Peace out 2k9

Hello friends!

2010 is upon us and 2009 is old news. Lets take some time to reflect, shall we?

Here are our Year End Top Ten lists. We hope you enjoy and ask you to refrain from judgement. We are, after all, only human. Whats that? You think you can come up with better lists? Prove it. Leave yours in the replies!


Top 10 numbers of 2009

10. 10

9.   4

8.  8

7.  1

6.  3

5.  2

4.  9

3.  5

2.  6

1.  7

Best one word titled movies of 2009:

(no order)

10. Humpday

9. Taken

8. Up

7. Moon

6. Fanboys

5. Adventureland

4. Zombieland

3. Precious

2. Watchmen

1. Avatar


I hate lists. I hate quantifying opinion. The famous saying goes that “there is no accounting for taste” and beyond that I wonder why we go so far to try. When you feel a song, I don’t think much of an explanation is necessary. That’s why the end of the year is such a challenging time for me, not to mention the decade. First off, my musical tastes aren’t “good or bad” just unusual I suppose. The one thing that changes as you get older is that you’re quick to know what you don’t like as much as what you do enjoy. This is a long and roundabout way of getting to my contributions for favorite albums and songs of 2009 and the decade.
2009 albums that I will listen to in their entirety and be completely happy
Bad Lieutenant – Never Cry Another Tear
It’s a New Order record. I don’t care that Peter Hook isn’t involved. It’s obviously a New Order record. One that happens to be perfectly enjoyable if disposable in a few years.
Blakroc – Blakroc
It’s my favorite hip-hop record of the year. Felt more like a soundtrack than a collaboration.
Brand New – Daisy
I was never a fan of this band until this record. I was dosing off before inadverdantly realized I was enjoying whatever record had come up on itunes. It was this one, I shrugged and continued to be impressed. A moody, raw record that surprised me.
Cage the Elephant – Self Titled
It’s the album I go to when I want to hear perfect radio songs. Perhaps you’ve heard some of them on the radio.
The Crystal Method – Divided by Night
For the 18 year old raver in me. Relatively solid effort (and a Peter Hook sighting, twice!) and better than the Prodigy offfering “Invaders must Die”
Franz Ferdinand Tonight/Blood
I really enjoyed the album, but I find myself listening to the remix album more. This is my favorite record of theirs.
The Heavy – The House that Dirt Built
A nice blend of soul music and big beat aesthetics.
Matisyahu – Light
It’s a really bubbly pop record in disguise.
Switchfoot – Hello, Hurricane
Really surprised by this record. Full of hooks and melodies and a gorgeous sounding rock record.
Vampire Weekend – Contra
Been listening to the advance all December. December records are hard to find. This one is fantastic. It’s their ‘Graceland.’
Honorable mentions
Passion PIt – Manners
Kasabian – West Rider…
Wallpaper – Doodoo Face
RX Bandits – Mandala
Fischerspooner – Entertainment
Arctic Monkeys – Humbug
Wallpaper – Ddd
Brand New – Gasonline
Switchfoot – Hello Hurricane
Das Racist – Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell
Silversun Pickups – Panic Switch
The Heavy – How You Like Me Now
Matisyahu – We Will Walk
Kasabian – Underdog
Chris Brown – Transform Ya
The Big Pink – Dominoes
Franz Ferdinand – Lucid Dreams
White Rabbits – Percussion Gun
Depeche Mode – Wrong
Blakroc – Done Did It
Passion Pit – Little Secrets

But here’s the writeup with a few edits for content….

Ryan Miller’s Top 10 of 2009

10. Far – Regina Spektor — That 4.8 rating from Pitchfork I think put an unfair snuf on the buzz surrounding this album. And I kind of liken her to the Weezer of the indie world. Soviet Kitsch was amazing and quirky and one-of-a-kind, just like the Blue Album and Pinkerton. And now, I think all the fans of Soviet Kitsch kind of feel jilted after every subsequent release because it doesn’t sound like Soviet Kitsch. They’ll still buy the albums, but be disappointed because there aren’t any songs that sound like “Poor Little Rich Boy”. Boo freaking hoo. Get over it. She’s evolved since 2004. The songs on Far are great pop songs that come with the special touch that only Regina can provide. Whether backed by a band or just solo with her piano, these songs are great additions to her catalogue, and I look forward to seeing them played live some day.

9. Still Night, Still Light – Au Revoir Simone — Three keyboardists and a drum machine. A great premise, and fortunately, the songs deliver too. In this world where it’s so much easier to go the pre-programmed route, the three play their keyboards live, and really have a unique sound. The versitility of the keyboard is featured front and center, and it doesn’t leave you longing for any kind of extended guitar solo. The song that I fell in love with was “Shadows”. All three ladies spend some time on vocals, and their vocal style is more likely to be compared to Khaela from The Blow than the girls from the Dirty Projectors. Very sweet and soft, just letting the microphone do all the heavy lifting.

8. “Phrazes For The Young – Julian Casablancas — This is what a side project should be — an album that you couldn’t make with your day job. While there are certainly parts that sound a bit Strokes-ish, the new wave influences and synths might stick out like a sore thumb on a Strokes record. You can hear remnants of “Don’t You Want Me Baby” in the song “11th Dimension”, and remnants of “I Ran” in “Left And Right In The Dark”. These aren’t guitar-driven 2:30 long songs….the shortest song on the album is 4:05, with most of them clocking in around the 5 minute mark. A lot of thought went into these songs, and while the risks he took certainly had the potential to be disasterous, I found this album to be extraordinarily fun. I’m a child of the 80s…..this stuff is great.

7. Dark Was The Night – Various Artists — What an amazing compilation, and what a great cause. For the guys from the National to do the legwork and all these artists on board for this compilation…that’s a feat in itself. It’s a slew of artists that have been mentioned plenty of times on this blog over the last few years. And it’s not a bunch of throw-away songs from the artists either. This was an essential album this year. It was great to get new music from bands like Arcade Fire, The National, My Morning Jacket and others while we wait for new proper albums from them, hopefully in 2010 sometime. The Dirty Projectors duet with David Byrne was one of the best songs of the year.

6. The XX – The XX — It doesn’t need to be loud to be great. It doesn’t need to have wacky time signatures to be unique. This album was a breath of fresh air. I would nominate “Crystalised” as one of the songs of the year.

5. Fantasies – Metric — A solid album start to finish from a band that has been doing this sort of thing for awhile, but not really been recognized for it. “Help, I’m Alive” started out on Indie Soundcheck, and then got picked up into regular rotation, and is currnetly the 11th most played song on WLUM this year. Once it did go to regular rotation, the question for me wasn’t if we were going to play another song from the record on my show…the question was which song was it going to be. I’m not an Emily Haines tire-pumper….I didn’t think her solo/side project was very good at all, but I loved this Metric album. I knew early on that this was going to be on my list.

4. The Hazards Of Love – The Decemberists — It’s all about execution with the Decemberists. They wanted to do a concept album with a weird story line, and then came the Crane Wife. Mission accompished. They wanted to do a rock opera with a weird story line, and then came The Hazards Of Love. Mission accomplished. I’m not really sure why it wasn’t met with the same critical priase that the Crane Wife received. So there wasn’t a big radio single to rally behind. Big deal. I admire that they challenge themselves and stand behind the finished product. Even if you don’t follow the storyline, the music is still the Decemberists at their best and most creative. Shara Worden steals the show with her part in “The Wanting Comes In Waves – Repaid”. I still have not gotten tired of that song. And I can’t wait to see what the band does next.

3. Manners – Passion Pit — I didn’t catch on right away. The voice….there was something about the voice that took awhile to click for me. “Sleepyhead” was the first song I had heard after the EP was released last year, and I was focusing too much on the voice instead of the song as a whole. Once I was able to not be so short-sighted, I was able to get behind that song, and then the entire Manners CD once it was released. It’s an album of songs that could all be singles. “The Reeling” and “Little Secrets” are both among my favorites of the year. And then what solidified everything was their performance at Lollapalooza on one of the side stages. While Cold War Kids had the privledge of playing to empty softball diamonds on the south end of Grant Park, the street was packed for the Passion Pit show. It was an amazing rush. As tightly packed as we were, everybody seemed to have the biggest smiles on their face during their set. And the crowd surfers….I don’t go to a lot of shows where that sort of thing happens….and if I am at one, I’m not usually close enough that I have to be on the lookout so I don’t get kicked in the back of the head. But man, that show was the highlight of the entire festival.

2. Lungs – Florence + The Machine — I thought this album displayed a very versatile singer/songwriter, blessed with a set of vocal chords that were designed to make music. The interesting instrumentation (love the harp) and the great hooks caught my ears immediately. She wrote songs….not verses and chorus and more verses. The attention to detail is incredible, and her producer deserves a ton of credit too. The record promoter was pushing “Kiss With A Fist”, which really isn’t that representative of the whole album. In fact, it was probably the least unique and interesting song on the album, as it sounded a whole lot like Ida Maria. At the same time, the song displays an edge that further illustrates her versitility, and makes her a whole lot more interesting. She’s sweet, but she might throw your TV out the window if you do her wrong. “Dog Days Are Over”, “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)”, and her take on “You’ve Got The Love” are more representative of the finer points of the album. The XX actually put together a remix/remake of “You’ve Got The Love”, which is outstanding in its own right.

1. Junior – Royksopp — I’ll probably be the only person with this on my list…but there isn’t a record that I listened to more and enjoyed more than the record from this electronica duo from Norway. They don’t do a ton of their own singing on the record, and the folks that they got to help out where casted perfectly. Karin from The Knife and Fever Ray takes the lead on a pair of songs. Robyn and Lykke Li both have contributions with fantastic results. The first single, “Happy Up Here” borrowed a riff from an old Parliament/Funkadelic song, and had a music video that referenced the old Space Invaders video game. Fun, right?! Yes it is! Robyn sings on “The Girl And The Robot”, which the Pitchfork reviewer described like so: “…accounting not only for the best track on the album, but possibly of the year: Influenced in equal parts by Italo disco and “Blue Monday”, “The Girl and the Robot” is a frigid, winding bit of electro that combines a powerhouse vocal with some slippery chord changes and one of the biggest choruses of 2009 so far.” I don’t always agree with Pitchfork, but I think they are spot on in that assessment, (and they wrote it a lot more eloquently than I could have. ) Karin’s best moment came on the 4th track, “This Must Be It”, and should be considered as some of her best work. I don’t even care for Lykke Li all that much, but she was perfect for her song. Great songs, great production, great result. #1 for me.

Thanks for reading. See you in a couple weeks.


Favorite Albums of 2009

1. Phoenix – “Wolfgang Amadeus Phonix” – Glassnote Entertainment

2. Silversun Pickups – “Swoon” – Dangerbird Records

3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “It’s Blitz” – Interscope Records

4. Cage The Elephant – “Cage The Elephant” – Jive Records

5. Metric – “Fantasies” – Metric Productions

Best Concerts I Saw in 2009

I broke down this list by venue capacity because I don’t think it’s fair to compare club shows to arena shows.  In my eyes, they are fundamentally different and each comes with its own expectations.  I went to 83 shows in 2009.  These were the best.

Small Venue: (<4000 capacity)

#1.  Phoenix, Amazing Baby at Park West, Chicago, IL, 6/13/09

#2.  Clarity x 10 Tour:  Jimmy Eat World, Reubens Accomplice at Metro, Chicago, IL 2/28/09

#3.  Franz Ferdinand, Born Ruffians at The Rave, Milwaukee, WI, 4/29/09

Honorable Mention:  The Airborne Toxic Event, Alberta Cross at Schuba’s, Chicago, IL, 2/28/09

Honorable Mention:  Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grand Ole Party at The Rave, Milwaukee, WI 5/31/09

Honorable Mention:  Cage The Elephant at Summerfest ’09, Milwaukee, WI, 6/28/09

Honorable Mention:  Green 17 Tour:  Flogging Molly, The Aggrolites at the Congress Theater, Chicago, IL, 3/17/09

Honorable Mention:  Wilco, A Hawk and a Hacksaw at the Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, WI, 4/15/09

Honorable Mention:  Gaslight Anthem, Heartless Batards at Turner Hall Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI 4/2/09

Honorable Mention:  An Evening with Bob Mould at Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL, 3/29/09

Honorable Mention:  Social Distortion, Civet, The Strangers at The Rave, Milwaukee, WI, 8/1/09

Mid-Size Venue: (4000-10,000 capacity)

#1.  Wave Goodbye Tour:  Nine Inch Nails, Mew at Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL, 8/29/09

#2.  The Pixies (Doolittle 20th Anniversary show; performed front to back w/B-sides), Jay Reatard at Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL 11/21/09

#3.  Weezer, Jack’s Mannequin, Motion City Soundtrack at Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI 12/3/09

Honorable Mention:  The Killers at Eagles Ballroom, Milwaukee, WI 4/30/09

Large Venue: (>10,000 capacity)

#1.  U2 360 Tour:  U2, Snow Patrol at Soldier Field, Chicago, IL, 9/13/09

#2.  Coldplay, Elbow, Kitty, Daisy, and Lewis at Alpine Valley Music Theatre, East Troy, WI, 7/25/09

#3.  Lollapalooza 2009 at Grant Park, Chicago, IL, 8/7/09-8/9/09

Honorable Mention:  Pearl Jam, Bad Religion at United Center, Chicago, IL, 8/23/09 and 8/24/09

Favorite Songs from 2009

I make a singles compilation CD/playlist every year with my favorite songs from the year.  Here’s the tracklist for my Best of 2009 mix including artist, song, and album.

1. Phoenix – Lasso – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll – It’s Blitz

3. Depeche Mode – Wrong – Sounds of the Universe

4. Franz Ferdinand – Lucid Dreams – Tonight:  Franz Ferdinand

5. U2- Magnificent – No Line On The Horizon

6. Silversun Pickups – There’s No Secrets This Year – Swoon

7. The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition – (500) Days Of Summer – Music From The Motion Picture / Conditions

8. Passion Pit – Let Your Love Grow Tall – Manners

9. Metric – Help, I’m Alive – Fantasies

10. Death Cab For Cutie – My Mirror Speaks – The Open Door (EP)

11. Company Of Thieves – Oscar Wilde – Ordinary Riches

12. Bob Mould – The Breach – Life And Times

13. Alice In Chains – Your Decision – Black Gives Way To Blue

14. Cage The Elephant – In One Ear – Cage The Elephant

15. Ida Maria – I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked – Fortress ’round My Heart

16. Paramore – Looking Up – Brand New Eyes

17. 30 Seconds To Mars – Kings And Queens – This Is War

18. Our Lady Peace – Dreamland – Burn, Burn


My top 12 songs of 2009 (in no particular order because God knows it’s like picking a favorite child)

1. Avett Bros- Kick Drum Heart

2. The XX- Crystalised

3. Passion Pit- Little Secrets

4. Them Crooked Vultures- Mind Eraser, No Chaser

5. U2- Breathe

6. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros- Home

7. Metric- Gold Guns Girls

8. The Big Pink- Dominoes

9. Arctic Monkeys- Crying Lightning

10. Jay Z- Empire State of Mind

11. Brother Ali- Fresh Air

12. Little Comets- Adultery

AMANDA (Promo)

Albums I Particularly Enjoyed Listening To In 2k9

(in no order, save for the fact that they’re numbered…)

10. Franz Ferdinand – Tonight

9. The Temper Trap – Conditions

8. The Big Pink – A Brief History of Love

7. Say Anything – Say Anything

6. Pearl Jam – Backspacer

5. Metric – Fantasies

4. Cassino – Kingprince

3. The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You

2. Brand New – Daisy

1. fun. – Aim and Ignite (this is by far my favorite album of the year)

Shows I Particularly Enjoyed Attending In 2k9

These  were hard to choose. There were alot of great artists that rolled through the area.

Weezer – The Rave, MKE

Matt & Kim and Amanda Blank – Majestic Theatre, Madison

fun. – Schubas, Chicago

No Doubt – Marcus Amphitheater, MKE

Company of Thieves – The Rave, MKE

Jason Mraz – Alliant Energy Center, Madison

Morrissey – The Rave, MKE

Third Eye Blind – The Riverside, MKE

Albums I Am Anticipating In 2010

She & Him – Vol. 2

Spoon – Transference

Gorillaz – Plastic Beach

Jack’s Mannequin

Fleet Foxes

Alkaline Trio

My Chemical Romance

Names Adler Called Me This Year:

-Nut Cup


-Cobra Style

-Tractor Cheese


-Japanese Dating Cream (the name of his non-existent band)


-Leg Breaker


-Girl Parts

-Pirate Hooker Lady

-Kickin’ Wing


MARK (Street Team)

Top Ten Albums of 2009 (No particular Order)

10) Hazards of Love – The Decembrists

9) The Open Door – Death Cab for Cutie

8) Aim and Ignite – Fun.

7) Monsters of Folk – Monsters of Folk

6) One Fast Move or I’m Gone – Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar

5) Mean Everything to Nothing – Manchester Orchestra

4) Lungs – Florence + The Machine

3) The Blue Print 3 – Jay Z

2) Man on The Moon: The End of Day – Kid Cudi

1) Manners – Passion Pit

Top Ten Shows of 2009 (No particular order)

10) Death Cab For Cutie @ Carroll College (Waukesha, WI)

9) Fun. @ Schuba’s (Chicago, Il)

8) Scott Weiland @ Pabst Theater (Milwaukee, WI)

7) of Montreal @ Bonnaroo (Manchester, TN)

6) White Rabbits @ Turner Hall Ballroom (Milwaukee, WI)

5) Fran Healy & Andy Dunlop @ Turner Hall Ballroom (Milwaukee, WI)

4) The Dead Weather @ The Vic (Chicago, IL)

3) Beastie Boys @ Bonnaroo (Manchester, TN)

2) Constellations* @ Mad Planet (Milwaukee, WI)

1) Weezer @ The Rave (Milwaukee, WI)

*Watch for this band to get HUGE in 2010. It is gritty rock and roll that is fit for the bar scene but with melodies and lyrics that will appeal to masses! Get ready to meet the Constellations in 2010!

SARAH (Street Team)

Best Commercials of 2009

1. , speaks for itself.      

2. Jack In The Box Burgers, small but loveable.

3. Orbit gum, who you calling a cootie queen?

4. Head And Shoulders. You asked with your eyes….

5. Teleflowers, Go home to your fat cat.   

6. Pedigree, bad bad boy…                        

7. Pepsi Max, I’m good!                           

8. Cheetos, Stepped into ugly town….    

9. E-Trade, hey girl can I hit you back?     

10., chilling in the basement

Douchiest Things This Year:

Or 2009 – A Year In Douchebaggery:

In no particular order….

1.       Spencer Pratt

Quoted in People Magazine when talking about his and Heidi’s “Music”

-“When people hear what we have in the bank, it’s gonna blow their minds.” “Madonna, eat your heart out. Britney Spears, eat your heart out. I would say we have diamond records coming – they’re gonna sell 10-million plus.”

And who could forget the famous book about being “Famous”

2.       Criss Angel

He’s such a douchbag that CW 18’s show Supernatural actually named an episode after him titled none other than…. “Criss Angel Is A Douchbag”

3.       Lindsay Lohan

When she went to India, as a part of BBC Three project on human trafficking, she wrote on Twitter “Over 40 Children saved so far…… Within one day’s work…… This is what life is about….. Doing THIS is a life worth living!!!”…awwww how sweet right!!!-WRONG!

Later we find out social activist and lawyer Bhuwan says, “According to the charity that planned the New Delhi raid, neither Lohan or the British Broadcasting Corporation were present at the time of the rescue.”—WaY to go Linds! Spellman said it best…you’re a hussie.

4.       Kanye West

It was the interruption heard around the world……Kanye interrupts good ol Taylor Swift. No need to tell the story you all know what happened. If you want a laugh go to

……which brings us to number 5

5.       Balloon Boy’s Dad

Everyone knows the story. Creepy guy wants to be famous, lies about having child in said flying balloon just to have locked the kid away while he tries to get his own reality show….sad but true…oh people don’t you know that in order to get famous all you have to do is go on VH1 and catch something itchy??!? DUH!!!

6.       Perez Hilton

The tweet to save a life.

Perez Hilton tweeted a bunch of messages saying that Will.I.Am and his security guards had assaulted him.  He was in Toronto for the Much Music Awards. These are the tweets….

— I’m in shock. I need the police ASAP. Please come to the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel now. Please.

— I was assaulted by Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas and his security guards. I am bleeding. Please, I need to file a police report. No joke.

— Still waiting for the police. The bleeding has stopped. I need to document this. Please, can the police come to the SoHo Met Hotel.

— I spoke to my lawyer. I really need to talk to the authorities. Please come to the SoHo Met Hotel. Have called the police. Need them here.

— The Toronto police are here now. Thank you. Please stop calling them.


7.       Jon Gosselin

Oh where to start with Jon Gosselin?!?! The break-up between him and crazy wife Kate? Late night partying? Hussies all over the country? Telling his little girl she can’t color because she said something about “mommy?” Please go be bloated somewhere else.

8.       Jersey Shore Cast

You’ve seen the show, you know how it goes….people with self proclaimed nicknames…hairspray….spray on tanner…..a lot of spray……and apparently hot tubs….

9.       Tiger Woods

I had to say it…..wouldn’t be a countdown about douchbaggery without him on it. The cheating…the girls… the Ambien…. What next?!?

10.       John Mayer

Admitting the douchebaggery is pretty much the douchiest thing you can do….oh Mr. Mayer…..

On Conan O Brien’s farewell show John Mayer did a little song  for him and within the song was this lyric The best lyric? “Look at me, I used to live in NYC. Now I’m as douchey as a man can be.”

Oh but it didn’t stop there. He then got mad because people were calling him a douche blowing up on twitter saying…

“What if I had a booth on the street and I said, ‘Attention, everybody who hates me: If you have a problem with me, I’m ready to hear your gripes! I will be outside the Barneys store on 60th Street from two to four this afternoon.’ ”

“How many people do you think would be standing there? I’m talking about people getting the chance to tell me directly, ‘I think you’re a douchebag.’ You know how many people would do it? Ze-ro.”

That may be so John, but really…couldn’t you have picked a less douchey store?? Barney’s?? quite the place for battle.

Cheers to a less douchey 2010

  1. Hey there! Excellent thought, but will this actually operate?

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