Alter The Press!


Alter The Press! - Albums Of 2009

2009 has been an incredible year for new music and we at Alter The Press! have felt really spoiled for choice when choosing this year's top ten albums.

After the process of narrowing it down to the final ten, we managed to speak to majority of the artists featured and reflected on how the year had been for them, what to expect from them in 2010 and more.

We proudly present our top ten albums of 2009!

10) Brian Bonz - 'From Sumi To Japan'

Alter The Press: How was 2009 for you?
Brian Bonz: 2009 was great. A ton of my friends took me out on tour, we worked hard as a band, and I feel like I've grown a lot as a person. I'm ready to be an adult. I guess Mushrooms can be life changing.

ATP: How did you hook up with Jesse Lacey, Kevin Devine and Manchester Orchestra?
Brian: I met Kevin a few years back through some friends, and dug his material. I joined a band called Pablo with my brother - We eventually began writing the Bonz record and joined Kevins band. I met Jesse shortly after that who ended up offering me a run of dates in the West Coast and put me in front of 900 people a night. All those dudes have seriously stuck out there necks for me and brought me up. They also have been super encouraging and always have valid advice. Manchester are family as well.

ATP: How did you sign to Triple Crown Records?
Brian: Brian Lane of Brand New and Kevins manager introduced me to him at a show one night. He emailed me later that week asking for the rest of the material, and was interested in putting it out. Triple Crown has been a great label to us, and I am happy we didn't sign our souls away to an odd big corporation.

ATP: 'From Sumo To Japan', how would you describe it in your own words?
Brian: It's a 30-40 minute record about growth, fights, relationships, distance and escape.

ATP: Who would you say you've drawn influence from?
Brian: Bjork, Sam Cooke, The Crystals, Broken Social Scene, DeBarge.

ATP: Best tour of 2009?
Brian: Kevin Devine and Person L/John Nolan.

ATP: Will Brian Bonz eventually make it to the UK?
Brian: We are currently trying to release it over there now.

ATP: What's in store for 2010 for Brian Bonz?
Brian: Making another record based about New York State. If baby Sufjan can make the BQE, I can make my Belt Parkway. Im kidding. We are making another album though and tour more.

9) Matt and Kim - 'Grand'

Alter The Press: How has 2009 been for you?
Kim Schifino (drums): It has been incredible. So much has been happening that it made this year fly by!

ATP: 'Grand' has been your most commercially successful album to date. MTV VMA and Woodie Award, what was your response when getting the news?
Kim: We were on tour when the VMA's were happening. I was shocked that we were nominated. We were up against some big named artists. I thought it was nice to be nominated but really didn't think we would win. We were in Illinois doing a show when we found out. Matt was blowing up a bunch of beach balls to throw out during our show and he thought he was lightheaded and imagined it. I will admit when I got the call, I was jumping up and down and crying. I don't know why I was crying! I was just so excited.

ATP: Tracks have even been picked up by huge TV shows such as, 'Don't Slow Down' on Gossip Girl. How did this happen?
Kim: I am not sure but I will say Matt and I are fans of all the teen drama's! Gossip Girl, The OC (when it was on), Melrose Place (does that count as a teen drama?), Friday Night Lights, 90210. Yeah, I bet you didn't expect that!

ATP: Best tour of 2009?
Kim: We did a US tour in September - October, it was a sold out tour with incredible shows. Everyone was ready to get crazy with us. I also feel like i really perfected my Beyonce like dance moves on stage! I dropped it low!!

ATP: When are you coming back to the UK?
Kim: It looks like we are heading back in May-June to tour festivals. I hear i have to invest in a pair of those big wet boots cause it gets muddy. I don't think it would be easy to play drums in them!

ATP: Plans for 2010?
Kim: We will finish writing in January and then recording in February-March. Our first show back will be Coachella and then as we do, we will tour non stop for the rest of the year! We were talking about taking a two week vacation in April and going to one of those Club Med type spots. I am not really into the Club Med vibe but I really want to be able to order a drink from a bar that I have to swim to while in a pool!

ATP: What releases are you looking forward to in 2010?
Kim: Is it weird to say "our release"?! I am also waiting for TI to get out of jail so he can record a new album.

8) Fun - 'Aim And Ignite'

Alter The Press: How was 2009 for you?
Nate Ruess (vocals): I generally wait till December to gauge how the year has played out, and it usually happens once I hear the song "Long December" by Counting Crows and at that point I get pretty depressed about the year but this year was much different. When it came on it actually felt more bittersweet and much less depressing.

ATP: How has the response been to 'Aim and Ignite'?
Nate: Really positive. I feel very very fortunate to have been given a second chance at this music thing.

ATP: What made you choose 'All The Pretty Girls' as the first video?
Nate: We thought it was the a catchy song that would most likely have a cool music video. I haven't seen it because I get sketched out watching videos of myself but I heard we did good.

ATP: Any plans for the next single/video?
Nate: Not officially. We are still working through some ideas and usually once the holidays come, the whole industry shuts down. I'd like to hear (and not see) "At Least I'm Not As Sad" be the next single/video. I think with an open mind, people could really get into it but then again, what do I know? I've had zero success when you break it down into singles and videos.

ATP: Is there a reason why the album hasn't seen a UK release yet?
Nate: Yes, we don't like the food at the gas stations! Well, thats not really why. I'm not quite sure why the record hasnt been released in the UK. I think we are giving it time and looking for the absolute best label to release it on over there.

ATP: When will fun. be making their UK debut?
Nate: Hopefully (very likely) early in the new year.

ATP: What are your plans for 2010?
Nate: To become a more responsible adult and to hopefully help further the success of fun. and maybe start writing some new songs too.

ATP: What releases are you looking forward to in 2010?
Nate: The new Spoon record was the only one I remember off the top of my head but we discussed it with some friends (all of whom were much more in the know) and it seems like its going to be a great year for music.

7) Brand New - 'Daisy'

Brand New were unavailable to comment when going to press.

6) Now, Now Every Children - 'Cars'

Alter The Press: How has 2009 been for you?
Cacie Dalager (vocals/guitar): It has easily been our craziest year. We've had a lot of awesome things and a lot of strange things happen. I think, overall, that the Paramore tour has been a good way to end the year. We had to cancel a bunch of tours due to unfortunate events like, I had to get my tonsils out a month ago, we had band problems and had to cancel a US tour, we got detained in France trying to come to the UK.

Brad Hale (drums): It got so busy, super fast, and none of us were expecting it but as far as good stuff, a lot of good press started happening, and our record was well received, which I wasn't expecting, then this tour happened.

Cacie: All of us came together this year.

Jess Abbot (guitar): Seeing it from the outside, and considering I've just joined, when I first starting listening to the band, I liked it a whole lot, but it was like a tiny thing in Minnesota and it's just an indie band that no one knows who I'm talking about. Then, being in it, it's like, 'Wow! I'm on tour with Paramore'. It seems like everything has just been crazy.

ATP: How would you say your debut album, 'Cars,' has been received?
Brad: When press started happening, I would go read a lot of it and people were writing things that I wouldn't expect to hear about us. It's funny to read reviews and hear people elaborate and say all these big words about what our record is about and how it feels etc. Just the amount of people writing about us was really nice to see because, literally, I thought only our family and friends would listen to it. To see actual magazine and blogs picking it up was really cool. We had a day in New York where we played a show, and a lot of people came out who were important, and that was one of the moments when I realized people are actually caring about what we are doing.

ATP: You're first time to the UK this year. Not being detained at the border this time! How has it been?
Cacie: It's been crazy. I feel like this is going to be one of those things when you're really old and talking to your grandkids or friends’ kids and telling them that you played Wembley (arena in London). I feel everything is going to be weird after the tour, when we go home and be like, 'Did we really play those venues and go back to our little lives and looking for jobs?'

ATP: Any interesting stories from your time spent here?
Cacie: A lot of weird interaction really.

Brad: Someone brought us a huge cake.

Cacie: For us and Paper Route. But some people have been to a handful of shows and have been super nice to us. We started this game where we put stickers on people without them noticing. There has been a lot of random things like weird bunk parties on the bus.

Brad: I just played Pokémon.

ATP: How does it feel coming to the UK for the first time and going head first into playing arena shows?
Brad: At first, we were going to do just the UK. If we weren't added to the Europe shows, and had just flown in here, it would have been terrifying; since we had the smaller shows before this, we are more prepared on what to expect.

Cacie: It's weird because the smaller shows are bigger then anything we've ever done.

ATP: Why no UK release of 'Cars'?
Cacie: No idea. I didn't know that.

ATP: Have you been working on new material?
Brad: We have a lot of ideas floating around.

Cacie: We have maybe 4-5 complete song ideas, not completely polished songs but full-completed ideas. I think we have, on top of those, 8 or 9 songs floating around that we need to figure out what we are doing. That's the only reason why I'm excited to go home, to really start working on these songs and writing new stuff.

Brad: We've been working on this stuff for a while. The album was officially, unreleased, in the US in December 2008, and we recorded it the summer before, so we are ready to move on. We've learned a lot and changed a lot.

ATP: When are you coming back to the UK?
Brad: After the new record is released, which we don't know at this point, but hopefully not too long.

ATP: What is planned for 2010?
Cacie: New record.

Brad: Working our butts off to push this next record a lot.

Cacie: Doing what touring we can and jumping onto more tours. That's my goal, the new record and tour as much as possible. Hopefully, record maybe early summer, but go home and focus on writing this record.

5) mewithoutYou - 'it's all crazy! it's all false! it's all a dream! it's alright!'

mewithoutYou were unavailable to comment when going to press.

To read our review of the album, click HERE.

4) The Motorcycle Industry - 'The Only Friends Worth Having'

Alter The Press: How was 2009 for you?
John Langan (vocals/guitar): Great. We played with some really good bands and had a lot of fun recording.

Mike Weiss (guitar): It was good. I talked to a bunch of girls this year, which is pretty cool.

Ryan Barnes (drums): I graduated school, went on tour for the first time, got some new tattoos, saw a bunch of new cities, and got an X-Box. 2009 was good. Life's ill.

ATP: Describe how it was recording the new EP compared to Electric Education?
John: This time we recorded in an abandoned textile mill in Massachusetts instead of in a studio in California but then I went to California anyway and re-recorded some of the vocals. So kind of the same I guess. Also, Ryan played drums this time, which was sweet.

Mike: Recording the EP was way different than recording Electric Education. When we recorded EE we all went out to CA, where John lived at the time, and were all in the studio together throughout the whole process. When we went to record the EP we wanted to get it done quickly cause we had a tour coming up and we also didn't have much money to spend on it, so the recording was a lot more, fragmented I guess. We recorded the instruments over three days at Studio ID, which is in the crazy-ass abandoned mill in MA, and then John recorded the vocals in CA a few weeks later at Popsmear Studios in CA, where we recorded EE.

ATP: The band has definitely gone for a more poppier direction then EE. What made you want to go in this new direction?
John: I started to listening to The Get Up Kids more. We also started playing shows without acoustic guitars and with just electric ones, so when it came to putting the songs together it just happened naturally.

ATP: The EP is being released through Audubon Records, how did you hook up with them?
Mike: They hit us up on, it's a website that's used for networking in the music industry and stuff.

Ryan: John approached us about how he was looking to start a label and it just kind of fell into place from there. We're excited to work with someone who genuinely cares about our music.

ATP: What is your favorite track off the EP?
John: "Possessed".

Mike: "Paul Newman and a Ride Home..." is my favorite track to play live, cause people sing along sometimes, which is mindblowing and pretty much the coolest thing ever. My favorite one to listen to is probably "Possessed." The bridge to that song is one of my favorite things in any TMI song, and overall "Possessed" sounds the most TMI-ish to me, which is cool.

Ryan: "Paul Newman and a Ride Home". Those harmonies, man.

ATP: What are the plans for 2010 for The Motorcycle Industry?
John: Summer tour 2k10. More Merch. Being on the soundtrack to Avatar.

Mike: We're gonna break up.

Ryan: Moving to Iowa to start a self-sustainable commune.

ATP: What releases are you looking forward to in 2010?
John: Crime in Stereo. The new Cassino record just came out, so I'll probably just listen to that all 2010.

Mike: Does Gaslight Anthem have a new record coming out? That would be awesome. Definitely Crime In Stereo. Maybe Defeater will have a new album? How cool would it be if Lifetime released a new record?! The self-titled from a few years ago is so good. Either way, as long as Blink releases a new record I'll be happy, that's really all I want in the world.

Ryan: Crime In Stereo, The National, Go Rydell, None More Black (if it's happening).

3) Manchester Orchestra - 'Mean Everything To Nothing'

Alter The Press: How was 2009 for you?
Jeremiah Edmond (drums): Long and exhausting; a lot more happened than we anticipated. We didn’t really expect the record to do as well as it’s done so far, we expected it to be the same amount as work as it used to be, like all of us being out on the road. We have had a lot of new exposure, new fans and the progress we made after this record was way more than we expected.

ATP: The album made it to 37, ‘I’ve Got Friends’ number 8 and ‘Shake It Out’ number 38 on the Billboard Chart. How does it feel to have received such commercial success?
JE: It’s amazing. We planned to push this album as far as we could, and we knew we were going to try to do this, so it wasn’t completely unexpected, but we really didn’t think it would go necessarily that far, that quickly. It took a lot of time to get there. The credit for the radio goes to the team of people at radio promotions, behind the scenes, trying to get it played and getting it out there. We have an incredible team that we’re close friends with; they really made that happen.

All of the fans actually bought the record, we would have people coming up to the merch booth saying they downloaded the album but then they will buy the CD and the vinyl also; that sort of thing is really helpful and really encouraging. We are ecstatic how the year has gone, how the album did and how it was received. We made an album we were going to be proud of and weren’t exactly sure how people were going to feel about it, like whether they would love it or hate it.

ATP: The video for ‘Shake It Out’ was just released. Who came up with the concept for the ‘Over The Top’ movie parody?
JE: The idea was actually from the director, Issac Rennes. He had this idea which never worked out for any of the bands that he worked with, and when we first asked directors to write for it, one of our ideas was to make something like a movie trailer, like an extended over the top movie trailer. When he heard that, he said he had the perfect concept which he had been holding onto forever. Issac did a great job, way more than any of us expected with that sort of budget and time frame. It was shot quickly and he just nailed it.

The video was shot in two days, in the middle of a tour, so we had to cram it in. It was two long days of shooting, and mostly Andy being ridiculous and running around. We got to dress up in ridiculous outfits and be in the background whilst Andy had to run up and down a hill and do all these work out scenes for like six hours; he was exhausted. He had to also keep arm wrestling this guy, which made his arm seriously sore, he had to change the way he played guitar for the next week.

ATP: ‘I Can Feel A Hot One’ (Gossip Girl), ‘Mean Everything To Nothing (One Tree Hill) and ‘The Only One’ (90210). How did the songs get picked up by these huge TV shows?
JE: We actually just got another one for ‘Friday Night Lights,’ which we watched today; they used ‘Shake It Out’ for a small scene. I’m not sure how they all came about, but I know Gossip Girl and 90210 have the same music supervisor, who picks up the music for those shows. She is a fan of the band and has been really cool about putting stuff in scenes, where she feels like it fits. We are actually fans of all those shows, I think the only show we don’t regularly watch is 90210, none of us watch it really. You make music partially to affect people’s moods and that’s what it’s doing in these shows. It’s cool that your music is being used to set up the mood for a scene and can draw the viewer in. We actually love Gossip Girl; all of us, except for Jay, watch it regularly and have seen every episode.

ATP: What has been the best tour of 2009?
JE: Personally, my most enjoyable tour was probably coming to the UK with Kevin Devine and then we continued onto Australia for a few days. It was a short run but they take really good care of us over there; that was my most enjoyable, that, and the recent run with Brand New. It was great to meet up with old friends again.

ATP: What’s planned next?
JE: Much needed time off. Next year, we get a little break at the beginning of the year then, we’re putting together a tour in the spring, like a full US run. It’s still being spoken about. There will be some headlining/co-headlining dates and we’ll at least take out O’Brother with us. We are planning to get Biffy Clyro, but it’s still being worked out.

ATP: Have you been working on any new material?
JE: We are always working on new stuff, to an extent. We are going to put out Robert’s (McDowell - guitars) Gobotron in January/February, we are going to work on Chris' (Freeman - keyboards/vocals)solo stuff and, when we are in the studio, work on whatever we have time for. There are no plans for any release dates except for Gobotron. Hopefully, this summer, we may start working on a new record or demoing stuff, writing songs. There’s stuff demoed but none of them are finished. We will start going through that process in the summer.

ATP: When are you coming back to the UK?
JE: No set date for that. I think everything is up in the air at the moment. I think the priority is to be home with the family, heal and start piecing together next year. I’m sure we’ll be back not before too long. No idea when. I’d be shocked if we didn’t come back next year.

ATP: What releases are you looking forward to in 2010?
JE: I can’t even think what is scheduled to be coming out in 2010. I don’t know, all the Favorite Gentleman artists are working on new stuff but there was a lot that came out this year. I can’t think of anything though.

2) Kevin Devine - 'Brothers Blood'

For Kevin Devine, 2009 has been a fantastic year. Despite the fact 'Brothers Blood' leaked nearly two months prior to it's release, it has been the most popular and highest selling album to date.

To support the release shortly afterwards, Kevin was straight on the road supporting Brand New and Manchester Orchestra in the UK, a cross country US headline tour, supporting The Get Up Kids on their US reunion tour and wrapping up the year with Brand New at the 18,000 capacity Nassau Colosseum in New York.

1) Tegan and Sara - 'Sainthood'

Just three tracks into the first listen, it was so obvious that this album would not disappoint. With six albums under their belt, Tegan and Sara's latest installment really did meet all expectations. It really wasn't hard when narrowing down our number one album of 2009.

Here is what the Canadian duo had to say when we spoke to them about 2009, the current response to 'Sainthood' and more.

Alter The Press!