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Tag Archives: Thrice

To be honest, I was not impressed with the music of 2007 and 2008. With some obvious exceptions (Such as Radiohead’s In Rainbows) I just didn’t get into current releases. Mostly, I collected the catalogues of classic bands and avoided new music.

But seriously what is it with 2009?! There is so much good music coming out this year that there has been at least one record per month that I have greatly anticipated. My year end top ten will turn into a top twenty this year, I can almost guarantee it.

For the record here are my current favs from this year along with briefer than brief commentary (Currently not ordered, but at the end of the year my list will be):

  • Derek Webb- Stockholm Syndrome [Derek goes electronica but holds onto the biting lyrics. His best musically, and lyrically too. If the only word you hear on this album is four letters long you aren’t listening…]
  • Thrice- Beggars [Easily their best album, and that’s just from the initial listen.]
  • House of Heroes- The End Is Not The End [How many Christian artists release concept records? How many artists release concept records about World War II? How many Christian artists release concept records about World War II? How many do you think could pull it off? I can think of one.]
  • Project 86- Picket Fence Cartel [improvement over the past two releases, still figuring out how it holds up to the “classics”]
  • Joy Electric- Curiosities and Such [honestly why didn’t Ronnie go mono years ago?]
  • Sleeping Giant- Sons of Thunder [phenomenal Spirit-filled hardcore… which reminds me, isn’t there ¬†a series I should be completing…?]
  • As Cities Burn- Hell or High Water [good record to go out on…. -10,000,000 points to T&N for making “Gates” a download only bonus track… shouldn’t the PHYSICAL releases be the ones with bonuses? Sigh.]
  • Boarders- The World Hates Me [very fun metal with obvious but divergent influences… dig the Megadeth cover]
  • Ultimatum- Lex Metalis [as cover albums go, this is among the best]
  • For Today- Portraits [10 musical “portraits” of biblical characters. A Spirit-filled hardcore concept record? Never thought I’d hear that, glad I did]

Here is my top 10 favourite records released in 2008. To be honest, I only bought about 15 records released this year, and a whole lot of older records. That being said, I believe that this is a good list, and that the reason these 10 made the list is that I actually believe they are good enough to buy. This list is in alphabetical order and the numbers are for organizational purposes, not ranking.

1. Becoming the Archetype- “Dichotomy”

Epic Progressive Death Metal. Great music, solos, vocals and production. Easily this band’s best record, they have finally learned to write catchy songs and not just riffs.

2. Brave Saint Saturn- “Anti-Meridian”

The highly anticipated third part to the Saturn Five Trilogy lives up to expectations, blowing the previous BS2 records out of the water, and also showing improvement over Five Iron Frenzy’s heyday. Great hooks, melodies and excellent lyrics make this electro-pop disc a winner.

3. Child Bite- “Fantastic Gusts of Blood”

Experimental post punk based on Greek mythology. Excellent vocals reminiscent of Pere Ubu, and spastic music that is as strange as it is catchy. Also check out their remix EP “Exquisite Luxury” also released this year.

4. Jon Foreman- “Fall / Winter / Spring / Summer”

Jon Foreman’s four EPs based on the seasons take him out of Switchfoot’s hard rock territory and place him into the realm of acoustic folk and pop. Excellent lyrics and great music that truly wouldn’t fit into the realm of his full time band. It doesn’t matter that the four seasons concept doesn’t play out in the songs, they are great slices of pop regardless.

5. Joy Electric- “My Grandfather, The Cubist”

This one is certainly a grower, not jumping out at me as quickly as Ronnie’s other records. That being said the minimalism of the music and vocals truly draws me in on repeated listens. One of JE’s best, and after 23 releases that is saying a lot!

6. Mars ILL- “Black Listed Sessions”

Not one, but two complete revisions of the classic “Blue Collar Sessions” EP. Dust consistently improves the beats, and guest producer Beat Rabbi does great on his two tracks as well. Manchild’s unchanged vocals are as convicting as ever. If Dust continues to write beats this good I don’t care if he does every Mars ILL song seventeen times, I’ll still want it. This two-disc set is a limited ¬†edition of 250 with excellent art, so pick it up while you still have the chance.

7. Norma Jean- “The Anti Mother”

Cory Brandon is not Emo. His vocals however, are blisteringly visceral and full of emotion. This album candidly discusses Brandon’s divorce, and his pain is palpable and convicting. Easily the best post-Scogin Norma Jean record.

8. Trenches- “The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole”

This sounds nothing like Haste the Day. If you get it just because of Jimmy Ryan’s presence behind the mic you may be disappointed. This is super sludgy metal, often mid-paced and epic. Comparisons to early Warlord are not without reason. In a word it is great.

9. Thrice- “The Alchemy Index Vols. 3 & 4: Air & Earth”

The most experimental music from Thrice yet. The air disc is light and airy, and the Earth disc is acoustic folk country. It takes some getting used to but it is excellent. Dustin Kensrue’s gorgeous voice and spiritually convicting lyrics shine in any musical setting.

10. Underoath- “Lost in the Sound of Separation”

The most organic sounding Underoath record, void of the vocal layering of past records, this sounds raw and live. The band has now perfected the dichotomy between pummeling metal and catchy hooks.

Honorable Mentions:

Fleet Foxes- S/T, Brendan Canning- Something For All of Us…, Deliverance reissues on Retroactive