This was a wonderful year for "good" albums; I can't remember a year in which I genuinely liked so many new releases. In particular, it was way better than 2008. But it was also a year that would have been trumped by records that only made it to #2 or #3 on previous lists of mine. For me there was no Sky Blue Sky, In Rainbows or Modern Times to run away with 2009. Anyway, here's my list...
11. Mount Eerie Wind Poem- Back when Phil Elvrum was recording as The Microphones (and Pitchfork was letting him cum all over their collective tits), I found his music to be lacking in many ways. Mount Eerie is a different story. His sound collage experimentation is finally landing for me, and he's found new ways to sound exciting, challenging, and sometimes even scary.
10. Bonnie "Prince" Billy Beware- I liked this one just as much as Lie Down in the Light. A little less openly inviting, but the songs are great and his arrangements have never been better.
9. Polvo In Prism- This band's reunification was a gift from the indie rock gods. So happy they're back and making awesome music once again.
8. Slaid Cleaves Everything You Love Will Be Taken Away- My favorite country recording of the year. I first heard Slaid Cleaves when I got a free promo recording at the Daily Northwestern. He fell by the wayside for me a bit, but I rediscovered him this year and thought this record was excellent.
7. Built To Spill There Is No Enemy- Another return to form from a late '90s classic.
6. Dirty Projectors Bitte Orca- So glad Radiohead put out a new one this year.
5. Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavillion- I want to react against Pitchfork and hate this album, but it's too good to deny. Still haven't uncovered everything it has to offer.
4. Sonic Youth The Eternal- If, on the heels of Experimental Jetset..., Washing Machine, and NYC Ghosts and Flowers, you had told me Sonic Youth would put out 4 of the best rock albums of the '00s, I would have laughed in your face. Good thing that conversation never happened. What a decade for this band.
3. Morrissey Years of Refusal- I'm repeating myself, but why did I have no idea that this guy's solo career was so good? This was the only album of this year that I played on constant repeat after buying it.
2. Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix- I had no idea who these guys were a year ago and their (incorrect) categorization as French dance pop sounds miserable. But what can I say? This record is awesome.
1. Bill Callahan Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle- Moody, relaxing, scary, beautiful, sometimes all in the same song. I've really gotten into the whole span of his career, and this is my favorite record he's put out.
Can't Offer Any Objective Opinion Because I Just Got It and He Just Tragically Died
Vic Chesnutt- At the Cut
Dinosaur Jr.- Farm
Neko Case- Middle Cyclone
Sunset Rubdown- Dragonslayer
Yo La Tengo- Popular Songs
Jeremy Enigk- OK Bear
Nels Cline- Coward
Good Enough, Yet Disappointing
Wilco- Wilco (the Album)
Bob Dylan- Together Through Life
Andrew Bird- Noble Beast
Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
Owen- New Leaves