Features Music Scene Point Blank's Favorites: Year End (2009)

Music: Scene Point Blank's Favorites: Year End (2009)

Individual Staff Lists

Below are the lists used to compile the overall SPB top 30, complete with mini write-ups for the top 5 albums in each writer's list. Click on the name of an album to read the SPB review of the record (if available).

Michael's list

  1. Converge - Axe to Fall (Epitaph)

    I highly doubt any of you missed out on Axe to Fall. If you read my review of this album, then you know where I stand on it. Converge released yet another in a long line of genre-defining albums in the form of Axe to Fall. I've said this on many occasions with other bands but Converge is really going to be hard pressed to top this album.

  2. All Teeth - I am Losing (High Fidelity)

    If there is a hardcore band that is flying under the radar right now, it is All Teeth. This hardcore band from the Bay Area delivers absolutely blistering hardcore that is packed with anger, frustration, and lots of piss and vinegar. If you want an album that will floor you like the first time you heard Background Music then you will want to pick this up.

  3. Narrows - New Distances (Deathwish Inc.)

    With members of Botch, Unbroken, and These Arms are Snakes releasing their debut LP; I was ready for something special. And I certainly got that in the form of New Distances. I was enthralled with each listen to the noisy, technical, mathcore concoction that graced my ears. I can't wait for their upcoming split 7" release that is due in the early part of 2010.

  4. Disappearer - The Clearing (Magic Bullet)

    The Clearing was kind of a surprise release for me in 2009. I'd been familiar with their back catalog up to this point, and it was good. But this album completely surpassed those releases in all ways. I really really want to see this band play live; I have a feeling I'd be deaf for weeks.

  5. Gallows - Grey Britain (Warner Bros.)

    They may be the most press-hyped band to come out of the U.K. ever but their sophomore effort proves they deserve it all. Grey Britain is a dark, brooding, destructive hardcore masterpiece. It may not have been my top rated album, but I definitely jammed this record more than any other in 2009.

  6. Frank Turner - Poetry of the Deed (Epitaph)
  7. Rise and Fall - Our Circle is Vicious (Deathwish Inc.)
  8. Andrew W.K. - 55 Cadillac (Skyscraper Music Maker)
  9. Blacklisted - No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me (Deathwish Inc)
  10. This Time Next Year - Road Maps and Heart Attacks (Equal Vision)
  11. Morrissey - Years of Refusal (Lost Highway)
  12. Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures (Interscope)
  13. Broadway Calls - Good Views, Bad News (Side One Dummy)
  14. Soul Control - Cycles (Bridge Nine)
  15. Polar Bear Club - Chasing Hamburg (Bridge Nine)
  16. Outrage - Broken (Panic)
  17. Isis - Wavering Radiant (Ipecac)
  18. City of Ships - Look What God Did to Us (Translation Loss/Sound Study)
  19. Coalesce - Ox (Relapse)
  20. Mastodon - Crack the Skye (Reprise)
  21. Fake Problems - It's Great To Be Alive (Side One Dummy)
  22. Kylesa - Static Tensions (Prosthetic)
  23. Lewd Acts - Black Eye Blues (Deathwish Inc.)
  24. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm (Jagjaguwar)
  25. New Found Glory - Not Without a Fight (Epitaph)

Matt's list

  1. Florence and the Machine - Lungs (Island)
  2. Propagandhi - Supporting Caste (Smallman)
  3. Converge - Axe to Fall (Epitaph)
  4. Future of the Left - Travels With Myself and Another (4AD)
  5. Golden Silvers - True Romance (XL)
  6. Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II (Ice H2O)
  7. Frank Turner - Poetry of the Deed (Epitaph)
  8. Strike Anywhere - Iron Front (Bridge Nine)
  9. John Frusciante - The Empyrean (Record Collection)
  10. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm (Jagjaguwar)
  11. Silversun Pickups - Swoon (Dangerbird)
  12. Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything to Nothing (Favorite Gentlemen)
  13. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)
  14. Polar Bear Club - Chasing Hamburg (Bridge Nine)
  15. Wilco - Wilco (The Album) (Nonesuch)
  16. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (Slumberland)
  17. Mars Volta, The - Octahedron (Warner Bros.)
  18. Dear Landlord - Dream Homes (No Idea)
  19. Conor Oberst - Outer South (Merge)
  20. NOFX - Coaster (Fat Wreck Chords)

Bob's list

  1. Coalesce - Ox (Relapse)

    From the minute this hit my turntable, I knew it was my record of the year. The beast that is Coalesce comes back with a vengeance on Ox. This album has no filler and is simply just an angry but surprisingly catchy slab of music that kills it from start to finish. This is a worthy entry into the Coalesce canon.

  2. Black Heart Procession, The - Six (Temporary Residence)

    The Black Heart Procession continue to surprise from release to release by making dark but incessantly catchy pop tunes that make you simultaneously pine for lost loves and revel in the majesty of triumphant sounding music. Pall Jenkins, Tobias Nathaniel, and company prove that they have mastered the dark pop song with Six.

  3. Fall of Efrafa - Inle (Halo Of Flies/Denovali/Sound Devastation)

    Inle is the endnote to a trilogy of great albums. It is just too bad that many of us will find them post mortem since this is their parting shot to the world. Maybe they are destined to be one of those bands that people realize how good they are long after they stopped making music together. Inle is just that, great music; this truly is epic post-rock/metal/ whatever you need to describe this band.

  4. Isis - Wavering Radiant (Ipecac)

    Wavering Radiant is one more great Isis album. This outfit has come along way during what is becoming a lengthy period of activity for the band, and this album is an excellent addition to their discography. A few changes in their normal record making methodologies has given listeners a hell of an album in which to delve.

  5. A Death Cinematic - A Parable on the Aporia of Vengeance and the Beauty of Impenetrable Sadness (Simple Box Construction)

    Every once in a long while there comes a release which takes several listens to sink into one's thick skull (particularly my hard head can take time), but once that record sinks in, the record not only makes complete sense, but it seems to become a favorite release. Upon first listening to the latest release from A Death Cinematic, A Parable on the Aporia of Vengeance and the Beauty of Impenetrable Sadness, there was an overwhelming feeling with the immensity of this release; this album is full of instrumental musical piece that take time and attention in order to appreciate this release from A Death Cinematic.

  6. GREYMACHINE - Disconnected (Hydra Head)
  7. Nadja - Under A Jaguar Sun (Beta-Lactam Ring)
  8. Great Falls - Demo (Dead Accents)
  9. Pyramids with Nadja - Pyramids with Nadja (Hydra Head)
  10. Supermachiner - Rust (Deathwish Inc.)
  11. Everlovely Lightningheart - Sein Weal Tallion Rue (Hydra Head)
  12. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us (Grave Face)
  13. Marked Men - Ghosts (Dirtnap)
  14. Tombs - Winter Hours (Relapse)
  15. A Storm Of Light - Forgive Us Our Tresspasses (Neurot)
  16. A Storm of Light / Nadja - Primitive North (Robotic Empire)
  17. Sunn 0))) - Monoliths & Dimensions (Southern Lord)
  18. Khanate - Clean Hands Go Foul (Hydra Head/Daymare)
  19. Eagle Twin - The Unkindness of Crows (Southern Lord)
  20. Cable - The Failed Convict (The End)
  21. Jodis - Secret House (Hydra Head)
  22. Narrows - New Distances (Deathwish Inc.)
  23. Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder (Neurot)
  24. Rise and Fall - Our Circle is Vicious (Deathwish Inc.)
  25. Converge - Axe to Fall (Epitaph)

Jason's list

  1. Blacklisted - No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me (Deathwish Inc)

    It's great to see a band throw a wrench in the works from time to time. Blacklisted's No One Deserves to Be Here More than Me makes the listener stop and throw out everything they knew about Blacklisted and quite possibly everything they ever wanted to know. However, what I know is that Blacklisted went and released the best album of 2009.

  2. Dear Landlord - Dream Homes (No Idea)

    Pop-punk has become a dreaded term in my lexicon. Lately it congers up images of bright neon shirts with dinosaurs on them wore by kids that look like extras in an Olivia Newton John video. However, every once in a while a band will come forth and remember that pop-punk should be about drinking, breaking hearts, and have said heart broken.

  3. Polar Bear Club - Chasing Hamburg (Bridge Nine)

    I am a sucker for gruff vocals of angular melodic post-hardcore. There's more hooks than a Peter Pan convention on Chasing Hamburg and there is no doubt that within a few listens you will humming songs in line at the bank.

  4. Soul Control - Cycles (Bridge Nine)

    Another type of hardcore that's near and dear to my heart, and that's bands that sound like Quicksand. Hard hitting, yet melodic. Tough, but with a soft center. Cycles is the toe-tapping head crusher of the year.

  5. No Friends - No Friends (No Idea)

    This album didn't get reviewed, but that wasn't my fault, some other schlub was supposed to do it. Oh well. No Friends is members of New Mexican Disaster Squad and Municipal Waste playing old stylie melodic hardcore in the vein of Dag Nasty and Marginal Man. Anyone who knows me, know how much I just eat this stuff up.

  6. Strike Anywhere - Iron Front (Bridge Nine)
  7. Shook Ones - The Unquotable A.M.H. (Paper + Plastick)
  8. Remission - Accept (Amendment Records)
  9. Coalesce - Ox (Relapse)
  10. Banner Pilot - Collapser (Fat Wreck Chords)
  11. Sabertooth Zombie - ?And Your Fathers are Dead in the Ground (Twelve Gauge)
  12. Lewd Acts - Black Eye Blues (Deathwish Inc.)
  13. Cloak/Dagger - Lost Art (Jade Tree)
  14. Loser Life - Friends With a Demon (Life's a Rape)
  15. True Colors - Rush of Hope (Powered)
  16. Kingdom - The Rage That Guides (Eulogy)
  17. Swamp Thing - In Shame (6131)
  18. Golden Age, The - Unlock Yourself (Panic)
  19. Dead Swans - Sleepwalkers (Bridge Nine)
  20. Mother of Mercy - III (Six Feet Under)
  21. Harm's Way - Reality Approaches (Organized Crime)
  22. Devotion - Bastard Son Of Affluence Blues (Rivalry)
  23. Outbreak - Outbreak (Think Fast!)
  24. Casting Out, The - Co Crazy! Throw Fireworks! (Fail Safe)
  25. Converge - Axe to Fall (Epitaph)

Kevin's list

  1. Mastodon - Crack the Skye (Reprise)

    Not a word to be used lightly, those fuzzy little nutjobs from the ATL have created the only real "masterpiece" of 2009, and all with an album concept that sounds like a Pokemon script.

  2. Dälek - Gutter Tactics (Ipecac)

    They've done it again. The genius of MC Dälek and Oktopus cannot be denied after listening to this latest release.

  3. The Slew - 100% (Puget Sound Recordings)

    Strong as steel and catchy as shit, this collaboration between master turntablist Kid Koala and Dylan Frombach (aka Dynomite D) came from out of nowhere to give us one of the best albums of the year.

  4. Alice In Chains - Black Gives Way To Blue (Virgin Records)

    Who would have guessed that a band so many years past their presumed expiration date would come out with one of the year's best album? Back with a new singer, new lease on life, and a whole lot to prove, this one's the prick-kicker for the books.

  5. Jello Biafra And The Guantanamo School Of Medicine - The Audacity of Hype (Alternative Tentacles)

    How long have we been waiting for this man to align himself with a full-on band? Almost twenty-five years by my reckoning. Sure we've heard his glorious atonal twang over the years with people like The Melvins, but fronting his own band again has just taken too damn long but well worth the wait.

  6. Gallows - Grey Britain (Warner Bros.)
  7. Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures (Interscope)
  8. The Ruins Of Beverast - Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite (www.van-gbr.de)
  9. J.G. Thirlwell - The Venture Bros: The Music of JG Thirlwell (Williams Street)
  10. Mos Def - The Ecstatic (Downtown)
  11. Assjack - Assjack (Curb Records)
  12. Wolves in the Throne Room - Black Cascade (Southern Lord)
  13. Gorgoroth - Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt (Regain Records)
  14. Goatwhore - Carving Out The Eyes Of God (Metal Blade)
  15. Skeletonwitch - Breathing the Fire (Prosthetic)
  16. Sunn 0))) - Monoliths & Dimensions (Southern Lord)
  17. Marduk - Wormwood (Regain Records)
  18. Chuck Mosley and VUA - Will Rap Over Hard Rock For Food (Reversed Image Unlimited)
  19. Isis - Wavering Radiant (Ipecac)
  20. Sonic Youth - The Eternal (Matador)
  21. Dead Weather, The - Horehound (Reprise)
  22. The Accüsed - The Curse of Martha Splatterhead (Southern Lord)
  23. Pearl Jam - Backspacer (Universal)
  24. Powderfinger - Golden Rule (Universal Import)
  25. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm (Jagjaguwar)

Campbell's list

  1. Mother of Mercy - III (Six Feet Under)

    The sleeper hit of my year, III is a fast and unrelenting record that continues to surprise me with its raw precision and force. Coming from the ashes of underrated Pennsylvanians Let Down, Mother of Mercy reminds me that hardcore can still be tinged without being a crossover disaster. Every detail sounds perfectly placed, from the spot-on drum fills to the subtlety of "Cadence," an ominous interlude shoved right in the middle of the album.

  2. Kings of Convenience - Declaration of Dependence (Virgin/EMI)

    This Norwegian duo can do no wrong in my mind. The lush arpeggio pairings on Declaration of Dependence are just as good as they've ever been, without ever sounding rehashed. Their wonderful neo-Simon and Garfunkel sound matched with soft island-themed melodies are cushioned by more melancholy tracks like "Renegade," undoubtedly resulting in one of the best albums of the year.

  3. Blacklisted - No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me (Deathwish Inc)

    This is miles ahead of last year's Heavier Than Heaven, Lonelier Than God, although the records are barely comparable. Blacklisted delves into a dark and grunge-filled sound matched by Hirsch's lyrics at their most depressed and deranged, but also at their most articulate. Thematically, this record stands head and shoulders above anything else I heard this year: defeated, apathetic, and frighteningly exposed.

  4. Owen - New Leaves (Polyvinyl)

    I can't imagine that an Owen release wouldn't be high on my year-end list, and the full-band experiments of New Leaves prove to be a relative breath of fresh air into Kinsella's acoustic endeavors. The melodic structures are more than familiar, but are filled out with extra strings, pianos, and even a harp to showcase the depth available in every song. Although some riffs felt stiff and reused, they did not mar the better parts of the album, which may be some of his best work.

  5. Converge - Axe to Fall (Epitaph)

    I love Converge just as much as the next Scene Point Blank staffer, but I'm not one to jump on the bandwagon, as I felt their last two records were only marginally interesting. But Axe to Fall is the most structurally sound and closest thing to Jane Doe that they have released this decade. "Dead Beat" is a surefire equivalent to "Thaw," and that's just the first one that comes to mind.

  6. Fireworks - All I Have to Offer is My Own Confusion (Triple Crown)
  7. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Glass Note)
  8. Junior Boys - Begone Dull Care (Domino Records)
  9. Ghostlimb/Fischer - Split (Vitriol/Great Plains)
  10. Cam'ron - Crime Pays (Diplomat Records)
  11. Iron Age - The Sleeping Eye (Tee Pee)
  12. The Swell Season - Strict Joy (ANTI-)
  13. Lil' Wayne - No Ceilings (Cash Money Records)
  14. Ghostface Killah - Ghostdini: Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City (Def Jam)
  15. Trapped Under Ice - Secrets of the World (Reaper)
  16. Annabel - Each and Everyone (Count Your Lucky Stars)
  17. Pink Razors - Leave Alive (Houseplant/No Idea)
  18. Frank Turner - Poetry of the Deed (Epitaph)
  19. This Time Next Year - Road Maps and Heart Attacks (Equal Vision)
  20. Guiltmaker - Dilemmas (Kiss of Death Records)
  21. Narrows - New Distances (Deathwish Inc.)
  22. Polar Bear Club - Chasing Hamburg (Bridge Nine)
  23. Cursive - Mama, I'm Swollen (Saddle Creek)
  24. Appleseed Cast, The - Sagarmatha (Vagrant)
  25. DOOM - Born Like This (Lex)

Corey S.'s list

  1. Banner Pilot - Collapser (Fat Wreck Chords)

    I have probably listened to this album more than any other released this year. The catchiness of this record is what got me listening first but the excellent songwriting of Nick Johnson is what made me love it. The lyrics on this album really hit home for me since I've been going through a rough time this year. It was one of those records I could put on and feel it every time. Improved production also makes it a big step up compared to Resignation Day.

  2. Propagandhi - Supporting Caste (Smallman)

    They just keep getting better and better. Propagandhi have found a great balance with melody, technicality, and heaviness on Supporting Caste, making them sound a lot stronger and angrier than they ever have before. Lyrically, they're at their best yet again and prove to be some of the most intelligent songwriters in punk music today. It's one of the few albums of 2009 where I can't really find anything negative to say about it because everything sounds just right for them on this record. Definitely a must hear.

  3. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm (Jagjaguwar)

    Funny how this band can still sound so good after all of these years making music. Beyond was a nice return album but Farm is at a whole other level. Mascis' guitar tone sounds incredible and the riffs are top notch. Dinosaur Jr. aren't exactly trying anything new but they're just doing what they do best and continuing to build on their natural sound. What's also impressive is that they manage to sound better than a lot of other bands despite their age. Farm is a perfect example of a band keeping a similar sound without repeating the same album over and over.

  4. Silversun Pickups - Swoon (Dangerbird)

    The band hasn't gone in a terribly different direction on their sophomore album, but they've taken the sound they had on Carnavas and made it a lot stronger. They're still exploring those sounds from the early 90's, only relying more on hooks and choruses rather than building an atmosphere, and it surprisingly works a lot better for them. They've also added a lot more interesting elements to give their sound a little more depth and substance. Swoon is the most enjoyable album Silversun Pickups have released to date, and one of the bests of the year.

  5. Thursday - Common Existence (Epitaph)

    Thursday have really come a long way. All of their albums are great but Common Existence may just be their best since Full Collapse. I wasn't exactly a huge fan of A City by the Light Divided, so this album really blew away my expectations when I first listened to it. In terms of sound, I'd say it's a perfect medium between War All the Time and A City by the Light Divided. Glad to see that Thursday can still stretch their limits while still keeping things exciting. It's been a great year for this band, that's for sure.

  6. Dear Landlord - Dream Homes (No Idea)
  7. Baroness - Blue Record (Relapse)
  8. Strung Out - Agents of the Underground (Fat Wreck Chords)
  9. Thrice - Beggars (Vagrant)
  10. Polar Bear Club - Chasing Hamburg (Bridge Nine)
  11. Chuck Ragan - Gold Country (Side One Dummy)
  12. Every Time I Die - New Junk Aesthetic (Epitaph)
  13. Nothington - Roads, Bridges and Ruins (BYO Records)
  14. Converge - Axe to Fall (Epitaph)
  15. Swellers, The - Ups and Downsizing (Fueled By Ramen)
  16. American Steel - Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts (Fat Wreck Chords)
  17. Mastodon - Crack the Skye (Reprise)
  18. Bob Mould - Life & Times (ANTI-)
  19. Alexisonfire - Old Crows/Young Cardinals (Vagrant)
  20. Golden Age, The - Unlock Yourself (Panic)
  21. Broadway Calls - Good Views, Bad News (Side One Dummy)
  22. Skeletonwitch - Breathing the Fire (Prosthetic)
  23. Church of Misery - Houses of the Unholy (Metal Blade)
  24. Empty Promise - Start from the Ground (Independent)
  25. Rehasher - High Speed Access To My Brain (Paper + Plastick)

Jon E.'s list

  1. The Mountain Goats - The Life And The World To Come (4AD)

    John Darnielle is widely considered one of the foremost songwriters in indie and folk rock. There is an obvious reason for this and when you listen to this album it will be obvious. When someone sings overly personal words in a public forum usually it comes off somewhat awkward but with Darnielle it flows and pulls you in. Inspired by a metalhead reading the bible in a hotel room on tour this has all the shades of a literal reading of the bible but the lessons are put into current implications. This is a wonderful album with overly emotional implications.

  2. Blacklisted - No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me (Deathwish Inc)

    Blacklisted did something that is vastly different from what nearly any hardcore band could currently pull. Releasing this album with no fanfare, just a quick blurb on the newspage and a quiet preorder on the record label site. In addition to that, it is solely released on vinyl and only through their label. What no one could have been certain about was the overt change in style. Going from a rock indebted version of hardcore to an outright hardcore version of Seaweed. The lyrics speak of Geroge Hirsch's pain just the same as always, if not even more detailed than before. And the ebb and flow of the music backs this idea perfectly.

  3. Lucero - 1372 Overton Park (Universal Republic )

    Bands change all the time, but if you're Lucero you tend to not change drastically. Lucero have always been their own band, almost to a fault. When they didn't feel ready to go into the major label system after four LPs, they didn't. Now they did what at one point seemed unthinkable, by teaming with a major label. What they did as well is add a genuine soul-based sound to their alt-country punk whatever sound they had to make it more down home, but also more majestic. When you first hear the horns hit it can come as a shock, but the more you listen the more you realize how much sense it truly makes. Lucero join a major label and get to be Lucero with the budget they deserve.

  4. Coalesce - Ox (Relapse)

    With a history like Coalesce, the rumor of a new record was taken with a big grain of salt from me. Not to say I wasn't extremely excited by the prospect of a LP. Well the glitch in the system occurred and Coalesce are stronger than ever. Sean Ingram's fury still gives listeners chills, the time changes shudder, and everything flows. The difference lies in their ability to give the listener some sort of respite and have it sound perfectly in tune within the course of the album. We have grown men making tech metal in a grown man way, unafraid of critics, new fans, or message board geeks.

  5. Morrissey - Years of Refusal (Lost Highway)

    The start of this should explain that I'm a devotee to Stephen Morrissey. Even with this, I get slightly cynical with each release. The strange thing is that it seems with each release Moz gets stronger musically. The band hits every note and makes each lyrical barb sting harder and each bit of depressed malaise sink that much deeper under the skin. Strangely enough, Moz, in the last decade, has become a stronger solo artist and more consistent.

  6. Converge - Axe to Fall (Epitaph)
  7. DOOM - Born Like This (Lex)
  8. Dälek - Gutter Tactics (Ipecac)
  9. Frank Turner - Poetry of the Deed (Epitaph)
  10. Narrows - New Distances (Deathwish Inc.)
  11. Baroness - Blue Record (Relapse)
  12. Mastodon - Crack the Skye (Reprise)
  13. All Teeth - I am Losing (High Fidelity)
  14. Mono - Hymn To The Immortal Wind (Temporary Residence)
  15. Kylesa - Static Tensions (Prosthetic)
  16. Mos Def - The Ecstatic (Downtown)
  17. Mother of Mercy - III (Six Feet Under)
  18. Outrage - Broken (Panic)
  19. Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II (Ice H2O)
  20. P.O.S. - Never Better (Rhymesayers)
  21. Sabertooth Zombie - ?And Your Fathers are Dead in the Ground (Twelve Gauge)
  22. Trapped Under Ice - Secrets of the World (Reaper)
  23. Sunn 0))) - Monoliths & Dimensions (Southern Lord)
  24. Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder (Neurot)
  25. William Elliott Whitmore - Animals In The Dark (Anti)

Loren's list

  1. Dear Landlord - Dream Homes (No Idea)

    These guys have stuck out from the pack to me since I first saw them opening for Dillinger Four a few years back. However, it just seemed "above average" until I finally got trashed one night and stayed up late playing Civilization with Dream Homes on a loop. And their Fest 8 set only solidified things. Good stuff that sounds almost exactly like you'd expect it to, given the members' other bands.

  2. American Steel - Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts (Fat Wreck Chords)

    American Steel has finally pinpointed the gray area between American Steel and Communique. Dear Friends and Gentle Hearts hits all the poppy highlights of their other band, but maintains the punk feel of American Steel. This is a solid record all the way through.

  3. Valina - A Tempo! A Tempo! (Joyful Noise)

    If I lived in Europe, this would've been on the 2008 list. Recorded by Albini, the band masterfully plays the post-punk thing with a strong Shellac influence, but more vocal melody.

  4. Michael Yonkers with The Blind Shake - Cold Town/Soft Zodiac (Learning Curve)

    One of the my favorite Minneapolis bands teams up with a noise pioneer. Haunting, concise, and powerful

  5. King Khan & The BBQ Show - Invisible Girl (In the Red)

    Incredible revival harmonies, fun subjects, and all around good times with this King Khan release.

  6. Marked Men - Ghosts (Dirtnap)
  7. Banner Pilot - Collapser (Fat Wreck Chords)
  8. Foundation - Chimborazo (Paper + Plastick)
  9. The Gateway District - Some Days You Get the Thunder (It's Alive)
  10. P.O.S. - Never Better (Rhymesayers)
  11. Paper Chase, The - Someday This Could All Be Yours (Part 1) (Kill Rock Stars)
  12. Brainworms - II: Swear to Me (Rorschach)
  13. Pissed Jeans - King Of Jeans (Sub Pop)
  14. Rancid - Let the Dominoes Fall (Hellcat)
  15. William Elliott Whitmore - Animals In The Dark (Anti)
  16. Felt - 3: A Tribute to Rosie Perez (Rhyme Sayers)
  17. Shaking Hands, The - The Shaking Hands (Kiss of Death)
  18. Sick Sick Birds - Heavy Manners (Toxic Pop)
  19. Sims - False Hopes XIV (Doomtree)
  20. Yesterday's Ring - Diamonds in the Ditch (Suburban Home)
  21. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone (Anti)
  22. O Pioneers!!! - Neon Creeps (Asian Man)
  23. Brother Ali - Us (Rhyme Sayers)
  24. Tanks, The - Keep Breaking Down (Scenester Credentials)
  25. Lucero - 1372 Overton Park (Universal Republic )

Mario's list

  1. Propagandhi - Supporting Caste (Smallman)

    From my view, this album made the rest of what was a very good year in music seem like an afterthought. It's more than likely my favorite album of the decade. I can't think of anything critical to say about it. I listened to it at least once per day almost every day for about four months, and I still listen to it regularly at this point. It's musically and lyrically brilliant from start to finish and rocks as much as anything.

  2. Drudkh - Microcosmos (Season of Mist)

    Although I've seen nothing but an abundance of enthusiastic praise for Drudkh over the past several years, for some reason I didn't listen to the band for the first time up until about a month ago when I bought this album. I know I'm only stating the obvious, but this band rules. It's hard to say just what makes these guys so great. This album rocks pretty damn hard but still manages to produce fragile, entrancing atmospheres. These guys have quickly moved into my top tier of metal bands.

  3. Banner Pilot - Collapser (Fat Wreck Chords)

    Most songs sound similar musically, but the spectacular melodies and lyrics are varied and give each song a distinct life of its own. These guys might be my favorite non-Dillinger Four punk band right now, and this album never gets old. It's hard to pick a favorite from the album, but "Drains to the Mississippi" might be the band at its best.

  4. Korpiklaani - Karkelo (Nuclear Blast)

    This band rules. For those who don't know, this band is pretty much a fantastic mix of punk, folk and thrash metal. The music is incredibly catchy and fun. I'm generally uninterested/unimpressed with the folk metal genre (Eluveitie and some Finntroll being the exceptions), but this album blew me away. The band's last two albums, Karkelo and Korven Kuningas (2008) are the band at its best. The earlier stuff probably isn't worth your time.

  5. Ghostlimb/Fischer - Split (Vitriol/Great Plains)

    I hadn't heard either band prior to this split, but now I'm a fan of both. Fischer is a very promising emo band and Ghostlimb might be my favorite hardcore band right now. I have no idea why, but they sound completely different than any other band I've heard. Both bands exhibit brilliant guitar work on this split.

  6. Khanate - Clean Hands Go Foul (Hydra Head/Daymare)
  7. Antony and the Johnsons - The Crying Light (Secretly Canadian)
  8. Polar Bear Club - Chasing Hamburg (Bridge Nine)
  9. The Pine Hill Haints - To Win or to Lose (K)
  10. Baroness - Blue Record (Relapse)
  11. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm (Jagjaguwar)
  12. Chuck Ragan - Gold Country (Side One Dummy)
  13. Agoraphobic Nosebleed - Agorapocalypse (Relapse)
  14. Skeletonwitch - Breathing the Fire (Prosthetic)
  15. maudlin of the Well - Part the Second (Independent)
  16. Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves - Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves (No Idea)
  17. Matt and Kim - Grand (Fader)
  18. Current 93 - Aleph at Hallucinatory Mountain (Coptic Cat)
  19. Portal - Swarth (Profound Lore)
  20. Dear Landlord - Dream Homes (No Idea)
  21. DOOM - Born Like This (Lex)
  22. Weekend Nachos - Unforgivable (Deep Six)
  23. This Will Destroy You / Lymbyc Systym - Field Studies (Magic Bullet)
  24. A Storm of Light / Nadja - Primitive North (Robotic Empire)
  25. Lucero - 1372 Overton Park (Universal Republic )

Mark's list

  1. Converge - Axe To Fall (Epitaph)

    My most anticipated album of the year. What can I say? It delivered. I was a bit skeptical after hearing "Dark Horse," but in the end the album turned out to be strong and cohesive from start to finish. I can safely admit this band can do no wrong and this album only further exemplifies this statement.

  2. Raekwon - Only Built for Cuban Linx Pt. II (Ice H20)

    My favorite hip-hop album of the year. It lives up to the hype and manages to capture the feeling of the old Wu-Tang days. Great beats, strong rapping, all in one tight package.

  3. Cult Ritual - LP (Youth Attack Records)

    Noisy Black Flag inspired hardcore punk is nothing new, but these guys just play it harder and better. My pick for the best straight-up hardcore punk album of the year. Don't let this fall under the radar!

  4. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)

    Despite the pretention that seems to surround this band, I can't deny the fact that this is an excellent record. There isn't a review up on this site for this record, but unless you've been living under a rock, you probably already know that hipsters everywhere adore it. This is psychedelic folk at its most accessible.

  5. Dinosaur Jr. - Farm (Jagjaguwar)

    As a Dinosaur Jr. fan, I was pretty impressed by this album. It definitely captures their old noisy rock sound, while still managing to be fresh and interesting. Even after reuniting years down the line, this band has still got it.

Tyler's list

  1. Eagle Twin - The Unkindness of Crows (Southern Lord)

    The product of Iceburn mastermind Gentry Densley and drummer Tyler Smith, Eagle Twin puts most heavy bands of the past thirty years to shame. The crown jewel in Southern Lord's impeccable lineup, this earth-shaking duo pumps out monolithic sludgy roots rock that knows no bounds. Reaching back to the bare bones of stoner rock while simultaneously ushering in a new era of heaviness, Eagle Twin's debut is all about the riff and shows the massive low end that two guys can create with a baritone guitar, a wall of amps, a microphone, and a drum set.

  2. Shrinebuilder - Shrinebuilder (Neurot)

    What do you get when you cross bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros from OM, drummer Dale Crover from The Melvins (and recently, OM), guitarist/vocalist Scott Kelley from Neurosis, and Scott "Wino" Weinrich? Probably the most significant stoner metal supergroup of all time. You get exactly the kind of sound you would expect from this particular grouping of musicians: an old school doomy kind of vibe with just a touch of modern post-metal flavor, and the Eastern overtones you get from the rhythm section and vocals provided by OM.

  3. Wolves in the Throne Room - Malevolent Grain (Southern Lord)

    The more dynamic of Wolves in the Throne Room's two releases this year, the Malevolent Grain 12" EP is a triumph of organic black metal, every bit as monolithic and timeless as the ancient, moss-laden forest that graces its cover. A flawless production, epic riffs, and subtle song structures that mirror the naturalistic overtones help this record cut a unique niche in black metal. The record has an air of justified, atavistic wrath, in contrast to the unfocused and unprovoked hatred of more juvenile black metal bands.

  4. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Eating Us (Grave Face)

    Black Moth Super Rainbow and its affiliated musical acts have been releasing modern-day acid pop like nobody's business, and this latest disc opts for a refreshingly less processed approach. Driving bass lines, (what sound like) acoustic drums, and even banjo provide new textures, and the result is every bit as psychedelic as the band's previous output.

  5. Amesoeurs - Amesoeurs (Profound Lore)

    The swan song of this mysterious French band, Amesoeurs' only full-length oscillates between atmospheric black metal and moody post-punk/screamo. A unique ambience is created on this record: shimmering clean guitars and female vocals alongside grating noise and blast beats, and not one note sounds out of place.

  6. Wolves in the Throne Room - Black Cascade (Southern Lord)
  7. Anaal Nathrakh - In the Constellation of the Black Widow (Candlelight)
  8. A Storm of Light / Nadja - Primitive North (Robotic Empire)
  9. Sunn 0))) - Monoliths & Dimensions (Southern Lord)
  10. Mono - Hymn To The Immortal Wind (Temporary Residence)
  11. Black Cobra - Chronomega (Southern Lord)
  12. Torche - Healer/Across the Shields (Hydra Head)
  13. Wino - Punctuated Equilibrium (Southern Lord)
  14. Pelican - Ephemeral (Southern Lord)
  15. Khanate - Clean Hands Go Foul (Hydra Head/Daymare)
  16. Russian Circles - Geneva (Suicide Squeeze)
  17. Nadja - Clinging to the Edge of the Sky (Adagio 830/Vendetta)
  18. Jesu - Opiate Sun (Calo Verde)
  19. Disappearer - The Clearing (Magic Bullet)
  20. Supermachiner - Rust (Deathwish Inc.)
  21. Dälek - Gutter Tactics (Ipecac)
  22. Pelican - What We All Come to Need (Southern Lord)
  23. This Will Destroy You / Lymbyc Systym - Field Studies (Magic Bullet)
  24. Big Business - Mind The Drift (Redeye)
  25. Swamp Thing - In Shame (6131)

Zach's list

  1. Blacklisted - No One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me (Deathwish Inc)

    After Kurt Cobain's suicide in 1994, MTV's oversaturated coverage and the inability to escape from Unplugged in New York drove me away from all things grunge. In just three short years, grunge had become a joke. Fast-forward fifteen years. Blacklisted puts out No One Deserves to be Here More than Me, a brutally honest hardcore album with the most blatant Nirvana references and influence I've ever heard. And it's perfect. Blacklisted continues to grow and stretch themselves. And while many hardcore bands continue to commit incest when it comes to their sound, I'll gladly take Blacklisted's form of Incesticide.

  2. Ruiner - Hell is Empty (Bridge Nine)

    Ruiner decides to slow down their songs a little. And as result they have become one of the most intriguing bands in hardcore. That slight change in pace really brought more context to the lyrics, and made the melodies they had been playing at hyperfast speeds that much more emotional. Add in an organic sound from producer J. Robbins and we get one of the best albums of the year.

  3. Lucero - 1372 Overton Park (Universal Republic)

    What happens when you give the hardest working band in rock and roll a major label budget for an album? They put out the album they've wanted to make for their entire career. Lucero has always deserved the attention they're finally getting, but this album should hammer it home. While some fans seem to be alienated by the horns and the new polish, what they fail to realize is this was in Lucero's heart all along. They just didn't have the means to add these touches. Grab your girl or guy, and dance.

  4. New Found Glory - Not Without a Fight (Epitaph)

    Not Without A Fight is quite possibly the best New Found Glory album. Maybe it was the label change, the 7"s on Bridge Nine, or the personal turmoil the band has undergone in the last couple years. Whatever it was, we got a revitalized New Found Glory that is showing the new crop of hardcore influenced pop-punk bands how it is REALLY done.

  5. Chuck Ragan - Gold Country (Side One Dummy)

    Dude. It's Chuck Ragan. Everything this man does is done with heart, soul, integrity, and honesty. We should all aspire to such things.

  6. Shook Ones - The Unquotable A.M.H. (Paper + Plastick)
  7. Polar Bear Club - Chasing Hamburg (Bridge Nine)
  8. Austin Lucas - Somebody Loves You (Suburban Home)
  9. P.O.S. - Never Better (Rhymesayers)
  10. Banner Pilot - Collapser (Fat Wreck Chords)
  11. Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3 (Roc Nation)
  12. Strung Out - Agents of the Underground (Fat Wreck Chords)
  13. Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves - Chris Wollard & The Ship Thieves (No Idea)
  14. Narrows - New Distances (Deathwish Inc.)
  15. Strike Anywhere - Iron Front (Bridge Nine)
  16. Appleseed Cast, The - Sagarmatha (Vagrant)
  17. 3 Inches of Blood - Here Waits Thy Doom (Century Media)
  18. Mastodon - Crack the Skye (Reprise)
  19. Foundation - Chimborazo (Paper + Plastick)
  20. Dear Landlord - Dream Homes (No Idea)
  21. North Lincoln - Midwestern Blood (No Idea)
  22. Lewd Acts - Black Eye Blues (Deathwish Inc.)
  23. Coalesce - Ox (Relapse)
  24. Dead Swans - Sleepwalkers (Bridge Nine)
  25. No Friends - No Friends (No Idea)

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Words by the SPB team on Oct. 17, 2010, 4:18 a.m.

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