Big Wheel Magazine Top 9 Records of 2009

December 31, 2009

2009 Record of the year image 2009 is coming to a close, so now, the time has come for us to present Big Wheel Magazine's Top 9 Albums of 2009. Why 9? Why not! Alot of input from you the visitors as well as our staff went into the assembling this list.

The list is made up of albums that were released throughout 2009 and there were a lot of excellent records that were released this year. So without any further stalling for no particular order...Big Wheel Magazine's Top 9 Albums of 2009!


Dark Ages Record Image Dark Ages - Vicious Lie

Dark Ages are the rare kind of band who will get attention for their passion alone. They may not be the most polished band around and the music that they play is pretty straight forward hardcore punk rock without too many curve balls thrown, but this band is pissed off and just listening to them will make your blood boil too. "Vicious Lie" harks back to early political hardcore bands like M.D.C. and Corrosion of Conformity, with songs railing against Fundamentalist Christians like "Forced Reality," "No Escape," and "What Do You Believe?" Other songs take on themes of destruction like "Radioactive States Of America" and "Release On 95A." All in all these are six songs of anger played at lightning speed with an intensity that is unmatched by Dark Ages' peers.


Government Warning Record Image Government Warning - Paranoid Mess

Government Warning has done it again! What I can always depend on these guys to deliver is a well rounded hardcore record. As a fan of hardcore and punk rock I always like to listen to a band who can switch it up a bit and not just blast through a set or record of songs. “Paranoid Mess” has some real gems nestled within this record, and though these guys are from Richmond, VA, I hear a lot of west coast punk influences in their songs. Its difficult for me to choose which songs are the best ones on this album, perhaps because they are all building blocks that amount to a well defined and colorful album. “Urban Warfield”, “Paranoid Mess”, “Blurred Yellow Line” and “Enough is Enough” are four great examples of the great musicianship and talent that this band posses. Listening to these guys, it is hard to imagine them ever producing anything less than a phenomenal record.


NOFX record image NOFX - Coaster

NOFX marked the band's 25th anniversary earlier this year, and shortly after, released their 11th full-length studio album, Coaster. Coaster is a significant release of 2009 for various reasons, but the most important being the musical direction NOFX took for the album. The album stays true to its punk rock roots by maintaining fast paced anthems like "We Called it America", but intermingles that sound with melodic and intricate structures that augments the force and nature of each song. Lyrically and musically, NOFX delivers thematic concerns they're familiar with conveying: politics, religion, lesbians, and alcohol. Yet with a fierce and changing sound that Coaster has introduced us to, NOFX manages to re-introduce to us these topics as if we've never experienced them before, or at least experienced it THEIR way. The artwork for Coaster is as explicit as its lyrics, demonstrating compact discs being used as coasters for alcoholic drinks, ultimately making a reference to the direction music is taking and what it has truly become. NOFX's Coaster is complex, humorous, challenging to all opinions, and an album that will astound your musical senses. Coaster marks a high point for their 25 year legacy.


Cat Party record image Cat Party - S/T LP

If you were a Big Wheel reader around this time last year you may recall that Cat Party was on this list last year also. No, we didn’t get lazy and just pull a band from last years list, this Southern California band really did make this list two years in a row! We actually wrestled with ourselves and debated about weather it was legit to have a band make this list two years in a row. Well, a baseball team can win the world series two years in a row, Clark Gable was in academy award winning movies two years in a row in 1934 and 1935, so if a band deliverers an exceptional record why shouldn’t they have the honor of making a best record list two years in a row. Cat Party has delivered and what an exceptional album it is. Released by Flat Black Records, Cat Party’s new record picked up where their 7 inch hinted they were going. With songs like “Tar and Feathers”, “Further into the Ordinary” and “Product of the Eighties”, Cat Party is going to have their own large shoes for their next album. With the release of this, their first full length album, Cat Party has left an indelible mark on the music scene.


Art Brut record image Art Brut - Art Brut vs. Satan

This UK based band's new album that was released in April titled, "Art Brut vs Satan" contains 18 tracks that will be like no record you have heard before. What is so unique about this album and band in general is that the music is so catchy and at the same time it can't really be described or fully compared to something else, which is the attraction that is Art Brut. The song "The Replacements" is a truly genius about how the character in the song just discovered The Replacements and how great they are and then wondering if they are for real. This record is very playful and quirky with lyrics that are sung / spoken. Throughout the record you may think you hear an influence of this or that here and there and then as you continue to listen you find those assumptions going out the window. This is a record that can be played over and over -forever.


Cobra Skulls record image Cobra Skulls - American Rubicon

It's hard to classify the Cobra Skulls as anything other than "awesome". These hard working boys from Reno have played with everyone from The Briggs to Anti Nowhere League, and their music is definitely punk, but shows influences of pretty much everything. The end result is the sort of infectious punk rock that goes straight to your brain stem, and twists your insides until you dance, fists in the air. This summer The Cobra Skulls released their highly anticipated new album "American Rubicon" which is packed with anthemic songs about the war, drinking, population control, and riding the bus. Throughout it all they never lose their sense of humour, and these are the songs that get you out of bed in the morning to flip on the record player.


Black Lips redorc image Black Lips - 200 Million Thousand

The Black Lips established a sound-sloppy, quick and dirty, punk-inspired garage rock - that they have never really deviated from. 200 Million Thousand is a lot snottier than ever and people dug it! Dirty guitars and howling vocals that are less concerned with being in tune than just being heard. It's this aesthetic that is carried through the album as a whole which in our opinion made this one of the tops of the year.


Sonic Youth record image Sonic Youth - The Eternal

Sonic Youth has been pumping out albums for almost 30 years, but 2009 brought us another great album “The Eternal”. This disc, their first on The Matador label, could be one of their most complete works to date. It seems as if they have finally harnessed the noise rock sounds they created in the 80’s. The album plays out in many different ways making a something for everyone thing. There are the under 3 minute songs like Scared Trickster, a Kim Gordon vocal with a just over the top noise solo to prepare you for the rest of the album, or Thunderclap which goes from a lo/fi garage punk into the pangy guitar mutes SY is known for, are perfect bursts of what the group can do. The album ends with an almost 10 minute track Massage the History, which starts off as a slow dreamy journey, complete with acoustics and the airy vocals of Kim and Thurston. Even if you have had doubts on SY in the past, maybe because they were too nosy or it just was too weird for you, I promise there is something in this album you will like. I recommend sticking on headphones, turning off the lights, partaking in your sin of choice, and then closing your eyes.

Fallujah 71 record image Fallujah 71  -  Waiting on World War III

This record falls under the category of how did the record labels out there screw up and not sign this band? A young band of 3 kids out of Los Angeles called Fallujah 71 gave those that love the 80's Punk vibe a release that really stood out. Their debut release "Waiting on World War III" quickly caught the ear of seasoned Punks, while at the same time building a strong audience of current generation Punks who were eager to get behind this band in a big way. The guitar work and overall production on this record is very good while still keeping the sound credible. Since their release in early 2009, Fallujah 71 has kept steamrolling the scene all over southern California.