Presenting The Best DFW Albums of 2009...

[Editor's Note: In this week's paper, you'll see my picks for the best DFW albums of 2009. Unfortunately, because of space concerns in print, some of the column was cut. So I've decided to print the whole thing here in full. Check it out. Argue away. Do your thing. And check some of our writers' picks for national album of the year, too. Lastly, be sure keep checking back on our on-going best DFW songs of 2009 list as it continues to grow...]

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Not to get all nostalgic, but 2009 really was a fantastic year in Dallas-Fort Worth music.

There are various reasons why and, last week, we handled the news-side of it all--the hip-hop (good and bad), the reunions (big and small), the venues (open and closed) and the influence (local and national). This week's a little closer to the heart, actually. This week really matters. Because, well, the music mattered around here in 2009.

Really--I'm not blowing smoke. This year saw almost an embarrassment of riches around here; paring this, my list of picks for the best records from the region in 2009, down to just 10 proved a painstaking task. It was a deep year, for sure. A bunch of area products even earned national attention. That's not why they're on this list--but, hey, that extra attention's a good thing anyway. A few of the records on this list could use some of that shine. All of these records deserve it, really. It'd be a shame if more people didn't listen to 'em.

Yes, I mean you.

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10. Air Review, Landmarks (self-released)
Must hear: "Chasing Corporate," "All Because You're Mine," "Can't See the Sun," "Jura"

One of the more ambitious releases of the year, Landmarks is a statement record from a brand-new area five-piece--a band that, for better or worse, had enough balls to toss out an arena-ready album in its first go-round. Well, turns out band's got the chops too--even live, Air Review's piano-led rock impresses. "This could be our only chance," the band sings in chorus on its 9-to-5 kiss-off, "Chasing Corporate." Landmarks shows a band calling for attention. And deservedly so.

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9. The O's, We Are The O's (Idol)
Must hear: "You've Got Your Heart," "We've Had Everything," "Finding It Hard," "I Love You So Much"

A no-frills debut record from no-frills local bluegrass duo The O's, We Are The O's features scene vets John Pedigo and Taylor Young, a banjo, an acoustic guitar, a kick drum--and a tambourine, maybe, but not much else. Turns out, though, that harmonies, strums, plucks and stomps are all this duo needs for its sugary sweet sentiment to tug at one's down-home heartstrings. Add in a lovelorn, Everyman songwriting aesthetic and We Are The O's casts itself as 2009's most charming regional release.


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