This is a continuation of my list for the first half of the 00’s. This list is by release year according to my iTunes library, not by the year I “discovered” the album, and are in no particular order. Let’s get right into it:\
- The Rosebuds – Birds Make Good Neighbors: Folk pop at its best. The songs are bouncy, fun and great for car trips. They’re a blast to sing along with.
- Rogue Wave – Descended Like Vultures: Great alt-pop with killer melodies and infectious guitar riffs
- Sufjan Stevens – Illinois: Sometimes he’s a little “precious”, but this album is full of immense songs, some of which bring me to tears. It’s gorgeous, rich and a great headphone album.
- Holy F\^ck – LP: Analog techno. Lovely Allen alone makes this album, but there are three or four other songs on here almost as good. According to iTunes, I’ve listened to Lovely Allen 128 times… that should tell you what I think of it.
- OK Go – Oh No: Known mostly for their awesome videos, this album is full of really fun pop songs. You can’t really go wrong with any of them.
- Eels – Blinking Lights and Other Revelations: You can’t miss with an Eels album and this one’s no exception. Lovely songs, puncuated with some real butt kickers.
- Fruit Bats – Spelled in Bones: Wow, 2005 was a great year for music. This is one of my all-time favorite albums. The songs are insanely catchy and I sing along pretty much whenever it comes on.
- Sigur Ros – Takk…: This is their most “accessible” album, and you’ve probably heard a lot of these songs in various TV shows and movies in the past couple of years. Great atmospheric headphone rock.
- The Constantines – Tournament of Hearts: Other than Kensington Heights, this is my favorite album by the band. Working Full-Time is one of my favorite songs ever, and Soon Enough is a classic. There are very few albums where all the songs on it are great, and this is one of them.
- New Pornographers – Twin Cinemas: One of Canada’s many indie “supergroups”, these guys are the best. Great songs, awesome harmonies and catchy hooks… I love ’em. And at this rate, I might never get to 2006. Oh, no, look… there it is!\
- Caribou – Up In Flames: I know the genre’s pretty much dead, but this reminds me of the too-short trip hop bloom in the late 90’s, especially Sneaker Pimps. You won’t be singing along with any of these, but you’ll be bouncing your head uncontrollably.
- Gotan Project – Lunatico: Tango music for the 2000’s… this album oozes sensuality and lust. You might sweat a little listening to it, and that’s OK. Embrace it.
- Malajube – Trompe L’oeil: Quebecois rockers really know how to put together a rocking pop song. I like this album better than their most recent one – it’s tighter and more “fun”.
- Phoenix – It’s Never Been Like This: If you like their 2009 album, you’ll love this one. More of the same… which is awesome.
- Regina Spektor – Being to Hope: Yes, I know it’s cutesy, but these songs are really well written and a lot of fun. There’s nothing wrong with fun, you mopey hipsters.
- Zero 7 – The Garden: If anyone’s taken up the mantle of trip hop, it’s these guys. Lovely downtempo hang out and chill music. Lovely melodies and artful production make for a great headphone or dinner (or headphones during dinner) album.\
- Arcade Fire – Neon Bible: They’re little indie darlings, I know, but this album is really good. Listen to it again and forget all the stupid beefs and coverage. It’s so so well done.
- Band of Horses – Cease to Begin: The first five songs on this album are spectacular, maybe the five best songs of the whole year. The other songs on the album are just great… you’ll have to forgive them.
- The Decemberists – The Crane Wife: I think I may like this album more than Hazards of Love. Sons and Daughters will make you stand on your chair and sing along at the top of your lungs.
- Great Lake Swimmers – Ongiara: This is on my short list for the best album of the decade. Masterful songwriting and just heart-breaking lyrics make this album unforgettable. It’s folksy and beautiful… it will haunt you for months.
- Kaiser Chiefs – Yours Truly, The Angry Mob: The best sing-along album of the year, easy. We listened to this album about a dozen times on a road trip. You’ve never laughed until you’ve heard a three year old belting out “WOOBY, WOOBY, WOOBY, WOOBY!!” at the top of his lungs.
- New Pornographers – Challengers: This album is even better than Twin Cinema, if that’s possible.
- Polyphonic Spree – The Fragile Army: I like their first album better, but this one’s still really really good. It’s sort of alt-“Up With People” for grownups… but great.
- The Shins – Wincing the Night Away: This is my favorite album by the band. It’s light and catchy alt-pop with a little melancholy thrown in.
- Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga: Oh so poppy and delicious. The kids will sing along with this album any time it’s on too.
- Wintersleep – Welcome to the Night Sky: For Weighty Ghost alone, but the rest of the songs on this album are solid rockers.\
- Beach House – Devotion: Blissful atmospheric pop songs with some weird instrumentation. You really just have to go listen to it.
- Doctor Horrible’s Sing-along Blog Soundtrack: Mock if you must, but the soundtrack is really good!
- David Byrne and Brian Eno – Everything That Happens Will Happen Today: So gorgeous. Every track is lovely and this album contains some all-time great songs.
- Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes: Gorgeous folk harmonies and masterful songcraft… you need this album. You really really do.
- Flight of the Conchords – Flight of the Conchords: Funny, yes, but these guys actually put together some great songs.
- Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago: A lot like Fleet Foxes… so what I said about them, is true for Bon Iver and this album.
- Woodhands – Heart Attack: High enery analog techno, a lot like Holy F\^ck, but I think this album is better as a whole than HF’s LP.
- Arkells – Jackson Square: These guys sit somewhere between Spoon and The Constantines, and that’s a mighty fine place to be.
- The Constantines – Kensington Heights: They’re one of my all-time favorite bands, and this is easily their best album.
- Sigur Ros – Med sud I eyrum vid spilum endalaust: Another great album. It’s amazing to me that I haven’t gotten tired of their sound. Each album shows just enough progression to keep me wanting more.
- Sloan – Parallel Play: Great alt pop. They sound a lot like Spoon, which isn’t bad at all.
- Presidents of the United States of America – These Are The Good Times People: I thought these guys broke up, but nope… this album is amazing. Their sound has matured just enough so the songs don’t feel like toys anymore. They’re really well constructed power pop with some real emotion in them.\
- Various – Dark Was the Night: A great compilation from charity, this album is full of great bands spreading out and experimenting a little. Usually, those kinds of albums would be tedious, but this is all good.
- The Antlers – Hospice: Haunting and heartbreaking – they sound a little bit like if Sigur Ros and Radiohead had a really depressed teenager… but in a good way.
- The Decemberists – Hazards of Love: This is a great album – and I don’t even care about the story. I think this is my favorite headphone album of the year – full of layers of masterful playing.
- Eels – Hombre Lobo: The whole album tells a great story (what is it with rock operas this year?) and is filled with a great mix of ballads and butt kicking rockers.
- The Dodos – Time to Die: Their first two albums almost made it to the lists for the years they came out. This is their third (I think) album and I think they’ve finally cracked it. Great pop songs all around.
- Movits! – Äppelknyckarjazz: It’s mostly awesome for the sheer novelty of Swedish swing hip hop (yeah, I know!)… but the songs are actually really good.
- Fruit Bats – The Ruminant Band: This is the band’s best album so far, and each of those has made one of these lists. The songs are so well put together and lovely, I can’t help but listen to it over and over and over again.
- Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix: I know, everyone’s talked this album to death, but it is amazing how these guys put together pretty much perfect pop songs.
- Pomplamoose – Pomplamoose VideoSongs: You may have seen them on YouTube or any of the other places they’ve shown up recently, but Nataly and Jack are just awesome.
- Morphine – At Your Service: This collection of mixes, rare and live cuts is the perfect thing for a devotee like me. Some of them are better than the album versions and it’s just good to hear new stuff from a band that ended too soon.
- Zero 7 – Yeah Ghost: Their latest is just as good as their first, with a couple minor exceptions. There are two songs on this album just just don’t belong at all and kind of mess up the mood the rest of the album conveys.
- Rodrigo y Gabriela – 11:11: You must listen to this album just to be completely blown away that such a rich sound can be created by two people playing just two instruments. It’s acoustic heavy metal flamenco music, and it’s brilliant.\
Whew, there you go! I’m done! I don’t think anything else is coming out in 2009 that’s going to make the list so I feel pretty secure putting this list to bed and looking forward to 2010!
Wow…so many of these albums bring back memories…I was at a college radio station that played the HECK out of Malajube…awesome record.
I see, too, that you are a fan of the Canadians. You must, then, be introduced to Chad Vangaalen (if you haven’t already)…a brilliant chap from Calgary whose albums, “Infiniheart”, “Skelliconnection” and “Soft Airplane” would be part of any decade list I put together for their respective release years.
Kudos, my friend. Kudos.
I will disagree on one point, though…I don’t think “Challengers” is better than “Twin Cinema” and NEITHER are better than “The Electric Version” and “Mass Romantic”…but, you know…in my OPINION and all…
And have you listened to any Destroyer records? Dan Bejar is really great…and not JUST because he’s a member of the NP’s…
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