10. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More
“It was fantastic to hear this multi-instrumental folk band go through the stages. Seeing them in May for the first time supporting the Maccabees, in July at Oxegen festival, then in August at Field Day Festival, their progression was phenomenal.
By the time I saw them for their headline tour in October, the band were brimming with confidence to match their ever-present talents.
They finished the year by bringing out one brilliantly produced LP. With songs like ‘Sigh No More’, ‘Dustbowl Dance’ and ‘Thistle and Weeds’, the quartet are keeping Britain in touching distance with American bands like Fleet Foxes, Monsters of Folk and Bon Iver in the folk takeover of 2009.” -Chapperdeemus
9. The xx – xx
“From obscurity to almost universal celebration, the xx have had quite a year; their success is however well deserved and their debut album is something of a masterpiece.
Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim provide the perfect counterpart to each other’s vocals while soft instrumentals build into seemingly intense crescendos only to fade away like the half whispered, half sung lyrics.
A truly individual record, the album can easily be described as “lovers’ rock…for lovers who can’t help but talk about their love”. This perfectly sums up the sensual, sometimes frustrated, sometimes quietly confident lyrical content of many of the tracks that leaves the listener in somewhat of a limbo deep within Croft’s and Sim’s relationship.
A true friend through the night, the album grows with every listen and I hope we’ll be hearing a lot more from this London-based group in the years to come.” -SimR
8. Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
“Every song on this album is genius. The choice of song order is absolutely perfect. Despite there being an equal measure of mellow songs and rifftastic anthems, each song leads brilliantly into the next and you are never left feeling slapped by an abrupt change of pace.
Rarely does an album with so many catchy singles flow so well. Normally, if you want to make a great album that flows from start to finish, you have to sacrifice single success a bit.
But not West Ryder…. It is so easy to get into and love this album. And sometimes you need that, an album where you don’t have to be a snobby little bitch music lover where you have to try to “get” the sound that is being “portrayed”. This is straightforward brilliance.” -Chapperdeemus
Kasabian- Fast Fuse
7. Toddla T – Skanky Skanky
“2009 has in many ways been this man’s year. The meteoric rise of Tom Bell, a.k.a. Toddla T, can easily be explained if you’ve ever read an interview with him, listened to him on the radio or in fact listened to any of his tunes. Almost single-handedly bringing the electronic side of Sheffield’s sound back to the fore is no mean feat but one that rests comfortably on the Toddla’s shoulders. He’s infectious and he’s brilliant.
Skanky Skanky is a record that wants to be played loud, proud and in spite of any club sensibilities you may have. Bass-led, dancehall sounds accompanied by superb cameos from featured friends, especially Mr Versatile, create an album that is youthful and hedonistic in spirit while the solid production and force that it hits you with belie the age of the man himself. A simply fantastic album.” -SimR
Toddla T – Boom DJ from the Steel City [BN]
Toddla T – Boom DJ from the Steel City [MF]
6. Simian Mobile Disco – Temporary Pleasure
“After the runaway success of their first album and huge international demand for their DJ talents, much was expected of SMD’s follow up effort. Following the Chemical Brothers method of collaborating with other artists, SMD took a risk of the sound no longer being their own and of producing a series of disjointed singles without any sort of coherence.
However, as you’ll know, they succeeded at every hurdle as Temporary Pleasure positively booms with their own unique form of house that won them legions of fans the first time round.
Surely a must-buy for any dance music fan, SMD proved themselves worthy of the hype and hopefully will continue to please in years to come. Great singles, amazing live and a fantastic album.” -SimR
5. The Prodigy- Invaders Must Die
“The dons are back. And it’s all of them this time. I’m not knocking Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, but let’s face it, without the energetic vocals of Keith and Maxim, Liam is more limited.
But this time last year we were loving the title track Invaders Must Die, safe in the knowledge that in the coming months there would be a new album with all the members for the first time since the days of Smack My Bitch Up.
And the fathers of electronic music did not disappoint. Omen owned. Thunder thrashed. Colours crushed. A mental album and THE best live band of the year for Hotcakes.” -Chapperdeemus
4. Passion Pit – Manners
“A divisive album it may be but Passion Pit have found a niche in a somewhat saturated electro-pop market that makes their sound enjoyable, highly remixable and downright fun to dance to. By treading a fine line between being sickly sweet and contagiously joyful, the album harnesses the best of pop music while still being grounded in superb production and songwriting.
With a frontman in Michael Angelakos, who’s falsetto lyrics form the main drive of the album, the band have an unusual sound (and almost shy, yet endearing stage presence) that begs to be let loose on the dancefloor. I’m sure I’m not alone by saying Manners formed the foundation of my summer soundtrack.” -SimR
3. Arctic Monkeys – Humbug
“What the boys from Sheffield have done with this album is make a flowing, brooding and simmering record from start to finish, to completely challenge their first two brilliant albums.
Lead single ‘Crying Lighting‘ seems the only track poppy enough to succeed in the charts. But the chorus on opening song My Propeller, the drum beat on Dance Little Liar and the lyrical delivery in Pretty Visitors provide exceptional moments in a slow burning album.
Remember 2009 as the year where the Arctics instruments achieved what their new haircuts failed to do: they’ve become the sort of band your children will listen to in 30 years time.” -Chapperdeemus
Arctic Monkeys- Dance Little Liar
2. Major Lazer – Guns Don’t Kill People …Lazers Do
“A debut collaboration of epic standards that shocked eardrums all over the world. The dancehall rhythms flow throughout but it’s the sheer diversity of sounds and genres that make this album so unique and give it a replay value rivaled by only a select few releases this year. Dominated Leeds Mint Club when we saw them.
Diplo and Switch are both highly respected through their solo work as DJs and remixers but it’s through the coming together of these two titans that we see their true talent as well as what really sets them apart from the competition. Fingers crossed Major Lazer isn’t just a fleeting experiment. ” -SimR
Major Lazer – Jump Up (ft. Leftside and Superhype) [BN]
Major Lazer – Jump Up (ft. Leftside and Superhype) [MF]
1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – It’s Blitz!
“A pretty much unanimous Hotcakes decision, this album has dominated our listening this year. Taking on such a different sound to their early days, the trio have maturity oozing through them, whilst still maintaining the early vigour and life throughout the album.
This is one of those few brilliant records that delight the mainstream and alternative types alike. A truly beautiful collection of slow, fast, rousing and sorrowful songs, carried out by rigorously powerful instrumental work and vocals that we had no idea Karen O was capable of.
One of Hotcakes best live bands of the year also, Karen O can work a stage as well as I dream she can work…you know…other things.” -Chapperdeemus