Most of the time in this city, bands rise and fall based on who they know and how exciting they are live. But for this list, I’ve considered only what is contained on their recordings. Over the course of the year I’ve given roughly 75 records from inside the perimeter a spin, and these are the essential twenty that I recommend listening to most. There are actually many records that I really liked that just missed the cut, so this was very tough to piece together, especially the final spots.
Looking at this list and comparing it back to my favourite local stuff over the two years before, it’s apparent that music in this city just keeps getting better. Atlanta’s independent music scene is running deeper than ever both in terms of quality and quantity of music being produced. Outside of Brooklyn, you’d need quite a compelling argument to convince me anywhere else in America has a better scene right now. Promising young bands keep popping up out of nowhere, and the veterans keep delivering the goods. It sure makes my job here a lot easier to have so much great music to blog about.
On a technical note, anything that has been released over the holidays I’m grouping in with my 2010 lists, and so a couple of albums on this list were released over the holidays last year. Take a gander:
20. Noot d’ Noot: Cash For Gold
19. Harken The Hands Askew: Thou
18. Slushco: Sometime Tonight
17. Sound On Film: The Eloquent Reginald
16. Thy Mighty Contract: Thy Mighty Contract
15. Club Awesome: Dynamos
14. Jungol: Places
13. Lee Harvey Oswald: Lee Harvey Oswald
12. The Selmanaires: Tempo Temporal
11. Tealights: Take Us By Sea
10. Deerhunter: Rainwater Cassette Exchange
9. Slushco: The Silver Surface Demos
8. The Orphins: Wish You Well
7. Mastodon: Crack The Skye
6. Lotus Plaza: Floodlight Collective
5. From Exile: Monolith
4. Nomen Novum: Paradises
3. Untied States: Instant Everything, Constant Nothing
2. Atlas Sound: Logos
1. Nomen Novum: November
In the Atlanta music scene, 2009 was the year of Nomen Novum. While most musicians take a whole year to scrap together enough decent songs to fill a good EP, the prolific Nomen Novum were able to drop two virtually perfect full-lengths, plus a great live EP, and they’re already posting new stuff to their myspace.
Although, all five records at the top of my list were legitimate contenders for Atlanta album of the year, and I would have probably been content with any ordering between them. The other 3 records to round out my top 5 each happened to be crafted over about 2 years, and the extra time and care in putting them together just right payed off. A big mistake I notice younger bands make is trying to push out a record too quickly on some arbitrary time scale and in the end get stuck with something that is less than what they are capable of producing. Atlas Sound, Untied States, and From Exile all spent more time than they probably wanted to on their respective albums, but the extra effort was well worth it in the end.
Looking back over this list after I finished it, I noticed that it is almost entirely dominated by veterans of the scene, and mostly by artists I was already familiar with before starting this blog. There is only one true first recording from its respective musicians to make the list. If I were to make a “Best Atlanta Artists of the Decade” shortlist, most of those artists would have an album included on this list, so I feel like it is a good snapshot of not just where the scene is at today, but where it has been heading for the latter part of the ’00s. There is so much diversity in sound and so much talent in this city, and if you have any interest at all in Atlanta’s music scene, don’t let anything on this list slip by you, because all twenty are well worth giving a listen.
- Posted by Davy Minor on December 13, 2009 at 10:20 pm