BeatCrave’s Top 20 Albums of 2009By Seraphina L.
2009 was a great year in music, and we hope you enjoyed what it’s brought you. There’s been a wealth in reissues and limited edition releases, but new full-lengths will always be a thrill for music fiends like us.
So we count down the best albums of the year. Although there have been some great EPs and singles, this list includes only full-length albums that have been released in the US. Check our top 20 out below and let us know what you think!
20. Mirah - (a)spera:
The K Records darling finally put out a tremendous solo album after working on a few collaboration projects and reminds us why she is the reigning queen of sweet vocals and tales of insight.
Key Tracks: Generosity, The Forest, Gone Are the Days
19. Silversun Pickups – Swoon:
Silverlake, California natives have been more on top of their game than ever with chart topping songs and a Grammy nomination. Even with the fame, these local favorites have written one of the most solid and organic indie albums.
Key Tracks: Panic Switch, Substitution, Sort Of
18. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca:
Getting flak for writing an R&B song in disguise doesn’t phase these Brooklynites. With Dave Longstreth arranging some of the most experimental orchestrations, musicianship shines at its best on this album of theirs.
Key Tracks: The Bride, Stillness Is the Move, Two Doves
17. La Roux – La Roux:
La Roux is the perfect name for the face of this electronica duo. Elly Jackson has made a strong debut with producer, Ben Langmaid. Her androgynous look may catch your eye, but her falsetto voice is what’s caught our ears.
Key Tracks: In For the Kill, Bulletproof, I’m Not Your Toy
16. St. Vincent – Actor:
As a follow-up to her successful album, Marry Me, Actor is an expansion of her play on words, juxtaposition and divine vocals. Nearly every song on this album could have been chosen as a single.
Key Tracks: Save Me From What I Want, Actor Out of Work, Marrow
15. Metric – Fantasies:
Metric returned with more of a mainstream pop approach to song structure, but it was still a strong return.
Emily Haines’ range sound limitless on numerous tracks and if you got the bonus version, you were lucky enough to hear “Help, I’m Alive” and “Gimme Sympathy” acoustic.
Key Tracks: Help I’m Alive, Sick Muse, Gold Guns Girls
14. Real Estate – Real Estate:
This self-titled album is the perfect summer album with songs of hazy textures and lo-fi fuzz. Vocals on each track aren’t necessarily the focus since they seem to be unclear at times, but you don’t really mind when the music speaks for itself.
Key Tracks: Atlantic City, Fake Blues, Green River
Buy Now: CD $13.99
13. The Big Pink - A Brief History of Love:
This British electro-rock duo has put out the album with the most diversity. It’s hard to pin-point a genre with these guys, because they’re great at anything they try. Songs with a Jesus and Mary Chain vibe then taking a turn for Hot Chip categorizes this album as the most suspenseful of the year track by track.
Key Tracks: Crystal Visions, Dominos, Frisk
12. The Happy Hollows – Spells:
The long awaited full-length from LA favorites, The Happy Hollows, finally arrived toward the end of the year, but the wait was worth it. Kim Deal-esque vocals continue to entice post-punk lovers into a coma of jagged guitar licks, complex bass lines, tight drumming and explosive keys.
Key Tracks: Faces, High Wire, Lieutenant
Buy Now: CD – $14.98
11. A Place To Bury Strangers – Exploding Head:
A Place To Bury Strangers debuted as one of the most progressive shoegaze and space rock bands with their 2007 self-titled album, and as hard as it may be to believe, this sophomore album is even better.
Key Tracks: It Is Nothing, In Your Heart, Everything Always Goes Wrong
10. Passion Pit – Manners:
After getting a taste from this electro-pop band with their EP, Chunk of Change, music critics have had high expectations for the full-length. Manners did not disappoint with Angelakos’ signature falsetto and heavy synth-pop.
Key Tracks: The Reeling, To Kingdom Come, Sleepyhead
09. Fanfarlo – Reservoir:
Initially a filler for those yearning for more Arcade Fire, Fanfarlo did the trick.
However, with each listen this London-based indie-pop band has a quirkiness that makes them all their own.
Key Tracks: I’m A Pilot, Luna, Harold T. Wilkins
08. Girls - Album:
A San Franciscan band made up of all dudes has taken the indie world by surprise this year with honest catchy songs, and a lead vocalist who sings with such feeling you’re entranced with empathy that is either endearment or heartbreak.
Key Tracks: Lust For Life, Laura, Hellhole Ratrace
07. Freelance Whales – Weathervanes:
Not only does this Brooklyn band have one of the most bad-ass album covers, but their album is also successfully filled with great songs that sound as if Avi Buffalo and The Postal Service teamed up.
Key Tracks: Generator ^ First Floor, Hannah, The Great Estates
06. Florence + The Machine – Lungs:
With a voice that bellows deep into our souls, Florence Welch and her band has made one of the most beautiful and complex albums to grace our ears State side. Whether Welch sings about giving a good punch to the boyfriend or taking a girl’s eye out, arrangements like these are hard to come by when it comes to female artists.
Key Tracks: Dog Days Are Over, Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up), Drumming
05.The Antlers – Hospice:
With a prologue and an epilogue, Hospice holds the mighty strength of storytelling. Although the plot centers around death – hence, the reference to a hospital – the lyrics and expressive instrumentation has gone beyond an impressive release.
Key Tracks: Sylvia, Bear, Two
04. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest:
Edward Droste’s voice is undeniably identifiable in the indie world and his use of vocals on this album carries this exploration of genre-blurring and rich songwriting elements.
Key Tracks: Southern Point, Two Weeks, Ready Able
03. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion:
With an album sharing the name with a Maryland venue, Animal Collective has given us a record that is bit more accessible than their earlier work. However, the soundscapes provided are flawless and this accessibility has been taken as one of the warmest invites into their music.
Key Tracks: In The Flowers, My Girls, Bluish
02. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix:
Who didn’t have this album on rotation in Summer 09? Phoenix has outdone themselves with this fourth studio album. Radio friendly yet credible enough for indie music fiends, this Parisian band has made one of the most insightful and feel-good albums of the year.
Key Tracks: Listztomania, 1901, Fences
01. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – The Pains of Being Pure At Heart:
In this self-titled debut album, The Pains of Being Pure At Heart perfectly combines pop hooks with distortion creating the ultimate listen for indie pop fans who love an upbeat version of The Smiths.
Key Tracks: Come Saturday, Young Adult Friction, A Teenager in Love