December 2009


Like any good blogger I am addicted to reading, writing, creating Lists. Crafting the perfect List to show off one’s knowledge of or opinion on a particular subject is not only a cheap and easy literary device, it’s a fun way to argue with yourself while you try to craft the perfect Top 10 list.

God knows I went through multiple arguments with my inner monologue crafting this list.

Everybody who crafts a best albums of the year list has their own technique to keep it all straight so they can give the most all encompassing and close to perfect list they can at the end of the year. In my case I kept a Memo on my Blackberry memo pad that I would update with an album every time I heard an album that I really liked. Then, around early December, I copied all those albums into a document on Google Docs and started the sorting, editing, ranking process. Sometimes there would be a late discover that gets added to the list, but ultimately I would do multiple drafts of the list until I finally settled on what I felt was the perfect represenation of what albums I loved the most this year.

So, now that i’ve explained the methodology of my list and how it came together allow me to present to you Real Talk Live’s Top 10 Albums of 2009

1: DoomridersDarkness Comes Alive
2: Grouch and ElighSay G & E
3: ConvergeAxe To Fall
4: BlacklistedNo One Deserves To Be Here More Than Me
5: CoalesceOx/Oxep
6: Isis The Wavering Radient
7: P.O.S. – Never Better
8: PhoenixWolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
9: Baroness The Blue Record
10: Raekwon Only Built For Cuban Linx Pt 2

There were a number of other fantastic albums that I had the pleasure of hearing this year so here’s a list of those Honorable Mentions/Other great albums of the year for you to absorb (these are in no particular order)

Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
Slayer – World Painted Blood
Pelican – what we all come to need
Them crooked vultures – them crooked vultures
Lucero – 1372 Overton Park
Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion
Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
The Lonely Island – Incredibad
Kylesa – Static Tensions
Big Buisness – Mind The Drift
Sonic Youth – The Eternal
Dave Matthew Band – Big Whiskey and The GrooGrux King
Clutch – Strange Cousins from the West
Narrows – Distance
Maylene and the Sons of Disaster – 3
The Dead Weather – Horehound
Cave In – Planets of Old ep
Pearl Jam – Backspacer
Jay Z – The Blueprint 3

So there you go, lots of great music came out this year. And while I often say something along the lines of ‘oh next year is gonna have a hard time topping this year’ I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that more so than usual that’s true. 2010’s musical offerings will have a huge mountain to climb. So, stop reading and go listen to some music damnit! I just gave you a whole list of stuff to go and check out.

Most people don’t like it when punk or hardcore bands start fiddling with an already established sound. You can call it what you want, but most music fans are afraid of change. When a band DOES dare to explore their musical talents a little deeper your are forced to stand up and at least notice. Whether you like it or not.

Blacklisted’s newest album absolutely falls into that category. I can’t say for certain where the inspiration for this direction came from but I think it’s fair to assume Fucked Up’s “Chemistry of Common Life” was an influence at the very least. And, while that album was a critical success, just as many people were tuning it out. I don’t think you’ll see anything less than that kind of divide here. Anytime you incorporate violin, trumpet, rain stick and melodic/haunting female vocals to the formula of a hardcore band you are going to pick up a few haters along the way.

But, here’s the thing; These additions, this tweaking of the formula, they absolutely work! In a genre that can get stale and boring at times moments and albums like this one are more than a breath of fresh air, they are a god send. I’ve always been of the opinion that hardcore and punk can and should be about taking a musical chance. For Blacklisted, one of the most beloved and respected bands of the genre, to put themselves out their and their and take these kinds of chances to me is the most “punk” thing a band can do.

If you can’t respect that then I’m sure Generic Band A will release an album of repetitive breakdowns and dance parts that sounds like  a 100 other albums here pretty soon. So, maybe you should stick to that.

FINAL RATING: 5 stars (out of 5)

The Great Snow Storm of 2009, the strongest snow storm this part of the country had seen in about 11 years, has come and gone. Hundreds of thousands are still without power and some are still without heat. People are busting their asses to get things fixed and running again but the storm was just so overwhelming.  Of course, there’s still the matter of dealing with some hurt feelings because there are those who were stuck on I-77 for 20+ hours because nobody thought that a highway running through curvy mountainroads needed to be shutdown until the second day of the storm when the damage, so to speak, had already been done and people were working on day 2 of sleeping in their cars on the side of the road.

In fact, I have a photo from the press conference announcing the shut down of I-77.

Spokesperson: All is well. Do not panic. Folks, folks…calm down. We are in control!

(shout out to my friend Chris for the photo of the snowman in his yard)