Wednesday, December 30, 2009

MRML's Under-Appreciated Albums that Rocked '09

To continue adding to the saturated market of best of lists, I'll add yet another dose of subjectivity with this one caveat: I chose albums which show drive, grit and passion and yet, too rarely grace typical best-of-the-year lists. Being a tad retro-minded may taint my list in some eyes but with all these nature-named bands and their delicate sound-sculptures dominating best-of lists someone's gotta highlight albums that kick ass - not just punk but driving country, folk, glam, power-pop, gospel, hell even an indie rock album if it shows some damn fortitude.

1. The Parasites (more here) Solitary
New Jerseyite Dave Parasite, a one-man force in pop-punk for decades waited till two-thousand-and-fucking-nine before releasing his best record, full of racing guitars and soaring tunes - score one for the late-starters!
Listen here
2. Ripchord Beginner's Luck
If I told you I'd discovered a band whose two greatest influences are the Kaiser Chiefs and the Housemartins would you run away or listen closely? Choose carefully...
Watch here

3. Those Darlins’ S/T
Always nice to have a funny, pretty and catchy country album on the list; even if gets a bit arch in spots.
Watch here

4. Houseboat The Delaware Octopus
The lame name (but netter than Barrakuda McMurder!) can't disguise the fact that Grath Madden, formerly of New York's Steinways is starting to grow up. Now backed by members of Dear Landlord and the Ergs, Grath's more musically developed songs show that his old cute self-loathing is veering towards self-disgust, ("everyone's fucked and alone" he sings on "Alonelylonelylone") which he still makes sound pretty appealing.
Listen here

5. Frank Turner (more here) Love, Ire & Song
An odd entry due to the Frank Turner Overdose on the net this year and this album being from 2008 but as the hype focused on the disappointing Poetry of the Deed and since Epitaph did release this wordy-but-wonderful folk-punk album in North America this year (though without the corrosive "Thatcher Fucked the Kids") and I need a "Dylan-was-a-punk" album of the year we will have to bend the space-time continuum just to the left.
Watch here

6. Used Kids Yeah No
Nato Coles (self-described as, "like Bob Mould, Howlin' Wolf, Paul Weller, Tom Waits, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Westerberg, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer, Mike Ness, the baritone guy from the Coasters, the slightly less baritone guy from the Coasters ... all rolled into one giant burrito." put out two heartland punk records this year and I'm giving this one the edge for the astounding ballad, "Desperate Times".
Listen here

7. Michael Roe (more here) We All Gonna face the Rising Sun
I've already raved to ridiculous degrees about this gos-pel ex-plosion, which is basically a one man condensation of the the Goodbye Babylon box set (the Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack would be a more widely known, if less accurate, comparison).
Listen here

8. The Leftovers (more here) Eager to Please
Another one I've spilled many words over, but how can you resist such sparkling power-pop melodies being given the pop-punk once over?
Watch here

9. TV Smith (more here) Live at NVA
Thirty songs hammered out by one skinny fifty-something balladeer with an acoustic guitar who'd sooner kick the shit out of James Taylor then confess his inner demons.
Watch here

10. The Takeover UK Running With the Wasters
The kind of swaggering egotistical glam-pop thievery that the British music press would usually salivates over, if the band wasn't from Pittsburgh - yup the Takeover UK are from steel-town.
Watch here

11. MewithoutYou It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright
Experimental post-hardcore band who, despite their roots is Sufism and Judaism record for Christian label Tooth and Nail, find the Neil Young and Sufjan Stevens within, thereby breaking all my stupid rules (it's even number eleven!) and make an album that when described sounds like a pretentious bag o' shit but in execution aches, shines and refuses to relent.
Watch here

Okay, MRML Readers, leave us a comment on our choices and then tell us your picks for the great album of '09.


  1. I just found out about the Houseboat album and the used kids last week but they are both awesome. I was actually record store hunting for both albums today and couldn't find them anywhere.

  2. There is no store in Winnipeg that stocks any new pop-punk. As far as most of the world is concerned this genre no longer exists. The world does not know what it's missing!

  3. Yeah, the record stores down here (Connecticut) are the same way. You might find the Ergs, and maybe one or two stragglers (I think I saw the Groucho Marxists "Manifesto" LP at a store once...), but that's about it.

    That being said, the Used Kids record is pretty good (check out the Radio Faces LP that came out on Art of the Underground, it's Nato from Used Kids and I think it's even better), though I'm not that into the House Boat record... and I'm a huge Steinways fan... the recording on it is too slick, the guitars don't buzz anymore except on a couple of tracks ("Are You Into Metal" and the one that goes, "everyday I wake up crying like a dumb little bitch")...

  4. Wow, what a great list. I love the Leftovers and Takeover UK. But, this is my first intro to the Ripchords. Talk about a goddam good band. Thanks for the heads up. This bodes well for 2010.

    Cheers, and Happy New Year.

  5. Brushback
    The lack of good record stores is so depressing. We have a local punk (read: political metal) store but they won't carry any of this sort of stuff. I found the final Ergs 12" there and asked them to order 20/20 and...nothing!
    As to Houseboat (originally "Are you into Metal" was destined for my best songs of 2009 post but then the album just grew on me. It helps that I was 100% let down by the 2nd Steinways album, I suppose...
    Speaking of my best songs of 2009 post, that's where I threw the Radio Faces (It was a tough call since the records are of pretty equal quality.)

    Mr. Sauve
    Glad to turn anyone onto these album and thanks for the entertaining mod-a-day feature!

  6. Jeff,

    That is what I miss most about working in a record store. I no longer have the ability to order in random records that may interest me.

  7. Well you could do what I did and start working part-time at a used record store and play the random albums that get sold ("Oooh that triple Fat Wreck-Chords box set...")


Thanks for clicking the COMMENTS link.
Now that you're here,I should mentions that
without reader feedback blogs slowly wither and die