Froz-T-Freez Favorite Albums of 2009

So, this was going to be the year when I finally got my act together and published a nice bunch of reviews of my favorite albums of the year by the end of the year. Turns out it’s not going to happen, as I got dumped on this December with snow, work, family stuff, and, most recently, preparing to move.  So, no plethora of album reviews for you, but I will try to do better next year. I figured the least I could do is put together some lists of favorites, even if I can’t provide much of any context, description, or justification for my choices.  Here are my favorite albums of 2009, arranged in an arbitrary manner most convenient to my purposes.


Fifteen Favorites:

  1. Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion
  2. Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest
  3. Holiday Shores: Columbus’d the Whim
  4. M. Ward: Hold Time
  5. Andrew Bird: Noble Beast
  6. Woods: Songs of Shame
  7. Dirty Projectors: Bitte Orca
  8. The Flaming Lips: Embryonic
  9. Passion Pit: Manners
  10. Caetano Veloso: Zii e Zie
  11. Mormon Tabernacle Choir: Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
  12. Kurt Vile: Childish Prodigy
  13. Girls: Album
  14. Atlas Sound: Logos
  15. Ganglians: Monster Head Room


Five EPs:

  1. Neon Indian: Psychic Chasms
  2. Abe Vigoda: Reviver
  3. Deerhunter: Rainwater Cassette Exchange
  4. Animal Collective: Fall Be Kind
  5. Bon Iver: Blood Bank


A Trio of Great Rock Albums:

  1. The Dead Weather: Horehound
  2. Dinosaur Jr.: Farm
  3. Sonic Youth: The Eternal


Two Magic Albums:

  1. Here We Go Magic: Here We Go Magic
  2. Memory Tapes: Seek Magic


A few other albums I feel are worth mentioning:
(alphabetical by artist)

  • Crystal Antlers: Tentacles
  • Dan Deacon: Bromst
  • Bob Dylan: Together Through Life
  • Harlem Shakes: Technicolor Health
  • Heartless Bastards: The Mountain
  • Little Dragon: Machine Dreams
  • Mos Def: The Ecstatic
  • Small Black: Small Black
  • Wavves: Wavves
  • Wilco: Wilco (the album)



Disclaimer: Of course, these lists are only a frozen instance of my musical taste at this moment in time.  I reserve the right to add to or take away from them at any moment in the future, as I discover new music that came out in the past year, or discover upon repeated listens that an album is much better than I thought it was, or much inferior to what it initially sounded to me.

Tip: A great place to listen to virtually any album for free (completely legal, too) is  They will let you stream a song or an entire album all the way through one time to try it.  I’m not bothering to link all these up there, and there are of course many other ways to check out new music, but I just suggest it as a great way to test out music.  You can buy perpetual streaming rights there for super cheap, as well ($ 0.10 a song, or $ 0.80-1.00 an album).  I don’t receive any compensation from, I just think it’s a great web site.  I hope that Apple/iTunes doesn’t ruin the things I like about them.


An Album Review

bromstFinally, that Alvin and the Chipmunks / Manheim Steamroller collaboration we’ve all been waiting for! Basically sounding the same as a walk past the entrance of a Kay Bee Toys, try this album if you enjoy xylophones, talking robots, the demo button on that old synthesizer at Grandpa’s house, motion-activated cackling witches, xylophones, Max Headroom, battery-powered monkeys banging cymbals together, a dog barking “Jingle Bells,” video game soundtracks of the early 90s, and xylophones. This is crazed carnival clown music taken to a new sample-laden, frenetic frenzy. Full of blooping, looping, endless repetition, two-year-olds may really get into this. Unfortunately we may never know, since I don’t have children yet and I don’t feel good about subjecting my nieces and nephews to this, nor their parents, nor random children at a school playground, because that would just be creepy. Two stars; unless you are in the mood for something really obnoxious (I get that mood myself from time to time) or you want to send a stressed-out person into an actual nervous breakdown, in which case it goes up to four stars. Merry Christmas!

Dan Deacon: Bromst
Carpark Records
Released March 24, 2009

Try “Woof Woof” ( Track 8 ) right here right now for some fun, free, immediate gratification. It’s just as easy as pushing that button your parents really don’t want you to push. Go ahead, push the button. PUSH THE BUTTON!

Going Bovine

A Book Review

goingbovineCameron is an aimless, sarcastic stoner who is alienated from his family and has no real friends of which to speak. When he starts having hallucinations and loses control of his body a couple of times, everyone assumes he must be using hallucinogenic drugs. Not true: after getting fired from Buddha Burger, getting suspended from school, being forced into therapy by his parents, and having a run-in with a flaming toaster oven, he is finally diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob (a.k.a. “Mad Cow”) disease. It will deteriorate his brain and kill him.

It is at this point when things get interesting. A pink-haired punker angel, complete with combat boots, torn fishnets, and actual feather wings spray-painted with graffiti, appears to Cameron in his hospital room. She urges Cameron to escape the hospital and undertake a quest to find the mysterious Dr. X, a traveler through dimensions who has inadvertently brought dark energy back with him to our universe. It is this dark energy that is attacking Cameron’s brain, not Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and if he can find Dr. X and get him to close up the wormhole, he will not only find a cure for himself but save the universe!

What follows is a kaleidoscopic adventure full of quirky characters and a million plot twists and details. The book is stuffed with a mess of references, touching on everything from Norse mythology to Star Wars, quantum mechanics to MTV Spring Break. Best of all, some of the hippest “references,” such as the legendary mystical free jazz trumpet player Junior Webster, are actually entirely made up by the author. While the book at times reads like both a Percy Jackson title for the 17+ crowd and Paper Towns on acid, Don Quixote looms large in the background and the idea of living out one’s life in a week’s time hearkens back to Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Hilarious, weird, life affirming, surreal and ironic, above all Going Bovine is just a whole lot of wacky fun. (four stars)

[Flags: this book depicts drug use, pervasive profanity, and an irresponsible and somewhat ridiculous teenage fantasy sex scene. I hate sex scenes in books in general, and this one specifically knocks a half-point off my rating and makes it a definite “high school only” title. But really, if a dying teenage boy actually is dreaming his way through the end of his life, among other things of course he is going to dream himself up some sex, so maybe it can be forgiven?]

Going Bovine
Written by Libba Bray
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
496 pages
ISBN: 978-0385733977
Release Date: 22 September 2009
Libba Bray – Official Website