It was a great year for me and a great year for music. That said, I’m not a music critic, nor am I particularly interested in rap, jazz or country music. Like all lists of this sort, mine is not definitive or comprehensive, it’s just what I like. I hope you like it, too.
1. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca
Experimenting with sound is a great way to get noticed in the indie space, and when the experiment works it’s star-making. Asshole/genius Dave Longstreth and angels Amber Coffman and, erm, Angel Deradoorian combine to make perhaps the most challenging and rewarding album of the year.
MP3 – Stillness Is The Move
2. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
When Grizzly Bear spent 20 minutes on stage getting their equipment just so during Bonnaroo, one meathead in the crowd mumbled that “this had better be fucking good.” Well, meathead, it was and is really fucking good.
MP3 – Ready, Able
3. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
The French band that sings in English, Phoenix’s star is on the rise.
MP3 – 1901
4. Elvis Perkins in Dearland – Elvis Perkins in Dearland
Old soul Elvis Perkins crafts some wonderful folk with guitar, squeezebox and trombone.
MP3 – 123 Goodbye
5. Discovery – LP
The collaboration between Vampire Weekend‘s Rostam Batmanglij and Ra Ra Riot‘s Wes Miles thankfully fills a bit of the void left behind by the Postal Service.
MP3 – So Insane
6. Dan Deacon – Bromst
An electronic freakout with chipmunk voices and at times jarring buzz saw like effects is punctuated by some beautiful melodic moments.
MP3 – Paddling Ghost
7. Islands – Vapours
More joyous than 2008’s Arm’s Way, the Canadian group’s latest effort is great on headphones and with the windows rolled down.
MP3 – Hearbeat
8. St. Vincent – Actor
Taking over Regina Spektor’s crown as the quirky indie world crush, St. Vincent (Annie Clark) delivers a quite stirring album.
MP3 – The Strangers
9. Passion Pit – Manners
I love the direction music is heading. First, a group couldn’t get widely heard until they were signed by a record company. Then influential MP3 bloggers could bring attention to unsigned artists. Now, anyone can make an album on their laptop and become popular if the music resonates with listeners. It’s an exciting time when music fans aren’t just consuming, but creating.
MP3 – Moth’s Wings
10. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
As Quentin Tarantino said about Elvis and the Beatles, people can like both but always like one more than the other. I believe this is also specifically true of Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective, but maybe it’s just me?
MP3 – Brother Sport
Phantogram – Eyelid Movies
MP3 – When I’m Small
Lily Allen – It’s Not Me, It’s You
MP3 – Not Fair
Andrew Bird – Noble Beast
MP3 – Anonanimal
The XX – XX
MP3 – Crystalised
Girls – Album
MP3 – Summertime