Arms and Sleepers - Matador
Post-rock that feeds the same moods that good trip-hop and downtempo does. The album has the same textures and feelings as those on Clint Mansell's The Fountain OST... which makes it an automatic hit in my book. (read my album review here)
Brand New - Daisy
A band that needs no introduction, Brand New has crafted yet another album that shows just why they are a band that sells out venues damn near everywhere. Since Deja Entendu, Brand New and I haven't quite seen eye-to-eye, but with Daisy, Brand New and I are back on the same page again.
Monsters of Folk - Monsters of Folk
I'm a bit of a skeptic when it comes to supergroups, but this release is just a diverse example of folk rock, from tracks reminiscent of Cassadega-era Bright Eyes to the rockabilly-influenced. Awesome.
The Everyday Visuals - The Everyday Visuals
A relatively unknown band from Boston that really blew me away with their 17-track indie rock marathon. This is, in my book, an example of a band that really deserves more attention. (read my interview with The Everyday Visuals here)
The Valley Arena - We Died
This might not be my favorite release by The Valley Arena, but they are one of my favorite bands ever. That being said, this might be their last album as a band, and it's solid indie rock meets post-punk bliss. (read my interview with The Valley Arena here)
Why? - Eskimo Snow
With Eskimo Snow, WHY? turn into wholly into indie rockers. The album has some huge highlights and strange catchy moments that get stuck in my head even though they are downright hard-to-swallow sometimes. "Against Me" might be one of my favorite tracks of the year.
FIVE . tUnE-yArDs - BiRd-BrAiNs (marriage records / 4AD Recordings)
Sometimes I like to play music while I'm sleeping, and when I do this, I occasionally wake up, for a few reasons. Sometimes the music stops or is too loud. Unexciting, really. What is exciting is when the music is so fantastic that it rouses me out of my sleep and demands of me my full attention... as is the case with tUnE-yArDs' BiRd-BrAiNs. And in my half-wakened state, I was blown away by Merril Garbus' detailed brand of experimental weirdo pop, and it has impressed me ever since.
FOUR . Portugal. The Man - The Satanic Satanist (EQUAL VISION RECORDS)
Label an album as "pop rock", and you'll already weed out some people right from the get-go. Mention the name Portugal. The Man, and you'll weed out even more. Whatever. Every single track on this disc is a sing-a-long dream, in the best way possible. It's completely different from the band's other releases, both in terms of musical genres and song structures, but they've completely sold me on this soul-influenced reworking of their sound.
(read my interview with Portugal. The Man here)
THREE . Nurses - Apple's Acre (Dead Oceans)
When I first saw the band name Nurses, I already had positive associations with it despite the fact that I had never heard of them before. Strange. And when I finally listened to the first track of the album, I had a strong inkling that the record to follow would be one I'd enjoy a lot. More than a hundred spin-throughs later, it has still held true. Considering this record served as my soundtrack for a large part of summer 2009, it's remarkable that "Technicolor" is still probably my favorite song of the year.
(read my interview with Nurses here)
TWO . Miike Snow - Miike Snow (Downtown Records)
I'm not particularly stoked on the fact that this album's main single, "Animal," was featured on the horrible TV show Gossip Girl. Nonetheless, Miike Snow's debut full-length is indie electronic pop that doesn't drive me insane over long periods of time. Similar bands representing the subgenre are always fun, sure, but none of their releases have really blown me away since Hail Social's 2007 release, Modern Love And Death... until this disc. On paper, it all sounds the same, but I love every track on this album.
ONE . Chico Fellini - Chico Fellini (Shangri-La Productions)
This is what happens when albums are released too early in the year; by the time year end lists roll around, you damn near forget about them. I mean, I could have sworn that this album came out in 2008, but it actually came out this year. Thank God. None of the albums I was slotting in for the last position on my top 5 list felt right until I finally thought of this album. At nine tracks, it's quite short, but it's fantastic -- in an original, flamboyant, charismatic, and theatrical way that represents very much what I love about music.
If you'd like to see the complete article, along with lists by 7 other writers, CLICK HERE :D