Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The 2009 David Music Poll Results

The 2009 David Music Poll Results

1. Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (23 votes)
2. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It’s Blitz (20)
3. Florence + the Machine, Lungs (19)
4. Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster (17)
5. Neko Case, Middle Cyclone (11)
6. Regina Spektor, Far (10)
Animal Collective, Merriweather Post (10)
Passion Pit, Manners (10)
The XX, XX (10)
10. Camera Obscura, My Maudlin Career (9)
Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca (9)

Runners Up: (8 votes:) Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest (7 votes:) La Roux, La Roux; The Avett Brothers, I and Love and You; Royksopp, Junior (6 votes:) Miike Snow, Miike Snow; Fever Ray, Fever Ray; Karen O and the Kids, Where the Wild Things Are; The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart; Jay-Z, The Blueprint III (5 votes:) Metric, Fantasies; Various Artists, Dark Was the Night; Muse, the Resistance

Notes: This year there were seventy-three respondents, up from last year. It was the tightest race in years. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Regina Spektor, and Neko Case all make their second appearances in the top ten, while Florence + the Machine has the highest debut. Lady Gaga was strangely absent last year, but has made up for it this year. The XX might be the biggest surprise. As for misses: Previous winner Franz Ferdinand didn’t garner much support, Lily Allen was probably hurt by coming out early in the year, and Grizzly Bear didn’t get quite as many votes as its hype might have merited. Next year’s big question: Will Vampire Weekend keep its crown from 2008?

My List, a Lungful

David’s List of Essentials, 2009

Florence + the Machine, Lungs

I’m finding it harder and harder to hear an album and feel that all-powerful wow. I don’t know whether it’s too easy to get new music, whether indie is turning in on itself, or whether I’m just getting older. Whatever the case, Florence + the Machine gave me back my wow this year. Not just on this album, which is pretty amazing. But live, and in clips on YouTube, whether amped up or acoustic. There are plenty of influences here – Kate Bush, British folk, maybe even a little Fiona Apple – but Florence damn well transcends them and creates something startling and new. And her voice is just incredible. I genuinely have no idea where she goes from here; this very well may be the debut that tops everything that follows. But I’m hoping against that.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It’s Blitz

A surprisingly close #2 to Florence + the Machine. Confession: Although I think “Maps” is one of the greatest songs of the past decade (easy), I’ve never been a YYYs devotee. Not until this album. It’s great indie pop, powered by some kick-ass tunes and some heartbreaking ballads. “Hysteric” comes close to “Maps”, and “Zero” and “Heads Will Roll” still require blasting, almost a year in. And their concert at the Music Hall of Williamsburg was my favorite of the year.

Tegan and Sara, Sainthood

Maybe not quite up to the intensity and excellence of their previous album, The Con, but this is still a damn good record. I wish I lived in a world where “Hell” was a Top 10 hit – and “Northshore” is even better. Grows on me with every listen – and there have been a lot of listens.

Ingrid Michaelson, Everybody

Probably the album I’ve listened to the most this year, because it is fantastic comfort music. (And I don’t mean that in a belittling sense.) Even though the lyrics are full of sadness and confusion, the music is so listener-friendly that it lands just the right way. “Are We There Yet” (no relation to the novel of the same name) is easily one of my favorite songs of the year.

Plushgun, Pins and Panzers

It’s like the soundtrack to a John Hughes film set in 2009. And who can argue with that?

Swell Season, Strict Joy

It doesn’t have a movie behind it, but the first album since Once from the Swell Season certainly has enough drama. Breakup ballads and regret abound, but it’s all rather beautiful.

Close-to-Essential Debuts:
Fanfarlo, Reservoir
The Low Anthem, Oh My God, Charlie Darwin (not technically a debut, but still…)
White Lies, To Lose My Life

Close-to-Essential Returns:
Patrick Wolf, The Bachelor
Regina Spektor, Far
Various Artists, Dark Was the Night

Album That I Bought Late in the Year Which Could Eventually Be Essential
The Avett Brothers, I and Love and You

Albums That, In Retrospect, Should Have Made My List of Essentials Last Year:
Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago
The Gaslight Anthem, The ’59 Sound
(in fairness, both were listed as near essential)

Singer-Songwriter Discovery of the Year:
Greg Laswell

Essential Songs:
Florence + the Machine, “Dog Days Are Over”
Greg Laswell, “What a Day”
Metric, “Help, I’m Alive”
Ingrid Michaelson, “Are We There Yet”
Plushgun, ‘Just Impolite”
Royksopp featuring Robyn, “The Girl and the Robot”
The Swell Season, “In These Arms”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Zero” and “Hysteric”

Alice H, Feeling (Musically) Moody

My vote is
Ben Moody
All for This

Steven M, Living the Swede Life

Here's my $0.02 from 2009, with comments:
In short, I thought the best music came from Sweden, in fact the majority of bands I listed to were Swedish. I'm not sure what American bands were doing this year, but I don't feel it measured up to Western Europe at all.

My favorite video was Sigur Ros' "Heijma." If you like them or want to see what Iceland is like, you must see this film.

My favorite records of 2009

10. Bibio - Ambivalence Avenue. This record is an interesting and catchy electro-acoustic mash. I can't say there's anything groundbreaking in it, and I have no idea how much of this is playing v. sampling. The melodies and feel are simple, but very memorable, a record you could put on anytime of day and enjoy. I guess the guy is a Brit who's into both electronic and English folkie tunes. I like the mix, it works.

9. Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career. I'm not familiar with their previous work, but I enjoy this poppy, 60's-esque collection. The arrangements and production definitely enhance the songs, sung with her Glaswegian accent. My favorite song, "Honey In the Sun," really is improved by the horn arrangement, leaving me wonder why they didn't make more of an effort to include that in their sound. I find it interesting (and sad) that a band from Scotland has made my favorite Spector-influenced record of the year (likewise with Hawley's British Orbison-influenced record). This seems to be a true collection of songs that fit together great and sound better as a group.

8. Richard Hawley - Truelove's Gutter. Richard Hawley is a familiar face on my lists, and rightfully so. I hope his inclusion on my lists year after year has helped make him more of a household name, he deserves it. I've been singing his praises since I first heard him. What he does, he does best. If you're looking for a post-modern rock record, this isn't it. The 50's-era (and late-model Nick Lowe era) quiet vintage songs, moods, guitars and voice are second-to-none. I love the decision to give space to instrumental passages to showcase Hawley's guitar playing more so than previous records. There isn't much separating any of his records musically, but I love them all. Hawley performs and writes timeless tunes, impeccable collections.

7. The Clientele - Bonfires on the Heath. The Clientele remind me of what kind of music I imagine John Lennon would be making if he were alive today. Either way, I always enjoy their records, and this is no exception. The tempos are slow, the mood melancholy (though not overbearingly so) and nice vocals. Perfect British rainy day music.

6. Loney dear - Dear John. I think this is one guy, as opposed to a band. I consider this a sort-of Swedish "Something Anything." Singer-songwriter songs of gloom and doom, with catchy hooks, heartfelt lyrics and a unique sound.

5. The Temper Trap - Conditions. It's about time I got an Aussie (Melbourne) band back on the list. I need to get back to listening to Triple J radio on a regular basis. The one thing I love about Aussie bands is that they use the electric guitar better than American bands do. I imagine the lead guitarist probably spent his days playing along with "The Unforgettable Fire," versus earlier generations playing along with "Houses of the Holy." Sad, we've lost the motivation to spend our adolescent afternoons practicing instruments after school. In my opinion, rock and roll has suffered and will never recover from this sociological change. "Conditions" is well-produced, with good performances and good tunes. And, the singer has a nice voice (with falsetto), some skills. It's not equally great from top to bottom, but when its good, its great. I just saw 500 Days of Summer, and they wisely used the best songs on this record in it.

4. Brendan Benson - "My Old, Familiar Friend." As usual, Benson has made an incredibly catchy, up-tempo, well-written and performed collection of power pop. But this time, I'd say it's his best effort. Each song is equally great and I could listen to him sing all day. Unfortunately (for me), there aren't many artists putting good power-pop out these days, thank goodness for Benson. Can it be that this is the only U.S. recording in this list?

3. The Veils - Sun Gangs. Man, the lead singer's voice sounds great on this. I'd like to catch them play live, they have the ability to play a variety of styles, without diminishing the lead singer's power and strengths. Not a totally consistent offering, but the majority of the tunes are really strong.

2. Mew - No More Stories Are Told Today I'm Sorry They Washed Away No More Stories The World Is Grey I'm Tired Let's Wash Away. I've probably listened to this record more than any other this year because I enjoy it, but also because I'm trying to figure out how they did it. I think Mew are Danish, for what that's worth. This record sounds totally unique and has so many different things going on in it, musically, vocally and production-wise. I caught them live and they weren't unable to pull it off, quite frankly. I like the first half much more than the second, but based on the total effort, I really like this record.

1. The Soundtrack of our Lives - Communion. Wow, who else has the chops, cajones, and gravitas to release a double album in the ipod/single era of 2009? And it's just not a few songs and filler. Each song is impressive on its own and served with ample gusto. Can't wait to hear them perform this live in February. The first "side" is more bombastic (is "Mensa's Marauder's a cover of Austin Powers' "BBC?"...) and the second more restrained. We're talking over 20 strong tunes, a throwback release to my youth. How this record slipped under the radar is anyone's guess - perhaps the classic rock leanings (see: "Lifeline"), or merely the fact they're from Sweden. Who knows, who cares. Always a great band, I feel this is their crowning achievement, defining them as the great band they are. I wonder if this release will influence radiohead back in this musical direction? Lyrically and in terms of ambition, they two bands are on par, but radiohead leads in terms of virtuosity and originality. Looking forward to hearing something new from them in '10.

Francesca Lia B. Snows Us

miike snow/miike snow
loney dear/dear john
lady gaga/ the fame monster (sorry but)
pj harvey, john parrish a woman a man walked by (because it's pj!)

Chris V. Doesn’t Stop Believin’

Really the only album that mattered in 2010 was: Glee, The Music, Volume One.

Charles B. Performs Parades

A longish list, but then no numbers were mentioned, so...

Black Tambourine - The Complete Recordings (re-issue)
The Clientele - Bonfires on the Heath
Florence + the Machine - Lungs
Miike Snow - Miike Snow (best new artist)
tUnE-yArDs - Bird-Brains
Efterklang & The Danish National Chamber Orchestra - Performing Parades
Cold Cave - Love Comes Close
Charlotte Gainsbourg - IRM
WarPaint - Exquisite Corpse
Fever Ray - Fever Ray
A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Ashes Grammar
Death - For The Whole World To See (re-issue)
Connie Converse - How Sad, How Lonely (re-issue)
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
James Yorkston - When the Haar Rolls In
Danny Norbury - Light In August
Imaad Wasif - The Voidist
IO Echo - +++
Klimek - Listen The Snow Is Falling
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz
The Big Pink - A Brief History of Love
Swimming In Speakers - Swimming in Speakers EP
Desire - II
We Were Promised Jetpacks - These Four Walls
Passion Pit - Manners
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion

Most Essential - tie - Efterklang or Florence + the Machine


I forgot to add one of my favorite albums of the year -- maybe the favorite: Loney Dear - Dear John. Totally essential.

biggest total surprise [single] "The Gnashing" from Baroness - Blue Record

best collection of Lullabies: múm - singalong to songs you don't know

least-cursed sophomore album (though many of these are sophomore albums): Imogen Heap - Ellipse

act to watch: WarPaint

best re-issue: Connie Converse - How Sad, How Lonely

most deserving of its hype: Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca

best album featuring a relative: Miike Snow - Miike Snow

Pete S., What Will We Be, Will Be

Okay! Here goes nothing'...

[These lists are hard to do!]

1. Devendra Banhart: What Will We Be
2. Vetiver: Tight Knit
3. Q-Tip: The Renaissance
4. The Growlers: Are You In or Out
5. Bon Iver: Blood Bank
6. Amos Lee: Last Days at The Lodge
7. Girls: Girls
8. Karen O and The Kids: Where The Wild Things Are Soundtrack
9. J. Tillman: Cancer and Delirium
10. Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique 20th Anniversary

Gabe B. Declares His Dependence on Gaga

Oh jeez, I buy/listen to so little new music anymore... If I had to think of a few, I'd say:

Gaga-- The Fame (this seems so obvious)
Kings of Convenience -- Declaration of Dependence
La Roux -- La Roux

oh, and essential singles, obviously:
Kesha -- Tik Tok
Britney – 3

Ned V. Likes Ike’s Hard Luck

Most Essential:


Also Essential:

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros S/T
Alec Ounsworth MO BEUATY
Flaming Lips EMBRYONIC
Dinosaur Jr. FARM
Julian Casablancas PHRAZES FOR THE YOUNG

Jennifer S. and I and Love and You

My favorites this year:

I and Love and You - The Avett Brothers
Wilco - Wilco
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix
Miike Snow -- can't remember if that album was this year, but if it was, it deserves to be on the list!

Jon S.’s Got the Fever

After much deliberation, here's my list of essential 2009 releases.

My essential album of 2009 is unquestionably:
1. Fever Ray - Fever Ray

The rest, more or less in order of playcount:
2. Soap & Skin - Lovetune for Vacuum
3. Wye Oak - The Knot
4. Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band - Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
5. Wavves - Wavves
6. Metric - Fantasies
7. Miike Snow - Miike Snow
8. Black Moth Super Rainbow - Black Moth Super Rainbo
9. Anthony and the Johnsons - The Crying Light
10. Passion Pit - Manners
11. Yeah Yeah Yeah's - It's Blitz
12. Florence and the Machine - Florence and the Machine

with honorable mentions to:
Eels - Hombre Lobo (not their best, but I found the stripped down sound refreshing)
Regina Spektor - Far (nowhere near as good as Begin to Hope, but I'm happy she's finally breaking into some sort of popular scene)

And I know 2008 was a killer year for new music, so it must have been tough to narrow it down. Here's my "Should have made the 2008 List" category:
Blitzen Trapper - Furr
Crystal Castles - Crystal Castles
Frightened Rabbit - The Midnight Organ Fight
Lykke Li - Youth Novel
Man Man - Rabbit Habits
She & Him - Volume One
Why? – Alopecia

Brett Was Hit By a Cyclone

1. Neko Case -- Middle Cyclone

The rest:

Bat For Lashes -- Two Suns
Dirty Projectors -- Bitte Orca
Grizzly Bear -- Veckatimest
Phoenix -- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Various Artists -- Dark Was the Night compilation (best compilation)
Florence + The Machine -- Lungs (best new discovery)
Camera Obscura -- My Maudlin Career
La Roux -- La Roux (best dance album)
Royskopp -- Junior
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart -- The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Here We Go Magic -- Here We Go Magic
Thao With the Get Down Stay Down -- Know Better Learn Faster

Lucas Finds Passion in the Pit

1. Passion Pit, Manners
2. Royksopp, Junior
3. Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
4. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
5. Mika, The Boy Who Knew Too Much
6. Neko Case, Middle Cyclone
7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz!
8. Regina Spektor, Far
9. The-Dream, Love vs. Money
10. Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca

Jonathan V.’s Ray of Light

My top 12 for the year, with associated justifications listed just below each album title...

1. FEVER RAY - Fever Ray

"Fever Ray" is loaded with slowburn soundscapes, creepy pitched-down vocals, and wall-to-wall electrofweep. From exactly 1/2 of The Knife, the album plays like a colder, more implacable "Silent Shout". Download the closing track "Coconut" for a set of chills.

2. DRAGONSLAYER - Sunset Rubdown

Every song on this album is something between an imbroglio and a rollercoaster, with music that changes shape and gains momentum while Spencer Krug's fairly-yelped lyrics jolt and spasm to beat the band. Physicians advise that you avoid having your blood pressure checked immediately after listening to DRAGONSLAYER.

3. VECKATIMEST - Grizzly Bear

The tracks on VECKATIMEST play by their own rules, with gorgeous vocals and a constant air of mystery. "Two Weeks" is so majestic, I fell in love with it before the first eight bars were up.


I generally think of Animal Collective as The Most Important Band That Makes Me Want To Claw My Eyes Out. They take the sounds cartoon characters make when electrified, and fashion them into songs. This time around, however, they took a new tact, and latched their gator-clamps to The Beach Boys instead--that has made all the difference.

5. XX - The XX

Fair warning: If your significant other puts this album on, they mean business. A continuum of tracks that verge on spoken (in-your-ear) word, it's the sexiest set since "Avalon".


The ignorant, in this case, being anyone who mistook this album for a Junior Year slump. Sure there's a noticeable change in tempo and tone on The Cribs' latest offering, with the songs digging in deep and the hurt cutting deeper, but I don't see how that's a problem--especially with Johnny Marr's guitar bouncing all over the proceedings like the Peanut Butter Jelly Time banana.

7. JOSEPHINE - Magnolia Electric Company

Jason Molina's lyrics return again and again to the same images--the highway, the owl, the moon. The symbols begin to connect over time, forming a kind of inner vocabulary, an open diary written in code. It's some the most deeply personal work you'll ever hear.

8. CRACK THE SKYE - Mastodon

A mystical firework display of gutsy guitars and sneered vocals--starring Rasputin! More intricate and melodic than earlier Mastodon albums, but don't hold that against them.

9. THE MOUNTAIN - Heartless Bastards

Every song on this album seems aimed at teaching the listener to beat their way out of a spiritual bar brawl.

10. MARCH OF THE ZAPOTEC / HOLLAND - Beirut / Realpeople

The first half of this album comprises MARCH OF THE ZAPOTEC, a series of songs that Beirut (Zach Condon) composed with a team of funeral musicians. The second half of the album comprises HOLLAND, an old EP of electronica tracks that Condon wrote (under the name Realpeople) before founding Beirut. Oddly enough, it's the second set of tracks that landed this album on my hit list--Condon's voice blends so effortlessly with electronic music, it's a shame he doesn't do the Conor Oberst thing, and two-time on his accordion with his Mac.


Effervescent without being stupid, which ain't easy to pull off.

12. DARK WAS THE NIGHT - Various Artists

It feels like cheating to put this album too high on the list, because it's a compilation. But truth be told, there are some of the best tunes of the oughts hiding on these CDs--and with a collection of talent this diverse, it's fair to say that everybody will choose a different set to call their own. For me, The National's "So Far Around the Bend", Feist & Grizzly Bear's "Service Bell" and Feist & Ben Gibbard's "Train Song" did much to make my year.


YS - Joanna Newsom

Joanna Newsom is a riddle in human form...and armed with a harp besides. The tripped-out madrigals on her album "Ys" worm your way into your soul, then smuggle it off to a Renfair orgy.

SANTOGOLD - Santogold
MICROCASTLE - Deerhunter
DEAR SCIENCE - TV on the Radio

Nancy M. Gives Rural Alberta the Advantage

most essential: the rural alberta advantage (to see them live is to love them)
also most essential: neko case, middle cyclone
essential: local natives, gorilla manor
from a year or two ago, but just discovered this year:
the national, boxer
essie jain, the inbetween
dark dark dark, snow magic
festival, come arrow come
she and him, volume one

Eugene Can Encompass Ella and Gaga

Antony and the Johnsons-The Crying Light
I have yet to encounter an Antony album I haven't liked, and their third full-length record is no exception. Beginning with Antony's plaintive vocals, accompanied by his piano and a cello, the album unfolds with beautifully sparse arrangements in support of plaintive melodies. At times, the album comes across almost like Nick Cave's The Boatman's Call, but with greater fragility. This year I also had the opportunity to see Antony and the Johnsons perform live. The band was tight and played magnificently, shedding new light on the material. I could barely believe my ears.
Au Revoir Simone-Still Night, Still Light
Still Night, Still Light captivates me with its occasional strange shifts in key and harmony, and the dreamy pop tunes that preside over the recording. While this Brooklyn-based, Casio-centric synthpop trio has delivered a melancholy album, the overall downcast pallor is leavened by occasional bursts of energy that leaven the proceedings and propel the album forward.
Ella Fitzgerald-Twelve Nights in Hollywood
I tend to fall on the Billie Holiday side of the Holiday/Fitzgerald divide, but there's something about her energy and exuberance that wins me over during the holidays. This new live recording sees her in fine form, as she makes her way through a series of standards on these loose 1960 and 1961 club dates. She sounds amazing; her vocal lines are incredibly agile and rhythmic timing is impeccable.
JJ-JJ N° 2 
An enigmatic Swedish duo, JJ's bubbling synths and delicate harmonies conjure references to everyone from Paul Simon and Toto to Lil' Wayne and the Cowboy Junkies with a dash of the Postal Service. And that's a poor description. When I returned to New York from China, these 27 minutes of music were all I could handle. It was the soundtrack of my decompression and re-emergence into the city.
Lady Gaga-The Fame
I came late to Lady Gaga but once I heard the album I couldn't stop. It's been a while since I've been so taken with a pop/dance record, and while I may not like a song when I first hear it, she always manages to blow open a song with the chorus so that I want to be completely encompassed by it.
Major Lazer-Guns Don't Kill People...Lazers Do
In the absence of a genre-hopping tropical infused album by the likes of, say, MIA, Diplo teams with Switch to bring forth Major Lazer, a genre-hopping reggae-infused album by an alter ego who "a Jamaican commando who lost his arm in a secret zombie war in 1984. He supposedly fights vampires and various monsters, parties hard, and has a rocket powered skateboard." Sometimes you just have to go along for the ride.
Pastels/Tenniscoats-Two Sunsets
A collaboration between a band from Glasgow and one from Tenniscoats, the album emerged when the Tenniscoats suggested the two bands book some time in Glasgow to see what might happen. It's a pastoral album that feels like summer sunlight collected for a frigid winter afternoon. I shudder at the comparison (and the somewhat cheesy turn of phrase), but here something has definitely been found in translation.
Roll Deep-Street Anthems
A collection of sides from the grime/hip hop collective that brought us Dizzie Rascal, this compilation collects the hits that demonstrate why they're considered the forefathers of the grime scene. As fresh as it must have sounded when it first emerged onto the scene, the music continues to sound fresh, and it's great to have this record to look back on the development of this subgenre of music.
Vijay Iyer-Historicity
I wasn't immediately taken by this recording of Iyer's piano trio, but as I found myself returning to it again and again for his interpretations of recent pop songs (MIA's "Galang"), 70's hits (Stevie Wonder's "Big Brother"), Broadway tunes ("Somewhere"), and Andrew Hill ("Smoke Stack"). A muscular player, Iyer demonstrates his understanding of a wide range of music and musical styles on this record, and he's a pianist I'll be following in years to come.
Pink Mountaintops-Outside LoveThe Raveonettes-In & Out of ControlCrystal Stilts-Crystal Stilts
I'm a sucker for bands with a strong kinship to the Jesus & Mary Chain, and this year posted the above three albums that scratched this itch. The Pink Mountaintops tackle the walls of sound from a country bent, the Raveonettes emphasize the 60s girl group aspect, and the Crystal Stilts (on their EP) from the stanpoint of a lo-fi echo-chamber.

Erich Gives Us His Greatests

Oh God—I'm so behind on these things. I'm just discovering albums that came out in 1996 that I think are amazing. Then I try to talk them up with my friends, ant they're like, Uuuuhh—duh. Where have you been??

But—here are the categories where I saw clear award winners in '09:

Greatest Reason to Still Believe in Indie Rock:
Grizzly Bear—Veckatimest

Greatest Living Legend (Dept. of Still Got It):
Jay-Z—Blueprint III

Greatest Hometown Heroes [Doing Bklyn Proud]:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs—It's Blitz

Greatest Supergroup Formation (Creating, in the ears of this listener, "the sound of Fall 2009"):
Monsters of Folk—Monsters of Folk

Greatest Tragedy (Dept. of Voices Gone to Seed):
Whitney Houston—I Look To You

Greatest Discovery (Dept. of Where Have You Been?):
Nico Case—Middle Cyclone

Greatest Bafflement (Dept. of Please Explain)
Bob Dylan—Christmas In The Heart

Garth N. Supports a Fellow Australian

Upon looking at my iTunes collection I see that I am old and only play music from the past, with the single exception of Sarah Blasko's "As Day Follows Night", which is a great album from 2009.

Marie R. Gives it Up for the Goats

Most essential: The Mountain Goats, The Life of the World to Come
Also essential:
Franz Ferdinand, Tonight
Regina Spektor, Far

Melissa W. Got Married, But Still Loves Her Bad Romance

MOST ESSENTIAL: Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster (don't judge!)
Tahiti 80 - Activity Center
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Eisley - Fire Kite
ASH - A-Z Series
Metric - Fantasies
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Ben Kweller - Changing Horses
Jay Z - The Blueprint 3

"Bad Romance" - Lady Gaga
"You Belong with Me" - Taylor Swift
"Lisztomania" -Phoenix
"True Love 1980" - ASH (YOUTUBE the great video!)
"Hitten" - Those Dancing Days (YOUTUBE)
"Everything With You" - Pains of Being Pure at Heart
"My Girls" - Animal Collective
"Empire State of Mind" - Jay-Z
"Battlefield" - Jordin Sparks

Jason B. Feels it in His Lungs

THE album: Florence and the Machine - Lungs
Band of Skulls - Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
Wild Beasts - Two Dancers
Mos Def - The Ecstatic
Pree - A Chopping Block (ep)
Telekinesis - Telekinesis
The Gossip - Music for Men
Kid Cudi - Man on the Moon
Zero 7- Yeah Ghost
The Cave Singers - Welcome Joy
K'naan - Troubadour
Little Pieces - Gomez
Bad Romance - Lady Gaga
Rain Dance - The Very Best feat. MIA

Matthue R., So Close to Far

hey! again, as always, apologies if half of these are totally obscure 
and half are totally beyond obvious. this is my brain.
so: most essential: regina spektor, far
it's blitz, yeah yeah yeahs
matisyahu, light
danger mouse & sparklehorse, dark night of the soul
where the wild things are soundtrack
the sway machinery, hidden melodies revealed
girls in trouble, girls in trouble
the love bubble, mista cookie jar

Nick B. Loves That Atlas Sound

1. Atlas Sound - Logos
2. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
3. Animal Collective - Meriweather Post Pavilion
4. DOOM - Born Like This
5. The XX - s/t
6. Real Estate - s/t
7. Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
8. Japandroids - Post- Nothing
9. Lotus Plaza - The Floodlight Collective
10. Woods - Songs of Shame

Jason G.’s Big Blitz

Jason Gordon (aka
50. Velvet Underground & Nico ­ Record Club 
49. Elvis Perkins in Dearland ­ Elvis Perkins in Dearland 
48. Dark Was the Night ­ Various Artists 
47. Catacombs ­ Cass McCombs 
46. Album - GIrls 
45. Time to Die ­ The Dodos 
44. Actor ­ St. Vincent 
43. A Brief History of Love ­ The Big Pink 
42. Popular Songs ­ Yo La Tengo 
41. God Help the Girl ­ God Help the Girl 
40. Grand - Matt & Kim 
39. Beware ­ Bonnie ³Prince² Billy 
38. Hold Time ­ M Ward 
37. Sainthood - Tegan & Sara 
36. Hospice - The Antlers 
35. Reservoir - Fanfarlo 
34. Backspacer ­ Pearl Jam 
33. The Eternal - Sonic Youth 
32. Horehound - Dead Weather 
31. Secret, Profane & Sugarcane - Elvis Costello 
30. Middle Cyclone - Neko Case 
29. Journal For Plague Lovers - Manic Street Preachers 
28. The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart 
27. Veckatimest - Grizzly Bear 
26. Sigh No More - Mumford & Sons 
25. Art Brut vs Satan - Art Brut 
24. At the Cut ­ Vic Chesnutt 
23. Manners - Passion Pit 
22. 21st Century Breakdown - Green Day 
21. Crack the Skye - Mastadon 
20. Humbug - Arctic Monkeys 
19. Where the Wild Things Are ­ Karen O and the Kids 
18. The Life of the World to Come ­ Mountain Goats 
17. BLACKsummernights - Maxwell 
16. Primary Colours - The Horrors 
15. March of the Zapotec/Holland EP - Beirut 
14. The Blueprint 3 - Jay-Z 
13. Wilco (The Album) - Wilco 
12. Outer South - Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band 
11. The First Days of Spring - Noah & The Whale 
10. Phrazes For The Young - Julian Casablancas 
9. Merriweather Post Pavilion - Animal Collective 
8. Bitte Orca - Dirty Projectors 
7. The XX - The XX 
6. Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix - Phoenix 
5. Far - Regina Spektor 
4. Warm Heart of Africa - The Very Best 
3. I And Love And You - Avett Brothers 
2. Lungs - Florence & The Machine 
1. It's Blitz - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

David O. is a Fame Monster

LADY GAGA! The Fame Monster.

Best Euro Singles: Evacuate the Dancefloor (Cascada) and Ella Elle l'a (Kate Ryan)

Liz S. Finds One from Last Year

My best discovery of 2009 -- Bon Iver.

Teri’s Blitzed Out

I know that the second I hit the send button I'll think of something else.

#1 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!

The rest in no particular order:

Patrick Wolf - The Bachelor
La Roux - La Roux
The Builders and the Butchers - Salvation is a Deep Dark Well
Calvin Harris - Ready for the Weekend
Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster
Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
Muse - The Resistance
Sea Wolf - White Water, White Bloom
Regina Spektor - Far
Florence and the Machine - Lungs

Unreleased in the US, do they count?

Frankmusik - Complete Me
V. V. Brown - Traveling like the Light

Lauren S. is Majorly Into 3EB

Most essential: Third Eye Blind - Ursa Major

Other essentials, in no particular order:
Silversun Pickups - Swoon
William Fitzsimmons - The Sparrow and the Crow
Muse - The Resistance
Regina Spektor - Far
Avett Brothers - I And Love And You
The Veils - Sun Gangs
White Rabbits - It's Frightening
(500) Days of Summer - Music from the Motion Picture
Athlete - Black Swan (Import--does this count?)

Honorable Mentions:
Erin McCarley - Love Save the Empty
Civil Twilight - Civil Twilight

Most Essential Singles:
Trent Dabbs - Inside These Lines
Kingsfoil - Love is a Carnival Goldfish
Matt & Kim - Daylight
Foo Fighters - Wheels
Death Cab for Cutie - Grapevine Fires

Bryant P. Shows His Manners

6. Lady GaGa, The Fame Monster
5. The XX, XX
4. JJ, JJ N° 2
3. Gossip, Music for Men
2. M. Ward, Hold Time
1. Passion Pit, Manners

Jen H. Knows Too Much

1. Mika: The Boy Who Knew Too Much (most essential!)
2. Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
3. Tinted Windows: Tinted Windows
4. Kelly Clarkson: All I Ever Wanted
5. 500 Days of Summer soundtrack

Jinny W. Brings Some Class(ical) to Our List

Most essential album of the year:

Mahler: Symphony No. 8; Adagio From Symphony No. 10
Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor; Ragnar Bohlin, Kevin Fox & Susan McMane, choir directors; Andreas Neubronner, producer;
Peter Laenger, engineer/mixer; Andreas Neubronner, mastering engineer (Laura Claycomb, Anthony Dean Griffey, Katarina Karnéus, Quinn Kelsey, James Morris, Yvonne Naef, Elza van den Heever & Erin Wall; San Francisco Symphony; Pacific Boychoir, San Francisco Girls Chorus & San Francisco Symphony Chorus)
[SFS Media]

Next most essential album of the year:
Intimate Letters
Emerson String Quartet
[Deutsche Grammophon]


Best discovery from years past:

Beethoven, the Late String Quartets
Emerson String Quartet
[Deutsche Grammophon, 1996]

Despite Misfortune, Paula M’s Grand

My ipod broke this year and I think my music tastes have suffered as a result. I'm looking forward to seeing what other people liked this year so that I may get back into 'the loop'. I'm only putting 5 this year. I don't want to fill up on fluff.

1. Matt and Kim - Grand
2. 30 Seconds to Mars - This is War
3. Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster
4. Asobi Seksu - Hush
5. Where the Wild Things Are - Karen O and The Kids

Siobhan V, Rocked By Amadeus

1. Phoenix -- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
2. Passion Pit -- Manners
3. The XX - xx
4. Matt & Kim - Grand
5. Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career

BONUS! Most amazing new band I discovered (that you might not know, but absolutely, positively should) - Apollo Ghosts. Please check them out! They are amazing. Seriously. I would have put them as my number one, but it would have been their only vote.

Sean K.’s Got the Blueprint

My most essential album for 2009 is likely Jay Z -- The Blueprint III.

Honorable essential mention goes to Fever Ray -- Fever Ray.

It’s Not Me, It’s Eamon T.

2009 was a crap year for multiple reasons (loss of jobs, break-ups, deaths, etc.)...and I am sad to say this is the first year I actually feel that the album is dead...or at least I've stopped listening to new bands in album form. In any case here's what I've been listening to in 2009...

Yeah Yeah Yeah's - It's Blitz
Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster
Girls - Album
The XX - XX
Morrissey - Years of Refusal
School of Seven Bells - Alpinisms
Lily Allen - It's Not Me It's You
Yo La Tango - Popular Songs

Ones to Watch...
The Joy Formidable
Trailer Trash Tracys
The Big Pink

Favorite rediscovery of the year...
Manic Street Preachers

Hotly anticipated for 2010...
Paul Weller's new one with Kevin Shields (MBV)

Sadly looks crap...
United Nations of Sound (Richard Ashcroft's new thing)

Still overrated...
Vampire Weekend

Here's to 2010!!!

Elizabeth E. Rises Like a Phoenix

Most Essential:
Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix – I was counting down the days for this album to come out and love every song on it. Out of any release in 2009, it still holds up for me every time I listen to it. (I will have to admit that I was disappointed in their live show, they didn’t really add anything in person, but I’m willing to give them another chance live. I’m generous like that.)
Pretty Darn Close:
The Temper Trap, Conditions – I only got this CD right before Christmas, but I’ve been listening to it non-stop.
Passion Pit, Manners – If you ever want to see me dance around like a maniac, put on “Little Secrets.” Plus, they are pretty amazing live – seen them twice in two months!
Other Essential Albums:
The Swell Season, Strict Joy
Empire of the Sun, Walking on a Dream
Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion
La Roux, La Roux
Metric, Fantasies
Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown – American Idiot is one of my favorite albums of all time, so this had huge expectations for me. It had some great moments. Didn’t match AI, but still pretty dang good.
Oppenheimer, Oppenheimer (great Belfast duo who opened up for OkGo a few months ago – really unique and fun band)
Owl City, Ocean Eyes
Gomez, A New Tide
Franz Ferdinand, Tonight

Special Honors go to:
Most Played Album on my iPod:
Kelly Clarkson, All I Ever Wanted – it took me years to be comfortable enough to admit it, but dammit, I love me some Kelly Clarkson. I had this as my favorite album of 2009 on my blog because of how much I listened to it (and more appropriate for my teen reader audience). My Top 25 Most Played Playlist on my iPod is dominated by this album. I have to listen to about five K.Clark songs will working out. It is a must. Plus, she is awesome in concert. So there. My name Elizabeth and I’m a Kelly fan!

How Can You Not Smile whiling listening to:
Glee Cast, Soundtracks – Seriously? How can you NOT be in a good mood listening to these songs? I’ll admit there are a few songs I’m not in love with (sorry Quinn, I’m not feeling you), but “Defying Gravity,” “Don’t Stop Believin,’” “Jump” and the mash-ups are awesome. And OF COURSE, “My Life Would Suck Without You” K. Clark AND Glee – I’m in pop heaven!

Holly B. Gives it Up for the Boys

Beyond Dull Care - Junior Boys
Who Killed Amanda Palmer - Amanda Palmer
It's Blitz! - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Maggie S., Down the Rabbit Hole

I'm not sure I'm doing this right. But it was fun to listen to all these again anyway. Over and over and over and over and it was annoying how many songs from '08 I found in '09 and thus didn't mention.

Also, it is like choosing between children. Some of these albums will never speak to me again for picking between them.

Mighty Finest Songs of 2009

1) White Rabbits - "Percussion Gun"
This song makes me want to burn buildings, jump on cars, start revolutions, build museums, and make love when I listen to it. Every time I listen to it. When I put it on repeat, I basically start saddling the elephants and heading for the Alps.

2) Guggenheim Grotto - "The Dragon"
This song should be used by freelance demon hunters. If someone manages to not crack a smile while listening to this song, they're possessed and can be staked without guilt.

3) Oren Lavie - "Her Morning Elegance"
Technically this baby is not an '09, just an '09 in this country, but since when did rules particularly apply to me? Since never. Aside from having the best music video since A-Ha's "Take on Me", this song makes me feel classy and like a girl who might, one day, drink expensive coffees.

4) The Sounds - "No One Sleeps When I'm Awake"
Something about this song just says rock and roll life to me. The video is slice-of-life, which I think is appropriate, because this song just feels like oily streets, street lights, smoky bars, and greasy stages stomped by the passionate feet of one thousand amateur bands and one Bono.

5) Imogen Heap - "Canvas"
In an album otherwise fluffy and cheery -- no good for an emo angst puppy like myself -- this moody piece is like the Imogen I fell in love with and played constantly while writing SHIVER.

6) Matias Aguayo - "Koro Koro"
Say you find yourself in traffic on interstate 95 with unhappy housewives in sky blue minivans blocking your way at every mile marker. Arm yourself with your trusty middle finger, chuck this in the CD player, blare it loud, and you're good to go.

7) Phoenix - "1901"
I hate myself for loving this one, because everyone does, and it pains me to be so mainstream. But damn, people. Damn. Those French people.

8) Living Things - "Oxygen"
More driving music. I just don't get tired of it.I need a soundtrack for my speeding.

9) Plushgun - "Just Impolite"
This one is David's fault. I had a mix with this on it and while fumbling to make it repeat for the 14th time on the way to bookstore gig, missed my exit and ended up somewhere in Alexandria when I was supposed to be in Springfield. Rock is dangerous.

Best Album Put Out By Someone You've Never Heard Of Because They're Welsh
The Gentle Good - While You Slept I Went Out Walking

Best Song That Proves I Actually Have Estrogen
"Sort Of" - Ingrid Michaelson

Best Song That Is Not From 2009 But Ought to be Friggin' Famous, What is the Problem Here, People?
Sound Team - "No More Birthdays"

Best Music to Beat a Car With A Stick To
Paper Route - "Gutter"

Music I've Discovered Scares Relatives and Polite Company
Of Montreal - "Id Engager"

Song I Hate Myself the Most For Liking
The Big Pink - "Dominos"

Song Most Likely to Cause Me To Go On A Homicidal Rampage That Will Be Difficult to Clean Up
Jordin Sparks - "Battlefield"

Top Two Albums
White Rabbits - It's Frightening
Coconut Records – Davy

Joe M.’s Strict Joy

So, a short list, partially because of fatherhood, partially because of finances.

Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown (Can't wait for B'way!) Political Rock! Sweet.
Swell Season - Strict Joy Thank the gods I'm over the need for the breakup album; still heart-wrenching at times.
Abney Park - Aether Shanties Steampunk music. Love it. More kitschy than last CD, which was awesome.
Tom Waits - Glitter & Doom

Disappointed by a lot of favorite artists, so a short list due to that too.

Anna C’s List Takes Us to Hospice

1. Hospice - The Antlers. A week ago when I started this list, it was slightly I hope this isn't cheating. But over the weekend I've been sitting doing homework and listening to this album beginning to end nonstop...for some reason it took me eight-ish months to realize how incredible it is. I've never heard anything so tense & haunting, yet delicate with this electricity...I can't quite compare it to anything else I've heard as of late, but it's changing the way I write & listen to music as I type. Standout track is awfully hard to pick, but I think I've listened to "Bear" about 36 times today. Something about the line "We're too old/we're not old at all" being howled repeatedly toward the end...can't stop listening to it. Truly a gem that's going to last.

2. Merriweather Post Pavilion - Animal Collective. Not going to lie, I'd tried to get into Animal Collective before this album, but found myself seeking shelter Panda Bear's gentler, steadier Person Pitch; Feels and everything else pre-2009 has this tendency to make your heart race and just make you frantic (or me, at least). Thank goodness for a better lead-in. MPP is the perfect gateway to the rest of their discography--it's digestible yet not compromising their previous records. Also gets a nod for best soundtrack for summer--so much joy! They've become a favorite band now, standout track, I think, being "Brothersport."

3. Signal Morning - Circulatory System. Odd that the album I and many an Elephant 6 nerd have been pining for for years now ended up at #3. This second album was well worth the wait, with a more Olivia Tremor Control-like pulse and a new kind of vibrancy that replaced the self-titled album's sleepier psychedelic nature. With more orchestration than the previous, this album's sense of bold experimentation is its strength. Standout: "Overjoyed." It will make you dance.

4. It's Blitz! - Yeah Yeah Yeahs. YYYs were one of the few bands that went "Hey, let's make a dance record" this year who actually pulled it off. Could have done with a few more gut-wrenching Karen O yelps, but we still have Fever to Tell & It's Blitz for that. Favorite is "Dull Life" with that sick driving guitar it.

5. Ruth - Nana Grizol. Infectious folk-tinged pop that just makes you bounce, Theo Hilton sounds a little less like his Defiance, Ohio roots on this release that seems to favor the more melancholy horn segments than last year's "Love It Love It". It's really neat to hear more unique instrumentation (and strictly instrumental tracks) alongside Theo's wonderful odes to hometowns, travel, and love. Before the release of this album, 'Black Box', then unreleased, would have been the favorite track--and it still bears my favorite lyrics--but the album version is just too slow. The surprising instrumental 'Alice & Gertrude', teetering on ragtime + The Microphones + Nana + an autoharp really struck me on my first listen and I consistently return to it.

6. Up From Below - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. If you haven't watched them perform, look it up on Youtube now and brace yourself for something equally adorable and delightful. They make the music fun and have what, 12 people in the band? Pretty neat.

7. Wind's Poem - Mount Eerie. Phil Elvrum will keep making music, I will keep buying it and listening to it and loving it.

8. Fame Monster - Lady Gaga. Oh, come now. "Telephone." All I have to say about that.

9. ...and I know this is dorky, but making my band's demo was really the most special musical experience this year! We, General Oglethorpe & the Panhandlers, just began writing together this summer, and by Christmas, we had a little homemade folk rock demo to share with the world on our myspace (!

Matt de la P. Shows Us His Antlers

I only had two albums that really hooked me this year. The Antlers and J Tillman.

Andy P. Will Not Rage Against the Machine

1. Florence & The Machine -- Lungs (I can't stop playing this)
2. Adam Lambert -- For Your Entertainment (After he kissed that boy on ABC I bought his album - and I kind of love it)
3. Owl City -- Ocean Eyes (Because we all know that The Postal Service is never making another album)
4. Regina Spektor -- Far (Always loved her)
5. Bishop Allen -- Grrr... (Probably biased here because I saw them in concert... uh, with you)
6. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band -- Outer South (Not my favorite work ever of his, but I quite enjoyed it and it's on my list)
7. Glee Cast -- Show Soundtrack (Fun covers of songs I usually don't like or wouldn't listen to)

Jonathan F. Goes to School

Most essential album:
School of Seven Bells – High Places

Other Essential Albums:
Band of Horses – Everything All the Time
Redwing Blackbird – That River Skinned a Bear
The Brother Kite – Waiting for the Time to be Right
Dawn Landes – Sweetheart Rodeo

Johann Johannsson - Fordlandia
Klessa – Aloha Demons
Throwing Muses – House Tornado

Rotem is Batty!

My one contribution is biggest discovery from previous years: Fruit Bats / Mouthfuls

Thu Goes for the Animal Instinct

bah! what a disappointing music year.
1. animal collective, merriweather post pavilion (truly as good as the hype) 
2. bon iver, blood bank (an ep, I know, but WHAT an ep!) 
3. the dirty projectors, bitte orca (has anyone else noticed that a lot 
of the dirty projectors’ lyrics just make no sense?)
most disappointing: wilco, wilco (the album) 
most outrageously overhyped: grizzly bear, veckatimest

Sarah D.L., Rated XX

I'm afraid my GOOD music listening is seriously curtailed these days by the fact that my daughter has bullied me into over ruling my Z100 ban in the car. All I ever did was play great tunes for my kids and one ends up liking Z100 and other liking Trash Metal. Oy Vey, where did I go wrong?!

Anyway, here is my rather sad list:

Album which I'm most embarrassed to admit I like but I can't help it because it makes me want to dance (much to the mortification of my 13 year old daughter, which makes it even more gratifying) even though I'm getting really sick of it already:

Lady Gaga The FAME

Best Albums:
The Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D
Moby Wait for me

Wavin' Flag Knaan from Troubador
One Day Matisyahu
No you girls Franz Ferdinand

Cecil Shows Us What's Going on in the Attic

Catherine Feeny - People in the Hole
Auf der Maur - OOM 3 song sampler
VV Brown - The Attic
Florence and the Machine - Lungs

from the end of 2008 that I didn't get around to finding out until 2009:

Amanda Palmer - Who Killed Amanda Palmer?
Anya Marina - Slow and Steady Seduction Phase 2
Beyonce - All the single ladies

Steve S., Sunny Side Up

Okay, I’ll just list a few records that come to mind . . .

Muse — The Resistance
La Roux — La Roux
Florence and the Machine — Lungs
Paolo Nutini — Sunny Side Up
Empire of the Sun — Walking On A Dream

Guilty pleasures: Dizzee Rascal, Alexandra Burke, Alphabeat

Kevin W.’s Reigning Sounds

1. The Reigning Sound, Love and Curses ... first listen had me thinking this was a step back, but this one was a grower. Greg Cartwright can blast away or deliver a country ballad with the best of them, but sometimes he's best when he's writing pop songs Phil Spector would kill for. Like, say, "Is it True?"

2. King Khan & BBQ Show, Invisible Girl ... Super, super fun. But since other people may in fact read this I should warn any who are curious that these guys always insist on putting one or two incredibly tasteless tracks on each record. Those easily offended beware (and know that these guys got their start in a band called "The Spaceshits" who managed to get banned in Montreal.). Also, it's worth searching youtube for "Spaceshits."

3. Black Lips, 200 Million Thousand ... Okay. Not as good as their last effort. But still better than most efforts. "Drugs" instantly became one of my favorite car songs ever.

4. The A-Bones, Not Now! ... I'm biased because the sax player lives and raises chickens in Coker, AL. They're fun as hell. The song "Shallow Grave" (penned by an old Dictator) is fine, fine work.

5. Jay Reatard, Watch Me Fall ... A sadly prophetic title.

6. The Almighty Defenders, Almighty Defenders ... Not all it's cracked up to be, but anything that combines Black Lips, King Khan, and BBQ -- with a song called "Jihad Blues" no less -- demands a spot on this list.

Album I haven't heard but would probably love: Obits, I Blame You

Dan P. Reaches Far

I've been hemming and hawing... But I'm trying to think about what will hold up over time, so here's my picks:

Most Essential:
Regina Spektor, Far

Others I'll probably listen to a whole-bunch:
Ingrid Michaelson, Everybody
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz
Karen O and the Kids, Where the Wild Things Are
Muse, The Resistance

Kathleen P. Supports the Brothers

Album of the Year (close race): Avett Brothers, I and Love and You
Best of the rest:
A C Newman, Get Guilty
The Bird and the Bee, Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future
Camera Obscura, My Maudlin Career
Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3
Jaydiohead, Jaydiohead
Lady Gaga, The Fame Monster
Miike Snow, Miike Snow
Monsters of Folk, Monsters of Fold
Wilco, Wilco (The Album)

Scott T. ‘Sopps it Up

Essential Album of 2009

Royksopp - Junior (best electronica outfit in the world these days. nothing but brilliance.)

2009 Essentials

Au Revoir Simone - Still Night, Still Light (my fave synth-pop female trio from brooklyn)
IAMX - Kingdom of Welcome Addiction

2009 Essential Best of

Best of Bent - amazing electronic duo, with a full album of rarities to go with the "hits"

Essentials Picked up in 2009

New Young Pony Club - Fantastic Playground (2007) - catchy and fun
B.I.G. - Mindscapes (2005) - DJs from Greece creating amazingly lush soundscapes
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours (2008) - my fave synth-pop band from australia

2009 Best Singles

IAMX - Think of England
Franz Ferdinand - No You Girls
Royksopp - The Girl and the Robot
Pet Shop Boys - Love, Etc
Editors - Papillon

Jonas Makes It Through the Preliminaries

2009 Top Ten

Iggy Pop, Preliminaries
Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson, Break Up
Eileen Jewel, Sea of Tears
John Doe and the Sadies, Country Club
Exene Cervenka, Somewhere Gone
Eleni Mandell, Artificial Fire
Neko Case, Middle Cyclone
Rosanne Cash, The List
Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca
M. Ward, Hold Time

I've got a few additional categories to mention:

2009 Best Album Title (which only narrowly missed my top 10 list):
Brandi Shearer, Love Don't Make You Juliet

2009 Best Children's Album (and a great live show):
Gustafer Yellowgold, Mellow Fever

2 Albums That Should Have Been on my 2008 List:
Whispertown 2000, Swim
Amy Lavere, Anchors and Anvils

Annie Shows Her Glee

Most Essential:
Glee Pt 1 soundtrack
The Eels, Hombre Lobo

Somewhat Essential or Notable:
Florence and the Machine, Lungs
Landon Pigg, The Boy Who Never
Glee Pt 2 soundtrack
Camera Obscura, My Maudlin Career
(500) Days of Summer soundtrack

It’s Zach P!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs — It's Blitz
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros — Up From Below
Beirut — March of the Zapotec
Dirty Projectors — Bitte Orca
Neko Case — Middle Cyclone
Phoenix — Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
PJ Harvey and John Parish — A Woman A Man Walked By
Sonic Youth — The Eternal

Julia R Showers Us with Singles

Top of the Pop 09: The Singles Life
Most essential of 2009: 
Animal Collective's "My Girls".
9 more: 
Phoenix "Lisztomania" 
Camera Obscura “French Navy” 
The Clientele "Bonfires on the Heath" 
High Places “I Was Born” 
Atlas Sound "Walkabout" (The main riff made me revisit the song "He’s 
A Rebel" by The Crystals ) 
Lionel Richie featuring Akon “Just Go” 
El Perro Del Mar "Change of Heart" 
A Sunny Day in Glasgow "Shy" 
Beach House "Norway"
In addition: 
Favorite LP Reissue: 
The Monks “Black Monk Time/The Early Years 1964-65″
Not new, but new to me: 
Artists: Timi Yuro, Dee Dee Warwick 
Single: Jennifer Warnes sings "P.F. Sloan" produced by John Cale.

Anica R. Likes Her Music Dirty

Most essential:
*Emily Wells, Dirty
(if you download just one song, choose: Whiskey and Rags)

Also essential:
*Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca
(song to try: Cannibal Resource)
*Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest
(song to try: Two Weeks)
*Harper Blynn, Loneliest Generation
(song to try: Loneliest Generation)
*Wilco, Wilco (The Album)
(song to try: I'll Fight)

Not essential, but nice to have:
*The Avett Brothers, I and Love and You
(song to try: Kick Drum Heart)
*Dave Rawlings Machine, A Friend of a Friend
*Florence + the Machine, Lungs
(song to try: Dog Days Are Over)
*The Mountain Goats, The Life of the World to Come

Yes, I am also listening to:
Animal Collective, St. Vincent, Phoenix, Andrew Bird, The Decemberists, Jay-Z, and Savoir Adore.

Sherri L. Joins the (Wolf)gang

1. Phoenix / Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
2. Pains of Being Pure at Heart / s/t
3. Camera Obscura / My Maudlin Career
4. The Mountain Goats / The Life of the World to Come
5. Mew / No More Stories
6. Ravonettes / In and Out of Control
7. The Reigning Sound / Love and Curses
8. Royksopp / Junior
9. Yo La Tengo / Popular Songs
10. Pants Yell! /Received Pronunciation

Erin C. Goes for the Maudlin

Camera Obscura — My Maudlin Career.

John A.’s Grizzly Fate

9. The Raveonettes: In And Out Of Control
8. Pelican: What We All Come to Need
7. The Twilight Sad: Forget the Night Ahead
6. Jason Lytle: Yours Truly, The Commuter
5. Mew: No more stories Are told today I'm sorry They washed away No more stories The world is grey I'm tired Let's wash away
4. The Big Pink: A Brief History of Love
3. Neko Case: Middle Cyclone
2. Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion
1. Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest

Nick E., The Girl, and the Robot

A lot of talented artists produced new albums in 2009. Unfortunately, I was too busy listening to Lady Gaga to notice! Here’s the new stuff that HAS gotten some play.

1. Royksopp, Junior
2. Iron and Wine, Around the Well
3. Mika, The Boy Who Knew Too Much
4. Various, Dark Was the Night
5. Fischerspooner, Entertainment

And my pick for favorite “Pop Mix” track that I hadn’t heard before the “Pop Mix”: Cobra Starship w/ Leighton Meester, “Good Girls Gone Bad.”

Brant R. Goes With What’s Popular

My Most Essential:
Yo La Tengo, Popular Songs

My Other Essentials:
Matt & Kim, Grand
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Wilco, Wilco (the album)
Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3
Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Various Artists, Dark Was the Night
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It’s Blitz
Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest
Passion Pit, Manners
The Very Best, Warm Heart of Africa

Perhaps Essential:
The xx, XX
Miike Snow, Miike Snow
Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion
Japandroids, Post-Nothing
The Fiery Furnaces, I’m Going Away
The Swell Season, Strict Joy

My Essential Songs:
Yo La Tengo, “If It’s True”
Matt & Kim, “Daylight”
Jay-Z and Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”
Grizzly Bear, “Two Weeks”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Zero”

Beyond Essential:
Wilson Rumble, Wilson Performs [EP]
Wilson Rumble, “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”

My Essential Discoveries from Previous Years:
Joe Walsh, “But Seriously, Folks…” [1978]
Doug Sahm and Band, Doug Sahm and Band [1973]
Otis Redding & Carla Thomas, King & Queen [1967]
Dave Brubeck, Jazz Goes to College [1954]
Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago [2007]
The Feelies, Only Life [1988]
Jimmy Cliff, Struggling Man [1974]
Stevie Wonder, Music of My Mind [1972]
The Flaming Lips, At War with the Mystics [2006]
B.B. King, Live at the Regal [1965]
Miles Davis, A Tribute to Jack Johnson [1970]
Janet Jackson, Control [1986]

Kimberly P. Parties Like It’s 1901

favorite album of the year:

Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix


Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D.
Pearl Jam, Backspacer

although... my favorite song of the year is PJ's Just Breathe -- one of my least favorite is PJ's The Fixer. Go figure.

Flinn Goes with the Flo

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
Tegan and Sara - Sainthood
Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career
Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
The Avett Brothers
St. Vincent - Actor
Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
Bat For Lashes - Two Suns
Most Essential: Florence and the Machine – Lungs

Ronnie A. Takes Us to the Movies

Inglourious Basterds “Cat People (Putting Out the Fire)” David Bowie
500 Days of Summer “You Make My Dreams Come True” Hall & Oates
A Serious Man “Somebody to Love” Jefferson Airplane
Fantastic Mr. Fox “Just Another Dead Rat in a Garbage Pail (Behind a Chinese Restaurant)” Alexandre Desplat
Cast of Glee “Don’t Stop Believin”

Where the Wild Things Are Carter Burwell
Moon Clint Mansell
Broken Embraces Alberto Iglesias
A Single Man Abel Korzeniowski
The Informant! Marvin Hamlisch

Drew L. is Up in Arms
essential album for 2009 is, naturally and without a doubt...

The Lawrence Arms - "Buttsweat and Tears"

Lauren M. Takes Us to Vienna

Vienna Teng. That's all I have to say. But she's just new to me; not new to 2009. ;)

Jordan S. Goes for the Mariachi

throw in my vote for Mariachi El Bronx, by Mariachi El Bronx.

Jason B. Likes to WAP

Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Billy’s Extraordinary Machine

Billy's favorites 2009!
Florene + the Machine - Lungs
Various - Dark Was the Night
Lady Gaga - The Fame Monster
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz
IAMX - Kingdom of Welcome Addiction
Tori Amos - Abnormally Attracted to Sin
The Swell Season - Strict Joy
Karen O and the Kids - Where the Wild Things Are
La Roux - La Roux
Metric – Fantasies

Nico, You’re a Monster!

Hrm ... I'm so predictable I disappoint myself.

#1: Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster

Pardon the tired old cliche, but this bitch breathed new life into pop
music (and pop culture) last year ... and then reinvented herself with
the 8-track follow-up EP in '09. I'm blown away ... can't wait to see
what she does next. And I have to say, it's nice to have a little bit
of the Marilyn Manson I knew and loved in the late nineties
reincarnated in a 23-yr-old pop star who sets pianos on fire, hangs
her bloody self onstage, and dances in arm braces. Pure theater.


Metric: Fantasies
(They're just getting better and better!)

Tori Amos: Abnormally Attracted to Sin
(She'd been getting worse and worse, until this welcome surprise!)

Muse: The Resistance
(Chopin solos, French symphony shout-outs, anti-imperialist anthems ... EPIC!)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs: It's Blitz!
(YYYs do dance-y techno---heaven!)

La Roux: La Roux
(Excellent newcomer who brightened up so many of my commutes -- thanks
for the album, DL, you know what I need!)

Kevin K. Rises Like a Phoenix

Overall 2009 will be known as “The Year of the Reissues.” In addition to the Beatles, Neil Young, Beastie Boys and The Housemartins, there were a ton of fabulous reissues. My list also leans to the more “twangy” or alt-country side of music. I am looking forward to 2010!

Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Brendan Benson – My Old, Familiar Friend
Big Star – Keep An Eye On The Sky (Reissue)
Roman Candle – Oh Tall Tree in The Ear
John Wesley Harding – Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead
The Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
Death - ...For the Whole World to See (Reissue)
Justin Townes Earle – Midnight at the Movies
Passion Pit – Manners
Wilco (The Album) - Wilco
Todd Snider – The Excitement Plan
Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
Leonard Cohen – Live In London

2009 Mixtape

“Lisztomania” - Phoenix
“Top of the Bottom” - John Wesley Harding
“Can’t Hardly Wait” - Justin Townes Earle
“Kind of a Girl” - Tinted Windows
“Slight Figure of Speech” - The Avett Brothers
“A Whole Lot Better” - Brendan Benson
“Lust for Life” - Girls
“Why Modern Radio is A-OK” - Roman Candle
“Hell” - Tegan and Sara
“Little Secrets” - Passion Pit
“Say Please” - Monsters of Folk
“Liquid In, Liquid Out” - The Thermals
“Zero” - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
“Blood Bank” - Bon Iver
“You Never Know” - Wilco
“Send My Fond Regards To Lonelyville” - Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Rob's Big Pink List

1. Big Pink - A Brief History of Love2. Pomegranates - Everybody, Come Outside!3. Sonic Youth - The Eternal4. Mean Creek - The Sky (Or the Underground)5. Japandroids – Post-nothing6. Cold Cave - Love Comes Close7. The Answering Machine - Another City Another Sorry8. Boat – Setting the Paces9. The xx – xx10. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart11. Camera Obscura – My Maudlin Career12. French Miami - French Miami13. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix14. We Were Promised Jetpacks - These Four Walls15. Royal Bangs - Let It Beep16. Silversun Pickups - Swoon17. Built to Spill - There is No Enemy18. Islands – Vapours19. Pants Yell! – Received Pronunciation20. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion21. Girls – Album22. Heartless Bastards - The Mountain23. The Antlers - Hospice24. The Soft Pack - The Muslims25. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Why There Are Mountains26. LoveLikeFire - Tear Ourselves Away27. Real Estate – Real Estate28. Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More29. Bad Veins - Bad Veins30. Doves - Kingdom of Rust31. Dinosaur Jr - Farm32. The Horrors - Primary Colours33. Generationals - Con Law34. You, You're Awesome - You're My Superhero35. Fanfarlo - Reservoir36. Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms37. Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes - Up From Below38. The Drums - Summertime39. Darlings - Yeah I know40. Princeton - Cocoon of Love41. Passion Pit - Manners42. Atlas Sound – Logos43. Kings of Convenience – Declaration of Dependence44. Super Furry Animals – Dark Days/Light Years 45. VDSQ 002 Solo Acousic - Mark McGuire

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