After much deliberation I have compiled a list of my favorite albums of 2009. As usual my tastes oscillated throughout the course of the year, rotating between electronic, lo-fi, shoegaze and psychedelic tunes. Absent from heavy rotation was hip hop and trip hop as I tended to favor more poppy genres this year.
See Mystery Lights by YACHT
Not only is this the most creative album of the year, it is the most fun. Bubbly loops, repetitive lyrical chants, and James Murphy-inspired electro waves pulse through the tracks and bring them to life.
Bitte Orca by Dirty Projectors
Experimental Pop at its finest. In the same vein as The Fiery Furnaces, figuratively or literally... Uniquely eccentric arrangements and discordant-yet-harmonious vocals come together to create this intricate masterpiece.
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... PT II by Raekwon
Fourteen long years after its predecessor drops, Raekwon's new offering is classic Wu-Anthem shit. This album is the pinnacle of crime rap. Hell, I'm pretty sure Raekwon invented the genre.
jj n° 2 by jj
Apparently the combination of Swedish DJ's with secret identities (really) and Tough Alliance-owned label Sincerely Yours, results in an incredibly diverse, global album of monumental proportions.
FELT 3: A Tribute To Rosie Perez by Felt
Slug and Murs are back and this time Aesop Rock is providing the bumps. The same witty lyrics spell out tales of the duo in their latest chapter while Aes drops diverse, yet unexpectedly accessible beats.
Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear
Sharp, complex vocals and rich, harmonious layers compose other-worldly chamber pop on Grizzly Bear's newest effort. Notably, Beach House's Victoria LeGrand makes an appearance on this vocal-driven, cacophonous pop masterpiece.
Paranoid Cocoon by Cotton Jones
A soulful, yet experimental attitude pervades this new Folk offering from Page France's Michael Nau. The melancholy 'Blood Red Sentimental Blues' is probably my favorite track of the year.
Man on the Moon: The End of Day by KiD CuDi
Cutter is back with his first album. Appearances from Indie giants MGMT and Ratatat highlight this dynamic and impassioned album. Scott's unique delivery and emotional lyrics come together with moody, futuristic sounds to create an instant classic that will inevitably propel CuDi past the stratosphere and onward toward the Moon.
LP by Discovery
Take a little bit of Ra Ra Riot and add some of last year's Indie sensation Vampire Weekend and you get Discovery. Effervescent synth tones pulse throughout this album which is somehow able to stand out in an increasingly crowded genre.
Manners by Passion Pit
Following up last year's immensely successful EP is a hypnotic, disco inflected album comparable to The Postal Service. A perfect blend of upbeat synth and catchy pop.