2009: Best Albums, Disappointments & Big News

Originally posted in 7/20/10… on Last.fm! This even includes play counts! A real trip back in time.

This was a much better year than 2008 for music. I was going to make a top 10 list like last year, but I came across so many great albums this year, and enough that held such significance to me that I am actually willing to make a top 15 list (and take until July 20, 2010 to put this up). There’s also plenty more honorable mentions relative to last year and considerably more disappointments. There were a lot of releases I had interest in ’09. I remember struggling initially to come up with 10 in ’08, but I got to 10 rapidly this time around. A lot of my top albums this year are punk albums. This is not going to be the case in 2010 for sure (none so far). Anyways, let’s begin…

Top 15 of 2009: (play count as of July 21, 2010)

1. Propagandhi – Supporting Caste (480 plays)
This just may be Propagandhi’s crowning achievement, still disappointing to those looking for How To Clean Everything II, but a healthy mix of all their subsequent albums. I especially loved the metal elements mixed in, especially “Night Letters”, I felt the dopamine being released within the first minute this album started.

2. AFI – Crash Love (462 plays, including bonus tracks)
When Crash Love was first released, I loved it. I honestly haven’t listened to it in months, so I think that says something of it’s lasting appeal. I’m still many times more likely to play Shut Your Mouth and Open Your Eyes or Sing the Sorrow. Although, the songwriting is tight and the songs are guitar-driven and catchy, it feels like something is slightly off the in the world of AFI. It doesn’t really sound like them, but they still manage to have a unique sound. Albeit, without the elements that makes AFI, um… AFI.

3. Mastodon – Crack the Skye (110 plays)
The change in sound here is obvious, I’ve been listening to Mastodon since before Blood Mountain (though that’s when I really started to get in to them), but I think that this album is pretty far ahead of the others. This was such a pleasant surprise. It’s hard to top previous albums with a different sound, especially when you like all the others. But this one manages to do that for me… and that’s impressive.

4. El-Creepo! – El-Creepo! (180 plays)
Todd Smith (Dog Fashion DiscoPolkadot Cadaver) is one of my favorite vocalists/musicians. He solidifies this claim with this incredible solo album. Initially I was skipping through a handful of these tracks, but now they all get played. Early favorites were “El-Creepo!”, Witch Hunt”, and “Hot Little Temper.” And now I’ve been watching this album slowly and steadily gaining recognition… which it deserves!

5. Muse – The Resistance (114 plays)
I simply did not get around to listening to this album enough, but I do know it’s one of my top albums of the year. The only strange thing for me about this album is hearing songs from it on the radio kind of often. Living in the US, there weren’t many Muse fans prior to this, but now they’re playing arena’s here. To me, their last 3 albums have been incredible. I especially love “The United States of Eurasia (+ Collateral damage)”.

6. Between the Buried and Me – The Great Misdirect (42 plays)
Although I think this is a very good album, it doesn’t touch Colors, unfortunately. Nevertheless, it’s a great album and deserves a spot in my top 10 and a listen from anyone interested in metal, who also enjoy variety with their music. There certainly is a decent amount of twists and turns.

7. Rancid – Let the Dominoes Fall (212 plays)
I guess I’m not your typical Rancid fan. My favorite album is Rancid (2000). I have a slight bias towards that album I’m assuming because it’s the first album I heard by them and one of my first punk albums in general, if not the first. Regardless, this is my 2nd favorite of theirs, no question about it. I like every song on it, which I can only say about the aforementioned album and this one. …And Out Come the Wolves I’d say is a close third but this was a nice surprise… aside from the ironically conspicuous pro-American lyrics that kind of make me wince.

8. NOFX – Coaster (159 plays)
Yet another pleasant surprise. I’m not all to sure why I even still check out Rancid or NOFX CD’s, but I’m sure glad I did. This is definitely in my top 3 NOFX albums.

9. Death By Stereo – Death Is My Only Friend (236 plays)
This album’s a little uneven but it’s still damn good. It’s quite a departure from Death For Life, there’s more singing on this one. In a way it’s more like the older stuff, but it’s still very different and it’s not that good. The 2nd half is where this CD really shines, at least if old Death by Stereo is your thing. The 2nd half is much more aggressive overall, and just… better.

10. Hellmouth – Destroy Everything, Worship Nothing (150 plays)
I’ve always loved Jason’s (The Suicide Machines) screams, so hearing this album is quite a gift. The music is a good mix of aggressive hardcore, thrash, and metal. The first song even dips into black metal a bit. Hellmouth hasn’t really gained much attention, but I hope things are going well enough for them to release a 2nd album.

11. Megadeth – Endgame (44 plays)
Unlike every other band I’ve listed so far, I haven’t listened to every Megadeth album. Mostly, because they don’t really have good full albums. Most of Peace Sells… But Who’s Buying is good, and all of Rust In Peace is great. But the rest, only has a couple good songs. Endgame is really good, because it’s all good, a return to glory. Thank you Dave Mustaine.

12. AC4 – AC4 (60 plays)
Great old school hardcore from two former members of Refused, including Dennis Lyxzen, the vocalist. It’s fast, has old school production values, and has some super catchy parts. In other words, a classic hardcore album!

13. Municipal Waste – Massive Aggressive (52 plays)
Another solid album from the waste! It doesn’t really push any boundaries, they’ve just been working around the framework they set up with Hazardous Mutation, not that there’s anything wrong with that. The most noticeable difference between this and The Art of Partying is that this one is riffier, so it has a slightly more metal feel to it, which is fine by me.

14. Gallows – Grey Britain (61 plays)
There’s a bit more variety then on the debut, Orchestra of Wolves, but it isn’t really as good. Though “The Vulture (Act I & II)” and “Misery” are fucking awesome.

15. Converge – Axe to Fall (38 plays)
I could never get into Converge. I don’t know why. They are important in the hardcore scene and I know lots of people who like them and I do have respect for them. Yet, they have the distinguished honor of being the only band who’s given me a headache. Regardless, Axe to Fall is a change in sound, and I like it a lot. I need to listen to it more for sure. With more listens this will probably move up my list, but as of now, this is where I stand.

Honorable Mentions:

– Brand New – Daisy
This should probably make most top lists, but I was never big into Brand New so, here’s a shout out for being close to one of my top albums this year.

– The Black Dahlia Murder – Deflorate
To me, this album is just more of the same, but not as good. Still good though, so I’m not too disappointed by this, even if it is their worst.

– Fake Problems – It’s Great to Be Alive
It’s a catchy album, it reminds me of The Gaslight Anthem a bit, as well as Bruce Springsteen. I checked them out because they were playing with The Dillinger Escape Plan (a top 3 contender for 2010) interestingly enough.

– Paint It Black – Amnesia and Surrender EP’s
These were released a couple months apart and Amnesia is the more aggressive one, I like it a lot more than Surrender, but Surrender’s still good.

– Earth Crisis – To The Death
This is heavier than I expected. The production is metal through and through, the lyrics are still potent and the music is the best it’s been since Firestorm (or All Out War), ’nuff said.

– Strung Out – Agents of the Underground
It wasn’t as good as Blackhawks Over Los Angeles to me, but it’s still damn good. I love the little metal accentuations!

– Darkest Hour – The Eternal Return
They probably won’t be as good as they were on Undoing Ruin again, but I can certainly “settle” for this. I didn’t like it at all at first, it seemed so mediocre, but it has grown on me quite a bit.

– RX Bandits – Mandala
Their first album without horns, still sounds really good. It’s unfortunately my least favorite since the first album, but it’s good enough for me to still be very excited for another album.

– Sacrifice – The Ones I Condemn
Little known thrash metalers from Canada make a comeback after 16 years and put out a quality album. It sure as hell doesn’t top 1985’s Torment in Fire though. But it does feel like the picked up where they left off.

– Anti-Flag – The People or the Gun
There’s some catchy stuff on here and a good aggressive song or two, it’s also way better then The Bright Lights of America (bleh). I guess they decided to make an album less then a year after TBLA to try to recover the seemingly attempted career death blow that was that album.

– Isis – Wavering Radiant
This is a nice album and I’m going to miss this band. Maybe they’ll start something new and good.


– A Wilhelm Scream – A Wilhelm Scream EP
After Career Suicide, this is just disappointing. A little too tame and much to mediocre, not technical enough. Not what I’ve come to expect. Of course, I didn’t expect the changes made for Career Suicide, but those were very welcome, positive changes. These ones, not so much.

– Eminem – Relapse
His accents are annoying and his flow is usually uninspired sounding and the beats are nothing special. The exception is “Insane”, which, although lyrically disturbing, the flow is tight and impressive, and the beat is sweet.

– Dizzee Rascal – Tounge N’ Cheek
When Dizze Rascal released Boy in da Corner, he was better than 98 percent of his competition, he’s been in a steady decline ever since with a big dip in quality on this one. He kind of goes for a more mainstream sound here with the trademark quirkiness and uniqueness of his early beats are all but gone at this point. Very disappointed.

– An Endless Sporadic – An Endless Sporadic
They started out with an awesome four song EP, Ameliorate, which was there only release for years. They put this out and there’s much less genre shifting, it’s less interesting and the song writings not as tight. There’s nothing really impressive on this album, where as “Sun of Pearl” and “Impulse”, were great melting pots of sound, technicality, and creativity.

– New Found Glory – Not Without a Fight
Pretty much a return to form, I guess it’s slightly edgier. After hearing Tip of the Iceberg EP, I was hoping the change in sound would stay, though I didn’t really think it would. And I was right. Oh well…

– Star Fucking Hipsters – Never Rest In Peace
This is a huge disappointment. This is just not up to Choking Victim/Leftöver Crack standards, it almost sounds phoned in. The production leaves much to be desired as well. I hope they improve for the next album, or better yet, put out another Leftöver Crack album.

– Melvins – Chicken Switch
The premise of this album made me come in with expectations low, but you never really know with the Melvins. Sure enough, it was uh, what the fuck? Unnecessary, I think. Unessential definitely.

– Slayer – World Painted Blood
Christ Illusion was incredible, I like it about as much as Reign in Blood, and it came out 20 years later! Needless to say, World Painted Blood disappoints especially in comparison to Christ Illusion. There are some songs that are good, but it’s really nothing special. “World Painted Blood” is also a bad opening song. Here’s to hoping the next, and possibly last, one rules.


– Jim leaves Pennywise

– Stza leaves Leftöver Crack

— I also listened to Placebo’s Battle for the Sun and Porcupine Tree’s The Incident, since I keep hearing about both of these bands, and both of those albums blew. Porcupine Tree does have some good stuff on older albums, however. I just don’t understand why Placebo is so popular though.

— There was also another 10 or so albums I listened to this year but I don’t really care for them enough to include them here. Which either means they were alright, but I didn’t feel was worth mentioning, or I’ve moved beyond disappointment and into apathy towards the band.

— That’s all for 2009. Until next year!


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