12) Youngblood Brass Band
Teeth of the Hyrda's "Greenland" comes in at No. 2 on the X-man's list.
, "Is That A Riot?" (Layered Music)
NOT a brass band. Not even close, really. More like rap-rock meets a marching band. Like Rage Against the Machine unplugged, with a sousaphone. Seriously.
"If Thine Enemy Hunger" (Relapse)
Jammy co-ed stoner-rawk duo. Big, smart sex.
"No Heroes" (Epitaph)
Epic metalcore that arrived just when you thought the genre was completely spent. "Plagues" will kick your ass.
9) Split decision:
"Fox Confessor Brings the Flood" (Anti)
Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins
, "Rabbit Fur Coat" (Team Love)
, "The Greatest" (Matador)
Three-way tie for this triple-shot of Southern-gothic girl power; they're all flush with mesmerizing storytelling and lulling ambiance.
8) Battle of Mice,
"A Day of Nights" (Neurot)
Underground all-star group cracks instro-metal wide-open by adding a frantic female singer and rendering the genre's prefix obsolete.
7) Johnny Cash
, "American V" (American)
It ain't perfect, and it has some shaky moments, but all of Johnny's discs did. Even American I. At least this one doesn't have sappy strings and yodeling background singers.
6) Glenn Danzig,
"Black Aria II" (Evilive)
Evil Enya meets the Phantom of the Opera. Maybe some of it's a little cheezy — maybe — but it's good. And "Lamenta Lilith," improbably, is a touching piece suitable for a funeral mass. A pagan funeral mass.
5) TV on the Radio
, "Return to Cookie Mountain" (Interscope)
Like Radiohead after Kid A, but interesting.
4) My Chemical Romance
, "The Black Parade" (Reprise)
Emo icons go classic-rock and write an oddly touching concept album. Don't tell anyone this is on my list.
3) The Black Keys
, "Magic Potion" (Nonesuch)
You've probably read plenty about how explosively awesome this Akron blues-rawk duo is. It's all true. The band recorded this disc in their basement, and if their band ever goes south, they can make a killing as engineers. The album is raw, son. Raw.
2) Teeth of the Hydra
, "Greenland" (Tee Pee)
This doom-metal disc initially disappointed; the Columbus-Cleveland band retreated from its earlier thrash tendencies and slowed down. But it's ultimately a hypnotic disc about the evil that runs rampant through mankind, nature, the afterlife, and pretty much everything and everywhere.
, "For a Better Tomorrow" EP (Corley Music)
These sick bastids released eight albums and EPs this year, all of the variations on deadly sludge. Fistula is best. Killer stoner metal. The title track is like "Sweet Leaf" with a nose full of black tar.
-- D.X. Ferris