With the end of the year seemingly approaching faster than a publicity-seeking "celebrity" exiting an Australian jungle, we decided to take-stock of 2009 and compile a wee list of our favourite albums for 2009.
So, not in no particular order, since this is a chart after all... is our top 10 for '09:
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
- It's been a busy year for Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, with her completing the soundtrack for the recent children's fantasy film 'Where the Wild Things Roam' as well as the band's March album 'It's Blitz'. A clear winner, receiving the lion's share of the votes, writer Andrew Lockwood had this to say: "A fantastic return to form, well worth the wait and a wake up call to all those new pretenders trying to emulate what is great about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs."
- Doves - Kingdom of Rust
- Our ever-so-slightly -bitter Mat Radbourne had this to say about Doves' fourth album: "The most under-rated band around? No doubt the best album of the year by a mile for me. Also best live performance of the year. The Doves' set list just gets better and better with this new material. Every track is strong. This should finally get them the acclaim they so deserve, but it wont!!"
- Manic Street Preachers - Journal for Plague Lovers
- Consistently voted in our writers' top five, Journal for Plague Lovers left Lucas Jones with this to say: "Using missing band-mate Richey Edwards' lyrics, this is classic Manics. The music that the band creates around the lyrics which are the backbone is just sheer brilliance, it stays true to the mood that Richey Edwards wanted and it creates the best rock album of the year."
- Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
- Leicester's Kasabian impressed Jane Hawkes with her commenting: "Kasabian's most diverse work to date, West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum is also their most complex. Modern and psychedelic in places, it needs more than one listen, but after dedicating the time to it, it beguiles you and sounds like nothing else around."
- Portico Quartet - Isla
- 2008 Mercury nominees, Portico Quartet were nominated for the top spot by Lucas Jones, and made Paul Pledger's list, who had this to say: "Four ex-buskers make the kind of jazz-album that isn't just jazz - it is also a soundtrack journey to the land of nape-hairs rising. Key Track: Life Mask."
- Arctic Monkeys - Humbug
- Could Arctic Monkeys' third opus receive the plaudits of their Mercury-winning debut 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not' and follow-up 'Favourite Worst Nightmare'? Well, the public reception has been varied, but made the number three spot on Joel Crowley's list, commenting: "Long gone is the indie pop numbers about taxi ranks and nightclub queues but that has to be a good thing when its replaced by the likes of the lurching Nirvana-esque opener of 'My Propeller' and the eerie rollercoaster ride that is 'Pretty Visitors'."
- Jamie T - Kings and Queens
- New boy Jamie T's debut 'Kings and Queens' left Mat Radbourne with this to say: "Frightening to think this guy is still only 23 years old! Best quote I read described him as 'like the bastard love-child of Billy Bragg and Mike Skinner doing his best Joe Strummer impression' how very true. "
- Morrissey - Years of Refusal
- Plastic bottle-dodger, and evictor of raucous fans, Morrissey, produced a respectable three albums for the 2000s, the latest being the widely-acclaimed 'Years of Refusal'. Making Lucas Jones and Mat Radbourne's number two spot, Lucas commented: "Morrissey is one of those artists that is idolized by fans in the same way Dylan or Lennon are. His lyrics are truly magnificent and he is a real wordsmith. Years of Refusal may not be Morrissey's best solo album, but he has proven time and again, he has lost none of his talent and he has and probably will always show he can still make good music despite hitting the creative peak with The Smiths."
- Muse - The Resistance
- The Resistance is Muse's much -anticipated fifth album, the follow-up to the rather nice 'Black Holes and Revelations'. Daniel O'Connell (that's me!) had this to say: "2006's 'Black Holes and Revelations' was a bit of a slow-burner for me - a slight disappointment in comparison to the sublime 'Absolution' but still an album which found its way onto my CD/ MP3 player a lot - mainly for the closer 'Knights of Cydonia'. The first single 'Uprising', provided us a taster of the new album, but didn't quite prepare me for the album. After the first play, I couldn't quite believe that there wasn't a Knights of Cydonia/ Hysteria/ Time is Running Out track to be found, so I played it again - five times in one day is a record for me. It's an album whose whole is greater than the sum of the parts - a classically-inspired piece (in parts), which needs to be played from beginning to end - no "shuffle" or skipping, please! In a word: sublime."
- Mumford and Sons - Sigh No More
- Newbie indie-folk quartet Mumford & Sons came out of leftfield for 2009, with their gigs selling-out and rave reviews for their top 40 debut album 'Sigh no More', with not a hint of any members appearing on any talent, reality TV or any other kind of commercial nonsense (what do you think of that, Mr Cowell?). Writer Francis Jolley had this to say: "When I first saw these boys in a sweaty tent at the Secret Garden Festival last year, I'd never have expected them to be on Radio 1 and especially having a top 20 album. With all the reality TV show crud it's nice that some pure, raw talent can still make its way into the charts."
There you have it - Yeah Yeah Yeahs officially top of the allgigs pops for 2009. Agree/ disagree - pop over to our facebook page to let us know (www.facbook.com/allgigs).
Honourable mentions to albums which were just pipped to a top 10 spot:
Maximo Park - Quicken The Heart
Jane Hawkes: "Maximo Park don't make bad songs. Ever. And Quicken the Heart is no exception. 12 tracks of honest and emotionally-charged lyrical pop genius from Paul Smith and the boys makes this my top album of 2009. BEAutiful!"
Richard Hawley - Truelove's Gutter
Paul Pledger: "Emotive and atmospheric music that has been beautifully crafted from Hawley's heart and soul. Key track: Don't You Cry."
The Horrors - Primary Colours
Joel Crowley: "The most immersive and complete record of the year."
The Leisure Society - The Sleeper
Adrian Philips: "Gorgeous, brittle and sweet with a bitter undercurrent. The best British album of the year and SHOULD have had a Mercury nomination. Nick Hemming is the UK's Paul Simon and if there is any justice they'll be huge! "
Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures
Paul Pledger: Truth is, on the strength of this belter of an album, they could probably start a foundation course for aspiring bands and no-hopers on how to conjure up riffs, energy and good old rock-songs, and retire to their own Pacific island with nubile young natives attending to their every whim, whilst counting their money for entertainment.
Most of these albums have been reviewed by allgigs - just click on the band name (above or in the sidebar to the right), to get the full low-down.