Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Working on My Year-End List: 40 of the Year's Best Records

Posted By on Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 7:11 AM

click to enlarge CreamGoesPazz.jpg

Back in June, I blogged that I was already beginning to consider my options for albums of the year. The annual Pazz & Jop Poll--which is half the reason I started this blog--is hosted by our former overlords at Village Voice, and they've again asked for our opinions regarding 2009's strongest albums. Sweet of them, considering we at the Scene aren't a part of the corporate family anymore--though I'm not entirely sure they realize that.

Anyhow, I've grown a lot since June, and I can tell you right now that--even though I once said, "I'd probably vote for Jeff Tweedy if he put out an album of birdcalls"--Wilco (the Album) probably won't be getting a vote from me. I think I would have found the birdcalls more compelling. Given my obsessive tendencies regarding album analysis, the plethora of records released this year and the respective back catalogs of the artists being considered, I'm having a hell of a time picking my absolute faves. For instance, enormously influential bands like Dinosaur Jr., Air, The Flaming Lips and Built to Spill put out solid but not innovative records this year--they were all enjoyable, but most of them didn't stack up to the rest of their catalogs or even necessarily against this year's competition. Plus, putting an exhaustingly consistent band like Air in the Top 10 would mean bumping a small, brand-new act with an interesting sound (Screaming Females or French Miami, for example). I've listed precisely 40 records released this year that I find compelling in some respect, and I'd like you to have a look at it. Tell me what's missing, what you think is out of place, and why you think I'm a blowhard.

It's important to first note that I don't follow hip-hop and metal as fanatically as some, so there is very little/none of either genre represented in my list. A lot of people seem to enjoy Sunn O)))'s Monoliths and Dimensions, but I don't tend to vote for albums that quake my abdominal cavity nearly to the point of making my guts fall out. Sorry. Just a personal rule. There are also a handful of leaks that I'd vote for had they been officially released (such as Yeasayer's Odd Blood), but I guess I'll just have to remember them for next year. By the way, if you're not morally opposed to following such a thing, Leak Tweet is a great place to locate leaky leaks.

Here's my list, semi-casually arranged in bestish-to-worstish formation, followed by some of my favorite local releases of the year. Again, you can find reviews and preview tracks for almost every one of these records right over there.


Phoenix, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Atlas Sound, Logos

Animal Collective, Fall Be Kind EP

White Denim, Fits

Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion

Japandroids, Post-Nothing

Jarvis Cocker, Further Complications

Screaming Females, Power Move

Miike Snow, Miike Snow

Jookabox, Don't Go Phantom

Sunset Rubdown, Dragonslayer

French Miami, French Miami

Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca

Dinosaur Jr., Farm

Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest

Dan Auerbach, Keep It Hid

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, It's Blitz!

Air, Love 2

Cryptacize, Mythomania

Built to Spill, There Is No Enemy

Jay-Z, The Blueprint 3

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Up From Above

Neon Indian, Psychic Chasms

Phosphorescent, To Willie

The Fiery Furnaces, I'm Going Away

White Rabbits, It's Frightening

Os Mutantes, Haih or Baraua

Flaming Lips, Embryonic

Wilco, Wilco (the Album)

Black Moth Super Rainbow, Eating Us


Slowmotions, Quick Potions

Cortney Tidwell, Boys

The Non-Commissioned Officers, Make-Out With Violence OST

Uncle Skeleton, Pancho Chumley

JEFF the Brotherhood, Heavy Days

Turbo Fruits, Echo Kid

Those Darlins, Those Darlins

The Kindergarten Circus, The Kindergarten Circus

Millionaire Magicians, Millionaire Magicians

The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker, Burn It Down

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