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Tuesday, December 01, 2009

gorilla vs. bear's albums of 2009

Our favorites from an exceptional year:

25 pisces | a lovely sight
     mp3: dear one
24 ganglians | monster head room
     mp3: valient brave
23 the mantles | the mantles
     mp3: don't lie
22 st. vincent | actor
     mp3: the strangers
21 cass mccombs | catacombs
     mp3: dreams come true girl
20 atlas sound | logos
     mp3: walkabout
19 washed out | high times
     mp3: belong
18 night control | death control
     mp3: star 131
17 phoenix | wolfgang amadeus phoenix
     mp3: love like a sunset (animal collective remix)
16 nirvana | live at reading


15 the mayfair set | young one

The Mayfair Set is the collaborative effort between Dee Dee of Dum Dum Girls and Mike Sniper of Blank Dogs, which, as we said back in February, combines "Blank Dogs' dark, Joy Division-like baritone with DDG's bright, shimmering, '60s informed vocal melodies" to create something haunting and warm. Not technically an LP, but label-of-the-year contenders Captured Tracks + Woodsist compiled the group's stellar debut 7" single and 12" Young One EP onto one beautifully packaged cd, so here it is.

the mayfair set :: already warm
the mayfair set :: desert fun


14 mountain man | mountain man

Stunning folk from Vermont trio Mountain Man. At times almost unnervingly stark, fragile, and intimate, with unreal vocal harmonies that are both soaring and devastating at once. Look for a 10" in early 2010 on Underwater Peoples.

mountain man :: animal tracks
mountain man :: dog song


13 nite jewel | good evening

Ghostly bedroom disco from L.A.'s Ramona Gonzalez. Like a lot of this "hypnagogic pop" steez, it may feel a bit slight to some upon first listen, but melted cassette-deck aesthetics aside, Nite Jewel's infectious pop songs are pretty undeniable. Also of note: Dâm-Funk is a fan, and has promised something called NITE-FUNK in the near future.

nite jewel :: what did he say
nite jewel :: weak for me


12 memory tapes | seek magic

Gorgeous melancholy pop from the inhumanly prolific and consistent Dayve Hawk, and Seek Magic is arguably only the second best thing he released this year. The record plays like a hazy, recurring lucid dream, eliciting all of the familiar warmth and sadness of a very tangible but impossible-to-place nostalgia.

memory tapes :: bicycle
memory tapes :: plain material


11 neon indian | psychic chasms

A record that spawned a competition among major pubs, blogs, and "people" to coin a genre title that, in the end, largely seemed to overshadow the music itself, and what this record really was -- a thoroughly mature, detailed and crafty dance pop gem that graced us with a handful of the year's most memorable jams. Look for a release from Palomo's other project early next year.

neon indian :: deadbeat summer
neon indian :: terminally chill


10 fever ray | fever ray

The solo debut from Karin Dreijer Andersson feels both icier and more claustrophobic than Silent Shout, yet somehow manages to remain considerably more accessible than the Knife's 2006 masterpiece. Chalk it up to Dreijer's ability to create brooding, hauntingly creepy soundscapes that are still entirely entrancing and infectious (inviting, even). The videos helped, too.


09 jj | no. 2

Sunny, blissed-out Swedish pop that borders on new age/easy-listening/adult contemporary (they even crib the lyrics and melody from a Taylor Dayne jam on album standout "Me & Dean") from enigmatic Swedes JJ, but with a playfully subversive spirit not unlike their bros in the Tough Alliance. Unless jj is TTA with a female lead, which seems plausible. Also, they managed to one-up Weezy, and made a classic corny '70s sitcom theme sound super dreamy.

jj :: from africa to malaga


08 girls | album

We've been more or less obsessed with this band for nearly the past two years, since first hearing the lovelorn but wearily hopeful instant classic "Hellhole Ratrace" well before the backstory of Christopher Owens became a thing of legend. The long-awaited full-length delivers on all the promise of that first single and then some: perfect '50s pop melodies, heart-wrenching storytelling, and a rarefied heart-on-sleeve romanticism that very few can pull off.

girls :: hellhole ratrace
girls :: lust for life


07 smith westerns | smith westerns

The first of two bands of teenagers to appear in our top 10, Chicago's Smith Westerns' make earnest, irresistibly catchy pop songs (about girls), but with a legit, beyond-their-years glam-psych soul that sets them apart from the rest of their "garage"-y peers. And their best song isn't even on the record, so we're obviously psyched to see where these kids go next.

smith westerns :: be my girl


06 the sandwitches | how to make ambient sadcake

The Sandwitches' stylistically diverse debut full-length has earned the group comparisons to the Carter Family, Stevie Nicks, Loretta Lynn, and assorted '60s girl groups. Or as one commenter put it, "1960s Detroit meets 1909 Tennessee hill country." Anyway, yeah, the record feels at times like a jukebox full of dusty long-forgotten 45s, but as we mentioned in our initial appraisal, the band maintains an easy, totally natural cohesiveness throughout that makes How To Make Ambient Sadcake an endlessly enjoyable listen. The best album of the year that no one seems to be talking about.

the sandwitches :: back to the sea


05 the xx | xx

Pitchfork took their version of a thinly veiled shot at us (and bloggers in general) for being into London youngsters the xx early on, only to turn around and bestow their coveted Best New Music tag upon the record less than a month later. Moving on, the moral of that story is this: if you think you don't like the xx, listen again. The band displays an uncanny ability to seamlessly and tastefully incorporate their influences -- namely, dubstep, R&B, Young Marble Giants-esque minimalism, and um, Chris Isaak -- but it's their astoundingly mature songcraft matched with a precocious sense of space and restraint that make this a special debut.

the xx :: crystalised


04 animal collective | merriweather post pavilion

I'm not sure there's much left to be said about this one. With the feverishly anticipated/debated/praised/hated Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective set the tone for the year by crafting a near flawless avant-pop record that transcended itself and paved the road for countless imitators, as great records tend to do.


03 grizzly bear | veckatimest

Grizzly Bear's follow-up to the universally beloved Yellow House is such a staggering and dense leap forward, it's not hard to get lost in the textures and effortless nuances that ultimately make this such an essential work. It's easy to take this for granted in a year when it seemed like pretentious art-school noodling was often lauded as some kind of groundbreaking genius, but, let's face it, Veckatimest made its mark naturally and gracefully, with songs that will inevitably endure the test of time.

grizzly bear :: cheerleader


02 white denim | fits

No need to belabor our devotion to this band and record any further. You might not feel White Denim and what they do, and that's ok. But on the incredibly eclectic Fits, WD drew from a deep well of influences -- from Funkadelic to vintage psych to Stevie Wonder and beyond -- and in the process blew our minds with their effortless, perpetual shape-shifting and masterful songwriting. For me, not only one of the best of the year, but one of the decade's finest.

white denim :: mirrored and reverse


01 raekwon | only built 4 cuban linx pt. II

The most immersive hip-hop record in years, OB4CL2 is the follow-up everyone was hoping for, but no one thought Raekwon would ever actually deliver. NPR (ha) calls it "merely a well-constructed concession to aging nostalgists and too-young revivalists," but nah, this is vintage Wu-Tang. RZA, Dilla, Pete Rock, and assorted disciples lace the tracks with their distinctive eerie, cinematic beats, Method Man and Inspectah Deck go harder than they have in forever, and Ghost and Rae further cement their spot as one of the illest duos in hip-hop history. Even with a couple of (still pretty solid) Dre missteps near the end, this is the album of the year, and will likely rank up there with Supreme Clientele, Stankonia, and Hell Hath No Fury as one of the best rap albums of the decade.


Check David's list after the jump...


david's albums of '09:

01 animal collective | merriweather post pavilion
02 white denim | fits
03 grizzly bear | veckatimest
04 girls | album
05 the xx | xx
06 neon indian | psychic chasms
07 smith westerns | smith westerns
08 various | ghana special
09 jj | no. 2
10 the sandwitches | how to make ambient sadcake
11 nite jewel | good evening
12 nirvana | live at reading


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

always love the gvsb list. had to throw that neon indian in there, just to get my goat :p

6:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, tip of the cap for pointing out the irony of p-fork's xx coverage. One could take the high road and not shine a light on that, but in their case I don't think it's called for. They seem to be a step behind gvsb pretty consistently these days...

7:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NO BITTE ORCA!?!?!?!?!?!

7:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surprised it took so long for someone to mention Bitte Orca. A few headscratchers, but solid list. Why does Neon Injun get your goat, 6:45?

7:43 AM  
Anonymous Ho said...

I like how you put the token rap album #1. You are very multicultural young man.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Glad to see some love for Sandwitches, I'm excited to see where that band goes.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

thanks ho

8:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

needs more dirty projjies.

8:56 AM  
Blogger Brain Flakes said...



- Diarrhea Planet

- Casey

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Will said...

God so many great albums this year, need to revisit some of these

9:19 AM  
Anonymous LCR said...

While I like looking to your site for indie rock insight; I find it slightly offputting that you try to include one rap album almost out of obligation. The decision shows a lack of knowledge of the years rap offerings and begs the question why bother with the inclusion in the first place.

Granted, I enjoy OB4CL2, but there's plenty out there that was better this year (Gucci, Pill, G Side, etc) or at least deserves inclusion.

9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

another belmont student obsessed with this blog, it seems...

been loving mountain man. thank you for the introduction.

9:42 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

no, there was no sense of obligation, that was genuinely my favorite album of the year. granted, i don't listen to as much rap as i used to, but the DOOM and mos def records narrowly missed, and rap will be better represented on my favorite songs list.

also, gucci and pill better than ob4cl2? give me a break man.

9:44 AM  
Anonymous maria said...

Great List! But what about Sunset Rubdown??

9:59 AM  
Anonymous solopat said...

what abt Woods' Songs of Shame? such a great album thought yall would have included it.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous sarahspy said...

oooooh innteresting. gonna pick up the couple of these i havent heard for sure.

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with you on most of these but you missed a big one - THE HORRORS!!

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Edward Droste said...


10:07 AM  
Anonymous Jamie said...

Diverse. Unique. Good. Sure looks like a GvB year-end list. Also a little surprised at the lack of Dirty Projectors and the inclusion of (my favorite) Washed Out. But I love you guys for it.

10:10 AM  
Anonymous LCR said...

Yes, Pill and Gucc over OB4CL2 (and I am a highly east coast biased NYC dweller)...for what its worth, my top rap albums look like this for 2k9

Pill - The Refill
Gucci - Burrrprint 3-D
G-Side - Huntsville International
Gucci - Guccimerrrica
Beanie - Broad Street Bully
Gibbs - Midwest...
Cool Kids - Gone Fishin
Red & Meth - Blackout 2

unrelated: Whatd you think of the F**k Buttons album? Have you given the OOIOO album a listen?

10:21 AM  
Anonymous buckskins said...

loving these goddam lists. lots of surprises and, thankfully, no BITTE ORCA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10:24 AM  
Blogger [A] Proxy said...

Great list of best albums of 2009 guys. I couldn't agree more on most of the pics. Cheers! Kudos on picking Raekwon's album as the best album of the year.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bitte Orca is indeed conspicuously absent. Especially considering the prior praise coming from this blog.
I hate to say it, but a Nirvana live album over Bitte Orca? Give ME a break man. If that's a bandwagon, I'd jump on it any day.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

thanks for all the comments guys.

look i like Bitte Orca, i just don't love it. i suppose i could've expanded the list to include the near misses but i had to cut it off somewhere. also i've listened to that Nirvana album way more than i've listened to bitte orca, and have concluded that it is indeed better.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dirty projectors SNUBBED. lolzzz. good list--ganglains though? fuckin really?

10:53 AM  
Blogger marc said...

so stoked that someone finally pointed out the xx and chris issacs comparison. i thought i was crazy for a while.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Appoligizes For The Poorly Grammared Essay said...

Thanks for the list and all the updates through the year. First year viewer here on GvsB, and enjoyed the updates/links very much.

I like your point regarding "The xx". I think it does deserve numerous listens. As for the p4k bashin, granted it is annoying when someone disregards/promotes an artist with almost a cocky arrogance, only then to change their opinion later on. However, at least they changed it at all. If they changed their mind, whether it was influential or not, and didn't admit it, then they would actually be cocky arrogants. I also couldn't really care less whos a step behind/ahead, cool/uncool. I hope that isnt what you meant, or that people are taking it that way.

I spend enough time bashing folks who don't listen to any music at all, let alone finding out who listens to the best.
Besides, there is no way I could filter through 100's of records a year without a few key sites narrowing it down a bit, whether I agree with their opinion all the time or not(p4k included).

Alright this is already an essay and I appoligize(I think ive seen to much music website bashing this year). Besides the moan, GvsB, curious as to what you thought about "A Sunny Day In Glasgow"'s Ashers Grammer, or if youve had a chance to listen to it already. What did other people think. For me its amongst the best of the year, and with each full listen I give it, I feel its amongst the decades best as well. Thoughts?

12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ganglians should be top 10

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Kip said...

Great list. Looking forward to checking out some of these albums that I overlooked. So much music, so little time. And do I smell a GvsB / Fork battle a brewing? We've got your back if so.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ganglians should be top 10

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa whoa what about
The Antlers: Hospice
? Did they not stand a chance?

Definitely agree with Fits though. Amazing.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous JoJos said...

No chance you thought Bitte Orce was decent, Chris.

Dope lists.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

Nice list and an inspired choice at #1 that is difficult to argue with.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Choam Nomsky said...

Love the list - hope that Woods wasn't too far behind though.

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have loved to put Nite Jewel's Good Evening on my top of the year list as well, but it was released in 2008. Tough, this year it got substantially more coverage than when it was originally put out on Gloriette and Human Ear Music. Oh well.


1:16 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

yeah i wrote about it last year, the record was re-released in March of this year by Human Ear though, so i included it. http://forcefieldpr.com/site/2009/05/01/nite-jewel-announces-tour-dates-with-telepathe/

1:30 PM  
Blogger BW said...

Where's Washed Out's 'Life of Leisure' EP? His 'High Times' cassette IS one of the best releases of the year, but I think 'Life of Leisure is the better of the two.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

i'm going to post a list of favorite singles/EPs at some point, Life of Leisure will be near the top.

2:13 PM  
Blogger astrobrando said...

Great list, but no Wavvves??? I know, I know, but seriously. Definitely one of my favorites for the year.

2:33 PM  
Blogger ryan said...

im kinda wishing real estate's s/t was on here.
but this list is great regardless, i love ganglians

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GvB is my favorite blog, but I'm not feeling this list at all.

3:51 PM  
Blogger Scot said...

Awesome list, Chris! You continue to inspire everyday. I'm with you on the Bitte Orca situation!

3:54 PM  
Blogger Devin said...

No Real Estate?! Other than that....such a solid/great list of albums! What an amazing year for music. Thanks again for all the great heads up on so many talented artists..

3:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


4:24 PM  
Blogger Austin Kleon said...

Great list, lots of stuff I didn't catch.

Along with the DPs, I liked the Flaming Lips and Bill Callahan records, but then, I'm kind of in old-man-listening-mode these days.

4:49 PM  
Anonymous comehomenow said...

That Smith Westerns song is something else. This is a great list, but Im gonna have to agree that the Raekwan record is an odd choice.

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Dam Funk debut. Was this released too late?

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

not EVERYone loves the Dirty Pojectors. Shocking, I know. I like that this list gives me a swift kick in the A to go back and revisit some music that I may have passed on too soon. or missed.

5:02 PM  
Blogger James-Kond said...

I hate rap.

Blakroc and Jay-Z were pretty cool this year though ^^

5:12 PM  
Blogger manubetancourt said...

Where is the Dark Was The Night album? that was a highlight of the year!

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Robin said...

GVB's top 10 albums by GVB's last.fm plays:

10. Fever Ray: 52
9. jj no 2: 158
8. Girls: 83
7. smith westerns: 247
6. the sandwitches: 189
5. the xx: 152
4. Merriweather Post Pavilion: 281
3. Veckatimest: 149
2. Fits: 162
1. OB4CL2: 198

/last.fm stalking

6:39 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

Surprised Chris left Taken By Trees out of 25 albums.

6:41 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

haha, nice last.fm stalking. re: last.fm, i listen to most of these albums on vinyl, and i do a large % of my listening in the car, so that's not exactly an accurate representation.

also, Taken By Trees will be represented on my songs list for sure.

7:02 PM  
Anonymous Lefse said...

Cass Mccombs!
Nice choice, "You saved My Life" is one of my faves.

I will now throw in my two cents for some of my favorite tracks of the year:

Pictureplane: Goth Star
Gold Panda: Quitters Raga
Animal Collective: In Flowers

Raekwon's whole album was rad too.....

7:14 PM  
Anonymous crescentfite said...

i don't understand why you have smith westerns so high. i think they are a great band but their live show far outstrips their record. not that that's a bad thing necessarily, but their actual record isn't done that well to me. why not more of an accomplished record like song of shame?

8:03 PM  
Anonymous J said...

awesome picking Raekwon's amazing record as #1. always good stuff GvB

8:11 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

really no fuck buttons? that album was incredible.

10:54 PM  
Blogger Bang Potential said...

Bitte Orca is an indie rock parody, thanks for not "loving" it.

11:56 PM  
Anonymous Joeypalmer said...

Wow, reading everyone's comments makes me think I have more albums to add to my already top 40 list of the year. I will post it here in one week. For now my top 5 are:

1. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
2. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
3. Grizzly Bear - Vecktimitest
4. The XX - XX
5. Girls - Album

12:01 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Great list GvB. I would have included Kurt Vile's latest as well, but we can't have everything can we?

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Infinitely better than any list I've seen this year. I'm a little baffled by the #1 choice, but I guess it's just a matter of opinion. Although I will say Kurt Vile's Childish Prodigy definitely deserves to be up there.

12:28 AM  
Blogger how to dress well said...


11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


NO cfcf or LITTLE Girls??????????

11:45 AM  
Blogger Ajax said...


No psychic powers?!?!

I mean...come, on Chris!

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Christopher Gesualdi said...

I heard White Denim for the first time today; their tracks are absolutely filthy. Thank you gentlemen.

2:58 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

holy shit dude, judging by that last.fm list you sure do listen to records a lot! is that plays of individual songs, or the entire album? cause 168 hours is a lot of time spent listening to raekwon!

3:12 PM  
Anonymous sam said...

wtf at all these commenters calling OB4CL2 token? INDIE ROCK IS NOT THE ONLY REAL MUSIC YOU KNOW! btw that was noz from www.cocaineblunts.com who reviewed the album for npr.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Kaley said...

Fever Ray should have been further up on the list..... and what about Bat For Lashes?

3:40 PM  
Anonymous José said...

Great list but you missed Hospice from The Antlers

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Tucker said...

Solid list. Props for OBFCL2, one of Wu Tang's finest releases in a while...here are some of my fav's

Band of the year: ANIMAL COLLECTIVE

Album of the Year: VECKATIMEST

EP of the year: FALL BE KIND

Mixtape of the year: NO CEILINGS

Song of the year: 109 (Toro Y Moi)
Honorable Mention: What Would I Want? Sky (Animal Collective)

4:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no that's not album plays, Sam, that's # of track plays...

4:42 PM  
Anonymous simone said...

there is lots of good music on a list... i would have add

pyotr ilyich tchaikovsky
mary margaret o'hara

thank you

5:31 PM  
Anonymous Matt said...

totally agree with rae, jj, xx, and the exclusion of dirty projectors, but where is the antlers' album hospice?! i thought it was great.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MPP = overrated. Three brilliant songs (My Girls, Taste, Summertime Clothes) that's it. The rest of the songs can't get out of their own way. They should have just released two EPs this year.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Garrett said...

Tough Alliance>jj>Summer Camp?

9:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

-Thinks even low-blow poor reactions to MPP point out its greatness. How many albums give you so much to luvv/hate?? Certainly not any of this wanker lo-fi garage shit (buy a Billy Childish album, dudes).

6:44 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Great list! There are a few on there that I need to check out. If I had to make my list today, it would probably be:

1. Wavves- Wavvves
2. Tiny Vipers- Life on Earth
3. Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest
4. Raekwon- OB4CL2
5. Flaming Lips- Embryonic
6. Woods- Songs of Shame
7. Girls- Album
8. Camera Obscura- My Maudlin Career
9. Isis- Wavering Radiant
10. Real Estate- Real Estate
11. DOOM- Born Like This
12. Animal Collective- MPP
13. Smith Westerns- Smith Westerns
14. Mastodon- Crack the Skye
15. Fuck Buttons- Tarot Sport
16. Gucci Mane- Cold War Series
17. Cass McCombs- Catacomb
18. Eat Skull- Wild and Inside
19. Blank Dogs- Under and Under
20. Dinosaur Jr.- Farm


12:32 PM  
Blogger pokey said...

u selected albums i wouldn't have selected in the place of albums i would've selected!! and vice-versa!

7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice list, though I have to make my obligatory Fever Ray pitch. I kind of sort of put her in a similar category as the XX. (quasi 80's sounding electronica)

As a complete album, Fever Ray blows XX away. Every track is important and it builds to an incredible close.

XX's first 4 songs are great and then it limps to an uneven finish. It's impressive as hell anyway, given their ages, but mama Karin showed maturity, depth and soul that is unheard of on a "synthesizer" album...

Her live shows were the event of the year. Too bad she didn't swing through big D...

11:09 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

suprised no one has mentioned bombay bycicle club's "i had the blues but shook them loose"

definitely in my top ten of the year best overall albums.

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good you got the obligatory gvb cooler than p4k dig in there, wouldn't be a blog post without it. Seriously, why is it a problem that they initially didn't like it, came to their senses, owned up to being wrong, and declared it great? They are bound to change their minds at some point (they listen to 100s of albums a year), so would you rather they just stuck with the initial opinion they publish? And they didn't say anything bad about you liking it, just that there are lots who do, and they don't.

Bottom line: You had short space to write about this album, why use half to talk about Pitchfork?

1:38 PM  
Blogger Oregon, my dear said...

You're missing a few:

1) Eating Us - Black Moth Super Rainbow

2) Declaration of Dependence - Kings of Convenience

3) Ambivalence Avenue - Bibio

4) Embryonic - Flaming Lips

5) Unmap - Volcano Choir

6) Choral - Mountains

7) Yours Truly, The Commuter - Jason Lytle

8) March of the Zapotec/Realholland - Beirut

9) Noble Beast

10) The BQE - Sufjan Stevens

Please, do your homework.

11:32 PM  
Anonymous seekmagic said...

Nice list...

Chec th first part of my bst of the year at


6:28 AM  
Blogger how to dress well said...

∆∆∆top albums∆∆∆

1. the dream--- love vs money
every single cut is a jam, ranging from club bangers to emo&b slowjams. and the sense of humor is killer-- some of the goofiest metaphors on the planet! plus--- no auto-tune, strictly singing. A+.

2. fever ray--- fever ray
stunning and stark. and with the array of vids she dropped this year, hers might be the most completely developed aesthetic of 2009. the dream got #1 cuz i listened to it a hell of a lot more, but this one is more or less #1 too.

3. pictureplane--- dark rift
perfect 90's retrieval, lo-fi house music. plus, dude is denver.

4. raekwon--- OB4CL2
merciless. and toney fucking KILLS it. rhyme patterns so innovative and twisted that if you listen too high you get sick to your stomach. and the cut about odb makes me cry.

5. evangelista--- prince of truth
scary scary music. slit yr wrists shit. amazing compositions. her voice RUINS me.

6. memory tapes--- seek magic
7. gucci mane--- murder was the case
8. mount eerie--- wind's poem
9. a sunny day in glasgow--- ashes grammar
10. antony & the johnsons--- the crying light
11. klimek--- movies is magic
12. run dmt--- bong voyage
13. washed out--- life of leisure
14. pissed jeans--- king of jeans
15. neon indian--- psychic chasms

16. health--- get color
this moved up the list after i saw them live – they're UNREAL performers - and learned that they were unhappy with the mix and will rerelease the album this year. looking forward to that, for sure.

17. jj--- n•2
18. ducktails--- landscapes
19. toro y moi--- causers of this
20. bill callahan--- sometimes i wish we were an eagle

∆∆∆worst albums of 2009∆∆∆

gucci mane--- everything the dude said in 2009. ha. but his shit is purrrfict.

grizzly bear--- veckatwhatevs who likes this BORRRRRRING BULLSHIT?!?!? '2 weeks' is good, and 'ready, able' is good after 1:44, but everything else is shit. 'while you wait for the others' is so fucking weak holy shit.

atlas sound--- logos. other than 'quick canal' (which is EXPERT and amazing), this is a really shitty album. the lyrics are for tards and 'walkabout' is such a piece of shit!!!!!

japandroids--- post-nothing >>> who the fuck liked this?

cam'ron--- crime pays. really disappointed by this one. love you cam, but, c'mon.

∆∆∆most important non 2009 albums or non-albums of 2009∆∆∆

air france-- no way down
when i fell in love with this album last november, i couldn't have known how amazing this would sound in july and august, let alone how it would sound in november after that. in the summer, it was revealed as a profoundly joyous and gay record, sounds of great freedom to me; at my birthday party we sang and danced to 'no excuses' at 4 AM and i really felt a moment of total bliss. unbelievable. then, winter came back, and the record is now saturated with a totally new and unprecedented nostalgia. beautiful....

other shit that i discovered or rediscovered this year that dominated my ears:

alvin lucier--- wind shadows
this is the most beautiful music. i don't even know what it is. i meditate to this shit and reach all kinds of new heights of despair.

galaxie 500--- on fire
killer sad sack late 80's early 90's vibe rock tunes. the production is super cool and the vocals are amazing. i started listening to this in august and have probably listened to it more than any other record since. 'plastic bird' is sooo good.

j dilla--- donuts
i had no idea how masterful this shit was... damn.

weakling--- dead as dreams

zazen boys--- zazen boys 4
this was a fave last year, but just grew on me soooo much. love it. 'sabaku' is the absolute jam. sad house. the most original synth sound on record!

of course,

7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is no way this list is honest. At least David put Animal Collective at #1...as much as you write about AC there is no way I believe you liked Raekwon more than the AC album. Not buying it. Most people would agree that Raekwon's album is not even classic Wu. I like Wu as much as the next guy but no way you can claim that. And it's not a bad album per se but there is some cliche shit on a few of those tracks. As pointed out in other comments, it's not even close to the best hip hop this year let alone THE best record out of all the others that came out. Sorry. You're trudging into the same murky territory that Pitchfork has been trapped in for a while! Not trying to be a hater cause lord knows this town is full of 'em. And I won't even comment about the inclusion of the Nirvana album. Ok, I will....since when is a "greatest hits" album even considered when talking about the best albums released in a given year. Come one guys step it up. And I will finish with this: Dirty Projectors. Hah!

1:11 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

real interesting theory, anon. sorry to disappoint, but the raekwon album is honestly my favorite. not sure what you think it is i'd stand to gain by putting AC at 4 if i liked it more than that

also that nirvana album isn't a 'greatest hits'

7:41 PM  
Anonymous teeripp said...

Real Estate is so bad it's not even funny... #justsayin'
Also, some legit rap: DJ Quik & Kurupt - BlaQKout
Great list Chris.

6:23 PM  
Blogger Bad Real Estate said...

very sensible list, i would've liked to see crocodiles in there tho, they definitely brought something to the scene this year.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous hud said...

i would have liked to see bibio ambivalence avenue and fuck buttons tarot sport on there, but that's just how i lean.

will be checking out a couple things i haven't heard.

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for making this wonderful list. the only major one that i loved that you didn't have on your list was nosaj thing-drift.

1:28 PM  
Blogger Tyler said...

raekwon @ #1 that is so alt and courageous

5:58 PM  
Blogger radioflyer said...

I always think of GvsB as a wuss blog, but you've put Raekwon at #1 and not included Dirty Projectors, so maybe I didn't give you due credit!

9:30 AM  
Blogger schoppenaas said...

Great list... I miss Alela Diane's 'To Be Still' though (or was that 2008!?)

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good list! I would like to see the Ecstatic on the list but thats still cool. I'm sure it just missed it.

6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a lot I love and a lot to discover on your list.

Here are a few other albums I dug:

The Visitor - Jim O'Rourke
I'm Going Away - The Fiery Furnaces
All My Friends Are Funeral Singers - Califone
Rainwater Cassette Exchange - Deerhunter
Monoliths & Dimensions - Sunn O)))
Glitter and Doom Live - Tom Waits
Wind's Poem - Mount Eerie
The Eternal - Sonic Youth

What a year! Here's hoping 2010 is just as fruitful.

Chicago, IL

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great list! I always look forward to the GvsB year-end round-up. Couple new ones I'll have to check out and thanks for turning me on to a lot of others this year (i.e. White Denim!) Great to see Raekwon in at #1 too. Keep up the good work!

10:40 AM  
Anonymous kk said...

OB4CLII is a good album, but kinda weird to put a token crit-loved rap album near the top (or r&b like you did with erykah badu last year) when it's clear you don't listen to that kind of music at all.

as for gucci and pill, yeah they both put out better stuff than OB4CLII this year, but i ain't mad that a corny hypnagogic pop dude on the internet who professes to knowing very little about rap music doesn't know that. kinda love the "gucci and pill, come on man" and its implicit clueless "ugh, those MAINSTREAM rappers" vibe for camp value though, kudos.

1:09 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

kk, i don't know you, so i'm not sure if you're just trying to be a troll, or if you're legitimately retarded. but here goes: i listened to OB4CL2 more than any other record this year. nothing gucci/pill put out is better than Rae's record. the end.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous kk said...

yeah again not sure what kind of ground you're standing on to make that kind of a statement. you clearly don't listen to a lot of rap (except raekwon, apparently), so how the hell would you know which ones are better than others?

glad you're stumping for rae though, it's about time wu-tang got some love on the internet

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, kk - GvsB's love of all things Wu has been well documented over the years! I think when Chris did his "Top 25 Hip-hop albums" a few years ago there were at least 5-6 Wu related albums. You just need to visit more often I think!

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Andrew said...

I just wanted to thank you again for introducing me to White Denim way back when. I just can't stop listening to their stuff!! Hopefully I can catch them live some day.

And both your lists are pretty bomb!

3:57 PM  
Blogger HeiBräu said...

You dig any CFCF this year, guys?

And I'm going to defend you all here:

"You're missing a few:

1) Eating Us - Black Moth Super Rainbow

2) Declaration of Dependence - Kings of Convenience

9) Noble Beast

10) The BQE - Sufjan Stevens

Please, do your homework."

Well, somebody's feeling confident.

All four of these suggestions are sub-part follow-ups to each artist's best album thus far (aside from AB, his best was Mysterious Production). How about you do some homework yourself?

12:34 PM  
Blogger HeiBräu said...

I also failed to mention that the lists are great, thanks very much for them. I'll be sure to post a link to mine here when it's finished.

12:47 PM  
Blogger emily said...

geez guys. they didnt stamp your name on either of these lists so settle down. this is their blog and their favorites. if you dont agree write your own blog and your own list.

great job, gvb! i always find something new here, on this list even. you guys always showcase interesting music, focusing inside and outside of the trends on the things youre truly passionate about. its a nice change of pace from the monotonous music blogs out there (the ones whos year end lists are completely interchangeable). bravo!

6:59 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

thanks emily, we appreciate the nice words

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Taylor Swift? no seriously you guys need to chill lists are fucking great stop saying no this and no that. They're Better then the ones pretty much every media or blog will have.

9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I Wonder why people are even talking about gucci and pill. The best rap album that didn't didn't made the list is Midwestgangstaboxframecadillacmuzik by Freddie Gibbs the guy is insane

9:23 AM  
Anonymous matt said...

sholi s/t - one of the most underrated/forgotten records of the year. this was the second to last album released by touch and go. thanks for the reminder, bruce: http://www.prefixmag.com/media/sholi/all-that-we-can-see-video/35675/

nobel beast - when all the hip indie bands fall off the map, mr. bird will still be making amazing records that stand the test of time

bitte orca - how could this not be on the list? i think this wins the complexity/listen-ability ratio award for me, but i would have been happier if every song sounded like 'two doves'

love that mountain man record too.

5:23 PM  
Blogger LiquidHeaven said...

Just catching up on the list here... my blog was included in that pitchfork 'dig' but I really didn't take it that way. What do you think they were getting at with "beaucoup bloggers?"

10:18 PM  
Anonymous jordanmono said...

Has the entire indie music world gone mad? I believe it more than ever now. Where is Arctic Monkeys' Humbug on any lists? That was easily the best album I heard all year. For it to not make lists is insane. Animal Collective? Ok, My Girls is catchy but the rest is truly middle of the road and pretty indecipherable, as the beloved Panda Bear is too. Alex Turner is a musical genius and Humbug should get much more respect from the people who have the power. Do the job! Or with a comment I've gotta do what I can!

2:05 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

ah, this list is certain to stir the pot. lots of omissions that feel like a slap in the face. a more democratic list that's based less on a single person's taste, MOG's poll of 800 music bloggers, ranked the albums this year in a way i agree with much more, while at the same time still including some surprises and gems. maybe worth checking out

5:08 PM  
Blogger radioflyer said...

@Brian - Thanks for the link. Democratic is interesting, but it isn't necessarily better. Not that you said it was, but I'm just saying I trust GvB's tastes more than 799 bloggers who like Dirty Projectors more than Raekwon.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous nolando said...

Great site - lots to mine, as usual – here’s mine:


My faves:

AA Bondy When the Devil’s Loose (Fat Possum)
El Michel’s Affair Enter the 37th Chamber (Truth & Soul)
Other Lives Self Titled (TBD Records)
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis White Lunar (Mute)
The Whitest Boy Alive Rules (Bubbles)
Do Make Say Think The Other Truths (Constellation)
Lee Fields and the Expressions My World (Truth & Soul)
Wax Tailor In the Mood For Life (Le Plan)
Freelance Whales Weathervane (Self Released)
Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Glass Note)
Fanfarlo Reservoir (Atlantic/WEA)
Patrick Watson Wooden Arms (Secret City Records)

Honourable Mentions:

Bowerbirds Upper Air, Céu Vagarosa, Gregory Alan Isakov This Empty Northern Hemisphere, Frank Fairfield S/T, Molina & Johnson S/T, Quantic & His Combo Barbaro, Royal Wood The Lost and Found EP, Vieux Farka Touré Fondo, The XX XX

12:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great list!

where's the albums of the decade list??

my vote: Sung Tongs

thanks gvb

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe you've forgotten about Nesey Gallons

6:25 PM  
Blogger Nakis said...

Great list!This is my second best of bests list after the one at:http://asknakis.blogspot.com

5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of this blog, but this list is mystifying to me. Sure, many make sense: JJ, Neon Indian, Memory Tapes, Phoenix, Washed Out...but Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective are just hype. That's what "all the cool kids say they like", but I think is uninspiring. I mean, where's Miike Snow? CFCF? Toro Y Moi? Lake Heartbeat? Weathertunes? Meanderthals? Royksopp? Fontan? Bibio?

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving White Denim some props. I can't believe Fits has not gotten more attention. It's one of my favs from last year.

8:22 PM  
Blogger Calvin Ramsey said...

Pretty Good List, wish Hospice was on there though. Check out the difference of Top lists from GVB and Too Roads. http://tooroads.blogspot.com/

3:22 AM  
Anonymous porco said...

great list though i have to agree with someone who said that its a pity there's only one rap album up here, even though I wholeheartedly agree with its position.
but you guys should definitely check out fashawn's boy meets world. its been generating a lot of praise from sites like rateyourmusic.com and hiphopdx. totally slept on by the indie community, but hip hop heads had this on blast all last year.

2:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i enjoyed your list.

that being said, why do all the music sites ignore tegan and sara?
i realize they can be dismissed as mere "pop" but that's only if you don't know any better.
they are fantastic songwriters who deserve to be on some "best of" lists. sainthood is great.

also loving:

bmsr-eating us

a sunnny day in glasgow-ashes grammar

can't stand dirty projectors. that is all. thank you.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow first i've heard of white denim...glad i stopped by. gonna have to pick that one up.

12:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol at the sandwitches being as high as they did,
people really cant get enough of the one hit wonder shitty lo fi folk stuff can they? jeez. that album was good for one song and then it got boring. just another young band who can only write one song and writes it into the ground. i could go into how more or less predictable it is that a site like this would ignore Bitte Orca, put MPP at #4, and champion another boring rap album, but i wont. most people who have a mind of their own can see what happened there anyways.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

yeah it's real predictable to put an album like sandwitches above bitte orca. also i'm going to assume you haven't really heard the sandwitches album or the Raekwon album, because if you really think those records are "one hit wonder shitty lo fi folk" and "boring rap" then you're the worst kind of d-bag

9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi guys, love the blog...i don't listen to too much hip hop either, but what did you guys think of Lushlife - Cassette City??? this was an amazing hip hop album, even i didn't get wind of it until early 2010. but it's a project that deifnitely needs some love.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

man, dig:
Orb-Bagdad Batteries
Flaming Lips-Embryonic
Grizzly Bear-Veckamist
The Horrors
Neko Case-Middle Cyclone
Animal Collective-MPP
NASA-Spirit of Appolo
so no jive to all you all suckers out there, and bone up to all you all lovers out there!

10:24 AM  
Blogger Dylan Macnab said...

refreshing to see someone choose something other than animal collective. I also like the addition of Mountain Man.

Check out free folk music here: thepursuitoffolk.blogspot.com

2:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how the hex did a rap album win?? this is like the 08 election all over again, zing! count it

3:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most Serene Republic!?!?

1:14 PM  

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