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.


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