Monday, December 21, 2009

Expanded list of the year's top albums

End of the year lists are kind of stupid, but I'm stuck at my parent's house already for the holidays and the stack of records I still need to review are at my apartment. I've already written about all of these releases, but here's hoping by reminding myself of why I liked these albums you, too, will want to give them all another spin.

The Spits, IV: Why this band does not receive as much fanfare as the Jay Reatards of the world is beyond me. Catchy as hell; shitty and weird, if not mindless; macho in a cartoony way, like The Dictators. All of that describes this band, a group that has for a third time matched the bizarre charm of their debut album. I can't really name a favorite track, but I can't name a least favorite track off top of my head, either. How's that for a ringing endorsement of a band I just called shitty?

The Coathangers, Scramble: Casio sound effects have never sounded better. While The Vivian Girls failed to match the quality of their debut, The Coathangers made their first album and both 7"s yesterday's papers overnight. I've seen this band grow over the past three years, and while I've had friends release better music, I don't think I've ever been more proud of a group than I was at the LP release show for Scramble. The highlight has to be "Cheap Cheap", as it's a tambourine-shaking garage rock stomper that strays away from the typical Coathangers formula.

Vivian Girls, Everything Goes Wrong: Following up one of the best albums of the young centry was tough work, but these girls nearly did it. While this LP fails to match the band's near-perfect debut, Ally's drumming and the fusion of that upbeat county-and-western vibe into a few of tracks are welcome changes.

Plexi 3, Tides of Change: Friends further from home mix powerpop and garage rock vibes on their first proper LP. Bassist Adam Widener's new role as part-time lead singer has lead to several pleasant surprises. While there's not a gelding in the bunch, the best song has to be "P.O. Box 9847", as the mod dance party speeds up while the girl group vocals remain.

The Spooks, Death From Beyond The Grave: After several years of delay and three attempts at recording this mish-mash of electro-punk, Halloween music, and krautrock, the best Black Lips side project did not disappoint.

Check back next year to be reminded about how much we all enjoyed albums by Predator and The Cute Lepers in 2010.

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