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My favorite albums are always the ones I can never find the words for. Where I can’t really describe anything about it apart from “it’s so awesome, you have to listen to it.” These are the albums that made me feel this way this year, in no particular order.

 

St. Vincent – Strange Mercy

If I had to pick a favorite of the year, I’m sure this would be it. I love the way Annie Clark contrasts Disney-like strings with dark lyrics, not to mention her voice is amazing.

Standout Track: Surgeon

 

Wild Beasts – Smother

The sweet combination of Tom Flemming and Hayden Thorpe’s vocals –  breaths and sighs – over dreamy, layered music is pretty much heaven.

Standout Track: Bed of Nails

 

James Blake – James Blake

Apparently classified as post-dubstep, I really recommend just listening to it instead of trying to categorise it. Blake’s voice is simply amazing and the combination of electronic elements was fascinating to watch when I saw him at Splendour in the Grass earlier this year.

Standout Track: The Wilhelm Scream

 

Battles – Gloss Drop

I was initially a little disappointed with this album, especially after how much I loved Mirrored, but it ended up growing on me. I still think the lead single ‘Ice Cream’ is a bit tacky and it is certainly a bit less showy than Mirrored but I eventually became thankful that they didn’t just try to recreate the same sound.

Standout Track: My Machines (feat. Gary Numan)

 

Destroyer – Kaputt

I’ll be honest, the first I had heard of this album (and Destroyer for that matter) was only a few months ago, this album hit me pretty much immediately though and I’ve listened to it almost every day since.

Standout Track: Chinatown

 

Bon Iver – Bon Iver

Well it’s no surprise this is on my list really, or anyone else’s list. And I think I’ll just leave that at that.

Standout Track: Holocene

 

Yuck – Yuck

Mmmm…fuzzy. The problem with having an album released so early in the year is that by the time the end of the year rolls around, most people have forgotten about it. Some could argue that it means the album doesn’t have staying power, but they’re just so catchy and fun.

Standout Track: Georgia

 

Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

There really isn’t anything about this Mogwai album that makes it stand out from the rest, but the Scottish band have crafted what they do so well by now that it doesn’t really matter.

Standout Track: Mexican Grand Prix

 

The Antlers – Burst Apart

I caught a glimpse of these guys at Laneway at the start of the year and made a mental note to research further after the lead singer’s voice absolutely blew me away. Lucky for me an album came shortly after…

Standout Track: Corsicana

 

Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care

Similar to the Mogwai album, there isn’t a lot new happening here but it shows Explosions doing the things that they do well.

Standout Track: Last Known Surroundings

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Joined by Liars, St. Vincent and Sergio Dias of Os mutantes, Beck is continuing with his recording project that sees him re-recording whole albums in just one day. The latest effort is the 1987 INXS album ‘Kick’, and the first track is already available for listening here. A new track will be uploaded each week.

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So after much deliberation, I’ve finally come to my final list for my choice of top 10 albums of 2009.

1. Them Crooked Vultures – Self Titled

Normally the idea of a “super group” isn’t a great one, but with the incredible talent of Dave Grohl (Nirvana/Foo Fighters), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) and Josh Homme (Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age) all put together, the end result is amazing.

Key Tracks: No One Loves Me & Neither Do I, New Fang

2. Muse – The Resistance

This long awaited follow up album to 2006’s ‘Black Holes and Revelations’, Muse dazzled fans with this larger than life album.

Key Tracks: Undisclosed Desires, The Resistance

3. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

Combining electronica and indie pop, this French band delivered some of the best singles of the year. Think Air or Daft Punk meets The Strokes.

Key Tracks: 1901, Lasso

4. Mt. St. Helen’s Vietnam Band – Self Titled

Heralded as the ‘new’ Arcade Fire, this Seattle quintet didn’t nearly manage as much media attention as their Canadian counterparts with their debut album. Schizophrenic indie pop at it’s best.

Key Tracks: Who’s Asking, Masquerade

5. St. Vincent – Actor

A release that went relatively unseen by radio stations, but definitely hit big on the indie music scene. As a former member of The Polyphonic Spree and Sufjan Steven’s touring band, Annie Clark’s sophomore solo album was absolutely breathtaking.

Key Tracks: The Strangers, Actor Out Of Work

6. Grizzly Bear – Veckatamist

Key Tracks: Two Weeks, Fine For Now

7. Yeah Yeah Yeah’s – It’s Blitz!

Key Tracks: Zero, Hysteric

8. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

Key Tracks: Little Lion Man, Winter Winds

9. The Temper Trap – Conditions

Key Tracks: Sweet Disposition, Down River

10. Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You

Key Tracks: The Fear, Not Fair

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