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While this year's alternative rock field featured a lot of impressive platform releases ranging from Green Day to Weezer, Anberlin's excellent New Surrender is one of the most complete and satisfying guy-singing-his-heart-out-over-crazy-hooks albums since Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American.”
——lawyer/rockcrit Jeff Leven

WHEELS 2.0 THROWS A VIRTUAL HOLIDAY PARTY

Jesse and Erica Have Been Bombarding You With Their Musical Obsessions All Year; Now It’s Your Turn to Reciprocate
You’ve had the pleasure of listening to our picks all year; now it’s time we share some of yours. We take you to the holiday with the music our colleagues and friends are listening to—and remind you to keep our inboxes full over the break at [email protected]

Daniel Glass, President/CEO of Glassnote Records
Two Door Cinema
Club Remix of “Lasso” by Phoenix
Grizzly Bear
The Danny Krivit Sessions on Nervous
Kid Sister
Passion Pit
Tune-Yard
Dirty Projectors
Holy Ghost

Jon Pikus, A&R, Kirkwood Ranch/Lava/Decca
My two favorite artists right now are All Wrong and the Plans Change (www.myspace.com/allwrongandtheplanschange) and Matthew Mayfield (www.myspace.com/matthewmayfieldmusic). Both have unique voices coupled with exceptional songwriting...expect great things from them in the year to come.

Rev. Moose, Vice President of Content, CMJ Network/Editor-in-Chief, CMJ New Music Report
1. Amadou & Mariam, Welcome to Mali (Nonesuch)
 2. Future of the Left, Travelers With Myself And Another (4AD)
 3. Bang Bang Eche Sonic Death Cuntttt EP (self-released)
 4. Math the Band, Don’t Worry (Slanty Shanty)
 5. The Temper Trap, Conditions (Glassnote)
 6. Sleeping at Last, Storyboards (self-released)
 7. Lonely Island, Incredibad (Universal Republic)
 8. Fever Ray, Fever Ray (Mute)
 9. Dead Heart, Bloom in Chains (Kei)
 10. Terrible Tim, “Brotherman Bill” (single, self-released)

Howie Abrams, Street Justice
Honorable Mentions:
Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown
Muse, The Resistance
La Coka Nostra, A Brand You Can Trust
Killswitch Engage, Killswitch Engage
Regina Spektor, Far
Mavado, Mr. Brooks...A Better Tomorrow

Dishonorable Discharges:
Eminem, Relapse: File under "Now Irrelevant"
50 Cent, Before I Self Destruct: You have already!
Kiss, Sonic Boom: Stop with the new albums already!
BrokeNCYDE, I'm Not a Fan, but the Kids Like It: This whole crunkcore/screamo/crunk crap MUST BE STOPPED!!!
Rest in Power, Michael Jackson!

Andrew Harper, Artist/Producer Manager, Worlds End
Top 10:
Them Crooked Vultures, Them Crooked Vultures
Band of Skulls, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Century of Self
Jet, Shaka Rock
The Mars Volta, Octahedron
Lucero, 1372 Overton Park
Bat for Lashes, Two Suns
The XX, xx
Health, In Color
Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3

Jason Reynolds, Marketing & International, MySpace Records
10 things that rocked my boat in ’09…
Avi Buffalo, “What’s It In For” (most essential 7" purchase)
Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Tell ’Em What Your Name Is!
Bon Iver, dawn show @ Hollywood Forever Cemetary (coolest concert in like…ever)
Soulsavers, Broken (especially the cover of Palace Brothers’ ‘You Will Miss Me When I Burn’)
Jonneine Zapata  (www.myspace.com/jonneinezapata; most exciting local L.A. unsigned act—especially live)  
An Horse, Rearrange Beds (one of the most refreshingly honest acts in ages)
Kidrockers, series of kid-centric shows @ the Echo (www.kidrockers.com; highlight was my son Evan rockin’ on stage with Silversun Pickups)
Big Star, Keep an Eye on the Sky (best box set. Best old dude reissue overall, actually)
Blur, reunion show in Hyde Park, London in July (wall-to-wall bona-fide classics!)
Mighty-O donuts from Seattle (food, not a band)

Jessica Andrews, WEG Entertainment
Can't get enough of Paramore—I never get tired of their albums, I just put them on repeat. Lights is really catching my attention, too; it’s exciting to see someone doing something a little different and creating something that's uniquely them.

Manbir Sodhia, Ping Pong Music
I've been listening to the following a lot this year:
Meese, Broadcast
Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Lights, The Listening

Jeff Leven, Davis Shapiro Lewit & Hayes, LLP
Coming up with a "best of" list is always a tricky thing. In reality some of my favorite albums this year were from clients: Five Finger Death Punch absolutely outdid themselves with War Is the Answer, and the Crash Kings' Custard/Motown debut remains totally magical to me, to name just two. But rather than plug-plug-plug my own stuff in grand Hits tradition, I thought it might be more fun/fair to flag five sleepers from 2009 that may have gone under the radar a little:

1. Sleeper Supergroup: If the musicianship of Monsters of Folk charmed indie rockers everywhere, and the Cream-on-steroids-or-is-it-trucker-speed jams of Them Crooked Vultures brought the rock, one of 2009's most dazzling supergroups, Shrinebuilder, was painfully under-discussed. Living in that murky swamp where "stoner" metal, punk rock, sludge and psychedelia meet, Shrinebuilder features members of the Melvins, the Obsessed, Sleep and Neurosis, which for fans of the subgenre is tantamount to a supergroup featuring pieces of the Doors, the Stones and the Who. Their self-titled album on Neurot Recordings is far and away one of the year's best metal jams, and their double set stand at the Viper Room last month only cemented their splendor.

2. Sleeper Reissue: 2009 has actually been a year of dazzling reissues. Aside from the totally ubiquitous Beatles frenzy, this past year has seen a long-overdue celebration/canonization of Fela Kuti (funny how the only thing cooler than indie rockers in Brooklyn doing afropop is one of West Africa's prime movers in afropop doing afropop!), Pearl Jam's incisive re-envisioning of Ten, a dazzling re-release of the Kraftwerk catalog, an excellent Big Star box and a bonanza of indie rock gems from the Jesus Lizard, the Feelies, Sunny Day Real Estate, Jawbox and Lifter Puller. Lost perhaps in the shuffle is a truly excellent reissue of Serge Gainsbourg's filthy opus L'Histoire de Melodie Nelson with encyclopediac liner notes and crystalline sound. While the re-ignition of Roman Polanski's case stands in eerie juxtaposition to the album's creepy storyline, the rumbling guitars and bass of "Cargo Culte" rise above the murk in timeless splendor. For a deeper look, you can check out my Paste review here.

3. Sleeper in Plain Sight: While this year's alternative rock field featured a lot of impressive platform releases ranging from Green Day to Weezer, Anberlin's excellent New Surrender is one of the most complete and satisfying guy-singing-his-heart-out-over-crazy-hooks albums since Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American. Propelled by "Feel Good Drag," one of the year's best and most persistent singles, time will prove this to be a turning-point masterpiece by a band we're going to hear a lot more about.

4. Sleeper Producer Gig: Even if the Arctic Monkeys’ stateside star has perhaps faded since the ear-splitting buzz of their debut, the band's choices keep getting smarter and more intriguing, as best evidenced by their tapping Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme to produce this year's Humbug album. Integrating Homme's brooding atmospherics and well-of-souls vocal technique with their own kinetic drive, the album's an organic and rewarding collaboration and a surprise marriage of unlikely dark night of the soulmates.

5. Sleeper-Shift-in-the-Model: While it got a little bit of press, Tom Petty's Superhighway tour was, to my mind, perhaps the most exciting development in classic rock in memory. Selling entry codes through Ticketmaster in advance of a formal box set for a $20ish value price, the "tour" consisted of 48 archival live recordings available for download from pages all lushly annotated on a site set up to act as a clearinghouse for fan photos and memories, alongside band content and a merch store. While maybe not all of rock's classic bands were as studious as Petty was in recording and archiving their live careers, clearly this is a model for rock institutions everywhere and a way to continue to engage new generations whether or not you can stay on the road in the flesh. This is only the tip of a musically thrilling iceberg.
 
Amanda McIntyre-Chavis, CEO, Musaic Management Group
I'm a strong believer in quality over quantity, and I love to discover truly driven artists with untapped talent. Some of the artists I've been listening to are alternative rock band Fall Back Plan, pop artist Lee Charm, R&B singer TL Cross and jazz vocalist Renee Manning. I also like soul singers Abby Dobson and Adrian Hood. Very talented artists!

Recalling the best of the year in music these days is sort of like The Godfather III. You get all excited that it's coming, the anticipation is killing you and, when you finally get to experience it, it's like that giant foot in the Monty Python TV show opening that comes down to crush you and makes a big fart noise. Oy. Another pretty underwhelming year for music, but of course, there were a few standouts worth showing some love for...

Them Crooked Vultures, Them Crooked Vultures: Are Josh Homme and Dave Grohl, the only two people capable of moving real-deal rock music towards the future in the proper spirit? Maybe not, but they sure make (another) great case for themselves with their self-titled debut. Believe the hype!

Raekwon, Only Built for Cuban Linx...Pt.II: I've been waiting for this one for years, and it was definitely worth it. This is street shit at its finest, minus all the modern hip-hop trappings and nonsense. Beats and lyrics—'nuff said!

Zac Brown Band, The Foundation: They may have been around since '04, and the album was technically released late in '08, but the Zac Brown Band is 2009's "where the hell did that come from?" Down-home country music for the not necessarily country set and then some.

Slayer, World Painted Blood: After a few consecutive "so what" efforts, the mighty Slayer returns with their most straight-for-the-throat, brutality-drenched album in a LONG time. The world needs Slayer, and if you don't agree, you will be doomed to Face the Slayer!

Steel Panther, Feel the Steel: Yeah, you heard me! Makes me happier with every listen.


GRUBMAN & BRANCA
ON THE MENU
Lox & bagels is our guess. (10/4a)
GRAMMY CHEW:
RAP EDITION
Michael and Kyle find a feast of hip-hop to chew on. (10/5a)
REPUBLIC UPS GRYN TO EVP ROLE
She brings a Gryn to Roppo's face, so to speak. (10/4a)
LORETTA LYNN,
1932-2022
Honoring the life and music of a truth-teller (10/5a)
HIS OWN ARCHITECT:
THE STEVE LACY BUZZ
It was a surprisingly easy "Habit" to break. (10/5a)
GRAMMY SEASON
New categories! New rules! New WTF!
THE BIG DEAL
It's the one you didn't see coming.
RAID AT MAR-A-LAGO
"Who took my passports?"
HITS' 36TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
Allow us to apologize in advance.
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