Keeney's Favorites of 2010

Here's my list along with a playlist of selected tracks from this top 20:
http://rhap.com/mp.147358052
(in reverse order)

1 Yeasayer Odd Blood
2 LCD Soundsystem This is Happening
3 Ok Go Of the Blue Colour of the Sky
4 Ray Lamontagne & the Pariah Dogs God Willin' & The Creek Wont Rise
5 Hot Chip One Life Stand
6 Vampire Weekend Contra
7 The Black Keys Brothers
8 Johnny Cash American VI: Ain't No Grave
9 Belle & Sebastian Belle & Sebastian Write about Love
10 Kings of Leon Come Around Sundown
11 Rogue Wave Permalight
12 Jimi Hendrix Valleys of Neptune
13 Eminem Recovery
14 Broken Bells Broken Bells
15 B.O.B. B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray
16 The National High Violet
17 Band of Horses Infinite Arms
18 Spoon Transference
19 Arcade Fire The Suburbs
20 MGMT Congratulations

A couple thoughts....I've become more mainstream for sure....perhaps its due to KEXP not being clear at my home, perhaps its due my reliance on Rhapsody for my choice for tunes(whereby I lazily settle for latest/greatest or playlists I created ages ago) and perhaps I am just getting softer.
Regardless, YeaSayer/LCD were hands down the best of the year....I don't know what it is about Yeasayer but they are like some sorta mixed cocktail with a few pills thrown in, you have no idea on ingredients but it just works.  Ray/Vampire Weekend followed up with solid releases, not as good as prior, but solid with an S.  Same can be said for Kings of Leon, Black Keys, Belle & Sebastian, The National, Band of Horses, MGMT.....all producing good albums that way not be as strong as their previous releases but solid enough to hit this list.

Johnny Cash & Hendrix both jumped in as I found a re-found appreciation for their music and these albums in particular.   Not something I think of first to play, but good.
Saw both Eminem and B.o.B at VMAs this year and have to admit these two albums were my guilty pleasures of the year.   
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The Podcast Cafe's Favorite Music of 2009

Top 10 Favorite Albums of 2009
The xx, Phoenix, Iron & Wine, Miike Smith, Neko Case & the Japandroids receive valuable multiple vote-points in annual renowned world-famous poll of the SBWS tastemakers -- Nirvana roars back, P. Jam snoozes and Big Debate over Wilco (The Album)



DJ Fundi:

Fever Ray's "Fever Ray"
Welder's "Vines and Streams"
The xx's "xx"
Heyoka's "Gate Code"
Cymbals Eat Guitars' "Why There Are Mountains"
The Cave Singers' "Welcome Joy"
Built to Spill's "There is No Enemy"
Dirty Projectors' "Bitte Orca"
Tinariwen's "Imidiwan"
ill.gates' "Autopirate"

A mix of genres served in good proportion: electronica/whomp/dub (4), guitar rock (2), weird folk (1), avant-garde pop (2) and African (1). Very pleased with each one of these and expect to listen to them for the ages. Most of the artists are brand new to me, so maybe I'm still in the honeymoon phase? Built to Spill is the only oldie but goodie to me, and I was stoked to hear Doug & Co. roar back with a solid album full of beauty, heartache and soaring guitar solos.

Honorable mentions:

Sonic Youth's "The Eternal"
"5: 5 Years of Hyperdub" compilation
Andras Schiff's "Bach: Six Partitas"
Neko Case's "Middle Cyclone"
DJ/Rupture's "Solar Life Raft"
Nosaj Thing's "Drift"
The Mountain Goats' "The Life of the World to Come"
Iron & Wine's "Around the Well"
Yim Yames "Tribute To George Harrison"
Bon Iver "Blood Bank"
"Dark was the Night" compilation

Most Disappointing:

Pearl Jam's "Backspacer"
To my ears, the blandest and most predictable album they've ever made -- I tried very hard to like it. Still love the boys but most of this this just sounds limp and plodding and too predictable. Instead of Backspacer, check out the band playing ferociously in peak form in 1994 at Wolfgang's Vault -- one of the best, most energetic and passionate rock performances ever, methinks.
Wilco's "Wilco (The Album)"
Not a bad album per se, only that Wilco has set the bar so damn high for themselves and I was over this one after 2 or 3 listens.
Bob Dylan "Together Through Life"
Ditto Dylan -- the first average album after a decade of amazing late-period releases.

Listen to a free podcast featuring much of the music listed above on the
main Podcast Cafe episodes page.

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Dub Marcus "K-Pop" Keeney:

Top 15 in somewhat order -- (parenthese is a good track to check out)

The xx - The xx - (crystalized)
Julian Casablancas - Phrazes for the Young (Out of the blue)
Japandroids - Post-Nothing (The boys are leaving town)
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Lisztomania)
Bombay Bicycle Club - I had the blues but shook them loose (What If)
St. Vincent - Actor - (marrow)
Wilco - Wilco (wilco - the song)
Tegan and Sara - Sainthood  -(alligator)
The Avett Brothers -   I and Love and You- (I and Love and You)
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone   (this tornado loves you)
The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love (The Hazards of Love Pt1)
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion  - (My Girls)
Miike Snow - Miike Snow   (animal)
U2 - No Line on the Horizon (Magnificent)
Vieux Farka Toure - Fondo    (sarama)
 
Honorable mention

The Big Pink, Atlas Sound, Amadou & Mariam, brakesbrakesbrakes, Robyn Hitchcock (Live in NY I often dream of trains)
 
Couple comments
Japandroids is just pure post-punk, there is just something about this album that makes we want to grab a smashing stick and go to work, but not with anger, rather pure joy and a smile on my face.
The Decemberists album deserves the full listen with headphones, not single tracks, for it is what I would dub Storybook Folk at its best. 
Animal Collective is somewhere between ...And you will know us by the trail of the dead...and pink floyd.  So many layers in their songs I get lost and love it.
The Avett Brothers - Many of you know my long standing obstinance to country (and hesh too but that is a different story) but this album is just great song writing, plus I am a sucker for a banjo (The January Wedding.)
Neko Case has now entered my pantheon of female singers that make me swoon.  She is a mix of Tracy Thorn and Margo Timmins.
Phoenix - admitedly I am a little tired of this album nowadays, but I couldn't get enough when this first came out early in the year. Great pop that makes my bouncing leg step it up a notch.
Bombay Bicycle Club - ditto - these guys have to be fantastic live. 
Miike Snow - where they hell did they come from? Some Nordic country that Dille will have to affirm but do give them a listen, I promise you will want to stand up and march.
U2 - I know Bono's crooning can be a bit much but there are a number of tracks on this album that harken back to the glory days (Joshua Tree) mostly due to the Edge.  Definitely my guilty pleasure of the year.
Vieux Farka Toure - just like his father, this reverb fender hypnotizes me and is pure brilliance in my opinion.

Don't take my word on any of this, listen for yourself:
http://www.rhapsody.com/myrhapsody/playlists?playlistid=mp.139569964

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The Internationally Renowned Boaster:

This has been a tricky year to come up with a top 10. There are tons of really good new releases but none that I felt were far and away better than the rest. The most epic of all was the Nirvana live album. Even some that are in my top 10 I don't see being on my regular rotation like so many top 10's in the past.  As evidence to this point, in the KEXP top 90.3 albums of the decade only two were from 2009.  Some of my favorite '09 releases do not even qualify as new albums (one live, two  b-side comps and one EP).   I even went back through many of the "consensus" top albums to make sure I wasn't just in some strange socialistic music rut where everything is equal. I still don't get the fascination with Merriweather post pavilion.  Very few releases were completely solid from the first song to the last.  Too many had what I would call filler. Another example, Mos Def's "Ecstatic" has some great songs but also has some pure cheese. Anyway, before you call bullshit on my entire "2009 -the year of parody" theory, have a gander at what wheat I have separated from the chaff, in no specific order:
 
Japandroids - post nothing (I new it was special when 80% of the people I turned on to it hated it.)
Julian Plenti - Julian Plenti is....Skyscraper
The xx-xx
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Its Blitz
Nirvana - Live at Redding (this I will be listening to for the rest of my life)
Iron and Wine - Around the Well
Shabazz Palaces - Of Light
Staff Bebda Bilili - Tres Tres fort
Amadou and Miriam - Welcome to Mali
Miike Snow -Miike Snow
Modest Mouse - No One's First and You're Last
 
I am not going to give any honorable mentions as that could include countless credible albums. I will say that I do agree with K-Pop that the Decemberists latest is worthy, specifically the "Wanting Comes In Waves" track. 
 
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UPDATE: late entry by Mr. Kevin Koga
 
Steinski-What Does it All Mean
James Pants-Welcome
El Michels Affair-Enter the 37th Chamber
Major Lazer- Guns Don’t Kill People Lazers Do
Ben Sollee- Learning to Bend
K’Naan- album
Diplo- Decent Work for Decent Pay
Raphael Saadiq- The Way I See It
Common- Universal Mind Control
Tom Waits- Glitter and Doom

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Did we miss anything? Leave
your favorite albums of 2009 in the comments. Peace.
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