Monday, December 14, 2009

Top 10 Albums of 2009, Extended Version

The depth to which a piece of music hits, or matters, in any given year is not only an effect of the quality of the music. The year itself is part of it. And not only the cultural climate or political landscape. I'm talking about the events in your life, the sh*t that happens.

Make no mistake: I'm not prefacing this year's offerings with excuses. Some great music came out this year, from beginning to end, from January's Merriweather Post Pavilion to November's debut from Real Estate. I'm just saying that the things that really stood out this year might not have dug so deep in another year.

Hospice, by Brooklyn band The Antlers, grabbed hold of my brain and would not let go. The reasons might be obvious, but the music is anything but. It's a wrenching account of hours spent in a hospital, days, helpless, watching the inevitable have its way. Meticulously wrought, sung in a quaver and a wail, sometimes textbook quiet-loud-quiet, sometimes staggeringly insightful and disarmingly gorgeous, the record is bursting with moments of overwhelming emotion and beauty. Tracks "Two" and "Kettering" still stop me cold, every time.

And this sentiment travels on through the list. The deeper, the more complex, the greater the effort required, the fewer easy answers, the better. Not too many straight-up rawk records this year. Because it wasn't that kind of year, for me.

So without further delay...

Top 10 Albums of 2009
  1. The Antlers ~ Hospice
  2. Grizzly Bear ~ Veckatimest
  3. Califone ~ All My Friends Are Funeral Singers
  4. Animal Collective ~ Merriweather Post Pavilion
  5. St. Vincent ~ Actor
  6. Atlas Sound ~ Logos
  7. Dirty Projectors ~ Bitte Orca
  8. Fever Ray ~ Fever Ray
  9. JJ ~ No 2
  10. Sonic Youth ~ The Eternal

Top Next 10
The xx ~ xx
Neko Case ~ Middle Cyclone
Thao ~ Know Better Learn Faster
Dinosaur Jr. ~ The Farm
Built to Spill ~ There Is No Enemy
Au Revoir Simone ~ Still Night, Still Light
Shuta Hasunuma ~ Pop Ooga
Obits ~ I Blame You
Yo La Tengo ~ Popular Songs
Micachu & The Shapes ~ Jewellery

Outstanding But Overshadowed
Yeah Yeah Yeahs ~ It's Blitz
The Swell Season ~ Strict Joy
Black Moth Super Rainbow ~ Eating Us
The Wooden Birds ~ Magnolia
Times New Viking ~ Born Again Revisited
Volcano Choir ~ Unmap
Vivian Girls ~ Everything Goes Wrong
The Twilight Sad ~ Forget the Night Ahead

Surprisingly Ungreat
Silversun Pickups ~ Swoon
The Thermals ~ Now We Can See
Tortoise ~ Beacons of Ancestorship
Why? ~ Eskimo Snow

Short and Suh-weet
Flying Lotus ~ LA EP X3
Animal Collective ~ Fall Be Kind EP
Deerhunter ~ Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP
The Octopus Project ~ Golden Beds EP

Finn Riggins ~ Vs. Wilderness
Le Fleur ~ Din Din

Indie Up and Comers
Real Estate ~ Real Estate
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart ~ The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
Desolation Wilderness ~ New Universe
We Were Promised Jetpacks ~ These Four Walls
White Rabbits ~ It's Frightening
Japandroids ~ Post-Nothing
Cymbals Eat Guitars ~ Why There Are Mountains

On the Decks
Diego Bernal ~ For Corners
DJ Signify ~ Of Cities

Don't Believe The...
Girls ~ Album
Passion Pit ~ Manners
Friendly Fires ~ s/t

Good Form
Lou Barlow ~ Goodnight Unknown
Beirut ~ March of the Zapotec & Real People: Holland
Sunset Rubdown ~ Dragonslayer
Gui Borrato ~ Take My Breath Away
The Raveonettes ~ In And Out Of Control
The Dodos ~ Time to Die

Wondrous Noise
SunnO))) ~ Monoliths & Dimensions
Fuck Buttons ~ Tarot Sport

Discovery ~ LP
Moby ~ Wait for Me
Lily Allen ~ It's Not Me, It's You

Sound Sophisticates
Jacaszek ~ Treny
Victoire ~ A Door Into the Dark
Worried About Satan ~ Arrivals

Nice. Not thrilling, but nice.
Here We Go Magic ~ s/t
Wilco ~ Wilco (the album)
M Ward ~ Hold Time
Camera Obscura ~ My Maudlin Career
Phosphorescent ~ To Willie

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