Before anyone gets bummed that all I've done so far in my two posts here is yank my own chain and link back to my wildly funny yet highly misunderstood website, I would like to point out that this is what I was told to do when The Huffington Post's LA Editor, Billy Silverman, hired me. So deal with it. If you take into consideration that the last job Billy and I had our bosses forced him to dress up like a french burglars, a Japanese chef, a banana, a soldier and even a clown cop, Billy has really moved up in the world. That makes me proud, I really do hope that one day I move up the food chain from having to assemble lists of records people should and shouldn't listen to in my underwear.
Either way and in the meantime, I'd like to welcome you all to Buddyhead's "sometimes-annual" Best (& Worst) Records Of The Year. Can we all agree that this was about the worst decade ever? Let's tally the score here.... Everyone was broke, the best rock n' roll band in the world -- Oasis -- broke up, jobs were hard to come by, the rock press got tricked into thinking "lo-fi" automatically equaled "good," Michael Jackson's overdose transformed him from "Jacko The Tabloid Joke" to "MJ - Demi-God" in the eyes of millions of mindless idiot consumers, Crabcore swept through the Bible-belt like a brushfire, Sky Saxon of The Seeds died and gas prices shot up higher than anything NASA has ever put their name on. However, hard times are usually fodder for great art and 2009 churned out more bueno records than any year in recent memory. In fact, the quantity of rad music we were turned onto this year was so large, plus we also felt slightly guilty for that three year vacation (*cough*bender*cough*) we took from delivering all of you our "picks" (& "icks"), that we were forced to balloon this years list to 30 good ones and 30 bad ones. Everyone's got rules, here are ours...
No re-issues, "best of" albums, live albums, or previously unreleased material collections. Also no Buddyhead releases, or bands with Buddyhead people in them... though by now you should know that if we're involved with it, owning it is totally mandatory. So is hitting the Buddyhead Online Merch Store HARD, if you're reading this shit then you owe it to us to go buy a shirt RIGHT NOW!
This dude is better at the whole “just me and a guitar” thing than anybody else right now, HANDS DOWN! AA Bondy runs circles around pretty much everyone in the song writing department plus the dude has a black belt in fingerpicking and playing harmonica. In fact, he sounds best when it’s just him, his guitar + a harmonica. That’s why it was kind of a bummer he recorded this second album with a full band. It’s still a great record full of great songs though – duh, we put it on the Best Records Of The Year list – but we can’t help but think they would have sounded better if they were recorded in the same vein as his sparse and stripped down debut, “American Hearts.” At least he hasn’t gotten into world music yet. Bonus trivia: This dude doesn’t like how much waste hotels create so he sleeps in his car on tour. How weird and rad is that?
Aside from the singer sounding a little too much like “Blonde On Blonde” era Bobby Dylan (then again we can’t really think of a better dude’s style to bite), The Strange Boys are what we’d call guitar rock at its finest. In these days of bloated rock bands and boring “reunions” that have lost the plot, these dudes shine like a beacon of light due to how much they totally get it. They’re a bare bones garage-rock band who take the best from old blues and county music, then shove their take on it through a modern psychedelic fuzz. The word on the street is that these dudes have already recorded their second album “Be Brave” in Costa Mesa with their sometime member “when he has time,” Tim Presely from Darker My Love. Our favorite song on this LP is “Heard You Wanna Beat Me Up.” Check it out.
This debut is technically only an EP, but it’s so damn good (plus we heard so few people talking about this band) that we’re putting it on here anyways. Sue us. Instantly likeable and totally sugar sweet dreamy danceable pop songs sprinkled with dirty guitars. Think The Jesus And Mary Chain “Honey’s Dead” era guitar tones. This transient couple/band, who cite both Los Angeles, CA and Nashville, TN as their home, are currently holed up in a San Franciscan studio banging out their first full length that should have you dancing your ass off sometime in 2010.
I guess if you never brush your teeth, you really can get a lot more done, cause here’s another Brit band on our best of! When the red coats in Future of the Left put out “Curses” in ‘07, they simultaneously reminded us of all the reasons that McLusky was a great band and showed us they had some new tricks up their sleeves. With “Travels with Myself and Another”, Andy Falkous and co. prove that this project might just be superior to McLusky. Armed with the 12 killer tunes that just might be the most perfect embodiment of snotty British (or in this case, Welsh) melodic punk rock since Wire’s late 70’s heyday, FOTL makes a relatively old tradition sound fresh and vital. Able to shift from aggressively in your face to anthemic on a dime, these teachuggers find a balance on this record that will ensure its classic status for years to come. There are very few bands out there that are writing songs this well-constructed and instantly memorable and there are NO bands out there that sound this punk while doing it. Take notes kids, this band has being rad down to a science.
For a place that’s mostly known for it’s lack of good food, plethora of bad teeth, lack of showers and negative sunny days, England sure knows how to rock. These lads that wear their Mancunian influences on their sleeve proudly are a prime example of modern rock n’ roll done right. Sure these dudes sound a lot like The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Oasis and the rest of The Creation Records catalog all rolled into one but that’s pretty fookin’ cool if you ask us. Plus with this Dan The Automator-produced third full length not only have these dudes hit their stride but they’ve proved they know how to write some fookin’ catchy songs and still retain a raw and danceable sound that’s all their own. In the UK “West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum” was number #1 on the charts for several weeks, only to be knocked off by the sharp increase in sales of Michael Jackson albums following his overdose.
These five entries from the positive side of our Best & Worst Records Of 2009 List. We're not into spreading our negativity here at the Huffington Post. So if you like what you see and wanna read the rest, you'll have to come to the Dark-Side and read the full sixty album list at Buddyhead HERE. Either way, enjoy these five great albums from 2009.
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