I originally wanted to post this list at the beginning of December, but it took quite a long time to finalize. With the vast amount of amazing records released this year, its always a job to narrow it down to just ten. Here’s the ones I liked the best with a couple words about each.
I hope I can turn you on to some new bands from this. Tweet or pass the link along if you like.
I always have a record squeeze its way into the top ten when I make these lists. Fact of the matter is that The Antlers have had a banner year and they have a great record here with Hospice. Vocalist Peter Silberman paints us an emotionally charged, dark album banking back and forth between moments of the quiet to huge swells of sound.
Standout Song: Kettering
Also try: Two, Wake
Musical wonderkid Randolph Chabot invites us into his world of enormous synths, precision beats, catchy hooks and chaos. Give it more than one listen to sink in.
Standout Song: Vermillion Plaza
Also try: Parallelogram, Toxic Crusaders
Video: Video bio on Deastro
The lone Canadian entry in my list. Since I don’t listen to the radio, their singles weren’t overplayed to me. I found sounds that stayed with me for hours and invited me back to being a bigger Metric fan again.
Standout Song: Gimme Sympathy
Also try: Sick Muse, Help I’m Alive
7) A Balloon Called Moaning – The Joy Formidable (Independent)
A strong debut from this Welsh trio who are still flying under the radar of where they should be. I’m guessing 2010 will be a big year for the band.
Standout Song: Whirring
Also try: Austere, Cradle, The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade
I knew there was something big about Passion Pit after hearing ‘Sleepyhead’ for the first time. Lucky for me, they were able to write many more greats than just one song, creating Manners, one of my go-to party albums.
Standout Song: Moth’s Wings
Also try: Sleepyhead, Little Secrets
I didn’t expect this album to break my top 5 (let along the top 10) the first time I heard songs from xx. But it creeped on me as I watched the insane amount of justified buzz gather for this debut.
Standout Song: Crystalised
Also try: Infinity, Basic Space
The only compilation record on my list, Dark Was The Night is a masterful mix of great artists and songs, all to raise money for the Red Hot Organization (an international charity dedicated to raising money and awareness for HIV and AIDS through popular culture). Produced by The National‘s Aaron and Bryce Dessner, the album features performances by The Arcade Fire, Feist, Grizzly Bear, and My Morning Jacket to name a few. A great listen all the way through.
Standout Song: Brackett, WI (Bon Iver)
Also try: Knotty Pine (Dirty Projectors and David Byrne), Tightrope (Yeasayer)
Amazing debut from this English three-piece. For fans of music in the vein of The White Stripes, Led Zeppelin or The Black Keys, this album spun amazing well here, either rocking or haunting me.
Standout Song: Dull Gold Heart
Also try: I Know What I Am, Impossible, Fires
I haven’t seen an online ‘best-of’ list that didn’t include these French popsters. Fundamentally its a album of winning songs, carefully written to catch. A band at the top of their game.
Standout Song: Lisztomania
Also try: 1901, Rome
From the ‘best-of’ lists I’ve been reading online, this album seems to be absent from most. Only wanting to speak for these ears, there is something about benga-flavored beats, fuzzed-out synth bass, clucking tropical cowbells, soaring horn sections and emotive string arrangements that hit me just right. I think one of the most important things about music is its ability to take you somewhere. When I throw on Person To Person, I’m instantly happy smack dab in the summer of ’09.
Standout Song: Vacationing People
Also try: Early Warnings, Blood Oranges
I saw it on the tube the other night, but can’t seem to find the video online anywhere. A white PSP rides a monorail track accross an animated Canada, playing video games and videos past places like Dundas Square and Banff. The song is spliced together well for a 30 sec spot.
Its the song Sleepyhead (download it here from Spinner) by the red hot Passion Pit. Back in June when I first heard the song, I forwarded it to a music supervisor/friend for their general feedback. Their response was “It’s like listening to Yoko Ono have sex with Alvin of the Chipmunks with a kick drum in there for the club kids to dance to.” Pretty close when you think of it.