Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs absolutely seemed even more confident, powerful and seductively ready to kick your ass on their third long player It's Blitz!. O's voice commands each track and really makes It's Blitz! a success, while the band does not stray away from the perfect verse/chorus/verse formula that makes a great single regardless of the track. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs proved one thing here and make a bold statement - they have the talent of a career band. Plain and simple, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have grown on every album and It's Blitz! was just a solid and enjoyable record!
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Review [4/1/09] @ The Fire Note
The xx released a debut record that most bands simply dream about. The South London quartet accomplished making an album that was fully realized way past their twenty years of age. The xx make simple pop songs like Belle & Sebastian but have the majestic electronic and atmospheric tones of Radiohead. This combo definitely feels new and ventures into a music territory that does not have much exploration. This made xx a record that was unique, surprising and well worth its place in our Top 10!
The xx Review [10/7/09] @ The Fire Note
New York's Cymbals Eat Guitars debut record Why There Are Mountains blew onto the scene, backed only by the band, as it was self-released. It took us by complete surprise with its quiet moments, loud moments and everywhere in between indie angular guitar attack. The constant throughout the entire record was quality song structures and musicianship lead by the commanding vocals of Joseph Ferocious. The band now has a label and the record has been re-released with a new cover, as it should gain its rightful momentum because it was one of the best records this year!
Cymbals Eat Guitars Review [3/25/09] @ The Fire Note
Not only did this record almost not make it out of our consideration stacks by its cover but I would have lost a bet and never would have guessed it would have landed in our Top 10. The European production duo Radioclit and Malawian singer Esau Mwamwaya, better known as The Very Best released Warm Heart Of Africa and it was a "nail it on the head" type of title, as the group hits you with its high octane African sounds, dance beats, and well thought out catchy pop anthems. I could listen to the title track, which is led vocally by Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, endlessly and the addition of M.I.A. only enhances this record. Honestly, Warm Heart Of Africa didn't even need the guest vocals to make it into the top 10 because The Very Best have a highlight on Afro-pop, but their combining of many different genres achieve an overall sound that is as exciting as it is timeless!
The Very Best Review [10/26/09] @ The Fire Note
The New Jersey quartet Real Estate brought together a mellow indie sway with a surf music backdrop that was all wrapped in subtle but yet gorgeous melodies. Real Estate blend their harmonies with a trace of reverb, that leaves you with the notion that they are more about lo-fi pop but with the inclusion of several surfy instrumental tracks, Real Estate actually create an unique experience. It is the type of record that has a timeless sound and most certainly will not only play solid next decade but also in the ones to follow! That is why it is number 6 on the list!
Real Estate Review [12/10/09] @ The Fire Note
With Neko the question is not about good or bad - it is simply the question of how good is it! Middle Cyclone is very good. From the single "People Got A Lot Of Nerve" (which we have listened to more than we can admit) to the crazy ending 32-minute closing track of looped frog noises, Middle Cyclone cultivated all of Case's strong suits into one record. With her voice and exemplary songwriting, this record was a great listen from beginning to end and just got better every time we spun it!
Neko Case Review [2/26/09] @ The Fire Note
Within the first three songs on Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Phoenix puts together a blend of stylish power pop punch that other groups strive to make their entire career. To basically describe Phoenix in a formula we would call for packing the swagger of The Strokes, injecting the dance synths of Franz Ferdinand and stirring in catchy lyrics and a pop bounce much like Fountains Of Wayne. Basically you get 10 well thought out songs in 36 minutes that will constantly have your feet tapping and your fingers snapping, making Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix from Phoenix one of our favs in 2009!
Phoenix Review [5/25/09] @ The Fire Note
The debut album from San Francisco's Girls is one glorious lo-fi fuzzy direct sunny indie pop hot mess. That translates into - it's good! The record had meaning, as many of the songs were written after a tough break up and a cohesiveness front to back, which might be the combo of a perfect storm as it was recorded with most of the band members taking a multitude of substances. All of this came together and made Album a record to remember and Girls a band we want to automatically hear more from!
Girls Review [9/29/09] @ The Fire Note
Merriweather Post Pavilion is one of Animal Collective's most accessible albums to date and it is also one of their best! The in your face noises beep and blip but you don't even notice because they lock into the dance rock beats and the layered harmonies that are completd with the superb duel vocalists Dave Portner and Noah Lennox. This record keeps you on the edge of your listening seat and never once lets you drift away. It was released in January and topped just about every release this year as it rightfully takes the number 2 spot on the countdown!
Animal Collective Review [1/22/09] @ The Fire Note
This is a record that we easily ran out of positive adjectives to describe to people as the year went on because Veckatimest was a sonic experience that sounded superb through headphones or over the car speakers as each song builds, weaves and harmonizes. Grizzly Bear blend harmonies, folk and intricately use instruments with such an ease here that each grandiose track comes off cleanly and transitions into the next without a hiccup. The beauty of Veckatimest is that it really is a record that is meant for multiple listens, has hidden singles and surprises you around every perfected melody. This was a record that we predicted might end up number 1 back in May. It was a bold statement at the time but the record speaks for itself and grabs the top spot this year in our Blazing Top 50 and will be one of our favorites for years to follow!
Grizzly Bear Review [5/29/09] @ The Fire Note
Well that is it for 2009. Feel free to post some of your top albums this year - we would love to see them. Have a great holiday and we will see you on January 4th for our first review in 2009, however The Fire Note will be active on its Facebook page so be sure to hop over and check it out.
Thanks for all the support in 2009 and helping make The Fire Note a success for another year!