2009 Album Capsules (with Twitter Restricted Length)
Atlas Sound - Logos: 82. "Shelia" and "Walkabout" are 2 of the finest musical moments of 09 and the rest of the album doesn't let them down.
Bon Iver - Blood Bank: 57. Title track is irresistible but the other three tracks are forgettable, if soothing, miserablism.
The Dodos - Time to Die: 62. Transitional and minor. Drums are toned-down and song structures homogenized. One idea per song, if that.
/The Dodos - Time to Die/: 68. Still feels largely transitional and not as compelling as VISITER; however it has proven to be a grower.
The Flaming Lips - Embryonic: 73. Bold title for a 26 year-old band but this is a baffling oddity from a group that seemed out of surprises.
Girls - Album: 71. Adorable but very top heavy with most of the highlights on the A side. Still one of the most promising debuts of 09.
The Growlers - Are You in or Out (2009): 76. Gets too fragmented for my taste on the B side but this stoned, surf psych sure is addictive.
The Happy Hollows - Spells: 75. After a series of terrific EPs, HH finally self-release an LP of expertly paced, Pixies-influenced rock.
Hunx and His Punx - Gay Singles (2009): 71. Funny & infectious LP that marries glam & garage punk with literal queer perspective.
Islands - Vapours: 69. A marked departure from moody ARM'S WAY: with synth lines, brass bursts and even autotune. A hard band to pin down.
Japandroids - Post-Nothing: 71. Rollicking garage rock anthems make this more Replacements than No Age. "Young Hearts Spark Fire." Indeed.
jj - jj n° 2: 70. A refreshing album that's short on duration but long on hooks.
Micachu - Jewellery: 36. The sound of Hipster Garbage. Random noises sampled atonally with pop vocals for the combined effect of bleh.
Mount Eerie - Wind's Poem: 67. A return to the Loud-Quiet-Loud lo-fi sound of The Microphones, but more concerned with mood than harmony.
Thee Oh Sees - Help (2009): 76. Probably their most consistently strong set of tunes but lacks a show-stopper like "Warm Slime."
Real Estate - S/T: 70. A sun-drenched, reverbed Surf Folk album (as opposed to Surf Pop, which they can't do in New Jersey). Lovely stuff.
Jay Reatard - Watch Me Fall: 67. This feels like the third Matador Singles compilation and not a carefully crafted or sequenced album.
Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns: 77. NMH vocals. Aggressive drums. Folk with rock freak-outs. I am suspicious. Feels tailored for me.
Sunn O))) - Monoliths & Dimensions: DNF. Five minutes of doom-laden electric guitar fuzz is enough for me. I don't need another 48, thanks.
J. Tillman - Year in the Kingdom: 68. Strikingly combines Oldham's brooding intimacy with the religious poetry of Leonard Cohen circa Songs.
Why? - Eskimo Snow: 74. Wolf moves towards piano ballads, twangy-slide guitar and Dylanesque lyrical phrasing. Angst disfigured, twirling.
The xx - xx: 71. Sexy, nocturnal pop that recalls Tindersticks or Junior Boys. An impressive debut that could use some expanded dynamics.
YACHT - See Mystery Lights: 66. Summertime pop album of sing-along choruses, sputtering percussion and synthy burps. Hipster BBQ music.
Yo La Tengo - Popular Songs: 64. A pleasant pop album until the last three epic songs which upset the flow and sound like OST rejects.