1. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion
Clearly the best record this year by clearly the best band currently recording music. The reason I personally love AC so much is the way they fuse acoustic and electronic music to the point where it blurs into one. That they do so with undisputable pop chops just makes the whole thing even better.
2. Mat Riviere – Follow Your Heart
Yet another world class talent signs to Brainlove Records (lol). Mat’s debut album isn’t out until early next year but I’m including it because as far as I’m concerned it’s already out. His vocals recall Ian Curtis, his lyrics recall TS Elliot, Ted Hughes and Why?, his music recalls Arab Strap, Clouddead, and Interpol. It all adds up to something wholly unique and very special.
3. F Buttons – Tarot Sport
BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. NOISE-GASM. How can noise sound happy? This is how.
4. Bibio – Ambivalence Avenue
Ace hip-hop/folk/electro mashings. On Warp. Wins over immediately with swoonsome 60s folk harmonies battling it out with slice & dice production but reveals hidden depths the more you listen.
5. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
Like a comfy old sofa with broken springs which occasionally twang and stab you in the bum this album is deceptive in its ordinariness. It reveals its charms over time.
6. Micachu – Jewelry
Just bonkers. Honestly. Squelches bleeps and out of tune ukeleles shouldn’t add up to pop gold but Micachu apparently knows better.
7. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
Gorgeous Sunday afternoon style folky pop with mild ‘-tronica’ aspects here and there plus enough musical and lyrical curveballs to stop this being completely Radio 2. Subtle pleasures but very real ones.
8. Broadcast & The Focus Group – Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age
Like wandering through a museum of what the future was expected to sound like in the past. The pairing of these two bands was the best idea anyone ever had. The Focus Group’s beautifully detailed sci-fi snippets collaged into Broadcast’s Alice through the looking glass retro-futurist girl group pastiches. Win.
9. God Help The Girl – God Help The Girl
A guilty pleasure. 100% pure pastiche but beatifully observed girl group goes christian rock musical theatre from Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian. Like a compilation of 1960s hits that never were. Looking forward to see how this translates into a feature film. Can forgive the usually unacceptable practice of having band name, album title, and song title all be the same thing.
10. Flaming Lips – Embryonic
Despite its complete lack of pop hitz this is easily the most enjoyable Flaming Lips album in about ten years. A blown out psychedelic joyride that seems like something they just had to get out of their system. Thankfully most of the fan and critical opinion seems to have gone with them. Very few bands seem to foster the goodwill to pull something like this off, but it’s always nice when they risk it.
Other good albums (not in order):
Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
The Empty Set – As Neat As A New Pin
Dan Deacon – Bromst
Prefuse 73 – Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian
Daniel Johnston – Is And Always Was
Atlas Sound – Logos
Bill Callahan – Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle
Bat For Lashes – Two Suns
Volcano Choir – Unmap
Jim O’Rourke – The Visitor
The xx – xx
Tags: albums of 2009