With another year in the books, it’s time to conclude our look back at 2009 with the Little Umbrellas list of our 20 favorite records of 2009.
20: The Fiery Furnaces – I’m Going Away (Thrill Jockey)
19: The Mountain Goats – The Life of the World to Come (4AD)
18: Daniel Higgs – Hymnprovisations for Banjo by the A.I.U. with Piano and Raindrops (Ideal Recordings)
Fantastic solo banjo pieces from the former Lungfish singer. Technically this came out it 2008, but I can’t confirm a release date, so I’m taking liberties.
17: Atlas Sound – Logos (4AD)
16: Tortoise – Beacons of Ancestorship (Thrill Jockey)
15: Sir Richard Bishop – The Freak of Araby (Drag City)
This was really a crowning achievement for Sir Richard Bishop. A lush album that showcases his guitar work nicely.
14: Wooden Shjips – Dos (Holy Mountain)
13: Obits – I Blame You (Sub Pop)
This a phenomenal record from a veteran group of musicians. Their sound is tight and dirty with just enough polish to make the record shine. Bringing together former members of Rocket from the Crypt and Edsel might seem a bit off, but it is a thing of beauty.
12: Stardeath and White Dwarfs – The Birth (Warner Brothers)
This slab of modern psychedelia is fantastic. Please don’ t miss this one.
11: The Yeah, Yeah Yeah’s – It’s Blitz (Interscope)
10: Real Estate – Real Estate (Woodsist)
9: Dead Weather – Horehound (Third Man)
One of the best things Jack White has done. Excellent.
8: Jonsi & Alex – Riceboy Sleeps (XL Recordings)
Great ambient record from Sigur Ros frontman. It doesn’t go too far beyond what you’d expect from Sigur Ros, but it’s quieter and extremely well done.
7: Califone – All My Friends Are Funeral Singers (Dead Oceans)
6: M. Ward – Hold Time (Merge)
5: Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (Glassnote)
Easily the catchiest record of the year. Essential stuff in my book.
4: Wilco – Wilco (The Album) (Nonesuch)
3: Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion (Domino) & Animal Crack Box (Catsup Plate)
Animal Crack Box lived up to the hype delivering 3 LPs of fantastic live recordings from Animal Collective’s early period. The unbelievably limited nature of this release seems a bit silly, but that’s a discussion for another post. So much has already been written about Merriweather Post Pavillion, so I will not rehash it again. If you have heard the album yet, just go buy it and enjoy.
2: Kurt Vile – Childish Prodigy (Matador)
This record is the most diverse album I’ve heard in a long time. Every song is its own animal and demands your attention. Childish Prodigy is a lo-fi masterpiece that will set the tone the next decade. This album is one of the most exciting releases of 2009 and barely missed being my favorite album of the year.
1: The Flaming Lips – Embryonic (Warner Brothers)
Embryonic is a monster of a record. When was the last time you heard a double album that was solid start to finish? Look no further. It may sound strange but this may be the best Pink Floyd album that Pink Floyd never made. Embryonic is a thunderous, powerful, and beautiful epic that will be a landmark record for years to come.