Sound-Revolution Top 50 Tracks of 2009
2009 has certainly been a refreshing year for music, big names Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian releasing hyped albums, while new kids The xx and Wild Beasts made their mark on the British music scene. Needless to say, some acts were more pleasing than others. Whether it was 80’s sounds from uprising bands or innovative attempts from big names, 2009 has been a year of some brilliant new music and plenty of uncreative dross. Sound-Revolution explores the best 50 tracks of the past year.
Wavves – So Bored
California based lo-fi band, Wavves have made an impact this year. For a band formed in 2009, ‘So Bored’ is one of the most original and creative tracks of the year. Debut album Wavvves has been a great success for Nathan Williams, with help from touring assistant Ryan Ulsh, and of course, a little bit of Pitchfork exposure…
Jamie T – Sticks ‘n’ Stones
A catchy, remeniscent song about British culture. Jamie Treays ‘ 2009 album Kings and Queens was subject to critical acclaim, Sticks ‘n’ Stones being the stand-out track. Who can really argue with a song that tells a story through an up-tempo summer-time party track?
Muse – Uprising
2009 marked the year of The Resistance for Muse, a big-name band experimenting with new styles. The Resistance, despite varied critical response, was a pretty successful and solid album, regardless of a change in style. The futuristic sounds of Uprising, the album opener, definately deserves a place in the top 50.
Röyksopp – Happy Up Here
Short but sweet. Happy Up Here, as implied, is one of the most cheerful and uplifting tracks of the year… if not the decade. The Norwegian duo certainly know how to make a varied album, 2009 release Junior is a diverse electronic album, filled with ambient, chillout and uplifting tracks.
Paramore – Ignorance
Paramore are by no means a new band, however, 2009 has seen Halyley Williams and co. gain a very healthy fan base. Twilight‘s impact on their success, with it’s cult following of teenage girls has certainly transferred to the band’s success, however, shouldn’t be taken away from the success of brand new eyes.
HEALTH – Die Slow
Noise rock band HEALTH released Get Color in September. It gained a good reception from all major online critics, including Metacritic and Drowned In Sound. The eccentric sound of HEALTH is an example of the truly refreshing music of 2009.
Editors – Papillon
The idea of Editors going electronic, understandably left many fans left slightly skeptical surrounding the outcome of Editors 2009 album release, In This Light and On This Evening. As ever, when a typically indie band follows trend and tries an electronic-esque style, response is varied; however, Papillon proves that a switch in style can certainly be perfected.
Gallows – Misery
Hardcore punk kings, Gallows, are at the forefront of the British hardcore scene, and the release of 2009 album Grey Britain helped keep the five-piece on top of the game. Vocalist, Carter, wrote Misery when he was at his ‘lowest ebb’. The breakdown and downright instrumental aggresson puts this super-heavy track nicely in the top 50.
Golden Silvers – True Romance
Light hearted alternative rock makes great listening, and this debonair trio know exactly how to create mellow, warming music. The 70’s disco style of several songs throughout True Romance, including the album titled track gives the song a nostalgic, yet positive sound. An up-beat, serene track that’s enough to place a smile on any face.
Jay Z + Alicia Keys – Empire State of Mind
Jay-Z is without a doubt one of the biggest names in rap, and The Blueprint 3 is an album packed with great production and plenty of renowned guest vocals. The Blueprint 3 is a great universal album, less cultured than the majority of rap, opening Jay Z’s music to a wider audience who can appreciate and absorb the great vibes of tracks such as Empire State of Mind.
Frank Turner – The Road
The Road is a great acoustic folk record from UK solo artist Frank Turner. Since starting out in 2001, Frank Turner has gradually built up a solid fan base, focusing on a genre of music that gets little exposure. The first single release from Poetry of the Deed has recieved recognition from the likes of Radio1 and NME
2562 – Lost
2009 has been a great year for dubstep, bringing the genre to the attention of the UK audience, as well as the likes of US hip-hop stars, Snoop Dogg and The Wu-Tang Clan. 2562 is situated in Amsterdam, a greatly talented dubstep producer with an incredible album, Unbalance.
Placebo – Ashtray Heart
2009 has been a great year for Placebo. The three-piece had success with their latest album Battle For The Sun, with the replacement drummer, Steve Forrest, and a successful UK tour including Reading and Leeds Festivals. Ashtray Heart, was the original name of the band, and now also a great single.
Grammatics – Relentless Fours
This four-piece from Leeds have proven themselves in 2009. Grammatics are a band that clearly understand music; their self-titled album is lyrically and instrumentally complex and dynamic – a musical journey. Touring with Bloc Party has given them great exposure. Relentless Fours is a beautifully crafted six minutes of orchestral indie rock.
Dan Black – Symphonies
2008 first gave way to Dan Black, after his previous band The Servant split up. Dan Black went on to create HYPNTZ, a mash up of Rihanna and Notorious B.I.G. 2009 saw the release of the solo pop artist’s debut album Un, still waiting on significant success, Dan Black is a great electropop artist.
Biffy Clyro – That Golden Rule
Released ahead of November release, Only Revolutions, That Golden Rule let fans know that the forthcoming album was going to be speical. The distinctively heavy sound of That Golden Rule and powerful guitar riff makes it a great alternative rock track.
Dirty Projectors – Stillness Is The Move
Dirty Projectors’ 2009 release, Bitte Orca has recieved an insane amount of critical acclaim. End of year lists including the likes of Pitchfork have placed this album in the top 5 of the year. Stillness Is The Move is the most pop-orientated track from the album, surrounding the fear and comfort of ‘settling-down’.
Green Day – East Jesus Nowhere
2009 album release, 21st Century Breakdown was one of the big artist releases of the year. With a huge tracklist of 18 tracks, the likliness of a few great songs was high – East Jesus Nowhere was one of these. With a a heavy opening guitar riff and powerful chorus this is the Green Day we know well.
Enter Shikari – Zzzonked
Enter Shikari have enjoyed 2009, the year of their second album, Common Dreads, and a large-scale UK tour. Zzzonked illustrates the band’s continued desire to cause musical havoc, on top of their newly emphasised political stance.
Duck Sauce – AnYway
The electro-house soundtrack to the summer of 2009. The collaberation of Duck Sauce, A-Trak and Armand Van Helden, brought us a funky house track remeniscent of 80’s disco. Hopefully Duck Sauce will be a project that continues throughout 2010.
Muse – Unnatural Selection
The mid-album track on The Resistance, Unnatural Selection, contrasts in many ways to the rest of the release. Less innovative than the rest of the album, Unnatural Selection is a raw sounding typical Muse track; fast-paced guitar riffs, powerful vocals and an epic breakdown.
The Ghost of a Thousand – Bright Lights
The follow up to the band’s debult album; This Is Where The Fight Begins, brought us a heavier sound than we were used to, but certainly not a disappointing one. New Hopes, New Demonstrations is one of the best metal albums of the year, by a band that are still overlooked despite recognition from Q and Kerrang.
The Skints – Culture Vulture
Still practically unheard of, The Skints have released an amazingly powerful reggae punk album this year. Only recieving recogntion from Sound-Revolution and Punktastic, Live.Breathe.Build.Believe is a politically relevant and musically sublime debut album, that could potentially open-up a genre to a whole new audience.
The Dead Weather – Treat Me Like Your Mother
Alternative rock group, The Dead Weather, is a supergroup, featuring Alison Mosshart, Jack White, Dean Fertita and Jack Lawrence. Along with one of the best music videos of 2009, Treat Me Like Your Mother, is a lyrically powerful track, with raw sounding, garage rock elements.
Sonic Boom Six – The Concrete We’re Trapped Within (It’s Yours)
Sample-tastic City of Thieves, is a political punk-rock album. The five-piece (after vocalist and guitarist Ben Childs recently left the band) have made great progress this year. For a band differing so greatly from commercial and mainstream punk, SB6 have played a UK tour and even got the opening slot at Reading and Leeds festivals.
The Prodigy – Take Me To The Hospital
Invaders Must Die was without a doubt one of the most energetic, rave albums of 2009. Take Me To The Hosptail is an electronic, breakbeat anthem, and a track within an album that will surely be played in years to come. A host of fantastic live performances at festivals across the world helped place this track in the top 50.
Them Crooked Vultures – No One Loves Me & Neither Do I
The second super group in the top 50 is Them Crooked Vultures. Some of the biggest names in music including Josh Homme and Dave Grohl form the alternative hard rock group, and regarding the ridisculously high expectations from music fans, Them Crooked Vultures delivered, with an album filled with instrumental talent.
The Drums – I Felt Stupid
Brooklyn based duo, The Drums, were named “New York’s official Collest New Band” by NME, on top of recogniton from Rolling Stone and The New York Times. 2009 saw the release of The Drums’ debut EP, and with NME’s seal of approval we can expect to see these contageous indie rockers visit the UK in 2010.
Miike Snow – Animal
Swedish electropop group Miike Snow have recieved great amounts of exposure this year, with two greatly recieved singles, Animal and Black and Blue, both tracks from the debut, self-titled album. With band members producing tracks for the likes of Britney, Kylie and Madonna, the high standard production levels are to be expected.
Mumford & Sons – Little Lion Man
Indie folk outfit, Mumford & Sons, started up in 2007, and 2009 and has seen the release of debut album, Sign No More and ever-more popular track, Little Lion Man. Indie folk is rather different to the majority of tracks that gain commercial success, but this powerful folk song has offered a refreshing outlook on music for many listeners.
Alexisonfire – Young Cardinals
Alexisonfire are one of the biggest names behind the Post-hardcore tag, 2009 release, Old Crows Young Cardinals, re-enforcing their stature. The powerful vocals of Dallas Green and harsher vocals of George Pettit create tracks of melodic chaos.
Dizzee Rascal – Bonkers
Dizzee Rascal has taken the hip-hop scene by storm this year, with the release of his latest album Tounge N’ Cheek. Numerous releases including Bonkers contain elements of house and electro, forming an album full of party-perfect tracks. Previously focusing on rap and grime, Dizzee’s turn to pop has resulted in a great year of success.
Passion Pit – The Reeling
US five-piece, Passion Pit, have reached out to the world with their electro-indie 2009 release, Manners. Catching on to the flow of electro influenced indie that emerged from the UK in early 2009, Passion Pit were successful in delivering a fresh sound to the UK and Europe with tracks such as The Reeling.
The Horrors – Scarlet Fields
The bizzarre sounds of Primary Colours immediately grabbed the interest of the UK audience in April 2009. The horror-punk sounds of Scarlet Fields delivers a sound similar to no other band, making it without a doubt one of the most original tracks of the year.
The Big Pink – Too Young To Love
Electro-rock duo, The Big Pink, are known for gritty beats and dreamy vocals. 2009 album release, A Brief History of Love, showcased The Big Pink’s talents to create epic sounding, abstract tracks, and earned them the place of sole support for Muse’s The Resistance tour.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero
Electro-pop group, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, have made their impact on pop music this year with the release of their album, It’s Blitz! The American bands third album has been listed in the top 5 best albums of 2009 by Spin and NME. The three-piece have transferred their music over to the UK audience through appearing at various music festivals.
Animal Collective – My Girls
Late 2009 has seen a great amount of critical praise head in the way of New York, experimental indie group, Animal Collective. The release of Merriweather Post Pavilion has really captured the European audience with its addictive melodies. My Girls has been voted the #1 track of 2009 by Pitchfork.
Metric – Help I’m Alive
Metric are one of the most addictive bands of 2009. The release of their fourth album, Fantasies, has been shortlisted for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize. The band is lead by the female vocals of Emily Haines, with simplistic lyrics and riffs that will stay in the memory.
The Antlers – Kettering
One of the most beautiful bands of the year, The Antlers have come out of nowhere with an album that has crossed the world in no time at all. Pitchfork initially outlined the greatness of their album Hospice, an album fronted by truly incredible vocals from Peter Silberman. Hospice is an album that every listener should give a chance.
Bat For Lashes – Daniel
The chillingly beautiful Daniel by Bat For Lashes is the fronting single from 2009 album, Two Suns. Hertfordshire based Natasha Khan uses her voice over dreamy and orchestral instrumentals with a solid beat pattern, creating a rythmic and glamorous end product.
The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition
Indie rock band hailing from Melbourne, The Temper Trap, have delievered a contageous and elegant debut album. 2009 album Conditions is full of catchy, fun anthems, fronted by the powerful falsetto vocals of Dougy Mandagi. Sweet Disposition is a powerful single that has captured them a great deal of positive attention.
F**k Buttons – Surf Solar
This two-piece experimental duo have released an oddly danceable, abstract, album. Tarot Sport is an album of up-beat electronic tracks, busily produced offering a distorted sound, while maintaing positive melodies. Surf Solar is a highly abstract track that in all its complexity is suprisingly very listenable.
Wave Machines – I Go, I Go, I Go
The feel-good track of 2009, I Go, I Go, I Go, is an all-year happy track, that through its simple yet powerful vibes is enough to turn anybody’s day around. Wave If You’re Really There is a simplistic album full of memorable indie tracks from the Liverpool based Wave Machines.
White Lies – Fairwell To The Fairground
2008 saw White Lies gain some large scale recognition with To Lose My Life… their debut album release. 2009 release, Fairwell To The Fairground, is an epic indie track, with powerful vocals and an incredible breakdown, “keep on running, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home”. White Lies are a band that everyone can’t wait to see more from in 2010.
The Horrors – Mirror’s Image
The hauntingly dark Mirror’s Image is the opening track from The Horror’s 2009 critically acclaimed album Primary Colours. Mirror’s Image creates a mood that persists throughout the entirety of an incredible album that subverts the sounds of generic indie rock, replacing it with sinister horror punk.
Wild Beasts – Hooting & Howling
Kendal based Wild Beasts released their 2009 album Two Dancers in August. Two Dancers has been subject to a great amount of critical acclaim from almost all major critics, Hooting & Howling being the first single release. Wild Beasts are a very powerful band who are vocally sublime, with equally excellent lyrics.
Phoenix – 1901
French indie-rockers, Phoenix, have released a stunning 2009 album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. With incredible, catchy tracks such as 1901, and Lisztomania, along side down-beat instrumentally beautiful tracks; Love Like A Sunset Part 1 and Part 2 – it’s difficult not to be admirable of the success Phoenix have had over the past year.
Kasabian – Underdog
West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum was one of the most hyped albums of 2009, but regardless of the wait Kasabian fans had between Empire and the 2009 release – it was definately worth it. Underdog is an indie anthem from one of the biggest names in British rock, thanks to an incredible year of remarkable live and studio music.
Florence + The Machine – Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)
One of the most successful groups of the year, Florence + The Machine, have released a brilliant debut album, Lungs. The album has been in the UK charts for 22 consecutive weeks, and that on top of a host of amazing festival performances marks them as one of the best breakthrough acts of 2009. Florence Welch seems pessimistic about her future music career, but new material anywhere close to the spectacular sound of Lungs will only further excel the groups reputation.
The xx – Islands
Sound-Revolution‘s breakthrough band of 2009, The xx, have imposed themselves on the UK music scene this year. Practically unheard of in January, debut album release xx resulted in huge-scale critical acclaim, with incredible amounts of backing from BBC Radio1. xx is an extremely mellow album, with experiemental melodies and electronic aspects. The sound of The xx is very minimalistic, but its simplicity has acted as a refreshing change from the generic sounds of alternative rock; illustrating how bands can be successful when they strip down elements of their music and simply focus on the raw, simple sounds. It will certainly be interesting to witness how The xx’s music evolves in 2010.