Composing's 2009 Top Ten
1.Dead And Divine - The Machines We Are
I've never been one for off-timing or excessive palm muting but Dead and Divine just do it for me. Maybe it's Matty Tobin's ridiculously catchy vocals or the cynical lyrics that I often find myself relating to but I'm hard pressed to find anything wrong with this album. Hell, the dudes even dropped a tv off a ladder for an electric drum track on Teeth. Stellar dudes, stellar disk.
2.Brand New - Daisy
What can a dude say about Brand New that hasn't already been said? A lot of people really disliked this album; wishing instead for a rehashed The Devil And God... But seriously, have Brand New ever kept with a particular sound for more than an album? Looking back through their discography, nothing seems to be quite the same. In Daisy, the heavier side of Brand New comes out, and it's really nothing to scoff at. So what if the lyrics aren't as good as in previous works? Compared to all the complete garbage that's out there right now, Daisy is a lesson in subtle aggression and passion that a lot of bands could stand to learn from.
3.Propagandhi - Supporting Caste
Honestly, I haven't really listened to punk since the early years of highschool. Even then, my punk library consisted of bands like NOFX and Lagwagon. So it seems weird that Propagandhi's Supporting Caste, ever made it into my top ten to begin with. But this disk just rocks so insanely hard that I couldn't deny it a spot in this years list. For one, the instrumentation on Supporting Caste is spot on and surpasses the realm of any 'punk' band. Secondly, Chris Hannah is such a commanding frontman that even Henry Rollins would quiver in his doc martins. Lastly, there's a Don Cherry audio clip in the first single.
4.Fun. - Aim And Ignite
I've been searching for something to replace The Format since their departure in 2008. And honestly, I'd only known about the band for about four years prior to them disbanding - falling in love with their ironic dream-pop and Nate Ruess' ridiculous vocal range in particular. So fortunately, I didn't have to wait very long for Aim and Ignite to drop mid-this-year. To make a long story short, this disk picks up exactly where The Format left off. Pop songs about girls and falling in love filled a place in my skull, untouched since my days in highschool - all sung to those same, dreamy vocals.
5.Frank Turner - Love, Ire and Song
Punk rock is probably dead and I'm not even sure that this album was released in 2009. But this compilation of punk rock anthems by Frank Turner transcends time and genre for me. They're just good, honest acoustic jams written by a dude who I had no clue about before coming to Decoy. Everything on Love, Ire & Song is straightforward and poetic. 'Nuff said.
6.Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster - III
Southern rock has always had a spot in my heart. It brings out the dirty, sweaty, grimy dude in me and reminds me of saturday afternoon barbecues and way, way too much beer. Although I was a huge fan of Maylene's previous works, this one probably takes the cake as being the most instrumentally complex and diverse. I was worried that a massive lineup change would ruin the biggest southern rock band in my collection but these guys seem to have pulled it off. Dallas' singing vocals (as opposed to his yelling vocals) helped to make the band's sound more accessible without toning down the rock. Now I can listen to Maylene with my dad in the car and not feel like either one of us is compromising anything.
7.Kingdoms - Daughters of Atlas
I never really got into my local scene. To be honest there wasn't much there for me and I always thought that a young band trying to make it was sort of cliche. Sure I had friends in bands and everything but I didn't go out of my way to rep bands to people I didn't know. Enter, Kingdoms. Local guys from my university town with huge possibilities. The Daughters of Atlas EP is just dripping with potential for a band that could go in any number of directions.
8.Thrice - Beggars
I thought that Thrice were done for. They should have been after the mediocre efforts they put forth with The Alchemy Index disks. But Beggars is a complete turn around from anything the band has ever done before. It's not pretentious, it's not overly complex, it's not dreamy, it's straight-up rock and roll. I kind of have a feeling that they took a page from Brand New's books when Brand new said they wanted to write songs that would be fun to play live. Who cares how much of a tech-head you are or how many delays or instruments you can use in a song. Passion and simplicity will win every time and Thrice have finally seen that with Beggars.
9.Ace Enders and a Million Different People - When I Hit the Ground
Maybe this album is feeding my hunger for another Early November album, but I thought this was pretty solid. In my opinion, Ace is one talented dude and in this - his second solo effort - there's a clear progression towards a more full, rounded sound that just wasn't there in I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business' self titled. This album doesn't ask much of you in terms of thinking and sometimes that's all you need. Good, solid, acoustic soft-rock.
10.Owl City - Ocean Eyes
Guilty Pleasure. I really don't have any major biases in music and I'd like to think my musical tastes are fairly eclectic. That being said, this is one awesome disk to drive to. I've picked up a synth in my day but I could never quite get to the point of putting together anything even close to the stuff Owl City churns out. It just all seems so frantic and calming at the same time. People are always knocking the guy because he's trying to be the next Ben Gibbard. To this I say: you know what? good for the guy. He's picking up where Ben left off, someone has to do it - the last Postal Service disk came out in two thousand and fucking three.