Ron Wadlinger

Top 10 Albums

Eat Skull
Wild and Inside

While last year’s Sick to Death remains a solid listen, Wild and Inside represents a nice step forward for Eat Skull. This record sprints out of the gate with some great pop gems, fusing together the band’s knack for both melody and noise in a consistently delightful fashion.

Dinosaur Jr.

It was cool to have the original Dinosaur Jr. line-up back together for 2007’s Beyond, but Farm shows that J Mascis and Lou Barlow have gotten back to the point where they left off way back when. It sounds like classic Dinosaur, and it’s grown on me as the year went on.

El Jesus de Magico
Scalping the Guru
Columbus Discount

This year seemed like a relatively quiet one on the Columbus home front, at least compared to the past few. But this is one of a trio of releases (along with the Slicks and TNV entries I’ve listed) from Ohio’s capital that proved big things are still happening here if you know where to look. Local stalwarts El Jesus came through with an epic set of expansive freakout jams that go in multiple bold new directions at once.

Dan Melchior und Das Menace
Obscured by Fuzz

Dan Melchior has been especially prolific as of late, to the point that I’ve had trouble deciding if I prefer this album to Thankyou Very Much, the double-album he also released this year. Obscured By Fuzz wins out, with its concise and biting commentary coming at you at breakneck speed. The music world is a frequent target here; “Obscured by Fuzz” and “Message Board Gnomes Pt. 1” hit their targets with particularly delightful force.

Times New Viking
Born Again Revisited

Born Again Revisited represents a worthy follow-up to last year’s classic Rip It Off. Perhaps the least immediately accessible record in TNV’s growing catalog, this is certainly one that will age well. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get “Move To California” out of my head.

Animal Collective
Merriweather Post Pavilion

This might be the year’s most hyped record, but it, well, lives up to the hype. I’m not sure what more can be said about Merriweather Post Pavilion, but these indie rock teen idols have earned their praise by delivering a collection of songs that encapsulated the best aspects of popular rock in 2009.


So maybe Tyvek’s first “proper” LP sounds a bit darker than we all expected it to, but maybe we shouldn’t have been so surprised that this is what Detroit’s foremost underground outfit has delivered. Tyvek sounds like 2009 Detroit: raw and desperate, but determined. This was well worth the wait.

Cheater Slicks
Bats in the Dead Trees
Lost Treasures of the Underworld

The Cheater Slicks have been kicking out the best in gritty garage rock for a long time, but they never released a proper “noise” record until now. This live-in-the-studio improvisation highlights the collective strengths of the Brothers Shannon and Dana Hatch. The three ride some far out waves when they play live, and we’re fortunate to have this record to take us out there whenever we want.

Zola Jesus
The Spoils
Sacred Bones

Building off the promise of a couple of well received singles, The Spoils cements the status of Zola Jesus as one of today’s most interesting artists. The unique blend of opera-trained vocals, electronic instrumental machinery and DIY-ethos makes for a great testament to where music may be heading.

Pere Ubu
Long Live Père Ubu!

With “Long Live Père Ubu!” the band has made an album that sounds like a Pere Ubu record, yet also appears to fly in the face of almost everything it has done in the past. For my money, it’s also the best record of the year, as no one else has put together something so unique, so densely calculated and so thought-provoking. This rock record-cum-radio play is certainly an album of its time, and a warning for all times.