Can you believe that 2009 is more than halfway over with? It’s been a great year so far for local music with so many awesome things happening including TADgarden, Sasquatch!, the Sunny Day Real Estate Reunion and the return of Peal Jam and there is so much more to look forward too (CHBP, Bumbershoot, new Modest Mouse album … ). In case you missed any of the great local releases to hit shelves so far this year, here are my 10 favorite Northwest records of the year to date. Feel free to share yours in the comments section and let me know what I missed because I love being turned on to great local music.
10. “Ten Super Deluxe Edition” Pearl
Yes, it’s not technically a new album this year but between the vinyl, the Unplugged DVD, demo tape replica and the Drop in the Park concert, there’s enough new material on this remastered and remixed reissue to merit inclusion on this list.
9. “Salvation is a Deep Dark Well” The Builders and the
Sometimes its creepy. Sometimes its folky. All times its fun. This group of PDX folk rockers definitely avoided the sophomore slump with this album.
8. “Post-Nothing” Japandroids
Loud, fuzzy garage rock from a Vancouver, B.C. duo.
7. “Now We Can See” The Thermals
This is perhaps the best local pure pop-rock record of the year. Definitely a bit of a departure for these guys.
6. “Sprezzatura” Born Anchors
Some guy named John Richards said this: “Born Anchors’ Sprezzatura is, so far, the local rock record of the year.” I almost agree.
5. (Tie) “Winter’s End” Common Market, “High
Physics, “Panic” Dyme Def,
There’s been lots of amazing local hip hop released this year. If you combine these four EPs you get the perfect representation of what Seattle hip hop is all about.
4. “The Redwood Plan” The Redwood Plan
This is perhaps the perfect EP. The four tracks on this release do exactly what an EP is supposed to do. They draw you in and build anticipation for the full length, which hopefully will be released soon.
3. “The Hazards of Love” The Decemberists
Colin Meloy and company defy critics by making the a record that allows them to use the descriptor “progressive folk opera” in a good way.
2. “Concrete Class” The Lonely H
These kids (their oldest member is 21) do classic rock the right way with their third album. It gets my pick for local album of the summer.
1. “Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band” Mt. St. Helens Vietnam
The more I listen to this album the more and more I enjoy it. There isn’t a bad track in the bunch on the debut from this heavily hyped group. Sure they will suffer some backlash because of the Pitchfork buzz they got before even releasing a song. But once haters listen to the album (ahem, Ear Candy’s Brian Kerin) or see them live, they will see the buzz is well deserved.