FT50: Songs of 2009

bestof2009cover_songsWe have to start this list off with a disclaimer.  We have three writers, all with different tastes, so the list should reflect that a little bit.  Also, these are our opinions, and by no means, are they meant to be seen as an “end all be all” to the question of what were the best songs of 2009.  That being said, we like our list quite a bit.  Sure, it’s got some expected numbers at the top, but the rest of the list is genius.  We’ve got some of the songs streaming for you, and the rest take you straight to youtube.  Follow the jump for full list.

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FFFFest Spotlight: Coalesce

coalesceAll right people, with only two weeks left until Fun Fun Fun Fest, we here at Austin Town Hall are feverishly finalizing our concert schedules.  Running down the line up of the four stages I see many bands that get me truly excited. Gorilla Biscuits! The Jesus Lizard! Danzig!(?) But if I had to choose one band that gives me reason to subject myself to two days of loud music and sleepless nights I would have to choose Kansas City’s own Coalesce.

Coalesce has released some of the most innovative records that hardcore has seen. From the blistering speed and ferocity of their debut, Give Them Rope (1997) to the groove-laden, but no less heavy, Functioning on Impatience (1998) and 0:12 Revolution in Just Listening (1999), Coalesce have firmly planted themselves as stalwarts of the hardcore scene.  After a lengthy hiatus, Coalesce has returned this year with OX, their first full length in ten years, as well as their most accomplished records to date. OX mixes the band’s intensity with their new found appreciation of the music of America.

I haven’t even touched on the band’s intense stage presence.  I have driven thirteen hours on two separate occasions to witness the spectacle that is Coalesce live.  You would be hard-pressed to witness a more energetic live band than Coalesce, so do yourself a favor and head over to the Black Stage on Sunday, November 8th at 4:50 p.m. and prepare yourself to see four guys giving their all for something that they love.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/03_Wild_Ox_Moan.mp3]

Download: Coalesce – Wild Ox Moan [MP3]

Reggie and the Full Effect – Last Stop Crappy Town

Rating: ½ · · · ·

I bought this record at the store the other day because for some reason I sincerely hold fond memories of this band.  The first few records were great, and then the band slowly lost its appeal.  Congratulations Nathan! You’re an adult.

Listening to this record all day today, and last night, it was hard to remember exactly what it was about this band that I really enjoyed.  I went back to the old records from my younger days–when I was 20.  There was the answer–the remnants of pop-punk and emo. Don’t smirk! You liked this stuff too!

Anyways, in the beginning, James Dewees–keyboardist for now defunct The Get Up Kids–he blended comedy along with really solid melodies. He tossed me a few solid keyboard solos, and even through samples of hilarious clips into the album.  They were seamless, and honestly, I thought they were special–still hold a spot in my heart.

Of course, there was some remnants of hardcore on the old albums, clearly remaining from Dewees days in Coalesce. It was just a small enough dose to go well with the feel of the record.  Now, that is all that remains.

There are few moments on this record that are redeemable.  The incessant screaming is so 99′ and I just don’t have the patience for it.  And, the lyrics I could decipher were simple, though I never considered Dewees to be much of a songwriter.

For me, this was his last gasp–his “last stop” if you will.  For me, this was my last stop.  This album reminded me of where I have been, and who I have become–frankly, I’m an adult.  This record brought that to a head.  Thanks Reggie, for that you get half a star.

In Full Effect

Former Get Up Kids keyboardist and Coalesce James Dewees is set to release his 5th album as Reggie and the Full Effect. Sure, James doesn’t take himself seriously, which is how he comes to mesh the hardcore with that pop goodness–but who said we always had to be so serious? At the very least, you can tell your little brother or sister to listen to this instead of that boring radio! Take a listen to his newest song at this beautiful web site.