Today’s edition features online promoter king, Mark Dodds from Inertia Music. Mark is like god to all the music blogs (well, at least to us here) – he gives us a rundown of the newest releases before anyone else and he is the main reason why YOU get previews to some amazing records on Those Walls, Your Ears. So we welcome Mark to our little space of the internet as he introduces his favourite ten records of 2009.
- Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
I pretty much knew this was my album of the year within 2 minutes and 30 seconds of it beginning. That moment when the opening track, “In The Flowers”, leaps from psychedelic wilderness into some Technicolor daydream ranks among the decade’s most revelatory music moments. And that’s only one twist on a pop album that dares to surprise.
- Girls – Album
Some of this album makes me want to rollerblade along the beach boardwalk. Some makes me want to take psychedelic drugs and chill out in a beanbag. Either way, this album is your whole summer: from the sand and sunshine to the heartbreak, comedowns and exhaustion. A slacker opus for the ages.
- Memory Tapes – Seek Magic
Like Merriweather Post Pavilion, the magic of Memory Tapes came to me in a short, sharp musical epiphany. It was that final third of “Bicycle” – that choir, those keys, and the meanest guitar riffage in a pop track since “Say It Ain’t So” – that just made my life that little bit more complete. And the rest of Seek Magic follows suit. From the dreamy loops to the washed out (no “chillwave” pun intended) reverb, this album just feels instantly familiar and welcoming.
- Japandroids – Post-Nothing
I won’t intellectualise it: this album reminds me of high school. “Young Hearts Spark Fire” is “San Dimas High School Football Rules” all grown up – well, sorta grown up. Anyway, I haven’t had so much fun listening to an album since my pal Cameron smuggled a discman into Year 10 Japanese class, and we bumped ‘The Mark, Tom & Travis Show’, one earphone a piece. Just some dudes sharing a moment. Japandroids would understand.
- Raekwon – Only Built 4 Cuban Linx II
I usually hate sequels – especially sequels that come 15 years after the original. There’s nothing worse than seeing your favourite characters stripped of their immortality, and wheeled out as older, more pathetic versions of their younger selves (yes I’m talking to you, Kevin Smith). But Only Built For Cuban Linx II breaks the mould, which is astounding for an album which follows up perhaps my favourite rap record of the 90s. It’s all here: vintage gangster loops, flawless lyricism, idiosyncratic wordplays and unmistakable charisma. It’s good to know after all these years, Raekwon is still running the game. Dollar dollar bill, y’all.
- Wavves – Wavvves
Wavves may have blown up and then burnt out quicker than you can say “Muscles”, but still, Wavvves remains the rawest, grungiest nugget of lo-fi shit to be hurled at the blogosphere in ’09 (although Eat Skull and Graffiti Island came pretty darn close). I still listen to “So Bored” and “No Hope Kids” daily, and it’s that – not drug-addled onstage freak-outs – which is the real sign of endurance.
- Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
This was just lovely: enormous pop arrangements, gorgeous harmonies, and songs that just wander about in your head for hours and hours. I don’t think I could pinpoint a single indie act on Earth who had a bigger year in 2009 than Grizzly Bear, and despite cute jabs at their ongoing “memeification”, there’s no disguising that this album is, quite simply, magnificent.
- Fuck Buttons – Tarot Sport
Fuck Buttons are just intoxicating. If you fall into the thrust of those triumphant noise loops, you’re just awash with joy and adrenaline. “Olympians” makes my walk home from work feel like the ascent of Mt. Olympus; Kevin Sorbo in tow. “Flight Of The Feathered Serpent” gets me raving in my lounge room. I once got so wound up in “Surf Solar” that I almost did a push-up. Almost.
- Wolves In The Throne Room – Black Cascade
Kinda feels pointless writing a description when the album title says it all. This record is a cavalcade of bleak, eerie, tortured sound, from one of America’s finest black metal bands. But there’s a strange beauty amongst all the violence. It’s State Of Nature stuff: solitary, nasty, and brutish, but perversely fascinating. Like watching a lion tackle and devour a gazelle on the Discovery Channel.
- Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
Dirty Projectors’ recipe for pop music is curious and counter intuitive, but it works. In fact, along with Animal Collective, this record revived my faith in pop as an exciting and dynamic art form. Songs like “Stillness Is The Move” and “Cannibal Resource” are infectious but adventurous, and while the album is packed with hooks and refrains, these structures only accentuate the wonderful intricacies of the departures. From start to finish, this album is special and unique, and makes music seem – and feel – new again.
Mark’s shortlist also includes Vivian Girls’ Everything Goes Wrong, Justin Townes Earle’s Midnight At The Movies and Nite Jewel’s Good Evening.