Cementing The Seams

The Plot Sickens


 With 2009 wrapped up tight, what else is there to do but look forward to 2010?  Recall, reminisce, and lionize 2009 you say?  Well, I'm sure there will be more of that as well.  But for now, let's see what's on the horizon and not worry so much about validating everything that's already old.  Also, you might notice that I've chosen to include "pt. 1" in the title of this post.  "Pt. 2" may never happen, but every post is a "pt.1" when you think about it.  So let's not get hung up on details in case "pt. 2" doesn't happen until July, or January...  Anyhow, enough introductory nonsense, let's get this show on the road and just start with next fucking year already.  And what better way to kick it off than with...

Dolcim - These ex-members of Cease Upon The Capitol have already posted 3 new songs on their myspace and will follow up their 2009 LP "Guillotine Ride" with a cassette version of the same album, a 4-way split LP with Men As Trees (among others), a new full-length LP released by React With Protest and, hopefully very soon, a split 7" with...

Hammers - The UK crust outfit will actually release their next 12" EP titled "Orogeny" before the year is through (maybe).  You can pre-order it from them right now, and if you do you'll get a limited color jacket and record. You can also listen to the whole thing on their myspace. Awesome.  In addition to their planned 7" release with Dolcim (and a TON of other stuff) they are supposed to do a split LP with fellow crust punks...

Alpinist - These guys will follow up "Minus.Mensch" with the split LP with Hammers and hopefully a bunch more.  They tentatively plan to forego touring in February and March to write and record the new tunes.  Hopefully that isn't all they've got planned because these guys have got huge potential.  Also of note are their one-time tour mates (who's only release is a split with Alpinist)...

INTOBLACKMIRROR - More really promising German crust punkers, evidently releasing a full-length LP and split EP with Mount Logan.  And in case you guys haven't had enough hardcore from across the pond, you might want to check out...

Kaddish - Probably the most popular UK screamo band that hasn't released a formal album, Kaddish have been working on their LP for quite a while.  Evidently it is ready to be released some time in 2010, and if the demo songs they have recorded are any indication, it should be something to get excited about.  But enough hardcore, remember when I talked about...

Medications - Easily the best news that I've heard recently is that this DC band have finished recording their new album "Completely Removed" and it's slated to be released on Dischord Records in April.  Unfortunately the drummer they had on their first 2 releases has left the band, but I'm not discouraged. If you've been following for a while, you've probably realized I said some of this before.  It's about to happen again, because I have to mention...

Pilot To Gunner - Just a reminder, this New York indie-rock group has been out of commision since 2004, but in 2010 hopefully we'll see some long overdue (in my opinion) output from PTG.  They've got 2 new songs up on their myspace (and a lot of spam too!).

And that's it for now, look for part 2 sometime in the near future, or not.

I didn't write as much as I would have liked to this year.  In fact, I didn't listen to nearly as much music as I would have liked this year, and I'm not sure I know why.  I posted just about everything that I found was good, noteworthy, or otherwise warranted mention from this year, and can say with a measure of certainty that the stuff I posted in 2009 was the best I heard.  Still, there are a few memorable things that slipped through the cracks:

Tigers Jaw - Spirit Desire EP:  If the three songs in addition to the title track were total garbage, this EP will have still made onto this list, because "Spirit Desire" is just that good.  Luckily the other songs are acceptable and Tigers Jaw delivered on a pretty hefty hype-load garnered by their self-titled debut.


Portraits Of Past - Cypress Dust Witch:  I avoided posting this record earlier this year due to concern from the label that released it, who didn't want it leaked (not that posting it here would have had any impact on it's digital distribution).  Anway, a lot of people were caught offguard when screamo pioneers Portraits Of Past decided to reunite and release a new record in 2009.  They did not disappoint with Cypress Dust Witch and did what Portraits Of Past does, testing the waters and pushing the limits of what screamo is supposed to sound like.  Still. 15 years later.

The Gifted Children - One Clear Minute: Volume 01:  Ok, I promise, this is the last time (probably).  I've alluded to this EP like 10 times already and after all that I still feel the need to cover it.  9 songs, all under 1 minute long, all great.  Of all the good stuff these guys have done this year, this is my favorite.  I can't wait for them to do it again, 4 more times.

Jawbox - For Your Own Special Sweetheart (reissue):  In an effort to avoid sounding like a J. Robbins fanboy (which I am) I have to date not written about anything he's directly involved in.  But I can't NOT say something about this.  FYOSS is a cornerstone of the DC sound, and one the best albums ever, so when it was announced that Dischord and DeSoto were to reissue it jointly... well I suppose I've contained my excitement until now.

Paint It Black - Amnesia EP:  In 2009 Paint It Black followed up their incredible (and supposedly final) 2008 LP "New Lexicon" with two 7" EP's.  Amnesia appropriately showcases the band's ferocity and knack for melodic riffery.  This is Dan Yemin we're talking about after all.

Dancing On Debris - ...Of Our Self-Made Collapse: Surprise! A screamo band from Germany made the list.  Who would have guessed, amirite?  These dudes may not be unique, but they do what they do well and this record is thoroughly enjoyable.  Just make sure you're into the whole, ascending minor chords to sudden octave drop style hardcore Dancing On Debris excels at.  It's my favorite kind!

Annabel - Each And Everyone: I'm pretty sure I wrote the name Annabel in an earlier post this year.  To be fair, I probably didn't listen to this record enough in 2009.  It is the follow up to last years EP "Now That We're Alive" and actually includes most of it's songs (re-recorded).  Superb indie-rock.

Battle Of Wolf 359 - The Death Of Aeffect: Probably the most hailed screamo act from the UK, this release from Battle Of Wolf 359 is a heavy, crusty take on screamo of the React With Protest ilk.  Evidently none of these LPs made it stateside, and I still don't know if the mp3s I have are actually labeled correctly or in the right order.  But despite not knowing how this album is supposed to be constructed it is still awesome.  Also in, case you were wondering, they are named after a fictional military engagement in the Star Trek universe (otherwise known as the universe).

So, I know what you're expecting.  Frankly I was expecting it myself, but, I'm not gonna do it.  I'm not going to post a "Best of '09" or Top 10 list.  I feel like I've already written about most of the records I considered the best this year, and don't really feel the need to rank them. Instead, I'm gonna tie up the loose ends and, through a few scattered post, wrap up the last year to begin with 0 until, well, we may never know.  I hope I haven't dissapointed anyone.  But here are a few things you CAN expect to see in the very near future.

- A brief summary of all the stuff I forgot/neglected to write about that deserves some recognition

- A short list of releases I anticipated to a great degree but was unfortunately let down by

- Probably an annotated mix of my personal favorite jams from this year available for download.

- A primer of bands you should look out for in 2010 (twenty-ten? two thousand and ten?)

I've been listening to this album non-stop this week.  Slowride first came to my attention when I discovered that they released a split CD ep with their mostly under-rated Deep Elm label-mates Red Animal War.  This was in 2004 (the split came out in 2002), and they had subsequently released two full-lengths by that time.  I listened to their debut LP "As I Survive The Suicide Bombing" which was pretty standard indie/punk.  The sort of thing I had come to expect from Deep Elm.  Anyway, it was pretty unremarkable as I recall and I completely forgot about Slowride (and Red Animal War, who have one stellar album called "The Phantom Crusade").  Fast forward to 2009 and I randomly decide to use Pandora Radio, which, if you are unfamiliar with is pretty neat and you can learn all sorts of fascinating things about your musical idiosyncrasies (for instance, I am evidently a huge fan of "exstensive vamping"). Long story short, I hear a Slowride song that sounds fantastic, but recall not really being into them.

On "C/S" (I have no idea what this stands for) Slowride's sound has changed pretty significantly.  They've tuned their guitars down and taken a more alt-rock and (dare I say?) "mainstream" approach.  Either way it payed off because this record was memorable right away.  There, an entire review and I've said nothing useful. 

For fans of:  Riddle of Steel, Cake, Foo Fighters

Slowride on Myspace

Get it.

There was a brief time where The New Pornographers were easily my favorite band.  I'm not sure what changed really, maybe it was a phase, maybe I outgrew it, or, most likely, just needed something else.  I've been looking back on those days as of late though and recalled just how good this band really is.  Now when you look at The New Pornographers you find a power-pop super-group that is much more it's own entity than a hodge-podge of its now-famous singular members (new hyphen record!). Carl "AC" Newman released one stellar solo record (and one that was merely good).  Dan Bejar is, in his spare time, otherwise known as Destroyer and has released somewhere in the vacinity of 40 albums, and sultry singer Neko Case has a pretty high-profile career as a solo country crooner.  Of course, when The New Pornographers formed, the individual parts weren't so prolific (unless you consider being in bands in Vancouver, BC "prolific") and they are really only a "super-group" in hindsight.

"The Electric Version" isn't the best New Pornographers album.  In fact, it's probably the least acclaimed of their four studio releases.  It may not even be my favorite of their LPs, but that's the beauty. This bands "worst" album is better than roughly 96% of music in existence.  "The Electric Version" is their sophomore effort and is, well... sophomoric I suppose.  Not as solid on the whole as their debut "Mass Romantic" or it's follow up album "Twin Cinema", but "The Electric Version" showcases, in my opinion, some of the Pornographers more transcendent moments.  There may be a few duds on this record, but it's highlights outshine a majority of their catalogue.  So, if you dig this, you'll love the rest of their stuff.

For fans of: The Gifted Children, Ted Leo, Lemuria

The New Pornographers on Myspace

Get it.

I hope nobody is sick of hearing about this band, because this probably won't even be the last time this year that I write something about them.  I said that this was coming and, although it's later than I anticipated, I am following up on that claim because THAT'S WHAT I DO, and truthfully this album deserves it.

I expected big things from these dudes this year, and frankly it's what I got.  The proper follow-up to 2008's "Always Stay Sweet", and, as far as I can recall, their only full-length album of the year, "My Museum Pieces" has The Gifted Children polishing their pop chops with a slew of characteristically pretty, concise songs.  At first the record seemed a little unremarkable due it's slow nature and pacing, but I suppose it's the mood that is important.  After a few listens though, the songs I regarded as at all sub-par really grew on me, and most of them started getting stuck in my head at random intervals.  And isn't that what good pop music does (I suppose this also happens with bad pop music, but you get the point)?  It may not be as in-your-face good as "Always Stay Sweet" but it managed to sneak up on me and turn out to be one of my consistenly played albums of the year.  This is all more impressive when you consider that "My Museum Pieces" isn't even the best release by the Gifted Children THIS YEAR (more on this in the future).

For fans of:  The New Pornographers, The Capstan Shafts, Neutral Milk Hotel

The Gifted Children on Myspace

Buy it from their website

Sorry about the brief hiatus.  I don't have an excuse, but here's a new post!

Everyone's favorite DC indie/math/art rockers made their debut with a joint release on DeSoto and Dischord.  This EP features alternate recordings of two songs ("And The Washington Monument Blinks Goodnight" and "Kiss Distinctly American") on their much-praised debut full-length "No Kill No Beep Beep" and a song ("Busy Lights, Busy Carpet") that didn't make it onto the LP, but really should have.  An extremely strong debut from one of the most hailed bands on the Dischord roster.  And thanks to an apparent excess of picture sleeves (and an interest in re-releasing their back-catalogue) Dischord recently repressed this slab of gold (on clear gold vinyl, which makes that previous statement a pun.  Get it?)

For fans of: Faraquet, Les Savy Fav, Wicked Farleys

Q And Not U on Myspace

Get it.