albums | articles | contact | events | gig reviews | interviews | links | mp3s | singles/EPs | search

review of 2009

The dust has settled, the wrapping paper is in landfill and the tree has been discarded in a laybye just off the A180 near Goole - what better better time to look back on 2009 and give the hard-pressed Tasty writers their chance to recall some of their favourite bits of 2009.

Rory McGregor

Top 3 albums of 2009:
Magnetic Morning - 'AM'
Intepol's Sam Fogarino and ex-Swervedriver frontman Adam Franklin get together and prove that there's plenty life in this pair of old dogs. High points "No Direction" & "The Wrong Turning".

The Horrors - 'Primary Colours'
A band that go from the mediocre to the sublime in the space of one album, helping to dispell the notion that most groups shoot their whole creative load over their debut. Highlights "Mirror's Image" & "Sea Within A Sea".

Arbouretum - 'Song of the Pearl'
Baltimore combo ooze a genius slacker mentality on their 3rd album. Highlight "Another Hiding Place".

Top 3 Singles of 2009
Fleet Foxes - 'Mykonos'
Played to death on daytime radio at the start of the year but simply stunning nonetheless.

The Horrors - 'Sea Within a Sea'
Yes. I mentioned them and the same song twice. It is that good.

Favourite Gig 2009
RBRBR - Captains Rest, Glasgow, 02/10/09.
A visual headfuck of lights and horseheaded drummers framed by a dancing pilot and a glowering ninja. Music was pretty decent too.

Album of the Decade
Interpol - 'Turn on the Bright Lights'
Not an obvious choice perhaps but still one that, for better or worse, spawned a thousand imitators. Ultimate highlight "Say Hello To The Angels".

Band to Watch for 2010
Oft-mentioned Fife Garage/Psychedelic combo with shades of the Mary Chain and an album recorded and mixed in 8 days.

Will Columbine

Top 3 albums of 2009:
Grizzly Bear - "Veckatimest"
Animal Collective - "Merriweather Post Pavilion"
White Denim - "Fits"

Top 3 singles 2009:
Friendly Fires - "Skeleton Boy"
Bat For Lashes - "Daniel"
The Horrors - "Who Can Say"

Favorite gig 2009:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Shepherd's Bush Empire

Album of the last decade:
Blur - "Think Tank"

Band to watch for 2010:
No idea...I hate new stuff!

Phil Coales

Top albums of 2009:
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
and maybe Atlas Sound - Logos

top 3 singles 2009
The Drums - Let's Go Surfing
Wavves - Cool Jumper
The Wave Pictures - Watching Charlie's Angels

favourite gig 2009:
Probably The Wave Pictures' Christmas special at The George Tavern on Commercial Road, 16th December. They played 'The Airplanes at Brescia' for us.

album of the last decade:
'Heartbreaker' by Ryan Adams. Very closely shadowed by Björk's 'Vespertine'. Probably just ahead of 'Hissing Fauna...', and 'Tanglewood Numbers' by Silver Jews.

band to watch for 2010
Archie Bronson Outfit's third record is the one I'm most excited about; then Good Shoes' 'No Hope, No Future' which is due at the front end of January; also, Beach House's 'Teen Dream' is definitely something that I'm going to hear and become entranced by at some point.

Andy Glynn

Top 3 albums of 2009:
'Journal for Plague Lovers' - Manic Street Preachers
Who saw this coming? So they're basically a tribute act to their younger selves at this point, but hell, the fact theres any life at all left in these old dogs after so many years of disappointment, has to be a cause for celebration.

'Don't Stop' - Annie
Pop in its purest unfiltered form. The fact that this didn't go stellar and Lady Gaga did, is a damning indictment on 'the kids'.

'Turning The Mind' - Maps
Admittedly I only heard this for the first time last week, but I've never heard anyone make mental illness sound so 'pretty' before.

Top 3 singles 2009:
'Marrow' - St Vincent
For the unsettling brass-squelch noises in the chorus alone. Sounds like a seizure - the fun kind.

'Arming Eritrea' - Future of the Left
Falco and the boys have turned unhinged spite into a fine art, but its never been welded to a chorus this massive before. I still don't know who 'Rick' is.

'Little Secrets' - Passion Pit
Uber-fashionable synthy types who by rights I should hate on principal, but sod it, anything with a kids choir on it is basically an 8/10 minimum (St Winifred's School Choir excluded).

Favorite gig 2009:
The Hold Steady - Mojo Leeds
Secret gigs tend to be the staple of uninteresting plebs like The Others & Embrace, but getting to watch one of your favourite bands, in whats basically a cupboard, playing Mountain Goats covers... its usually the point where I wake up.

Album of the last decade:
At this exact moment in time its 'Give up' by the Postal Service. Tomorrow it'll be something else...

Band to watch for 2010:
'To Kill a King' & 'Soul Circus'


Mark Whiffin

Top 3 albums of 2009:
Worriedaboutsatan - 'Arrivals'
Action Beat - 'The Noise Band From Bletchley'
Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse - 'Dark Night Of The Soul'

Top 3 singles 2009:
Cogwheel Dogs - 'Greenhorn' EP
Burial Four Tet - 'Moth/Wolf' Cub
The Tupolev Ghost - 'The Tupolev Ghost' EP

Favorite gig 2009:
The Psychic Paramount, Sunshine Republic, City Seventeen Portland Arms, Cambridge May 2009

Album of the last decade:
Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies - 'Hurrah! Another year, surely this one will be better than the last; the inexorable march of progress will lead us all to happiness'

This album brings back so many amazing memories and recent events (the band splitting) has led me to return to this album and I still marvel at the songs. This album changed my musical direction forever and opened the door to so many amazing bands.

Band to watch for 2010:
Bug Prentice - This guy/band is incredible - success surely beckons!

Eloise Quince

Top 3 albums of 2009:
Kid Harpoon - 'Once'. Treacherously heartfelt.
Golden Silvers - 'True Romance'. Undeniably summery.
The Cribs - 'Ignore The Ignorant' - The album to end 2009, and indeed a decade.

Top 3 singles 2009:
Jamie T - 'Sticks 'n' Stones'. Brain vomit of teenage life encapsulated perfectly in three minutes.
White Lies - 'Death'. Okay, it was the end of 2008, but it doesn't stop that major-minor chord change from rattling your brains with pure ecstasy.
BM Linx - 'Kids on Fire'. If your don't feel the need dance to that chorus there is something severely wrong with you.

Favorite gig 2009:
Mystery Jets at Manchester International Festival. Amazing band, amazing performers, amazing setting. Honestly, probably the gig of a lifetime.

Album of the last decade:
Mystery Jets - 'Twenty-One'
I simply cannot get bored of this album. It has defined growing up for a generation and revived a sound we thought we said goodbye to 30 years ago with style and confidence. My soundtrack to growing up and summers laying in parks with the sun beating down. I don't think anything I could ever write could express my love for this album. Just incredible.

Band to watch for 2010:
The Drums. If Joy Division met the Beach Boys and made an album that defines the term 'short and sweet'.

Catriona Boyle

Top 3 albums of 2009:
Noah and the Whale - 'First Days of Spring'
A mighty step forward from the jangly pop-folk of their first album, FDOS is a beautifully brutal piece of work. The ultimate break-up album, this more than just crying into your pillow, it's an entire heart-break symphony, augmented perfectly by the film that accompanies it.

Grizzly Bear - 'Veckatimest'
Released way back in May, it took everyone the rest of the year to fully appreciate the idiosyncrasies and hidden genius in Veckatimest. And also to learn how to pronounce it. Sing-a-long choruses, hooks a-go-go and bouncy piano sit along side shimmers of melodies, and quiet moments of reflection. A shining example of a finey-honed, wonderfully crafted collection of songs.

The XX - 'The XX'
They were hyped, yes, but they were worth it. A haunting, electroscape that swayed from warm to cold, all cooked up by four over-achieving teenagers. Ridiculously cool sounding music that avoids any notion of pretention.

Top 3 singles 2009:
Mumford and Sons - 'Little Lion Man'
A joyous tale of relationship fuck-ups turned into a galloping dance-floor filler thanks to an acoustic guitar and a celebration of doing the wrong thing.

Leisure Society - 'In A Matter of Time'
One of 2009's success stories, and deservedly so. This is one of the most triumphant tracks from the album. Just when you think it can't get any more glorious, there's a cheeky breakdown and a final flourish.

My Latest Novel - 'Alll in All is All' (or words to that effect!)
The Scottish sweehearts returned earlier in the year with this huge heart wrencher. A slow build, piqued by violin, and rumbling Scottish voice and an incredibly effective time signature change.

Favorite gig 2009:
Leonard Cohen, O2. Probably.

Whilst Bob Dylan's voice is ageing about as well as a banana, Cohen's voice has gone the way of a fine wine, rich and full-bodied. As sprightly as an imp, the 75 year old sprung around the stage for almost three hours, treating the adoring masses to some of the best songs ever written. An absolute masterclass in performance, professionalism and musicianship.

Album of the last decade:
TOO HARD! personally it'd be Bon Iver - 'For Emma', but I wouldn't say it's a definitive album of the decade. can write a bit about it if you want...I'm probably the only person who'll pick it!

Band to watch for 2010:
mmmm. toughie. I'm rubbish at this. Frankie and the Heartstrings? They're not quite good enough to deserve all the hype, but a solid band none-the-less that'll no doubt achieve mediocre success for a bit.

Chris Moffatt

Top 3 albums of 2009:
"La Roux" by La Roux
The sound of electro moving forward (at last), propelled by an extraordinary voice and a talented songwriter. A touch of Eurythmics, a slice of Pet Shop Boys and a dash of Mark Almond.

"The Blueprint 3" by Jay-Z
The third installment of Mr Carter's genre-busting Blueprint proves that he's still miles ahead of the competition. A masterclass in production.

"West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum" by Kasabian
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Kasabian pull off another cracking collection of dance-rock juggernauts.

Top 3 singles 2009:
"My Kz, Ur Bf" by Everything Everything
The sound of contemporary R&B getting a Converse-covered kick up the backside from four Mancunian indie kids.

"Zero" by Yeah Yeah Yeahs
An aural explosion of shimmering synths and razor-sharp vocals.

"Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z
Instant classic that sums up ten years in the life of America's greatest city.

Favorite gig 2009:
The Specials @ Brixton Academy, May 2009: Even after 30 years, the band have more energy on stage than your average-sized Hadron Collider

Album of the last decade:
Released in April 2000, Elliott Smith's masterwork "Figure 8" just makes it into the noughties. With melodies that Macca would kill for, it's subtle in parts and assertive in others. The album manages to be tight and precise, but dreamy and hopeful at the same time. Awesome.

Band to watch for 2010:
XTC, Radiohead and R Kelly having a jam session would be a sight to behold. It would also sound amazing, and exactly like Everything Everything, who will be every right thinking person's New Favourite Band of 2010.

Benjamin Hiorns

Top 3 albums of 2009:
Sunn 0))) - 'Monoliths & Dimensions'
Animal Collective - 'Merriweather Post Pavillion'
Doom - 'Born Like This'

Top 3 singles 2009:
Grizzly Bear - 'While You Wait For The Others'
Bat For Lashes - 'Daniel'
Arctic Monkeys - 'Cornerstone'

Favorite gig 2009:
Ray Davies and The Crouch End Choir - Birmingham - Symphony Hall

Album of the last decade:
Radiohead - Kid A

Band to watch for 2010:
The Hickey Underworld

Thom Curtis

Top 3 albums of 2009:
Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything To Nothing
This album blew my mind. Easily the best release of 2009. A really fantastic album - that amazes from start to finish. It's Brand New, Nirvana and the Foos all rolled into one delicious bundle but with that unique edge that makes you weak at the knees. From the upbeat winners "In My Teeth" and "Shake It Out" to the mellow "I Can Feel A Hot One"- Andy Hull's writing is at its best yet. It's Deja Entendu taken to a more exciting new level.

Billy Talent - Billy Talent III
I loved BT1 and was quite pleased with BT2 too. BT3 was always going to be a funny one, and boy am I glad the boys pulled this one out the bag. The opening track "Devil On My Shoulder" epitomises where Billy Talent are now. There's still that classic underlying Talent grunge tone, but this song has passion, groove, it's amazing. And "Rusted From The Rain" has to be one of my favourite singles of the year too - with a chorus that makes you stomp and lurch around uncontrollably in a dark grimey brilliance.

Noisettes - Wild Young Hearts
I saw Noisettes supporting Muse on their BHAR tour for two dates, and instantly wrote them off as utter shit. You can imagine my surprise when I heard Wild Young Hearts, and subsequently fell in love. I'm not sure how it happened, it's awfully poppy after all - but somehow, the upbeat pass and well-written songs win me over. "Don't Upset The Rhythm," the first track to be released from the album, pretty much sets the tone. Don't pretend you haven't heard it because you have. I think it's a winner.

Biffy Clyro - Only Revolutions
An album that I was very excited about, yet still slightly disappointed with. A higher and higher percentage of each album is being taken up by slow songs, and hey I like a quiet one now and again but Biffy are best at making big sounds, as in "Golden Rule," my top pick from the album. Even "Bubbles," although slower, is rather thick in texture and easily could have made it onto Puzzle. "Born On A Horse" is awfully Marmaduke - but all in all the album is good. Certainly could have been better though.

Muse - The Resistence
Another disappointment, but one you could see a mile off. It takes a Muse fan to accept that there isn't going to be another Origin Of Symmetry to see that this is actually quite a good album. It's more commercial than ever and nearly all the songs are inspired by an Orwell state of mind, but in its own right, it's pretty good really.

Metric - Fantasies
This album took me by surprise, I didn't even know it was being released. I'd dabbled in Metric before and found myself liking a couple of songs from each album. When I put this in, I liked every simgle one, and subsequently told everyone I knew about it. My favourite has to be "Satellite Mind," and the whole album has a nice indie synthy feel, that manages to be upbeat while still being calm- that'll be Emily Haines' soothing voice.

Top 3 singles 2009:
Biffy Clyro - That Golden Rule
Quite Simply the best track off of the latest album. It's heavy, manic, and still finds its way to a tuneful chorus and arm-flailing final breakdown. This song is electrifying, and you get out of breath just listening to it.

Muse - Undisclosed Desires
My favourite track from the new album - massively different to the old style, possibly the furthest away out of everything they've done so far, but again, once you get over the fact this is what Muse are doing, this is a fantastic song. I think it's the cheeky slap bass in the chorus that gets me. On a side note, hugely disappointing live. Bellamy does nothing. Stupid backing tracks.

Billy Talent - Rusted From The Rain
A foot-stomping masterpiece from Canadian rockers Billy Talent. A treat for the ears you can't help but want to sing along and stomp around the room in a dark moody manner. Oh it's delightful.

Favorite gig 2009:
Radiohead at Reading Festival. For a few hours afterwards I felt like someone had slipped me some Class As. My heart was beating faster than Napalm Death's bass drum. It was probably finally getting to see "Paranoid Android" that pushed me over the edge. If festival sets don't count as gigs, then Billy Talent at Southampton Guildhall. I'd seen them 6 times previously, and the Guildhall in Southampton is a dreadful vanue for sound. But somehow it was the best time I've ever seen them. It isn't just their music that has evolved and matured. They're a real treat to see at their own shows.

Album of the last decade:
Muse - Origin Of Symmetry
Without a doubt, one of my favourite albums of all times, showcasing Muse at their very best. The rock anthems of "Plug In Baby," "New Born," and "Bliss" - the dark eerie sounds of "Space Dementia" and the infectious grimey rumblings of "Citizen Erased" - this album has everything an album needs. This should tick all your boxes, oh I'm getting the shivers just thinking about it.

Band of the Decade
It has to be really. Their first album came out a couple of months before the start of the decade, so it's safe to say that about 90% of their career happened in this decade. And what's happened in that decade? Four more studio albums, more than one live album and numerous dvd releases. They've headlined Reading and Leeds, V Festival, Isle Of Wight, and Glastonbury - not to mention possibly headlining the first Glastonbury of the new decade. They were the first act to sell out the new Wembley Staium and have done it again for September next year. It's been a decade of awards for Muse - continuing to thrill with jaw-dropping live performances and a continual high-standard of music. The brains behind the best album of the decade, and one of the best albums of the year.

Band to watch for 2010:
A Silent Film : Awesome group from Oxford behind 2007's A City That Sleeps, which I've no doubt was one of the best albums from 2008. They're supposed to be back in 2010 with a brand new album, and I really hope they go places because they're fantastic. Check out "You Will Leave A Mark" and "Sleeping Pills" from the first album, and keep your eyes for peeled for anything new this year. That said, I hope they don't get too big - I don't want to see them anywhere bigger than the Southampton Joiners. :(

Willa Culpepper

Top 3 albums of 2009:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs 'It's Blitz!'
The third studio album from the New York art-punk trio has less of the feverish howls and crashing guitars that they became known for and has been criticized by some fans for sounding more mainstream, but I dare you to listen to tracks such as 'Zero' and 'Dull Life' and try to resist.

Paint It Black 'Amnesia'
One of the godfather's of American pop-punk, Dan Yemin, is the ferocious frontman of Paint It Black. In between being a licensed adolescent psychotherapist and wrestling alligators at Fest (possibility that one of these two things is false), Yemin also puts out incredible hard, fast and loud intelligent hardcore punk rock. Best tracks: Salem, Bliss.

Bomb the Music Industry! 'Scrambles'
Jeff Rosenstock's 'music collective' put out another quirky, humorous DIY punk CD that is crazy catchy and sometimes just a little plain crazy. Best songs are Stuff I Like, Saddr Weirdr, Shut Up The Punx and Sort of Like Pumped.

Top 3 singles 2009:
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros 'Home'
Achingly sweet and simple song that is perfect for while driving at night. Or taking the train. Or the bus.

Spoonboy 'Stab Yr Dad'
Dark and funny biographical song from the anarcho-punk singer David 'Spoonboy' Combs. And don't worry, he didn't stab his dad. I think.

Dillinger Four 'Gainesville'
Punk rock anthem for those taking the late October pilgrimage to Fest in Gainesville, Florida- described at one of their live shows by the singer as 'a song about Brits wearing short pants.'

Favorite gig 2009:
I'd heard the stories. I'd enviously eyed the souvenir tshirts and beer cozies people wore to shows. I looked at the lineup for 2009 and decided that would be the year I finally made the trip to Fest. A three day festival of underground punk rock, acoustic, metal, hardcore, pop punk and all matter of others that dont fit into genres. At the end of October the small college town of Gainesville in Florida is overun by scruffy punk rock kids looking for cheap beer, veggie hot dogs and good times. Highlights included seeing Shook Ones play an impromptu show in a storage containers (read: what Yanks misleadingly described as a warehouse) until the cops arrived, and the six-member Defiance, Ohio performing at a packed out show in a bike shop. I came back with a wicked sunburn, a bag heavy with merch, a head heavy with hangover and determined to come back next year. If it sounds like your thing, definately investigate and check out some of the past lineups- in the mean time you'll discover some incredible bands.

Band to watch for 2010:
Miss Li, of Sweden. She has an eccentric cabaret style, Regina Spektor-style voice and already two songs used in commercials ('Bourgeois Shangri-La' in the recent Ipod Nano one, and 'Oh Boy' in the new Volvo one).

Shane Blanchard

Top 3 albums of 2009:
Cuddly Shark - Cuddly Shark
Rockabilly punk from as far north in Scotland as I have ever ventured. Silliness and rock combined in perfect harmony (check out the video to 'Woody Woodpecker' for some fine line dancing too.
The Victorian English Gentlemens Club - Love on an Oil rig
The difficult second album. Bollocks more like - The VEGC make it look easy with this little beauty.
Maybeshewill - Sing the Word Hope in Four Part Harmony
Guitarnoise plus samples from Leicester noiseniks.

Top 3 singles 2009:
Marmaduke Duke - Silhouettes (Jacknife Lee mix)
Narrowly edging out big brothers Biffy Clyro, this remix adds a flair for power pop to The Duke's previously displayed penchant for prog.
Chickenhawk - I Hate this, Do you like It?
5 minutes of guitar licks to make you wet yourself. And it's accompanied by a zombie video - what's not to like?
(We Are) Performance - Let's Start
This came out as a free download midway through the year and reminded me of the Performance gg I'd seen a few years back which still ranks in my top three best gigs of all time. But this track also reminded me that Performance write amazing pop tunes and it wasn't just co-gigger comrade Brackenridge's penchant for buying double vodka redbulls that made the previous gig so good.
Sneaky extra pick would be The Hickey Underworld's 'Blonde Fire' - not only the best video I've seen in ages but a damn fine tune to boot.

Favorite gig 2009:
too few to mention - I will be more thorough in 2010 - my new year resolution

Album of the last decade:
PJ Harvey - Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
It's a timeless classic - beautiful, stirring and melodic.

Band to watch for 2010:
Got to be Molloy - too good to stay 'undiscovered' with enough self belief to get them this website address.

    all work remains the copyright of the writer