Top 5 Albums of 2009
Swooning girls since the dawn of time, John Mayer has reached what may be, in this day and age, considered something along the lines of artistic tenure. He’s done his time and is an A-list celebrity. That is exactly what makes this record so perfect. Mr. Mayer’s guitar work is more soulful and well structured than ever. His voice is perfect and the songs are catchy and intricate. It’s an album that really take some listening to hear the beauty of it all. Most of the tracks may come off boring and half-hearted, but once you really dig into them you hear so much more behind everything. I also can’t deny a good, soulful, blues based guitar solo. Not a perfect record, but one full of love and life.
Combining the best of The Big Dirty with Hot Damn and finally finding a good center between the two made NJA a great album. It’s heavy and punches you in the face, but is intelligent and eloquent in its own way. Keith Buckley rocks the mic harder than ever and his penmanship is just as genius as any other day of the week. A blood brilliant record in every way, and you can read my full review here.
Coming full circle since debut full-length Downtown Battle Mountain, DGD’s third record mellows out a bit and gives you a more party and relax feel than before. From the bright colored album artwork to the uptempo songs and major keys, each song is another day at another party for these guys. Kurt has finally fallen a little better into place and his voice feels a lot more at home on this record, and the tracks really bring out the technical abilities of Will and Zach more than their previous work. Great dueling lead lines throughout.
Max Bemis’ most recent work, aptly self-titled, is a great follow-up to what I would consider one of the worst sophomore slumps of In Defense (not counting SA’s ‘first’ full-length, Baseball, of course). The record really shows some maturation in Max and Co.’s musical abilities, but also retains the ironic humor throughout. The synth balled “Crush’d” is even a total win in my books. Couldn’t have been happier with the follow-up, and the record is catchy and inventive as hell.
I’m not sure whether it’s the five part harmonies, the upbeat indie-pop feel, or the general awesome musicianship that makes this my number one album of 2009, but I sure as hell know it is number one. It’s filled with awesome ditties about summer and love and happy things and it’s all wrapped up into some of the best musicianship I’ve heard in a long time and a voice that kills it. Truly an amazing debut with a lot of talent within its ranks.
Best Concert of 2009: Squash The Beef Tour
A perfectly titled tour for an amazing line-up of bands. Headlined by none other than Dance Gavin Dance and Emarosa with support by Tides Of Man, Of Machines and Of Mice & Men, the tour was a sure to go to for me this year. When I heard my two favorite bands were finally going to tour together, I knew it would be ridiculous. And of course Jonny (of Emarosa, formerly of Dance Gavin Dance) came out for a quick minute during “Lemon Meringue Tie”. Great performances from the opening bands, as well. I’m not big on OM&M, but at least they were into it and I can definitely respect that.