Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mixtape: The White Panda - Versus

A couple of friends passed me a copy of mixtape from college mash-up DJs known by The White Panda. Clocking in at just over an hour (32 tracks), dude's obviously have access to some good production programs. Look out for Katy Perry's "Hot N Cold" with Fat Joe's "Make It Rain" ("Hot N Cold Rain") and a version of Jeremih's "Birthday Sex" over a club-ready Cascada beat ("Dancefloor Sex"). Key to this is the duo don't try and do too much and oversaturating cuts with too many different songs. Girl Talk's still the king, but The White Panda has to at least have him watching his back. Tracklisting below if you need more convincing.

1. Intro
2. What You Know About Little Secrets (T.I. // Passion Pit)
3. Sweetest Fascination (Wyclef Jean // Alphabeat)
4. Eminem Front (Eminem // Clipse // The Who)
5. Lean Back Wit It (Fat Joe // Will Smith)
6. Button Showers (M.I.A. // Sia)
7. Hypnotic Echo (Plies // Akon // Cyndi Lauper)
8. Throw Some Tik On That Tok (Rich Boy // Ke$ha)
9. Golden Encore (Jay-Z // One Republic // The Whitest Boy Alive)
10. Forgot About September (Dr. Dre // Earth, Wind & Fire)
11. Bizarre Flirt (R. Kelly // Rick James // OMC)
12. Dancefloor Sex (Jeremih // Cascada)
13. Drugs In My Rocketship (AZ // Thieves Like Us)
14. Stand Up (Like A Pimp) (Ludacris // Phonat)
15. Like This Ghetto (MIMS // Phonat)
16. Ice Chrome Paint Job (Dorrough // Chromeo)
17. Badd Fire (Mike Jones // Young Punx)
18. I’m A Gangsta (Yes You Are) (Bun B // Bob Sinclair // Mylo)
19. Picture The Donque (Will.I.Am // Sneaky Sound System)
20. Shake Drop On Video (Pitbull // Timbaland // Trans X)
21. We Made Ghosts N Stuff (Eminem // Deadmau5)
22. When The Lights Calle Ocho (Pitbull // David Guetta)
23. Party Where Your Head’s At (Basement Jaxx // Tonite Only)
24. Hustlin’ Pirates (Lil Mama // Rick Ross // Klaus Badelt)
25. Stay Fly Every Day (Three Six Mafia // Benassi Bros)
26. Army of Yeah (Wiz Khalifa // Usher // Umek & Beltek)
27. Touch 3 Skies (Kanye West // Britney Spears)
28. What Lonely Girls Do (Lil’ Jon // Ocean Lab)
29. Smack You Forever (Akon // September)
30. My Life Would Suck Without A Milli (Lil’ Wayne // Kelly Clarkson)
31. Hot N Cold Rain (Katy Perry // Fat Joe)
32. Stuntin’ Like My Energy (Lil’ Wayne // Keri Hilson)
33. Pop, Lock & Grizzly (Huey // Grizzly Bear // Fred Falke)

Download: The White Panda - Versus

Website: The White Panda

Video: Big Sean - "Supa Dupa Lemonade" (freestyle)

Glad to see Big Sean getting his name out there as much as possible. Takes over Gucci Mane's "Lemonade" and, although its not his finest spots, you can tell he's actually freestyling on the spot, which deserves props no matter what. Expectin' big things from kid in 2010.

Download: Big Sean - "Supa Dupa Lemonade" (freestyle)

MySpace: Big Sean

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bun B - "Pants on the Ground"

Knew it was only a matter of time before someone stepped up and gave American Idol sensation "Pants on the Ground" the true love it deserves. Bun B gets the credit here, especially in enlisting Kidz in the Hall boardmaster Double O to lay down a Dirty South squeaky beat. "General" Larry Pratt would be proud....LOOKING LIKE A FOOOOOOOL

Download: Bun B - "Pants on the Ground"

MySpace: Bun B

Friday, January 29, 2010

Video: Alexisonfire - "The Northern"

Alexisonfire's 3 for 3 for videos off Old Crows/Young Cardinals. This one's creepy as hell, but the chilling footage of a snake-obsessed religious cult actually suits the song's dark chanting qualities pretty well. Performance shots are visually impressive too, which is hard to make happen these days. I'm gonna go put this on repeat and pump iron Robert DeNiro circa Cape Fear style.

For anyone who wants to check out some behind-the-scenes footage of how they made this video, view it here.

MySpace: Alexisonfire

Video: Glassjaw - "All Good Junkies Go To Heaven" (Live)

Someone caught Glassjaw performing a new song entitled "All Good Junkies Go To Heaven" at one of their recent tour stops. Can't really make out much of the lyrics or vocal melodies, but the guitar work in the intro and Durijah Lang's spastic drumming sound sick. All and all this got me pretty stoked for a new Glassjaw release, given it ever sees the light of day...

MySpace: Glassjaw

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Bun B and GLC - "Happiness Before Riches"

Nice to see Bun B and GLC mesh their gritty styles on a new cut. The Weathermens's production shines too with horn blasts and soulful strings over bass bumpin' native to the Dirty South. Track comes off Windy City native DJ RTC's new project entitled Closed Sessions Vol. 1 which will also feature tracks and in-studio footage with Curren$y, Kidz in the Hall, Skyzoo, and Rhymefest. Ain't nothing wrong with for it sometime in March.

Download: Bun B and GLC - "Happiness Before Riches"

MySpace: DJ RTC

Video: Rx Bandits - "Hope Is A Butterfly, No Net It's Captor... (The Virus of Silence)"

Didn't quite get the concept for this off the bat, but once it clicked it turns out to be a pretty witty video. Love how well they'd fit into Reservoir Dogs if they ditched the paper bags. These guys are criminally underrated so wise up and grab Mandala or anything else from their excellent back catalog riiiiight now.

See full report...

MySpace: Rx Bandits

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Video: Broken Bells - "The High Road"

Heard about Broken Bells (Dangermouse and James Mercer of The Shins) from a number of different places, but this is the first listen/viewing I've given them. Can't say the video does all that much for me, but the song is fantastic. Great nighttime freaky grooves and Mercer's soaring vocals add a supernatural touch of sorts. Gotta check out Broken Bells when it drops Mar. 9th.

The High Road

Broken Bells | MySpace Music Videos

Download: Broken Bells - "The High Road"

MySpace: Broken Bells

Video: Third Eye Blind - "Bonfire"

Official video for the best cut off 3eb's solid Ursa Major. Pretty literal concept, but they did a good job capturing both the sing-a-long aspect and the early Fall vibe of the track. I just don't get what's up with Stephen Jenkins and that top hot...weird dude.

MySpace: Third Eye Blind

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Manchester Orchestra/Kevin Devine - I Could Be The Only One EP

First I heard of a split EP between the equally great Manchester Orchestra and Kevin Devine, I let my imagination get the best of me and dreamt of co-written songs or numerous covers. Sadly, it's just each band covering one of the other's tracks. Still worthwhile...Andy Hull and Co. give KDev's "I Could Be With Anyone" a faithful acoustic take, while Kevin spins "The Only One" into a mellowed tropical groove. Get 'em!

Download: Kevin Devine - "The Only One"

Download: Manchester Orchestra - "I Could Be With Anyone"

Video: Kid Cudi - "cudderisback"

Picked a good time to post this hilarious video for a goofy freestyle that Cudi dropped last month. Confirms a lot of my suspicions of what he does in his down time. Need a new mixtape from him riiiiiight now.

KiD CuDi "cudderisback" - Directed by Jason Goldwatch - from DP on Vimeo.

Download: Kid Cudi - "cudderisback" (freestyle)

MySpace: Kid Cudi

Skyzoo - The Salvation

Slept on this harrrrrrd. Hailing from BK, Skyzoo is definitely making waves coming up out of the underground and showing his big time potential on his debut studio record. Take his effortless flow and smooth lyrical abilities and run it over classic 9th Wonder production (I've still yet to find one of his beats that's not amazing) and you got gold. "Popularity" screams mainstream success, while "Under Pressure" and "Dear Whoever" highlight some serious storytelling skills. And don't forget to check out "For What It's Worth", an instant classic with some jaw-dropping lines that wouldn't be out of place on Nas's legendary 1994 debut Illmatic. Get at this and be sure to add Skyzoo to the loooong list of up-and-coming MCs.

Buy: Skyzoo - The Salvation

MySpace: Skyzoo

Monday, January 25, 2010

Distant Relatives - "Only The Strong Will Continue"

Got our first taste of the Nas/Damien Marley collab project Distant Relatives. Track could use a bit more Nas, as it's more Damien Marley heavy, but the chugging guitars and spiraling piano lines give the cut a really big feel. Curious to hear more drops from this in the next couple months. Distant Relatives expected release date is 4/20, go figure...

Download: Distant Relatives - "Only The Strong Will Continue"

MySpace: Distant Relatives

Friday, January 22, 2010

Video: Big Sean - "One Million Dollars"

A little late on this (what's new)...not hugely into this video, aside from the crisp visuals, but totally forgot how much I love this song. Usually find myself listening to Big Sean mostly in other people's songs (Mike Posner, Kanye West, Wale, etc...) but he can definitely do his thing by himself. 2010's gonna be a big year for him and if you wanna see why check the video and hit the link to grab the UKNOWBIGSEAN mixtape. Cool?

Download: Big Sean - UKNOWBIGSEAN

MySpace: Big Sean

Video: P.O.S. - Interview with Pinboard Blog

Killer interview with my main man Stef. Dude's nothing less than real and offers up some enlightening and candid answers to a host of question. Good looks on spotlighting the artwork of Never Better and I'm totally with him on Relationship of Command as one of the top 3 punk rock records of all time.

MySpace: P.O.S.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Dangerous Summer - "Where I Want To Be"

Randomly can't stop lasting to this today. Such power in the back of this song and a huuuuge hook. If you're looking for pop punk 101 you need to check out Reach For The Sun. There's also something in the way (get it?) that AJ Perdomo writes his lyrics that bring high school memories flooding back big time...up to you whether that's a good or bad thing!

Download: The Dangerous Summer - "Where I Want To Be"

MySpace: The Dangerous Summer

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stream: Jarrod Gorbel - Ten Years Older EP

Have always loved The Honorary Title so I was pretty bummed when they decided to hang it up earlier this year. Thankfully, Jarrod Goebel is continuing on via a solo career and a new EP entitled Ten Years Older. His vocals and songwriting skills were the big draw to The Honorary Title for me so I'm pretty cool with these songs. Thanks to AP.Net for the xxxclusive. Hit the link to give it a listen and pick it up with your hands too when you get a chance.

Stream: Jarrod Gorbel - Ten Years Older EP

MySpace: Jarrod Gorbel

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Crime In Stereo - "Drugwolf

...Is Dead owned most of the latter part of 2009 for me so any new tunes from Crime In Stereo come with much anticipation. This one's definitely a grower, but I'm already starting to get with the direction they are moving everything, especially musically in the second half of the song. I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone drops Feb. 23.

Listen: Crime In Stereo - "Drugwolf"

Video: City & Colour - "Oh, Sister"

Sweet video of Dallas Green preforming a new cut from his TBA 2010 release. Already diggin this...could have fit perfectly on Bring Me Your Love. Here's to hoping this YouTube stream quality convinces ya'll how crazy his voice is, cuz I've run out of adjectives to describe it's appropriate awesomeness.

MySpace: City and Colour

The Smashing Pumpkins - "Window Wake My Mind"

Worth checking out the new song from Billy Corgan and co. A bit too much fine tune production on his vocals for my liking, but with great drum fills and squeaky organs the feel of the song gets back to the band's psychedelic roots ala Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness. And I think we all know how I feel about that one...

Listen: The Smashing Pumpkins - "Window Wake My Mind"

Video: The Republic of Wolves- Studio Update (Jan. 18)

Love this band, but they're some strange dudes... gotta admit they cracked me up, though. "These rock's are no good!"

MySpace: The Republic of Wolves

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Video: Portugal. The Man. - "The Sun"

Second odd video off The Satanic Satanist, although it still can't top the straight-up weirdness of "Do You". Anyways, album's so solid they could've chosen any song and I'd be happy. Perfect song for a weekend morning so all yall struggling from last night let a little sun into your life...time for me to go watch football all day while you to watch this. Deal?

MySpace: Portugal. The Man.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Video: Dessa - "Dixon's Girl"

New video for the matriarch of the Doomtree fam. Cool visuals too...the whole vibe matches the instrumental's dope 20s cigar-lounge feel. Always liked Dessa's spots on Never Better and Doomtree so I'll just say her new record A Badly Broken Code is a must-have. Drops Jan. 19th so show it love.

Dessa "Dixon's Girl" Music Video

Dessa | MySpace Music Videos

Download: Dessa - "Dixon's Girl"

MySpace: Dessa

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thrice - Daytrotter Sessions

The always solid Thrice met up with the always solid Daytrotter and put together a solid collection of recordings. Go figure. Check out some alternate takes on Beggars classics (yeah, already going there) such as "All The World Is Mad" and "Circles", as well as a howling cover of Tom Waits' "Come On Up To The House". And don't forget to read the blurbs Dustin attached to each song that gives us some insight into what went down in these sessions. Hit the link below for the mp3 freshness.

Download: Thrice - Daytrotter Sessions

MySpace: Thrice

Mansions - Best of the Bees

Mansions aka Christopher Browder was kind enough to package some b-sides that didn't quite make the excellent New Best Friends into a pay what you want deal. These kind of opportunities are always cool because it's gets back to the roots of true personal artist-fan interaction. Look at it this can help out a talented musician and get some really good tunes. Win/Win.

Buy: Manisons - Best of the Bees

MySpace: Mansions

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Video: Alexisonfire - Making of "The Northern"

These guys know how to choose their singles right..."Young Cardinals" and "Born and Raised" were both great picks and now they're pushing "The Northern", which is basically a charging locomotive in song form. Gotta love personification. Old Crows/Young Cardinals may make a real comeback for me in these winter months. Anyways, video looks on par with all the great ones these guys put out. And they say music videos are dead...

Alexisonfire - The Northern (Behind the Scenes) from on Vimeo.

MySpace: Alexisonfire

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Kevin Devine - "12.25.09"

Caught some live video of an untitled new song from the one and only Kevin Devine. Already loving where's he going lyrically on this ya go for anyone who likes to read along.

MySpace: Kevin Devine

Mixtape: The Roots - Late Night With The Roots

When I heard Jimmy Fallon got The Roots to be his house band, I immediately knew it was a genius move. Now thanks to DJ Heat we get an unobstructed mp3 collection of ?uestlove and crew bringing added thunder to the show's already dope performances. Features the likes of Wale, Clipse, Raekwon, RZA, Beastie Boys...and the list goes on, on, and on and on. Grab it while it's undeniably hot.

Download: The Roots - Late Night With The Roots

MySpace: The Roots

Friday, January 8, 2010

Video: Animal Collective - "Brothersport"

Here's Animal Collective's psychedelic new video for "Brothersport", which'll substitute for any of you running low on acid and/or shrooms. Trippy visuals for a trippy album. Gotta love Merriweather Post Pavilion even though it's soooo 2009...

MySpace: Animal Collective

Mod Sun - "Keep It Movin' (feat. P.O.S.)"

Didn't know how seriously to take ex-Four Letter Lie drummer Dylan Smith when he left the band to form his solo hip hop project Mod Sun. Kid's for real judged on his new track...he can be hit or miss behind the mic, but loving the sunshine bright beat. Plus, bringing on fellow Minnesota native P.O.S. to kill a verse is always a smart move in my mind.

Download: Mod Sun - "Keep It Movin'" (feat. P.O.S.)

MySpace: Mod Sun

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Stream: Vampire Weekend - Contra

Need something to talk about? Hit the link below to stream Vampire Weekend's new album Contra. Personally, it's a feel good record to kick off a promising musical year. But it ain't about me...well kinda, but leave some thoughts and grab a physical copy when Contra his stores Jan. 12.

Stream: Vampire Weekend - Contra

Video: RJD2 - "Let There Be Horns"

Hahaha gotta love RJD2's new video for what's presumably the second track off his forthcoming The Colossus. Seems like even minotaurs go through the daily grind trying to live the American Dream. Oh, and the song's dope too. That's a plus...

MySpace: RJD2

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Photos: Casa Kimabll

Photos of Rangr Studio 2009 Casa Kimball project in Cabrera, Dominican Republic. It's too cold in D.C. and it'll only get worse in Boston. I need a house like this, especially one with that pool. Think it's what you call a "dream house" cuz that's the only place you'll see yourself living there. Sick shots though for day-dreaming. Word of the day...hit below for more good stuff.

Check: Archdaily

Introducing: Mike Posner

This dude is gonna be Huge...check the capitalization. Still a senior at Duke, dudes got all sorts of smarts manning the mic and behind the boards that's already translated to a major label signing this past July. His electro-tinged beats and trademark fuzzy crooning over Top 40 hits "Halo", "Cable Car", "Evil Woman" and "Don't Trust Me" have garnered a lot of attention, as well as support from his boys in hip hops new class such as Big Sean, Saigon, and Kid Cudi. Stepping outside the remix world, Mike tongue-in-cheek songwriting shines taking aim at sexy drugdealers ("Drug Dealer Girl"), haters ("Cooler Than Me", "Bring Me Down"), and fame ("Speed of Sound", "Who Knows?"). Hit the links below to pick up his first two mixtapes A Matter of Time and One Foot Out The Door and spread the word.



MySpace: Mike Posner

Video: Mos Def - "History (feat. Talib Kweli)

2010 might be the year the video returns. Here's another fresh one from Mighty Mos. Glad to hear Talib hop on this and make us miss Blackstar more. Always classic. Haven't even give The Ecstatic a chance yet, but I will now...and if anyone else needs convincing, just give this song a listen.

Download: Mos Def - "History"(feat. Talib Kweli)

MySpace: Mos Def

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Video: Kanye West - "Homecoming"/"Paranoid"/"Streetlights" (Live on VH1 Storytellers)

Caught this live back in September and am stoked to hear it'll be re-released as a DVD/CD package. Say what you will about 'Ye as a person, but he's a one-of-a-kind musical talent. Especially feeling the Auto-Tune on "Homecoming" (which was cut from the aired performance)and was glad he dusted off "Streetlights"...I think that song best conveys the realized potential of what Kanye was trying to do with 808s & Heartbreak.




MySpace: Kanye West

Video: Kevin Devine - "Another Bag of Bones"

New video for whats in my humble opinion is Kevin Devine's best song. Although the visuals seem like something a YouTube user with skills could but together, it gets the point of the song across. Wasn't sold on the full band version of this after hearing the acoustic on Kevin's Tour EP, but ended up making my incomplete list of best songs of 2009. The rhythm section bring much more punch and urgency to the song than it's previous searing whine. And lyrically, Kevin doesn't get more in the zone than this....oh it's time now to burn.

Download: Kevin Devine - "Another Bag of Bones

MySpace: Kevin Devine

Monday, January 4, 2010

Movie Review: Adventureland

Finally got around to checking out Adventureland, Greg Motolla's second coming of age movie (first being the endlessly quotable Superbad.) Despite mixed reviews knocking the film for being too heavy on plot and soft on laughs, I loved it.

Jesse Eisenberg continues to develop into a more versatile Michael Cera, playing the obliviously awkward, but cautiously confident brainiac James Brennan. Meanwhile irresistible Kristen Stewart plays his love interest Em with youthful neurosis, but brazen independence. I mean..I even found myself crushing on her a bit. Ryan Reynolds, Bill Hader, Martin Starr, and Kristin Wiig round out a pretty star-studded cast and do a great job splitting their time between dishing out laughs and portraying the honesty of reality from which James learns most of his life lessons.

The movie's visuals are on point as well...the film is spliced with surprisingly artistic creativity as well as fully submerging itself totally in the culture of the 80s as Dazed in Confused did with the decade prior. From the soundtrack to character's clothing styles, to the teen angst, Mottola surrounds the time period.

The most engaging part of the entire experience has to be the story. Unfolded masterfully, the plot has the audience totally sold on the budding relationship between Eisenberg and Stewart, feeling the pangs of heartache and elation of reciprocation of young love thats so realistically illustrated. Even further, Adventureland captures the perserverent optimism of the age as James responds to his friend Joel's (Martin Starr) story about Herman Mellville's mispelled obituary by saying: "our Herman Melville story that - that's bullshit...he wrote a seven-hundred page allegorical novel about the whaling industry. I think he was a pretty passionate guy, Joel. I hope they call me Henry when I die, too."

Don't go into this movie expecting the gross-out, rolling-on-the-floor laughter of Superbad, but don't sleep on it either. Adventureland is one of the better all-around coming of age movies of recent memory and makes you wanna go back to that shitty summer job all over again for that one girl.

Grade: A-

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Top 30 Records of 2009: 10-1

10. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Many people's top record of the year, but this is no Pitchfork hipster shit. Still, can't hate on Animal Collective as their trippy electronic washes and submerged vocals create an organic atmosphere that makes you feel like you're trapped in a machine and camping out in the wilderness all at once. There was nothing like the quirky melodies of Merriweather Post Pavilion in 2009 and that deserves recognition.

Listen: "In The Flowers"

9. As Tall As Lions - You Can't Take It With You

One of the most experimental albums of the year. Varying from bluesy barroom stomps ("We's Been Waiting) to philosophical Middle East-inspired chants ("You Can't Take It With You") to wrenching electronica ("The Narrows") these guys try on as many different styles as possible and pull it off. Dan Nigro's choir boy croons are still top notch and surprise lead vocals from bassist/jester Julio Tavarez and guitarist Saen Fitzgerald add refreshing variation in a track-by-track basis. Playin' it safe isn't always cool...

Listen: "Circles"

8. Manchester Orchestra - Mean Everything To Nothing

It was clear that Manchester Orchestra set up to create a masterpiece with Mean Everything to Nothing and they did just that. Andy Hull is a musician that I would challenge anyone to do anything other than admire. With songs like the slow-burning "Pride" and flawless "Shake It Out", the influence of 90s alternative groups such as The Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana on the band is clear. Not the most accessible record on the list, but one of the most rewarding once you finally get it.

Listen: "Shake It Out"

7. Brand New - Daisy

The most polarizing disc of 2009. Brand New continues to challenge their fans to open their minds as far as possible to get with them...just check the spastic screams and jagged guitar lines in opener "Vices". Still, gems like the Jekyll and Hyde "Sink" (a personal favorite of mine), Modest Mouse-inspired "At The Bottom", and jam-oriented "Bought A Bride" and keep me coming back. Seems like Jesse Lacey and co. will be hanging it up soon, but if this is the album they end on, they'll go out like the came in...with a bang.

Listen: "Sink"

6. The Black Keys - Blakroc

The Black Keys garage-blues and hip-hop were a match made in Heaven. Don't know how many times I listened to this consecutively, but if you could wear something out on an iPod, this album would be wrecked. While vets Mos Def and Wu-Tang members RZA, Raekwon, and even the late ODB hold down their spots, more mainstream MCs (especially Jim Jones and Ludacris) and virtual unknowns (Jay-Z sound-a-like NOE) bring their A-game as well. Meanwhile Patrick Carney's stomping kit work that you can literally feel inside your chest and Dan Auerbach's screechy riffing provide the perfect backing. Tied together with an abstract, borderline paranoid, feel don't even throw out the word "gimmick" about this's straight art and good shit at that.

Listen: Ain't Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)(feat. Mos Def and Jim Jones)

5. Passion Pit - Manners

Hating the endless hipster dance parties this album inspired, I tried so hard not to like Manners. Well, I failed. That's just a testament to how infectious this band is. Using their three (yeah, three) keyboards and lead vocalist Michael Angelakos' upper-upper register falsetto to facilitate catchy electro-pop gem after catcy electro-pop gem. "Sleepyhead" put them on the map and "Little Secret' made for a second sure-fire single...and I think every other cut on the record (especially "Moth's Wings" and "Folds In Your Hands") could easily make a case for the next one. Listen to this from start to finish and try not to sing/dance along...impossible.

Listen: "Folds In Your Hands"

4. Rx Bandits - Mandala

Surprisingly the first record Rx Bandits released sans horn section is arguably their best. Leaning more towards their progressive than ska roots, the tracks on Mandala flow smoothly together thanks to intricate guitar work, stellar drumming, and Matt Embree's soulful vocals. While songs like straight-forward rocker "Lonesome Only Friend" and my personal favorite "Bury It Down Low" hark back to The Resignation/...And The Battle Begun era, synth-driven "It's Only Another Parsec..." and oddball "Mientras La Veo SoƱar" (complete with verses sung in Spanish) show off the group's more abstract side. No hate here for anything in the Rx Bandits's back catalog, but it seems like the more albums they put out, the better they get...I'd say that's a good trend.

Listen: "Bury It Down Low"

3. Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon: End of Days

Kanye protege Kid Cudi ended up making the album Ye himself tried to make with 808s & Heartbreak. Mixing textured psychedelic beats (especially with Ratatat on the boards) killer hooks, and sensitively introspective lyrics about weed and girls, Cudi builds up a style all his own . Along with breakthrough hits "Day N' Nite" and "Make Her Say", some of the true standouts come from the likes of indie crossovers "Up, Up, and Away" and "Pursuit of Happiness", featuring a guest spot from MGMT. The way Lupe Fiasco redefined hip hop by bringing in skateboarding and comic books,the self-proclaimed Man on the Moon may have redefined the genre again...making him one of the brightest shining stars in a class of excellent young MCs in the process.

Listen: "Pursuit of Happiness" (feat. MGMT)

2. P.O.S. - Never Better

By now you'll see a lot of hip hop records made the top 30 (8 to be exact). But P.O.S.' Never Better is the king of them all. Strecthing the definition of hip hop to it's most extreme limits, Stef Alexander utilizes punk rock bass/guitar lines ("Terrorish") live drums ("Let It Rattle", "Drumroll"), and head-spinning socially-concious wordplay. Doesn't really sound like it would work, right? That's the beauty of the record. Only P.O.S. could do it. Give the title track a listen and try and pin-point exactly how anyone else could pull that off. The theme throughout this record (and his amazing live shows) is that fitting in is overrated and Stef illustrates clearly with Never Better that taking your own route can stand you up above the rest.

Listen: "Never Better"

1. Thrice - Beggars

If you remember when I first heard Beggars in early August, I said then and there it was my favorite record of 2009. Well, here we are at the end and it has stood the test of time. No one did it better all-around this year in a single album than Thrice. The complex, yet concise songwriting, album flow, vocals, instrumentation and lyrics are all unparalleled compared to the rest of the year's releases. A true music lovers album from start to finish, Thrice may have been more heavy (The Illusion of Safety), melodic (The Artist In The Ambulance), experimental (The Alchemy Index) with past releases, but I would argue this is their most complete effort. I'm metaphorically out of breathe with praise for this record so I'll spare any further description and close out the #1 spot and Top 30 list with one final piece of advice: just go listen to 'em.

Listen: "The Weight"

Damn...that was exhausting and took much longer than I thought. Still hope you enjoyed checking out my recap of 2009 in music and I've already got a bunch of new stuff cooked up for 2010 and the next decade so stay tuned.