Matty's Top 10 Albums of 2009
10. Apostle Of Hustle - Eats Darkness
On a very small and quiet release, this album seems to have
stirred up spicy latin explosions of AOH fame but with a new,
lean & stripped down twist - the once threesome is now
only a duo of Andrew and Dean. By no means their best work,
it is still an ultra-creative & hyper-original achievement that
says something about the state we live in. In an interview
where I asked Andrew about the album, he stated 'We eat
darkness - and we shit out the light'.
9. Amy Millan - Masters Of Burial
Complete with her usual honey-drip vocal stylings and ever
simple but unique instrumentation, Amy has made a solo
record that rivals her first (Honey From The Tombs), for
which, her listeners have waited a good many years. With
the funkily organ-accented 'Towers' that talks about the
din of big cities and the finally released, banjo-infused
cover of DCFC's 'Into The Dark', this album is pure
afternoon pleasure. This album is as delightful as Amy,
herself, is in person as I interviewed her at the Ottawa
folkfest and then pounded fists with her backstage after
she name-dropped me during the show.
8. Joel Plaskett - Three
It goes without saying that sir Joel would make this list and
for the month of May, I listened to this album on repeat on
my walks to and from the Glebe. From the bowels of Joel's
tape-purist home studio comes an album that really demands
listening from all styles of music fans. The album implements
so many ranges of genres from pure rock to metal to folk
to even...rap! Yes - Joel can bust a rhyme on time. Herding
New Yorker Anna Egge and Canadian folker Rose Cousins
into the fray of the work gives it an accent that will make it
stand out in the annals of time. From opening for Paul
McCartney to spending time with little old me after a
Kingston show at the toucan, Joel is as pure and normal
of a guy as you can get with a knack for making treasure.
7. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Although the shrink-wrapped compression of the music is so
tight that it's almost difficult to breathe while listening, this
is a pretty freaking great album. After pulling a 'Who is THIS?'
to pretty much all of North America with the first two singles,
the France-oriented, Thomas Mars-led crew is taking over.
With a vocal style that is all his own , the pop-sensibility and
implosive instrumentation of the songs leave you feeling
like you would after a sugar rush - crashed but belly-grabbing
6. Wilco - Wilco (The Album)
For as many critical knocks as this album took, I still stand by
my word and say it's as awesome as a possum. Tweedy's grand
gestures and ability to shake off fame as quickly as he can
muster it is inspiring. Complete with a visit from Lady Feist
on the folky, middle-road 'You and I' to swirling cacaphonic
feedback like only Wilco can channel on 'Wilco (The Song)', this
is as good as it gets when it comes to bands making music
however the hell they want, while poking fun at themselves
and not caring what the media thinks.
5. Grady - Good As Dead
Although this album wasn't a heavy rotator of mine this past
year, Grady gets their own category of 'nuff respect'. In an
interview with Gordie Johnson this past year, he referred to
feedback from his amp as 'the voice of God'. Seriously - Gordie
kicks arse and takes names. The Southern-rockabilly/shredneck
stylings of this album (complete with Willie Nelson telling
a joke before a song and a cover of the Tragically Hip's 'Boots
Or Hearts') are mind-bendingly thunderous and give you
a sound you've heard before but with a guitar-gusto that
makes your soul soar. He did it once for the fame with Big
Sugar - now he's doing it for the love with Grady.
4. Dinosaur Jr - Farm
There is no living artist today who can continue to do what
DJR have done and the way that they do it. J Mascis (in a
glorious re-unification with Lou Barlow) has brought a
new life and resurgent charm to an old band. Oddly enough,
this was one of the most praised albums on pitchfork this
year. J still sounds the same as he did in 1994 when I first
heard his magic sounds in my earphones in the basement
of bell high. There is freshness, plenty of guitar squeals
with folky undertone reflection and familiarity in this
double disc masterpiece - and I just got it 4 days ago!
3. Hey Rosetta! - Into Your Lungs
This # 3 is almost a little too sly for my liking but I still
can't deny the fact that the highly poster-ized Hey Rosetta!
made a kick ass album (thanks in large part to their
producer - Mister Hawksley Workman). From the first
time I heard 'New Goodbye' turn from a quiet hatchling
into a loud, flapping bird of sound, I knew there was a
youth and a depth to these songs that rivals a lot of crap that
is out there today. When seeing them live briefly at the
Horseshoe this year, I wasn't disappointed with the
snippets I heard. Great concept - great album. Nuff said.
2. Metric - Fantasies
Everybody, everybody - fall in love...with Metric. There's not
much I can say except that every song on this album is a well-
crafted sonic boom of rock significance. Haines and crew
seem to get better with every album and it would be an
astonishing feat of unearthly measure if they went up from
1. David Bazan - Curse Your Branches
Oh, Bazan - you sneaky weasel. You know how to steal my
listening heart. Sorry - just had to get that out, there...
As if moving from Pedro The Lion to an even more stripped
down solo career wasn't enough of a rash change, Bazan still
knows how to write conceptually and deliver in a way that
no one else can. CYB is an album that explores the guts of
the human condition with an honesty and a normalcy that is
impossible to find elsewhere. Songs like 'Bless This Mess'
will have you pumping your fist in agreement but looking
inward at the same time. Bazan knows how to make people
bob their heads in listening enjoyment and think deeply at
the same time.