Best Rock Albums in 2009, so far

I would like to nominate the album: Keep It Hid - Dan Auerbach. From 2008 I reaaly liked Only by the Night - Kings of Leon
M. Ward "Hold Time". Just released and good on vinyl.

As a big M. Ward fan, I'm a bit underwhelmed by Hold Time. I like the tunes, but the recording is not in the same class as previous efforts, especially "Transistor Radio" or "Transfiguration of Vincent". Maybe it will grow on me.

I've been enjoying an eclectic singer songwriter album by Jesse Sykes and the Great Hereafter "Like, Love, Lust, And The Open Halls of the Soul". This is from late 2008, but I'll count it. Her voice is, er, unique but the songwriting really grows on you with repeated listens. Nice 2-LP set on Southern Lord. And, despite the band name, album title and record label, this recording is completely secular in nature ;--))

Hold Time is the first M. Ward I've acquired on vinyl. The sound quality of the LP is good but not exceptional. It was apparently recorded on the same vintage 4-track he used to do She & Him Vol. 1-- which was an excellent 2008 release.

Another '09 keeper is Susanna "Flower of Evil". Haunting, stripped down covers of an unlikely selection by Lou Reed, Nico, Prince, Roy Harper, Phil Lynott, Ozzy O. Some help here from Bonnie Prince Billy-- who really gets around. I'm guessing that Susanna is the daughter of ECM jazzman Christian Wallumrod.
Van Morrison just released Astral Weeks Live at the Hollywood Bowl. I picked it up on CD and vinyl, but haven't gotten to the vinyl yet. Vinyl has an extra track. Great performance and well worth checking out.
Palasr thanks for the tip. I really liked the one track she sang on the Sunn O))) - Altar album. I listened to 2 tracks on youtube and went straight to Waterloo Records here in Austin and found all 3 of her albums in the used bin :-)
ps. The best M. Ward album is Post-War if anyone wants my snobbish opinion.
Jesse Sykes reminds me of a mixture of 'Mazzy Star' and more so 'Marianne Faithful'. Excellent stuff, thanks Palasr for the recommendation, her cd's will be in my collection very soon.
Four are on heavy rotation in my house: Anthony Johnson, M. Ward, Animal Collective and the new U2.
I just got Noble Beast/useless creatures the double cd from Andrew Bird. It is not my absolute favorite album of his, but has some good stuff, one of the cd's is instrumental. M ward is on order. I like that Jesse Sykes, she sounds a bit like Vic Chesnutt. It is only Feb.
Thanks for the Jesse Sykes mention. I have never heard of her, but just ordered a couple of her CD's after listening to some youtube tracks.

I also listened to Susanna...didn't really like that.
Good Recomendations
Will check out M Ward. J Sykes and Susanna

A late 2008 is Cold Fact by Rodriguez
I'll 2nd Mezzrow, the Astral Weeks live is really good. Looking forward to the new Neko Case next week.....
The Killers; DAY & AGE
I heard Ray Lamontagne a few months back at Radio City and she (Jesse Sykes) sang backup. Was impressed. I think she is also on his last recording too, which is also pretty great, all 3 of his are.
As an aside, the first two Ray L. albums showed great promise. However his live appearance last year in my area was leaden. In concert he makes the mistake of combining hepped-up earnestness with a control-freak determination to throttle down his fine accompaniests so as not to distract from his showboating egotism. The introverted style that he turns to such great effect in the studio cries out for a looser more electric live presentation. The ethusiastic audience was primed to hear this interesting new artist succeed-- one wants this guy to be the next Neil Young or at least Cat Stevens. Instead he was tone deaf to the opportunity and by the end of the evening a good chunk of the audience was silent & immersed in text messaging.
Are any of these suggested recordings, recorded well? I'm just so tired of most of the recent popular offerings being recorded at ridiculous levels. They're just plain tiring and lacking dynamics when played at sane levels.
New Relaese of Angel Dust - Faith No More on Mofi is pretty good
Dgarretson, you are a fantastic writer and I really enjoy reading your posts.
Springsteen: Working on a Dream, especially if you are an audiophile with a great system.

I think you might be pleasantly surprised with the quality of the Jesse Sykes (I can only speak to the vinyl issue however).

U2 No Line on the Horizon
Derek Trucks Band - Already Free
"Dark Was the Night". This benefit compilation cuts a wide swathe through new material from David Byrne, The National, Kronus Quartet, Iron & Wine, Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear, Blonde Redhead, The Decemberists, Yo La Tengo, Bon Iver, Conor Oberst, Feist, Sufjan Stevens, Cat Power, My Morning Jacket, and many others. Not to be missed by anyone who wants to know what's happening in the best alternative music. Excellent vinyl mastering by 4AD and a bargain at $25 for 3 LPs.
Has anyone heard the new David Byrne album? I was contemplating picking this up.
The Byrne/Eno album has some good moments & is worth acquiring, but over-all fails to meet hopes & expectations for this long-awaited reunion. Middling SQ on CD. Perhaps the vinyl is better.
neko case middle cyclone
Just picked up the Neko Case album: one of the best--easily knocks out the U2 and Animal Collective albums. Fantastic backing tracks by Matt Ward, Los Lobos and Calexico. What a beautiful voice!

Also love the retro feel of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' new one, dropping next week. I have an advance copy and it is a huge step up over previous efforts. Reminds me of the best New Wave bands like Blondie. I suspect you will find both groups on the top of many year-end "best of 2009" lists.
02-26-09: Jfz writes:
Springsteen: Working on a Dream, especially if you are an audiophile with a great system.
You are making a joke, correct? Both that and Magic have terrible sonics. I sort of like them on my iPod, but awful at home. And I like Bruce.

Just picked up u2's no line on the horizon. Exquisite.
This from U2 and Bono non fan.
Oh yes, Dan Auerbach's Keep it hid is worth noting too.
I will echo terrible sonics on Springsteen's latest CD. Big letdown.
Ditto new U2. The Eno sections take you right back to Tiger Mountain & Warm Jets. The Lanois pieces amp-up the delicacy of early albums like Beauty of Wynona through U2 power pop. One of the strongest collaborations since George Martin & B; praise to U2 for having the modesty to open wide for these two great co-writers/producers.
Anyone hear the new u2 on vinyl...think the new album has it's moments but not great...maybe better vinyl sonics would help! Anyone hear the vinyl?
Yes, excellent sound quality on double LP.
I would love to see this entire U2 gang on of new Robbie Robertson effort. Anyone remember one of the best of '87?
Robbie's debut is defintely a classic LP to have. BTW, his remastering of The Last Waltz is superb.
Hi Metralla,

No, I'm not joking at all about Working on a Dream. I do emphatically agree with you that Magic is terrible sonically, though. I'm not saying Dream is of "audiophile quality" in the same way we speak of acoustic jazz or classical music. It is very good, for rock n' roll, on my system, though. Very layered arrangements, and maybe not everyone's cup of tea in that regard, but it's far clearer, smoother, less distorted, and more dynamic than Magic. Just my experience.

jeff beck live
Bonnie Prince Billy "Beware" and Robin Hitchcock & The Venus 3 "Goodnight Oslo." Both albums are among their best work and have fine SQ, particularly on vinyl.
Got the Bonnie Prince Billy yesterday, I can also recommend Adiam Dymott
John Wesley Harding with The Minus Five "Who was Changed and Who was Dead." As good as this guy has been over the years, nothing he has done to date anticipates this return after an hiatus of five years. Think Elvis Costello at his best without the artiness on his sleeve, Magical Mystery-era Beatles, vintage Kinks on Willesden Green. Excellent SQ on double CD in studio and live. A perfect antidote to troubled times.
Bonnie Prince Billy, one of Will Oldham's best yet for SQ and music!
I nominate the re-master of My Bloody Valentine-: Loveless.
Just heard the new Decemberists release. Although I heard it streaming online, and can't comment on recording quality, the music is very promising. It's a concept album that lends itself to listening all the way through. Check it out! Cheers,
Antony is great. Dark is the Night is v. good. Marianne Faithfull's new one is one of her best. Also have the DVD of Leonard Cohen's London concert--I am waiting to hear him live before I play. Van Morrison's concert in LA is up to his highest standard. Haven't heard the MP3 of Dylan's newest--but early word is his voice sounds pretty rough. Doesn't make any difference. Wilco has a new one coming out, as does Massive Attack. All may be candidates before the year ends.
I would also recommend "No Line On The Horizon" by U2. I am a U2 fan and have been disappointed with their last two albums, but "No Line...." is great.
Just acquired Jenny Lewis' "Acid Tongue" and gave it my first spin last night. In a word: excellent. Stellar performance and recording on 3 sides. Again from late 2008, but what the hell.

Also have been enjoying the latest Marianne Faithful (great tunes, but the recording is a bit disjointed...her vocals sound strange in comparison to the rest of the band), new Bonnie Prince Billy and the recent reissue of Man or Astroman's "Experiment Zero" a band I always enjoyed back in the early 90's. Heavy retro-surf/camp in a Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet kind of way. The latest Dan Hicks LP (who is slowly morphing into a Leon Redbone-esque vocal style), "Tangled Tales" is quite decent as well, speaking of campiness.

After waiting for them for a dozen years, I also picked up the reissues of the first two Ben Harper albums. Great tunes, but shitty remasters - though the second album (Fight for Your Mind) is better than the first. They sound flat, undynamic and digital - feh. Given the excellent and obviously analog nature of the sound off of CD, the remastering engineers ought to hang their head(s) in shame - these should have been blistering.

I am digging Dan Auerbach's (Black Keys) Keep it Hid.
Check out the upcoming album from a band called "Grizzly Bear". Likely to be the album of the year and will garner prize from much of the hipster press.
Check out the Grizzly Bear video for the song Knife. That thing is a freekin' head-trip!
"It's Blitz", by Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
Karen O = Goddess.