- Best in Rock, featuring Jay Breitling: Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4
- Best in TV
- Best in Tech
- Best in Sports, featuring Phil Stacey: Parts 1 and 2
- Best in Movies, featuring Matt Phillion: Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4
I think they came out pretty nicely, if I do say so myself. As for 2009, I wanted to do my annual list of my favorite music, so here goes:
1. Them Crooked Vultures--self-titled: A lot of so-called supergroups promise much but rarely deliver the goods. These guys--Josh Homme, Dave Grohl and John Paul Freakin' Jones--brought their A game. A pummelling, intense collection that essentially combined Queens of the Stone Age with Led Zep's rhythm section, this album is a blast. And seeing the band play in a club was my favorite live rock experience of the year. I've read that they may already be laying down tracks for a second album, which is good news indeed for rock fans.
2. Jarvis Cocker--Further Complications: From his days with the great band Pulp to his first solo album a few years back, Cocker cultivated a reputation as a clever, very British wordsmith. This album teams him up with indie rock "recorder" extraordinaire Steve Albini. The results contain plenty of the classic Jarvis combined with heavy rock.
3. Art Brut--Art Brut vs. Satan: This band is essentially the British equivalent of The Hold Steady. Charismatic, verbose frontman who shouts more than sings backed by a terrific bar band. "Alcoholics Unanimous" may be my favorite song of the year.
4. Patterson Hood--Murdering Oscar (and other love songs): The Drive-By Truckers frontman releases a solo album that was recorded over the last several years. The album is packed with powerful, slow-burn rockers. Highlights include the title track, "Heavy and Hanging" and "Walking Around Sense," which features a long solo break that reminds me of Built to Spill's live take on "Cortez the Killer."
5. Mission of Burma--The Sound, The Speed, The Light: These geezers don't know when to stop. And thank goodness for that, because their third post-reunion album is another winner. There are moments that recall the early '80s Burma sound and then others that go way beyond it.
6. Mastodon--Crack the Skye: A trippy, undeniably heavy, just plain fun album for any metal fan. Where the band's previous albums were big on the sturm und drang, this one stretches way out into prog-rock land but never forgets the band's roots. The nearly 11-minute epic "The Czar" is positively mind-blowing.
7. The Dead Weather--Horehound: Jack White's back with yet another band, and yet another great record. Allison Mosshart of The Kills is the frontwoman here, but White's fingerprints are all over this album. He plays drums, contributes lead vocals and crafts some kick-ass garage-psych rock songs. Highlights include "I Cut Like a Buffalo," "Treat Me Like Your Mother" and a demented cover of Dylan's "New Pony."
8. Japandroids--Post-Nothing: Two dudes from Vancouver unleashed this killer combo of guitar-drum noise. Great album to run with.
9. Sonic Youth--The Eternal: This band's been around forever, but they're still making great music. Back on an indie label (Matador) after nearly two decades on a major, Thurston, Kim, Lee and Steve (with Pavement's Mark Ibold along for the ride on bass) are playing pretty much the whole album in concert and every song holds up with their classic material.
10. Dinosaur Jr.--Farm: J, Lou and Murph are back with their second studio album after reuniting and although it's not as strong as 2007's Beyond, Farm is a quality record. It's chock full of feedback-drenched rockers, Mascis soloing all over the place while Barlow roars on bass and Murph pounds away. What more could you want?
Honorable mentions (some included here because I didn't have enough time to listen to them): Brendan Benson--My Old, Familiar Friend; The Tragically Hip--We Are the Same; Sloan--Hit and Run EP; Alice in Chains--Black Gives Way to Blue; Yo La Tengo--Popular Songs; Dananananaykroyd--Hey Everyone; Johnny Foreigner--Grace and the Bigger Picture; Arctic Monkeys--Humbug; Eels--Hombre Loco; Gaslight Anthem--The '59 Sound; Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit; Obits--I Blame You; Living Colour--The Chair in the Doorway; Wilco--Wilco (The Album); Pearl Jam--Backspacer.
All in all, a great year and strong decade for rock. I'm looking forward to the next 10 years. No, really.