Yes, I am a Tornado Chaser

Yes, I am a Tornado Chaser

Hey severe weather fans. It’s the end of the year, and that means it’s time to re-cap all this year had to offer musically (or at least a few of my favorite things.) If you haven’t checked out any of these, I strongly urge you to.

The Tornado’s Top Ten of 2009 (In no particular order):

1. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
Troy3 put it best when describing Veckatimest: “It renders all of Grizzly Bear’s previous records obsolete.” Amazingly lush production, beautiful vocal harmonies, giant instrumental sounds, there really is nothing to dislike about this record.

2. Polvo – In Prism
This rivals Veckatimest as my most-listened-to record of 2009. Who knew these guys had it in them (and after 12 years of inactivity, no less.) This band was a huge influence on my band Think In French and can easily stand along with the mid 90’s Touch and Go greats.

3. Pissed Jeans – King of Jeans
For some reason everyone was so over Pissed Jeans this year. Why? This album kicks just as much ass as it’s predecessor, and was way heavier, louder, funnier, and more bludgeoning than just about everything else released this year.

4. Sonic Youth – The Eternal
Also, Mark Ibold plays bass for them now. Double duh.

5. Raekwon – Only Built for Cuban Linx II
2009 seemed like the comeback year for waaay too many 90’s rappers, and at the top of the heap was Raekwon, with the sequel to one of the best hip-hop albums ever made. Just as rad and vital as any solo Wu Tang effort from the mid 90’s… another complete shocker.

6. Obits – I Blame You
The Legacy of Rick Froberg lives on. The former Drive Like Jehu/Hot Snakes frontman hasn’t missed a step with his new band, Obits. It’s a bit garage-ier than Hot Snakes, but is just as kick-ass.

7. Thee Oh Sees – Help
Another rad garage gem from another dude who was in about a bazillion great bands. This one is way more spacey and raw than I Blame You, but has all the hooks. They also put on one of the best live shows I’ve seen in years.

8. Chain and the Gang – Down with LIberty, Up with Chains
Ian Svenonius has a lot of hats. Next to Nation of Ulysses, I think I like this one best.

9. Part Chimp – Thriller
Another contender (along with Sunn O))) and Baroness) for heaviest album of the year. Ultimately, what sells me on Part Chimp is the guitars. I don’t think they’re punched up intentionally; rather when you record a wall of amps, the vocals and drums are bound to take a backseat. Plus, who names their album Thriller? Excellent.

10. Converge – Axe to Fall
This one is another no-brainer. It’s Converge’s best album since Jane Doe, which means it’s probably one of the best hardcore albums ever. Essential for anyone even remotely interested in hardcore.

Some other rad albums that deserve honorable mention:
Baroness – Blue Album
Circulatory System – Signal Morning
Drunkdriver – Born Pregnant
Ferocious Eagle – Laughing at the Horror of Being Alive
Flaming Lips – Embryonic
Mi Ami – Watersports
Mos Def – The Ecstatic
Propagandhi – Supporting Caste
Pterodactyl – Worldwild
Sunn O))) – Monoliths and Dimensions

I’m also going to do a little something extra this year and hook you up with my Top 30 of 2009 mixtape, split up into 3 parts, for you to enjoy this New Year’s Eve. Artists are limited to one song each. Here’s the tracklist (for you to assemble yourself) and if someone will help me out, I’ll try to get a podcast up before NYE. Enjoy.

Part I:
Atlas Sound – “Walk About”
Sonic Youth – “What We Know”
Grizzly Bear – “Two Weeks”
The Cool Kids – “Delivery Man”
Drunkdriver – “Dick in a Mousetrap”
Mi Ami – “New Guitar”
Mastodon – “Divinations”
Javelin – “Vibrations”
Obits – “Light Sweet Crude”
Preodactyl – “Old Clouds”

Part II:
Thee Oh Sees – “Enemy Destruct”
Pissed Jeans – “Dream Smotherer”
Mos Def – “Auditorium” featuring Slick Rick
Japandroids – “Wet Hair”
Cymbals Eat Guitars – “Tunguska”
Ferocious Eagle – “I’m Not a Monster”
Propagandhi – “Human(E) Meat (The Flensing of Sandor Katz)”
Polvo – “Beggar’s Bowl”
Picture Plane – “Goth Star”
Raekwon – “House of Flying Daggers”

Part III:
Circulatory System – “This Morning (We Remembered Everything)”
Part Chimp – “Dirty Sun”
The Flaming Lips – “Watching the Planets” featuring Karen O
Baroness – “Jake Leg”
Jay Z – “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)”
Chain and the Gang – “Reparations”
Converge – “Dark Horse”
Health – “Nice Girls”
Radiohead – “Harry Patch (In Memory of)”
Sunn O))) – “Big Church”