softly-spoken kinda lass, but it wasn’t until some dude at the back of the room yelled out “we can’t hear you Lisa!” that she spoke up and we could understand her word for word. But yeah, wow, I feel as though I’m being really really harsh on her!
She does put on a pretty darn good show. Her voice sounds great live. She jumps around a bit on stage too which adds to the fun of it all.
To leave you with, my new fave.
K. That’ll do the ramble for now.
Lisa Mitchell – Wonder
ok. so I never thought i’d be reviewing an album by an ex Aussie Idol star. But I’d heard good stuff, even during her time on idol I think she impressed quite a few. And what’s even more revolutionary is that Triple J are playing it. They even thought it good enough to make it their feature album a few weeks back.
I am of course talking about Lisa Mitchell’s debut album Wonder.
I’m not just reviewing this album because Triple J are playing it. If you sat down and listened to it you’d find a really well crafted pop album. Lisa has teamed up with some great song writers for this and if you know her voice, having the right songs is key for her. Her voice is so cute and kinda unassuming that I think only the current songs could do her justice. I remember that Lisa was in the year that Bobby Flynn hit Idol…it was the year where they tried to change the format and encouraged the use of instruments and original songs. They probably got the most unique talent that year.
So If you like your folk pop kinda stuff, and love Julia Stone, then you should definitely check out Miss Mitchell.
In terms of standout tracks I’m a little stuck. Of course the first two singles are killer (the sing along Neopolitan Dreams, and the great production of new single Coin Laundry). But also, I think track three, So Jealous, sounds great. It shows that she can a little bit darker and more energetic than her earlier stuff would have you believe. The toy piano sounding Love Letter is also a bit of a gem. Lyrically, it’s great, beautiful even. Corny enough for ya??!! Red Wine Lips, complete with it’s marimba fills and Andrew Bird style whistling, the horn filled Sidekick (complete with a rip off of the opening riff of Place Your Hands by Reef), the rollicking Stevie (great great track – i’d heard this online a while ago and yeah, great track – it was this track that gave me the impression that Wonder would be more than the cuteness of Neopolitan Dreams and Coin Laundry), and the final track Time Means Nothing At All.
If I had one problem with her album it would be the way her voice sounds on the record. Now i’m not sure if it’s the effect they’ve put on her voice or if it is just the way her voice came out after being recorded, but for most of the tracks,her voice seems to have gone through a filter to give that ‘im stuck in a little box to make my vocals sound cool’ effect. I like that effect, don’t get me wrong, but it happens on quite a few of the tracks, which gets a little predictable after a while.
On the whole though, I’m pretty impressed with Wonder. I think there’s a good career in front of Lisa Mitchell. I’m no music expert though…but yeah, I reckon she’s got what it takes.
To leave you with, my fave from the album, So Jealous.
K. That’ll do the ramble for now.