200 things we loved about 2009: part two
28th Dec 2009 | 10:05
(...plus the odd turkey)
Have you read part one of our epic list of 200 things we loved about 2009? Well here's part two!
101.The Drums. A two-piece from Brooklyn that you'll be hearing a lot about in 2010. Fun, danceable pop that works on every level.
102. (500) Days Of Summer. As a movie, it was so-so. But the soundtrack is so, so good.
103. Gonzales, who played a 27-hour concert in Paris to break the world record for the longest public solo performance.
104. Kanye West, railing against an imposter on Twitter and giving us the quote "MY CAPS LOCK KEY IS LOUD!!!!!!!!!"
105. Tesla coils making music.
106.OTTO, the circular hardware beat slicer.
107. Turkey: Expensive Guitar Hero controllers that are designed to look like real guitars. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig.
108.Snyderphonics' Manta, a super-slim, super-sensitive controller.
109. Seeing Ryan Tedder attempting to fend-off accusations that he plagiarised himself.
"Turkey: Expensive Guitar Hero controllers that are designed to look like real guitars. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig"
110. Imogen Heap and her followers managing to get a pre-release copy of her album removed from eBay. Who said you can't put the genie back in the bottle?
111. Turkey: Roger Linn's LinnDrum II being delayed again. Almost two years after it was announced, we're still no closer to knowing what it'll look like, how it'll work or when it'll be released.
112. Skream's dubstep remix of La Roux's In For The Kill. It was everywhere in the summer, and deservedly so.
114. The 88, for managing to record a complete song on an iPhone.
115. 8-bit covers albums. Kind Of Bloop honoured Miles Davis, while others gave us bleepy renditions of songs by Weezer, Daft Punk, Muse and Kraftwerk.
117. The Big Chill. Four days of sun-kissed, blissed-out festival fun.
118. Avid making Pro Tools bundles available for less than £100. Who would have thought it?
119. T-Pain helping to bring Auto-Tune to the iPhone. Let's face it, if anyone was going to do it, it was going to be him.
120.Matthew Herbert's One Pig project, which involves him producing an album "made up entirely of sounds made during the life cycle of a pig".
121. Imogen Heap playing her monome on David Letterman's talkshow..
122.The fluid piano: a mechanical keyboard instrument that can play in non-Western scales.
123. Okay, so Proper Metallers hate it as a hipster fixation but doing The Claw at Sunn O))) shows is still brilliant.
124. Forgive us for going against the tide a little too quickly but Real Emotional Trash by Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks is way more exciting that Pavement reforming. Maybe it's because we were old enough to see 'em the first time round…
125. The blissful rise of Memory Tapes from the ashes of Memory Cassette and Weird Tapes - along with the similarly lovely Washed Out, one to watch in 2010, people.
126. Group Doueh and Omar Souleyman live. The jewels in the Sublime Frequencies crown and absolutely stunning in the flesh. The merch table was pretty hot too…
127. Whether it was a Hyperdub retrospective, a Peverelist LP, a Joy Orbison 12" or the latest Joker mixtape, the realisation that dubstep will mutate and survive far longer than originally guestimated.
"The realisation that dubstep will mutate and survive far longer than originally guestimated"
128. With their fragile mix of dubstep, electronica and heartbreaking lo-fi, The xx are finally a 'one to watch' band genuinely worth watching - and no, not just for that Florence And The Machine remix. As they start to work the American market, here's hoping they manage to keep it together.
129. Discovering this.
130. Watching Jim Pavloff re-make The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up in ten minutes.
131. David Mitchell on Desert Island Discs - Britain's finest comedian, for sure, but with a musical soundtrack (Spanish Flea! The Muppets! Walking On Bloody Sunshine!) like that, no wonder he's turned out the way he is.
132. Warp20 - the voting, the concerts, the tributes, the T-shirts, that beautiful, beautiful boxset. Here's to 20 more glorious years!
133. PJ Harvey - after the fragile piano works of White Chalk, Peej returns with A Man A Woman Walked By, a still tender but sometimes brutal collaboration with John Parish. Anyone who saw her live this year will know how much she loved playing the hell out of it.
134. El Michels Affair: the Brooklyn funk/soul outfit who record note-perfect instrumental interpretations of hip-hop tracks. Check Enter the 37th Chamber where the band 'cover' classic Wu-Tang tracks and make it sound like a smooth David Axelrod album dug up from the crates. The RZA approves and in 2010, we see what originals they can come up with.
135. Fever Ray live. God knows where she gets the money for all those lasers (or whether she leave a trail of bankrupt promoters in her wake) but fair play to Karin Dreijer Andersson for ensuring her vision gets to the live arena intact.
136. Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear and Dirty Projectors leading the charge of US indie into the mainstream with top ten albums, TV chat show appearances and festival headline spots. Equal parts experimental to joyous, these three bands point to a new, weird future where the blogosphere is going to have to find some new heroes real soon.
137. All Tomorrow's Parties: festivals in the US, UK and now Australia, the constantly sold out Don't Look Back concert franchise, killer record releases (especially the industrial Josh Wink blissout that is Tarot Sport from Fuck Buttons) and now a did-you-see-me-at-the-back documentary that captures the whole damn enterprise. Good music, good times, good vibes - we salute you, ATP!
"Rage Against The Machine beating The X Factor's Joe McElderry to the Christmas number one - surely a good thing for music"
138. Wonky wunderkind Rustie and Hudson Mohawke show that Warp isn't just the Aphex Twin and Squarepusher show whilst releases from Broadcast, Bibio and Grizzly Bear (yes, them again) show the label's depth. 2010 sees new records from Battles (new songs premiered at ATP 10 promised much) and Flying Lotus plus releases from new signings Nice Nice, Gonjasufi and The Hundred In The Hands. Warp 21 - a good ring to it already…
139. The box of frogs that is Lil Wayne. Whether it was his latest mixtape, his excursions into rock or watching the release of his latest album get leaked.
140. Dylan X Together Through Life, Christmas In The Heart.
141. DVD. Nic Roeg's Glastonbury Fayre 1971: The True Spirit Of Glastonbury and Woodstock: 3 Days Of Peace And Music.
142. Rage Against The Machine beating The X Factor's Joe McElderry to the Christmas number one - surely a good thing for music.
143. The Night James Brown Saved Boston.
144. The genius use of Wake Up by Arcade Fire on the Where The Wild Things Are trailer that almost made us cry.
145. Bon Jovi's The Circle. Sneer if you must, but the Jersey boys served up their most rocking set of blue-collar, fist-in-the-air-anthems in years. And Richie Sambora's guitar playing soars.
146. Finally, Phoenix get the props they deserve. A decade-in-the-making overnight sensation? Possibly. But the triumph that is Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - and check out the remix album featuring what-are-they-doing-there Animal Collective! - is proof that this French outfit will be around for years to come.
147. It Might Get Loud, director Davis Guggenheim's absorbing love letter to the guitar and three players: Jimmy Page, The Edge and Jack White. Want to see what six strings can do? See this.
148. Johnny Marr. We offered him $1,000 to reunite The Smiths and he didn't say no. Wonder if he'd still do it for half?
149. Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out The Rolling Stones In Concert 40th anniversary box set. Three CDs but best of all, a bonus DVD of footage shot by the Maysles Brothers cut from the film Gimme Shelter. You'll feel like you're front-row and center for the Stones in their swaggering prime of '69,
150. Chad Smith and his never ending ability to work. The hard-hitting drummer divided his time between Chickenfoot, an experimental jam-based emsemble called Chad Smith's Bombastic Meatbats (Yes, we know) and now he's back with the Chili Peppers prepping an album for 2010. Truly, everything he does is ace.
151. The Black Keys. Between their last stomping album of wicked blues, Attack And Release, and their new hip-hop trip, BlakRoc, there doesn't seem anything the duo of Dan Auerbach and Pat Carney, can't do. Auerbach's solo album Keep It Hid was also one of the gems of the year, and his performance with backing band The Fast Five at Islington Academy in London in May was spellbinding.
152. Les Paul RIP. Acclaimed musician, visionary inventor and designer of the guitar that bears his name. We lost Les this year, at the age of 94, but thanks to his work, he'll always be around. And he will always rock.
153. Pearl's Eliminator Demon Drive bass drum pedal. Having fancy footwork behind the kit just got a whole lot easier with this baby. One of the best new products we've seen.
154. The Velvet Revolver saga. Not quite as juicy as Aerosmith's daily soap, but we're still wondering who the singer is going to be. Or if there's going to be a band at all.
155. Mastodon. Crack The Skye was one cosmic metal thrill-ride, and these ruffians know how to riff. UK tour just announced and we have already ordered tickets.
156.Rivers Cuomo. No longer undone by his sweater, one of rock's most dependable writer of hooky pop gems returned with his band Weezer and the new album Raditude.
157. Gene Simmons. The 60-year-old KISS man told Carlos Santana, "Get off the stage!" because he doesn't put on a rock show. This is thus 60-year-old telling someone that unless you wear make-up, platform shoes and breathe fire, you don't know what you're doing. Respect.
158. Bun E Carlos. The Cheap Trick basher formed a nifty pop-alt 'supergroup' called Tinted Windows (which included members from Fountains Of Wayne, Smashing Pumpkins and Hanson). Not only that, but he gave MusicRadar readers great tips for drumming success. End plug.
159. And the supergroups keep on a-comin'… Jim James, M Ward, along with Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes put together a superlative debut album as Monsters Of Folk - the first of many, we hope.
160.Dhani Harrison. Finally, a rock-star scion who does more than spend his trust fund. Fact: The Beatles: Rock Band wouldn't have happened without his involvement.
161. Blur reunite! Okay, it was only for the festival season but it was fun while it lasted.
162.NAMM 2009. The only thing that rocks harder in the world of gear is looking forward to NAMM 2010.
"NAMM 2009. The only thing that rocks harder in the world of gear is looking forward to NAMM 2010"
163. Manson guitars. Ever wonder how Muse's Matthew Bellamy creates such incredible sounds? Talent's a big part of it, but his Manson guitars play a huge role, too.
164. The Pixies. Explosive festival shows, a 'Doolittle' tour, that BLOODY MASSIVE Minotaur box set… The only thing missing is a new album. We'll probably be waiting a long time for that, mind…
165. Neil Young returns for a strong 2009 - Fork In The Road was full of charming, ragged glory plus Young finally release the first installment of his Archives.
166. Adam Sandler. In the brilliant (and hilarious) movie Funny People, Sandler turned in the best rendition of The Beatles' Real Love since...uh, The Beatles. Seriously.
167. Bob Dylan. He's made about every kind of great album an artist possibly can, and with Christmas In The Heart, he's turned in a Yuletide classic.
168. Nirvana. The band's iconic performance at 1992's Reading Festival finally got the official CD/DVD treatment we've been waiting for - and it's a time-capsule corker!
169. Ryan Adams quitting music. We're not celebrating the end of his prolific career, more the way that he did it.
170. Vinnie Paul selling his first brick-like "fucking Star Trek phone" on eBay.
171. Little Boots going back to her techy roots and building a laser harp.
172.Steampunk guitars. 10 of 'em, to be precise...
173. Hit40UK ditching CD sales for downloads. Unbelievably, this only happened in January 2009!
174. The triumphant return of Eminem. Comeback single Crack A Bottle was a breath of fresh air.
175. The reinvention of the piano tie... into a washboard!
176.Ted 'Mr Loverman' Nugent's top 10 Valentine's songs. Wang overload.
177. Coldplay's drummer Will Champion taking vocal lead on The Goldrush. It's actually rather good.
178. The speedboat in the shape of an acoustic guitar. Amazing.
179. Meinl releasing the world's most tasteful drum rug. Images of a steam-rolled member of Def Leppard spring to mind.
180.Steampunk computer mods. 39 of 'em...
181. When Chris Martin leapt into an Australian crowd during Fix You and 'ran around a bit'.
182. Somebody making a musical bra. To enhance 'your chest's playability', of course.
183. Guitar FX pedals as art. What's not to love?
184.Rick Ross proving the point that hip-hop is dead. OK, we shudder at even the thought of hip-hop actually dying, but it was pretty funny.
185.Songs as alert boxes and error messages. Genius.
186. The genius solution to the unsolvable axe storage dilema that was the Guitar Hanger.
187.Record Store Day 2009. The amount of cool exclusive releases was enough to make us go back to vinyl. Forever.
188. Somebody inventing the Speak n' Spellbinder: "a Speak n' Spell and a Rock Band guitar all mashed into one."
189.Politically correct animal-related band names. Following PETA's unsuccessful attempt to turn Pet Shop Boys into Rescue Shelter Boys to raise awareness of "cramped" and "filthy conditions" in pet shops, it got us thinking (careful!). And we're still chuckling about it to this day.
190.The Mouse Mouse. Dead rodent, taxidermy, horrible... yet somehow equally compelling.
191.Justice's remix of U2's Get On Your Boots. Without a doubt, the best thing to come out of No Line On The Horizon.
192. That rumours flying that Ron Wood might get kicked out of the Rolling Stones for bad behavior. What seems a little strange about that?
193. King-Stroke Julian Casablancas releasing a solo album, Phrazes For The Young, proving he's still a genius.
194. ...and The Strokes finally back in the studio as a band.
195. Arctic Monkeys growing very long hair. Jamie Cook's beard being particularly impressive.
196. ...and Arctic Monkeys managing to emulate the rock 'n' roll ideals of their adopted Godfather Josh Homme, without losing any of the Northern charm we fell in love with in the first place.
197. …and Biffy Clyro for the same reason, whose storming LP Only Revolutions included a cameo from Homme on the song Bubbles
198. The Maccabees passing that 'difficult second album' exam with flying colours. Wall Of Arms is fantastic.
199. Third album in and Kasabian can still fill a dancefloor. West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum: rubbish name, very decent set of songs.
200. The Big Pink. The duo managed to make every 'ones to watch in 2009' list without cracking under the pressure, or commercial temptations (ahem, Little Boots)