A year-end blog is coming soon, but in the meantime here is my list of favorite albums from 2009.
10. Thrice – Beggars
A late entry, this is not my favorite album from Thrice as they continue to go in a different direction, but Beggars is complete with some great tracks. The Weight is a song any couple considering marriage should check out.
Key track: The Weight
9. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band – Outer South
It took some warming up to, but the singer/songwriter from Bright Eyes gives some less-angsty tunes with a different band. Conor doesn’t even sing on my favorite track, Difference is Time.
Key tracks: Difference is Time, Slowly (Oh So Slowly)
8. Brand New – Daisy
I’ll get some heat here because this is also not my favorite work from Brand New, but this is Brand New like em or not. They continue to drift more and more into darkness with Daisy and there are definitely some explosions on this album, like its opener, Vices.
Key Tracks: Bought a Bride, At the Bottom
7. fun. – Aim and Ignite
It took me until this year to listen to The Format, which was a mistake, so thankfully I jumped on the bandwagon early with fun. This album is full of catchy tunes that stay true to the band’s name.
Key tracks: At Least I’m Not As Sad (As I Used to Be), Walking the Dog
6. The Fray – The Fray
I may take even more heat here in saying that I prefer this self-titled work to The Fray’s first album, How to Save a Life. There are incredible singles on this album, but the guys hit us with a complete album from top to bottom. You Found Me is absolutely my favorite song in years.
Key tracks: You Found Me, Syndicate, Never Say Never
5. House of Heroes – The End is Not the End
Okay, this album was released digitally in 2008, but I didn’t buy it until their hard copy release this year. House of Heroes came back with 16 tracks of pop-punk genius. Every track will get caught in your head, but the lyrics are what keep you coming back for more.
Key tracks: By Your Side, Code Name: Raven, Sooner or Later
4. The Takeover UK – Running with the Wasters
No, they’re not British. In fact, they’re from Pittsburgh. This album displays The Takeover UK’s old-style rock-and-roll paired with new-style energy. Their lives shows are a sight to behold, with a dedicated group of fans dancing non-stop.
Key tracks: Running with the Wasters, Ah La La, Don’t Wait Up
3. Taking Back Sunday – New Again
I did not listen to Tell All Your Friends in its entirety in high school or even college. That being said, this is my favorite TBS album. They’re never going to recreate Tell All Your Friends, so be amazed by what they’re giving us. This album didn’t leave my CD player for weeks because the end roped you right into listening to the beginning again. They’ve grown up, singing about becoming fully entrenched in adulthood.
Key tracks: Summer, Man, Everything Must Go, Carpathia
2. The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
These guys are my favorite band. I&L&Y doesn’t always provide the up-tempo banjo/acoustic/hi-hat/kick drum combo that fans have become used to, but this is lyrically the best album from some of the best songwriters today. The Avetts continue to blow up from this album, having performed on late night TV three times. Check out their live show, you’ll be hooked.
Key tracks: January Wedding, Laundry Room, The Perfect Space
1. Rx Bandits – Mandala
This album is a masterpiece. Rx Bandits continue to be terribly underrated, probably because they can be associate with ska still. But Mandala brings what …And the Battle Begun promised was coming. From start to finish, Mandala hits you in the face, confuses you, explains itself, then hits you in the face and starts again. It is a designed chaos. The musicianship is second-to-none, complete with drumming parts I couldn’t imagine even starting and guitar solos that flow one piece into another. Combine the vocals making Mandala another album with songs you can’t get out of your head, but also can’t comprehend.
Key tracks: Hope is a Butterfly, No Net Its Captor, Bled to Be Free (The Operation), Breakfast Cat
Honorable Mention: Cartel – Cycles, Say Anything – Say Anything, Manchester Orchestra – Mean Everything to Nothing, Relient K – Forget and Not Slow Down