It is more or less impossible to sum up a years worth of music in a thirty song playlist, but not to worry, I'm just arrogant enough to take a shot at it. Please keep in mind, these are just one critics opinions. As I always say though, just cause its an opinion doesn't mean I'm not right.
30. Nurses - "Technicolor"
29. Mos Def - "Auditorium"
28. Charles Spearin - "Anna"
27. Wavves - "No Hope Kids"
26. Wale - "Wordplay"
25. Girls - "Lust for Life"
24. Feist & Ben Gibbard - "Train Song"
23. Atlas Sound - "Walkabout"
22. Apostle of Hustle - "Xerses"
21. The XX - "Crystalised"
20. Tune-yards - "News"
19. Bibio - "Lovers Carvings"
18. The Most Serene Republic - "Heavens to Purgatory"
17. Bowerbirds - "Northern Lights"
16. Grizzly Bear - "Cheerleader"
15. Phoenix - "1901"
14. Bell Orchestre - "Elephants"
13. Chiddy Bang - "Get Up in the Morning"
12. Clay Nightingale - "Last Paycheck"
11. Here We Go Magic - "Fangela"
10. Fuck Buttons - "The Lisbon Maru"
-I ran my first half marathon this winter, and in the cold ten minutes leading up to the start this was the track throbbing in my headphones. It is relentless yet reserved, accessible yet dark, and as consistently fascinating as it is simple.
9. Dinosaur Jr. - "See You"
-When I hear Dinosaur Jr. I can't help but earnestly believe that this is what popular modern rock bands (Daughtry, Nickelback) should sound like, and would give their left hands to sound like. But then again I've never understood the mainstream. No one else rips like J. This song is pure classic rock.
8. Do Make Say Think - "Do"
-Charles Spearin had a big year for me; solo and with his band here. If you're a post rock fan this one won't let you down. It has a raw, live feel absent from much of the genre, and some great hooks throughout.
7. Neon Indian - "Deadbeat Summer"
-I didn't get into the glo-fi chillwave movement at all really this year, but this track is the perfect blend of strong pop songwriting with lo-fi psychedelic aesthetic. Too many such bands forgot that style only brings you so far without hooks.
6. The Antlers - "Two"
-This is the kind of song that just rips your heart out. Absolute beauty. The heartache compounds when it gets stuck in your head.
5. The Wooden Birds - "Seven Seventeen"
-Highly underappreciated new act from Andrew Kenny, mastermind behind underappreciated old act The American Analog Set. The lyrical content never quite lets you be completely at ease while the lilting rhythm and folk guitar lull you in. The juxtaposition of the two gets under your skin, even if it makes it crawl a little.
"Seven Seventeen", 2009
4. Dan Deacon - "Snookered"
-Everyone made a big deal out of the emotional weight carried in this tune. That observation is obviously relative. When the vocals break down and the beat changes you will start to understand how Dan Deacon is changing a genre.
3. Cymbals Eat Guitars - "Wind Phoenix (Proper Name)"
-Indie rock has been slightly trivialized by a huge slew of followers trying to do more of the same, and ultimately just weakening a genre. Cymbals Eat Guitars do it right though, making inspired crashing epics which retain the spirit of originals like Pavement and The Microphones. This one blows me away every time.
"Wind Phoenix (Proper Name)", 2009
2. Madeline - "White Flag"
-The best female folk singer-songwriter today pens her self-affirming anthem. "It takes a few drinks to get the devil off your sleeve.." Keep that white flag down Madeline, keep it down.
"White Flag", 2009
1. St. Vincent - "Marrow"
-This song has it all. Creepy ambient atmospherics, electronica beats, distorted saxophones, and the crunchiest avant-garde breakdowns I've ever heard in the context of a pop song. All from a skinny white girl. It blows my mind that music this original can sound so natural. Don't take it for granted.
There you have it, the top 30. It honestly killed me to have to leave off some of the tracks that I did, but thats just a testament to the ones that made the cut. Yes, no Animal Collective. I'm not sayin its bad, don't crucify me, but seriously, reverb laden synth pop might not be what they do best. Just throwin it out there. Stay tuned for the best album's of 2009 coming soon, where we'll talk a little bit more about the year in general. And if your interested, check out the entire list for download below.