[Photo by Ivan Jones]
Sorry to break it to you, blogosphere, but we just don’t believe in lists anymore. They’re just so arbitrary, and a couple mouse clicks away from being obsolete, you know?
That’s why we decided to give you a completely random rundown of our favorite ’09 releases–because it’s not as predictable or pointless as an argument over “who’s No. 1 this year, Dirty Projectors or Animal Collective?” Be sure to watch out for a second set of s/t-endorsed records before the clock strikes 12 on Thursday night.
The Vibe: Tomorrow’s dubstep today.
RIYL: Intercepted space stations; traces of techno; feeling a bit wonky
The Vibe: New York’s ‘loudest band’ learns how to bark without losing their bite.
RIYL: Strobe lights; jet packs; hazy hooks
- WAVE OF MUTILATION: Oliver Ackermann Shares His Kevin Shields-Endorsed Guitar Pedals
- 1MM: A Place to Bury Strangers Claim “Head” Casualties at Bowery Ballroom
- SIREN FEST SPOTLIGHT: A Place to Bury Strangers Beat the Living Shit Out of Their Gear Without Actually Breaking Anything
The Vibe: A reason to redefine “ethereal,” Merriam-Webster be damned.
RIYL: Kate Bush (with lasers!) at the Planetarium; unicorns; BjÃ¶rk, before she started dating Matthew Barney
- I WAS THERE: Bat For Lashes’ Bowery Ballroom Show Makes Us Believe In a World Without BjÃ¶rk
- BUY IT: Bat For Lashes
- PEEP SHOW: Johan Renck Reveals All About Bat For Lashes’ “Karate Kid”-Cribbing “Daniel” Video
The Vibe: A 3-D album for the post-Avatar age.
RIYL: Genesis’ Peter Gabriel era; prog-rock suites; surround sound
- A QUICK TALK WITH BEAR IN HEAVEN ABOUT … Stealing Sarah Palin Fans, Confusing Charlie Gibson, and Being a Proud Southerner Without Resorting to Lynyrd Skynyrd References
The Vibe: The beginning of a beautifully-damaged relationship.
RIYL: Leather-bound poetry/philosophy books; rough sex; the real dark shit
The Vibe: A moonlit, manic depressive foil to Glass Candy, the fulltime gig of producer/multi-instrumentalist Johnny Jewel.
RIYL: French Canadians with a story to tell; the dark side of the disco ball; driving until the sun comes up
The Vibe: Art-rock godfathers uncover secret acid stash, gobble every…last…tab right in front of Karen O and MGMT.
RIYL: Kraut-rock crib sheets; double LPs worth their weight in vinyl; Flaming Lips songs that don’t need distractions like fake blood and man-sized plastic bubbles
- THE S/T INTERVIEW: Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips
- S/T Survived … The Front Row of a ‘Christmas On Mars’ Screening
- LIB SERVICE: The Flaming Lips
The Vibe: Speaking of Kate Bush…
RIYL: Getting smacked by scorned women; Lilith Fair with a Lollapalooza ’94 mentality; the NME getting things right for once
The Vibe: Literal love-songs and hang-out anthems from the year’s most fascinating cult-reared songwriter.
RIYL: Parachuting your mom’s Wellbutrin; Soul Asylum’s â€œRunway Trainâ€; the idea of Marc Bolan covering This Year’s Model
- PARENTAL ADVISORY: S/T Lets Mom and Dad Review New Music by Islands, Ducktails, Girls, Japandroids, The Drums and YACHT
The Vibe: Mind-crumbling aggression delivered with a destroy/build/destroy pathos.
RIYL: Trent Reznor’s co-sign; angst with balls; self-titled cover stories
- THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT: ST005 Cover Story
- PARENTAL ADVISORY: S/T Lets Mom and Dad Review New Music By St. Vincent, Phoenix and HEALTH
The Vibe: A day/night diptych saluting Germany’s kosmiche and techno legacies.
RIYL: Peter Kruder productions; gratuitous Diddy banter; actin’ slutty for party photographers
The Vibe: New York’s finest dance label breeds its very own shiny-skinned Human League.
RIYL: Glow-stick necklaces; sweating through your jeans; the impeccable, propulsive kitwork of the late Jerry Fuchs
The Vibe: Crust punks, metalheads and hipsters call a truce in the name of one killer album, then proceed to punch one another in the face because they simply can’t help it.
RIYL: Hydra-headed drummers; psychedelic sludge; metal that could only come from below the Mason-Dixon Line
- FREE ASSOCIATION: Kylesa Shares the Stories Behind Our Favorite Metal Album of the Year
- FLOOR PUNCH: The View From the Pit of Kylesa’s First Basement Show in Forever
- BUY IT: Kylesa
The Vibe: Animal Collective before dad started blasting Merriweather Pavilion in his Ford pickup.
RIYL: Hippies who leave the patchouli at home; weekend getaways; taking a hit of this
The Vibe: Mainstream metal’s freakiest band learns how to sing, loses their mind down a bottomless rabbit hole.
RIYL: Rasputin references; maimed melodies; Jim Beam and Jameson
- 1MM: Mastodon Lose Us At Hello, But Hey, At Least Their Visuals Are Bad Ass
- FORGET THE ALBUM: Mastodon Ponders the Legacy of Edible Underwear and Furry Handcuffs, Serenades Us With Journey
The Vibe: A reason to believe in all that ‘chillwave’ nonsense.
RIYL: Night lights; ecstatic sunshine; to move it, move it
The Vibe: A long day’s journey into night.
RIYL: Kubrick; pawn shop synths; flashbacks to your sixth grade science class
The Vibe: Twee as fuck.
RIYL: Gossip Girl reruns; pajama parties; frontmen who insist on singing falsetto
The Vibe: The first truly-listenable LP from those guys in the robes.
RIYL: Black hole suns; Merlot-pounding druids; watching ‘critics’ suddenly care about ‘drone-metal’
- JUST A LITTLE PATIENCE: The Sunn O))) Interview
- S/T Survived … Smoke Machines, Laser Claws, A Howling Hungarian and 90 Minutes of Relentless Riffage at Sunn O)))’s Masonic Temple Show
- FREE ASSOCIATION: Sunn O)))
The Vibe: ‘Art rock’ that’s so much more than that.
RIYL: Acquired tastes; threatening one’s masculinity; Rimbaud