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The Quietus Reductive & Subjective Albums Of The Year List: 40 To 21
The Quietus , December 1st, 2009 03:16

Another best of '09 list? Well at least ours was compiled with the rapidity and contempt that these things deserve. And yes, it's still better than Q's. Guaranteed 100% Dylan and Big Pink free

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Music journalism: like 4,000 spoons when all you need is a lockable door, a revolver and a bottle of whisky.

Given that some of our colleagues and peers started putting up their end of year/decade lists back when those My Bloody Valentine reissues sounded like an exciting prospect, we know you're probably looking forward to reading this like you look forward to explaining to your children that you've just run over the family dog. Again.

So we've treated our top forty with exactly the kind of disdain that it deserves.

Our list is not representative of anything other than the albums that Quietus Editors John Doran and Luke Turner have been listening to over the last 12 months (with a couple of suggestions made by News Ed Ben Hewitt and Leisurely Leisure Ed Kev Kharas for good measure). And still, somehow, we can't help but feel we've come up with something that's OK and representative of the year. Our year, at least.

It's almost as if when these lists aren't used as a sop to record labels, PR companies, colleagues, mates in bands, the marketing and ad departments and the editor . . . they can be quite good.

Well nearly.

We'll publish the first half of our reissues and compilations list next Wednesday and the top half of both lists next week as well.

And I guess, if nothing else, you'll be glad to know we won't be doing an end of decade list but instead a series of essays on the last ten years, called the Wreath Lectures, starting with David Stubbs on Whatever Happened To Pop today.

40. Kurt Vile - Childish Prodigy

"Across 49 minutes, Vile cultivates his own musical personality while sifting through some gold-plated record boxes. 'Dead Alive' fizzes with fuzz, sounding like the result of a preteen afternoon spent with a parental LP collection and a knackered boombox. The singer's words, slathered in echo, carry the crypto-rockabilly twang of Suicide's Alan Vega, while musically it's a percussion-free rush of psychedelic electric folk (this is revisited for the splendid 'Heart Attack', which sounds like it should be complemented with chewed-up camcorder footage of a waterfall)." Noel Gardner

Read the full Quietus review here

39. Atlas Sound - Logos

"Logos: the name makes me think of 1) Douglas Coupland's Corporate Safety Blanket No. 1, a snug throw spangled with the brand names whose very fonts and hues have burned into our subconscious: Microsoft, Kodak, Ford. Imagine the thick crust of branded impressions that melts and settles on your mental circuitry every day; if your mind were a toaster, you wouldn't use it." Merryl Trussler

Read the full Quietus review here

38. Crystal Stilts - Alight of Night

"It takes real arrogance to sing the way Brad Hargett sings. And it takes real talent to pull it off as he does. Throughout debut album Alight of Night the Crystal Stilts frontman sounds so weary and medicated he makes Joaquin Phoenix seem like David Letterman. Morose and monastic, his reverberating vocals are evocative sometimes of Ian Curtis, sometimes of Morrissey, but mostly of a bewildered tramp wailing in a cathedral. Somehow, it's hypnotic. The beauty of Hargett is his attitude: unlike most contemporary frontmen, he refuses to plead for approval. His fecklessness compels." Niall O'Keeffe

Read the full Quietus review here

37. Crippled Black Phoenix - 200 Tons Of Bad Luck

"The way I feel about it is that you get to a certain point in your life and you don't care so much about what's going on around you, or feel any need to fit into a scene. When you drop that, all the other influences that you have start flooding out, so it kind of reflects my interests in music since the age of ten, that's probably what I'm doing now. In a way I'm regressing. My sister got me into punk when I was 13 or 14, and one day my dad got this massive box of vinyl in and just dumped it in my bedroom. It was full of seventies rock, so I grew up on a diet of Pink Floyd, Deep Purple and Journey while at the same time listening to Anti No-where League and all the punk bands." Justin Greaves, Crippled Black Phoenix

Read the Quietus interview with CBP here

36. Broadcast and the Focus Group - Broadcast And The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age

"If that old hack staple, the 'soundtrack to an imaginary film', fits Witch Cults like a Victorian lace glove, its hackneyed implications do not. This could be the score for a Hammer Horror (re)directed by David Lynch: it zooms in on the interstitial bizarre, the psychic labyrinths beneath the pop surface; chance happenings, channelled identities, orgies, séances, catoptromancy, drug rituals all sit naturally in its world. Perhaps the most impressive quality of this long-distance collaboration, edited together by both parties in a weekend, is the singular voice that emerges." Lee Arizuno

Read the full Quietus review here

35. Various Productions feat. Gerry Mitchell - The Invisible Lodger

"The lo-fi feel to The Invisible Lodger (studio mutters, rustling papers and mic clunks are left in) enhances the emotional impact by imbuing the record with a deeply personal feel, as if you can hear the genesis in troubled mutterings through damp, paper-thin walls. Via a juxtaposition of moods, such as the jaunty accordion that backs the line "hope is pissed on" in the 'English Estate', Mitchell seems to be creating dystopias both private and societal. This is a deeply textured record, a multitude of sounds held together under the hyptonic thread of Mitchell's sonorous tones. On 'All Fall Down', for instance, he appears to be singing and narrating to himself as drones and beats flurry around him." Luke Turner

Read the full Quietus review here

34. Admiral Angry - Buster

"Sometimes extreme music functions with quite noble intent. Albums of serrated noise can act as part of a latter day cleansing ceremony. The experience of such a bracing blast of noise can take the place of fasting or blood-letting or meditation, as a sound that can leave the listener spiritually refreshed. Other albums of punishing sonic density can have a cathartic effect; they offer a safe arena for people to purge nihilistic urges and shed unreconciled anger. Other albums of this nature can serve a concrete political purpose, their militant sound is used to match and intensify their militant message. The new album by Admiral Angry is not one of these. It’s just really fucking horrible. If you imagine taking the drop tuned, bowel-prolapsing riffery of the Melvins and marry it to the scorched larynx vocal horror of Khanate, the bleak industrial pulse of Godflesh and the merciless tattoo of early Will Haven then you have some kind of idea of the aural horror I’m talking about." John Doran, in The Stool Pigeon

33. Telepathe - Dance Mother

"Although one of the band's defining characteristics, the beats are often recessed, like the grid beneath a life drawing. Above, their language dovetails the romantic slang of urban teens ('We can feel the real bang-bang') and archaic passages ('Find myself in an iron gown'). Vocal interplay is less call-and-response (which would suggest a dialogue) than constant overlap (and so, more subtitles, or - following the name - psychic collage) delivered in the diminuendo of shallow breaths straining to hit the higher registers. Over nine tracks they kill dancefloors, spike what could be a keening love song with the line "My greatest wish would be to destroy you" and - in their three-part, dubstep-meets-narrative-hip-hop trilogy (called, um, 'Trilogy') employ sub-bass like a psychoacoustic experiment to illustrate the story (which is, fittingly, southern gothic). It's an accomplished, agenda-setting performance by any standards." Kicking K

Read the full Quietus review here

32. Pet Shop Boys - Yes

"For anyone who regards their first (and arguably definitive) singles compilation Discography as a glittering high watermark in modern pop, who views Neil Tennant as maybe Morrissey's only serious rival to the mantle of England's greatest living pop eccentric, or who has ever found themselves lost in stupefying reverie to 'West End Girls', 'Suburbia', 'Being Boring' et al, Yes will be greeted as a triumphant return to form, comfortably their best collection of songs since 1993's near-faultless Very." Darren Lee

Read the full Quietus review here

31. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest

"Those who've watched Grizzly Bear's progress closely will have the impression that the quartet's supporters adhere to a form of manifest destiny: Veckatimest, the fruit of the band's recent labour, will succeed. Thankfully, those rooting for it can relax — Veckatimest lives up to these heavy expectations without the crutch of collective will." Charles Ubaghs

Read the full Quietus review here

30. Part Chimp - Thriller

"There's a haphazard aspect to Part Chimp's presentation. The song titles, album title and choice of artwork for their third record all appear to be afterthoughts, selected at the last minute from the objects lying around in their immediate vicinity. This is because all that devious simian brainpower flows into the assembly of monumental backlines and the crafting of shockingly large riffs. Part Chimp are loud. REALLY BLOODY LOUD." Matt Evans

Read the full Quietus review here

29. Health - Get Color

"With the recognisable world removed from itself and all its symbols and cleverness destroyed, HEALTH only left two avenues open when it came to recording a follow-up [to their s/t debut]. They'd have to either stand back and soundtrack the new, alien world they'd razed or immediately set about rebuilding it. Lucky for me and all other opponents of millennia-long drone tracks, they chose the latter." Kev Kharas

Read the full Quietus track by track review here

28. Micachu and the Shapes - Jewellery

"Jewellery turns out to be a thrilling pick ‘n’ mix of puckish pop nonsense that will absolutely charm your kecks off, hoovers and all. Winking broadly at myriad styles from grime to playground skiffle and corrosive noise with nary a bum note bared, in some ways it’s capricious and not exactly fully-formed, but you can’t help but admire how much of this record flat-out works. 'Golden Phone''s a blinding tune showcasing Levi's gruff cockney diction, pleasingly pitched midway between a leer and a rictus grin. And 'Curly Teeth''s a moderately deranging racket that recalls Damon Albarn at his most stridently experimental." Al Denney

Read the full Quietus review here

27. Engineers - Three Fact Fader

"Drawing upon the same shoegaze and krautrock soaked spectrum as Primary Colours but daubed in completely different shades, it's a startlingly lush record, the softer, smoother relative content to lurk in the shadows while it's shinier counterpart hogs the limelight. This is the lazy Sunday afternoon come-down after Saturday night's hedonism. There will be doubters, of course - it's been four years since the release of their self-titled debut, practically a lifetime in the fickle world of pop music, and their resemblance to unemployed supply teachers rather than rock stars hardly does them any favours - but even the staunchest non-believer couldn't fail to be swayed by opening track 'Clean Coloured Wire'." Ben Hewitt

Read the full Quietus review here

26. Rammstein - Liebe Ist Für Alle Da

"Like a noisy, spunking, clanking behemoth waving its metallic cock at the world, Rammstein have been striding the music scene for more than a decade readying their huge mother lode before spraying it into the faces of the mass audience that they have claimed without anyone's permission. Their revolting sense of humour and grinding industrial slabs of raw power have seen them fill stadiums while being roundly ignored by the mainstream media who seem to be content to explain away music on their own indie-centric terms." John Robb

Read the full Quietus review here

25. Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport

"Derren Brown can fuck off. He reckons he can control the nation by playing some shit noise with funny swirls? He needs to talk to Fuck Buttons: using some noise and melodies and other stuff that sounds like God cracking his knuckles, they've come up with a staggering piece of art that exerts a curious power over all who listen. It directly makes their life better." Stephen Burkett

Read the full Quietus review here

24. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion

"A truly fantastic opening track, 'In The Flowers' wanders out of a mist of echo, uncertain chord changes picking an uncertain path. When, two and a half minutes in, it steps on a landmine, the upward blast of coloured glass is brutal and beautiful, rearing up out of nowhere. It's precisely the kind of moment which would be unthinkable – impossible – in the waterlogged sound-world of most modern pop." Taylor Parkes

Read the full Quietus review here

23. Jim O’Rourke - Visitor

"The loose progression through musical episodes is punctuated by occasional lulls in the tempo, creating the impression of a neo-classical symphony whose orchestrated movements build to a crescendo before fading abruptly, to be replaced by another. There are recurring fragments of melodies and syncopated rhythms which serve as leitmotifs, giving the record its rich thematic cohesion and structure. Echoes of previous songs in the O'Rourke cannon abound, from hints of the folksy whimsy of 'Ghost Ship In A Storm' to snatches of the loungey exuberance which made his cover of the Bacharach standard 'Something Big' such an infectious joy. Elsewhere, you can hear traces of the taut rock rhythms that characterised Insignificance. But the record this most closely resembles — and indeed is conceived as a sequel to, of sorts — is 1997's Bad Timing, where abstract riffs were allowed to gradually evolve into clear, vibrant melodies. That said, The Visitor stands out from any of O'Rourke's previous work in terms of sheer scope and ambition: it's perhaps his most fully-realised, surprising and audacious record to date." Darren Lee

Read the full Quietus review here

22. King Cannibal - Let The Night Roar

"A night on the tiles. You stumble your way to a bus stop, board and pass out on the top deck. Awakening, you find the N44 passing through a landscape of shattered buildings and the remnants of blazing trees, human forms roasting slowly under their branches, gunshots shattering the dawn air. Above you a seven foot scarred psychopath with a razor wire crown and a bloodied switchblade up the sleeve of his sinister uniform jacket stands chewing on the blackened flesh of your forearm. He laughs as you start to scream…" Luke Turner in The Stool Pigeon

21. Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band - Between My Head And The Sky

"There’s something to be said for delayed gratification. There’s no small amount of tortoise versus hare enjoyment to listening to Yoko Ono’s new album. You get to about track four or five before thinking ‘Fuck me, this is actually really good.’ And then when you get to the end you play it from the start again in order to divine whether you’re going through some kind of temporary mental imbalance. But you aren’t. This won’t be enough to silence the haters but it will stand as testament to her talent for anyone wishing to actually look. Yoko Ono is 76-years-old. She’s just released the best album of her career." John Doran, in The Stool Pigeon

Read our interview with Yoko Ono here

The List

40. Kurt Vile - Childish Prodigy
39. Atlas Sound - Logos
38. Crystal Stilts - Alight of Night
37. Crippled Black Phoenix - 200 Tons Of Bad Luck
36. Broadcast and the Focus Group - Broadcast And The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age
35. Various Productions feat. Gerry Mitchell - The Invisible Lodger Fire

34. Admiral Angry - Buster
33. Telepathe - Dance Mother
32. Pet Shop Boys - Yes
31. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
30. Part Chimp - Thriller
29. Health - Get Color

28. Micachu and the Shapes - Jewellery
27. Engineers - Three Fact Fader
26. Rammstein - Liebe Is Fur Alle Da
25. Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport
24. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion
23. Jim O’Rourke - Visitor
22. King Cannibal - Let The Night Roar
21. Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band - Between My Head And The Sky

Think you can do better? It's a rhetorical question - of course you can do better. My socks could do better. We will print the best top tens we get. Send them to info@thequietus.com with any notes you want to include.

Read the rest of The Quietus Reductive & Subjective Albums Of The Year list next Tuesday, December 8th. Who will be Number One? A world awaits, trembling

Bingo Little
Dec 1, 2009 10:12am

My own top ten of 2009 in no particular order...

Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas - II
Andrew Bird - Noble Beast
Super Furry Animals - Dark Days/Light Years
King Midas Sound - Waiting For You
The Phantom Band - Checkmate Savage
Lindstrøm & Christabelle - Real Life is No Cool
Espers - III
The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
Luke Haines - 21st Century Man
The Leisure Society - The Sleeper

Bubbling under: Fuck Buttons, Animal Collective.

There's quite a few on your list I've not heard so I'm patently not qualified to proffer up a top ten. But I just went and did it anyway. The Lindstrøm & Christabelle CD which I've only just got is a stunner. Disco 2010. Makes me wanna dance, dance, dance.

Keep up the great work The Quietus.

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anthonyc
Dec 1, 2009 11:48am

Nice to see Crippled Black Phoenix in there good band!

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RonanC
Dec 2, 2009 11:37am

Hope Sophia's "There Are No Goodbyes" makes it into the Top 20. It's number one in this household anyway...

My own faves were:

1. SOPHIA – ‘There Are No Goodbyes’
2. DAVID KITT – ‘The Nightsaver’
3. MASTERS OF REALITY – Pine/Cross Dover

And then (in no particular order)
FUCK BUTTONS – Tarot Sport
ENGINEERS - Three Fact Fader
SOULSAVERS - Broken
WHITE RAINBOW – New Clouds
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS - Dark Days/Light Years
DUCKWORTH LEWIS METHOD - S/T
THE CINEMATIC ORCHESTRA - The Crimson Wing
TINARIWEN –Imidiwan:Companions
EMERALDS - Emeralds
RICHARD HAWLEY – Truelove’s Gutter
BILL CALLAHAN – Sometimes I Wish we were an Eagle
DECEMBERISTS – Hazards of Love
BEAK> - Beak>
HEAVEN & HELL – The Devil You Know
MASTODON – Crack the Skyee
THE ORB – Baghdad Batteries
UNDERWORLD vs THE MISTERONS – Athens
SUN O))) – Monoliths and Dimensions
MOUNTAINS – Choral
ESPERS – III
THE SWELL SEASON – Strict Joy
PEARL JAM – Backspacer
TONY ALLEN – Secret Agent
ARCHIVE – Controlling Crowds
DANGERMOUSE and SPARKLEHORSE (& David Lynch)– Dark Night of the Soul
ADAM FRANKLIN – Spent Bullets
ISIS – Wavering Radiant
THERAPY? – Crooked Timber
THE JUAN MACLEAN – The Future Will Come
NEIL YOUNG - Fork in the Road

The biggest piece of crap was THEM CROOKED VULTURES. Why doesn't Josh Homme just admit defeat and reform Kyuss?

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jjustj
Dec 2, 2009 3:34pm

there's an irony that the list that claims to be 100% big pink free starts with an ad for the big pink's album.

Just sayin

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Bingo Little
Dec 3, 2009 10:44am

In reply to Bingo Little :

Just realised that this list doesn't actually include what I now realise is definitely my favourite new album of 2009.....

FEVER RAY by FEVER RAY

Congratulations to Karin Elisabeth Dreijer Andersson on winning this prestigious award.

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Jackson
Dec 5, 2009 3:53am

Didn't 'Buster' come out in 2008?

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John Doran
Dec 7, 2009 6:57pm

In reply to Jackson:

No, it came out in 2009 for sure. It may have come out earlier in the States but I don't think so.

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John Doran
Dec 7, 2009 7:01pm

In reply to Bingo Little :

Well, our top 20 may (ok, will) contain the Fever Ray album.

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danmac
Dec 7, 2009 7:47pm

For what it's worth - here's another list
Fever Ray
Jon Hassell - Last Night the Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes in the Street
A Hawk and a Hawksaw - Delivrance
Dead Weather - Horehound
Anouar Brahem - The Astounding Eyes of Rita
Antony and the Johnsons - The Crying Light
Andrew Bird - Noble Beast
The Proclaimers - Notes and Rhymes
Joe Gideon and the Shark - Harum Scarum
Major Lazer - Guns Don't Kill People, Lazers Do
Raphael Saadiq - The Way I Feel
Hell - Teufelswerk
Moritz von Oswald Trio - Vertical Ascent
Trembling Bells - Carbeth
Mos Def - The Ecstatic

By and large that's what I've found to be most reliable throughout the year

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assignment writing
Aug 8, 2017 7:38am

I had not heard all of the albums which has mention here but some of albums which I have listened are too good..

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