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 Lists
12.29.09 Best Albums Of 200912.10.09 Muse Ranked
12.10.09 Radiohead Ranked

Best Albums Of 2009

Out of the dozens of albums i've listened to this year, these are the Top 20 that stood out in my mind.
1Dirty Projectors
Bitte Orca


#20 Straddling the line between strange and accessible, the Dirty Projectors mixture of sounds seems to work, especially with the addition of Amber Coffman and Angel Deeradoorian?s ethereal vocals. Stillness is the Move is one of the best pop songs of the year.
2The Mars Volta
Octahedron


# 19 The Volta finally return to form and deliver an album that nearly exceeds their debut. Song lengths have been trimmed, resulting in a far more structured, straightforward album, and the result is another spectacular Volta album that this time does not outstay its welcome.
3The Swell Season
Strict Joy


#18 Glen Hansard and Mark?ta Irglov??s follow-up to 2007?s Once features far-more elaborate production, but the heartfelt lyrics and sincere conviction in both their voices make this album another keeper. The same bodes true for Something For Kate?s frontman Paul Dempsey?s first solo album Everything Is True. Dempsey?s brilliant lyrics and raw vocal delivery make this album very special.
4Paul Dempsey
Everything Is True


#17 (See Above)
5Mew
No More Stories


#16 Both these French bands have finally crated perfect albums. Much like The Shins and The Strokes before them, their growth as a band reaches a culmination in these respective albums. Each song is carefully crafted, with clever lyrics and addictive harmonies. Love Like A Sunset Part 1 is Phoenix in top-form. These are definitely some of the most complete albums of the year.
6Phoenix
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix


#15 (See Above)
7The Rural Alberta Advantage
Hometowns


#14 These two bands have crafted the best indie rock albums of the year, with songs that standout as much for their beautifully layered structures as they do for their understated vocals.
8Ramona Falls
Intuit


#13 (See Above)
9Sholi
Sholi


#12 A band whose debut was sorely overlooked. This album is a definite grower due to the melody that resonates beneath the progressive time- structures, understated vocals, and brilliant drumming and lyrics
10Rodrigo y Gabriela
11:11


#11 A universally-appealing album if their ever was one, Rodrigo Y Gabriela?s 11:11 succeeds due to a wildly inventive, varied song structure. This is an album that everyone can appreciate for its sheer artistry.
11Bat For Lashes
Two Suns


#10 Further solidifying the experimentation variable for 2009, St. Vicent and Bats For Leashes are triumphs of an accessible sound coupled with dark lyrical content. Much like Bjork?s Post, while the catchy, expansive arrangements make the albums instantly appealing, it?s Clark and Khan?s clever lyrics and confident vocal delivery that fill the space in-between and push these albums over the top.
12St. Vincent
Actor


#9 (See Above)
13The Antlers
Hospice


#8 The Antlers seem to have come out of left field to drop one of the most daringly beautiful albums of the year. A concept album about a man falling in love with a cancer patient, and the ensuing growth of that relationship, the trials, and eventual separation is executed with such heartfelt intensity that every moment left me mesmerized by its atmosphere, reflective by its haunting lyrics, and moved by Peter Siberman?s poignant vocal delivery. Hospice is brilliant from start to finish.
14Grizzly Bear
Veckatimest


#7 Much like last year?s debut by Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear crafts an experimental folk-rock album that excels on its progressive time signatures and layered harmonies. Where it differs, however, is in sheer virtuosity. Having much in common with Fleet Foxes as it does with Radiohead, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys, Veckatimest is an alluring combination of sounds, creating a deadly combination of mainstream acceptance and gracious experimentation.
15Antony and the Johnsons
The Crying Light


#6 Antony and the Johnsons third studio-album sees them stripping down their sound, with most tracks baring little more than piano and strings, leaving Antony Hogart to showcase his soaring vocals and tender lyrics. The album experience is akin to undergoing a spiritual cleansing, detailing the progression of life from birth to death, with Hogart bearing his soul on each song. The result is pure beauty, with Hogart crafting an album that feels wholly relatable as a journey of the human experience, yet often unfamiliar in the form of its subject matter. Nonetheless, this is a daring, beautiful album that captivates your heart and moves your soul. Essential listening.
16Animal Collective
Merriweather Post Pavilion


#5 Animal Collective have been re-defining music for sometime now, with each successive release inching closer to experimental perfection. With Merriweather Post Pavillion, Animal crafts their most cohesive alum yet, with a sound that is both alien yet familiar, whilst being wholly addictive. The layered, repetitive vocals don?t help to stems the album?s manic infectiousness. The lyrics are just as cryptic, with underlying meanings that seem to be just as profound as they are bizarre. In short, Merriweather Post Pavillion is the most captivating listen of the year. With the double- whammy that is Fall Be Kind, Animal Collective have crafted two collections of songs that almost run circles around anything else released this year. Straddling the line between revolutionary and absurd, Animal Collective show how far music has come as much as they re-define it.
17Shugo Tokumaru
Exit


#4 Though Exit was released last year, I stumbled upon Tokumaru through the Rum Hee EP, released in 2009, and would like to acknowledge both albums. Much like Animal Collective, Shugo Tokumaru crafts catchy, experimental pop. The only difference is that Shugo is one man, and his knack for melody seems to be unmatched. Akin to Brian Wilson on acid, Shugo?s complex, progressive arrangements make Exit & the EP Rum Hee?s whimsical, eclectic works that consistently reach insanely addictive levels. Pair Shugo?s over- enthusiastic production with clever lyrics and honest vocals, and Exit/Rum Hee are absolutely brilliant.
18Mono
Hymn To The Immortal Wind


#3 In similar fashion, Mono?s fifth album, Hymn To The Immortal Wind is an enchanting album that relies on its carefully crafted arrangements that blur the distinction between rock and classical music. Hymn plays akin to life in motion, with each song slowly blossoming into gorgeous walls of sound, only to end and begin anew on the next track. Being long and wholly instrumental, Hymn is a challenging listen, but like many of the releases listed here, is more rewarding with every spin. This is brave, captivating, beautiful music that deserves to be heard by everyone.
19DM Stith
Heavy Ghost


#2 A perfect mixture of Thom Yorke and Grizzly Bear? Maybe. The most under-appreciated album of the year? Definitely. A haunting, perfect debut from a true artist. Brilliant lyrics and vocals wrapped under layers of textured sound. This is the kind of album you can get lost in for months.
20Atlas Sound
Logos


#1 Much like last year?s Microcastle/Weird Era Cont, Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox has released an album with that familiar ethereal wall of sound, but taken the lyrics and vocals to a far more personal level. The result is an album that excels on all levels, both challenging and nurturing the listener at the same instant. Everything presented here is pure artistry, and every track is no short of an absolute masterpiece.
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