A Year in Review – RRR Staff Weigh In On Their Top Picks of ‘09 – Part 2

grammyIt’s finally here! The second half of our “A Year in Review” extravaganza is ready for you to peruse and, hopefully, enjoy. We’re serving up more great albums and fabulous artists and I finally get in on the action by counting down the best songs of the year (with some slight cheating.) For those of you who missed Part 1 (shame on you) I’d just like to repeat: Thank you for making RRR a regular part of your musical intake. (Please don’t leave us in 2010, we love you!)

In Part 2 you’ll find:
Top 10 Songs of ’09 – Barbara Pavone
Top 10 UK Acts of ’09 – Intense Nick
Top 17 Albums & Top 5 Reissues of ’09 – Scott Homewood

Top 5 Albums & Top Reissue of ’09 – Gérard Girard
Top 10 Albums of the Decade – Matheson Kamin

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Top 10 Songs of ’09 – Barbara Pavone

Seeing as the others have done a fantastic job at highlighting many of the stellar acts and albums of the year (and decade), I’ve decided to take a different route and bring you the top songs of ’09 instead. Many of these tracks, the albums they come from, and the artists behind them are probably unknown to you now, which is an outright shame. I hope you’ll take a listen to at least some of my top picks and if you do, I guarantee you’ll walk away with at least one new favorite artist/band. I would never lie to you, now would I?

10. Hearts of Black Science: Gold & Dust
Good music catches your attention, but only great music can move you on a deeper level. This Swedish duo’s latest offering certainly accomplishes the latter with its haunting melodies and beautifully delivered lyrics (and if that sounds cheesy, too bad!)

9. Jarmean?: Bad Penny
What would happen if punk and vaudeville had a baby? Answer: The wonderful sounds of Jarmean? This British five-piece makes me want to throw on a top hat and take a stroll through the streets of early 20th C. London. Strange? Maybe. Fantastically refreshing? Most definitely.

8. Kings of Leon: Sex on Fire
This band has been met with as many haters as lovers in ’09, but just the raw, powerful vocals alone are enough to make this song a standout. You can hate all you want, but it’s still a sexy, rockin’ tune nonetheless.

7. The Ascot Royals: Zap Zap
I can’t resist these rockin’ riffs and beat, I just can’t. The urge to get up and dance is simply too strong and don’t get me started on the necessity to sing along (as loud as possible, of course).

6. Kizzy Star: Out of Control
It’s like they read my mind and combined four of my favorite things into one stellar song: melancholic lyrics (“She’s gonna knock me out, take my life, rip my soul”), a catchy chorus, undertones of The Killers and (well, this has nothing to do with the song really, but…) they’re Scottish!

5. Emery Street: Dead Man’s Hand
This was a tough choice since I have several favorite tracks on this band’s debut album (No Regrets / No Apologies), but the prominent horns and lyrics that fuse anger and sweetness made this the winner. But really, you need the entire album – now.

4. The Leather Arms Experiment: Frantic (Live acoustic & rock versions)
Usually, when a band releases two polar opposite versions of a song you’re bound to favor one. But this is no usual band and they don’t follow convention. The acoustic version is beautifully melancholic and although the prog-rock take is in its pre-production stage it’s still, for lack of a better word, magic. These guys have “it” and I challenge you to listen without being enthralled. Go on, try.

3. Surefire Machine: One Way Ticket
I’m slightly cheating here since this is a release from late ’08, but I’ve been stuck on it since and it couldn’t be left out. Not since Alice Cooper’s I’m Your Gun have I heard (and absolutely loved) such a good ol’ fashioned dirty, sexy song that just screams rock. “I run it clean, I run it fast…Baby, baby please, you get me on my knees…” Two words: Yeah baby.

2. Lady Gaga: Bad Romance
Ok, so Gaga may not be rock but she’s an innovative, talented songstress (and I may just have to fight you if you disagree) that’s injecting excitement back into the art (and spectacle) of music. Bad Romance is the pinnacle of Gaga’s genius this year and, frankly, I could listen to it all day. ”I’m a free bitch baby!”

1. Wolfmother: California Queen
An excellent opener to an excellent album by the Aussie band who’s been gaining hype like wildfire (Andrew’s hair alone deserves recognition!) Falsettos haven’t sounded this good since, well, ever and they’ve got what U2 had in their early days: a sound that is instantly recognizable and unrivaled. I’m calling it now: they’ll have a sold-out arena tour before you know it (and if not, I’m going to be very upset!)

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Top 10 UK Acts of ’09 – Intense Nick

So, it’s that time of year again. The time that gives me a chance to highlight some of the best bands from the past year that I (sadly) did not have time to cover as well as they deserved. It’s worth mentioning that this list is not in order, even though it may appear to be, and that I will not be placing bands that I have already covered on this list as that would be repetitive (and the last thing I wish to do is bore you all!)
* Bands with a ‘*’ offer free song downloads at www.inrockout.com Remember: Although the songs are “free,” donations are always appreciated *

The Fores*: Hailing from Leicestershire, The Fores have a great sound that is very rock n’ roll and that never fails to raise my spirits, whether they need it or not. Basically, The Fores are just fabulous.

Alter Vertigo*: A great act from the Midlands who kick out a great form of electro/ambient/grunge rock.

Volcanoes: Simply put, fantastic alternative indie rock.

The Unknown: Rocking ambiance like no other!

Method Own*: Wonderful grunge sound coming out of Bridgewater – they’re well worth checking out.

50 Caliber*: A kick-ass metal band from London; they’re self-styled and brilliant.

Houka Monks*: A wonderful new band that’s still forming in many ways. Their style of indie rock/pop got them second place at the recent Hollyoaks showcase music competition in the UK (which they were secretly glad not to win as they have so much going on at present!)

The Joe Public: Definitely deserving of the Top 10 of 2009, they have come so far during the last year and boy, are they good. They were hand-picked by Micheal Eavis to play at the Glastonbury festival last year and their most recent EP, Skin, is brilliant.

Third Bullet: Another shining light of British rock, their debut album, Revelations, is an absolute stonker. The two opening tracks are real pieces of “rottweiler rock n’ roll” and this band need looking into, believe me.

Officer Kicks: A great band from London with an awesome stage set that I am fortunate enough to have witnessed. Their sound is top-notch cockney, kick-ass rock n’ roll.

Beyond Redemption*: Deserving of a mention as they are a riotous, young metal/thrash band from Kidderminster with a sound that is oh so good.

This is a Top 10 so that will have to do for now. Oh, apart from Doris Brendel. Sorry, Top 10 is now Top 11. Oh well, just look at it like a Spinal Tap volume control! Wishing you all a great 2010, lets make it ROCK ROCK ROCK!

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Top 17 Albums & Top 5 Reissues of ’09 – Scott Homewood

For this year’s list I’ve numbered the top albums, but on any given day I think any of them could be number one. As for the reissues, I’ll leave them up to you to rank.

17. Rosanne Cash: The List
16. Wilco: Wilco (The Album)
15. Reigning Sound: Love and Curses
14. Monsters of Folk: Monsters Of Folk
13. Tom Waits: Glitter and Doom Live
12. Avett Brothers: I and Love and You
11. John Scofield: Piety Street
10. Levon Helm: Electric Dirt
9. Eels: Hombre Lobo
8. Frank Turner: Poetry of the Deed
7. Dan Auerbach: Keep It Hid
6. Tripwires: House To House
5. Califone: All My Friends Are Funeral Singers
4. Them Crooked Vultures: Them Crooked Vultures
3. Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
2. Vulture Whale: Vulture Whale II
1. Dennis Diken and Bell Sound: Late Music

~ Reissues~
The Beatles
:
Stereo Box Set
Big Star: Keep an Eye on the Sky
DEVO: The Ultra DEVO-LUX Ltd. Edition
Buddy Holly: Memorial Collection
Stone Roses: The Stone Roses: 20th Anniversary Edition

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Top 5 Albums & Top Reissue of ’09 – Gérard Girard

Tommy Keene: In the Late Bright
Cheap Star: Walk Like an Elephant
R.E.M.: Live At The Olympia
Parallax Project: I Hate Girls
Brendan Benson: My Old Familiar Friend

Reissue – Big Star: Keep an Eye on the Sky

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Top 10 Albums of the Decade – Matheson Kamin

We have just said goodbye to a decade and started a new one and so it’s fun to reminisce about the music that helped make that time special. As we take the time to remember the albums and artists that helped shape our listening pleasure over the last ten years, I bring you a list of the ones that made the 2000s special for me. But instead of writing something about each and every one of these releases, I’ll just let the music speak for itself.

Mushroomhead: XX
Vertical Horizon: Go
The Alternate Routes: Good and Reckless and True
Red Wanting Blue:
Pride: The Cold Lover
Robin Stone: My Heart
Vulpine:
Channels
Vary Lumar: Waiting Room
Last Amanda: Last Amanda
True Nature:
Fells Like Centuries
– Pine:
Pine

1 Comment on A Year in Review – RRR Staff Weigh In On Their Top Picks of ‘09 – Part 2

  1. The Alternate Routes: Good and Reckless and True – yes! “Ordinary” would also get my vote as one of the greatest songs of the decade.

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