I don’t want to limit my lists to just records that came out in 2009, but rather, records that I discovered (or rediscovered) in 2009. I COULD list all the records I produced this year as favorites, but that goes without saying.
Zola Jesus – The Spoils – Sacred Bones 2009 LP – It’s a toss up for me on which record is my FAVORITE of the year, but this is tied with the next two records for top of the list. I love the mood of this record. It’s dark and otherworldly. Reminds me of an electronic Velvet Underground in which Nico actually could sing. I also feel it’s current folk music. There is a story here and the music sets the mood.
Xasthur – All Reflections Drained – Hydrahead 2009 2xLP – I’ve been a long time fan of Xasthur but each progressive release gets better and better. What I like about his black metal is the mood it sets with its slow picked chords. And it’s the chords that don’t sound right. In fact, the album doesn’t sound right, and that’s what is great! It sets the tone for a full-on post-apocalyptic 2012 epic Hollywood feature – the movie that no one will see cos we’re all dead!
Mudboy – This is Folk Music – Last Visible Dog 2008 CD – Actually, I would put the entire Mudboy catalog on this list but that would take a really long time. He is a recent discovery of mine from the Sound Projector Radio Show (which you should subscribe to immediately). The Mudboy retrospective that Ed did was amazing and included a 17 minute improv piece by Mudboy, exclusively for the show. That did for me! I needed the whole catalog, and I got it! I chose this record because you have to start somewhere, and if you are ready to start… start here, do not pass go and do not collect $200. Mudboy’s drones are infinitely beautiful and spellbinding. Like all great art, it doesn’t indicate what you are supposed to see or feel, it allows your daily mood to shift the mood presented. In a way, it’s the ultimate soundtrack to your life. If you are happy, Mudboy is happy. If you are sad, Mudboy is sad. If you are a stupid fucking idiot, then you haven’t heard Mudboy. (Also recommended is Hungry Ghosts CD and Mudbeats Vol 1.)
Slicing Grandpa – Chaos Midnight – Strain Theory 2007 10″ – Do you miss Chrome? I miss Chrome.
Flaming Lips – Christmas on Mars Soundtrack – Warner Brothers 2008 LP – Not only is this a great movie, but the soundtrack is impeccable. It draws from 50’s Sci-Fi, maybe even 50’s Russian Sci-Fi. They did such a good job at recreating those sounds. It has all the huge, weird string sounds you would expect intertwined with the huge weird synth sounds. It made me feel really good about my purchase of the M-tron.
Deep Purple – Deep Purple – Harvest 1969 LP – Actually, I rediscovered Deep Purple as a band this year and it was hard to list only one album (ok, check out Shades of Deep Purple, The Book of Taliesyn and Burn too). I had no idea. Why did I skip this so long ago? This band was amazing. They rocked. No doubt about it. I now feel like I could approach Rick Rubin and discuss album production now that I’ve seen the light! The combination of excellent musicianship, the play between drums and keys, tasteful guitar licks and excellent, excellent vocals will make you want to repaint your room.
Darkspace – Vol 3 – Avant Garde 2008 CD – Like Xasthur in the mood department but really on the opposite side of the planet. This black metal band is really good at holding tension and releasing it at exactly the right moment. At the point where you think you may lose your mind, they turn the corner and show it to you (cos they plucked it right our of your bleeding skull).
Frank Zappa – Lumpy Money – Zappa 2008 3xCD – Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the release of these records, this set not only gives you the original mixes but build reels, edits, mono’s, etc. Truly a great collection and tribute to a classic Zappa mindfuck.
Grizzly Bear – Live on KCRW – Warp 2009 7″ – On Record Store Day, my faith in the buying public was restored while I spent 10 minutes picking up a few things and 30 minutes waiting in line to pay. Looking at the line, I was pleased to see NO ONE buying CD’s! Everyone had piles of vinyl. Some had turntables! I hesitate to list this album because their management is rude and incompetent, but I picked up this 7″ because someone told me that I would like them and was blown away by how great it is. It’s worlds better than any of their other records, and I think it’s because it represents the band well. It’s how I feel their records SHOULD sound.
Choice Cuts 2009 – Universal Music Group 2009 LP – Related to the Music Store day story above, I just have to point this record out. As a bonus of supporting Record Store Day, we got some freebies. This was one of the freebies. I suppose its purpose was to expose us to other artists that we might be interested in. I find it interesting that it’s a selection of Universal Music Group artists and labels, though, so in a way I view it as “this is the best we have for this year”. BOY what a complete load of shit on this comp. Over 20 years ago, I was on a comp that was reviewed simply as an epic waste of vinyl. NOW I turn that award over to Universal for signing and promoting the worst group of “talent” I’ve seen in a long time.