Thursday, March 18, 2010

My “Best Of” 2009

so let me just begin this post by saying that I have never done anything this ambitious in ANY of my previous posts. The idea of reviewing a bunch of albums in one post still seems kind of unbelievable to me. I don't know how its going to work out. Some of this might surprise you. Just a few quick notes. These are not going to be arranged by date of release, personal importance to me or anything else. I’m just going to write about what comes to my mind, when it comes to my mind. And I’m going to try to keep the write ups MUCH shorter than usual. Its also probably guaranteed that I will forget some important releases. I apologize in advance for that. here we go…


Coalesce – OX
The first album I’m going to tackle, and one that I was very excited about when it came out, is Coalesce’s “Ox”. This album was their return to the scene, as it were, after they released the really good Salt And Passage 7inch in 2007 and that was it until this album’s release. What I love about this album is that, despite a few minor tweaks and adages to their sound, this is the Coalesce of old. Often bands get old and they sell out. And that doesn't always refer to major label kind of talks. They sell out their sound and what fans expect to hear them play. Coalesce doesn't disappoint. The math metal/core/whatever is still hard and heavy. All over the place. Sean Ingram’s voice is as brutal as ever. This was the type of release that when we fans heard it, we were so excited. Because the quality of the output is stupendous. If you are into bands like Botch, Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan, etc., why the fuck haven't you heard this album yet? Why don't you own and love this album? Get on top of that quick, okay?
Download The Album Here
The Mercury Program – Chez Viking
The Mercury Program had been gone for a VERY long time. How long? Well, the last release they were a part of was 2003’s “Confines Of Heat” Split with Maserati and their last release was “A Data Learn The Language”in 2002. So yeah, i wasn't shitting you. All through out that time there were constant rumors of the band’s demise. I myself didn't know what was going on. But the main reason that there wasn’t any recorded output from the band was because their past label’s had all crumbled and they didn't have a label. This album was actually recorded for quite awhile, and Lovitt records was nice enough to step up and release it. THANK YOU! The Mercury Program are undeniably influenced by the Tortoise post rock sound, but they have their own sound. Often, heavier with more complex drumming and delayed guitar parts reminiscent of The Edge from Joshua Tree era U2. Its great that after all this time the album still sounds fresh. I’m really hoping this is the beginning of a lot of future releases by the band on their new label.
Download The Album Here
Zombi – Spirit Animal
I love horror movies. I don't really think that the average reader of this blog, that doesn't know me, would know that. The majority of horror movies I like are not the new crap that is coming out, but the older stuff. So what does anything of this have to do with the band Zombi? Back in the 70’s & 80’s there was a band called Goblin. Goblin played a style of music that you could described as horror prog. They did the music to such horror gems at Dawn of the Dead, Suspiria, and many others. Zombi is directly influenced by Goblin and sound like the next logical step in that type of music. They also sound like they are greatly influenced by Rush and Peter Gaberial era Genesis. Especially on this record. The band is a duo. And its rad that they can create music of this caliber with only two musicians contributing ideas. The live make up of the band features a keyboardist and a drummer, who also happens to play keyboards live. If you like any of the artists i mentioned in this article, definitely check out Zombi. Horror Prog bro, horror prog.
Download The Album Here
Baroness – Blue Album
Baroness is a new band for me. I know, I know. I’m behind the times. I heard their “Red Album” for the first time this summer. I listened to Baroness enough through out the summer that I was anticipating the release of this album. Baroness plays a awesome style of psychedelic rock influenced metal. I don't really know this kind of music, because i don't listen to much metal and things of that nature. All i can say is, when i hear something i like, i like it. While this record doesn't beat their Red Album, the bottom line is, there is some really awesome music contained on this record. The drummer of Baroness is outrageous. He has a way of playing parts that are different and adventurous without seeming out of place. The drums on “The Sweetest Curse” (the second song on the record. the first being “Bullhead’s Pslam” which is more of a intro/opener) are a key example of how he is able to write something off kilter and different and still give that song the drive and push to have it rock the fuck out. The album just rocks all together. Fans of Torche, Mastodon, etc. should be down with this. But they probably already know about them. Also, their album artwork is rad and looks like old Ice Age era magic the gathering cards. haha.
Download The Album Here
Castevet – Summer Fences
The first time I became aware of Castevet was when I came upon their “I Know What A Lion Is” EP/Demo last winter. Right around the time I found their EP, I heard about them releasing a future full length. Summer Fences is that full length. I was/am really excited on the band.  They play indie rock/post hardcore in the vain of the Kinsella brothers musical legacy. You know what i mean. Bands like, Cap’n Jazz, American Football, Owls, Ghosts and Vodka, etc. Not to mention the numerous other bands that have been influenced by those Chicago music royalty. Castevet is a bit different than say a Algernon Cadwallader though. Because there is definitely more of a hardcore influence to their music style. The singing is gruff and often time brutal. But the contrast works very well. The music is often really beautiful and pretty sounding, and that counteracts the hard singing. The 3 songs that appeared on their EP are on this album along with 5 other great songs. I cant say enough good things about this band. Anyone into the Chicago sound of indie rock needs to hear these guys!
Download The Album Here
Mission Of Burma - The Sound The Speed The Light
I don't have any tattoos. But I’ve had two ideas for tattoos in mind for years, and someday i hope to get at least one of them. One of them is a Mission of Burma tattoo based off of the artwork of their “Signals, Calls and Marches” EP. In other words, they are a VERY important band to me. I think in general, they are a very important band for the history of music. The band disbanded in the early 80’s and reunited in the early 00’s. Nearly 20 years later. And honestly, Mission Of Burma still destroy fucking everyone. They successfully picked right up where they left off musically in the 80’s when they reunited. Jagged guitar, intricate drumming, strong moving basslines, and intelligent lyrics that the band has come to be known for. They’ve put out two albums before this release since reuniting. And while this album is not as strong as those releases, its a really great album and continues where the band has been going since they’ve reformed. Anyone into post punk should already know about them. But if you don't know, you better ask someone! haha. Believe, you’ll love this!
Download The Album Here
Tortoise - Beacons of Ancestorship
The year seemed to spawn a lot of albums by bands that hadn't really released anything in awhile. Tortoise is another example in this line. Tortoise continues doing what they do on this album. There’s moments of jazz like jam outs. There is the more electronically based numbers. This is where the band has come to lie musically. And that's no problem. Tortoise are essentially, in my mind at least, the defining band in the Chicago post rock music. And i think the choices that they have made in where to go musically have definitely effected the genre. I just feel like that style and bands who have come after them owe so much to the band. This record is totally understandable to a seasoned listener. But i would suggest anyone just now getting into their work to start further back so you can see where they came from. But who knows, i think this album is definitely good and wouldn't be surprised of having first time listeners of the band falling in love with them.
Download The Album Here

Native – Wrestling Moves
Native - Wrestling Moves
Native is a post hardcore band that has definite math rock influences. To put it simply, they remind me of if the more aggressive moments of At The Drive-In grew up listening to Tera Melos. And with a singer that often times reminds me of my good friend Vic Lazar of Patrons Of Sweet/Knife Crazy fame. I first became aware of them when I listened to their “We Delete; Erase” EP sometime last year. Shit was golden to me. I can honestly admit that I had no clue when they planned on releasing a full length. I was following Sargent House Records on Twitter for awhile (had to unfollow them. i got very sick of all of the “talking up” they did for their releases/bands) and knew they were planning one. But honestly, i guess it slipped my mind. I stumbled upon this one day and was stoked. They don't disappoint. I’ve heard Native recommended for fans of Minus The Bear and These Arms Are Snakes. I don't really hear that at all. I like my description of what the band sounds like. People into the present state of math rock should dig this band pretty hard.
Download The Album Here
Mouse On The Keys – An Anxious Object
I did a sort of brief overview of this band earlier this year. It was the release of this full length that was the driving force behind the article. Mouse on the Keys is an amazingly talented band hailing from Japan. They play a unique style of jazz fusion or nu jazz that has its roots in everything from prog, to funk, to straight up classic jazz. Amazingly talented duo consisting of a pianist and a drummer. And what a fucking drummer this guy is! Listen to the song "Spectres De Mouse.” It destroyed my life the first time I heard the drumline. A lot of times the shit I’ll hear on drums today is inherently ripping off Zach Hill or Damon Che so its great to hear a drummer doing something different.  I can not say enough good things about Mouse On The Keys. This album is their first full length and it immediately followed their “Sezession” EP that came out in 2007. All of this is just unbelievable to me. This band is amazing and I hope keeps churning out awesome music for years and years to come. I also hope they get their asses to the US stat! haha.
Download The Album Here
Polvo – In Prism
Polvo will end the full lengths released by bands who haven't released anything in a long time. haha. Cause realistically, this is sort of the biggest deal. Not taking away from any of the previous releases I’ve talked about. But here’s the deal. Polvo broke up. They were no longer a band. Then they do a few reunion shows, and next thing you know, they are talking about recording a new album. Mind you, their last release was in 1997. So yeah, we are talking awhile between the two releases. The record is pretty good. I'm not going to rave or anything like that. In some ways i feel like the band has mellowed out. And that's to be expected. None of us are who we were 10 years ago. But idk, i always expect my bands to stay the same. Overall, there seems to be a lot of straight forward stuff on this album. Its not a bad record. But im a dick and was expecting stuff like “exploded drawings”. so fuck me. haha. just listen for yourself. Its not a bad album.
Download The Album Here
Daïtro – Y (possibly my album of the year)
You can read my write up about this album here.
Download The Album Here
Knot Feeder – Light Flares
You can read my write up about this album here.
Download The Album Here

Algernon Cadwallader - Fun
Algernon Cadwallader is a Kinsella band. I’m convinced of it. haha. Their singer is probably the closest thing you will find to a Cap’n Jazz era Tim Kinsella. And the music the band plays sounds like all of the Kinsella bands rolled together. Upbeat and noodlely. I love the band. This is the rerelease of their “Hot Green” EP with some extra songs. For fans of everything kinsella and villarreal.
Download The Album Here
Coalesce – OX EP
This was a continuation of what Coalesce released on “OX”. The best part of it is that this EP feels like its own thing. It doesn't feel like just left over material from the album. The same sort of awesomeness that is found on the full length can be found here. I bought this the week it came out. And that says something for my broke ass. haha. If you have “OX” you should really have this EP as a companion piece if anything. It just really great.
Download The Album Here
Suis La Lune/Osceola – Split 7inch
Now i will be completely honest. I didn't have interest in this album because of Osceola. The band isn't bad. But I can honestly admit that this is the first time i ever heard of them and the first time I listened to the band. Once again, that doesn't make them bad at all. But you need to know that, Suis La Lune is my thing. I love that band. “Heir” was probably one of my most played album’s in 2008/2009. And for them, this split continues with their beautiful screamy emo stylings. I cant wait for these guys to put out another full length. “Quiet, Pull The Strings!” is great and all, but they have grown so much since then. Skramz/Real emo fans take note. This 7inch slays overall.
Download The Album Here
Local & Friend’s Bands
Oak & Bone – 7inch
Oak & Bone have recently sort of blown up. Ex-members of Moth Leads The Empire and Lazy Shell start a band. Band plays together and gets really rad playing a Young Widows meets stoner metal meets Nirvana Bleach era sound. Band gets tight as shit, plays a bunch, and ends up getting signed to Hex records. This is the 7inch they released for Hex Records. This band is one of the best things Syracuse has going for it right now. I don't listen to heavy music, i always say that. But Oak & Bone are heavy as shit and i wouldn't have it any other way.
Download The Album Here
Zona Mexicana – EP
Zona Mexicana is a amazing band hailing from SUNY Purchase. The band’s claim to fame is that they are ex-Ra Ra Riot. And sadly, that's the worse band of their member’s combined ex’s to reference Zona to. Zona Mexicana plays math rock that is influenced by Tera Melos and that California sound that is sweeping the nation. But there is also a lot taken from screamo bands of the mid 90’s. There are dual screaming/yelling vocals over some increasingly crazy music. The band pulls this all off live in a amazing show. This EP was their first recorded release, and i hope the band continues to put out more great music.
Download The Album Here
Lemuria - Ozzy
Lemuria is a pop punk/alternative rock band from Buffalo, NY. My old band played with them years ago. And since then, they have really blown up. Overall, I’m happy for them. They are good people who write good songs. This 7inch sees the band continuing musically where they left off with their highly regarded last album “Get Better.” The difference is, these songs are a little bit longer. But the same spunk and songwriting skill are present. 2009 saw a major line up change for the band which leaves me worried, but I’m keeping my ears open to whatever they put out in the future.
Download The Album Here
Urchins Of The Night – Reentry
Urchins Of The Night are Syracuse royalty hailing from Brooklyn and New Jersery. The first time I heard of this band they were described to me in a way that would later infuriate me. “We The People minus Chuck.” Realistically, this is the easiest way to talk about who is in the band, but not how they sound. After they posted tracks on Myspace I realized how totally off that statement is. Urchins of the Night play a form of punk rock that, to me, seems highly influenced by late 80’s bands like Embrace and Hüsker Dü. I’m sure my description is nowhere near what they are going for but when I heard them for the first time that's what came to my mind. The band IS NOT just We The People minus Chuck. The band is really great at playing their own style of music really well. Get into it!
Download The Album Here
Cicada – EP
This album was long awaited for me and a lot of other people in the Syracuse music scene. Cicada is just the bee’s knees for me. They’re a metal band who have been compared to bands like Crowbar, Neurosis, and Isis. But to me, they remind me a lot of Baroness. Their dueling guitar leads are what seal the deal for me. This 5 song EP feels more like a full length with how it plays. The songs feel epic, they can change at the drop of a hat and are heavy as shit. I just think these guys are some of the greatest dudes around Syracuse playing some of the most awesome music. If you like any of those bands I mentioned, you should listen to this band.
Download The Album Here
Night Owls – EP
Night Owls is a Syracuse, NY band that consists of lots of ex and current members of bands that are known and loved in the area. One of my only issues with them comes from people comparing them to Drive Like Jehu. I find this kind of deceptive. But that's not the band's doing. Night Owls plays music torn being post hardcore and punk rock. This EP contains the band’s demo and 3 songs recorded at a later date. My only other issue with this release is that they just used remixes of the demo recordings instead of rerecording them with their new bassist at the time. No biggie really. Idk. Like Hot Snakes? Like the more straight forward Fugazi material?  You will probably love Night Owls.
Download The Album Here
Rejouissance – Moss On Monuments
Rejouissance is the brain child of Syracuse/Brooklyn musician Jim Heffernan. He’s been in a lot of great bands over the years and Rejouissance is sort of his solo project. The music has changed a lot since that first spray painted CDR. “Moss On Monuments” contains what has become their trademark combination of acoustic meets post hardcore. Thin Lizzy-esc dual guitar lines and all. With Jim enlisting his friends to help play his songs, there have been numerous incarnations of the live Rejouissance band over the years. It is really hard to review this record since I now play in the band and busted my ass to learn every song off this record. But when you get down to it, there are great songs on here by a great songwriter.
Download The Album Here
The Red Robot – Memory
The Red Robot were the hottest thing to come out of Northern California. At least as far as I knew. Okay, okay. I didn't really know much, if anything, about that scene until I heard these Redding heavyweights. These guys played music in the vain of Fugazi, At The Drive-in, Drive Like Jehu, etc. The band played together for quite a long time and in that time garnered quite the loyal local following. Memory is the bands last album and their swan song if you will. It finds them continuing where they left off on their Self Titled album and has a feeling of a last record. It makes me really sad that The Red Robot called it quits. I wanted them to tour the states and be huge. They were a passionate group of guys who played really great music.
Download The Album Here
All Of Them Witches – Where’s The Song?
You can read my write up about this album here.
Download The Album Here
Dasha – Damned If We Do
You can read my write up about this album here.
Download The Album Here
Tailings – Self Titled
Tailings 2
You can read my write up about this album here.
Download The Album Here
Eyes Averted – Self Titled EP
You can read my write up about this album here.
Download The Album Here
As always, if you enjoy the music you’ve heard, please seek it out and buy it! I cant stress this enough!
Look forward to a follow up “2009 Honorable Mentions” blog, that will strictly be downloads without write ups of albums that didn't make the cut for whatever reason. Also, my deepest apologies for this being so late.