Let’s face it, 2009 probably won’t go down as a chart-topping year in most peoples book, however, we need to look at the bright spots. In amongst the seemingly never-ending stream of disturbing news this year, there were some great bands and some really great records. In Part 2 of our 2009 review we give a solid tip-of-the-hat to the winners of the following categories:
Best Debut Album: Major Label division –
No debut album from the majors impressed me as much as The Birth from Stardeath and White Dwarfs. These Oklahoma City guys embrace dense 70’s-influenced psychedelia along with the experimental tendencies of fellow Okies, the Flaming Lips, and crank out a modern version of psychedelic rock that feels both reverential and fresh.
Best Debut Album: Indie Division –
Top honors go to Real Estate for their self titled debut album. This record is gripping. I was drawn in from the beginning and I’ve listened to this regularly ever since. If you take the classic west coast pop sound and force it to spend the weekend in Atlantic City you’re left with a Jersey Shore pop sound. Real Estate give us an indie-rock blast of Jersey Shore pop on their debut and it’s fantastic.
Favorite Reissue of 2009
There were a lot of nice reissues this year. Many great records were released in expanded editions, some were released on LP for the first time or saw their first vinyl pressing in many years, sometimes decades. You can make arguments for the remastered editions of the Beatles catalog, Nirvana’s Bleach, the repressings of the Sigur Ros catalog, or even the reissue of Animal Collective’s early records. For my money, the reissue of the Stone Roses‘ first album is the hands down winner. Typically remastering is nice, but hardly earth-shattering. This is a different case. I’ve listened to the Stone Roses classic 1989 record countless times and never complained about the quality of the sound. Then, I heard the reissue. The album was a classic in its original form and it is even better now. If you love this record please do yourself a favor and upgrade.