So, here is IndieMuse’s “Top Albums of 2009″ list. I know what you’re thinking… there’s only a few hours left in 2009 and we must have rushed to get this up last minute. The truth is, we wanted to make sure that we listened to every single album released in 2009 before publishing an official list. What if Wilco or another band released an amazing, secret album on December 31st? We couldn’t leave it up to chance.
10. Fanfarlo – Reservoir atlantic
I first came across Fanfarlo a few years back before they played SXSW, and was really impressed by their song “Fire Escape.” Their debut album is fantastic. Reminds me a lot of Clap Your Hands, but I like their arrangements more.
(mp3) Farfarlo – Harold T. Wilkins Or How To Wait For A Very Long TIme
(mp3) Fanfarlo – Finish Line
9. Le Loup – Family hardly art
Le Loup brings to mind Animal Collective and Born Ruffians. They have a really cool worldly sound.
(mp3) Le Loup – Forgive me
8. Grand Hallway – Promenade self-release
Grand Hallway in an eight piece orchestral pop band from Seattle, Washington. I came across their music through one of the musicians in the band, Shenandoah Davis, whose solo music I really like. This album hasn’t received much exposure, but definitely deserves to be on more lists.
(mp3) Grand Hallway – Raindrops (Matsuri)
(mp3) Grand Hallway – Blessed Be, Honey Bee
7. Passion Pit – Manners frenchkiss
I don’t usually listen to electronica, but I’ve always been a fan of Passion Pit. I wasn’t sure if the band would be able to live up to all the hype they were receiving from “Sleepyhead,” given they didn’t even have a debut out… but sure enough, they released a really solid album.
I know that some people think the band is over-hyped or even “untalented.” But you may be surprised to know that some members of the band, such as Ian Hultquist, have professional training from places like the Berklee College of Music. In other words, their success isn’t a fluke…
(mp3) Passion Pit – Sleepyhead
(mp3) Passion Pit – Little Secrets
6. Fruit Bats – The Ruminant Band sub pop
The Fruit Bats have been one of my favorite bands for a long time, and I can’t believe that they’re still such a big secret. Let’s just say that they are so catchy that The Shins stole frontman Eric Johnson away for a few years to play in their band. We loyal Fruit Bat fans had to wait four years for this release! I also highly recommend their 2003 album, Mouthfuls.
(mp3) Fruit Bats -The Ruminant Band
(mp3) Fruit Bats – Being on Our Own
5. Bombadil – Tarpits and Canyonlands ramseur records
This album is great. Again, it’s an example of a band that just lacks exposure. They should be on more lists.
(mp3) Bombadil – Honeymoon
(mp3) Bombadil – So Many Ways To Die
4. Various Artists – Dark Was The Night 4ad
This album is on my list for several reasons. First, the music is all great. Second, it’s one of the first compilations out there that doesn’t blow. Every now and then you’ll see a compilation or tribute album that has some big names on it, but after a quick listen, it feels more like a marketing stunt than passion project. That is not the case with Dark Was The Night. The National’s Dessner brothers put a ton of time into making this compilation and got musicians such as Andrew Bird, Bon Iver, Beirut, Sufjan Stevens, and pretty much every other established indie artist to produce exclusive, top quality content. And lastly, all the proceeds from the album go to the Red Hot Organization, an international charity dedicated to raising funds and awareness for HIV and AIDS.
(mp3) Arcade Fire – Lenin
(mp3) Beirut – Mimizan
3. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion domino
(mp3) Animal Collective – My Girls
(mp3) Animal Collective – Summertime Clothes
2. The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You atlantic
Some fans of the Avett Brothers think this album was overproduced. I think it’s really good.
(mp3) The Avett Brothers – I and Love And You
(mp3) The Avett Brothers - Laundry Room
1. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast fat possum
Noble Beast was pretty much all I wanted to listen to for the first few months after its release. Mysterious Production of Eggs is still my favorite album of Bird’s (what’s up with the blue album art in Google?), but Noble Beast doesn’t fall too far behind. This album would probably be higher up on a lot of “Best of the Year” lists had it been released later in the year. People tend to have stronger feelings for more recent things.
(mp3) Andrew Bird – Masterswarm
(mp3) Andrew Bird – Effigy