Jelone - Best of 2009 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Best of 2009 (2009)

staff picks

Joe Pelone is a staff reviewer at - ed.

You just have to roll with the blast.

I don't mean to be melodramatic, but 2009 was the year shit got real. Friends moved further away, got real jobs and got engaged or married. Other friends dropped out of school and embraced drugs, abusive partners or both. It's quite the stupid divide. Hey, for the record, if your partner abuses you, get out. He/she is not worth it. If you're reading this and thinking, "Well, he/she doesn't abuse me. He/she only has only hit me a couple of times," get out and get help. Your face will thank you later. And if you're the sort of person who beats your loved ones, get into therapy before you destroy yourself and anyone too dumb or lovestruck enough to get away from your self-destruction.

At the same time, I suppose that, for me personally, 2009 was a lucky year. Lucky in that I didn't become an addict, and in that I have family, friends and a girlfriend who all love me for reasons I'm never gonna understand. I secured a job with a weekly community newspaper in Mt. Airy, only to have it collapse a month later. It sucked, but at least I got a few clips out of it. And I got to see "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" for free. It was an awful, misogynistic movie, but a woman from some reality show introduced it with these words: "We've all been there. We've all been ghosts of...girlfriends past." I might not remember her name, but I'll never forget her message. Here I am, a ghost of a girlfriend past. Aren't we all?

Plus, it was a great year for music. I got to interview John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, who released my favorite album of 2009, Life of the World to Come. I met Blake Schwarzenbach from forgetters (and Jawbreaker...and Jets to Brazil...), who put on my favorite show of 2009 at the Barbary in Philadelphia. Sunny Day Real Estate and Jawbox reunited. Granted, I had to hear them live via NPR and NBC, but still, how cool is it to be alive right now? I heard life-affirming releases from bands that have been away far too long, like Rancid, Propagandhi and the Lawrence Arms. New Found Glory even pulled it together and dropped another catchy record. Just goes to show...deep down inside I'm always going to be 14, if only mentally.

Contrary to what Mikexdude might tell you, I love music and I'm totally fair and balanced. To that end, I've avoided writing reviews about my friends' bands. I have a clear conflict of interest. But here's the thing: My friends are talented. So while I've tried to avoid tainting the Org's archives with my biases, I'm not going to leave those bands out here. This is a list of my favorite albums and I'm not bullshitting you when I say that the Next Big Thing's Condense the Nonsense really was my second favorite EP of 2009 (behind the Lawrence Arms. The NBT guys may be my pals, but c'mon now...).

On the Org front, I feel like I got to know the other staffers more. Online profiles were friended. E-mails were exchanged. Shit, Greg0rb once recommended me to a guy because he thought I would dig his sound. Readers actually thanked me for some of my reviews. Of course, others thought I was a total asshole, which I kind of am. I do hate a lot of things.

New Year's Resolutions
  • Lose 20 pounds.
  • Be the change I want to see in the world.
  • Start a band and open for Venice Is Sinking.

    So here's the deal. I'm going to rant and rave about everything that tickled my fancy this year. Top 20 albums. Top 10 EPs. Top five live shows. I was going to do my top labels, but I could only think of two: 4AD, because they dropped some seriously awesome records this year, and Fat Wreck, because they've always been nice to me and they also dropped some seriously awesome records. Heck, this was a fantastic year for tuneskis in general. Whenever I can't find a place for albums that I thought for sure would make the list (Ben Kweller's Changing Horses, for example), I get excited. It means there were so many great records that I literally can't fit them all in. But enough talk of the shoulda-beens and the almost-weres. I want to celebrate the soundtrack to my year. So strap in; I'm about to murder your eyes.

    Top 20 Albums of 2009


    Mew: No More Stories...


    Mew got even proggier this time around, writing songs that play backwards ("New Terrains") and/or are long ("Cartoons and Macramé Wounds"). Yet No More Stories has a pop element that makes it more approachable than it should be. It's expansive and shoegazey and technical and experimental, but it's also dreamy pop music.


    Castevet: Summer Fences

    Count Your Lucky Stars

    Castevet are at their most successful when they open up to more expansive ideas, allowing for spacier fare reminiscent of Envy, Appleseed Cast, and maybe Mogwai, just filtered through a Latterman-esque punk rock viewpoint. It's gruff vocals and seductive guitar textures ahoy. An easy record to get lost in, Summer Fences fills me up with swirling, gorgeous guitar movements. It's an ideal autumn album.


    Camera Obscura: My Maudlin Career


    *Le sigh* I have a weakness for Scottish women. The burning passion. The alabaster skin. The ever-so-slight connection to Star Trek's Scotty. Which reminds me...the accents. YES. Of course, to use that attraction as a means for explaining my severe crushing on Traceyanne Campbell's songwriting on My Maudlin Career, the latest orchestral twee pop smash from her band Camera Obscura, would be a redundantly sexist viewpoint (and prolly get me smacked by my Scotch-Canadian special lady friend). See, the band continues to outpace their peers in Belle & Sebastian with a fine mix of shimmering musicianship, evocative lyrics and gorgeous vocals. It's not as immediate as Let's Get Out of the Country, but, given that My Maudlin Career is a mature breakup record, I can deal with that.


    KASMs: Spayed


    Everything about KASMs gets me excited. They record live takes on an old reel-to-reel tape machine. They sound like a mix of Bikini Kill, Hole, Le Tigre and Teenage Jesus and the Jerks. They write awesome, seductive, provocative songs likes "Male Bonding" and "Bone You." I said it before, I'll say it again: Ignore the title; this one's got balls.


    New Found Glory: Not Without a Fight


    "You can't get rid of me that easy no / Not without a fight" go the first lyrics of the first song on Not Without a Fight, "Right Where We Left Off." The song is about a girl (of course), but those lines feel applicable to NFG as a whole. Along with the Bouncing Souls, NFG indoctrinated me to the world of punk rock. But where the Souls already had a healthy discography by the time I got hip to their sound, NFG more or less came up with me. My tastes have changed dramatically since my freshman year of high school circa 2000, but somehow the old Glory has stuck with me. When former label Geffen Records forced out a greatest hits package in 2008, I reviewed for my college paper like I'd never write about NFG again. The collection wasn't that great, but I felt like I owed my former favorite band something. Just a year after Hits, it blows my mind that the band could drop such a fine collection of heartache, tour journals and the almighty pop-punk. But then, NFG was always my favorite Drive-Thru band, so should I be that surprised that they're the only DTR alumni still putting out quality tunes?


    Big D and the Kids Table: Fluent in Stroll


    Having shown their mastery of ska-punk (How It Goes) and two-tone (Strictly Rude), the mighty D opted to look to the future for Fluent in Stroll by creating their own genre. The title refers to that genre, called stroll, a mix of double-dutch, ska, reggae and soul. They added a backing female vocalist group called the Doped Up Dollies, dialed back their punk/rock elements, and wrote a bunch of summery love songs. And frontman David McWane's idea of a love song consists of being as honest, positive and romantic as possible -- "Not Fucking Around" is the most direct song about devotion I've ever heard, while "We Can Live Anywhere" has to be one of the most hopeful.


    Banner Pilot: Collapser

    Fat Wreck Chords

    Go buy Collapser. Because it's gonna be a while before those drunks in Dillinger Four drop another gravelly, Midwestern pop-punk masterpiece. This Minnesotan gang of band sluts' Fat Wreck debut is arguably their strongest release to date. Sound engineers Jacques Wait and Dave Gardner buffed out the band's rough edges a bit. Vocalist Nick Johnson still sounds gruff, but Banner Pilot doesn't resemble the Lawrence Arms and Jawbreaker circa Unfun so much anymore. What's left is not unlike D4 circa their Fat years -- catchy and rocking. The album opens with a perfect two-hit combo -- "Central Standard" and "Pensacola" – and then just keeps churning out hits.


    Nakatomi Plaza: Ghosts


    This one hurts. The folks in Nakatomi Plaza were/are really nice, talented musicians. They've written some fantastic post-hardcore/punk tunes, 11 of which are contained on Ghosts. It's great that their swan song is such a solid album, but in a way it just bums me out more. Ghosts is a reminder that Nakatomi Plaza was an amazing live act; it's like looking at photos of deceased loved ones. But at the same time, it's hard to get completely down because, hey, this record kicks ass. The dying of the light was raged against; faces were melted; things were golden. Maybe they'll get back together one day. Until then, I've got four full-lengths and a Latterman split to keep me company.


    Thursday: Common Existence


    Got-damn yes. Fucking YES. I was really scared that Thursday was going to break up after their career highlight A City by the Light Divided, but they pulled it together for yet another stellar post-hardcore masterpiece. Common Existence explores the band's past in the first three tracks (literally on "As He Climbed the Dark Mountain," which first appeared on last year's Envy split) before going for more atmospheric fare like "Circuits of Fever" and "Love Has Led Us Astray." Of course, I can't leave out "Friends in the Armed Services," a discussion of what it means to support the troops (oh yeah, and war. All the time. Heh). Please don't ever stop.


    St. Vincent: Actor


    Two years after she broke out from under the Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Stevens' collective thumb with Marry Me, Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, returned with her stunning sophomore solo effort, Actor. Arguably superior in every way, the record takes Marry Me's promises and expands on them. It's at times grinding and lilting, but always beautiful and otherworldly. If it's possible to craft a record that simultaneously recalls Nine Inch Nails, Feist, shoegaze and Disney movies, Actor is that record.


    Propagandhi: Supporting Caste


    While a lot of people tapped into Supporting Caste right away, it took me a few months to get into it. Maybe it's because I define the band so much with their first two records. But while I wasn't that interested in Caste after the first listen, I did take away some choice picks -- "Dear Coach's Corner," "The Banger's Embrace" and hidden track "Come to the Sabbat" are awesome. Over time, I found myself putting the record on more and more without really thinking about it. Caste became a natural pick for me a few months after its release, and right now I feel like it's the best Propagandhi record of this decade. It's got the best jokes. It's got frontman/guitarist Chris Hannah's best lyrics. And dang it all, it knows how to rock me.


    The Raveonettes: In and Out of Control


    Whenever people complain about the Raveonettes, they usually diss the band's love of the Jesus and Mary Chain, claiming that their fandom prevents them from writing truly new material. That always struck me as arrogant and oversimplified; the Raves' last three albums have been radically different. Their last record, Lust Lust Lust was a cool, dissonant noise record. In and Out of Control is a total reversal, opting for bubblegum pop, albeit filtered through their ambient, quasi-gothic sensibilities. There's a bit of a Cardigans effect -- uber-catchy pop songs with uber-dark lyrics à la cheery anti-rape song "Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)" -- and I totally love it. After the Beauty Dies and Sometimes They Drop By EPs, I started 2009 with a rekindled crush for this Danish duo. Then they closed the year out with what I feel is their best overall album. For a band often slagged as unimaginative, that's some feat.


    The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart


    I'd like to propose a new trend -- calling Pitchfork the bane of music criticism is officially a cliché. Same goes for calling them pompous and/or pretentious. I say this because (A) it's been a while since they've run a review that truly pissed me the fuck off and (B) sometimes they're right about stuff. After all, they turned me on to the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, the first blog buzz band I ever fell for. They write adorable twee songs disguised as shoegaze, which is brilliant. They put effort into their B-sides and drop rarities into their live shows. Oh yeah, and they released an awesome full-length debut, chock full of shimmering indie rock. I got a bit of flack for my lead in my review of the album, but I'm gonna recycle it here because it's true: "The Pains of Being Pure at Heart's eponymous full-length debut sounds like a tribute album to the Jesus and Mary Chain and the Ramones by Belle & Sebastian." Side note, it does bother me when Pitchfork runs a glowing review coupled with a middling score, but I've always hated attaching numerical values to albums.


    PJ Harvey and John Parish: A Woman a Man Walked By


    PJ Harvey doesn't usually repeat herself, so I was somewhat surprised when she reteamed with John Parish for a sequel to their fantastic 1996 record Dance Hall at Louse Point. I say "somewhat" because Parish worked on To Bring You My Love, Is This Desire? and White Chalk. The sequencing on this record is brilliant, opening with the relatively radio-friendly, guitar-driven "Black Hearted Love" before pursuing Harvey's weird instincts. The hermaphroditic title track, the thrashing "Pig Will Not" and the hell-bent acoustic ditty "Sixteen, Fifteen, Fourteen" all serve as proof of this union's merit.


    Venice Is Sinking: AZAR

    One Percent Press

    Listen to Venice Is Sinking, got-dammit. These guys (and one gal) are handing out exquisite orchestral indie pop tunes left and right, by which I mean they dropped a great full-length and EP within a year, and have another LP armed and ready. Since its release, I've gone through intense AZAR phases. I'll listen to it in the car, on my computer, while I'm sleeping (or attempting to, anyway). I was listening to it while writing this article, but I had to stop I could listen to the band's WOXY session. I suggest you check it out for a free taste of three AZAR selections, plus a cut from the band's upcoming third full-length.


    Silversun Pickups: Swoon


    I was listening to Silversun Pickups on yPod, the podcast for yRock on WXPN in the Philadelphia area, and was struck by how funny and cool the band members seem. Really chill, cracking wise, willing to namedrop as many of their friends' bands as possible and OK with all the Smashing Pumpkins comparisons. It's always cool to find out the bands you like are nice. I also love how much effort they put into their records. The artwork for Swoon is awesome, and it looks even better blown up to vinyl proportions. They also make good music videos. Anyhoozle, I like Swoon. It continues the kinda alt-rock, kinda shoegaze sound of Carnavas. The band's sound is very much defined by meeting points -- the moments when co-vocalists Brian Aubert and Nikki Monninger blend into one androgynous being, or when Aubert's guitar and Joe Lester's keys blur into a delicious haze. This one's a murky but rocking keeper.


    Morrissey: Years of Refusal

    Attack / Lost Highway

    I finally embraced Mozzy Bear's solo work this year, and 2009 was a good year to do so. Years of Refusal is the best Morrissey record in however many years (let's say a thousand!). Opener "Something Is Squeezing My Skull" is a fast ‘n' frenetic stomper about partying, "It's Not Your Birthday Anymore" is a beautiful condescension towards the overly proud (though I can't help but feel Moz is directing those barbs at himself), "Black Cloud" is a rocking tune about a not-so-rocking day, and so on. It's been 23 years since The Queen Is Dead, but somehow Morrissey continues to drop sarcastic morsels o' music.


    The Horrors: Primary Colours


    The Horrors went from provocateurs to innovators on Primary Colours. Older fans were disappointed that they dropped their horror-punk sound, but look at the results, man. Primary Colours incorporates Psychedelic Furs, Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine and Siouxsie & the Banshees' atmospheric, post-punk sounds. It's one big swirling, sexy mix, thanks in part to Joshua Third's guitar parts. His style recalls Kevin Shields circa Loveless, which is always awesome. Supremely awesome. This is one of those records I love to get lost in, as wave after wave of songs like "Mirror's Image" or "Scarlet Fields" wash over me.


    Strike Anywhere: Iron Front

    Bridge Nine

    So, I almost always listen to whatever album I'm writing about, which proved difficult for Iron Front. See, I cued up track one, "Invisible Colony," but when I finally started typing the first sentence of this paragraph, I was already at track 11, "First Will and Testament." I think that describes the record better than anything else, but I'll try to expound. Iron Front is the catchiest, most rocking, plain ol' best punk/hardcore record of 2009. Strike Anywhere makes me hope for a future devoid of "post-colonies / post-kingdoms / progress twisted / from sea to sea." It reminds me what liberty means and how good sing-alongs feel. I began the decade singing Chorus of One and Change Is a Sound. I'm closing it singing Iron Front. With drums this pounding and gang vocals this huge and lyrics this dynamic, how could I not?


    The Mountain Goats: The Life of the World to Come


    Life of the World to Come is an indie/folk record that's sort of about the Bible, but it's also about declining health, drug dealers, extinct animals and this, that and the other thing. It still provokes an emotional reaction from me however many listens later. I start rocking back and forth and softly singing to myself and thinking about everything that's happened to me.

    There is no way frontman John Darnielle wrote it about me or anyone I know.

    But in my world, it's also about my grandmother dying December 23, 2003 and all of the numbness and suicidal ideation that followed. It's about my 18-year-old cousin dealing with lung cancer while getting ready for college. It's about falling out with people I used to love. It's about every time I thought I was saying goodbye to someone for the last time, even though I'm always wrong. It's about my weaknesses and insecurities and it is entirely my own. You can't have it. But then, I can't have whatever it is you take from this record, either. Surely, when you listen to a song like "Matthew 25:21," you bring your own baggage to it. Or maybe you bring nothing at all, because you dislike the song somehow.

    I don't pick records based on cultural significance, because I have yet to find a rubric for defining that. Is it sales numbers? Do I wait for history to decide? Should it be based on its impact on a set sub-culture? How do I even define that? All I can account for with complete accuracy is my perspective. Anything less than that is bullshit. I refuse to reward, say, Radiohead or Dirty Projectors for mattering to other people when they mean nothing to me.

    The NPR blog Monitor Mix recently conducted a poll on what kind of music review people trust. The majority (40 percent at the time of my writing) said they don't trust reviews at all, although the Org wasn't listed in the poll so clearly these folks don't know how we do. Respondents talked about how critics are pretentious, payola is present in a lot of magazines, etc. I think it's simpler than that: If we're being honest, all we can talk about is ourselves. You cannot approach discussing music in certain, scientific terms, because it is an art, and art is felt and somewhat unquantifiable, and we cannot describe the feeling we experience first aurally and then personally through words. Not completely. You might hit the facts (time signatures, keys, lyrics), but you can't fully capture the flavor (emotion from the players, emotional reaction from you). I'm not going to justify my love of the Mountain Goats by mentioning their musical prowess or band comparisons. Life of the World to Come is the most rewarding new release I heard all year. It's a celebration of life and a rumination on death. It's a touching piano collection that I own on CD and limited edition purple vinyl even though 4AD sent me a digital copy about a month before its release date. It's my favorite album of 2009.

    Now here's the situation. I know that list was a wee bit long, but I want to give credit the albums who couldn't qualify. I'm referring to releases that weren't strictly studio albums from a single artist. They could have been compilations. Or B-sides collections, demos, or albums that weren't technically new. They are…

    The Very Honorable Mentions of 2009

    Against Me!: The Original Cowboy

    Fat Wreck Chords

    White Crosses is still a few months away, but AM! saw fit to grace my very ears with this solid demo collection. Not to dump on Butch Vig or anything, but I love how raw these songs sound. Disqualified for being alternate recordings of a 2003 record.

    CIV: Solid Bond: The Complete Discography

    Equal Vision

    Super bouncy punk band (disc 1) turned radio rock (disc 2). CIV had an all-too-brief run in the '90s, but it's great that their albums are back in print. Set Your Goals is such a ridiculously fun record. Disqualified for being two '90s albums.

    Envy / Jesu: Split

    Hydra Head

    Phenomenal atmospheric post-hardcore/metal/shoegaze split from two really awesome bands. Disqualified for being released abroad last year. Ef you, Rest of the World!

    Modest Mouse: No One's First, and You're Next


    Modest Mouse is such a good band, got-dammit. This would have been my favorite EP of 2009 if it wasn't a B-side collection. Disqualifications aside, M&M crafts some mighty fine indie rock. Some bands just bleed great songs, and Modest Mouse is one of them.

    Various: Weezer: The 8-Bit Album


    It combines video game music with Weezer. If it could cook, I would marry it. Disqualified for being all covers of old Weerez tunes, although Lord knows I don't care.

    Top 10 EPs of 2009


    Yim Yames: Tribute To

    MapleMusic Recordings

    George Harrison is my favorite Beatle. So when My Morning Jacket maestro Yim Yames (né Jim James) released this collection of GH covers, I was skeptical. Optimistic, given that he tackled "All Things Must Pass," one of my favorite Harrison songs, but skeptical. Turns out, Yames knew what he was doing; Tribute To is a stellar six-song tribute to the Quiet One. Where producers like George Martin and Phil Spector favored lush arrangements for George's songs, Yames goes the other way, stripping the tunes down to 4-track recordings. Vox, two guitars and the occasional back-up vocal lend the songs the haunting, bittersweet flavor. Oh, and reverb. So much reverb.


    Ancestor: Allude to Illusion


    Full disclosure: I'm friends with the band (and dating the lead singer's sister). Ancestor keeps getting more brutal with each release, with Allude to Illusion featuring their heaviest jams yet. Of course, it's tempered with a dash of sarcasm ("Tonight At 11: Things That Could Kill You By 10," anyone? Howsabout "D'Terminator?") If you dig Botch, Spitfire and grizzly bears, this is the place to be. Plus, they're giving the dang thing away, so you have no excuse for sleeping on this beauty.


    Cetus: Centrifuge


    Full disclosure: I'm friends with this band too...and, uh, I wrote their bio. But I took on that assignment because I believe in Cetus, and Centrifuge finds the metal/hardcore band going further down their own rabbit hole, complete with backwards guitar solos, breakdowns a-plenty, and some of the most delightfully punishing production I've heard on an underground release in some time. They're also giving this album away for free.


    The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: Higher Than the Stars


    More danceable indie goth pop something or other. I've got a love something fierce for the Pains. As excited as I was by their full-length, their EP was even more tantalizing. It proves that they've got more solid tunes in their catalogue. It proves that they don't have to rely on distortion. And the remix of the title track at the end may very well indicate a future in more electronic-based textures. Do they have a Mixed Up in them?


    The Loved Ones: Distractions

    Fat Wreck Chords

    I was on the fence about including this one, as it consists of odds, ends and covers. But dang it all, this is the Loved Ones, and that Mescaleros cover rules. And "Distracted" is so catchy. And "Spy Diddley" hearkens back to Keep Your Heart. And...well, I like the Loved Ones. Keep rockin', boys.


    Pregnant: Wanna See My Gun? [7 inch]

    Don Giovanni

    This Brooklyn band performs furious, grungy punk rock. They get pretty unhinged on songs like "You Give It to Me," but there's always a hook to be had as well. I mean, Don Giovanni put this out, so clearly everyone should love it, eh? Cannot wait for their full-length to happen.


    The Mountain Goats and John Vanderslice: Moon Colony Bloodbath


    It's a mini-concept album about a cannibalistic massacre on the moon. Oh yeah. Johns Darnielle and Vanderslice take turns on lead vocals, Double Fantasy-like, on this indie/folk seven-song collection. It's absurd how many great songs TMG releases in a year; Guided by Voices fans should be so lucky.


    Paint It Black: Amnesia / Surrender

    Bridge Nine / Fat Wreck

    Just a year after New Lexicon, Paint It Black nearly released another full-length's worth of material. As is the band's way, the new songs are amazing. Dr. Dan Yemin keeps ranting and raving while the band plays with all their might. And how cool is it that PiB is basically hanging out with some of the best labels? Two seven-inches, nine tunes, get into it.


    The Next Big Thing: Condense the Nonsense


    Full disclosure: Not only are these dudes my buddies, but I sing back-up vox on this EP. I'm awesome. High fives forever! Even if I wasn't sharing my beautiful golden throat with the masses, though, I'd still be into Condense the Nonsense. The band's influences include Lifetime, Face to Face and MxPx, and Next Big Thing totally sounds like an amalgamation of those groups. They sample Mega Man X. They play the fastest beats, scream about hating God at church shows, drink a lot of beer and are bringing back the 30-second punk song. If you're in the Philly area, keep an eye for these guys. Everyone else, you can stream four of the songs on the band's MySpace


    The Lawrence Arms: Buttsweat and Tears 7"

    Fat Wreck Chords

    The Hold Steady didn't drop anything major this year, so I'm glad the Lawrence Arms picked up the drunken anthems baton. I keep singing "The Slowest Drink at the Saddest Bar on the Snowiest Day in the Greatest City" like it's a mantra, which would be sad if the song wasn't so catchy.

    Top 5 Live Shows of 2009

    5. The Kills and the Horrors at the TLA

    4. Morrissey at the Academy of Music

    3. Bouncing Souls and Lifetime at the Trocadero

    2. PJ Harvey and John Parish at the Trocadero

    1. forgetters, Onion Flavored Rings, and Amateur Party at the Barbary

    Just click the links above to find out what you missed this year. I will say this, though: The Barbary is the best venue in Philly, it's awesome that the Trocadero is finally booking good shows again, and I met Blake fucking Schwarzenbach. He was very polite. I only wish forgetters had released some songs this year, then I could include one on my...

    2009 Mixtape

      Side A
    1. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Contender
    2. The Lawrence Arms - The Slowest Drink at the Saddest Bar on the Snowiest Day in the Greatest City
    3. DKD - Theme Song
    4. Banner Pilot - Central Standard
    5. Propadangahi - The Banger's Embrace
    6. Rancid - Last One to Die
    7. O Pioneers!!! - Stressing the Fuck Out
    8. New Found Glory - Don't Let This Be The End
    9. Teenage Bottlerocket - Todayo
    10. Mean Jeans - Space Trash
    11. Pregnant - God Is Nein
    12. The Next Big Thing - My God Can Beat Up Your God
    13. Paint It Black - Bliss
    14. Ancestor - Tonight at 11: Things That Can Kill You By 10
    15. Cetus - The Riptide
    16. Thursday - Circuits of Fever
    17. KASMs - Male Bonding
    18. Silversun Pickups - There's No Secrets This Year

      Side B
    1. St. Vincent - Marrow
    2. PJ Harvey and John Parish - A Woman a Man Walked By / The Crow Knows Where All the Little Children Go
    3. Morrissey - It's Not Your Birthday Anymore
    4. Venice is Sinking - Ryan's Song
    5. The Horrors - Scarlet Fields
    6. Tori Amos - Strong Black Vine
    7. Big D and The Kids Table - We Can Live Anywhere
    8. Camera Obscura - Honey in the Sun
    9. Ben Kweller - On Her Own
    10. Wilco - Wilco (the song)
    11. The Loved Ones - Coma Girl
    12. The Raveonettes - Last Dance
    13. The Mountain Goats and John Vanderslice - Emerging
    14. The Mountain Goats - Isaiah 45:23
    15. The Rentals - Seven Years

    I've assembled two hours worth of music. Some of the picks are good songs from albums that didn't quite crack my top 20 (Tori Amos' Abnormally Attracted to Sin, for example). Some of these songs need to be heard by everyone ever (DKD!!!). I created the mix under the assumption that maybe you and I could trade actual cassettes through the mail. E-mail me at to get something going. This year, aesthetics win. Next year, well, we'll see. Speaking of which, I wanted to mention...

    Potential Reasons to Choose Life in 2010

    • Against Me!: White Crosses
    • Arcade Fire: TBA
    • The Bird and The Bee: Just Stop, and Think
    • Crime in Stereo: I Was Trying to Describe You to Someone
    • Dillinger Escape Plan: Option Paralysis
    • Eels: End Times
    • H2O: TBA
    • Peter Gabriel: Scratch My Back
    • Smoke or Fire: TBA

    It's the 10th anniversary of everything I did 10 years ago! Will Limp Bizkit find credibility with a new generation? Will sharks gain laser eyes? Will marriage between two consenting, loving, same-sex adults finally be legalized in the United States and its territories, colonies and secret lunar bases?

    So that's how my year went. How was yours?