Top CDs of 2009 | Glen Elkins

cd_passion-pit.gifI’ve given this disc the most rotations of any on this list.


1. Passion Pit | Manners (Columbia)

It doesn’t reinvent the form, but I’ve probably given this disc the most rotations of any on this list. The group’s ability use the studio as an instrument is so mind-melting, it reminds of me turn-of-century Radiohead (not that the bands are comparable in any other way). With lip-curling melodies like "Sleepyhead," Passion Pit was the musical Prozac of 2009.


2. Animal Collective | Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)

Although the No. 1 record was the catchiest, Merriweather Post Pavilion is probably the most important. Along with a more mature sound and gorgeous production quality comes one of the best records of the year, with staying power to boot.


3. Grizzly Bear | Veckatimest (Warp)

2009 was a good year for Grizzly Bear. Veckatimest marked a sea-change for a group that’s been traditionally hard to love.


4. Phoenix | Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (V2)

Speaking of band that exploded in 2009, none did better than French-native Phoenix, and for a reason. As if you need me to tell you, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix shot the group into the indie-rock stratosphere. I’m still waiting for the backlash…


5. V/A | Dark Was the Night (4AD)

Manning an unbelievable lineup, this compilation/charity/concert keeps making my head explode, as for a good cause no less. Cheers to the Dessners for organizing a who’s-who of musicians and creating pairings like Sufjan Stevens and Buck 65.


6. Fanfarlo | Reservoir (Atlantic/WEA)

Immediately accessible, moody and catchy, this record makes a good companion for long car rides or whiskey drinks (not simultaneously). Singer Justin Finch croons with a Beirut-esque tenor over lush strings and punchy horns.


7. Solid Gold | Bodies of Water (Green Label Sound)

Belonging to the same vein as Passion Pit, Solid Gold’s debut Bodies of Water is a happy medium between dork-disco and indie rock.


8. Bon Iver | Blood Bank (Jagjaguwar)

While not a full album (I wish), Bon Iver’s follow up to For Emma, Forever Ago comes as a pleasant surprise to those worried about a sophomore slump. The title track holds the meat of the disc, and is hopefully a sign of things to come.


9. Andrew Bird | Noble Beast (Fat Possum)

It’s almost been a year since its release (January 20, 2009) and it still holds up. It’s nice to get to know a folkier, more elegant Bird.


10. Yeah Yeah Yeahs | It’s Blitz! (Interscope)

The group’s best record to date deserves a spot on this list. Great production meets great songwriting in It’s Blitz!


Glen Elkins

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