Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Shanies: Album of the Year

Well, after a long day of travel, I'm back in my current 'home' of Toronto, and as promised, I will be presenting the final award of 2009; the coveted album of the year. Before I do, let me comment on this year as a whole. 2009 was a huge year in the world of music, both on a personal level, and on a global level. We lost some musical geniuses (even if they did have a thing for little boys) and welcomed back some old faces (though I'm starting to feel the word 'supergroup' is getting overused). Personally, I was able to start up a new project with a close friend and come a long way with it in only a year. 2010 has some big shoes to fill, but I think, looking forward, everything's going to be alright.

Let me first tell you who didn't win the 2009 Shanie for album of the year. Them Crooked Vultures self-titled debut was an obvious good guess for anyone who knows me at all. The group featured 3 of my favorite musicians in the world collaborating to create the most rock and roll collection of songs I've ever heard, however, it didn't come together as an album. The debut felt more like a collection of singles (possibly because all songs are equally as awesome and they never stopped being mind blowing) and less like a fluid, comprehensive, flowing album. Say what you will, but I am a puritan at heart who still values a group which is able to group a collection of songs together to tell a story greater than any one track.

Ok, but seriously, that album fucking rocks.

Mutemath came close with their softmore effort, Armistice, however while the album started off strong, the 2nd half of the album began to feel like ambient filler. The opening 6 tracks of this CD are so incredibly well orchestrated and tied together that it is almost painful to listen to the remaining 6 tracks, again, not because they are bad songs, but because they lack the flow and consistency of what an album should strive for. Once again, this CD was one of my most highly rotated discs this year, possibly more so than the winner, but it wasn't the album which I wanted to listen to songs, NOT the album which I was torn between wanting to hear the end, and wanting to stop and smell every rose.

For 2009, that bouquet of roses belonged to The Dudes and their 2nd full length, Blood Guts Bruises Cuts. This may come as a shock to many people, but it was a ballady, alcoholic, lovey-duvy-filled, back to basics rock album which stole my heart this past year. I don't know if BGBC somehow got in sync with my emotions and just struck the right chord, or if it really was that good, but I found myself completely enthralled with this disc, from start to finish, every time I threw it on. If you haven't given this Calgary quartet a chance yet, I implore you, NAY DEMAND, that you go try out a few tracks. This is an album which The Beatles could have made, had they been born in the prairies in the 70s and spent their years just playing rock and roll and trying to bed down women. (Ok, I suppose the whole sleeping with women is pretty much the main reason that every guy plays with a band).

So to summarize, 2009 was an incredible year on so many levels, and my one parting shot to you is this simply; get a bit more dude in your life.

-Off to Boston for some decade-ending-insanity. Catch you when we're done with the noughties (I still fucking hate that term).