Lowell Summer Music Series Sale!
Winter Schedule Announcement!

2pm - 4pm: Happy Music for Happy People
6pm - 8pm: Who the Fuck Knows
8pm - 11pm: The Fallout Shelter
11pm - 1am: We Are Rolling!

4pm - 6pm: Just Another Hardcore Show
6pm - 8pm: SBS
8pm - 10pm: Tunes for a senile Day of Bowling
10pm - 12am: The Demon's Opera

4pm - 6pm: Mixtape circa 1993 Science
6pm - 8pm: This Station is Currently On Lockdown
8pm - 10pm: Bass' Ass
10pm - 12am: Andy Hwang's Awesome Show, Great Job!
12am - 2am: Bedlam: The American Wet Dream

4pm - 6pm: Merrimack River Blues
6pm - 9pm: The Stress Factor
9pm - 11pm: The System is Down
11pm - 1am: Uncle John's Variety Hour

2pm - 4pm: The Heartland Scramble
4pm - 6pm: The Banshee's Dick
10pm - 12am: The Movement


Behind the Scenes at WUML is a new, ongoing column that you can expect to see frequenting the blog in the coming year. This is a chance for you as a reader to get to know us! WUML is a completely student-run radio station that features only underground music. There are no professionals handing us playlists or sending our charts to CMJ. There is no university-hired faculty cleaning up after us and making sure we do our job correctly. WUML is a special kind of radio station, with the most wonderful people behind the curtain, working the gears, and making sure everything goes over smoothly! Enjoy pictures of us at work and remember, you can always stream us here and check our playlists here.

Tom, the Live Sound Director, is busy booking live acts for WUML during his office hours on Monday.

Sean, Host/Engineer of Live From the Fallout Shelter is busy mixing sound for the live act, Debaser, on Monday night.

Tom running the board, spinning awesome tunes!
Yeasayer - Odd Blood, Secretly Canadian - Their new single was very good.
Liars - Sisterworld, Mute - "Scissors" wasn't all we hoped for, but Liars' last two albums ruled.
Midlake - The Courage of Others, Bella Union - Lo-fi February.
Xui Xui - Dear God, I Hate Myself, Kill Rockstars - Jamie Stewart's collaboration with Zola Jesus was of the radar but really interesting, their 10th coming in 2010.
No Age - ----, Sub Pop - Losing Feeling was a sign that No Age aren't changing their sound.
The Walkmen - ----,Fat Possum - Vets.
LCD Soundsystem - ----, DFA - We've heard the Son, and the Father, what is Murphy's Holy Ghost album.
The National - ----, 4AD - Wierd intelli-post-pop on the best label for it.
Espen Eiksen Trio - ----, Rune Grammofon - More electro-jazz.
The dBs - [reunion album], ----- - North Carolina's finest 80s Jangle/teen-bopper revivalists coming back out of retirement
Avalanches - I shit you not.
Surfer Blood - Astro Coast, Kanine - These guys have a stock guitar sound we haven't heard in a while and Surf Rock is back...
Male Bonding - ----, Sub - Pop Best new garage punk; hail from the UK.
Jumbling Towers - Recommended by our Music Dir.
Flaming Lips, Henry Rollins do Pink Floyd
Things we could have heard more of...

Former Ghosts -Fleurs - Martin Hannet style electro duo of Zola Jesus and Jamie Stewart. Coldwave specialists, not for the light at heart
Fridge - Early Output 1996-1998 - This is a cool collection of post-rock group Fridge, who not are basically Four Tet.
German Measles - Wild - Rubella never sounded so cool.
Frankie and the Outs - Thee Only One - More DIY Garage rock, but it really is good, overlooked, revreb-ridden, fucked in the head, ect. These guys sound a little like Vivian Girls.
Beach Fossils - A new, up-and-coming band on Woodisist. Surfy, jangley, airy. Interesting.

Some reviews for this release:
Edgetone Records sent awesome new albums including: Go-Go Fightmaster, T.D. Skatchit and Co., and Eddie the Rat.

Katherine Young's new release on Porter is a minimalist, neo-classical masterpiece. It also has a great cover. Other good stuff from Porter includes Chll Pll, featuring Zach Hill from Hella.

Also worth it:
  • Fred Anderson, 21st Century Chase - Live, Spontaneous Hard Bop/Free jazz from an 80 year old sax player.
  • Bobby Previte and the New Bump, Set the Alarm for Monday - Newest offering with newest band, Monday is drummer-led nior-jazz suite featuring Ellery Eskelin on tenor.
  • Bobby Hutcherson, Dialogue - This 1965 Hutcherson debut reissue is stacked featuring Sam Rivers, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, AND Andrew Hill- who composed 4 of the 6 pieces. This. IS. Vibraphone.
Friday Morning


News News News:
Local/Campus News:
  • Thru 12/15 Photography: The Evolutionary Art" at the Admissions Gallery @ Dugan
  • UMass Lowell Contemporary Electronic Ensemble Concert TONIGHT 7:30 - This semester’s concert features original student works and arrangements for electronic and electroacoustic instruments. Music Department faculty members, Drs. John Shirley and Alex Ruthman, will also present pieces: one utilizing iPhones as controllers to improvise a mix of video and musical elements, and the other improvising music on the computer by way of live coding procedures.
  • 119 Gallery's 5th Annual Juried Exhibit 12/5-12/19 - "Material is Language"
  • Work Environment Seminar with Maria Brunette 12/14 - Applications of Macroergonomics in Public Health Time: 12:30-1:30 p.m. Location: Kitson Hall 208
New Music:

This show is going to be incredible! Check out the bands:

IREPRESS - http://www.myspace.com/irepress

ONSLO - http://www.myspace.com/onslo

HANGMAN'S ALPHABET - http://www.myspace.com/hangmansalphabet

FISHING THE SKY - http://www.myspace.com/fishingtheskyband

Come out and support local Music!!!

The Books

I've always thought of the music I listen to as my own personal soundtrack to the every day. Conjuring emotions when necessary and making the mundane beautiful, just like non-diegetic background music to a film.

Music For a Film

This is why the Books through me for a loop. I have always allowed my brain to connect the images around me with the music I listen to. However, this band gives you a little bit more to work with. I would like to think of each one of their songs as mini-film that my imagination fills in the gaps to. Samples selected from a hallway record collection give each song a story or at the very least a personality....you get to decide the rest.


You could say that this band plays with the sounds of voices as much, if not more than they play with the actual music itself. They love play-on-words (just look at their album titles: "Thought for Food," and "Lost and Safe.") and sounds: the sounds of laughter, of rain, of exclamation, emotional dialog, of foreign language. They slice samples together in bizarre ways, sometimes creating conversations that sound flawless, but incoherent and absurd. Their latest release, "Music for a French Elevator," is 15 minutes long, the majority of it this sort of sound play.


Yes its there, and this is why its all worth it. You don't know what to expect from track to track. Sometimes, the music enhances the samples, and sometimes the samples enhance the music. Original vocals are a rarity except on "Lost and Safe," where they are on a mainstay, and "The Lemon of Pink," where they are featured sparingly. Expect strange percussion and acoustic instruments, dramatic build-ups, and eerie low points.


From the "Play All DVD"

Favorite Albums

The Lemon of Pink (2003)
Lost and Safe (2005)

Click Here
Inspired by Paul's wonderful Christmas mix, I've decided to make a monthly mix- or, rather, whenever some of inspiration hits. This will be the first one, and I hope all of you enjoy it. Click the art below to download the mix's .zip file! Winter can often be such a strange time: beautiful, surreal, depressing- I tried summing that up in these 44 minutes or so.

Intro Goth/Wavves
Nut In Your Eye/Alcoholic Faith Mission
You're So Fine/Atlas Sound
Chocolate Girl (Live)/Animal Collective
Snow/Real Estate
Frozen Warnings/Nico
Smothered In Hugs/Guided By Voices
Vacuum/Gang Gang Dance
In My Room/Best Coast
All We Ask (Piano Demo)/Grizzly Bear
13 Guardian Angels Standing 'Round Your Bed/A Silver Mt. Zion

For 5 years now, Paulie has been doing Merry Christmas mixtapes. However, in a world of poseur Chirstmas music, Paul is an auteur. As our newly appointed Assistant World Music Director, I decided to review his 'album'.

"I decided to start making it as gift for people, mainly for friends," said Lamontagne. "I usually just troll around the internet on various blogs or random searches, writing 'my favorite band' and 'Christmas' and seeing what I come up with, its just fishing. I was bummed I couldn't find anything by Kraftwerk."

From the get go, it can be noted pop culture muscles are being flexed, and there is certainly some digging our curator has done. XTC's selection off their single for Viz Comics was released under the name Johnny Japes and His Jesticles. Partridge croons over his classic acoustic guitar and exciting drum work, complete with bells and regal synth-horn. Never ruling out the present times, Daniel Johnston, Snowden, The Walkmen, Of Montreal, Julian Casablancas and Deerhoof make up the indie-cred battalion and each put their own spin on it. God I LOVE Of Montreal...and The Walkmen know how to party. Iowa's Pines take a spooky look at Silver Bells and Little Bright Star is taken to the wall-of-sound Motown world by The Supremes. The Monkees seem to sound more like Left Banke or The Zombies on the eerie Rui Chui. An exciting waypoint emerges in Bjork's first band, The Sugarcubes, and Jesus and Mary Chain sweltering through Christmas Eve, which maybe the coolest standalone track on the album. Listen the Snow is Falling by Galaxie 500 is a contemplative naturalist look penned by Yoko Ono. Having grown up in Cambridge, 500 is no stranger to the weather and feeling of NE and songs like Snowstorm, Blue Thunder, and Strange tell us this.

The highlight of the album by far for me is Hark! The Herald Angels sing by everyone's favorite ramshackle punkers The Fall. Hot off one of their many Peel Sessions, they do not abandon smart, catchy guitar lines and sneering fuck-off lyrics. Don't be deterred: you can get swinging with Chet Baker AND Stan Getz in a collaboration entitled West Coast Live released in '97. Interestingly enough, Christmas seems a time for everyone to feel good, less perhaps Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine's Lonely This Christmas and maybe Kevin Barnes and Co. singing for animals, but they always sound so happy. Maybe he and Ray Davies could hold each other, as long as Les Carter brought some money and didn't talk about those little rich boys.

"For the last 4 years I've thought 'I won't do one this year, I'm out of Christmas songs' but it always ends up being better than the last one," says Lamontagne.

Making this list was fun. Since 2000 I have gotten laid, graduated high school, began playing music if several different bands, and listened to music in various different forms of self. Looking back was stranger than I expected it to be, several of my favorite albums from days past (Cursive, DJ Shadow, Mindflayer and Lightning Bolt) I listened to during their inception, but some I found later and peered back on (The Books, Old Canes, or Unwound). My top ten may surprise people, but these albums are the only ones I consistently listen to the ENTIRE way through. At any rate, most would deserve being on the list from a critical standpoint, but these are my favorites:

100. Jamie Lidell - Multiply
99. Explosions in the Sky - Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever
98. Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedella
97. High Places - High Places
96. Cut Copy - In Ghosts Colors
95. Death From Above 1979 - You're a Woman, I'm a Machine
94. Portishead - Third
93. Les Savy Fav - Inches
92. The Unicorns - Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone
91. Mr Dibbs - Turntable Scientifics
90. Andrew W.K. - I Get Wet
89. Belle and Sebastian - Push Barman to Open Old Wounds
88. Justice - Cross
86. Of Montreal - Sunlandic Twins
85. !!! - Myth Takes
84. William Bianski - The Disintegration Loops
83. The Knife - Silent Shout
82. The Books - Lemon of Pink
81. Bohren & der Club de Gore - Black Earth
80. Spoon - Kill the Moonlight
79. Midlake - Bamnan and Slivercork
78. Battles - Mirrored
77. Justin Timberlake - Future Sex/Love Sounds
76. Peter Bjorn and John – Writer’s Block
75. Morrissey - You Are the Quarry
74. The Strokes - Is This It
73. The National - Boxer
72. King Khan and the Shrines - What Is?
71. No Age - Weirdo Rippers
70. The National - Alligator
69. Godspeed You Black Emperor! - Life Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven
68. Supersilent - 6/7/9
67. Sed Non Satiata - Le Ciel De Notre Enfance
66. The White Stripes - De Stijl
65. MIA - Kala
64. Unwound - Leaves Turn Inside You
63. Wu-Tang Clan - The W
62. Primal Scream - XTMNR
61. The Walkmen - Bows + Arrows
60. Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
59. McClusky - McCLusky Do Dallas
58. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever to Tell
57. Abe Vigoga – Skeleton
56. Cass McCombs - A
55. The Go! Team - Thunder, Lightning Stike
54. LCD Soundsystem - LCD Soundsystem
53. No Age - Nouns
52. A Place to Bury Strangers - A Place to Bury Strangers
51. Sufjan Stevens - C'mon Feel the Illinoise
50. The Books - Thought for Food
49. Love is All - Nine Times That Same Song
48. Fugazi - The Arguement
47. Scott Walker - The Drift
46. Japanther – Dump the Body in the Rikki Lake
45. Unwound - Leaves Turn Inside You
44. The Locust - The Locust
43. Big Digits – Smoke Machines in Lazer Vision
42. Bar Kohkba Sextet - 50th Birthday Celebration Volume 11
41. Cass McCombs - Prefection
40. DJ Dangermouse - The Gray Album
39. The Field - From Here We Go to Sublime
38. RJD2 - Dead Ringer
37. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
36. Dungen – Ta Det Lungt
35. SebastiAn – Ross Ross Ross EP
34. Manitoba (Caribou) - Up in Flames
33. At the Drive In - Relationship of Command
32. Jon Brion - Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
31. Mind Flayer - It's Always 1999
30. Tom Waits - Blood Money
29. Japandroids – Post-Nothing
28. Modest Mouse – The Moon and Antarctica
27. The Dirtbombs - Ultraglide in Black
26. Deerhunter – Cryptograms
25. Ornette Coleman - Sound Grammar
24. Quasimoto - THe Unseen
23. Piebald – Barley Legal/All Ages
22. Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules and Love Affair
21. Panda Bear - Person Pitch
20. Masada -Live at Sevilla 2000/Live at Tonic 2001
19. Moving Units - Dangerous Dreams
18. The Juan Maclean - Less Than Human
17. Dan Deacon - Bromst
16. Black Mountain – Black Mountain
15. Edan - Beauty and the Beat
14. The Rapture - Echoes
13. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
12. The Walkmen - Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone
11. Old Canes - Early Morning Hymns
10. El Guincho - Alegranza

Hailing from Barcelona, El Guincho's Alegranza is an awesome combination of musical styles ranging from neo-psychedelic folk, to tropicalia, to no-fi. Each track is upbeat and summery dub, with influences of early African rock and roll. It is in the same vein as Person Pitch, but relies more heavily on very full drum beats and poly rhythms than layered lo-fi hooks. This album is an all-the-way-through gem.
9. DJ Shadow/Cut Chemist - Product Placement

In 1996 when DJ Shadow put forth one of the most important hip-hop albums ever, created entirely by samples. Five years later he and J5 spinner Cut Chemist put together the limited edition Product Placement. The two sided mixtape contains some interesting samples. However, the intense crate digging is only half the battle, the combinging and looping is very masterfully done. Side B's Motorcross Part 2 till the end of the cut is a force to be reckoned with. As is the midway "California Soul" and Union Strike. If you're a fan of the mixtape, this is one of the best.
8. Moving Units - Moving Units EP

The dance-punk moniker is used retroactively to describe bands like ESG, Liquid Liquid, and Gang of Four. When the next big DP surge began with Echoes (#14) and its jam House of Jealous Lovers, there was much rejoicing. !!!/Out Hud, Radio 4, and The Unicorns quickly jumped on the train which would arrive in James Murphy's station by 2005. However, over at 31g there was a release of extremely diverse tastes. And although Units would jump to Palm Pictures for their full length (#19), the 31g label, headed by Swing Kids singer Justin Pearson, produced their debut EP. 4 tracks, including an early version of perhaps the most underrated song of the decade: Between Us and Them.
7. Charles Mingus - Cornell 1964 With Eric Dolphy

My Jazz List top ten had no numbers. For that reason, I simply chose the most accessible one to put here. Although, that is not say it is still amazing. Obviously it's Mingus, and Dolphy, but the true beauty in the album is how you can dig and dig and never find a weak link...it's a perfect live album. The cohesiveness of the players and the vast song selection combine for one of the best live jazz albums ever. 1964 also presents a slice of jazz where Dolphy gave us Naima, Last Date, AND Out to Lunch and it was Mingus' most productive year. Cornell just is more circumstantial evidence.
6. Xui Xui - Knife Play/Fabulous Muscles

I can see the love/hate with Jamie Stewart. Experimental indie which you can tear your heart out to, but Xui Xui also very much new wave, but they're not throwing back. They could've been set in No-Wave NYC or Cold-Wave France, Martin Hannett could've produced them and Tony Wilson would've loved them. Knife Play is brutal, helpless, and challenging. Three years later, Fabulous Muscles is a melodic, scary, cult-ie magnum opus. Post-post-punk.
5. Liars - Drum's Not Dead

First off, I am sorry I play drums and this is my 5th favorite album. Liars annoy some people. First they're dance-punk, then they are post-punk, then they are something else. At any rate, they are true to their name and like to jump all around a neo-no wave spectrum. Drum's Not Dead is an incredible concept album with two drummers and some of the most enduring, unique playing of the decade. Let's Not Wrestle Mount Heart Attack seemed to fly in the face of everything they had done up to that point, and from there it took us through a tribal jaunt along the boundaries of experimental post rock where only few have tread.
4. Mools - Dub Narcotic Session

When Phil Elvrium found Mools in Japan, twas a very good day. They sound just like the Smiths, only they're hard to understand. The EP's 4 tracks are chock full of intricate little perfections. The steel drum, high pitched trembling vocals, and a rhythm section which can change with the drop of the hat. You can also kind-of figure out what the songs are about without even knowing the language, you may also be inclined to sing along.
3. Cursive - The Ugly Organ

Theater can be a little boring, but there is a feeling of anticipation sitting in front of a darkened stage and opening up your Playbill. A similar thing happens in front of your CD player with Ugly Organ queuing up and opening the liner notes. They include a cast and even stage directions. If there is a golden age of emo, this may be it's last gasp. Tim Casher and his gang, including Gretta Cohn on cello, rock out a brand of tragicomedy that is untouchable, and this album is stacked with Saddle Creek clutch hitters. Herald! Frankenstein into Butcher the Song is absolutley lovely.
2. Lightning Bolt - Wonderful Rainbow

Lightning Bolt have never disappointed me. I have never said "their old stuff is better". Having listened to them since their first album, all my favorite tracks are off of Wonderful Rainbow. Be it the visual "Duel in the Deep," sprawling pestilence of "30,000 Monkeys," the beautiful tid-bits of "Hello Morning" and "Wonderful Rainbow," the Grieg-esque "2 Towers" and Mussorgsky-esque/ "Dracula Mountain," the shredding virtuosity of "Crown of Storms," or the fastest, most raucous pop song ever conceived in "Assassins," this album is amazing.
1. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
And here it is, Sound of Silver: James Murphy coming to terms with growing up. Of all the ways to embrace the fabled apocalypse we seem to be standing on the edge of, Murphy just wants to party. He is the king of DFA, the label which was founded at the beginning of a decade saturated in electro-disco-dance revival. If they arent putting out the hits, they certainly have their hand in them, be it production-wise or endorsing it. On Silver we see Murphy embodying his sound and joining the likes of Bowie, Ferry, and Eno all at once. The album is a cross section of MP3 age dance: dance-punk: "Watch the Tapes" and "Sound of Silver,"electro-soaked hits: "Get Innocuous," "North American Scum" and "Time to Get Away," the ballad "New York I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down." and finally the epic anthems: "All My Friends," "Us v. Them," "Someone Great." These add up to different meditations on a generation of partying in its purest, most fun form.
I originally made a list of my Top 25 albums of the 2000's. Sadly, wonderful Mac application "Stickies" deleted the entire thing. So, rather than that, I'll write up my favorite album of the past 10 years.

Neon Bible/the Arcade Fire

I understand that most people- at least 75%- would disagree with this choice. Even if I had chosen Funeral, most fans would quarrel between which album is superior. Although Funeral is largely considered, and very well may be, a superior album, the feel on this album is non-paralleled by any other artist this entire decade.

While Funeral was an album filled with youthful joy, sorrows, and hopes, the Arcade Fire took a large maturation leap with Neon Bible. For the most part, the album was about 3 things: religion, the problems popping up in modern society/America, and the youthful escapism that came from those issues.

Opener "Black Mirror" sets the dark tone: "I walked down to the ocean after waking from a nightmare"; what follows is a dark venture through the mind of someone surpressed with the everyday worries in America, and how those have evolved into such evil and big forces:

"Mirror, mirror on the wall
Show me where their bombs will fall"

Singer and songwriter Win Butler mixes these dark messages with escapist interludes "Keep the Car Running" and "No Cars Go". Proclaiming a place where no cars, planes, or boats go, Win sings "Us kids know". Hoping for a simpler time runs through the veins of the whole album: however, it seems almost unattainable. When even Time Magazine has dubbed the 2000's "the Decade From Hell", you know things aren't in very good shape. Neon Bible, in that sense, is very easy to relate to.

Closing track, "My Body is A Cage", cements the same depressing ethos one-hundred fold. Although the 2000's were a breaking year for all sorts of artists, genres, and scenes, nothing captured both the horrendous lows of modern day living and wistful, youthful escapism as well as Neon Bible. Everyone has their "own" album: the Arcade Fire gave America theirs.

At the turn of the millennium, I was 10 years old, and thought that the Blink-182 were the best band I was ever going to hear. With this in mind, I am hardly fit to write a list on the best music of the decade. In fact, I don't believe I even come into real musical consciousness until the year 2003 and it was right at the forefront of those angsty high school years.

But to be fair, I have done a lot of catching up, filling my ears with as much music as I could get my hands on from all eras alike. I am a music connoisseur, this is what I do!

All the albums following have made some sort of impact in the past 10 years, whether they were simply personal or critically acclaimed. Here is my attempt to stay true to my roots, and give you what I believe are the greatest albums of the decade.

50. ...Is a Real Boy- Say Anything
49. Return to Cookie Mountain- TV on the Radio
48. The Execution of All Things- Rilo Kiley
47. 59’ Sound- the Gaslight Anthem
46. Take off Your Pants and Jacket- Blink 182
45. Some Kind of Cadwallader- Algernon Cadwallader
44. Red-Eyed Soul- World/Inferno Friendship Society
43. The EP- Owen
42. Designing a Nervous- The Anniversary
41. Push the Button- Chemical Brothers
40. The Photo Album- Death Cab for Cutie
39. 10 Songs- I Hate Myself
38. Strawberry Jam- Animal Collective
37. Shut Up I’m Dreaming- Sunset Rubdown
36. Dead Reckoning- Small Brown Bike
35. Lift Your Skinny Fists like Antennas to Heaven- Godspeed! You Black Emperor
34. S/T- Crystal Castles
33. These are the Vistas- The Bad Plus
32. Silent Alarm- Bloc Party
31. Left and Leaving- The Weakerthans
30. The War on Erroism- NoFX
29. The Devil and God are Raging Inside of Me- Brand New
28. Chutes Too Narrow- The Shins
27. Everything Goes Numb- Streetlight Manifesto
26. Deja Entendu- Brand New
25. From a Basement on the Hill- Elliott Smith
24. You Forgot it In People- Broken Social Scene
23. Reinventing Axl Rose- Against Me!
22. Merriweather Post Pavilion- Animal Collective
21. Hidden Arithmetic- Indian Summer
20. Discovery- Daft Punk
19. How I Spent my Summer Vacation- The Bouncing Souls
18. The Sound of Silver- LCD Soundsystem
17. The Ugly Organ- Cursive
16. Post-Nothing- Japandroids
15. The Glow Pt.2- The Microphones
14. The Greatest Story Ever Told- The Lawrence Arms
13. At Home With…-Owen
12. Dear You- Jawbreaker
11. For Emma Forever Ago- Bon Iver
10. The Lemon of Pink- The Books
9. Kid A- Radiohead
8. Fuck World Trade- Leftover Crack
7. Give Up- The Postal Service
6. The Argument- Fugazi

5. The Moon and Antarctica- Modest Mouse

The Moon and Antarctica is Modest Mouse's transition album from UP Records to Epic Records, and perhaps their best album to date. It maintains the messy, experimental sound of their old music and foreshadows their more accessible sound. Favorite tracks: 3rd Planet, The Stars are Projectors, Wild Pack of Family Dogs.

4. Relationship of Command- At the Drive-In

One of my favorite albums in my later years of high school, Relationship of Command bridges the gap between 90's emo, rock, and punk. This is the album that progressed emo music of the 00's. Emotive and heavy, try to not rock out while listening to this. Favorite tracks: One Armed Scissor, Sleepwalk Capsules, Cosmonaut.

3. I'm Wide Awake It's Morning- Bright Eyes

Probably the magnum opus of our friend Conner Oberst, this pop-folk album does not have one bad song on it. I suggest slipping it on whenever your driving early in the morning. There is nothing like the sun going up in the east and listening to this. Favorite tracks: Old Soul Song (For the New World Order), Land-Locked Blues, and Poison Oak.

2. Funeral- The Arcade Fire

This was Arcade Fire's first studio album on Merge Records. It was incredibly well received, and even had songs on the charts. In fact, you might say this was the album that changed indie-rock forever. This album covers a full spectrum, from marches to anthems. You'll be singing along, and you'll be smiling. Favorite tracks: Neighborhood #3, Rebellion (lies), Neighborhood #1

1. Come on Feel the IlliNOISE- Sufjan Stevens

One second you are in Grey, Indiana. The next, there is a bridge underneath you and the bright lights of Chicago are blinding you...you may as well be listening to Sufjan. Well researched, and chock full of inside jokes, "Illinois," is certainly the biggest masterpiece of the decade. I selected it for its music technicality, orchestration, dialog, and dynamics. Every song is about a tradition of Illinois. Never before has an artist so well captured a state within music. The musicality and the concept couldn't have been carried out any better. Favorite tracks: Decatur, Casmir Pulaski Day, and John Wayne Gacy Jr.

A: Bristol, Live 1978 streaming right now.
Here is the moment we have all been waiting for: the very best albums of 2009! I sat stressing over the nuances of this list for a really long time before coming to the conclusion that all 49 of these albums are really great in their own way. If they made the list, they should make your itunes library for sure. The numbers really just represent the impact they had on me personally. Please feel free to discuss, comment, and share your own!

49. Atlas Sounds- Logos (Kranky/4AD)
48. My Heart to Joy- Seasons in Verse (Topshelf)
47. Fuck Buttons- Tarot Sport (ATP Recordings)
46. Sonic Youth- The Eternal (Matador)
45. Transit- Stay Home (Run for Cover)
44. The Lawrence Arms: Buttsweat and Tears (Fat Wreck Chords)
43. Bomb the Music Industry- Scrambles (Quote Unquote/ Asian Man Records)
42. Real Estate- S/T (Woodsist)
41. The Clean- Mister Pop (Merge/ Arch Hill)
40. The Drums- The Summertime EP (Moshi Moshi/Popfrenzy)
39. The Thermals- Now We Can See (Kill Rock Stars)
38. The Loved Ones- Distractions (Fat Wreck Chords)
37. The Sidekicks: Weight of Air (Red Scare)
36. NoFX- Coaster (Fat Wreck Chords)
35. NoFX- Cokie the Clown (Fat Wreck Chords)
34. Nothington-Roads, Bridges and Ruins (BYO/Left off the Dial)
33. The Mountain Goats- The Life of the World to Come (4AD)
32. A Wilhelm Scream- S/T EP (Paper + Plastick)
31. Small Brown Bike- Composite, Volume One (No Idea Records)
30. Brand New- Daisy (Interscope)
29. No Age- Losing Feeling (Subpop)
28. Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (V2)
27. Sufjan Stevens- The BQE (Asthmatic Kitty)
26. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart- S/T (Slumberland)
25. Volcano Choir- Unmap (Jagjaguwar)
24. Title Fight- The Last Thing You Forget (Run for Cover)
23. Animal Collective- Fall Be Kind EP (Domino Records)
22.Do Make Say Think- Other Truths (Constillation)
21.Charles Spearin- The Happiness Project (Arts and Crafts)
20. Make Do and Mend- Bodies of Water EP (Panic Records)
19. Andrew Jackson Jihad- Can’t Maintain (Asian Man)
18. Polar Bear Club- Chasing Hamburg (Bridge Nine Records)
17. The Appleseed Cast- Sagramatha (The Militia Group)
16. Short Fuse Burning- Scream When You Burn (Self-Released)
15. Coalmine Canary- The Company we Keep (Polk-Records)
14. Lucero- 1372 Overton Park (Universal)
13. Algernon Cadwallader- Hot Green/Fun EP (Be Happy)
12. Matt and Kim- Grand (Fader Label)
11. Vacations- I was Bikini/Rain Afraid (Record Label)
10. Bon Iver- Blood Bank EP (Jagjaguwar)
9. Chuck Ragan- Gold Country (Side One Dummy)
8. Propaghandi- Supporting Caste (Welcoming Comittee Records)
7. Cymbals Eat Guitars- Why There are Mountains (Self-Released)
6. Old Canes- Feral Harmonic (Saddle Creek)

#1-5 Category Winners

The Twilight Sad- Forget the Night Ahead (Fat Cat)
Saddest Album
Reasons to love this album: Emotive, beautiful, indie-rock. Plus, singing in scottish accents could not sound cooler. I couldn't turn this one off for an entire month. Favorite tracks: I Became a Prostitute, 7 Years of Letters, and That Room.

Merriweather Post Pavilion- Animal Collective (Domino Records)
Best Hair
Animal Collective really came into their own with Merriweather Post Pavilion. This album combines their experimental electronic component with upbeat and catchy melodies. A must have for every collection (plus, the cover is a stereogram. Look Closely). Favorite tracks: Summertime Clothes, My Girls, and Brother Sport.

Japandroids- Post-Nothing (Polyvinyl)
Best Debut
This album is hands down incredible. Its simplistic, lo-fi, and melodic. Everyone song has 2 lines of lyrics tops, and those homey chord progressions that bring you back to simpler times. This is a scream-out-loud on a long car ride kind of album. Favorite tracks: Young Hearts Spark Fire, Wet Hair, Rockers East Vancouver

Owen- New Leaves (Polyvinyl)
Best Followup Album
New Leaves is Owen's (Mike Kinsella) first release since the critically acclaimed "At Home With.." (2006). I have to say, it does not disappoint. Although it is more heavily orchestrated then his works in the past, you can still here his twinkly guitar riffs. Its as innocent and pretty as ever. Favorite tracks: Good Friends, Bad Habits, Amnesia and Me, a Trenchant's Critique

Pissed Jeans - King of Jeans (Subpop)
Most Brutal
This is my go to album when I've had a bad day. Seriously its perfect: heavy, but artfully. Not drop-D-chug-a-lugging, but just some dudes who kind of sound like Jesus Lizard. This album rocks. Favorite Tracks: False Jessi pt 2, She is Science Fiction, Half Idiot.
I'm sorry.
25. Polvo - In Prism
24. Crocodiles - Summer of Hate
23. The Big Pink - The Big Pink
22. YACHT - See Mystery Lights
21. Spectrals - Spectrals
20. Kurt Vile - Constant Hitmaker
19. Morrissey - Years of Refusal
18. Om - God is Good
17. Marked Men - Ghosts
16. Abe Vigoda - Reviver EP
15. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
14. HEALTH - Get Color
13. The Field - Yesterday and Today
12. Vivian Girls - Everything Goes Wrong
11. Real Estate - Real Estate

10. Mi Ami - Watersports - Experimental rock is a term that phases itself out the more it is used. Since the 80s there is a massive influx of already-been-dones coming out. Some thieving tendencies work, others don't, but those who can reinvent the genre better...or weirder can have thier day. Mi Ami throwback and reinvent.

9. Cass McCombs - Catacombs - Since 2003, Cass McCombs has been in the background of many folk out croppings, most notably Sufjan, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Beirut. Despite this, he is perhaps the most experimental album to album. 2005s PREfection on 4AD records was dripping with new wave, and on Dropping the Writ he sounded strikingly like Morrissey. Catacombs sounds like a return to more classic, extremely minimal folk like he did on A.

8. Cold Cave - Cremations - Reasons I love this album: I. Philadelphia II. Dreamy Dark Wave III. Minimalist Post Punk

7. Washed Out - Life of Leisure - For a while, Yo La Tengo's I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One has been my feel good album, now i have to make a playlist with Life of Liesure in there too. As winter rapidly approaches and I begin dreading the idea of 'layering up,' this surfy no-fi electronic album is something to listen for.

6. The Horrors - Primary Colours - Kevin Shields is a god. Loveless is one of my favorite albums, and many have tried to summit such a sonic peak before. None tastefully. However, the massive guitar lines on this album are only a fraction of the Horrors' sound. Vocally, they bring an air of Twee pop, contrasting dark daunting lyrics with an accent.

5. No Age - Losing Feeling EP - Along with #17, No Age represent a nice punk revival. Since Weirdo Rippers, they've crystallized their sound with Nouns. And the most exciting fact about the EP: they aren't changing their sound. Even Jarmusch is stoked!

4. Bear in Heaven - Beast Rest Fourth Mouth - Neo psychedelia...it's here and what will probably stay as the hip thing for a little bit. Animal Collective did it on Merriweather, but they had to change their sound. Bear in Heaven have their sound defined and this album is an experimental pop bull's eye.

3. Lightning Bolt - Earthly Delights - Having marked their territory very, very clearly, Brian and Brian continue to bring out the jams. In the Power of Milkshakes and Salad Gibson stated "were not classic rock" but Dave Auchenbach was partly right. In the realm of noise rock over which LB reigns, they are regular rock and roll, or were. Earthly Delights moves their sound over on the dial into avant-garde black metal.

2. Dan Deacon - Bromst - The party album came first, then Dan went new classical on us. Bromst was awesome and certainly one of the most anticipated albums of the year. Dan didn't compensate for the human element in his song writing, he still wrote blisteringly fast songs, but they are much more thoughtful. He's still throwing the Go Baltimore! party, just thinking about the theme, the appetizers, and the party favors a little bit more.

1. Japandroids - Post-Nothing - Just two people make the sounds you hear. Once you get over that fact, you realize the songs are really damn good still. Track after track of huge lo-fi played with reckless abandon. This album has something for everyone's alt rock taste. Because the songs are stripped down and garage-y, it also seems to have an ability to stand up over time. Drummer David Prowse relies on the beat, not the fill. Brian King's guitar work, using massive amps for parts of his sound, rather than one for himself, creates rhythm and lead all at once: a grunge record as much as it is a starry eyed dreampop/shoegaze. The only minor dismay might be the song lengths, which usually end up being very non-punk in structure, but we love listening to it, and they must love playing it.

25. Chinoiseries/Onra- Mind blowing, instrumental hip hop. Samples old songs from China. Think J. Dilla- does it get better?
24. Get Colour/HEALTH- Coming from the Smell to the middle of your head; HEALTH scale down the wildness in turn for a more subtle, creepy, and dance-y vibe. Bravo.
23. LP/Discovery- Members of Vampire Weekend and Ra Ra Riot team up for a goofy, Top 40-esque R&B album. Yes!
22. Embryonic/the Flaming Lips- Wayne Coyne and friends make the controversial choice by alienating 50% of their fans with this quasi-lo fi album, with krautrock repetition. The songs are good, too.
21. White Collar Crime/Phaseone- Anchored by (mostly) remixes, Phaseone shows his ability as a very capable producer. Highlight: "I'm Not" by Panda Bear
20. Dark Was the Night/Various Artists- A wonderful charity compilation of the "who's who" in popular indie culture; check out the highlights from Dirty Projectors/David Byrne, Kevin Drew, and more.
19. Everything Goes Wrong/Vivian Girls- Three garage rockin' gals shit kicking on their latest. Listen and love, pals.
18. Dark Rift/Pictureplane- Arizona knob-twister throws down party jams of the year with "Goth Star" and "Solid Gold".
17. Apple's Acre/Nurses- Taking a page out of Animal Collective's book, Nurses get freaky and quiet on their second LP.
16. Psychic Chasms/Neon Indian- Vega's main man warps his cassettes to produce summer jams.
15. the Smith Westerns/the Smith Westerns- Garage rocking kids get super lo-fi on this dreamy ode to girls.
14. Hey Boy + Good to Be 7"/the Magic Kids- Spunky dudes hit you with some throwback, teenage love jams. Feel it all around.
13. Unmap/Volcano Choir- Justin Vernon steps back from Bon Iver; still breaks hearts- this time with Four Tet electronics behind him.
12. Logos/Atlas Sound- Man of the year, Bradford Cox, gets nostalgic on new album. Very natural, heartbreaking. Wonderful.
11. King Of Jeans/Pissed Jeans- Pissed Jeans

10. Losing Feeling [ep]/No Age
No Age garnered tons of hype in the past couple of years for their heavily distorted, lo-fi anthemic version of punk. Turning the lo-fi down, No Age's latest EP blows minds with the new usage on loops, atmospherics, and louder vocals, all while keeping the ass kicking ethos that made them popular in the first place. Looks like growing up isn't always such a bad thing.

09. Real Estate/Real Estate
New Jersey's Real Estate dropped their self-titled debut a little too late in the season. I can imagine this album being the one that defined my summer... Followed by a chain of EPs and samplers, this album finds the group taking it slow and easy- a nice reminder for everyone else suffering these harsh winter months on the coast. I just wish it was nice enough to sit around a fire on the beach.

08. Post-Nothing/Japandroids
Anthems for teenage boys and girls; although a vague description of Japandroids' debut album, "Post-Nothing" shows Canada's garage duo fucking the life out of their instruments. Fast paced, emotive, catchy; Try not to pump your fist(s) to opener "The Boys Are Leaving Town". I dare you.

07. Fall Be Kind [ep]- Animal Collective

Animal Collective bang out five more great songs by the end of the year. Whether it be the pan flute Hobbit jam on "Graze", the pop song perfection of "What Would I Want? Sky", or the eerie/moody atmosphere that permeates the rest of this wonderful EP, Animal Collective have taken their sound even further, mixing the electronics and natural/freak folk-esque elements on their past albums.
06. Blood Bank [ep]/Bon Iver
The story of Bon Iver's Justin Vernon won his debut album, "For Emma, Forever Ago" a lot of hype. But where could he go after his masterpiece album? "Blood Bank" goes electric, uses sparse piano, and even an amazing use of Auto-tune ("Woods") to keep you nice and sad throughout the winter months.

05. 421 Wythe Avenue/Alcoholic Faith Mission
This album is an absolute gem. Found on some random blog during the late winter months, Alcoholic Faith Mission's "421 Wythe Avenue" became the soundtrack to many late, calm, and frigid nights. I'll leave this review short, and let the music speak for itself. However, I will leave you with this story, illustrating the power of this album: I was laying in bed, at night, with my girlfriend- I had never really listened to "421 Wythe Avenue" before... the music starts up, we both comment on how gorgeous (and depressing) it sounds. Then the lyrics come in, saying "Just 'cause I'm a whore, you know it doesn't mean I can't feel it when you fuck me gently". We were hooked.

04. Veckatimest/Grizzly Bear
Brooklyn's golden boys deliver a mind-blowing follow up to "Yellow House"; "Veckatimest", named after an obscure island in Massachusetts, is a record filled with beautiful instrumentation, harmonies, and general feel. The album itself is like some opium induced haze: the beauty found throughout the record seems so natural and timeless, and is easy to swallow, but one has to wonder where it all came from. While "Two Weeks" may be the most gorgeous song of the year, it utterly confounds me... how does a band make such beautiful music? The album stays consistently amazing throughout. Highlight "While You Wait For the Others" just might be the most polite "break up" song ever written. Don't deprive yourself of this album.

03. Make You Mine 7"/Best Coast
Pocohaunted's Beth Cosentino gets down and dirty in 2009's summer jams. Originally regarded as a one-off hit musician with "Sun Was High (So Was I)", the "Make You Mine 7" cements her as a force to be reckoned with. The emotions involved here are natural, and relatable: wanting to be in your own room for privacy, or making that special someone yours. However, the lo-fi filter that surrounds this whole 7" is absolutely fucking beautiful. Via la bedroom rock.
02. Album/Girls
Hype band of the year. I stumbled across Girls' single "Hellhole Ratrace", and fell in love. That was until I purchased the album and got an insight into San Fran's psycho mastermind Christopher Owens. Whether it be depressive California pop ("Lust For Life", "Laura"), surf rock ("Big Bad Mean Motherfucker"), or even shoegaze ("Morning Light"), this album encompasses everything about being a teenager in the summer. Not your type? Owens is well-versed in having shitty cards handed to him throughout life- he was raised in a religious cult while his mother was a prostitute, and ended up becoming a pill popping junkie. Listen to this immediately, and soak up the sun.

01. Merriweather Post Pavillion/Animal Collective
Despite the fact that this album is a love or hate situation with all Animal Collective fans, there is no dying that 'Merriweather Post Pavillion' is a beautiful piece of art. Both lush and coherent, the album finds band members Avey Tare, Panda Bear, and Geologist putting down their live instruments for purely electronic music (most of it sampled). I believe the best forums of art are ones that delve into escapism, or the type that can be appreciated in any situation. When Avey Tare sings, "If I could just leave my body for a night..." before a tribal drum freak out, I'm in a totally different sonic plane. Reguardless of hype and it's subsequent backlash, Merriweather is the album of the year. Catchy, deep, unique, and something that grows with every single listen.