In the run up to our Album of the Year piece, Loose Cardigan of Ideas’ writers have taken a trip down memory lane and listed their greatest albums from previous years.
Today, LIAM MENZIES examines the glory days of 2009.
Featuring that one track you probably know them best for, New York alt act YEAH YEAH YEAHS reached their arguable peak when they dropped IT’S BLITZ! Beating that old cliche of the last part of a trilogy being the weakest until its head rolled off, Karen O and co combined the punk scene they explored previously with the new found love of the dancefloor.
Thankfully the band doesn’t find themselves lost in the disco, finding moments to be transparent like Skeletons which is possibly one of the most heartbreaking romantic tracks to drop in the 00’s. With their previous record slipping under the radar for most, It’s Blitz was the jolt the band needed to present themselves as one of the noughties greatest acts.
Arguably one of the most iconic UK albums to drop in the past ten years, the debut effort from indie pop outfit THE xx is a rare example of a band getting it right from the get-go. With most acts tweaking their formula over various releases, xx is a treat from start to finish: from the anthemic intro track to the bittersweet Stars, Romy, Oli and Jamie set out a feast of delicate, echoey guitars, handcrafted ambient skylines, and luscious vocals.
The likes of VCR are where The XX find themselves at their most stripped back and it’s a beautiful sight to behold, every nook and cranny of it being utterly delightful. While it may have spawned the likes of Jamie XX as well as countless imitators, going back to the source is where this quality can be found in bucketloads.
Having dropped a debut with panic being part of both its DNA and title, JAMIE T going into his sophomore album with the hopes to make the best album “without worrying too much” seems like out of character. However, KINGS AND QUEENS comes out as being both familiar and fresh: Sticks & Stones is classic indie rock goodness from the man himself, summing up British adolescence in a way that you can almost smell the reek of Lynx Africa.
Where this LP shines though is when it tones things down and Jamie touches on some obvious influences, specifically on acoustic ballads like Emily’s Heart. Acting as a perfect segway between Panic Prevention and the sought after follow up Carry On The Grudge, Kings & Queens is often forgotten but cherished nonetheless.
On its surface, POST NOTHING probably wouldn’t and shouldn’t find itself on this kind of list: it’s messy and, instrumentally, it’s nothing complicated. However, while JAPANDROIDS have improved their sound on subsequent albums, Post Nothing stands out as the epitome of coming of age punk music. Nowadays emo rock acts seem to be the go-to for not-quite-teen, not-quite-adult struggles but this Vancouver duo managed to do it earlier and arguably better.
The fuzzy guitars and drowned out vocals perfectly portray the cluserfuck this period of your life is like though it’s perfectly accessible, its choruses constantly etching themselves into your mind. Out of all these albums, Post Nothing is the most likely to have sneaked under your radar so break it open like your first underage drink and relish in its glory.
Often times sinister, other seductively sweet, HUMBUG was the public’s first taste of ARCTIC MONKEYS 2.0, having dominated the past few years with their decade defining indie rock tunes. Swapping out the rugged lad demeanour for some denim jackets and longer haircuts, the Sheffield boys brought in Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age fame and boy, did it make a difference.
Usually in your face and not willing to step back, Humbug manages to turn it down a notch and find itself in a drowsy state, alluring yet calming. Tracks like Secret Door fit this description perfectly, feeling ever so psychedelic and captivating. There are still a few tunes that have a bite as big as their bark, Pretty Visitors starting off with a menacing carnival chime of the track’s melody along with some of Alex Turner‘s most iconic lines to date. It can be argued until the cows come home about which Arctic Monkeys record is best but it’s no real surprise that Humbug would be a major contender.