For the last 6 or 7 years I have been occasionally entrusted to write about music. I like it - I especially like interviewing people, because it is only then that I am able to deeply misquote them. Misquoting has become favorite hobby/pastime. Lately the weekly I've been writing for has cut their freelance budget, so I haven't been writing anything about music lately. They still wanted a top 10 albums of 2009 list from me, which was nice. I scrambled to think of what I liked this year. So I will reprint the top ten albums I chose, with some elaboration on why.
1.The Spits - School's Out
I don't even know what this album's called - "S/T" or "Vol.4" or whatever, but I do know that I still love the Spits after all these dirty, misspent years. It's dazed punk rock, and I need that the most. The lyrics always make me laugh too. If you don't like it, that's fine, but it doesn't make you better than me, yet.
2.Raekwon - Cuban Linx II
This is one of the more respected rap releases this year, and even though I listen to loads and loads of hip-hop, when it came to new releases I didn't really focus on much from this year. It all just gets confusing; in the 2000s most of our rap years are interchangeable. The hip hop of this decade past is a hodgepodge of pleasingly lobotomized southern rap, overly emphatic punchlines, Pharrell Williams, and a secret emo edge.
Back to Rae, the 15 years that it took to produce this album showed that as an MC he has retained his skills and his ear - there are no duds and no particular awkward attempts to blend into a pop landscape. He did good and it was very necessary for him to do so.
3.Urban Blight - More Reality 12"
Now this is great; saw Urban Blight twice this year and enjoyed it both times, although they are one of these bands where the crowd loses it to such an extent that it can cover up the songs. Speaking of, the recording is scummy and frustrated-sounding. It really showcases that people who don't drink or do drugs and are obsessed with baseball are deeply angry inside. It's really quick and everything sounds like it's a step away from crumbling. Just like our society you idiot!
4.Mad Men - Two At A Time Plus One
Mad Men is the one man project of Fucked Up and Career Suicide's Jonah Falco(he recorded the Urban Blight album FYI - with one mic) This is not on the verge of crumbling - in fact Falco is a really solid musician and writer who comes from a family of musicians. It's got weirder things going on than other hardcore - sounding like a mix of melodic punk, with back and forth vocals and a rushed speed that keeps everything very breakneck. They've played live a few times but there's no cohesive lineup. I'm hoping Jonah does an acoustic show soon. Couldn't find any youtube stuff, so here's Jonah Falcon showing his penis to George Takei.
5.Woods - Songs Of Shame
Heard this closer to the end of the year, and it fullfils my criteria because it's
a)kinda sad b)totally awesome and c)unique and low-budget (like the movie Red).
Crystal Antlers - Tentacles
LA's Crystal Antlers impress me because of the fact that they're all in their early 20s. When I was in that age, it was hard enough for me to brush my teeth, much less sign to Touch & Go right before it closed up shop for awhile. These gang of hombres are just dudes. They're not trendy, but they're not a bunch of balls of corn who mainly care about their amps and facial hairs. To be fair, they do have beardish items, but they're from LA and I have a higher tolerance for west coast face rugs than for guys from Brooklyn who try to rock the 'hasidic Levon Helm' steez. Also, they are good live. To wit:
7.Major Lazer - Guns Don't Kill People, Lazers Do
Though I sometimes find the vocalists have too much of a UK ragga vibe for me, the beats are great on this, and the sense of humour present is entertaining. Plus there's this]:
8.Brent Weinbach - The Night Shift
Brent Weinbach is a west coast comic who won the "Andy Kaufman Award" a little while ago. No, "The Andy Kaufman Award" is not a euphemism for dying. His debut album is a collection of standup clips, prank phone calls, and somewhat earnest songs. This variety kept me interested while also keeping me glued to my wheelchair. I haven't paid for the wheelchair yet, but when healthcare kicks in I plan to. Oh wait, I live in Canada so I already have healthcare. Wait a second, this isn't a wheelchair at all - it's whale char!
9.Lonely Island Incredibad
The Lonely Island have a pretty good handle on popular music, especially if it's got rap vibes. So I must support the release of their Long Player release, Incredibad. The supporting videos add a lot more to the songs, but without said songs the videos wouldn't exist - and so Incredibad, I tip my hat to your hilarities. Anyone who thinks Andy, Jorma and Akiva are not funny folk should shave their head and make a song called if You Seek Amy. I love that "Stork Patrol" is a pretty accurate Ghostface parody.
10.Rick Ross - Deeper Than Rap
I don't know. I just don't know. But I do know this: I like the song "Rich Off Cocaine". Super happy pop choruses that make the Neptunes sound like Darkthrone are the future of rap beyond the oughts. Is that a good thing? IS ANYTHING A GOOD THING?