By Guy Marcham, Music Sub-Editor
'Transport yourself back in time to 2009, when Britain was still in the EU and Barack Obama was US President.' Guy Marcham explores ten seminal records turning ten this year.
As we currently trudge into February of 2019 under the doom and gloom of a world somewhat collapsing and crumbling in amongst itself, it's now oh so important to find some sort of escape. And what better way is there than music.
Transport yourself back in time to 2009, when Britain was still in the EU and Barack Obama was US President. The year was thankfully jam packed with some of the most beloved and seminal albums in the indie rock sphere, all of which are celebrating their 10th birthday in 2019. So, sit back, plug in your headphones and forget about the UK's current disastrous Brexit negotiations with a hand-picked collection of 10 cracking albums.
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
In 2009, Baltimore four-piece, Animal Collective, released what is quite possibly one of the best albums of the 21st century. A purely unique sonic masterpiece. Merriweather Post Pavilion is head spinning, frantic and absurdly experimental. Yet despite this, the album is gloriously filled with moments of pure accessible pop magic. A record that bursts with tantalising colour and energy. On the track 'Also Frightened', the band repeat the line 'will it be just like I'm dreaming'. In many ways that perfectly sums up the band's eighth album, a joyous bundle of indie rock, dub, techno and sampled delights. One of music's finest.
The Horrors - Primary Colours
Upon listening to Primary Colours by British indie rock band, The Horrors, it's plain to see why the band have chosen to celebrate its 10th birthday with a special anniversary gig at London's Royal Albert Hall. Colossus and brazen, the band's sophomore album transformed the band into cult figures. A group unlike any other British band born out of the mid to late noughties, encompassing post-punk and shoegaze with a psychedelic and gothic twist. An album to sit deservingly side by side with My Bloody Valentine's Loveless.
Beach House - Teen Dream
In 2009, dream pop duo Beach House released their magnum opus. The soulfully textured Teen Dream sparkled with careful consideration and emotional fragility, providing the perfect soundtrack to moments of calming solitude. With sharp comparisons to Galaxie 500, Teen Dream showcases Beach House at their best, with angelic and dream infused tracks such as 'Zebra' and 'Walk in the Park' still sounding outstanding today.
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Mainstays of the late noughties indie folk boom, Grizzly Bear's musical output since 2006 has been flawless. 2009's Veckatimest is certainly no exception. The album, home to the ever-popular and playful 'Two Weeks', showcases Grizzly Bear at their most accessible yet still not losing touch with their ability to write stirring, mature and emotional psychedelic folk. An album that reflects an immersive folk infused take on Radiohead.
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
A phenomenal, mind bending and abstract record by artsy indie rock icons Dirty Projectors. Bitte Orca represents an album oozing with energetic colour, crazy fragmented riffs and an overwhelming sense of artistic freedom. It's hard to think of any genre or band that run parallel to Dirty Projectors. Certainly, one of the most playful, unique and imaginative records you'll ever hear.
Arctic Monkeys - Humbug
Perhaps Arctic Monkey's most overlooked yet brilliant records. Produced by none other than Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, Humbug sees Alex Turner and Co. transform from rowdy teenage lads to brooding and mature indie rock monoliths. The album showcases Turner embracing increasingly abstract metaphors, especially compared to the lyrical content of Humbug's more adolescent predecessors. Fingers crossed for another Josh Homme produced Arctic Monkeys album.
The Maccabees - Wall of Arms
Certainly one of Britain's best and most consistent indie rock acts to emerge from the mid noughties indie rock boom. The Maccabees sophomore album, Wall of Arms is home to indie banger after indie banger. I'll never forget shouting along to the likes of 'Can You Give It' and 'No Kind Words' during their sun kissed late afternoon main stage slot at Reading 2015. The perfect indie rock album for warm summer days and beer-soaked singalongs.
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
It's hard to think of an album that contains just as many indie pop bangers as Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Phoenix's 4th record saw the band reach a new mass mainstream audience, with catchy summer indie tunes such as 'Lisztomania' and '1901'. No party would be complete without a joy filled slice of Phoenix's instantly danceable and upbeat record. A perfect accompaniment to a warm sunny day.
Manic Street Preachers - Journal for Plague Lovers
Ever since the disappearance of rhythm guitarist and lyricist Richey Edwards in 1995, it can be argued that welsh alternative rock icons, Manic Street Preachers, somewhat lost their intense and gritty lyrical and musical edge. However, 2009's Journal For Plague Lovers was an immense return to form, echoing 1994's classic album 'The Holy Bible'. All songs on the album use unused lyrics left by Edwards, thus bringing a sense of anarchy and darkness back to one the best bands of the 90s.
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
2009 saw alternative country and folk singer-songwriter Neko Case release possibly her best album. Middle Cyclone saw the songwriter at her most beautiful and heart rendering. A warming and graceful album, best exemplified by the touching and powerful track 'This Tornado Loves You'.
Featured Image: Bethany Marris/ Epigram
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