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WTT: Top 25 EPs/Demos/Singles of 2009

December 31, 2009

25. Andrew Jackson Jihad – Operation Stackola
[Folk punk]
Myspace | Try It

Everyone knows who Andrew Jackson Jihad is by now, so on this little EP released before their full-length, they decided to start covering artists like David Bowie and French Quarter and Spacejam Dub. This certainly got everyone excited for Can’t Maintain (but more on that later).

24. Modest Mouse – No One’s First and You’re Next
[Alt rock]
Myspace | Try It

Modest Mouse released this collection of B-sides and unreleased tracks from their previous two albums in a staggered fashion, doing a two-track vinyl single every few months. I think they’re getting back on track with this, because it’s a lot better than We Were Dead.

23. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Higher than the Stars
[Dream pop, twee]
Myspace | Try It

You know by now what to expect from this New York City dream pop group, and the first four tracks of this EP are more of the same (wonderful) sounds they’ve been putting out for the past two years. The real standout here is the Saint Etienne remix of the title track, which proves itself to be one of the strongest tracks in TPoBPaH’s catalog to date.

22. The Shoes – Stade de Reims 1978
[Electro club]
Myspace | Try It

Bangin’ electro club shit from (where else) France, this EP has two tracks and two remixes of said tracks. As far as I know this is all this duo has released so far, but it makes me want more; that is, as soon as I’m finished dancing.

21. The Mary Onettes – Dare
[Post-punk, indie pop]
Myspace | Try It

This Swedish indie pop group takes a lot of cues from jangle pop, but also from ’80s post-punk groups like Echo and the Cure. Some really choice cuts on this EP.

20. Deastro – Orange Swimmer Red Summer
[Dream pop, synth pop]
Myspace | Try It

This guy just doesn’t let up. For the past few years Deastro has been releasing tons of material, all of it somehow at the same level of quality and not all sounding the same. This EP is no exception, and has him continuing with his dreamy synthy electronic noodling.

19. Massive Attack – Splitting the Atom
[Trip-hop]
Myspace | Try It

New album in 2010 – who’s fucking excited? I’m fucking excited.

18. Hightide Hotel – Secret Somethings
[Emo]
Myspace | Try It

I fell in love with this band in 2009, and this acoustic EP just cemented that love for their noodley indiemo sad bastard music. Big hopes for their 2010 debut album.

17. The Silent Years – Let Go
[Alt rock, indie pop]
Myspace | Try It

I think a lot of my love for this release comes from the fact that it has a track called “Taking Drugs at the Amusement Park”. Come on. That’s a great song title (and, coincidentally, a great song).

16. Paul Baribeau – Demo Tape 09
[Folk rock, singer-songwriter]
Myspace | Try It

Oh, Paul Baribeau. How do you manage to do the same thing over and over and yet still sound so painfully honest and sincere? Highlight here is “Eight Letters”.

15. The Cavalcade – Meet You in the Rain
[Jangle pop, twee]
Myspace | Try It

I’m going to be straight-up with you – this EP isn’t much more than unabashed Sarah Records worship. But in a music world of whiny indie rock and obnoxious assholes, is that really such a bad thing?

14. Complaints – Complaints
[Hardcore]
Try It

Fast and jamming hardcore punk with a crooked smile. None of these songs even crack two minutes, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

13. Algernon Cadwallader – Hot Green
[Math rock, emo]
Myspace | Try It

The fact that this is a Best of 2009 list somewhat bothers me when it comes to this “release”, because honestly, I don’t think it ever actually got “released”. The band leaked it onto Soulseek way back early in the year and it’s just stuck, and upon further investigation I can’t find any information about it, leading me to believe it’s been delayed yet again. Well, fuck it, it’s already here and it’s awesome. Who doesn’t love Algernon?

12. Foreign Objects – Demo Tape
[Post-punk, pop-punk]
Myspace | Try It

Snarly-yet-poppy post-punk with a female vocalist; what’s not to love?

11. Merchandise – Merchandise
[Post-punk]
Try It

Simply calling this group post-punk feels a bit inadequate, but I’m not sure what else to label them. They have similarities to Foreign Objects (see above?), so let’s go with that.

10. Allo, Darlin’ – Henry Rollins Don’t Dance
[Indie pop, twee]
Myspace | Try It

This EP, at first glance, seems so silly that it’s easy to write it off as kitschy nonsense. But when you get into the feel of what the band is trying to accomplish with their laid-back, ukulele-driven indie pop, you realize that when they sing songs like “Heartbeat Chili”, which is about chili that needs hearts to be made, they’re being incredibly honest and lovely and, yes, undeniably cute.

9. By Surprise / Hightide Hotel – Split
[Emo]
Myspace | Try It

Hightide Hotel strikes again, but the real stars on this release are By Surprise. Their tracks kick the split into high-gear early on with pop-punk leaning shoutalongs, letting Hightide take side two down a notch.

8. God Help the Girl – Stills
[Twee]
Myspace | Try It

Gotta put it on a record, gotta write a new song, there ain’t no way around it, he’s in love wi– sorry, what? It’s hard not to sing along with this (even harder to maintain your dignity while doing so, but you know, I’ve come to realize that dignity is severely overrated).

7. His Clancyness – Hissometer Cassette
[Dream pop, lo-fi]
Myspace | Try It

I don’t know what it is about this tape that enamors me so. The bedroom-pop genre has been done to death in the past few years, and I’m even more sick of it than most, but there’s something about His Clancyness that just keeps me coming back. Maybe it got to me at the right time, maybe it was just luck that I don’t love some other tape, but this is a brilliant piece of dreamy, wistful lo-fi pop.

6. The Gaslight Anthem – Live at Park Ave.
[Punk rock, folk punk]
Myspace | Try It

The Gaslight Anthem wowed everyone in 2008 with their incredible sophomore album, The ’59 Sound, so it makes sense that most of the songs on this live, acoustic EP are from that album. They’re wonderful, but the true reason to get this is for the acoustic performance of “Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts” from their previous Senor and the Queen EP, as well as the new song “Once Upon a Time”.

5. A Wilhelm Scream – A Wilhelm Scream
[Melodic punk]
Myspace | Try It

This little teaser from melodic punk giants A Wilhelm Scream didn’t get much press, and that’s a shame, because it’s just as great as what fans have come to expect. They too have an album coming out in the near future, so heads up for that.

4. Merchant Ships – Bummer Times
[Screamo]
Myspace | Try It

Merchant Ships, like so many other screamo bands, released a puny amount of material and then broke up. Unlike most, though, their puny amount of material is worth keeping around.

3. The Kickdrums – There Might Be Blood
[Hip-hop, electronic]
Myspace | Try It

Garage rock, hip-hop, electronic? I don’t know. Whether they’re shredding your face with guitar riffs or sampling MC5, this band never lets up on this EP. Try to sit still – I dare you.

2. The Octopus Project – Golden Beds
[Electronic, garage rock]
Myspace | Try It

This experimental electronic group from Austin, Texas has been turning heads for years, and this EP continues to do exactly that. Previously an instrumental band, they now make full use of vocals, and on some tracks find themselves turning into a flat-out garage rock group. What’s next for the Octopus Project? Nobody knows except them, it seems.

1. Snowing – Fuck Your Emotional Bullshit
[Emo, post-hardcore]
Myspace | Try It

How could #1 be anything else? Snowing were the emo kings of 2009. They dropped this demo back in the first quarter, and since then have been gaining an impressively sizable fanbase and generating a shitload of internet hype – everyone and their grandmother has blogged about these dudes. It’s been a long time since a new band has excited me this much, and so many others seem to feel the same way. Catchy, emotional, and intense, these five tracks mark the debut of a band that has a bright, bright future ahead of them.

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  1. Artist Submission: Monument « Watch the Tapes

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