No real introduction, but just the list:
- Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago
This definitely reflects my predilections this year: a preference for mellow, low-key recordings. The songs are gentle and reflective, and I kept returning to the album again and again throughout the year.
- Shearwater: Rook
OK, so I’m in the tank for these guys. Something about music from Austin right now really speaks to me (see #9). I’m sure an Explosions in the Sky album would have ranked quite highly this year as well. This album is perfect for commuting on the train.
- Frightened Rabbit: Midnight Organ Fight
Departing from the norm a bit here, in that its harder edged than my other top picks. This one has been rocking my iPod since it came out.
- Wolf Parade: At Mount Zoomer
This album took a couple of listens, but when I got it, I dug it. Perhaps the concert helped (Thanks for finally coming to Atlanta!). “Kissing the Beehive” alone is worth the price of admission.
- TV on the Radio: Dear Science
The more I think of it, the more TV on the Radio are charting the course for the next great rock band for the new millennium. Consistently smart and catchy at the same time, these guys can seemingly do no wrong.
- The Walkmen: You & Me
The surprise of the year for me. I didn’t expect this album to be this good. I expected a middling effort, but this is the best they’ve sounded in years. The only thing keeping this outside of the top 5 is the absence of a song like “The Rat.”
- Sigur Rós: Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust
Wow. Their most commercial sounding effort to date, they didn’t skimp on the beauty and majesty one would expect from Sigur Rós. If I had any musical talent, I think I would like to live in Iceland since it seems such fertile musical ground.
- Okkervil River: The Stand Ins
Last year’s The Stage Names raced up my list, and Will Sheff and company followed it up well with what sounds a lot like a companion album. It’s almost the reverse side of the sentiments expressed in The Stage Names.
- Fleet Foxes: Fleet Foxes
A lot of people had this as their best album of the year. It was good. Really good. “White Winter Hymnal” may be in my top two or three songs of the year. Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t fit to that standard, even as good as it is.
- Silver Jews: Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea
Another new find. This album evokes Nick Cave and Johnny Cash in equal regards.
- Elbow: The Seldom Seen Kid
- The Mountain Goats: Heretic Pride
- Deerhunter: Microcastle
- Ra Ra Riot: Rhumb Line
- The Raveonettes: Lust Lust Lust
- My Morning Jacket: Evil Urges
- The Hold Steady – Stay Positive
- The Dodos – Visiter
- She and Him: Volume One
- Vampire Weekend: Vampire Weekend