It's that time of the year again! Time for our Best Albums of 2009! This year there were tons of great albums released. I feel there were more this year than last year.
Here are some of my favorites in no particular order. I'm sure I probably missed some, but these were the ones I listened to the most.
The XX came out strong this year with an impressive minimal self titled debut that I could not get enough of. More of a record that I hear late nights, it oozes sensuality and calms my nerves. Slow is the new heavy, didn't you know?
MP3: Crystalised - The XX
After a rather disappointing sophmore album the Yeah Yeah Yeahs came out swinging in 2009 with 'It's Blitz' possibly their best album yet! More electronic and polished than their previous works and I'm loving it! 'Heads will Roll' with that amazing MJ (pre-death) video is in the running for best single/video of the year! Can't count how many times I've played that track out on the dancefloor and it always works. That intro synth and those first vocals by Karen O exclaiming 'off with your head' just makes people lose it on the dancefloor.
I waited a long time for Zoot Woman to return as I am a big fan of their first two records and they did not disappoint with their new one! 'Things are what they used to be' is an amazing electro-pop record! One of my favorite albums of the year. Sure it's not gonna appear in too many American 'Best Of' lists as their not as known in the States, but that's their loss! I'll keep them as my gem. Stuart Price is a genious! He can write catchy pop songs like it's no ones business. Now please don't take that long for a new one...
MP3: Saturation - Zoot Woman
Simian Mobile Disco's 'Temporary Pleasure' is a much more electro-pop song based record from them than many people would have anticipated. They got tons of big name vocalists to contribute on this one including Gruff Rhys, Beth Ditto, Alexis from Hot Chip and Jamie Lydell, but the stand out track on this album is Audacity of Huge feat. Chris Keating of Yeasayer. Probably one of my favorite tracks/videos of 2009! So sweet, it gives you cavities.
MP3: Audacity of Huge - Simian Mobile Disco
As the name implies Sally Shapiro is one of my guilty pleasures of 2009. The production on this record is amazing! So crisp and clean. The beats, melodies and her voice are gorgeous! Although I didn't play this out as much out on the dancefloor as I would've liked it got plenty of plays at my apartment.
MP3: Moonlight Dance - Sally Shapiro
With this years album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Phoenix finally live up to the potential they showed in their spectacular debut 'United'. Even though their second and third album weren't bad they didn't have the impact that this one did. 'Lisztomania' and '1901' provide an amazing one two punch that was hard to beat this year. They were everywhere, including Cadillac commercials. They were remixed by everyone and their mothers and most importantly they were big dancefloor winners. They are still crowd favorites, 6 months on and people still go nuts whenever I play either of those two tracks. Lisztomania is my personal favorite.
MP3: Lisztomania - Phoenix
Peter, Bjorn and John had a tough job ahead of them. How the hell were they gonna follow up their debut album Writers Block and their massive hit 'Young Folks'?!?! Easy don't let that affect you and make another amazing record. With Living Things they got a little darker and a little more electronic and it's awesome! 'It Don't Move Me' is one of my favorite tracks of 09 that obliterated the dancefloor all year long. No sophmore slump to be found here. With this album they proved they are no one hit wonder. We can expect to hear many more albums from these amazing Swedes. Thank goodness for that.
MP3: It Don't Move Me - Peter, Bjorn and John
Pet Shop Boys have been in the game for a long, long time so I wasn't expecting them to still have it after all these years, could they? With Yes they put out one of their most solid albums in years! Instantly classic Pet Shop Boys. 'Love, Etc' with that amazing video is probably one of the best songs they've ever written. When I first heard that track I was blown away! It can easily fit into any future best of retrospectives they may have. Not bad for a band 25 yrs into their career. As a sidenote I saw them perform at the Fillmore this year for the first time and they were amazing! Great theatrics and Neil Tennant's still got the voice. Living legends.
MP3: Love, Etc. - Pet Shop Boys
Another band that came on with a bang in 09' was Passion Pit. Their debut album Manners blew up the blog-o-sphere eventually even making it to the dancefloor with tracks like 'The Reeling' (another contender for top singles of the year) and 'Little Secrets'. Amazing heartfelt indie pop that gave the genre a bit of a kick in the butt. They definitely got our attention.
MP3: The Reeling - Passion Pit
We all love Erlend Oye! That voice of his is one of a kind, so smooth and beautiful. With album number two for Whitest Boy Alive they kept the instrumentation simple but the beats dancefloor friendly, particularly with tracks like 'Courage' which I still play out. I can never get enough of him. No sophmore slump here either.
MP3: Courage - Whitest Boy Alive
Neon Indian was an artist that kinda slipped my radar for a bit, but glad I finally tuned in. Psychic Chasms is an amazing debut record which along with artists like Washed Out and a few others kinda started a whole new genre called dreamwave. Amazing fuzzy, lo-fi nostalgic sounding pop music. 'Deadbeat Summer' is my fave track, but they're all really good!
MP3: Deadbeat Summer - Neon Indian
What can I say about Interpol lead singer Paul Banks. His voice is so unique and beautful I can never get enough of him. With his debut solo album as alias Julian Plenti he delivers more magic. Julian Plenti is Skyscraper delivers mostly slower tracks but with his trademark delivery that aren't too different from what you might hear on an Interpol record, and that's fine by me. A great late night record that got many listens at my place.
MP3: Skyscraper - Julian Plenti
Miike Snow is another artist that came out strong in 09 with their self titled debut. They were kinda a sleeper band that crept up on us. Before you knew it everyone was singing Animal drunk on the dancefloor at 2AM and dancing to the multitude of remixes for it. One of the hands down best singles of 2009! But delve further the whole album is amazing...
MP3: Animal - Miike Snow
Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife fame came out strong in 09' with her own self titled solo album as Fever Ray. It's twisted, dark and haunting with her unmistakable voice and delivery. Everything we would expect from Karin and we wouldn't want it any other way. Unexpectedly it got a lot of mainstream attention which is kinda weird for such a dark album. The videos were as creepy as it got in 09' each one darker and spookier than the last.
MP3: Triangle Walks - Fever Ray
The album that never got released. Still not sure if that was a marketing scheme or what but it is a great collaborative record by Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse featuring pics by the one and only David Lynch and featuring big name vocal collaborators like Julian Casablancas, Iggy Pop, Flaming Lips, Gruff Rhys, Jason Lytle and many others. They released it with the pics and a blank CD for you to get it from the internet of course. First heard it on NPR. My favorite track is the Wayne Coyne/Flaming Lips album opener 'Revenge' but the 'Little Girls' by Julian Casablancas track is right up there too. Played out Little Girls quite a bit on the dancefloor, but this is mainly a late night record as the name implies.
MP3: Revenge (ft Wayne Coyne/Flaming Lips - Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse
Animal Collective are huge now! Amazing I got to see this band when they were up and comers and they played at I/O here in Miami a couple times. Super nice guys, but they were way more experimental back then. Now with the release of Merriweather Post Pavillion they've put out their most accesible record yet and it will show as it will top many Best of Lists for 09'. My Girls is the stand out track and personal fave.
MP3: My Girls - Animal Collective
First heard of the Crocodiles from my friend Lindsey then I kept hearing people talking about them till I finally got curious and checked out Summer of Hate. Glad I did! A great shoegazey rock record ala bands like Jesus and Mary Chain, Raveonettes and Echo and the Bunnymen which I think is were they got their album title from. My favorite tracks are back to back 2 and 3 'I Wanna Kill' and 'Soft Skull (In My Room)' which both sound like instant classics!
MP3: I Wanna Kill - Crocodiles
The Horrors possibly put out my favorite rock album of 2009! Primary Colours is an amazing sophmore record. I still have yet to hear their first album of which apparently this is a big departure from, but here they bring back the spirit of bands like Joy Division. Excellent moody, bass heavy rock n roll in a year dominated by the more electronic stuff.
MP3: Who Can Say - The Horrors
Frankmusik is pure electro-pop fun. A excellent week-end album as it gets me in the mood to go out and dance! Jumpy beats, swirling synths, excellent melodies and great production. What more could you want? 'Gotta Boyfriend' and 'Better off as Two' are my two faves.
MP3: Gotta Boyfriend - Frankmusik
Washed Out's Life of Leisure is actually an EP but it was so good I snuck it on here as well. Like Neon Indian and a few other artists he's kinda helped jumpstart the current dreamwavey, fuzzy lo-fi craze that I've been digging lately. Can't wait to see were he takes us in the next few years. 'Feel it All Around' is lo-fi licious!
MP3: Feel it All Around - Washed Out
Yacht's See Mystery Lights was a solid indie album from DFA records of all places. It features an eclectic blend of electronics, percussions and all sorts of experimental noises plus shared male/female vocals which I always tend to like. 'The Afterlife' with it's catchy chorus and 'I'm in Love with a Ripper' are my two faves.
MP3: I'm in Love with a Ripper - Yacht
Julian Casablancas like contemporary Paul Banks/Julien Plenti also made the jump this year from band The Strokes to his own solo record. On his debut 'Phrazes for the Young' it feels like Julian let loose a little and had some fun with it. He dabbled a bit more with electronics, but it's not a whole lot different than what you'd find on a Strokes record. You can tell he's the mastermind behind the Strokes sound we all love. '11th Dimension' was one of my favorite singles of the year! It just doesn't get much catchier than 11th and you can't take away that he's one of the voices of our generation.
MP3: 11th Dimension - Julian Casablancas
La Roux is another artist one who made a big splash in 09'. Got tons of play on the dancefloor, particularly remixes for Quicksand and In for the Kill that I've been playing all year long and still get's people dancing. One of the most remixed artists out there. Her videos are pretty slick as well. Curious to see if she makes it in the long haul, but one things for sure she rocked 2009!
MP3: In For the Kill - La Roux
Another great artist which is not releasing her debut album till Feb 2010 but made a big splash with her EP The Crown Jewels in 2009 is Marina and the Diamonds. Absolutely loved all the tracks and amazing videos she released this year and I am really excited about her so I wanted to include her EP on this list as well. 'I Am Not a Robot' and 'Obsession' are sooo good! We have a lot to look forward to from this amazing artist in the years to come.
MP3: I Am Not a Robot - Marina and the Diamonds