Even though this collection of outstanding artists settled on the greatest possible band name and signed to one of the top record labels (Warp) around, they still managed to deliver a thunderous, rhythmic album that puts many of the releases from their former bands to shame. One listen to this record should get anybody fired up for a two-hour commute!
10. Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals
An album that I had no expectations for when I downloaded it a month ago, but which I cannot go more than a day or two without giving a listen. It has influences all over the place, and it sounds like something XTC would have performed if they were from Tehran.
9. The National - Boxer
I must admit that this album went unnoticed at first, as I simply believed them to be another morose band from Brooklyn after they released Alligator. However, after two cross-country drives of constant listening and a show at the 9:30 Club, I am pleased to realize this band possesses more dynamic than their counterparts who released the limp, Our Love to Admire.
8. Dan Deacon - Spiderman of the Rings
This Baltimore Freak-out’s response to being unknowingly used in a Greyhound advertisement: “Like many evil companies they are trying to use subversive advertising and I will not allow myself to be a cog in their wheel of lies and deceit. These rats stink like rotten cum. Fuck them with 1000 fires.” Brilliant.
7. Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover
The night Olivia returned to Portland, we went to view this “side-project” at the Wonder Ballroom. Although we entered midway into their set, we had an opportunity to listen to them introduce a number of these tunes. I was thoroughly impressed, but she would later describe their sound as being “too zizzy (sp?).”
6. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
This is their most accessible album to date. Yet, nothing was more awkward than watching them perform on Late Night earlier this year. The Collective is creating spectacular, experimental pop music that may not be fully appreciated for years to come. I may have placed this album with a more lofty position, but one of its member’s decided to mix an album on his own (see #1).
5. The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
The sound on this album is muffled and the lyrics may even be darker than those on Funeral, but somehow the ensemble managed to compose an amazing compliment to their debut while facing seemingly impossible expectation. A record that kept me company for many of my return commutes from the Crystal Ballroom.
4. Deerhunter - Cryptograms
Not only does this band have the namesake of one of my all-time favorite films, but they are also a great rock band from Atlanta. What an anomaly! If they could have included the songs from their Fluorescent Grey EP on this album, it may have been as high on this list as they were when they recorded it. Either way, I hope they can find a way to record a follow-up, as Cryptograms was a “Fuckin’ A” (movie quote).
3. Radiohead - In Rainbows
This band is slowly, and quietly, making a name for itself.
2. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
An album that is loaded with dance-party singles, with a wonderful ode to NYC as a closer that will allow you to momentarily relax before you jump back up for another listen. One of the few acts that helped to usher in the sound’s revival that haven’t already become an obscure footnote in recent musical history.
1. Panda Bear - Person Pitch
A beautifully layered masterpiece that possesses a myriad of complicated samples and sounds, which seamlessly piece to create one hell of an album. Easily the best album released in a number of years.