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04.04.13 Shit That Rocks09.29.09 Post-hardcore Noob
08.06.09 2009 Purchases

2009 Purchases

Just a list of the CDs that I bought this year. Most of them aren't 2009 releases and have been reviewed several times already, but I'll give some brief thoughts on them anyways. ps: Recs and such if you wish
1Black Mountain
In the Future

Classic blues / psychedelic rock akin to the late 60's / early 70's. They play around with a variety of styles - sounding at times like any of Black Sabbath, Jefferson Airplane, Neil Young, and even hints of Pink Floyd. 'In the Future' contains many elements of the classics, but has the benefit of modern technology to really make an impressive listening experience. If you missed this album last year - like myself - pick it up, it's not too late.

Torche's self titled debut is a straight forward, down-tuned, heavy-hitter of a rock album. It doesn't break any ground musically, but it's a fun listen and only clocks in at around 35 minutes so it's very to-the-point, which in my opinion works in its favour.
3 Pink Mountaintops
Axis of Evol

Pink Mountaintops are basically just an extended family of musicians centered around Black Mountain and as a result sound very much like Black Mountain. However, the psychedelic feel and heavyness are gone with the exception of 'Slaves' and what's left is a more mellowed out rock sound. There are a few very nice acoustic songs and some gritty rock n roll. Overall, the album seems to bounce around in terms of style but in the end still feels like one cohesive unit. Highly recomended especially for those who are already interested in Black Mountain.
Crack the Skye

Leviathan and Blood Mountain rank in my top metal albums ever, so to say my expectations were high for this one would be an understatement. However, being very familiar with all of Mastodon's prior work, I knew that they have yet to repeat a previous style or sound, so I was prepared for a new direction. They said it would be more spacey and classic progressive in sound, and that's basically what it is. This new style did however result in a loss of some of the usual Mastodon intensity, which I personally have zero problems with, I'll just get aggression and intensity elsewhere and turn to 'Crack the Skye' for tripped out, psychotic, heavy progressive rock. This album is not only one of the best of the year, but one of the best of this era. It's a landmark in the genre of metal and in my opinion, an instant classic. It's that good, really.

Classic album from Yes entering their prime years. Roundabout, South Side of the Sky, Heart of the Sunrise, need I say more?
6Animal Collective
Strawberry Jam

Alright, a little back story on this one. I read about these guys in a magazine few years ago and the article was about some sort of trippy dream room they own / are affiliated with or something of that nature, and I thought "woah, these guys sound nuts, I should look into their music." Somewhere shortly after this I completely forgot about them. A few months ago I saw this sitting at the local CD store for like $15, so I figured what better time than now, because I'll probably just forget about them again. Going into this album, I (for whatever reason) was expecting laid back hippy, psychedelic rock. Holy Balls, was I ever under the wrong impression. What I got was a swift kick in the face. The only way I can describe what this album sounds like is that it's what I imagine Syd Barrett would have made right around the time he went completely insane, had he gotten his hands on modern technology. I'm not sure I can explain this music in words, you really have to hear it yourself to get a feel for it.
7The Assemble Head in Sunburst Sound
When Sweet Sleep Returned

This is throwback psychedelic rock that is done so closely by the books that it could have been released 40 years ago and it wouldn't have been out of place. However, it's not completely void of originality, personality, or identity. This is still an impressive album that is best enjoyed with an altered state of mind.

I have mixed feelings about Graveyard's self titled debut. These guys are from Sweden, so they either don't realise the majority of their lyrics come off a little cheesy and cliche or they do it on purpose as an attempt to be truly retro. Not that the lyrics are completely bad, but I view it as the weakest link and something that holds the album back from being great. Lyrics aside, the vocals are actually excellent. This guy sings with a lot of power and feel. The music is that of classic 70's blues rock / early heavy metal, think Cream, Black Sabbath, Blue Cheer, Lucifer's Friend etc. This album isn't going to blow your mind, but if you really love the 70's stuff then I'd suggest checking it out. This is a band I have hopes for in the future once they figure out the lyrical aspect of song writing.
9Led Zeppelin
Houses of the Holy

A classic Zeppelin album. What can I possibly add that hasn't already been said a million times over.
10Black Sabbath

Ditto with classic Sabbath.
11Uriah Heep
Demons and Wizards

I had owned 'The Magician's Birthday' for a few years and loved so I decided I should get some more 'Heep. Demons and Wizards is pretty much the exact same sort of album, in fact it basically follows an identical structure. It basically sounds like Deep Purple playing with more of a progressive edge and a higher emphasis on mythical imagery. Great album from the 70's that shouldn't be overlooked.
The Yes Album

Before hearing this album I had already been very familiar with 'Close to the Edge' 'Fragile' and 'Tales from Topographic Oceans' so I knew this would seem to be a bit of a regression musically, but still I listened with high hopes. It turns out my hopes were high for good reason. While this album may not be as technical or progressive as future releases, it does not lack in quality. Yes made a great album here and you can just hear the potential that led to many future great releases.
13The Mars Volta

You never truly know what to expect from The Mars Volta, but with this release I was shocked. It seems with 'Octahedron', Omar settled down and gone are the moments when he wanks a little too long or the band strays off into nonsense / noise. Don't get me wrong, I love The Mars Volta, they're one of my all-time favorites, but occasionally they go a little too far and it can take away from the music. I was also hoping Cedric wouldn't computerize his voice as much as he had on 'Bedlam' but that's a minor complaint for me as his signature approach has remained constant - crazy lyrics and haunting wails. This album is really laid back and has a ton of melody, especially when compared to previous efforts. 'Octahedron' is a welcome change for me and I can't wait to hear what these guys come up with next.
Welcome to the Night Sky

Wintersleep are somewhat of a local band in my region, and as a result have their songs killed with overplay on the radio with each new release. Despite hearing singles over the years, and having plenty of opportunities to check them out at shows, I never did get around to it. Until this year that is. I saw them at a local bar and holy crap do they ever rock hard. I had no idea they played music like this because their singles sound nothing like the majority of their catalogue. The next chance I had, I bought their most recent release 'Welcome to the Night Sky'. This album is fantastic. It's easy listening, heavy, spacey, progressive (at times), and mainly just rocks super hard. This is one of my biggest surprises of the year. My only regret is not taking advantage of the many chances that I passed on to see these guys. Highly recomended.

Here is another great Yes album. Once again, Yes out do themselves in terms of technicality and progressiveness. 'Relayer' is every bit as excellent as 'Fragile' and 'Close to the Edge'. It seems to be overlooked by some, but it's a must have for prog fans.
16Grizzly Bear

I didn't know what to expect from Grizzly Bear. I was recomended the album by a friend and while it doesn't line up with what I usually listen to, I love it. The people involved in the production of 'Veckatimest' must be perfectionists to the point of near insanity. It's been a long time since I've heard something so flawless. The band members also must have spent a lot of energy writing this thing because there are just so many constant subtleties that without proper speakers or headphones, may go unnoticed. I don't know if this is considered 'Indie' or not as I'm not too familiar with the genre, but this is a great modern rock record. This is probably my most pleasent surprise of the year.
Kid A

I'm not quite sure where to begin with this one. This is an album that I've heard plenty of times, and that I really enjoy, but at the same time I still don't feel totally familiar with it. I probably shouldn't have included it here since I don't have much to say about it besides that it's a lot different than the rest of Radiohead albums, it's sort of odd, really computerized and the instruments seem to blend together. I'll have to listen to this a couple more times and maybe I'll change this deion if I can.
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