The One21 Best Of 2009 Pt.1

2009 is almost over, and in the world of music, that means one thing, Best Of lists! At One21, we wanted to wait a little bit to post ours; because to me posting a “Best Of” list before Thanksgiving is kinda like nominating Avatar for Best Drama the week before it is screened for critics.

Wait, yea, that happened….

This list is simply our celebration of the amazing music that came out in 2009. We understand that many may disagree with us on the albums we picked (or didn’t pick), but we completely believe that this is the best of what came out this year. In 6 months we will do a retrospective list for 2009, so it will be interesting to see what makes it onto that list. Feel free to leave your thoughts…

In no real particular order, here are the first 12 albums that made 2009 great:

Album of the year

manchester orchestra mean everything to nothing
Mean Everything To Nothing
Manchester Orchestra


Why we picked it: When you are able to marry both catchiness and intelligence, then you created something very special. Manchester Orchestra have done just that with equal parts gritty garage rock, progressive indie, and angry post-hardcore combined to result in a cohesive group of songs that not only build on each other, but also communicate a vast range of emotion and mood. Every song has something that you didn’t hear the first time (or the second), and Mean Everything To Nothing will keep you coming back. In plain English, this is a phenomenal album.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

Best of the rest

thrice beggars
Beggars
Thrice


Why we picked it: Coming off their incredibly diverse and profound Alchemy Index project, Thrice once again has proved that they may be the American band of this generation. Once again, Dustin Kensrue and the boys dug deep and came out with a collection of soulful, passionate songs that play to all their strengths. Every member of the band shines bright on Beggars, so there is a lot of radiating going on. With another album full of gems under their belt, Thrice pushes on and continues to remind us what true rock looks like.
Buy:Amazon, iTunes

a mouth full of dust bradley hathaway
A Mouth Full Of Dust
Bradley Hathaway


Why we picked it: This may be the most joyfully depressing album you will ever listen to. Channeling Bob Dylan, mewithoutYou, and Daniel Jonhston, the one time poet in Bradley Hathaway fully bloomed into a indie folk genius with A Mouth Full of Dust. Deeply personal, every song attempts to create the sound of Bradley’s emotional state, ranging from sweetly content to painfully chaotic. Never relying on over-musicianship, A Mouth Full Of Dust is simple enough to be called folk or lo-fi, but has so many twists and turns you won’t know how to describe it when the last note rings out. You will be a little out of breath though.
Buy:Amazon MP3

the red baron my first love
My First Love
The Red Baron
Why we picked it:
The hardcore movement was supposed to be about having heart, and The Red Baron have plenty to pass around. Every track on this blistering, fast paced album just kicks you in the chest, and at the same time is able to hit an emotional chord. The term “blood, sweat, and tears” may have been coined a band like this, the music is an all-encompassing mesh of ticked off punk and old school hardcore. On top of that, the lyrics are more theologically honest than most worship songs, making My First Love the perfect (and I mean perfect) Christ-centered hardcore album.
Buy:Amazon, iTunes

ok bear jeremy enigk
OK Bear
Jeremy Enigk


Why we picked it: Enigk‘s work has been legendary for almost a decade and a half now (Sunny Day Real Estate, The Fire Theft), and OK Bear seems to be a return to more simple times. Not to say that Jeremy Enigk‘s work is by any means simplistic now, but in terms of an album, this seems to be the first time his solo work has been able to focus his genius. The songs have a more straight forward feel to them (similar to Sunny Day), but somehow Enigk is able to make the simplest of structures somehow very unique. Drenching every song with his deep, introspective lyrics, and then letting his soulful and painful vocal style do the rest of the work, OK Bear is the album that every underground band wishes they could write.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

my brightest diamond shark remixes vol 2 son lux
Shark Remixes Vol.2:Son Lux
My Brightest Diamond

Why we picked it: In 2008, solo songstress Shara Worden, under her moniker My Brightest Diamond, released her latest dark pop masterpiece, A Thousand Sharks Teeth. In 2009, she allowed several electronic artist to remix the album, resulting in several interesting volumes of The Shark Remixes. The most profound of all these was the collaboration with trip-hop genius Son Lux, who took My Brightest Diamond‘s sound and twisted it into something very different. In addition to Shara’s uniquely operatic vocals, distorted jazz horns, fuzzy base lines, and creepy backing effects made Son Lux and My Brightest Diamond‘s collaboration a match made in dark electronic heaven.
Buy: Amazon MP3, iTunes

pink limousine rootbeer
Pink Limousine EP
Rootbeer

Why we picked it: Want to have some good clean fun? The boys in Rootbeer got ya covered. The latest collaboration between LA Symphony alum Flynn Adam, and Pigeon John has proved you can have a lot of fun being better than most everybody in the hip-hop club scene. Each song is created to get the party started, and is chalked full of Flynn and John‘s unique sense of humor (heck, we have been hearing about this pink limo since the very first LA Symphony single). I dare you to listen to this EP and not be a little happier afterward. Go ahead….try. See? Not possible…
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

The-Chariot-Wars-and-Rumors-of-Wars
Wars And Rumors Of Wars
The Chariot

Why we picked it: There is simply not any band quite like The Chariot. They combine noise rock with metalcore, chaos with genius, and some how always come up with music that is easily better than 90% of the music put out in the metal/hardcore scene. On their last album, we saw The Chariot go experimental; on Wars And Rumors of Wars, we see them light everything on fire. Then they throw firecrackers at it. Vocalist Josh Scogin’s lyrics are top notch; the crazy parts are crazier, the heavy parts are heavier, the experimental parts are more….well you get the picture. The Chariot is on a rampage, and Wars And Rumors Of Wars is the warning siren.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

derek webb stockholm syndrome
Stockholm Syndrome
Derek Webb

Why we picked it: Out of all the albums that came out this year in the Christian music scene, this may have been the most talked about by far. Once again sparking controversy with the song “What Matters More”, Derek Webb once again reinvented himself in both his lyrics, and in musical style. No longer content with folk music supplying the background to his messages, Webb instead harnessed a Thom Yorke-esque electronic sound with incredible results. With so much of today’s music being released with no real meaning or depth, Derek Webb was able to pave new trails for artistic musicians, be the music sacred or secular. Is this album and it’s messages for everybody? No. Is Stockholm Syndrome important? Without hesitation, yes.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

ascend the hill
Ascend The Hill
Ascend The Hill
Why we picked it:
Ascend The Hill should be the new benchmark for worship music. Deeply theological, heart-breakingly honest, and unrelenting; Ascend The Hill is able to capture their passion for the Lord on their self-titled debut. This is the kind of music that God can use to knock down walls, to change lives, and renew hearts. Ascend The Hill‘s music isn’t a gimmick, a routine, or a performance. It is an expression of a heart truly and completely in love with God.
Buy: iTunes

hands creator
Creator
Hands

Why we picked it: Hands hit the music scene this year like a freight train. Their ability to weave together the brutal nature of progressive metal and earnest Christian theology could have so easily turned into a cheap parody. Thankfully for us, it didn’t, because Hands approached their music like a lion tearing apart its meal. Every song has layer upon layer of creativity and aggression, while at all times acting as a 10 song prayer. If the music was acoustic, this would be some really deep Christ centered folk/worship; if the lyrics weren’t about Christ, then these guys would be one of the most brutal progressive bands on the planet. Creator is neither, and it is both. Creator is a totally unique album from beginning to end, one we will be talking about for a long time.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

So Long Forgotten the things we can see and the things we cannot
The Things We Can See & The Things We Cannot
So Long Forgotten
Why we picked it:
So Long Forgotten is yet another band testing the limits of the term progressive rock. Strange tempo changes, tons of stark guitar sounds, horns, and the cathartic lyrical style make this one you need to listen a few times before you truly grasp what is going on. What is going on is that Things We Can See And The Things We Cannot is a powerhouse of an album that is sure to satisfy an underground rock fan. The honesty in the lyrics make this a stand out on its own, but every song evolves in a singular way so that the listener will be left with something truly profound and beautiful with every track.
Buy:iTunes

maylene and the sons of disaster III
III
Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster

Why we picked it: The kings of southern metal-core proudly display why they were the first and they may be the last. All the grit and rawness from previous albums are here, but III just kicks it up 10 notches. No holds a bar rock guitar solos, banjos, monster ballads amidst the scream vocals, and of course plenty of metal pound at you track after track. This is the CD you will listen to when all your windows are down, and you are driving just a little too fast down the highway. Can’t wait for IV.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

check back tomorrow to see the rest of our list!!

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