So here's my Top 10 for 2009...
But first, a little preface; This was a very good year in music for the most part. Sure there was some truly shitty music on the radio and the charts never really reflected my tastes per se.
Anyways, here's the Top Ten albums from 2009 IMO...some you might have heard of, some you might not have, but they're all pretty awesome in their own ways.
Florence + The Machine - Lungs
I'd been avoiding the hype around this woman and her band for most of the year, and I finally gave in about 2 weeks ago. I don't regret giving in to this album...it sounds so much different than most other female fronted records I've heard. Strange instrumentation and off the wall vocals? Count me in.
10. So Many Dynamos - The Loud Wars
So I hadn't heard of these guys until late August when I saw them open for Harvey Danger in Chicago. It turns out they're really cool guys and they make even cooler music. It's a mix of pure Indie hooks and danceable beats...and it's also one of the freshest/new sounding records I've heard in quite some time.
9. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
I don't know what kind of music this is...and I don't care, it's fun and catchy and great in all the right ways. I can thank my friend Brandon for first telling me about this band earlier in the year, it's a recommendation I'll always be thankful for. This is one of the most interesting records I've ever heard...plus the cover art is a complete bug-out.
8. The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
So they finally got weird again, huh? I had doubts when I first heard about a double album from Oklahoma's finest...but I was proven wrong. This is one of the trippiest albums in my collection, and that's saying something. From the opening guitar twang of "Convinced of the Hex" to insane giggles of Karen O on "I Can Be A Frog" this album is a tour de force of what the Flaming Lips can do best when they really put their minds to it.
7. Jarvis Cocker - "Further Complications."
I bought this album after reading an interesting write-up on Mr. Cocker in Spin Magazine. I hadn't ever heard his solo work before...I hadn't even heard Pulp, I have since listened to a bunch of both. This is a great album of "live" music thanks to Steve Albini's excellent (as usual) production. Also Cocker's lyrics are top notch with clever and witty puns and come-ons galore.
6. U2 - No Line On The Horizon
The best album from this Irish Foursome since Achtung Baby? Yes. Their strangest and most experimental? Indeed. The first good song co-produced by Will.I.Am.? Again, yes. This is quite simply another all around great outing from one of Earth's top bands.
5. Pearl Jam - Backspacer
Who cares if Pearl Jam "Sold Out" and went with Target for an exclusive release? As long as the album that's exclusive is PJ's best since Yield I'm fine with it. Eddie Vedder defn had a lot of say in this one since a few tracks sound like his Into The Wild soundtrack. Even though that's true, it's their strongest in years...the band sounds reinvigorated and vital again.
4. Matt & Kim - Grand
Fun...Catchy...and Danceable. These two Brooklyn natives have managed to make one of the best pop records in recent years. From the endlessly singable 'Daylight' to the streak-worthy 'Lessons Learned', this album has been in my rotation on a regular basis. Just listen to 'Good Ol' Fashioned Nightmare' and try not to get out of your chair. This is one of the best Sophomore albums in recent history.
3. Them Crooked Vultures - Self-Titled Debut
What do you get when you take the best drummer of his generation Dave Grohl...the king of the desert guitar Josh Homme...and the Master Basser himself John Paul Jones, throw them into a studio and make them jam for a few weeks? You get one of the hardest rocking albums of not only 2009 but of the decade. With songs that sound like they could be made entirely of breakdowns and 18 different riffs at once...what's not to like?
2. Dangermouse And Sparklehorse - Dark Night Of The Soul
Shame on EMI for not releasing this...and shame on me for not picking up the photo book before it went out of print. I've always been a huge fan of David Lynch, so when you add his crazy mind to the production geniuses of Dangermouse and Sparklehorse and get a slew of guest stars, you get one of the coolest albums of the year. Even though you can't buy it in the store...they leaked it on the web themselves...I urge you to get it, you won't be disapointed.
1. Julian Casablancas - Phrazes For The Young
The long awaited 4th album from The Strokes didn't come out this year...but we got the next best thing. Mr. Casablancas writes some real cryptic lyrics and comes up with some cool sounds on this, his first solo album. From the opener "Out of the Blue" to the awesomely titled "4 Chords of the Apocalypse" to the immensely danceable single "11th Dimension" this was my favorite album of the year. It's short at only 8 songs but it shows so much promise for future releases that the length didn't bother me at all.