1. Oh No - Dr. No's Ethiopium
A superb blend of instrumental hip-hop and 60's/70's Ethiopian psych/rock/funk samples. Possibly one of the best instrumental hip-hop albums since DJ Shadow released Endtroducing in 1996.
2. White Denim - Fits
This rock trio from Austin, TX shows amazing versatility and urgency with their music and from what I hear, might put on one of the best shows in music today. Come visit Omaha, please!
3. Black Lips - 200 Million Thousand
I love the scuzzy, dirty punk rock these guys make and they took lo-fi to a new gritty low this year. Amazing to see live also.
4. The Thermals - Now We Can See
This is the most earnest album I heard all of '09. Though The Thermals shifted away from their anti-religion/anti-government vitriol, they can still churn out great punk music.
5. Atlas Sound - Logos
I'm a later bloomer - "Logos" finally piqued my interest in Atlas Sound/Deerhunter, but now I'm addicted. I don't know how to label this music - psychedelic, bedroom pop, experimental, etc. - but I can listen to it over and over.
6. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
Karen O & Co. has matured from the garage rock revival to synthesizers and dance-floor burners? Yes, please.
7. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion
This band deserved all the hype they received for "MPP". I'm actually baffled I didn't listen to it more in '09!
8. A Place to Bury Strangers - Exploding Head
"The loudest band from NYC" added a few more looped amplifiers to turn their sound into a bigger monster, yet added more melody to the vocals. Ear-shattering and beautiful at the same time.
9. Doom - Born Like This
My favorite MC is (finally) back with a new album! Sweet. It also features one of the best songs of '09, Gazzillion Ear, produced by the late, great J Dilla.
10. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
Don't tell me you didn't see this one coming. This album had to rank solely based on the track While You Wait for the Others.
Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears - Tell 'Em What Your Name Is!
Neko Case - Middle Cyclone
Peter Bjorn and John - Living Thing
Nirvana - Live at Reading
Vivian Girls - Everything Goes Wrong